Winterval

Ireland’s Waterford City celebrated its 1,100th birthday last year. Founded by the Vikings in 914AD, the city lays claim to being the oldest area of continuous urban settlement in Ireland. It occupies a strategic spot at the confluence of three rivers which is probably why Strongbow turned up in 1170 determined to conquer the city “by hook or by crook“. In more recent times the city became known worldwide for its exquisitely crafted Waterford Crystal. Waterford Crystal craftsmen created the 2,688 crystals that make up the ball that dropped in Times Square this New Year’s Eve. Waterford is a city steeped in history and well worth a visit at any time of year, but around the Christmas holidays the city gets an extra sprinkle of glamour as the Winterval Festival hits town.

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

When I visited, wooden stalls lined the cobbled streets of the city centre; the enticing aromas of mulled wine and gingerbread carrying me along winding, fairy-lit streets. I opted to travel around town on foot, but there were plenty of other transport options available – including horse-drawn “sleigh” rides with horses straight out of that Budweiser ad…

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

…and a twinkly Winterval train that ran in a loop between the main locations.

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

It was a grey and rainy day, even by Irish standards, when I visited, so I ducked into the Waterford Crystal showrooms for a brief respite from the cold. Even those talented craftsmen at Waterford Crystal seem to have been carried away by the holiday spirit.

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney, waterford crystal

Back out on the streets again there were all kinds of market goodies to buy, eat and drink, ice skating, choirs singing, storytelling sessions and a light show that animated an entire building.

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

There was a Ferris Wheel and a Helter Skelter and everyone’s favourite, a Christmas carousel, filled with bright eyes and smiles and joy and wonder.

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

winterval, waterford, ireland, christmas festival, travel, travelogue, travel photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

Here’s some festive footage from my visit.

Happy New Year!

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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18 Responses to Winterval

  1. kmmig says:

    I enjoyed your photos and video! Thanks for sharing… And Happy New Year!

  2. Beautiful photos. What is a helter skelter?

  3. Happy New Year to you, Ailsa! Always fun to see your wonderful posts and photos! Wishing a wonderful 2015!

    • ailsapm says:

      John, so lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well in the Big Apple, I do so miss the bright lights and our chats! 🙂 Here’s wishing you a really wonderful 2015. xxx Ailsa

  4. Looks great! I love the train with lights..How I wish I can visit.

  5. Love the twinkly train. Happy New Year!

  6. Lovely post and photos. I have been to Waterford and have a set of four glasses. Unfortunately 2 got broken in the set but when I look at them I always see Ireland. 😀

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh no, how sad they got broken, I love their glassware. There are factory tours of their new premises which I’m hoping to go on sometime soon, should be interesting to see the craftsmen at work. Happy New Year, Raewyn.

  7. Thank you for great glimpse of Waterford. I loved the video! 🙂

  8. Bill Hayes says:

    Waterford is my home Town. It’s always a surprise to hear it mentioned as it is not the most popular of destinations in Ireland. Usually it’s the glass it is known for.

    It’s been a few years since I have been back, but this Easter is my next visit. Thanks for the little film. Happy New year.

    • ailsapm says:

      Ah Bill, I’m glad I could give you a little glimpse of your hometown for Christmas, it’s a lovely place. I try to find the least visited places – or the secret spots in the most visited places – it makes for a much more interesting journey. Happy New Year to you!

  9. Loved this! I’m heading to Ireland in April on my first solo trip, and can’t wait!! 🙂

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