Dunmore East (Waterford), Ireland
Waterford is reputedly Ireland’s oldest town, having been founded by Vikings in the 9th Century on the banks of the River Suir. The bulky stone Reginald’s Tower is a reminder of that period, and Ireland’s oldest surviving urban civic building, as well as the first known to be constructed using mortared masonry. The Viking settlement didn’t last, though. The native Irish drove them out and occupied the place themselves. The city’s heyday came during the 18th and 19th centuries, when shipbuilding and the manufacture of lead crystal glass put Waterford on the map. Reginald’s Tower is one point of Waterford’s Viking Triangle, an imaginary area encompassing the city’s most historic highlights. Other attractions bounded by the original 10th century fortifications include the Waterford Treasure Museum, the Christchurch Cathedral and the House of Waterford Crystal. Cut crystal glass was smelted, blown and cut here from 1783 until 2009, when the factory was closed. Artisans maintain the craft inside the museum today. A lovely Quaker meetinghouse dating from 1792 is also on view in the old town. Outside, the mile-long promenade called The Quay is inviting. Further afield, the scenic splendors of the Comeragh Mountains include Mahon Falls and the deep, mysterious Coumshingaun Loch. Neighboring Lismore, Kilkenny and Wexford offer stately homes, castles and walled gardens for visitors’ interest.