The latest news from the House of Waterford Crystal....

 

Did you know Waterford was once the Wine Capital of Ireland? As one of the oldest cities, Waterford's wine culture has played a huge role in its heritage for hundreds of years. With a long and colorful wine history, Waterford was once a bustling European port and a hub of wine commerce. This trade linked Waterford with some of the most sophisticated cities in Europe - namely Bristol, Bordeaux and Bruges.

Wine was imported into Waterford in wooden barrels, and wine jugs were needed to serve it. As by-products of the wine industry, these jugs were found in city center excavations and are now on display in Waterford's Medieval Museum. The museum is located opposite the House of Waterford Crystal and there you can learn all about Waterford's rich history and visit the 15th Century Mayor's Wine Vault. The vault was built around 1440 by a wealthy wine merchant called Peter Rice. Rice's son, James, went on to become mayor of Waterford and served for eleven terms.

With Waterford's wine history in mind, it's only natural that the best glasses for wine appreciation come from Waterford. We have various collections that we're sure will please everyone from the novice wine drinker to wine connoisseurs.

 

The Elegance Collection

Enhance your senses with The Elegance Collection, a relaxed yet elegant selection of drinkware, designed for the appreciation of fine wines, champagne and spirits. Perfect shapes of delicate bowls, a thin easy-to-hold stem, just the right weight and balance…this collection exudes perfection. Engage your senses with coveted crystal stemware, perfectly shaped for the ultimate tasting experience.

 

The Lismore Essence Collection

Featuring a narrow bowl that channels aromas towards the drinker, and a long, pulled stem to preserve the chilled temperature of its contents, each divinely crafted Lismore Essence White Wine glass is expertly designed to unlock the full potential of your most coveted white wine.

 

To browse more options in our full range of collections, visit Waterford.com.

 

Thinking ahead for your future trip to Waterford? This week we're highlighting the wonderful John F. Kennedy Arboretum located in New Ross in our neighboring County Wexford! It's the perfect day trip and not too far of a drive from Waterford.

The John F. Kennedy Arboretum is located just over a half hour drive from Waterford City. It is dedicated to the memory of U.S President John F. Kennedy whose great-grandfather, Patrick, was born in the nearby village of Dunganstown. The park itself covers a massive 623 acres and is home to a variety of over 4,500 trees and shrubs. The forest area of the park has 5 sections - each populated by trees from each continent of the world. A family friendly experience, the park has a playground and tree-houses to entertain the kids as well as an idyllic lake for a relaxing stroll. In the parks visitor centre, you can find exhibitions on JFK and on the Arboretum itself.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Ireland. While on tour he was presented with a beautiful Waterford Crystal Oval Bowl. The design was based on the Oval Office in The White House that he occupied as President of the United States of America. Pieces like this 'Kennedy Oval Bowl' are crafted by a Master Cutter, the intricate detailing and deep cutting make these precious Waterford Crystal masterpieces something to be treasured always.

 

If you're a fan of the outdoors, enjoy hiking and taking in some vast, stunning views, then The Comeragh Mountains should definitely be on your to-do list for your next trip to Waterford. This time of the year it can be a little chilly, but once you layer up you should be good to go!

The Comeragh Mountains are an impressive range in Waterford, stretching from the coast of Dungarvan inland to Clonmel. They make for the perfect location for a quick stroll or a full day of mountain exploration. There are a number of different routes you can take - The Coumshingaun Lake Walk and The Crouhan Walk to name a few. 

Nestled within the Comeragh range, visitors can find the idyllic 80 metre waterfall - Mahon Falls. Surrounded by sheer rock faces and inhabited with an abundance of goats and sheep, the falls are located close to the village of Lemybrien and make for a walk to remember with the perfect backdrop to capture some picture-perfect memories. 

On the way to Mahon Falls, explorers will come across 'The Magic Road'. Legend has it that if you stop at the bottom of the hill after you spot a 'Fairy Tree' covered in rags, put your car in neutral and the car will roll back up the hill! Find out if this is myth or magic for yourself!

Don't miss these breathtaking sights of the South-East!

 

The history of Loftus Hall, a large mansion house located along the Hook Peninsula, goes back through the centuries. The original Hall was built in 1350 by the Redmond family during the time of the Black Death. It was known as Redmond Hall until the 1650's when it was given to English Planters - the Loftus Family - and from then on was known as Loftus Hall.

 

The building which stands today was heavily renovated between 1872 and 1879 in preparation for a visit from her majesty Queen Victoria. The visit never happened, and the Loftus family were left with huge debt following the major work carried out on the building. The last of the surviving Loftus family passed away in 1890 and the bankrupt estate was put up for sale. Over the subsequent years, the building served as a home for the Benedictine nuns, a school for girls run by The Sisters of Providence and at one point even became ‘The Loftus Hall Hotel’ which closed in the early 1900s.

In 2011 the house was sold to its current owners – The Quigley family. The family have secured the structure and are re-generating the walled gardens, the courtyard and house to ensure the future of Loftus Hall for the next generations.

There is an eery story that has stuck with Loftus Hall for many years. According to legend, one stormy night a stranger approached Loftus Hall on horseback and was invited in by the Tottenham family who were living there at the time. The young Lady Anne Tottenham became enchanted by this stranger. One night while playing cards, Lady Anne dropped a card and while bending down to retrieve it, she caught a glimpse of the strange under the table - he had cloven hoofs instead of feet! With that, the stranger shot through the roof in a ball of flames. The story goes on to say that Lady Anne never recovered from her ordeal and was locked in the tapestry room where she died years later. Servants and family members reported seeing her ghost wander the house at night.

Since Loftus Hall was opened to the public in 2012, there has been reports from visitors who claim to have seen and felt explainable things while in Loftus Hall.... would you have the courage to visit?

For more details, visit LoftusHall.ie

 

 

Even though many of our events here in Waterford have had to be cancelled this year, we are delighted to share that the Imagine Arts Festival Waterford is going virtual with an amazing online programme of events for everyone to enjoy from their own home!

The festival, now in its 19th year, strives to showcase an exciting, eclectic and diverse range of the arts including music, literature, dance, visual art, performance and history, promoting local, national and international talent. As all of the events are online, the festival is accessible from your own home – just be sure to pay attention to the time schedule!

 

Imagine Arts Festival  | OCT. 21st - 25th

Waterford Writers Weekend   |  OCT. 22nd - 24th

 

Below are a selection of the events going virtual over the coming days - Online links will be released before each event.
For more details and the full online lineup visit the Imagine Arts festival Waterford website!

 

A Dark History of Waterford 
Wednesday 21st October - 7pm

Tune in as James Doherty walks us through the dark history of Waterford - bringing to life some gruesome tales of murder and betrayal in the city.

 
The Boiler Room Launch
Thursday 22nd October - 2pm

Local Waterford poet Frank Farrelly launches his first full poetry collection "The Boiler Room". Farrelly holds an M.A. in English Literature and his work has been featured in a number of publications including The Irish Examiner and The Stinging Fly.
Tune in for this highly anticipated debut.

 
 

"This Is Waterford"
Friday 23rd October - 5pm

Commissioned by Waterford Writers Weekend, acclaimed poet, playwright and performer Colm Keegan has created a very special literary work in celebration of Waterford. It will be released as a limited edition print on day so be sure to tune in to get your hands on one!
 
 

"Jim Nolan & Jimmy Murphy In Conversation"
Saturday 24th October - 12pm

Two of Ireland's finest writers, Jim Nolan and Jimmy Murphy, will chat to Dr. Kate McCarthy, drama lecturer at W.I.T, about all things theatre, the writing process, progress and legacy. An event not to be missed!
 
 
"Freedom Is..."
Sunday 25th October - 4pm

Imagine Arts Festival together with Waterford Film Centre will showcase the finalists in the Smartphone Film Competition. Watch a selection of short films created especially for this event. 

 

 

If you're hungry to learn more about Ireland's past, then New Ross should be next on your to do list. It's a quick half an hour drive from Waterford City and there's plenty of things to do in the area - One of our top picks is The Dunbrody Irish Emigrant Experience.

When famine struck Ireland in 1845, many faced starvation as the potato crop was failing and food prices began to soar. This led to widespread emigration and a huge surge in the need for passenger ships. Entrepreneurial merchants took up the opportunity and fitted their cargo vessels with bunks to meet the extra demand. One such merchant family was William Graves & Son in New Ross whom commissioned the original Dunbrody as well as 7 sister ships. 

The Dunbrody Experience details the story of the many Irish people whom went on the journey across the unknown for the chance of a new life abroad. Visitors to this experience will be guided by an expert aboard the 3 masted bargue ship. During the tour, costumed performers will bring the experience to life, illustrating the harsh conditions many faced while taking the journey on a famine ship. The tour finishes in the arrivals hall, revealing the fate awaiting those who survived the journey. For more information and booking details, visit dunbrody.com.

 

Looking for more things to do in New Ross? How about a trip to Duncannon Fort & Beach? Duncannon is an impressive presentation of a bastioned fortress situated along the Hook Penninsula with wonderful views of the Waterford estuary. Visitors can pre-book a 45 minute guided tour to learn more.

Maybe you'd rather explore the magical woodlands of Dunbrody Forest? There are four different trails to choose from - The Forest of Dunbrody Trail, Lacken Hillside trail, Scarke Loop and Millstream Trail. All vary in distance and have wonderful surroundings rich in wild herbs, fungi, berries and wildlife. From the summit of Lacken Hill you'll find panoramic views of the Comeragh Mountains, Brandon Hill, the Blackstairs Mountains and the Barrow estuary. 

 

After you've taken The House of Waterford Crystal factory tour, why not take a spin to the Hook Peninsula for some amazing coastal views and some fresh sea air! Along the way you can visit the scenic Passage East Village, take the Passage East Car Ferry across to Ballyhack in County Wexford and then learn about life in a Lighthouse at Hook!

At the southernmost tip of the Hook Peninsula lies Hook Lighthouse, one of the world’s oldest fully operational lighthouse. Located in County Wexford, you can reach Hook within an hours drive from Waterford City, taking the Passage East Car Ferry along the way.

The lighthouse tower, constructed using local limestone, dates back 800 years to the medieval times. Visitors can explore the lighthouse with a guided tour, ascending the 115 well worn spiral steps of the tower to the balcony at the top which offers stunning sea views. After returning to ground level, visitors can look in the visitor center and gift shop or grab a bite to eat in the cafe. Visit hookheritage.ie for more details.

If you have some extra time and want to explore some more, visit Tintern Abbey or Dunbrody Abbey for more beautiful sights and history.

 

 

If you are looking for a place to relax and wander through some beautiful outdoor surroundings, then Mount Congreve Gardens is a top choice while in Ireland's Ancient East. Located about 10 minutes by car from Waterford City Center, Mount Congreve is a perfect day out for all the family. You are guaranteed some spectacular views no matter the season as there is such a vast variety of flora and fauna throughout the estate which covers 70 acres. There are over three thousand different trees and shrubs, more than two thousand Rhododendrons, six hundred Camellias, three hundred acre cultivars, six hundred conifers, two hundred and fifty climbers and fifteen hundred herbaceous plants.

Mount Congreve has been recognised as one of the ‘great gardens of the world’. The estate dates back to the 1750’s and was designed by John Roberts, a local architect whom was known for designing many of Waterford’s iconic buildings. Mount Congreve House and Estate was home to 6 generations of the Congreve's up until 2011. Originally, the gardens were made up of a lone terraced garden and woodland of ilexes and sweet chestnuts. However, in 1955 Mr Ambrose Congreve began creating large clearings to make way for his new plants. 


Over the course of 40 years, Ambrose Congreve along with Mr Herman Dool developed the gardens. The development and care of the gardens continues to this day. With the knowledge of curator Mr Michael White, there is a steady stream of new additions being added to the gardens collection as well as a new hybrid breeding programme of magnolias and rhododendrons. Mr Congreve passed away in 2011 while on route to the Chelsea Flower Show. He was 104 years old. In his lifetime his achievements were recognised by Queen Elizabeth, whom awarded him a CBE for his contribution in horticulture, and he also received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin as well as numerous medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

    

There are a number of key features that you have to see at Mount Congreve. The Chinese ​​​​​​Padoga is located in the centre of an old quarry, this a spectacular sight especially when viewed from above. The Classical Temple overlooks the beautiful view of the river Suir and countryside, and is a great spot for some photos. The Woodstown Viking Settlement can also be seen from here. The Georgian Glasshouse is bordered by a variety of herbaceous plants and a large manicured lawn. Built in 1840, the glasshouse is currently undergoing renovations. Explore the 16km of pathways and find the other hidden gems for yourself. Throughout the year Mount Congreve have special events including twilight tours, plant fairs and family fun days. If you would like to grab a coffee or lunch there is an on-sight café with both indoor and outdoor seating. They also have a garden shop, where you can purchase plants and ask the expert gardeners any questions you may have. Don’t miss this enchanting estate while in Waterford, you won’t be disappointed. Visit mountcongreve.com for more details!

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