WATERFORD CITY, a city, county of a city, parliamentary borough, seaport, and the chief town of Co. Waterford, Ireland. Pop. (1901) 26,769. It is finely situated on the south bank of the Suir 4 m. above its junction with the Barrow, at the head of the tidal estuary called Waterford Harbour, mm. S.S.W. from Dublin by the Great Southern and Western railway. This is the principal railway serving the city, having lines from Dublin and from the north-west, besides the trunk line between Rosslare, Waterford and Cork. Waterford is also, however, the terminus of the Dublin and South-Eastern line from Dublin via New Ross, and for the Waterford and Tramore line, serving the seaside resort of Tramore, 7 m. S. The Suir is crossed by a wooden bridge of thirty-nine arches, and 832 ft. long, connecting Waterford with the suburb of Ferrybank. The city is built chiefly along the banks of the river, occupying for the most part low and level ground except at its western extremity, and excepting the quay and the Mall, which connects with the southern end of the quay, its internal appearance is hardly of a piece with the beauty of its environs. The modern Protestant cathedral of the Holy Trinity, generally called Christ Church, a plain structure with a lofty spire, occupies the site of the church built by the Danes in 1096, in the Mall. Near it are the episcopal palace and deanery. There is a handsome Roman Catholic cathedral, and the training seminary for priests called St John's College deserves notice. The principal secular buildings are the town-hall, the county and city courts and prisons, the custom-house and the barracks. At the extremity of the quay is a large circular tower, called Reginald's Tower, forming at one time a portion of the city walls, and occupying the site of the tower built by Reginald the Dane in 1003. Near the summit one of the balls shot from the cannon of Cromwell while besieging the city is still embedded in the wall. Other remains of the fortifications, consisting of towers and bastions, are to be seen as in the Tramore railway sidings and in Castle Street. There are a number of hospitals and similar benevolent institutions, including the leper house founded in the reign of King John, now used practically as an infirmary. The town possesses breweries, salt-houses, foundries and flour mills; and there is a large export trade in cattle, sheep and pigs, and in agricultural produce. It is the headquarters of extensive salmon and sea fisheries. Waterford is second in importance to Cork among the ports of the south coast of Ireland. There is regular communication by steamer with Cork, with Dublin and Belfast, with Fishguard, Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Plymouth, Southampton, London and other ports. Local steamers ply to Duncannon, New Ross and other places on the neighbouring estuaries.
Waterford Harbour is a winding and well-sheltered bay formed by the estuary of the river Suir, and afterwards by the joint estuary of the Nore and Barrow. Its length to the sea is about 15 m. Its entrance is 3 m. wide, and is lighted by a fixed light WATERFORD--WATERHOUSE, J. W.
on the ancient donjon of Hook Tower (139 ft. in height) and others. The quay, at which there is a depth of 22 ft. of water at low tide, was enlarged in 1 705 by the removal of the city walls, and is about ij m. in length. At Ferrybank, on the Kilkenny side of the river, there is a shipbuilding yard with patent slip and graving dock. By the Suir there is navigation for barges to Clonmel, and for sailing vessels to Carrick-on-Suir; by the Barrow for sailing vessels to New Ross and thence for barges to Athy, and so to Dublin by a branch of the Grand Canal ; and by the Nore for barges to Inistioge. The shores of the harbour are picturesque and well-wooded, studded with country residences and waterside villages, of which Passage and Duncannon are popular resorts of the citizens of Waterford.
Anciently Waterford was called Cuan-na-groith, the haven of the Sun. By early writers it was named Menapia. It is supposed to have existed in very early times, but first acquired importance under the Danes, of whom it remained one of the principal strongholds until its capture by Strongbow in 1171. On the 18th of October 1172 Henry II. landed near Waterford, and he here received the hostages of the people of Munster. It became a cathedral city in 1096. The Protestant dioceses of Cashel, Emly, Waterford and Lismore were united in 1833. Prince John, afterwards king of England, who had been declared lord of Ireland in 1 1 7 7 , landed at Waterford in 1 1 8 5 . After ascending the English throne he granted it a fair in 1204, and in 1206 a charter of incorporation. He landed at Waterford in 1210, in order to establish within his nominal territories in Ireland a more distinct form of government. The city received a new charter from Henry III. in 1 23 2. Richard II. landed at Waterford in October 1394 and again in 1399. In 1447 it was granted by Henry VI. to John Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, who was created earl of Waterford. In 1497 it successfully resisted an attempt of Perkin Warbeck to capture it, in recognition of which it received various privileges from Henry VII., who gave it the title of urbs intacla. In 1603, after the accession of James I. to the English crown, the city, along with Cork, took a prominent part in opposition to the government and to the Protestant religion, but on the approach of Mountjoy it formally submitted. From this time, however, the magistrates whom it elected refused to take the oath of supremacy, and, as by its charter it possessed the right to refuse admission to the king's judges, and therefore to dispense with the right of holding assizes, a rule was obtained in the Irish chancery for the seizure of its charter, which was carried into effect in 1618. In 1619 an attempt was made to induce Bristol merchants to settle in the city and undertake its government, but no one would respond to the invitation, and in 1626 the charter was restored. The city was unsuccessfully attacked by Cromwell in 1649, but surrendered to Ireton on the loth of August 1650. After the battle of the Boyne James II. embarked at it for France (July 1690). Shortly afterwards it surrendered to William, who sailed from it to England. It sent two members to parliament from 1374 to 1885, when the number was reduced to one. In 1898 it was constituted one of the six county boroughs having separate county councils.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)