Located along Ireland’s sunny south-east Waterford, or the Déise as it is commonly called, has a wealthier abundance of tourist sites than it is sometimes given credit for. From the cosmopolitan centre of Waterford city in the east to the welcoming atmosphere of the Ring Gaeltacht in the west, and from walking along the Comeragh Mountains of the north to lazing about any number of the secluded beaches on the Copper Coast in the south, Waterford is well-stocked with reasons to visit.
That said, Waterford does have a darker side, with several things that it will probably have to be held accountable for on Judgement Day, including:
1. Newfoundland’s accent: Although residents of Newfoundland, Canada, usually get a hard time from mainland Canadians due to their isolation on an island off Canada’s east coast, their accent doesn’t help matters. A traditional ‘Newfie’ accent sounds like a Waterford native on steroids, and this is due to the large numbers of Déise fishermen and families who emigrated over in the 1800s, boy!
2. €70 fees for printing boarding passes: Ryanair’s first flight was a swift hop from Waterford to Gatwick airport. The rest is history.
3. The global dominance of the New Zealand rugby team: Ireland has never beaten the All-Blacks and this is because of Waterford. Back in 1840, Déise-born Captain William Hobson co-authored the Treaty of Waitangi between Great Britain and the Maoris of New Zealand, a document that would establish trust between both groups and thus make the Maoris more amenable to taking part in English games such as rugby, which is a pity because they are so bloody good at it!
4. Corporal punishment: The first Christian Brothers school was established in Waterford, which, as any young teenage boy who has had his locks pulled or a chalk-duster thrown at him to grab his attention will tell you, is not entirely something to cheer about.
5. Cardiac arrests: While it may be a little strong to blame heart attacks on one county, the Déise did come up with the curing process for bacon, when Henry Denny developed the modern-day rasher back in the early 19th century. Irish breakfasts and cholesterol levels have never been the same since.
6. Celebrity weddings: The forerunner for celebrity weddings took place in Waterford on 29 August 1170 when Strongbow married Aoife. This union between the infamous Norman leader and the daughter of an Irish lord not only gave Strongbow succession rights to the kingdom of Leinster, it lay the template for the lavish ceremonies we have today.
7. Nuclear apocalypse?: Ernest Walton. Dungarvan native. Nobel Prize winner in physics. Helped usher in the nuclear age by being the first person to split the atom – need I say more?