Waterford

WE entered WATERFORD over another wooden bridge, like those at Derry, Portumna, and Ross. The Guide-book says the bridge is eight hundred and thirty-two feet in length, and was built "by Mr. Samuel Cox, of America." It was evening when we arrived, and the broad quay, lined with lamps, and the reflection of lights on the river, with the vague outline of tall buildings on one side only of the street, struck us as giving promise of a very fine city.

Waterford

Waterford

Though our morning walk rather disappointed us, the quay is certainly a very spacious and well-constructed one, nearly a mile in length, and devoted partly to a promenade between the street and the river. After rambling about in vain to find anything in the other parts of the town to interest us, we called a car-driver, and asked if his horse was able to draw us to the top of the hill opposite the town. We had made the bargain and mounted the car, when the man turned to us before starting, and asked if we knew the toll over the bridge would be a shilling. Satisfied that we were willing to stick to the bargain with this additional expense, he whipped up, and began to chat away most merrily. We were pleased with the considerateness as well as the gaiety of our Jehu, and we were soon on excellent terms. No Yankee was ever more inquisitive, however; and after discovering by direct questions that we were not from Cork, nor Kilkenny, nor Dublin, but all the way from America, Pat said, "Then it's yer honour has a white skin, and spakes like an Irishman, and looks intirely in the face like Mr. Power O'Shay, first-cousin to the mimber." After this compliment, Pat could scarce do enough for us. He stopped several gentlemen on the road, somewhat to our annoyance, to ask where was the view, and to tell them we were come all the way from America to see Watherford, and couldn't "for ould Pope's big wall," which wall, by the way, he helped us over, by allowing us to step from the car to his shoulders, climbing up after us, that we might make a ladder of him also from the other side.

The Quay of Waterford, with Reginald's Tower

The Quay, Waterford, with Reginald's Tower

The view from the top of the hill quite repaid us for the trespass. Waterford is beautiful from this distance, and the banks of the Suir above and below the long bridge are very bold and striking. The broad bosom of the river was covered with large vessels, steamers, and small sailing-craft; the quay was thronged with pedestrians and vehicles, the sun shone brightly, and the scene altogether, with us background of fine hills, was beautiful. There is said to be from twenty to sixty-five feet of water in the Suir at low tide, and vessels of eight hundred tons may come up close to the quay, a circumstance which has been found very favourable for the debarkation of cavalry and military stores. Waterford has always, from this and other reasons, been an important port of Ireland. Its ancient name was Cuan-na-Frioth, or Haven of the Sun. It was afterwards Gleann-na-Gleodh, or Valley of Lamentation, from the tremendous conflicts between the Irish and the Danes. By old Irish authors, it is frequently named, from its shape, the "Port of the Thigh."

Its historical record states that it was founded in 155, but made a considerable town under Sitric, in 853. It was still inhabited by the Danes in 1171, the time of King Henry's invasion. There are other historical events connected with King John, Richard II. (who remained nine months at Waterford to assuage his grief for the death of Queen Anne), the Desmonds, &c., &c. Its great feature to antiquarians, however, is REGINALD'S TOWER, a fine old remnant of Danish architecture, standing near the lower end of the quay. It was built by Reginald, son of Imar, in 1003. In 1171 it was held as a fortress by Strongbow; in 1463 a mart was established in it; and in 1819 it was partly rebuilt in its original form, and appropriated to the police establishment. Besides these various uses, it has been used as a prison. After the successful storming of the town by the English forces of Strongbow, led on by the redoubtable Raymond le Gros, in 1171, when the city was plundered, and all the inhabitants found in arms were put to the sword, Reginald, Prince of the Danes, and Malachy O'Faelan, Prince of the Decies, with several other chiefs who had confederated to resist the invaders, were imprisoned here after they were condemned to death. They were saved, however, by the intercession of Dermot MacMurrogh, who, with many Welsh and English gentlemen, came to Waterford to be present at the marriage of Earl Strongbow with Eva, the king of Leinster's daughter.

We walked back over the "bridge of American oak," enjoying very much the beauty of the banks of the river on the side opposite the town: with the exception of the banks of the Suir, however, the neighbourhood of Waterford looked bleak and uninviting. The hotel was but indifferent, and we were not sorry to curtail our stay somewhat, and hurry on by the first conveyance towards Lismore.


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