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| Waterford (from the Old Norse: Vešrafjoršr meaning "Ram fjord" or Windy fjord; Irish: Port Lįirge, meaning Hilly Shore) is a city in Ireland. It is the primary city of the South East region, and the fifth largest in the country. Founded in 914 AD, by the Vikings, it is Ireland's oldest city, and its motto Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia ("Waterford remains the untaken city"), that did not capitulate to Cromwell's New Model Army, but surrendered to Henry Ireton on 6 August 1650.
Waterford is the largest city in Ireland to retain its Viking-derived name, Vedrarfjord. Reginald's Tower is the oldest urban civic building in Ireland, and the oldest monument to retain its Viking name. It is to this day Waterford's most recognisable landmark. The tower is believed to be the first building in Ireland to use mortar.
Waterford and the River Suir by nightThe population of the city in 2006 was 49,240; of which 45,775 lived within the city limits, and 3,465 lived in the city's suburbs in County Kilkenny, making it the Irish Republic's fifth largest city.
The River Suir flows through Waterford city and has provided a basis for Waterford's long maritime history. Waterford Port has been one of Ireland's major ports for over a millennium. In the 19th century shipbuilding was a major industry in the city. The owners of the Neptune Shipyard, the Malcomson family, built and operated the largest fleet of iron steamers in the world between the mid-1850s and the late-1860s, including five trans-atlantic passenger liners.
Today, Waterford is synonymous with Waterford Crystal the world over, a legacy of one of the city's most successful and enduring industries, glass making. Glass, or crystal, has been manufactured in the city since 1783. Waterford is the sister city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and Rochester, New York.
Viking raiders first established a settlement at Waterford in 853. Waterford and all the other longphorts were vacated in 902, the Vikings having been driven out by the native Irish. The Vikings re-established themselves in Ireland at Waterford in 914 and built what would be Ireland's first city. A list of the city's rulers from this date to the mayors of the present day can be found in Rulers of Waterford.
In 1137, Diarmuid MacMorrough, King of Leinster, failed in an attempt to take Waterford. He returned in 1170 with Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow); together they besieged and took Waterford after a desperate defence. This was the introduction of the Anglo-Normans into Ireland. In 1171, Henry II of England landed at Waterford. Waterford and then Dublin were declared royal cities, Dublin was declared capital of Ireland.
Throughout the medieval period, Waterford was Ireland's second city after Dublin. In the fifteenth century Waterford repelled two pretenders to the English throne: Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. As a result, King Henry VII gave the city its motto: Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia (Waterford remains the untaken city).
After the Protestant Reformation, Waterford remained a Catholic city and participated in the confederation of Kilkenny - an independent Catholic government from 1642-49. This was ended abruptly by Oliver Cromwell, who brought the country back under English rule; his nephew Henry Ireton finally took Waterford in 1650 after a major siege.
The 18th century was a period of huge prosperity for Waterford. Most of the city's best architecture appeared during this time. In the 19th century, great industries such as glass making and ship building thrived in the city.
The city was represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1891-1918 by John Redmond MP, leader (from January 1900) of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Redmond, then leader of the pro-Parnell faction of the party, defeated David Sheehy in 1891.
In 1911, Br. Jerome Foley, Br. Dunstan Drumm and Br. Leopold Loughran left Waterford for Malvern, Australia. Here, they founded a Catholic college which is still in existence today. In July 1922, Waterford was the scene of fighting between Irish Free State and Irish Republican troops during the Irish Civil War.
The old city of Waterford consists of various cultural quarters. The oldest is what has been referred to as the Viking triangle. This is the part of the city surrounded by the original 10th century fortifications, which is triangular in shape with its apex at Reginald's tower. Though this was once the site of a thriving Viking city, the city centre has shifted to the west over the years, and it is now a quiet and tranquil area, dominated by narrow streets, medieval architecture, and civic spaces. Over the past decade, a number of restaurants have opened in High Street and Henrietta Street, taking advantage of the charming character of the area. Much of Waterford's impressive architecture is to be found in the Viking triangle.
In the 15th century, the city was enlarged with the building of an outer wall on the west side. Today Waterford retains more of its city walls than any other city in Ireland with the exception of Derry, whose walls were built much later. Tours of Waterford's city walls are conducted daily.
The Quay, once termed by historian Mark Girouard 'the noblest quay in Europe', is a mile long from Grattan Quay to Adelphi Quay, though Adelphi Quay is now a residential area. It is still a major focal point for Waterford, commercially and socially, and the face that Waterford presents to those traveling into the city from the north. Near Reginald's Tower is the William Vincent Wallace Plaza, a monument and amenity built around the time of the millennium that commemorates the Waterford born composer.
John Roberts Square is a pedestrianised area that is one of the main focal points of Waterford's modern day commercial centre.
Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Barronstrand Street, WaterfordIt was named after the city's most celebrated architect, John Roberts, and was formed from the junction of Barronstrand Street, Broad Street and George's Street. It is often referred to locally as Red Square, due to the red paving that was used when the area was first pedestrianised. A short distance to the east of John Roberts Square is Arundel Square, another square with a fine commercial tradition, which the City Square shopping centre opens onto.
Ballybricken, in the west, just outside the city walls, is thought to have been Waterford's Irishtown, a type of settlement that often formed outside Irish cities to house the Vikings and Irish that had been expelled during the Norman conquest of Ireland. Ballybricken is an inner city neighbourhood with a long tradition, centred around Ballybricken hill, which was a large, open market-square. Today it has been converted into a green, civic space, but the Bull Post, where livestock was once bought and sold, still stands as a remnant of the hill's past.
The Mall is a fine Georgian thoroughfare, built by the Wide Streets Commission in order to extend the city southwards. It contains some of the city's finest Georgian architecture. The People's Park, Waterford's largest and finest park, is located nearby.
Ferrybank in Co Kilkenny is Waterford city's only suburb north of the river. It contains a village centre of its own. Kilkenny Co Council have granted permission for a number of major retail developments in Ferrybank. One has been completed and the second is currently under construction and due to be completed in January 2009.
In April 2003 an important site combining a 5th century Iron Age and 9th century Viking settlement was discovered at Woodstown near the city, which appears to have been a Viking town that predates all such settlements in Ireland.
Soccer - Waterford United is a team in the FAI First Division. Waterford United's origins are as Waterford Football Club which was formed in 1930 and joined the Football League of Ireland the same year. The Club which changed its name to United in 1982 played its games in the city's greyhound racing stadium at Kilcohan Park. At the end of the 1992/93 season, the Club were granted the use of the Regional Sports Centre, due to the absence of owning their own pitch. The Club has had mixed fortunes through its history, success peaking in a near decade spell of domination of the domestic game between 1965 and 1973 which led to games being played at European level against teams that included Manchester United and Celtic. The club's last trophy win was the FAI First Division in 2003. Since then Waterford United has bounced between the two League of Ireland divisions changing managers frequently.
Successful Waterford born or raised football players include Jim Beglin, John O'Shea and Daryl Murphy. There is a common misconception that Stephen Hunt was born in Waterford but he was actually born in Co Laois. He was however raised from a young age in the Rathgormack area of east Waterford along with his brother Noel Hunt.
GAA - Mount Sion GAA is a local Gaelic Athletic Association club.
Skateboarding - The skate scene in Waterford has grown substantially in the past 15 years. Two skate parks have been built recently, one in Tramore and one in the Peoples Park.
Rowing - Waterford Boat Club is the oldest active sports club in Waterford established in 1878. Located on Scotch Quay the club has had great success in recent years with several national championships and numerous medals in Europe. Several Waterford rowers have been selected to row for Ireland recently.