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Waterford has a good selection of interesting little craft stores, plus three multilevel enclosed shopping centers: George's Court, off Barronstrand Street, Broad Street Centre, on Broad Street, and City Square, off Broad Street. Hours are usually Monday to Saturday from 9 or 9:30am to 6 or 6:30pm. Some shops are open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday.

Waterford Crystal: A New Era Begins

In 2009, the global recession claimed its most famous Irish victim to date when the Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford City closed after more than 2 centuries. It had long been the county's top visitor attraction, and the fourth-most-popular tourist site in the country, so its closure came as a huge blow.

However, as the old saying goes "from the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success," and in 2010 the crystal company found new owners, who promptly began work on a new visitor center.

When we called the closed factory in 2009, a sad-sounding man offered to make us a cup of tea and show us around himself if we cared to drop by. When we checked on them in 2011, the manufacturing facility was churning out 40,000 pieces of crystal a year, and the shiny new visitor center was about to open. The man who answered the phone sounded genuinely happy.

Just for that, we hope you'll stop by.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.