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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.

Waterford Rural Tourism Network learning journey to the Blackwater Valley

All aboard the bus to Villierstown, Lismore, Ballyduff and Mount Melleray with plenty of intriguing stories, sights and insights along the way.

Tourism businesses and agencies from across Waterford were invited to Dungarvan on Wednesday March 20th to embark on a Learning Journey around the Blackwater Valley area of Waterford. The Learning Journey to the Blackwater Valley, funded and supported by Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland, is part of the Waterford Rural Tourism Network development programme.

This was the first in a series of five Learning Journeys scheduled to take place over the next two years, across all five cluster areas: Blackwater Valley, Comeragh Uplands, Copper Coast, Gaeltacht na nDéise, and Waterford Estuary.

The Learning Journey gave local businesses the opportunity to learn about tourism experiences and products located in the Blackwater Valley; connect, collaborate, gain personal learnings to help their business, cluster and the overall Waterford destination.

Participants were welcomed on to the bus and guided along their journey by Mandy Rourke of Runda Travel & Tourism Solutions and Alice O’Donoghue from Lismore Heritage Centre. The first stop of the day was Villierstown where everyone gained insights from Blackwater Eco Tours and Glamping Pods before touring the site and pods. In the village, Barbara Grubb shared the fascinating story of Dromana House and Gardens.

The next stop was Lismore Heritage Centre where participants got to see and experience what’s on offer in the Heritage Centre, from the VR Experience and escape rooms to tours and event venue.  MCG Kayaks which run tours on the Blackwater River and Peters Tours also highlighted what they had to offer.

Participants took in the sights as they travelled to Ballyduff where Caroline Senior, owner of Blackwater Distillery, spoke of her business journey and highlighted the importance of collaboration. The Storehouse, a craft shop and café, and Blackwater Valley Fishery, which offer fishing experiences in the area, informed the participants about their offerings.

Lunch in Ballyin House was next on the itinerary where owner, Caroline Fletcher, and her donkeys’ greeted guests.  Ballyin House offers afternoon tea as well as accommodation in tranquil surrounds which overlook Lismore Castle.

The last visit of the day was to the imposing Mount Melleray Abbey situated on the slopes of the Knockmealdown mountains, where participants were greeted by Fr. Richard and given an overview of the current tourism offering, which includes a café, museum and five way-marked trails, and future plans include a hostel linked to the development of Saint Declan’s Way. Saint Declan’s Way is a pilgrim walking route linking Cashel in County Tipperary and Ardmore in County Waterford which runs through Mount Melleray and the Blackwater Valley.

Gráinne Moynihan, Chairperson of Saint Declan’s Way highlighted the opportunities for businesses to develop along the 115km ancient pilgrim path.

If you would like to find out more about the Waterford Rural Tourism Network or join one of the five clusters in Waterford please email julie@runda.ie.

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RTE’s Tracks & Trails takes a hike in Waterford

Tracks & Trails returns for its 11th Season as six presenters travel across trails in Waterford, Offaly, Monaghan and Tyrone, Kerry, Kilkenny and Tipperary, exploring natural landscapes along some of the most beautiful trails on the island of Ireland.

In its first episode, to be aired on Friday April 5th, crime journalist and podcaster Nicola Tallant takes on the challenge of the Comeragh Mountains and a leisurelier hike in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.

Nicola’s first challenge is Boolas Loop in the Comeragh Mountains, a magnificent 10km wild and rocky loop, revealing rolling landscapes as well as hidden mountain lakes known as Boolas.

For her second walk, Nicola follows a cliff top trail starting out from the picturesque seaside village of Dunmore East.  This 7.5km linear coastal route has everything a coastal walk should have; dramatic headlands, vast ocean views, and plenty of tales of smuggling and old sea legends. Nicola also visits the three pretty coves which are found along this trail; Portally Cove, Rathmoylan Cove and finally Ballymacaw Cove.

Johnny Brunnock, Trails Officer with Waterford City and County Council said, “We’re delighted that Waterford’s picturesque, diverse, challenging and invigorating trails are highlighted in the show.

“Nicola chose two very different walks.  The Boolas Loop is a rocky, steep loop that requires a little more gumption and fortitude to undertake, but the reward is breath taking views of the Comeraghs, whereas the Dunmore East cliff walk is a more relaxed, wandering coastal trail starting at one of the prettiest coastal villages in Ireland and uncovering an exciting story of pirate trade from years ago.”

Tracks & Trails will put the spotlight on our outdoors and discover what is on offer in abundance on trails all over the country.  The series will showcase established national waymarked trails, including St Declan’s Way, the Monaghan Way, the East Leinster way, The Royal Canal Greenway, The Kerry Way, and well-trodden riverside and cliffside paths.

For further details on Waterford’s wonderful recreational walking and cycling trails visit https://visitwaterford.com/trails/

Tracks & Trails Episode One featuring Nicola Tallant will be broadcast on RTE1 on Friday, April 5th.

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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.

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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Mount Congreve Gardens listed by Conde Nast Traveller in their ‘Best Place To Go’ 2024

The prestigious international travel magazine ‘Conde Nast Traveller’ has zoned in on Mount Congreve for their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing.

Conde Nast says of the list, “At the end of each year, we look ahead to what’s coming next in the travel world as we pick out the top destinations we’d recommend to our fellow globetrotters for the following 12 months. Our expert contributors nominate the destinations that are on the up right now. These nominations make up the Best Places To Go in 2024, in which we shine a light on the places that are due their moment in the sun.”

They go on to say, “This list is an edit of the regions, cities and neighbourhoods in the UK and Ireland that are worthy of your time and attention in the next 12 months. All 12 destinations are places we’re excited about recommending for your 2024 plans – 12 spots that should be on your radar when it comes to plotting your all-important annual leave, and which will hopefully remind you that some of the most beautiful places in the world are right here on home turf. Happy travels.”

Of the 12 places on the list ‘Waterford & Wexford’ are cited together as a Southeast travel destination. It is the only Irish inclusion.

The listing details the newly refurbished Loftus Hall and its imminent opening, the oldest intact operating lighthouse in the world – Hook Lighthouse, Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore and the delicious seafood at The Beach House in Tramore and the magnificent Mount Congreve House and Gardens.

Conde Nast contributor Aoife O’Riordan says, “Hop over the border to County Waterford and the recently restored Mount Congreve House, another palatial pile, overlooking the River Suir with dreamy gardens and a café run by The Pantry at CLIFF, a spin-off of Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore. When the gates close, you will have the gardens all to yourself if you bed down at Mount Congreve’s fairytale gate lodge, which is available to rent, and the Waterford Greenway, an off-road hiking and biking trail along a disused railway line between Waterford City and Dungarvan, passes right by the edge of the estate.”

Sara Dolan, Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Trust says, “We are absolutely thrilled to be listed in the Conde Nast top 2024 recommendations. We know that this guide and any list they produce is very discerning, so it is a dream come true to be selected and featured, especially in the first year of our opening.

All of the team at Mount Congreve have worked very hard to achieve and deliver a very high standard of hospitality right across the gardens, the café, the house, the gate lodge and for our events so it is a wonderful acknowledgement of their hard work.

We have some more very exciting plans and further estate developments planned for 2024, so we won’t be sitting on the garden laurels but moving on and pushing ahead to achieve even more in year two of the new chapter of the estate.”

Earlier this month Mount Congreve Gardens also won the ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ as the Georgina Campbell Awards and Mount Congreve Gardens has been selected as a winner in the 2023 World Garden Awards, the presentation of this award takes place next week.

Mount Congreve House was officially opened to the public earlier this year, following capital funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund, Fáilte Ireland and €1.2million funding from Waterford City and County Council.

Mount Congreve Gardens along with the Stables Café and its onsite estate accommodation is open year-round. For further details see www.mountcongreve.com

The full Conde Nast list can be read here: https://www.cntraveller.com/article/best-places-to-go-in-uk-and-ireland-2024

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Waterford City & County Council win two awards at Chambers Ireland “Excellence in Local Government” Awards

Waterford City and County Council has been successful at the recent Chambers Ireland “Excellence in Local Government Awards”, with two category wins, for the Waterford Museums of Time and Silver, and Mount Congreve House and Gardens.

Waterford Museums of Time and Silver took top honours in the ‘Heritage and Built Environment’ category which celebrates best in class by a Local Authority to promote public interest in, and knowledge, appreciation and protection of local heritage sites.  The Museum of Time opened in 2021 with kind donations and support from David Boles, Colman Curran and Liz Clooney, and is the only museum dedicated to horology and timekeeping on the island of Ireland.  The Irish Silver Museum also opened its doors in 2021 in the old Deanery Building on Cathedral Square, Waterford with benefactors Noel and Stephanie Frisby generously donating to its establishment and displays.

Mount Congreve House and Gardens, lauded as ‘One of the Great Gardens of the World’, clinched the title, amid stiff competition, in the ‘Supporting Tourism’ category. This award highlights the efforts of Waterford City and County Council in enriching local tourism and encouraging community appreciation of regional attractions.

The transformative investment in Mount Congreve House and Gardens has resulted in a world-class visitor experience, as well as a café, and retail offering. The estate also boasts a variety of walking paths, each adorned with creative displays that vividly narrate its long history.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway said the recognition by Chambers Ireland was a great endorsement of the projects and the Local Authority’s investment in them.  He praised the Council’s commitment to initiating and advancing such exceptional initiatives, saying:

“I am delighted to see Waterford City and County Council recognised on a national platform for their commitment in initiating and driving such wonderful projects.  Both Mount Congreve and The Museums of Time and Silver are very deserving winners in their respective categories.  Waterford has an enviable tourism offering, and it is great to see the work of our Council endorsed in the wider community in such a positive way.

Waterford City and County Council’s strong performance at the awards was also highlighted by four other shortlisted projects, in a diverse range of categories.

Alongside its wins, the Council’s shortlisted projects included Tramore Town Centre Public Realm Works in the ‘Urban Revival’ category, and the proactive Ukrainian Refugee Response in the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ category. Their innovative communication strategy was showcased in ‘A Celebration of Waterford as Ireland’s Best Place to Live’, shortlisted in the ‘Communications’ category, while the Council’s commitment to environmental sustainability was evident in the ‘Climate Change’ category with the Business Rates Waiver initiative.

Commending all the projects put forward, Director of Economic Development at Waterford City & County Council, Michael Quinn commented:

“Our diverse array of projects reflect our commitment to not only address current community needs but also to proactively shape a sustainable future for Waterford. Each project, regardless of its category here tonight, is a step towards our vision of an inclusive, dynamic, and environmentally conscious city and county.”

The Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards are sponsored by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and took place in Dublin on November 23rd.

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Waterford marks successful completion of Fáilte Ireland Destination Towns initiative

Waterford has recently marked the successful conclusion of the Fáilte Ireland Destination Towns initiative, a groundbreaking project that has significantly enriched the visitor experience within the city.

 

 

he project, generously supported by a €500,000 investment from Fáilte Ireland, has achieved its objectives, breathing new life into Waterford City’s cultural and historical treasures.

The initiative was celebrated in the presence of esteemed guests, including Mary Houlihan, Manager for Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, alongside local councillors, and representatives from the business community.

The project’s core goals were clearly defined at its inception:

  • Reinforcing the Viking Story: Waterford City embarked on a mission to deepen the understanding of its Viking heritage. This was achieved by demarcating the Viking Triangle’s boundaries and introducing cutting-edge digital orientation tools.
  • Wayfinding Improvements: A comprehensive wayfinding scheme was developed, ensuring that visitors can effortlessly navigate the city. This included innovative content generation techniques.
  • Mapping Enhancements: The project unveiled a new city map, highlighting various city zones and emphasizing Waterford’s walkability.
  • Car Park Reidentification: Signage and banners, denoting the city’s attractions, were strategically placed at car parks to provide a warm welcome and promote the city’s charms.

The culmination of these efforts has yielded tangible results, enhancing Waterford City’s appeal to tourists and locals alike.

Earlier this year, the city unveiled the Digital Story Trail—a collaborative effort between Waterford City and County Council and software company Imvizar. This self-guided tour offers visitors a unique virtual reality opportunity to immerse themselves in the city’s rich culture and history, promoting longer dwell times as visitors explore the city at their own pace.

Expressing his satisfaction with the initiative, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway, extended his appreciation to everyone involved in the project, saying, “This project which today comes to fruition is an initiative that has undoubtedly accomplished so much and done so much to enhance the visitor experience in Waterford City.

“The vision was a simple one – how to make Waterford an outstanding tourism, historical and cultural destination for visitor and locals alike.

“With the investment of half a million euro from Fáilte Ireland, and the foresight, knowledge and expertise of stakeholders, these goals have been achieved.”

The introduction of new wayfinding signage has also made traversing the city more straightforward, thanks to fingerpost signs and monoliths. These additions, along with banners and Viking structures denoting the Viking Triangle, have created a cohesive and welcoming atmosphere, all while delivering a consistent message throughout the city.

The newly introduced city map adheres to Fáilte Ireland’s place-marking guidelines, effectively dividing the city into sections: Shopping, Night Life, The Viking Triangle, and The Cultural Quarter. This invaluable resource showcases Waterford’s array of attractions, including Waterford Treasures, the scenic Waterford Greenway, and the historic City Walls & Towers.

Collectively, the elements of Destination Towns have amplified the visitor experience, highlighting Waterford’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Whether you are a local or a visitor, these enhancements offer greater satisfaction, encouraging longer stays in Waterford City.

Speaking on the project, Mary Houlihan, Manager for Ireland’s Ancient East, Fáilte Ireland said, “Fáilte Ireland is committed to and focused on the sustainable development of tourism across Ireland which is an important economic driver and source of employment. We look for every opportunity to expand the number of appealing destinations that offer compelling visitor experiences with the potential to drive visitors across the regions. Initiatives like our Destination Towns scheme are critical in doing this by boosting the tourism appeal of destinations across the country.

“Fáilte Ireland’s work in partnership with Waterford City and County Council has made a definite impact on the appeal of Waterford as a tourist destination and will encourage visitors to stay longer, spend more and immerse themselves in the history, heritage and culture of Ireland’s oldest city.”

Minister Darragh O’Brien officially opens Ireland’s newest Museum ‘The Irish Wake Museum’ in Waterford

The oldest urban domestic building in Ireland is now home to Ireland’s newest museum which traces the customs, traditions and superstitions associated with death from the earliest times to the 20th century.

The Irish Wake Museum is officially opened today by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD.

The Irish Wake Museum located at what was the former Dean John Collyn’s Almshouse, a Retirement Home for old people, called  ‘God’s People’s House’ was founded in 1478 on All Souls Day, 2nd November, the Day of the Dead. The occupants of the former Alms Houses paid for their keep by praying three times a night for the souls of its patrons and the souls of the deceased citizens of Waterford.

Commenting on the new museum Minister O’Brien said

“I am delighted to support this imaginative initiative which celebrates how death has always been a community event in Ireland. I’d like to congratulate Waterford City and County Council on another remarkable conservation project demonstrating yet again their commitment to our heritage.  Many people have supported this project, and I would particularly like to mention David Boles, the co-founder of the extraordinary Irish Museum of Time as well as the late Dr Tom and Mrs Marie Cavanagh of the Tomar Philanthropic Trust.

I’d like to also thank the conservation master mason Brian Whelan whose craftsmanship cannot be underestimated. Finally, I’d like to acknowledge all the staff of Waterford Treasures Museums, including Director Eamonn McEneaney, Acting Curator Rosemary Ryan and museum Keeper Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin, whose hard work and dedication brought this project to fruition as well as the support of the Chairman Des Whelan and the entire Board.”

Mayor of Waterford Cllr. John O’Leary said,

The Irish Wake is a unique and intrinsic element of Ireland’s heritage. It brings communities together, it is a time to grieve together but it is also a celebration of life. This distinct and historic act is one that holds an air of intrigue and the Irish Wake cultural traditions are held in fascination. The new museum is a distinct tourism proposition in a global sense and added to the award-winning collection of museums in Waterford City it re-affirms Waterford not only as Ireland’s oldest City, but an ancient City which celebrates its own heritage and that of Ireland for its locals and visitors alike.”

The new museum is the latest in the Waterford Treasures collective of Museums at Waterford’s Viking Triangle, it is in addition to the Medieval Museum – the only purpose-built museum specialising in medieval history in Ireland – The Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Museum of Time, Irish Silver Museum, King of the Vikings virtual reality experience and the EPIC guided walking tour of Waterford.

The Museum houses a remarkable array of objects associated with death in Ireland which the Waterford Museum of Treasures has been collecting for the last 10 years and will offer visitors an opportunity to explore rituals that hold global intrigue and that are entirely unique to Ireland on an intimate guided tour experience. In addition, The Irish Wake Museum has partnered with the multi-award-winning Waterford Whisky and visitors will also be able to book tickets to an Irish Wake and Whisky experience.

Director of Waterford Treasures Eamonn McEneaney said,

The Irish Wake is one of the iconic parts of our national culture and visitors will get to experience a sense of this at The Irish Wake Museum as we trace the customs, traditions and superstitions associated with death from the earliest times to the 20th century.

At the new museum visitors first arrive at the area once occupied by a shop, the rent from which was used to maintain the almshouse, a new audio-visual showcase explores how the Irish landscape was etched by death over six thousand years.

Moving into the almshouse proper, visitors will experience storytelling through six rooms chronologically from the 15th to the 20th centuries, with different themes associated with death being explored. The exhibition ends by urging people as others have for centuries to Memento Mori – remember death – and to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, to rejoice in life for its own sake and understand that life is no brief candle but a sort of splendid torch which we get hold of for the moment, in order to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

In keeping with the spirit of the founders of the almshouse Waterford Treasures will donate €1 from each admission ticket to the Waterford Hospice Movement. The museum is now open to visitors, further details and  advance tickets can be found at www.waterfordtreasures.com

ENDS 

Free to use museum images by Patrick Browne pjbrownephotography@gmail.com & Free to use official opening event images available from this afternoon by noelbrowne06@gmail.com

Bilberry to City Centre Waterford Greenway Link officially opened

The Bilberry to City Centre Waterford Greenway Link was officially opened today (Friday June 2nd), by the Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. John O’Leary.

The new section, funded to the tune of €12.5 million by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and delivered and managed by Waterford City and County Council, links the Waterford Greenway from the Bilberry car park to the Clock Tower in the City Centre, as well as connecting it to the Waterford sustainable transport bridge due to be delivered in 2025 and the start of the Waterford to New Ross Greenway.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “We are delighted to officially open this section of Waterford Greenway.  The new link section will open up the route allowing walkers, runners, and cyclists to continue their shared journey right into the heart of the city centre and beyond.”

“It’s significant to note that this link will give users access to the Southeast and Southern Greenway networks and reach locations such as New Ross, Youghal and Mallow.

“Waterford is experiencing a renaissance.  With work commenced on the North Quays SDZ an exciting opportunity lies in store for the city, county, and region as a whole.

“The city’s economic, commercial and tourism offerings will undoubtedly be enhanced, and the addition of the Bilberry City Centre Waterford link showcases the very best of the county as it traverses from countryside to city centre.”

Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said, “The Bilberry to City Centre Waterford link, which forms part of the Cork to Waterford Intra-Urban Demonstrator Pathfinder project will be extremely valuable to the local area as well as those travelling from further afield, and will for first time, create a seamless cycle link between two Irish cities.

“All of the best cities and towns in the world are moving this way – to re-imagine and re-design their centres as active travel hubs, by reallocating road space and by putting in infrastructure which makes it safer and easier for people to walk, cycle or wheel. This new stretch of the Waterford Greenway extends it right into the heart of the city and long the historic quays. This will be good for visitors but particularly good for local people and businesses, making it easier for school children to get to and from schools safely, or allowing people to stroll or bike into this beautiful medieval city centre to shop, and in time, to continue on by public transport, or by connecting greenways to other towns in the region.”

The Active Travel project comprised of the construction of 2.1km long and 4m wide cycle and pedestrian shared surface from the Greenway car park at Bilberry, along Bilberry Road, Grattan Quay, and Merchants Quay to the South Quay Plaza at the Clock Tower.

The new section includes 210 metres of two new cantilevered boardwalks over the River Suir at Grattan Quay and Bilberry Rock, along with a full overhaul of the pedestrian routes and traffic signals at the junction of Rice Bridge, while existing facilities on Grattan Quay and Merchants Quay car park see the addition of high-quality surface finishes, landscaping, and street furniture.

The construction was undertaken by John Cradock Construction Ltd. and comprised of almost 65,000 hours worked on the project, with 250 employed on the construction phase at various times across the project.

The sustainable elements of the project are quite prominent as the newly installed segregated urban shared surface has been finished with energy efficient LED lighting, along with approximately 350 trees and 900m2 of wildflower beds planted. 8,000 tonnes of concrete, tarmacadam, and excavated rock, which would ordinarily go to landfill, have been recycled for reuse on the site.

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority added, “The National Transport Authority is delighted to have been able to work with Waterford City and County Council on this impressive addition to its hugely successful Greenway.

“This new link is one of 35 projects across Waterford benefitting from €11 million of Active Travel funding allocated by the NTA in 2023.  The funding is aimed towards building a comprehensive active travel network that can be enjoyed by all.”

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Images – free to use: Patrick Browne

Extensive Community Engagement Underway for Proposed Dungarvan to Mallow Greenway

Senior members of the proposed Dungarvan to Mallow Greenway project team provide update on local community engagement activities

The Dungarvan to Mallow Greenway, as proposed, is a 74-kilometre long walking and cycling path that would connect Dungarvan, County Waterford to Mallow, County Cork, linking the towns and villages of Cappoquin, Lismore, Ballyduff, Clondulane, Fermoy, Ballyhooly, and Killavullen.

The project team from Waterford City and County Council and Cork County Council estimate that approximately 140 landowners may be directly impacted by the emerging preferred route, and consultation is currently underway with these individuals, as well as a further approximately 100 landowners whose land is adjacent to the emerging preferred route.

The project team is following the Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways and appointed a Project Liaison Officer to commence individual landowner consultations. At this stage, the Project Liaison Officer has visited over 170 individual private households – primarily located between Mallow and Lismore – and met with the landowners and their families.  Also, a meeting recently took place with the Irish Farmers’ Association, or IFA, representatives to share the progress of the project to date, and to listen to the concerns of their members.

This landowner engagement is in addition to the initial public consultation undertaken back in 2022 and the key themes emerging at that time included safety and security, environment concerns, and the potential impacts on local residents, farms and businesses.

Welcoming the engagement process to date, Sean Callery, Senior Engineer, Cork County Council, “The project group is very grateful to landowners locally for making themselves available and for engaging so robustly. The Project Liaison Officer has received a lot of valuable feedback and all of this will be analysed over the coming months. The route will be refined where possible in order to minimise farm severance and accommodate landowners, wherever feasible.”

Senior Engineer Waterford City and County Council, Sean Dobbs said, “This proposed new greenway would create a fun, healthy experience for local people and tourists alike, one that supports the economic development of the region and the wellbeing of our citizens. It is very encouraging to see the community engage at this level.”

The team expects to visit and meet with the remaining 70 landowners, most of whom are located between Lismore and Dungarvan, throughout the month of June. All feedback will be reviewed and refinements to the route will be considered and analysed by the project team. A further round of public consultation is expected to take place towards the end of the year.

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Applications now open for Casual Trading Licence at Durrow Station, Waterford Greenway – Summer Season 2023

Waterford City & County Council has initiated an application process for one casual trading licence at Durrow Station, Waterford Greenway for the summer season of 2022 from 1st June to 31st August 2023.

Intending applicants are asked to refer to the application guidelines, terms and conditions in advance of completing an application at Durrow station casual trading.

Applicants will also need to ensure they are familiar with the 2021 Waterford City & County Council Casual Trading Bye Laws.

Applications must be submitted via Waterford City & County Council’s online application system at https://submit.link/1O6

Closing date for applications is 17:00 hrs Monday 29th May 2023. Applications received after this time and date will NOT be considered as part of this application process.

The successful applicant must be ready to commence trading at the specified location on 2nd June 2023.

For enquiries and further information email: greenway@waterfordcouncil.ie

Applications now open for Casual Trading Licence at Durrow Station, Waterford Greenway – Summer Season 2023

Waterford City & County Council has initiated an application process for one casual trading licence at Durrow Station, Waterford Greenway for the summer season of 2022 from 1st June to 31st August 2023.

Intending applicants are asked to refer to the application guidelines, terms and conditions in advance of completing an application at Durrow station casual trading.

Applicants will also need to ensure they are familiar with the 2021 Waterford City & County Council Casual Trading Bye Laws.

Applications must be submitted via Waterford City & County Council’s online application system at https://submit.link/1O6

Closing date for applications is 17:00 hrs Monday 29th May 2023. Applications received after this time and date will NOT be considered as part of this application process.

The successful applicant must be ready to commence trading at the specified location on 2nd June 2023.

For enquiries and further information email: greenway@waterfordcouncil.ie

Proposed Development at Ballynacourty Greenway

Notice is hereby given that Waterford City and County Council propose to carry out the following development at Ballynacourty Greenway.

In accordance with Part 8, Article 81 of the above Regulations, Waterford City & County Council hereby gives notice of proposals to carry out the works associated with above development in the townlands of Kilgrovan and Ballynacourty, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

The objective of the works is to upgrade the section of the Greenway from Clonea Road to Ballinclamper to a Greenway standard.

The development will consist of:

  • Improvement works to the existing pathway by widening the path and by carrying out some drainage works along the route:
    – Widening southern section between L7010 Ballinard and L7011 Ballinclamper Road adistance of approx. 450 metres to 3 metres wide.
    – Widening the northern section between L7011 Ballinclamper Road and L3011 Clonea
    Strand Road a distance of approx. 630 metres to 2.5 metres wide.
  • Provision of a pedestrian crossing on the L-7011 at Ballinclamper and improvement of the sight lines at this crossing.
  • Provision of one agricultural crossing point along the route which will be formed by way of gated access.
  • Connecting two of the main car parks serving the Clonea Strand Blue Flag Beach at
    Ballinclamper and at Ballinard with a new pathway between the Greenway and the car park.
  • Addition of a new picnic and amenity area at Ballinclamper car park on Council owned lands which will include some surfacing works.
  • Enhancement of the existing amenity area/bike parking at Ballinard car park.

Plans and particulars of the proposed development will be available for inspection at Waterford City & County Council, Customer Care Desk, Civic Offices, Dungarvan, County Waterford between the hours of 9:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday for the period 9th of May – 6th of June 2023 inclusive (excluding Bank and Public Holidays).

Particulars of the proposed scheme will also be available to view on Waterford City & County Council’s website at http://waterfordcouncil.ie/projects/public-consultations/index.htm

The proposed development has undergone Appropriate Assessment Screening under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended, and the Planning Authority has determined that a Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment is not required in this instance. In addition, the proposal has also undergone screening for Environmental Impact Assessment under the EIA Directive 2014/52/EU (and the relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Act, as amended), and the Planning Authority has determined that there will be no likelihood of significant effects on the environment arising from the proposed development and, therefore, an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required.

In accordance with Article 120 (3) of the Planning & Development Regulations (as amended), any person may, within 4 weeks from the date of this notice, apply to An Bord Pleanála for a screening determination as to whether the proposed development would be likely to have significant effects on the environment.

An Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) has been carried out to assess any potential adverse impacts to the local ecology. The EcIA report is appended to the Part VIII Application.

Submissions or observations with respect to the proposed development, dealing with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area shall be made in writing to:
the Director of Economic Development, Waterford City & County Council,
35 The Mall, Waterford
or by emailing projectsteam@waterfordcouncil.ie on or before 4pm on 20th of June 2023 and should be clearly marked Development at Ballynacourty Greenway.

All comments, including names of those making comments, submitted to the Council in regard of this scheme will form part of the statutorily required report to be presented at a meeting of the elected members. Accordingly, they will also be included in the minutes of that meeting and may appear in the public domain.

Waterford City & County Council is subject to the provision of Freedom of Information (FOI Acts 1997 and 2014) and the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2013.