Being the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford has quite a bit of history attached to it. There are three fantastic museums in the city that capture the essence of the area’s fascinating history. These museums are Reginald’s Tower, Bishop’s Palace and the Medieval Museum which together comprise the so-called ‘Viking Triangle’. If taking a trip to Waterford these museums are well worth a visit.
Reginald’s Tower is a landmark monument in Waterford that was built by Vikings around 914. Until 1700, the tower was the strongpoint of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city. Now managed by the Office of Public Works, the tower is Ireland’s oldest civic building and houses an exhibition on Viking Waterford.
You can enjoy a guided tour of the site which is a fantastic way of learning about the Viking settlements of medieval Ireland in just half an hour. You can climb the stairs to the top floor where you will find a video of the history of Waterford. The view on this floor is well worth the climb and Viking artefacts can be viewed on each of the three floors of the tower. A cannonball is on display dating from 1650 which is also around the time of the siege of Waterford by Oliver Cromwell’s army. Beside the tower stands a replica of a Viking long ship which tends to feature in promotional pictures of Waterford. Entry to Reginald’s Tower is €5 for an adult or €13 for a family.
Bishop’s Palace is a 250 year old Georgian Structure that contains artefacts dating from 17th Century Waterford to the present day. It is an impressive building made of hewn stone. The Anglo-Irish architect who designed Bishop’s Palace also designed Leinster House in Dublin which now houses Dáil Eireann.
The ground floor and first floor of Bishop’s Palace are furnished in the style of an elegant 18th Century townhouse. One of the most notable artefacts on display in the museum is the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal made in 1789 and interestingly the museum now faces the new site of the Waterford Crystal Factory. Another highlight is a lock of Napoleon’s hair not to mention Van de Hagen’s painting which is the oldest landscape painting of an Irish city.
The café downstairs provides a lovely resting place to enjoy a great coffee and tasty treats! There are guided tours available that take you through the history of the Georgian period in Waterford and you will enjoy many stories that serve to enhance the experience of the palace. The admission for this fantastic museum is just €7.
This museum is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum and the only building to incorporate two medieval chambers, the 13th century Choristers’ hall and 15th Century Mayors Wine Vault. The museum also contains the only surviving piece of clothing worn by Henry VIII which was awarded to The Mayor of Waterford in 1536. Another highlight of the museum is the four metre long Great Charter Roll which dates back to 1373. Entrance to the Medieval Museum is €7.
There is so much to see and do in Waterford all year round; why not book your room in Viking Hotel Waterford to experience all that this great city has to offer. Viking Hotel is situated on The Cork Road, is easily accessible and offers free parking and Wi-Fi. Contact our friendly reservations team today on 051336933 or on our website to book your stay.