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Waterford Digital Story Trail shortlisted in two categories of .ie Digital Town Awards

A digital story trail featuring augmented reality which offers tourists an engaging way to discover Waterford’s rich and fascinating history via their smartphone has been shortlisted in the Digital Tourism and Digital Changemaker categories of the .ie Digital Town Awards 2024.

The .ie Digital Town Awards recognise and reward projects with a digital element created by town groups, individuals and local communities.

In February of last year, Waterford City and County Council in partnership with Imvizar, and with Fáilte Ireland funding under the Destination Towns Initiative, launched Waterford’s first Digital Story Trail (DST), which explores the history, culture, and heritage of 15 different locations across the city centre, including Reginald’s Tower, Waterford Crystal, the Watchtower and Arundel Square.

Through the use of augmented reality smartphone technology, visitors and locals can experience Waterford’s past by watching digital animations of characters and architecture appear as if they are in the physical world right in front of them. The trail can be accessed for free by scanning one of the numerous QR codes on signs located throughout the city trail or by visiting www.visitwaterford.com/digitalstorytrail/

This innovative experience seamlessly combines audio, augmented reality, and a simple-to-use web interface which allows visitors to interact with Waterford City’s rich past. Using a mobile device, visitors are transported to 15 key locations where they can listen to tales from historical figures and witness AR recreations of pivotal moments.

In addition to meeting life-like characters from Waterford’s past, scanning the QR code also provides an audio tale from an historical figure, coupled with interesting facts and a timeline of events. Spanning over a thousand years of Waterford’s history, tourists can listen as Reginald, a Viking King and warlord from the 10th century, as he describes his quest to launch raids all over Ireland and watch as Thomas Francis Meagher, Leader of the Young Irelanders in the 1848 Rebellion, raises the first Irish tricolour.

Waterford’s history of master craft making is also recognised.  Rachel Penrose, the wife of one of the founders of Waterford Crystal, William Penrose, appears in a recreation of an 18th century glass-blowing scene. Trail users can also meet Anastasia Fleming, a silversmith from the late 1700s, and see a reimagined façade of her silversmith shop.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway commended the initiative saying it truly brings Waterford’s history to life in a fun, engaging and fascinating way.  “With over 1,000 years of history to explore the Digital Story Trail takes the user on an intriguing journey, in which they can meet the characters that shaped Ireland’s Oldest City.”

Orna Holohan, Tourism Officer with Waterford City and County Council said, “The Waterford Digital Story Trail was identified as an ideal way to introduce visitors to the varied stories and characters of Waterford. It provides visitors with free entertainment at any time of the day, taking about one and a half hours to complete.  Users can stop and start at any point, and it purposefully leads people past attractions, shops and café’s to encourage people to dwell longer in the destination.”

The DST has exceeded expectations attracting over 25,000 visitors and boosting the city’s tourism, particularly from international guests. In its first year 75% of users were from Ireland but through promotion international users increased to 43% in 2023 with US, UK, Germany, France and Spain being the top users. Beyond enhancing tourism, the trail has deepened the community’s connection to its heritage, making history more accessible and engaging through innovative technology.

The project’s success has not gone unnoticed. It was featured in the New York Times “52 places to go” list in 2024 and praised on RTE’s Nationwide for its exemplary approach to digital heritage storytelling.

This year’s shortlisted finalists cover the full spectrum of idea development and readiness, with the gala awards ceremony taking place in Athlone on May 24th.

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Image – Free to use Patrick Browne

Anastasia Fleming, an 18th Century silversmith, and Odin Lord of Valhalla with then Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary the launch of the Waterford Digital Story Trail in February 2023.

Tramore Public Realm Architects shortlisted for National Architectural Award

Tramore Public Realm

Waterford based dhbArchitects have once again been shortlisted in a national competition for their town centre project in Tramore. The competition is ‘Building and Architect of the Year’, with the winner announced at an awards ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on April 12th.

Máire Henry, Director of dhbArchitects, said, “I see this as a joint award for ourselves, our extended design team, our client Waterford City and County Council, our contractor, and the very supportive Tramore Town Centre Management group. We all worked together to deliver a much-needed public outdoor space in the old centre of Tramore town.”

Following investment of €5.1m from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF), Waterford City and County Council, and Uisce Éireann, the project has transformed the heart of Tramore Town into a vibrant, connected outdoor pedestrianised space, where people can once again stroll, meet, sit, converse and connect, overlooking Tramore Bay.

The design places a strong emphasis on pedestrians over cars, resulting in increased walking among both locals and visitors. This has led to numerous positive outcomes, includ­ing improved physical health, a cleaner environment and a more robust local economy.

The addition of custom Irish limestone seating acts as an outdoor amphitheatre, attracting children who engage with the space while their parents queue and chat at the popular bakery and coffee shops that now line the area.

The seating also provides a resting spot for those who may find the steep topography challenging. Furthermore, this space serves as a pop-up performance area, hosting local parades and festi­vals.

Morris Conway, Acting Senior Architect with Waterford City and County Council said, “This project has created a vibrant town centre, with its bright and open reclaimed pedestrian area. The stepped seating and cascading paving are as practical as they are eye-catching, creating an impressive focal point, attracting visitors and increasing dwell time of those who visit the area.”

The Tramore Public Realm project was awarded a Commendation at the annual Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) awards in 2023.

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Expat Taxes wins Waterford National Enterprise Award

National Enterprise Award Winner_Waterford 2024

Expat Taxes Ltd., a Waterford company specialising in tax for expatriates has been named as Waterford’s Enterprise Award winner and will go on to represent Waterford at the 24th National Enterprise Awards which will take place in the Mansion House, Dublin, on Thursday May 23rd 2024.

The announcement was made as part of the Local Enterprise Office’s Local Enterprise Week at the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday March 8th.

Expat Taxes Ltd. is a boutique Irish tax practice that simplifies taxes for people moving to or from Ireland. As Chartered Tax Advisers and Chartered Accountants with over 15 years’ experience they are experts in expatriate tax. It offers tax advisory and tax compliance services. Its aim is to make taxes less stressful and to help its clients navigate the complex work of international tax.

The aim of the National Enterprise Awards is to spotlight, showcase, encourage and support a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship in our communities in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship and to celebrate the achievement of the core client portfolio of the LEOs.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway who presented the award was impressed with the winner, saying, “Expat Taxes represents the new outward looking Waterford. As our city and county continues to grow, progress and attract investment, companies such Expat provide a valuable and seamless service to those thinking of locating to Waterford and Ireland.

“I’d like to wish Stephanie and her team the best of luck as they go on to represent Waterford at the National Enterprise Finals.”

Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford, congratulated the winners, “The National Enterprise Awards are very much a benchmark for excellence for small businesses across the country.  Expat Taxes has demonstrated its calibre, innovation and resourcefulness and is a very deserving winner of the Waterford award. To be so successful after just a few shorts years in business is a real achievement and I’m sure they will go on to represent us well on the national stage.”

Stephanie Wickham, owner, was obviously delighted to win the award, “After winning the Waterford Digital Award last year we know how important they can be for our profile. We’re really looking forward to representing Waterford on the national stage in May and would like to thank the team at the LEO for all their help over the years.”

The other four finalists in the Waterford NEAs were:

  • Euro Tachograph Solutions Ltd
  • CMC Hygea Ltd
  • Reso Health Ltd
  • Uoto Ltd

The Waterford Enterprise Awards took place as part of a very successful Local Enterprise Week programme of events.  There were over 300 events which took place across the country, run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices from March 4th to 8th.

Joint National Housing Conference opened in Waterford

The Joint National Housing Conference, in association with the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) and Waterford City and County Council’s (WCCC) Housing Department opened in Waterford this week.

The national housing conference was first held in 1969 and every year since has explored the challenges, opportunities and innovations in housing design and delivery.

The theme for the two day conference was Diversifying and Expanding our Housing Delivery, with particular focus on emerging trends in planning, urbanism and architecture.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway welcomed attendees to the Tower Hotel, Waterford saying, “I am delighted to welcome our esteemed speakers and guests to Waterford, Ireland’s Oldest City, for this two day event, who will no doubt inform, challenge and educate us all.

“This conference brings together planners, architects, academics, those in the construction industry and local authority housing teams who, day-in day-out, strive to create and shape sustainable, scalable communities, tackle dereliction and vacancy, and reinvigorate our villages, towns and cities.”

As a joint venture between the RIAI, WCCC and DHLGH, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “Over the years this conference has provided a strong networking and learning opportunity for architects, planners, and developers in the private sector to discuss emerging trends in the provision of both Social, Affordable and Private housing.

“It represents a valuable opportunity for them to meet with their professional counterparts and with housing practitioners in Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, as well as with the professional advisors and colleagues from my own department. The success of Housing for All is dependent on us all – public and private sector – working together, and events like this are key to that collaboration.”

Speaking at the conference RIAI President Sean Mahon said, “This conference offers a unique opportunity for the built environment professionals in the public and private sectors to come together to discuss and develop innovative ideas for housing delivery. Housing is critical infrastructure required to sustain human well-being. Architects have a leadership role in driving innovation in housing design solutions the conference is an excellent opportunity to hear about new models and solutions that exist for housing delivery, but also to discuss the challenges impeding progress.”

The conference which was attended by architects and planners from across Ireland, the UK and Europe, addressed topics such as master planning, modern methods of construction, placemaking, repurposing buildings and policy context through a series of panel discussions.

Paul Johnston, Acting Director of Services for Planning at Waterford City and County Council spoke about how Waterford is tackling vacancy and is recognised as a national leader for its proactive efforts to bring urban vacant residential properties back into use.  Under Rebuilding Ireland and Housing for All, the local authority is on track to bring over 700 previously vacated dwellings back into use.

Acting Senior Architects with Waterford City and County Council, Walter Holden and Morris Conway took part in a panel discussion on Town Centre First, a government initiative that aims to create town centres as vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work, and visit, while also functioning as the social, cultural and recreational hub for local communities. The public realm improvements, varied cultural offerings, and return to use of vacant properties have combined to bring a unique sense of life to the city centre, and this was acknowledged in the Irish Times Best Place to Live Award, recently bestowed to Waterford.

Former Senior Architect with Waterford City and County Council, Rupert Maddock spoke about ‘Learning from Waterford.’  Rupert was recently awarded the RIAI Gandon Medal for his contribution to the advancement of architecture. Transformational public realm projects, spearheaded by Rupert include the Millennium Project, which entailed the design of the William Vincent Wallace Plaza, and the design of John Roberts Square, creating a pedestrianised, decluttered and multi-purpose destination public realm space.

In addition to projects such as the redesign, development and conservation of the People’s Park, the Clock Tower, the Franciscan Friary and Mount Congreve, Rupert’s passion and undoubted forte is the preservation of Waterford’s rich history and heritage.

Under his tenure, Waterford has cultivated an enviable portfolio of museums, under the Waterford Treasures collective, which includes the Medieval Museum, The Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Museum of Time, the Irish Silver Museum and the latest addition, The Irish Wake Museum.

The conference valedictory topic was ‘Towards the Ideal Town in Ireland’ delivered by Professor Daniel Miller, a professor of anthropology at University College London and a visiting professor at UCD.

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Images attached: Noel Browne

2:        Paul Johnston, WCCC Acting Director of Services for Planning, Rupert Maddock, former WCCC Senior Architect, WCCC Acting Senior Architects Walter Holden and Morris Conway

15:      Former Senior Architect with WCCC Rupert Maddock spoke about ‘Learning from Waterford.’

5:        Paul Johnston, WCCC Acting Director of Services for Planning, Gary Falconer and Patricio Harte of CJ Falconer and Associates.

12:      Paul Johnston, WCCC Acting Director of Services for Planning and Noelle Sweeney Housing Agency

Image attached: John Power

DHLGH_RIAI:  Áine Stapleton, Assistant Secretary DHLGH; Graham Doyle, Secretary General at Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Sean Mahon, RIAI President ; Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway and Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO.

Waterford ArtLinks Bursaries awarded

ArtLinks LogoThe ArtLinks partnership of local authorities Arts Offices in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford is pleased to announce that it has awarded over €100,000 to artists in the South East across a broad range of artforms including music, visual arts, literature, theatre, dance, film , traditional arts, opera, circus, street arts and spectacle.

These bursaries for emerging and professional artists are supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and they provide professional development opportunities and supports for artists who are resident in these four counties.

The Arts Offices would like to thank everyone who applied and look forward to the successful recipients undertaking their projects, mentoring, courses and workshops in the coming months.

The Waterford recipients were Louise Bradley, Clashmore/Theatre. Cailean Finn, Dunhill/Visual Arts. Rayleen Clancy, An Rinn/Visual Arts. George Higgs, Villierstown/Music. Ben Hennessy, Annestown/Theatre & Visual Arts. Holly Pickering, Dunhill/Visual Arts. Mae Leahy, Ferrybank/Theatre. Dylan Kennedy, Lismore/Theatre. Julie Cusack, Waterford city/Visual Arts. Sarah Grimes, Waterford city/Music. Róisín Power Hackett, Kill/Literature. Jenny Fennessy, Lismore/Theatre. Rachel Roberts, Waterford city/Visual Arts.

Artists who are resident within the four partner Local Authorities can register for membership free of charge by contacting artlinks.ie@gmail.com for a registration form.

For all ArtLinks enquiries please contact artlinks.ie@gmail.com

Follow @Artlinks.ie on Facebook and Instagram for more information and updates.

Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens picks up prestigious Building and Design Award

On Friday, March 8th Mount Congreve Gardens was recognised as winner at the Irish Building and Design Awards (IBDA) in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Project of the year category.

The awards ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge was a celebration of the best of Irish building and design around the world, recognising best in class, both nationally and internationally.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway attended the awards and said, “This is yet more wonderful recognition for the work and vision of Waterford City and County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Mount Congreve Trust, for reinvigorating and breathing life back into ‘one of the great gardens of the world’.

“The gardens, which reopened to the public just over a year ago, have exponentially benefitted the local community and Waterford as a whole.  Visitor numbers have been exceeded in the first year alone, and Waterford Greenway and Waterford Suir Valley Railway, both of which border Mount Congreve Estate have undoubtedly experienced an uplift in visitor numbers too.”

Mount Congreve Gardens was officially opened by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin in March 2023, following a €7.2 million capital investment from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

Mount Congreve Gardens is currently enjoying considerable national and international attention since the newly refurbished house and gardens opened last year.

It clinched the top title in the Supporting Tourism category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards, the prestigious international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller made specific reference to Mount Congreve Gardens in their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing, while the New York Times, when including Waterford as the only Irish destination in its ‘52 Places to go in 2024’ list cited the gardens as the place to ‘top off your Greenway adventure’.

Ray Sinnott, Estate Manager with Mount Congreve Gardens was delighted to receive the award along with the Mayor of Waterford City and County and Paul Flynn, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council, saying, “We are truly delighted to receive this IBDA accolade.  The work to bring the estate to such a high international standard has taken many years of commitment, resolve and dedication.  To be recognised by peers makes it even more special for everyone involved.”

The award recognised the transformation of the Mount Congreve Gardens which underwent an extensive renovation which included a carefully designed and constructed retail, café and visitor centre incorporated into the existing courtyard. In addition, improvements to the gardens, its paths and boundaries were carried out to include improved wayfinding, refurbishment of the various garden ‘Follies’ and an audio-visual presentation giving the historic narrative of the house, gardens and owner.

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Paul Flynn Waterford City and County Council, Peter Bluett of Bluett & O’Donoghue Archtitects, Ray Sinnott Mount Congreve, Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway, Robert Fox of Frank Fox & Associates, Shane McCullough of McCullough Lupton Quinn and Sandra Conway.

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Maebh Dimond from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge wins Best Student Enterprise in Waterford and qualifies for the National Student Enterprise Finals.

Stiúideo Shortcourse, winner of the Senior award, created, produced and sold local greeting cards providing creative new designs in Irish with recycled materials and crisp card designs for special occasions. Stiúideo Shortcourse’s key focal point is promoting the Irish language through sustainable sources. Maebh, from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge took part in the Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Awards on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City.

The Waterford Student Enterprise Programme started in September with 1,000 students from 14 schools in Waterford City and County. They created their businesses, developed, branded, promoted and sold. But most importantly they learned what it felt like to run their own business.

Finally, 100 students represented 11 schools in Waterford County and competed in the Waterford Student Enterprise Final on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City. 36 businesses in total, shortlisted from a total of 350 who commenced the competition in September, presented their business plans and challenged for the top prize in the county section of the Student Enterprise Programme. Stiúideo Shortcourse will represent Waterford at the National Finals on May 9th, taking on 34 other businesses, the best of the rest of the country.

Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, the final took place during Local Enterprise Week. The competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country. 27,000 budding entrepreneurs from 380 secondary schools across the country have been running their own enterprises, with help from their teachers and Local Enterprise Offices.

National finalists from all over the country will set-up enterprise exhibition displays before taking part in a series of judging interviews.  The judging panels take numerous factors into account, such as business reporting, innovation, market research, risk management and finances.

Praising the teachers and local schools involved in the programme, Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, said: “The Student Enterprise Programme encourages and enables students to take on the world of business and develop an entrepreneurial mind-set. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Offices are working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Further information about May’s National Finals is available through www.studententerprise.ie, which also has free resources and video tutorials for students and teachers for the 2023/2024 programme.

For more information, please contact your Local Enterprise Office at 35 the Mall in Waterford City or Civic Offices in Dungarvan. Alternatively, you can email info@leo.waterfordcouncil.ie .

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Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens shortlisted for prestigious Building and Design Award

 

In what has been a phenomenal start to 2024, Mount Congreve Gardens has been shortlisted for the Irish Building and Design Awards (IBDA).  The awards celebrate the best of Irish building and design around the world and are recognised as best in class, both nationally and internationally. Judged by peer industry associations and groups, the IBDAs recognise excellence in build, design, people, and creativity.

Mount Congreve Gardens is shortlisted in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Project of the year category, along with the National Surf Centre of Excellence, Achill Island Greenway, The Exchange, the Royal Dublin Convention Centre and the Premier Inn Hotel.

Mount Congreve Gardens has garnered much national and international attention since the newly refurbished house and gardens opened to the public last year.

It clinched the top title in the Supporting Tourism category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards, the prestigious international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller made specific reference to Mount Congreve Gardens in their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing, while the New York Times, when including Waterford as the only Irish destination in its ‘52 Places to go in 2024’ list said, “Top off your Greenway adventure with afternoon tea amid one of Ireland’s largest collections of plants at Mount Congreve Gardens, which reopened in 2023 after a multimillion-dollar refurbishment.”

Mount Congreve Gardens was officially opened to the public for the first time by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin in March 2023, following a €7.2 million capital investment from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

Mount Congreve Gardens have long been recognised as ‘One of the Great Gardens of the World’, with its extensive collections and displays of exotic plants from all over the globe.

Following the death of the garden’s creator Mr. Ambrose Congreve in 2011 and transfer of the estate and gardens to a trust consisting of Mount Congreve Estate and Waterford City and County Council, an investment plan was developed with the aim of ‘reinvigorating’ them to increase visitor numbers and to ensure that the gardens retain their worldwide reputation and fame for future generations.

Paul Flynn, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council explained, “A carefully designed and constructed retail, café and visitor centre have been sympathetically incorporated into an existing courtyard. In parallel, improvements to the gardens, its paths and boundaries were carried out including improved wayfinding, refurbishment of the various garden ‘Follies’ and an audio-visual presentation giving the historic narrative of the house, gardens and owner.”

Paul added, “The program of investment has met and exceeded its economic and visitor number targets.  The broader rural economy is also benefiting. The gardens have added to the synergies of two of Waterford’s other major attractions, Waterford Greenway and the Waterford Suir Valley Railway, which border Mount Congreve Estate.”

Sara Dolan, Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Trust said, “We are delighted to have made the shortlist for such an influential design award.  The response to the reinvigorated Mount Congreve Gardens has been phenomenal, not just in terms of national and international recognition, but the feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The fact that locals, visitors and tourists can now experience for themselves the wonder of Ambrose Congreve’s legacy in such urbane surroundings is to be welcomed.”

The IBDA awards ceremony will take place in Ballsbridge in Dublin on March 8th.

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Waterford once again ranked as Ireland’s Cleanest City

Once again Waterford has emerged as Ireland’s Cleanest City in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League.  The city ranked 13th out of 40 cities and towns and was classed as Clean to European norms.

 

Waterford City continues to score very well in the IBAL litter league, and this was very much helped along by seventeen out of the twenty-four sites surveyed getting the top litter grade and there no litter blackspots.

 

The report also cited, ‘It’s not just the litter situation which sets Waterford City and other high-ranking towns / cities apart but the overall presentation and maintenance of the sites e.g. The People’s Park has typically been top ranking and yet there were continued works within to improve it.

 

‘The Riverwalk along the Quays and Merchant’s Quay Car Park have both been recently improved and enhanced.’

 

Some of the sites that were awarded Grade A include Lady Lane, John Robert’s Square (Barronstrand St./Broad Street), Waterford Greenway at Bilberry, the People’s Park, the Mall, the Medieval Quarter and SETU.

 

Ballybeg has again scored very well and was also classed as Clean to European norms, with six out of the ten sites getting the top litter grade, three just missing it, and only one seriously littered site.

 

Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer with Waterford City and County Council welcomed the IBAL league results, saying “Waterford is once again the cleanest city in Ireland, and that is testament to the work of the local authority, volunteer clean-up groups and the local communities.

 

“This collaborative approach by the Council with voluntary committees, schools and local business groups is working in keeping Waterford a clean, attractive place to live, work and invest in.

 

“There remains however, some privately owned sites than need to be addressed, as littering and discarded rubbish was noted in some areas. If every business got behind the movement and ensured their premises and grounds were maintained to a high standard, there is no reason for Waterford not to attain Cleaner than European norms classification in the next survey.”

 

Ella added, “Waterford City and County Council will continue to introduce new environmental awareness initiatives in addition to those that have generated a seismic shift in how we discard our rubbish, such as Cigarette Butt Ballot bins, Bring Banks Sensor Bins, the Schools Litter Challenge and the Bag It Bin It campaigns.”

 

Details of the most recent Irish Business against Litter Survey can be found at https://ibal.ie/anti-litter-league/

 

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Images attached:

Area surveyed from Reginald’s Tower to the Irish Silver Museum, Irish Wake Museum, Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Place and Christ Church Cathedral awarded Grade A as ‘an exceptionally well presented and maintained environment which is clearly very well respected.  It was spotless throughout.’

 

About IBAL:

Set up in 1996, Irish Business Against Litter is an alliance of companies sharing a belief that continued economic prosperity – notably in the areas of tourism, food and direct foreign investment – is contingent on a clean, litter-free environment.  As part of the IBAL Anti-Litter League, An Taisce monitors towns independently and in accordance with international grading standards.

Waterford officially recognised as European City of Christmas 2024 at ceremony in Madrid

At a ceremony at Torrejón de Ardoz in Madrid on January 3rd, 2024, Waterford was officially recognised as the European City of Christmas 2024 by the International Jury of the European Capital of Christmas.

Waterford was proudly represented by Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway, along with his wife Sandra, Finn Brophy, Executive Technician with Waterford City and County Council’s Economic Development Department, and members of Winterval Organising Committee, Trevor Darmody, John Grubb, and Tina Darrer.

In December last year, the International Jury of the European Capital and City of Christmas 2024 competition unanimously voted to award the European City of Christmas 2024 title to Waterford City.

The International Jury, chaired by Prof. Dr. Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Parliament, was impressed with Waterford City and County Council’s submission, citing, ‘The City of Waterford is an extraordinary jewel of Christmas harmony and aesthetics and represents values such as solidarity, which lies with the local communities as well as a strong commitment to its heritage as a hallmark of identity, material and above all immaterial and culture.

On accepting the award on behalf of the people of Waterford, Mayor Conway greeted the judging panel and attendees in Spanish and said, “On behalf of the people of Waterford, I want to say how happy we are to be here in Madrid to receive our recognition as the European City of Christmas 2024.”

He added, “I want to endorse the splendid work done by Waterford City and County Council for their continued faith and support of Winterval Waterford…to our management team, and in particular Finn Brophy, Trevor Darmody, John Grubb, and Tina Darrer from Waterford’s vibrant commercial and hospitality sectors, for their inspiring and diligent work for our lovely city in Ireland’s southeast.

“I wish also, of course, to record our thanks to all involved in the judging of the event and express special thanks to Alberto Gutiérrez Alberca, president of the Christmas Cities Network, who led the creation of the Award in 2017 and the people of Torrejón de Ardoz for their tremendous hospitality.”

Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas Festival, was created by Waterford City and County Council in partnership with local stakeholders in 2012 and is regarded as the country’s premier Christmas festival.  The festival concluded on December 23rd, having run for six weeks and enjoyed a ‘record-breaking’ year with 700,000 people enjoying an abundance of Christmas magic and festive family favourites in Ireland’s Best Place to Live.

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council congratulated the team involved in securing the title of European City of Christmas, saying, “Winterval is synonymous with Christmas in Waterford and Ireland, and now has rightfully been acknowledged as being on a par with European cities of Christmas such as Genoa, San Sebastián, Liège and Valkenburg.

“The input from the Local Authority, the organising committee, stakeholders and the local business community has been exceptional and steadfast, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment and hard work in bringing this prestigious title to Waterford.”

Waterford, now part of the European Christmas City Network, will be assisted in forging alliances with Christmas cities within the network and working with European Christmas cities to share knowledge, experience, and creative ideas.

The European Christmas City Network, which is supported by the European Parliament, was founded to promote the values of European culture diversity, and especially the different and varied Christmas traditions throughout Europe that have transcended in the world.

In addition to Waterford been recognised as the European City of Christmas 2024, Brno in the Czech Republic was recognised as European Christmas Capital, while special mention was given to the small municipality of Almanza in Spain with less than 600 inhabitants.

The International Jury of the European Capital and City of Christmas will visit Waterford in 2024 and plans are already underway to create a festive spectacular befitting of the European City of Christmas title.

For further information about the European Capital and City of Christmas visit www.europeancapitalofchristmas.org

Image attached :

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Miguel López-Valverde Argüeso, Minister of Digitalization of the Community of Madrid, John Grubb (Every Event Ltd), Festival Director of Winterval, Trevor Darmody (WAMA Ltd) Festival Director of Winterval, Finn Brophy, Waterford City and County Council and Event Controller of Winterval, Mayor of Torrejón de Ardoz, Alejandro Navarro Prieto; Danuta Hübner, President of the International Jury, former European Commissioner for Regional Policy and Trade, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland and MEP; Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway and Tina Darrer (Dooleys Hotel) Member of the Winterval Committee.

Big plans for Waterford designers at Showcase 2024

Waterford’s craft and design industry will have strong representation at this year’s Showcase Creative Expo, which takes place from January 21st to 23rd 2024 in The RDS in Dublin.

Running for over forty years, Showcase has an impressive track record in attracting Ireland’s most talented makers and designers, along with buyers from over twenty countries. It offers the chance to explore the best of Ireland’s creativity from over 450 exhibitors including leading Irish designers and manufacturers and the very best emerging home-grown creative talent.

Four craft and design companies will be showcasing the very best of Waterford creativity, design and innovation, with the assistance of Local Enterprise Office Waterford.

 

Fiona Fahy, Feed Me Mother

Feed Me Mother is Ireland’s first sustainable breastfeeding and maternity clothes brand. It’s dedicated to empowering breastfeeding mothers to look and feel stylish and comfortable. The idea came to its founder Fiona after the birth of her first child in 2017, “Sustainable clothing that supports mothers in their postpartum journey is very important to me. I wanted a breastfeeding wardrobe that reflected my own style and personality, that was comfortable but gave me the confidence to feed freely, anywhere I wanted. And I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way.”

 

Lynn Shead, Natures Alchemy

Natures Alchemy offers natural skincare products with a herbal medicine twist. All products are infused with organic herbs and flowers to add extra layers of healing and protection to your skincare routine. Founder Lynn is looking forward to the opportunity Showcase provides, “I’m very excited to attend Showcase in January for the first time with Waterford Local Enterprise office. Really looking forward to seeing all the other amazing Irish businesses on show, meeting small business friends in person there as well as finding new stockists that will bring Natures Alchemy to new parts of the country.”

 

Kayleigh Sutton, Phat Poly

Kayleigh is a self-taught Maximalist Jewellery Designer, creating handcrafted colourful and fun jewellery in her home studio, which is located in Tramore in Co. Waterford. Phat Poly, creates eye-catching and kitsch earrings that were lightweight and guaranteed not to cause skin irritations. Commenting on her business, “What I love about how I run my business is how often I get to play with ideas and create new designs. Unlike mainstream jewellery brands, you can find new Phat Poly designs most months! This keeps things fresh and exciting for me and my customers.”

 

Kim Whyte, Pawpear

Pawpear exists to connect people through the slow art of the handwritten message. Its exquisitely colourful stationery is designed and made in Ireland, and inspired by its richness of culture, nature and heritage. Founder Kim plans to make the most of Showcase, “As a new brand it’s hugely important to have face-to-face discussions with customers, build relationships and get feedback on our product, pricing and packaging.  Showcase Ireland will hopefully help me meet lots of interesting retailers face-to-face rather than by email or over the phone.”

 

Working in partnership with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) around the country set up a dedicated area within Showcase every year – the Local Enterprise Showcase – enabling up to 100 designers, manufacturers and craftspeople to sell directly to international buyers.

Jamie Whitty, Business Advisor at LEO Waterford said that Showcase is an invaluable stepping stone to any craft-maker or designer getting an audience with potential clients.  “With buyers from Ireland, Europe, the USA and Asia, Showcase is truly established as the must-see trade event.  For anyone in the fashion, jewellery, home or giftware business the event offers exposure to new international markets.

“Not only is their place subsidised by the LEO, in advance of the expo the businesses will avail of training and briefing days in order to help them perfect their pitch and give them the tools, advice and insights to take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”

If your business is in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available from LEO Waterford visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/ or call to LEO Waterford offices at 35, The Mall, Waterford or the Civic Offices in Dungarvan.

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Photo:  Karen Dempsey Photography

Fiona Fahy of Feed Me Mother, Lynn Shead of Natures Alchemy, Jamie Whitty LEO Business Advisor, Kim Whyte of Pawpear and Cayleigh Sutton of Phat Poly. 

Waterford selected as European City of Christmas 2024

The International Jury of the European Capital and City of Christmas 2024 competition has unanimously voted to award the European City of Christmas 2024 title to Waterford City.

The International Jury, chaired by Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Parliament, and comprised of Mr Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Mr Francisco Fonseca Murillo, Ms Marisol Garmendia, Ms Ainhoa García Jabonero, Mr Massimo Ruggero, Ms Mercedes Guillamón, assisted by the president of Christmas Cities Network, Alberto Gutiérrez Alberca, congratulated the city for “the high level of the projects presented, their proposals and the commitment of these cities to the European values of Christmas.”

 

The judging panel was impressed with Waterford City and County Council’s submission, citing, ‘The City of Waterford is an extraordinary jewel of Christmas harmony and aesthetics and represents values such as solidarity, which lies with the local communities as well as a strong commitment to its heritage as a hallmark of identity, material and above all immaterial and culture.’

 

It continued, ‘Waterford represents the ultimate expression of creative culture thanks to the great work done with its illuminations and markets.  Just as the streets become the perfect setting when associations, tourists and neighbours come together in a Christmas experience with its own identity.’

 

Winterval, Ireland’s biggest and best-loved Christmas festival will form the basis for Waterford as the European City of Christmas 2024.

As Ireland’s First dedicated Christmas festival, created by Waterford City and County Council in partnership with local stakeholders in 2012, year after year the festival has attracted on average 500,000 visitors throughout its six-week calendar.

 

As a festival for everyone of all ages and interests, Winterval 2024 promises to be the biggest Festival hosted in Waterford, with over 700,000 visitors anticipated to the festival, which will showcase the true meaning of an Irish Christmas, focusing on family and togetherness, communities and connectedness through arts, culture, food and entertainment.

 

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Conway was delighted with such a prestigious accolade for Waterford, saying, “When it comes to Christmas celebrations, Waterford City and County Council has a track record to be proud of.  Since its inception in 2012, Winterval has grown to become Irelands favourite Christmas Festival, with an abundance of Christmas magic, festive family favourites and seasonal surprises.

 

Its success stems from several factors which include local authority funding and commitment, strong stakeholder engagement and a festival team that has a flair for bringing the most festive, wonder-filled and engaging events to the streets of Waterford.

 

Being recognised and awarded such a prestigious title as the European City of Christmas is a wonderful testament to Waterford of Christmases past and how Waterford is best in class when it comes to embracing the magic of Christmas.”

 

The directors of the Winterval Festival, John Grubb and Trevor Darmody are thrilled with the win. We are delighted to see Waterford awarded the European City of Christmas 2024. The business community, the Winterval festival team and the festivals volunteers backed by Waterford City and County Council work incredibly hard to deliver a magical Winter wonderland in the city each year, so, it is a real honour and testament to see this accolade come to Waterford and indeed Ireland for the first time for 2024. This award also means that the 2024 festival will be even extra special next year and planning for that is already underway!”

 

In addition to this award, Brno (Czech Republic) has been awarded the European Christmas Capital title, while special mention was given to the small municipality of Almaza (Spain) with less than 600 inhabitants.

 

The International Jury of the European Capital and City will officially present Waterford with the award and title at an awards ceremony in Madrid in early January 2024.

 

For further information about the European Capital and City of Christmas visit www.europeancapitalofchristmas.org

 

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Waterford Schools Clean Up for Litter Challenge

 

Eleven Waterford secondary schools were represented at a reception in City Hall earlier this week, in recognition of their dedication to keeping their local areas litter-free.

The Waterford Schools Litter Challenge, sponsored by Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen, in association with Waterford City and County Council and Waterford Chamber saw secondary schools from across the city and county partake in the challenge.

St Augustine’s College Dungarvan emerged as the overall winner of the Schools Litter Challenge, and received €1,500 prize money, sponsored by Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen.

The competition, which was launched in October by Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway encouraged secondary schools to keep a designated local area litter free.  The students then carried out regular litter picking, identifying black spots for litter in their area, learning about the sources of litter, and about the benefits of using reusable items instead of single use items.

Prior to the awarding of certificates to the participating schools, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway said, “The Waterford Schools Litter Challenge has now ended for another year, but I sincerely hope that its influence has not.

“Seeing you all out in our communities in your high-visibility vests with your litter pickers and black bags in hand, taking responsibility for cleaning up the mess that others have made, will hopefully have made others more conscious of the impact of dropping litter.

“Your local communities are much nicer places to spend time in as a result of your hard work, not to mention safer places for both people and wildlife.”

The mayor added, “Initiatives like these couldn’t take place without the support of great local businesses.  I’d like to thank Tom and the team at Tom Murphy Car Sales Volkswagen for sponsoring this wonderful event and for taking the time to be with us here with us today.”

Tom Murphy, sponsor of the competition prize money for the third year, echoed the mayor’s sentiments, “We are once again delighted to be involved in this initiative.  All of the schools approached the challenge with enthusiasm, willingness and good humour!

“The fruits of their labour have not gone unnoticed, with a very apparent decrease in litter and debris in the designated areas.  We were also delighted to receive many reports of how impressed the local communities were when they saw the students out litter picking.”

Waterford City and County Council provided bags, gloves, litter pickers and high visibility vests to all schools and Tom Murphy Volkswagen sponsored the €1,500 prize for the winning school. 

The secondary schools from across County Waterford that entered the competition were Blackwater Community School, St Augustine’s College (Overall winner), Ardscoil na nDeise, Meanscoil San Nioclás, Mount Sion CBS Secondary School, Waterpark College, Ursuline Secondary School, Dungarvan CBS, St Declan’s Community College, De La Salle College, Abbey Community College and St. Paul’s Community College.

Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer with Waterford City and County Council commented, “This challenge seems to be going from strength to strength.  Not only does it serve to make young people more cognisant of the detrimental effects of litter, but it also encourages them to act.  These schools’ commitment to cleaner, greener localities and communities has a ripple effect as it make us all want to take action to keep our neighbourhoods litter free.”

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Free to use images: Noel Browne

1:         Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway and Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales, presenting cheque to the winning school, St. Augustine’s College pupils Aoibhe O’Connor, Katie Power and Olivia Tumu and teacher Eamonn Cashin.

2/3:      Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer WCCC, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway and Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales, and winning school, St. Augustine’s College pupils Aoibhe O’ Connor, Katie Power and Olivia Tumu with teacher        Eamonn Cashin.

4:         Pupils from  Abbey Community College

5:         Pupils and teachers from De La Salle College

6.         Pupils from St. Paul’s Community College

7.         Pupils from Blackwater Community School.

RIAI recognises Rupert Maddock for contribution to architecture

The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has awarded the RIAI Gandon Medal to Rupert Maddock, BArch, MLA, FRIAI, for his contribution to the advancement of architecture.

The Gandon Medal is a lifetime achievement award that recognises a sustained output of quality of work over many years, and was presented by RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan MRIAI at a special reception at RIAI HQ in Merrion Square, Dublin on Thursday, November 30th, saying, “I am delighted to be awarding Rupert Maddock the RIAI Gandon Medal in recognition of his exceptional achievement in public practice, and the role he played in revitalising Waterford city, towns, and villages in the county.”

Rupert has enjoyed a long and rewarding career in architecture, having recently retired as City and County Architect with Waterford City and County Council.

A graduate of UCD and University of Pennsylvania, Rupert’s career has spanned over 40 years.  He joined the then Waterford Corporation in 1997.

Leading the Projects Team within the Economic Development and Planning Departments, the team has provided award-winning in-house architectural services to the Local Authority.

Transformational public realm projects, spearheaded by Rupert include the Millennium Project, which entailed the design of the William Vincent Plaza, and the design of John Roberts Square, creating a pedestrianised, decluttered and multi-purpose destination public realm space.

In addition to projects such as the redesign, development and conservation of the People’s Park, the Clock Tower, the Franciscan Friary and Mount Congreve, Rupert’s passion and undoubted forte is the preservation of Waterford’s rich history and heritage.

Under his tenure, Waterford has cultivated an enviable portfolio of museums, under the Waterford Treasures collective, which includes the Medieval Museum, The Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Museum of Time, the Irish Silver Museum and the latest addition, The Irish Wake Museum.

The Medieval Museum has received prestigious national and international accolades including the RIAI Irish Architecture Award for Best Public Building, the International UK Civic Trust Award and the EU prize for Contemporary Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award.

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council, paid tribute to Rupert on his achievement.  “For Rupert to be recognised by his peers for his contribution to architecture is only fitting.  Rupert’s dedication, vision and design ability have helped to transform Waterford to a best-in-class vibrant, accessible and rich city.

“He and his team have delivered almost thirty major projects that have had a tangible and positive impact on the lives of the people of Waterford.  From public realm works, to art installations and housing schemes, Rupert has played a key role in making design quality a key driver in all aspects of the cultural and economic development of the city and county.

“Rupert’s contribution has enriched the lives of the people of Waterford, and I would like to congratulate him on this outstanding achievement and thank him for his exceptional service with Waterford City and County Council.”

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Image attached:

Rupert Maddock receiving the James Gandon Medal from RIAI President Charlotte Sheridan MRIAI (Image: WCCC)

Rupert Maddock was honoured with the Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement at the RIAI (Image: Conor Healy)

About the RIAI James Gandon Medal:The RIAI introduced the James Gandon Medal in 2011 and each President of the RIAI has the honour of selecting a recipient for the Medal during their two-year term of office.

Previous winners of the Gandon Medal were Shane de Blacam and the late Jonn Meagher (1947-2021); Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects; James Pike of OMP Architects; Des McMahon of Gilroy McMahon Architects; Dr Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker Architects; and the US-based Irish architect Kevin Roche.