Since 2015, the city of Waterford has hosted an international art festival – Waterford Walls – every August. The original aim was to brighten up and rejuvenate old buildings and lesser visited parts of town. Both national and international artists paint walls belonging to local residents and businesses with their own designs.
Owners are usually so delighted with the artwork that many murals – even dating back to 2015 – are not painted over. There is definitely a huge local respect for the project with very little evidence of vandalism and tagging, even on the ground level pieces.
Usually, about 10,000 visitors attend the event over a few days. Activities include art walks, workshops, food trails, live music and the usual festival attractions.
This year has been very different needless to say! However, the organisers were able to go ahead with some elements of the festival. Many overseas artists were unable to attend but a few made it and, together with Irish artists, they’ve added to the collection which now numbers over 200 pieces, dating back the 6 years since the festival’s inauguration. They even managed to proceed with the art tours although group numbers were restricted to 5.
This year’s paintings are now complete and tours have finished but you can visit Waterford anytime and enjoy the city’s outdoor gallery!
This is a living city so you have to put up with cars, bins, wiring and road signs blocking your view!!!
There are plenty of examples close to the city centre but it’s fun to wander away and find paintings in carparks, yards and back streets..
Nothing is wasted….
….and look down
Check every alley….
Stand back and admire the whole thing…
or admire the detail….
Examine what they’ve done with old buildings…
….and keep your eyes open for potential canvases!!
Check the facades of city centre businesses…..
….but don’t forget the residential areas also….
And … most of all…. just enjoy the exhibition…
While you’re there…..
Did you know that Waterford is actually Ireland’s oldest city and dates back to Viking times. Way back then, they recognised the strategic importance of the three rivers – Barrow, Nore and Suir – that flow into Waterford harbour. The mile-long quays have always played an important role in city life. Maybe its no longer the bustling commercial quay of the past but it plays a vital part in the city’s leisure and tourism business.
Walking along the quays, we have the River Suir on our left, with an extended car park and the street running parallel to the walkway.
You’ll catch glimpses of lovely side streets and laneways leading off from the quays.
Towards one end of town, you’ll see the beginning of the Waterford Greenway, a fabulous cycle route that has brought so many visitors to the city.
Close by is Waterford Distillery – another big attraction…
Across the river, you’ll see a sign for the local BLAA!!
A BLAA is a doughy white bread bun, specifically associated with this part of the country!
The Gothic Clock Tower is a useful landmark if you are meeting someone along the quays!
The main bus station is situated on the quays which makes for easy access to the city.
There’s a nice performance venue beside the river..
The Viking Triangle is the cultural heart of the city.
Reginald’s Tower holds the record as Ireland’s oldest civic building. The first tower was built some time after 914 by the Vikings and has been added to over the centuries. Today, it houses a Viking Exhibition.
Most of Waterford’s famous Crystal is now unfortunately made outside Ireland but a new centre, opened in 2010, offers a factory tour, visitors’ centre and shop.
As you turn back and walk parallel to the quays, you’ll find the shopping district along with nice squares and open areas.
25 thoughts on “A Date in the Irish Calendar – Waterford Walls”
What a fabulous way to brighten up a city! But judging by the second half of your post, Waterford does pretty well even without the icing on the cake (or should that be flour on the blaaa?)
You’re absolutely right! There’s plenty there apart from the festival. And may I say… you worked that pun in VERY neatly!!! 😅 😂 🤣
I can see we have to get back to Waterford some day Marie. Last there on our 1977 honeymoon. Of course not much has changed, except everything. Love the art walls, we have something similar here each year. There are a lot of good artists out there. All they need is the right canvas. Thanks for sharing. Allan
You definitely need to retrace your steps!!! As you say – same place but they’ve come a long way with activities and facilities for tourists. They’re marketing lovely cycles, driving routes and walks to showcase the region and the town itself looks great. We met plenty of RV’s out and about – a good area for that sort of trip. XXXMarie
Oh my gosh this is awesome. I can see I only had a taste of Waterford. I saw some wall art but would have loved to have seem this awesome display. Wow beautiful
This was my first visit to Waterford in years but I’m definitely going to follow up on the festival from now on. XXXMarie
You do manage to find some very interesting happenings in Ireland, Marie, and I love it. When I was young (so long ago I can hardly remember), there was nothing like this but if there had been someone would have put a stop to it pretty quickly! Fantastic photos. I have a favourite but they are all super.
Thanks Marie – there’s so much happening under our noses when we start rooting around! XXXMarie
I only found out about them recently… a great find!
Great to see you giving Waterford such a great boost. It’s my native heath, or rather, Tramore is, and I think it’s a magnificent and underrated county. Suits me as I love the lack of crowds and the wildness it still has to offer.
Hi Jean – Roy from backontherock put me on to you … I’m definitely going back to Waterford for a few days. I want to do that cliff walk in Tramore, and everyone is talking about the Greenway of course – and then I saw lots of signs for the Copper Coast Drive … As you say, the county is underrated. That might change if foreign travel restrictions continue into next year…
Thanks for dropping by. XXXMarie
Ah Roy is a great guy.
The Copper Coast is beautiful no matter what the weather.
And not too long a drive – sound’s like a nice day out….
You’ve done Waterford credit there Marie. It can be a rather gloomy old place but it does have its quiet charms, and the wall art stands out and brightens the town up remarkably. It also has a few excellent bars suitable for us older pint connoisseurs 🙂
Thanks Roy … those pubs without food due to open on Sept. 21st.. … there are a lot of connoisseurs gasping for that pint!
Had to revisit this post these wall paintings are simply amazing. When I stopped in Waterford I saw a few paintings and thought how beautiful but after seeing this post I realized I hadn’t seen anything yet.
I meant to follow it up last year – see what had been added. Never got there – hopefully manage it this year… A lot of the stuff is scattered about town – seemingly they used to issue a route map but there was none when we were there – thanks to Covid. So I might have an update for you in the autumn!!
Great looking forward to seeing it. I planning on a civil rights journey from Alabama to Atlanta in September. Still have the Adriatic in mind.
Is the Alabama – Atlanta journey something you are doing on your own or as part of a group?
Part of a group Odeyssey
Doing with a tour group Odyssey unlimited
The trip actually starts in Memphis. This my first traveling with Odyssey Unlimited.
Not sure if my response went through but I am traveling with Odyssey Unlimited and we are actually starting in Memphis and ending in Atlanta.
It did indeed – I’m sure you’re so looking forward to the trip. My only experience of that region would be Memphis – We did a driving loop in Tennessee in and out of Nashville a few years back. There was so much to do and see in Memphis – but the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel stands out. I’m looking forward to reading of your experiences. XXXMarie