Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city at 1100 year old and was originally founded by the Vikings as a trading port due to its ideal location and adjoining waterways. It soon developed into a significant urban area in the 10th century.
The city was then reclaimed by Irish natives in 1170 as the King of Munster sought aid from an Anglo-Norman named Strongbow. Having regained the city from the Vikings he was granted the surrounding lands and a marriage to the Kings daughter. In 1171 the King of England, Henry II, arrived in Waterford and had all Anglo-Norman knights submit to him. This was the beginning of the English rule over the Emerald Isle. Waterford was then granted the status of a ‘Royal City’ which led to further development and increased trading. The following centuries saw Waterford decline and rise again while changing hands between Catholics and Protestants.
In modern times the city became globally renowned as Waterford Glass achieved a worldwide reputation in the 19th century with exports going to the four corners of the globe. Due to the massive amount of export, trade continually went from strength to strength and as such Waterford became a major centre for ship building.
Today Waterford is still one of the premier ports in the country. Much of the city’s history is survived by the well preserved architecture found throughout. The centuries old glass making tradition is still practiced in the city. As such Waterford’s past is therefore more than just history - it is a living tradition, for this is a city where people continue to live in the shadow of ancient city walls and practise trades that have been perfected by their forefathers for centuries.