Waterford City is a city in Ireland. The population in 2006 was nearly 50,000 people. It is the county town of County Waterford. Waterford is the fifth largest city in Ireland. It is also the oldest city in Ireland.
Waterford is home to the Waterford Crystal glass factory, which exports crystal all around the world. This glass factory has made many famous pieces, including the New Years Eve glass ball used in Times Square in New York. The factory closed in 2009 leading to over 1,500 job losses. The factory reopened again in the city centre in June 2010 and is now a popular tour. Tourists also come to Waterford to visit the Waterford Viking Triangle.
The city was founded in 914 by the Vikings. The Norman King Henry II of England landed at Waterford in 1171. Waterford and then Dublin were made royal cities and in the Middle Ages, Waterford was Ireland's second city after Dublin. As a result, King Henry VII gave the city its motto: Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia (Waterford remains the untaken city). After the Protestant Reformation, Waterford remained a Catholic city and participated in an independent Catholic government from 1642 to 1649. This was ended by Oliver Cromwell, who brought the country back under English rule; his son-in-law Henry Ireton finally took Waterford in 1650 after a battle.
The 18th century was a period of wealth for Waterford. Most of the city's best buildings came during this time. A permanent military base was established in the city with the Waterford Barracks at the end of the 18th century.
During the 19th century, great industries such as glass making and shipbuilding started in the city.
Reginald's Tower is the oldest urban civic building in Ireland, and the oldest monument to retain its Viking name. It is Waterford's most recognisable landmark. It is believed to be the first building in Ireland to use mortar. Reginald's Tower is in the Viking Triangle, a favourite visiting area for tourists which contains three museums and the Waterford Crystal factory and showroom.
The River Suir, which flows through Waterford City, has provided a basis for the city's long maritime history. The place downriver from Waterford where the River Nore and the River Barrow join the River Suir is known in the Irish language as Cumar na dTrí Uisce ("The confluence of the three waters"). Waterford Port has been one of Ireland's major ports for over 1000 years. In the 19th century, shipbuilding was a major industry. The owners of the Neptune Shipyard, the Malcomson family, built and operated the largest fleet of iron steamers in the world between the mid-1850s and the late 1860s, including five trans-Atlantic passenger liners.
Waterford Airport is a regional airport. Waterford is also known for where of one of the biggest European airlines, Ryanair started from. The first flight was a 14-seat Bandeirante aircraft, flying between Waterford and Gatwick Airport.
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