From Royalty to Wyses: The Quirky History of Waterford

by | 12 Apr, 2023 | County History

County Waterford, located in the southeast of Ireland, has a rich and vibrant history that is often overlooked. From its Viking past to its contribution to the arts and architecture, Waterford is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. In this article, we will take a journey through time to uncover the city’s captivating history and explore what makes Waterford such a special place.

Discovering Waterford’s Hidden Gems

Waterford is known for its stunning coastline, historic landmarks, and medieval architecture. One of the city’s hidden gems is the Museum of Treasures, which provides a snapshot of Waterford’s past. The museum is home to three historic buildings, including the Bishop’s Palace, Reginald’s Tower, and the Medieval Museum. Each building showcases different periods of Waterford’s history, from its Viking origins to its medieval past to its Georgian architecture. The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and culture.

Another hidden gem in Waterford is the Waterford Greenway, a 46-kilometer trail that runs along the old railway line from Waterford to Dungarvan. The trail takes you through picturesque countryside, charming villages, and stunning coastal views. The Waterford Greenway is perfect for cycling, walking, or jogging and is a great way to explore the natural beauty of the city.

Journey Through Time: Waterford’s History

Waterford was founded by the Vikings in 914 AD and was known as Veðrafjǫrðr, meaning “windy fjord.” The city became an important trading center and was the first Irish city to be fortified with walls. Waterford’s Viking past can be seen in the city’s medieval architecture, including Reginald’s Tower, which was built in the 12th century and is the oldest tower in Ireland.

During the 18th century, Waterford became a hub for the arts and architecture, with many prominent figures such as the architect John Roberts and the painter George Morland contributing to the city’s cultural scene. Waterford’s Georgian architecture can be seen in many of the city’s buildings, including the City Hall, which was built in 1783.

The Royals and their Bizarre Toilet Habits in Waterford

Waterford was once a favorite destination for royals. They loved the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and luxurious accommodations. However, they also had some bizarre toilet habits that would make you cringe. It was said that the royals would relieve themselves in the streets, and their servants would clean it up. This was not only unhygienic but also highly embarrassing for the town. Waterford locals were not happy with the royals’ behavior and often made fun of them.

One day, a local businessman had enough and decided to take action. He built public toilets and put up signs encouraging people to use them. The royals were outraged, but the people of Waterford loved it. This was the beginning of the town’s reputation for being the cleanest in Ireland. Today, Waterford is known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, and immaculate streets. And, of course, the royals’ bizarre toilet habits are just a distant memory.

How a Town Survived a Curse and became known as ‘The Wyses’

Waterford has a unique claim to fame – it survived a curse. In the 17th century, the town was under the control of a powerful family, the Fitzgeralds. During this time, the town prospered, but it was said that the Fitzgeralds had a curse on them. It was rumored that they would lose their power and the town would suffer. Sure enough, when the Fitzgeralds lost their power, Waterford went into decline.

However, the town didn’t give up. A group of wily businessmen decided to rename the town ‘The Wyses.’ They believed that by changing the name, they could change the town’s fortunes. And, amazingly, it worked. The town began to prosper again, and it became known as one of the smartest and most innovative towns in Ireland. Today, Waterford is still known as ‘The Wyses’ and is home to some of the most creative and entrepreneurial people in the country.

Waterford’s quirky history is just one of the many things that make it a fascinating place to visit. From the royals’ bizarre toilet habits to surviving a curse, Waterford has a story to tell.

County Waterford most common surnames:

Power, Walsh, O’Brien, Murphy, Ryan, McGrath, Foley, Flynn, Morrissey, Kelly, Phelan and Sullivan.

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