Waterford City: 65km (40 miles) W of Wexford, 53km (33 miles) W of Rosslare Harbour, 158km (98 miles) SW of Dublin, 126km (78 miles) E of Cork, 153km (95 miles) SE of Shannon Airport
Waterford City (pop. 42,500) is the main seaport of southeast Ireland. Its unprotected proximity at the edge of the ferocious Atlantic Ocean makes it Ireland's Windy City, as the sea breeze always blows here. Its location has a lot to do with the fact that it is the oldest city in the country, founded by Viking invaders in the 9th century. In recent years, a major archaeological endeavor has excavated much of the ancient Viking city, and some of the more striking finds from these excavations can be seen in the city's three viking museums known collectively as the Waterford Treasures.
Although the historic district around Reginald's Tower is intriguing, outside of that Waterford is largely a commercial center, dominated by its busy port. Because the rest of County Waterford is so beautiful, many travelers don't linger long in the capital city.
Coastal highlights south of Waterford include Dunmore East, a picturesque fishing village, and the charmingly old-fashioned Portally Cove, Ireland's only Amish-Mennonite community; Dungarvan, a major town with a fine harbor; Ardmore, an idyllic beach resort; and Passage East, a tiny seaport from which you can catch a ferry across the harbor and cut your driving time from Waterford to Wexford in half. Of all the coastal towns in County Waterford, Ardmore most stands out. It has an ancient monastic site, a pristine Blue Flag beach, a stunning cliff walk, a fine craft shop, an excellent restaurant, and comfortable seaside accommodations.
In northwest County Waterford, the Comeragh Mountains provide many opportunities for beautiful walks, including the short trek to Mahon Falls. These mountains also have highly scenic roads for biking. Farther west, there's great fishing on the Blackwater estuary.