Things to do in Waterford

Visit the birthplace of its world-famous crystal or climb ancient towers to take in stunning seascapes. Here are the 10 best things to do in Waterford.

16 Top-Rated Attractions and Things to Do in Waterford

Get inspired with our list of epic things to do in Waterford. From the historic Viking district to the beaches of the Copper Coast - plan your visit now.

Experience the majestic Waterford Greenway, an awe-inspiring off-road trail ideal for both walking and cycling. This remarkable route boasts an impressive length of 46 km, spanning from the vibrant city of Waterford to the picturesque coastal town of Dungarvan. 

Traverse through the breathtaking landscapes of Ireland, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty as you navigate through the remains of an ancient railway line, reincarnated as a stunning pathway.

The Waterford Greenway offers an outstanding outdoor experience for fitness enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families alike. Revel in the cool winds as you pedal through the verdant countryside, passing quaint villages, rolling fields, and picturesque coastal panoramas. Take in the harmonious combination of natural beauty and melodious sounds of flowing rivers, singing birds, and vibrant wildflowers as you stroll along the trail.

The trail is maintained immaculately, and the scenery is magnanimous, offering a truly memorable experience irrespective of your fitness levels. It’s an excellent opportunity to reconnect with nature, get some exercise, and create lasting memories with loved ones.

Be prepared to have an unforgettable journey along the Waterford Greenway as you explore the rich history and traditions of the region. This remarkable trail has everything you need to discover the magic of the Waterford Greenway and let it evoke your senses throughout every step of the journey. So put on your walking shoes or grab your bike as you set out to discover Waterford Greenway’s captivating scenery.

Waterford City - Things to do in Waterford

Waterford City by delving into the Viking era. Established in the 9th century by the daring Vikings, relive the experience of Ireland’s oldest city at the world’s first Viking-themed virtual reality experience, King of the Vikings. 

A stone’s throw away from this attraction is the Waterford Medieval Museum where your young ones can indulge for an entire afternoon. Within the 13th-century building, treasures and works of art abound, accompanied by knowledgeable tour guides in medieval dress that ignite an interest in Waterford’s rich past. 

Following this, take a short ten-minute drive to Grow HQ, where you can savour one of the most exceptional meals in the county. Children can witness the source of their food as this Grow-It-Yourself café showcases the process of growing organic, seasonal ingredients for their meals, freshly cooked by the expert chefs in the vicinity.

Greenway and Copper Coast

Greenway and Copper Coast

The Waterford Greenway, also referred to as “Deise Greenway,” is widely considered as one of the most picturesque cycling routes throughout Ireland.

 Offering an off-road trail of 46 kilometers in length, this is the largest of its kind in the whole country and can be easily covered on a bicycle in just hours or even on foot throughout the day. We invite you to enjoy the pleasures of cycling and walking while exploring the Ancients East of Ireland.

journey south to Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford, and to experience one of the newest and most unmatched attractions available in the country, the unmatched Waterford Greenway. 

As you travel, you will be taken aback by the stunning 46 km off-road cycling and walking trail that was once an old railway line, seamlessly transporting you from the quays of Waterford, a city rooted in Viking history, all the way to Dungarvan, a historic port town with a picturesque quayside setting that is full of life.

For those seeking insight into history, a visit to the attractions that are located along the way, will reveal incredible secrets dating back to the past. 

These sites are diverse and will take you on a journey through time, starting from the stunning gardens of Mount Congreve, also known as one of the most breathtaking gardens in the world, to Viking settlements, decided medieval ruins, the mesmerizing Norman castle, deserted railway stations, an Ice-Age Rock with enchanting mythical powers, and a heritage railway train that runs along a portion of the track. 

The journey through these marvels is heightened by the breathtaking views that change from one location to another, from the lush green countryside to the awe-inspiring views of the Comeragh Mountains, to the magnificent beauty of the Copper Coast consisting of coves, scalloped beaches, and rocky headlands.

Waterford Medieval Museum

Waterford Medieval Museum

Travel back in time to Medieval Waterford and embark on a guided tour commencing at the esteemed Choristers Hall from the 13th century. Delight in the splendour of some of Ireland’s most distinguished treasures from that era, including the much-lauded Great Charter Roll, which has been personally viewed by Her Majesty the Queen Consort and HM King Charles III. 

Your experience progresses to the 15th-century Wine Vault, where you will be amazed by the sight of the magnificent cloth-of-gold church vestments. The grandiosity of the vestments is enough to leave one in awe. This tour is an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Waterford and discover the treasures it has to offer.

King of the Vikings

Indulge yourself with an extraordinary experience at the King of the Vikings, an enthralling 3D virtual reality attraction. Step inside a majestic replica of a Viking house in Waterford, and relive life as it was during the Viking era. 

The modern virtual reality experience of King of the Vikings allows you to interact with Viking warlords who founded Veðrafjorðr (Waterford), the oldest city in Ireland. Your visit takes place within the stunning ruins of a medieval monastery located in the heart of the bustling city. 

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Viking Waterford, meet the Viking comb-maker, and listen to the stories of the time. With a special helmet in place (a 3D Oculus Rift headset), transport yourself back 1100 years and meet Reginald, the legendary leader and founder of the city of Waterford and York. 

Book your guided tour in advance and relish a unique experience where enthusiastic guides take you through the fantastic history of the city.

Popular Accommodation in Waterford

Faithlegg House Hotel: It’s rare to find a place like Faithlegg. A precious gem wrapped up in nature, immersed in pure tranquillity. Discover our history around every corner. Feel enveloped by a service that’s warm, thoughtful and always surprising. Create memories to cherish forever. The rich character of our people and our place make every moment that much more special. At Faithlegg you’ll learn what it means to truly feel treasured.

Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort: luxury 16th Century Castle is Ireland’s only Island Castle hotel, making it one of the most iconic Irish Castles. Find yourself transported to a different world with each of our beautifully appointed guestrooms; each one offering gracious style combined with all the modern comforts you might expect of a world-class hotel establishment.

Cliff House Hotel: Cliff House Hotel is a 5-star, privately owned luxury hotel in Ireland, located close to Cork and Waterford. The building seems to defy gravity, clinging to a cliff on the south side of Ardmore Bay where there has long been a fishing village.

Curraghmore House and Gardens

Curraghmore House and Gardens

Curraghmore House & Gardens is the esteemed residence of the 9th Marquis of Waterford and his forefathers since 1170. They extend over an extensive 1,000 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, and grazing fields, situated near Portlaw in County Waterford, defining it as the most substantial private demesne in Ireland.

Guests can partake in a captivating stroll through the grounds and witness the majestic King John’s Bridge, erected in 1205 and considered among Ireland’s oldest bridges, spanning the Clodagh River.

A Sitka spruce, planted in the estate’s grounds in the 1830s, stands as one of Ireland’s tallest trees, maintaining a watchful appearance over the bridge. The estate is shielded by 20 km of famine relief boundary walls and four robust wrought iron gates.

Guided tours are available to explore Curraghmore House, elaborating on the family history and the house itself, with access to the original interior. The neoclassical rooms, including the splendid plasterwork of James Wyatt and Grisaille panels by Peter de Gree, define the house’s architectural marvels. 

The stunning gardens comprise ancient oak woodland, an arboretum, a Shell House, and splendid terraces crafted by the past Lady Waterfords. They also operate a Tea Room, serving delicious homemade cakes, biscuits, tea, coffee, and light refreshments, open on weekends during the high season, or you can schedule an appointment for extensive groups in advance.

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Mount Congreve Gardens

Mount Congreve Gardens

Located in County Waterford and open all year, Mount Congreve Gardens are a destination of choice for individuals with an interest in history or plant life, as well as for those looking for relaxation in a natural setting. 

The property features one of the world’s largest privately held collections of plants, with species from every corner of the globe. Mount Congreve House, constructed in 1760 by John Roberts, a widely regarded regional architect, served as the residence for six generations of the Congreve family. 

In the 1950s, Herman Dool, Garden Director, began to create the garden, which was inspired by the spectacular Exbury Garden of Lionel de Rothschild in Hampshire, UK. Ambrose Congreve’s love for his splendid garden remains evident to this day.

We recommend that you take a guided tour if you want to make the most of your visit to Mount Congreve House. You will enter the gardens as the Congreves once did, through the house. You can then visit the Stables Café and relax while enjoying fresh, locally sourced food produced and cooked daily. 

For a unique experience, enjoy afternoon tea in the beautifully restored Tack Room, which retains its old-world charm. Surrounded by gardens, trees, birds, and wildlife, the three-tiered cake stands, crisp white linen, Irish silver, and fine bone china will transport you back in time.

If you are looking to hold an unforgettable event, Mount Congreve Gardens caters for everything, from intimate dining to grand banqueting. The Library Room and the large Drawing Room, also known as the Chinese Room due to its exquisite hand-painted wallpaper, are ideal for creating unforgettable memories. 

No visit to Mount Congreve Gardens would be complete without stopping at the Secret Garden gift shop, which sells a range of gift ideas inspired by the beauty of nature and the gardens. Handmade soaps, beeswax candles, and various other products make it a place with something for everyone.

Mount Congreve Gardens is committed to creating a sustainable garden environment and welcoming visitors of all ages, abilities, and cultures. It’s easily accessible by car from the N25, or directly from the Waterford Greenway by foot or bike.

Tramore Beach

There are several engaging, activities Things to do in Waterford which require putting on a pair of walking shoes and venturing along the coast or up into the hills.

Tramore Beach

Tramore Beach is situated in Tramore, County Waterford, and provides visitors with an impressive 5 km sweep of sandy beaches, dunes, and cliff walks. Tramore (Trá Mór in Gaelic, signifying a big strand) is an excellently named town in the locale, with its famed 5 km, golden sandy beach, which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. 

The most stunning path leading to this exciting retreat is the route from Annestown, County Waterford; the coastal road results in the elevated western suburbs of the town. The panoramic view of Tramore Bay with the protecting arm of the Brownstown Head is genuinely magnificent. 

The town itself is erected on a hill that declines to the strand. Tramore’s extended, rolling waves make it a preferred location for water sports enthusiasts. Moreover, Tramore is a loved spot for angling, with the area around the lagoon’s mouth resulting in the best catches, involving flounder and bass. 

The surrounding coastal waters include other species like pollock, coalfish, dogfish, dabs, and whiting. The resort’s cliffs provide an excellent opportunity for rock fishing.

There’s no end to the number of things to do in Waterford.

Lismore Castle Gardens

Things to do in Waterford

Lismore Castle boasts of its enchanting gardens, spanning across seven acres and enclosed within the castle’s historic walls. The gardens are divided into two distinct parts, each with its unique vibe.

The 17th-century walled upper garden showcases a stunning collection of plantings that have evolved with time while maintaining the terraces and outer walls’ integrity. Its counterpart, the lower garden, with a sporadic mix of shrubs, lawns, and trees, was primarily designed in the 19th century for the Sixth Duke of Devonshire. 

Amongst its many impressive facets are magnificent magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons, and herbaceous borders, a modern-day sculpture garden, and a breathtaking yew walk. The literary inclined will also enjoy the yew avenue, where Edmund Spenser is said to have composed the famous ‘The Faerie Queen.’

Popular Tours From Belfast

Giant Causeway Tour

Belfast Shore Excursion

Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens

Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens

The Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens are located in the beautiful coastal town of Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland. These impressive gardens are a reflection of the life and vast travels of Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), who grew up in Ireland and explored many parts of the world, particularly Japan.

The gardens are divided into eleven areas, each representing the different mythologies and cultures of the places where Hearn lived. Visitors can follow his life journey by exploring the Victorian, American, Greek, and Japanese gardens. 

Guided tours in five languages, self-guided tours, and audio guides are available. The gardens feature authentic Japanese structures such as the Azumaya, Ochaya, Sori Bashi Bridge, and Niwamon Gate. Visitors can enjoy a Japanese tea ceremony in the tea house, AV screens, and touch screens.

Throughout the tour, Hearn’s life story is gradually revealed, including references to Irish and Japanese folklore. Delicious refreshments such as tea, coffee, cakes, and snacks are served, and the decking area overlooking Tramore’s picturesque bay is a delightful spot to relax.

Furthermore, children can explore these magical gardens through a special children’s discovery trail, secret pathways, woodlands, and Hearn’s fairytales and folklore.

Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark

Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark

The Waterford Copper Coast has been designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark, extending for 25 km along the County Waterford coastline and named after the 19th-century copper mines situated at the centre of this mesmerizing area of cliffs. 

The Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark and Visitor Centre, located on the southeast coast of Ireland, between Tramore and Dungarvan in County Waterford, extends from Fenor in the east to Stradbally in the west, and up to Dunhill in the north. 

The area was declared a European Geopark in 2001, and in 2015, Waterford’s Copper Coast Geopark was recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark. The Copper Coast is known for its scalloped beaches, coves, and rocky headlands, combining the effects of oceans, volcanoes, deserts, and ice sheets that created the rocks underlying the natural and cultural landscapes of the region. 

The Copper Coast offers walking trail cards for the villages, including Annestown, Boatstrand, Bunmahon, Dunhill, Fenor, Stradbally Trails, and Audio Trails, accessible via the website. The Visitor Centre hosts a Geological and Mining Heritage Exhibition suitable for all ages.

Ardmore Cliff Walk

Ardmore Cliff Walk

This unique 4km walk boasts beautiful seascapes, breathtaking views, legends, wildlife, battle sites, and a rich Irish heritage. The estimated time to complete this walk is approximately one hour. Please be on the lookout for the yellow arrow on the brown background waymarkers that will guide your way.

Starting from the village, proceed past the Cliff House Hotel to circumnavigate Ardmore Head and Ram Head. This walk meanders atop cliffs and through the laneways of the Early Christian St. Declan’s Well. For centuries, the well has served as a place of pilgrimage on July 24th. Notice the hand-scored crosses on the stones of the building. In July, do not forget to attend the pattern festival in Ardmore.

Continue towards Ardmore Head and savor the stunning views. To the right lies the coastguard station, which was the second of its kind in Ardmore. The first, situated at the end of the strand, fell victim to coastal erosion. The station was manned until the Civil War in 1922 and abandoned in 1921. After the Republicans took over, it burned down, and it now serves as a private residence.

See How Waterford Crystal is Made


The House of Waterford Crystal, located in the Mall, in the heart of Waterford, offers visitors a fascinating opportunity to witness the workings behind the highly acclaimed glassworks that have made the city a reputable manufacturing name. 

The facility comprises a manufacturing plant and a visitor center, and is undoubtedly a top attraction in Waterford. It is highly recommended to include a visit to this attraction in your itinerary while in Waterford. 

The factory smelts an impressive 826 tons of crystal annually, creating stunningly beautiful items that are treasured globally. For visitors interested in purchasing Waterford Crystal, a retail outlet is available, alongside a café for refreshments. To get the most out of the experience, it is advisable to book a guided tour to witness the intricate process behind the masterpiece glasswork. 

To avoid disappointment, pre-book a fun-filled House of Waterford Crystal Guided Factory Tour prior to arrival. This tour provides a one-of-a-kind chance to observe the crystal-making process first-hand, meet skilled craftsmen and glassblowers, and behold the historic furnaces used in the production of this magnificent craft.

Visit Historic Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral Waterford

The origins of Christ Church Cathedral can be traced back to the Viking civilization, who settled in this region during the 10th century. The first inhabitants who were pagan gradually embraced Christianity as they mingled with their Irish contemporaries. 

Saint Olaf’s Church was erected close by, possibly during the 990s, and later, around 1050, a church known as the Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity was constructed on this site. Although the proper name of this cathedral remains so, it is popularly known as Christ Church. 

In the year 1096, when Malchus was consecrated in Canterbury by St. Anselm, Waterford became a diocese, and Christ Church became the cathedral of the new city diocese of Waterford.

For nearly a century, Christ Church Cathedral has been an essential part of the Waterford Christian community. Our congregation includes people from different Christian backgrounds, Protestant and Roman Catholic, as well as citizens of various nationalities including Irish, Nigerian, English, Hungarian, French, German, Tinerfeño, and American.

We invite you to discover the rich history of this extraordinary place, worship with us and enjoy moments of tranquillity and reflection.

The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel

Situated approximately 70 minutes by car from Waterford, lies the highly acclaimed Rock of Cashel, revered as Ireland’s most prominent heritage site. Recognized also as St. Patrick’s Rock and “Cashel of the Kings”, this sacred medieval landmark displays ruins of structures constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, during a time when it adopted churchland status. 

Legend has it that prior to this period, the site served as the seat of the High Kings of Munster and the very place where St. Patrick converted King Aengus of Munster to Christianity in the 5th century.

Explore the Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace Waterford

Waterford is considered one of Ireland’s most significant cities. Its past as a prominent port and trading centre bestowed considerable wealth upon it, which was invested in the construction of impressive buildings during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Among these is the Bishop’s Palace, an opulent structure located a short distance from Christ Church Cathedral. Architect Richard Castles designed the Palace in 1741, and it now serves as a museum under the auspices of the Waterford Treasures group. 

The exhibitions in the museum encompass various periods, providing visitors with a compelling journey spanning early 1700s Ireland to the 1970s. Alongside its remarkable collection, including the oldest surviving piece of Waterford crystal worldwide, a cut-glass decanter from the 1780s, and Napoleon’s commemorative mourning cross, the museum features a café.

Hook Lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse Waterford

Constructed over 800 years ago, Hook Lighthouse is regarded as one of the most ancient active lighthouses universally. It is impressively located on Hook Head, situated on the edge of Hook Peninsula. 

Its picturesque features highlight the black-and-white-striped structure providing a unique landmark at the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour. Feel free to delve into the tower’s intricate architecture and gain insights about the lighthouse’s rich historical background.

Reginald's Tower

Reginald's Tower Waterford

Inaugurated as a “massive hinge of stone connecting the two outstretched wings of the city,” the tower holds the distinction of being in continuous use for over 800 years. 

Originally the site of a wooden Viking fort, the stone tower in its current form owes its existence to the Anglo-Normans who strategically fortified it as the strongest point of the medieval defensive walls.

Throughout history, the tower has served various functions under many English monarchs, including as a mint during King John’s reign and as a storage facility for weapons, gunpowder, and cannons. These artefacts are reflections of the turbulent eras in Waterford’s history. 

Ascend the spiral staircase to explore the remains of a 19th-century prison cell, and view the sword of the Chief Constable, whose family were the last residents of the tower, along with other artifacts that recount Waterford’s Viking past.

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