Waterford, Ireland

Introduction to Waterford, Ireland

Cruise with Fred. Olsen to Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford. Known for its crystal ware, stunning coastline and medieval history, charming Waterford is one of the Emerald Isles' most interesting and beautiful destinations. 

Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and is renowned for its medieval history and crystal making heritage. Set amongst vast green lands that stretch as far as the eye can see, Waterford is a picturesque city with clusters of houses and other buildings perched on the rolling hills.

With its small town feel and relaxed atmosphere compared to other larger cities, Waterford city centre is easily navigated on foot and its landmarks are easy to find. Places of interest include the Waterford Museum of Treasure, Reginald’s Tower – the oldest urban civic building in Ireland - the Theatre Royal and the Municipal Art Gallery. And of course, no trip to Waterford is complete without visiting Waterford Crystal on The Mall. Here you can discover how Waterford’s most famous export is manufactured, buy a memento in the store and view the world’s largest collection of Waterford Crystal. 

Dunmore East – a beautiful fishing port and resort a short distance from Waterford city - is worth visiting too. Here you will find a Blue Flag Beach with soft sands and striking red sandstone cliffs. It is also the ideal spot for bird watching and for sampling some freshly-caught local seafood. 

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  • Enjoy an informative visit to the House of Waterford Crystal
  • Take in the highlights of the Viking Quarter, including Christ Church Cathedral, as you embark on an insightful walking tour 


DurationApprox 4 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

View the historic city of Waterford which is widely known as the Crystal City – learn why at the world-famous House of Waterford Crystal.

Leaving the quayside by coach, you will drive to the House of Waterford Crystal, home of the world’s finest crystal.

The name of Waterford conjures up the brilliant sparkling crystal, famed all over the globe. Each piece is a miracle of light, heat and the skill of master craftsmen, and celebrates a tradition of perfection. You will be introduced to the crafting process through the eyes of the crystal makers, who will share their skills of cutting and engraving.

While browsing through the world’s largest display of Waterford crystal, the friendly and professional staff will be pleased to assist you to purchase gifts from the collection. Also available are the prestigious brands of John Rocha at Waterford Crystal and Marquis of Waterford.

After a memorable visit, join your local guide for a walk through the Viking Quarter of this lovely city. See Reginald’s Tower - an early 11th century fortification erected as part of the Danish defences and Christ Church Cathedral.  Built on a site of Christian worship which dates back to 1050 and probably before, the building is steeped in history. The only neo-classical Georgian Cathedral in Ireland, it is an important part of the Church of Ireland, and is considered to be of enormous architectural importance.  

Stop at a local hostelry, to enjoy the delights of a velvety Irish coffee, before the return drive to your ship.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one hour of walking over varying terrain in Waterford as well as walking and standing during the tour of Waterford Crystal. There are also steps throughout the tour. There is a stair lift at the factory, making the visit suitable for wheelchair users. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.



  • Admire Waterford’s rural landscape
  • Have your cameras to hand to capture the picturesque scenery
  • Experience traditional Irish entertainment at Jack Meades pub


DurationApprox 4 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Enjoy a delightful drive through the countryside, and a refreshment stop in a welcoming Irish pub.

Set off on your tour along County Waterford’s Atlantic coast to Tramore. A seaside resort of Victorian vintage, Tramore - which means ‘large beach’ in Gaelic - boasts delightful terraced houses overlooking a broad bay. It is one of Ireland’s most popular resorts and has flourished since the 1850s, when it became linked with Waterford by rail.

Continuing west, a more rugged coastline develops as your coach follows the cliff through the colourful and very charming villages of Fenor, Annestown and Boatstrand. This area has become known as the ‘Copper Coast’ – since copper mining was once a thriving activity near Bunmahon. Here your route turns towards the Comeragh Mountains – the backbone of Waterford County. The terrain changes to fertile farmland dotted with houses.

In the heart of this rural landscape is a genuine piece of traditional Irish magic, heritage and culture – Jack Meades Pub. It offers the visitor an opportunity to step back in time and experience the pub culture of a traditional rural Ireland. You are invited in for a beverage and to witness some traditional Irish entertainment.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This scenic tour involves little walking and only a few steps to negotiate at the pub, therefore it is considered suitable for most guests, but please note that you must be able to board the coach unaided. One glass of beer, wine or a soft drink is included per person. The tour may operate in a different order to that described.



  • Take in a walking tour of the city of Waterford
  • Learn more about the history of this fascinating city as you wander through the narrow, winding streets
  • Discover the intriguing artefacts housed at the Waterford Treasures Museum


Activity Tour
DurationApprox. 3.5 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Free time includedFree time included

Explore the historic Viking City of Waterford as you explore the area on foot.

The Vikings founded Waterford City some 1,100 years ago, and it had extensive trading links with Viking settlements overseas. Later, in the year 1170, the city was taken by the Normans, who sealed their victory by the marriage of their leader Strongbow to Aoife, daughter of the King of Leinster. You can discover more about the city’s history during your tour.

Leaving the quayside, you will transfer into the city by bus before your walking tour commences. As you stroll along the winding streets, your guide will relay some fascinating facts about the city. See Reginald’s Tower – Waterford’s landmark and Ireland’s oldest civic building. Continue past Christchurch Cathedral, where Strongbow was married to Aoife, and on to Waterford Treasures Museum, which tells the story of the history of the area. During your visit here, you can admire gold, silver, bronze and crystal riches, including the Viking Kite Brooch, which is very much part of the Irish tradition. You can also admire the Penrose Decanter, which dates back to 1790 and is one of the oldest surviving pieces of Waterford Crystal from that time. The original Waterford Glassworks were located in the vicinity of the Granary building.

Following your visit to the museum, you can enjoy some free time to explore the area at leisure, prior to the return journey to your awaiting ship.  


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that this is primarily a walking tour, therefore it is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. There will be approximately one hour and 45 minutes of walking and standing involved, some of which will be over cobbled ground, and some steps to negotiate. For reference, there will be approximately 45 minutes of free time, where the amount of walking involved is at the discretion of the individual. 



  • Explore the medieval city of Kilkenny
  • Step back in time with a visit to the 12th century castle
  • Discover the main sights of the area, including the Cathedral of St Canice


DurationApprox. 7 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

This tour takes you to Kilkenny, the medieval capital of Ireland, seat of the medieval Irish parliaments and a rival in importance to Dublin.

Kilkenny’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. The great building prowess of the Normans is evident in the 11th and 12th century buildings they bestowed upon the city. The medieval city is characterised by many beautifully restored buildings, the most splendid being Kilkenny Castle, stronghold of the Butler family until this century. The castle began life as a Norman fortress and gradually became more domesticated through the centuries. A guided visit here will introduce you to the castle, its splendid antiquities and the stories contained within its historic walls. During your time here, you can also admire the picture gallery, which includes portraits by Van Dyck and Lely.

Continue to the 13th century Cathedral of St Canice, which is the second longest cathedral in Ireland. The area on which the cathedral stands has been a site of Christian worship since the 6th century. During its life, the cathedral has necessitated many restorations; the first by Bishop Ledrede in 1332 after the central tower collapsed from an over application of lead by William Outlaw, as penance for him being accused as an accomplice of Dame Alice Kytler, who was accused of witchcraft. In 1650, Oliver Cromwell did his best to ruin the cathedral by stabling his horses therein, smashing the font and windows, and throwing out monuments and tombs. Over the years, the cathedral has been carefully restored with the dedication of various bishops and the Deans of Ossory.

Next, a traditional Irish lunch will be served in Langton’s Pub. It is one of the city’s most famous hostelries, and has won ‘Pub of the Year’ on many occasions. Feeling refreshed, you can enjoy some free time to visit the 18th century buildings opposite the castle, which have now been converted into an imaginative enterprise called the Kilkenny Design Centre, where local artists produce high-quality crafts. A large retail outlet fronting the street supplies some of the best goods on sale in Ireland, and is an attractive place for you to do some shopping.

Re-board your tour coach for the return journey to Waterford, which will take you through some of Kilkenny and Waterford’s lush green countryside. A photo stop will be made in the quaint little Irish village of Inistioge. This charming village is home to a tree-lined square, and lies in a pretty part of the Nore Valley, where the river winds between wooded banks flanked by hills. Inistioge has been the location of many films, including Widow’s Peak and Circle of Friends.

From here, continue your journey back to your awaiting ship.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which will be over uneven ground, and there are some steps to negotiate. Unfortunately Kilkenny Castle is not suitable for wheelchair users, and it is not possible for guests to remain on the coach at this stop. Lunch includes one glass of wine, beer or soft drink per person. 


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