(Population in 2011: 46,100)
The city was established by the Vikings in 914 for a trading post which they named Port Lairge and later Vadrafijord. In 1170 the Anglo/Normans defeated the Irish/Vikings and built a wall and fortifications around the city including Reginald Tower which is still seen today. The area around the tower has a medieval feel to it with narrow streets off the larger ones. In 1210 King John arrived and strengthened the walls allowing Waterford to become Ireland’s most powerful city and a trading port. Cromwell was driven back in 1649 but succeeded in capturing the city in 1650 and drove the Catholics out.
Waterford is located in the Southeast of the Republic of Ireland and is the busiest port in that area. The river Suir, a tidal river, flows to the ocean past the city from the east and the river is deep enough to allow ships to sail up from the ocean to the four quays at the city’s waterfront (16km). Today Waterford is a busy commercial city and is known internationally for the Waterford Crystal made there. The Crystal plant closed in 2009 but reopened six months later in the town center so Waterford Crystal is still being made in Waterford.
The cathedral at Cobh, County Cork
(Population in 2011: Cork, 120,000 Cork County, 399,802)
Cork is the 2nd largest city in Ireland after Dublin. It has a long history dating from St. Finbar’s monastery in the 7th Century and survived Cromwell’s assaults only to be captured by King William’s forces in 1690. It was an import commercial center in the 18th Century and the center for butter making in Ireland.
The nearby port of Cobh was the departure port for emigration from Ireland before, during and after the famine. Between 1815 and 1970 millions of people emigrated through Cobh harbor.
Cork was an important city in the struggle for independence and was burned by the English Black and Tans during the Anglo/Irish war. It was the center of the Civil War which followed the division of Ireland into north and south in 1921. Michael Collins, the military commander of the Irish Free State was killed during the Civil War in 1922 in the county of Cork.
Today Cork is a thriving city which is divided by the River Lee.
(Population in 2011: 17,000)
Killarney is definitely a tourist town which sits in the southwest corner of Ireland and at the head of the Ring of Kerry. The town is known for its proximity to the Ring of Kerry which is a circular route around the County Kerry peninsula which encompasses beautiful coastal scenery, valleys, ancient sites, bogs, waterfalls and the Lakes of Killarney; beautiful scenery at every turn. The Killarney National Park is a short walk from Killarney Town and there are many enjoyable trails along the lakes within the park and even Ross Castle to explore. A herd of red deer reside in the park.
The town has many shops, restaurants and pubs which cater to the tourists who flock to this area to tour the Ring of Kerry.
The coast of Dingle
(Population in 2011: 1,538)
The Dingle Peninsula is not as well known as the Ring of Kerry, but it has the largest concentration of archeological sites in the world and stunning coastal scenery. Dingle Town developed as a port after the Norman invasion of Ireland because of its protected harbor. By the 13th Century it was a bigger port than Limerick and by the 16th Century was one of Ireland’s main trading ports, exporting hides and fish and importing wine from Europe. Spanish and French fishing fleets used it as a base. In 1569 it was designated as one of 15 ports with a monopoly on wine importing from Europe. By 1755, the linen industry flourished in Dingle until cotton production in England during the Industrial Revolution destroyed the linen production business by 1837.
Today Dingle is a small fishing village and a center for tours around the Dingle Peninsula. It has a quiet, cozy feel and most of the social life of the residents of this town is centered around the pubs.