backBack to articles

Guide to Waterford

Waterford accommodation

Waterford Accommodation

Looking for a place to stay in Waterford

Waterford offers a range of accommodation options. Even so, it’s a good idea to book ahead of time, as rooms are prone to filling up during peak travel periods. Booking early ensures that you secure the best rooms at prime locations. Accommodation options include hotels in Waterford city along with rustic retreats and B&Bs in the countryside.

The Tower Hotel & Leisure Centre is a popular option in the city centre. It is located on the banks of the River Suir and operates facilities suitable for business travellers and families, alike. Guests enjoy access to a spa, two restaurants and an indoor swimming pool.

For a bit more character, consider the Granville Hotel, which is also on the banks of the river and houses some of the city’s most prominent visitors. This is a beautiful Georgian building from the 18th century, and it’s practically spilling over with old-world charm.

If you’ve booked car hire in Waterford, have a look at a few of the more remote B&Bs around County Waterford. For example, Glencairn Inn (near the town of Lismore) has a cult following of Waterford visitors and gets rave reviews for the Pastis Bistro operated on site.

However, nothing compares to old-world opulence of Waterford Castle Hotel. It’s located on a privately owned island on the River Suir, and guests of each of the 19 rooms arrive via a short ferry ride. This is an authentic castle with eight centuries of history behind it, and it features a Norman keep with two Elizabethan wings. Afternoon tea, graceful turrets and enormous fireplaces are all part of the equation at the Castle Hotel. 

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Waterford History

Early in Irish history, Waterford seemed poised to become the most important city in the country. This was the site of the first city in all of Ireland, founded in this case by Viking traders in the 9th century. They laid the foundations for a city and built fortification to hold their ground against native Irish tribes.

The matter became much more complicated when England’s Henry II crossed the sea and landed at Waterford in the 12th century. At this point, Dublin was well into the mix of Irish cities and was named a ‘royal city’ along with Waterford. During the medieval period, Waterford developed a strong second-city status.
However, the strongest growth was yet to come. The city was referred to as ‘Little Rome’ after the Reformation, due to its strong ties to the papal authorities. To be fair, the Vatican may have been strong, but the Church of England was much closer. When Cromwell’s forces wrought terror through the cities of Ireland, Waterford went under siege.

Another wave of prosperity washed over the city in the 1700s. Much of the historic architecture that stands in the city today was built during that time period, including the city hall building. This is also when Waterford first the entered the world stage in terms of crystal production. In those days, Waterford was also known for ship building. In fact, an iron steam ship that was built here in Waterford became the first of its kind ever to sail to a Russian port. It even carried a gift of fine locally produced crystal to be delivered to the Tsar.

Waterford doesn’t play nearly as strong a role in Irish politics and identity as it did in medieval times. However, this in no way detracts from the important position that the city held when Ireland was still a hotly sought-after land by invading Vikings, warring Anglo-Normans and distant popes. As such, it has a great deal to offer modern-day visitors eager to learn more about Ireland’s roots as a nation. 

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Day Trips from Waterford

Places to visit with your car rental

Armed with a hired car from our Waterford Car Hire location , you’ll be anxious to get out there and explore the surrounding area. There is plenty to explore within two hours’ drive of the city, including a world-class Geopark, a world-famous castle and a few iconic Irish cities. 

Copper Coast

This European Geopark stretches across 25 km of rugged coastline to the west of Tramore, and it only take 30 minutes to drive here from Waterford along R681. The Copper Coast is chock-a-block with fossils and unique geological formations that date back hundreds of millions of years.

Comeragh Mountains

This glaciated mountain range consists of 12 distinct peaks and is popular with hikers and mountain climbers. The following three hikes are particularly popular with visitors in Ireland’s south-east:

Coumshingaun Lake Walk (4 km)

The Mahon Falls and Coumtay (11 km)

Crouhan Walk (2.4 km)


Ireland’s second city is compact, culturally charged and buzzing with opportunities for foodies, music-lovers and revellers. Attractions in the area include the Old English Market, St Ann’s Church and the world-renowned Blarney Castle and its kiss-able stone. From Waterford, it takes less than 2 hours to reach Cork via the N25.


Two hours’ drive north-west of Waterford along the N25, Limerick became infamous through the publication (and later film production) of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. Dire as Limerick’s past may have been, the city’s future is looking brighter, with redevelopment projects under way. Historic attractions in Limerick include King John’s Castle, the Franciscan Abbey and St Mary’s Cathedral.


Kilkenny can be reached in less an hour’s drive from Waterford. This town has a collection of quaint boutiques, charming cobblestone streets and even its own castle. If you drive into Kilkenny from Waterford, plan on spending at least two hours exploring the city centre on foot. Many visitors actually choose to stay the night here, given the lively entertainment scene in Kilkenny.

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Waterford Location

Waterford Depot Location

The car rental depot for Waterford is actually located a few kilometres west of the city centre in the town of Kilmeaden. This location is preferable for many reasons, not least its proximity to the M9 motorway. Drivers who rent a car in Waterford can quickly transition to the M9 and travel on to Limerick in about 2 hours, or to Dublin or Cork in roughly 90 minutes.

The Waterford car hire depot opening hours can be found here. If you book your vehicle ahead of time, then picking it up in Kilmeaden is a quick and easy process. Simply print off and present your rental confirmation, and the on-site attendant will have you behind the wheel in just a few minutes. 

To reach the Waterford city centre, drive east on R680 for about ten minutes. And if you decide that you would like to drive on from here to visit other cities in Ireland, it may be possible to drop your vehicle off at a different depot to where you picked it up. Planning a driving tour of Ireland has never been convenient.

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Car Parking in Waterford

Parking in Waterford

Waterford may not get as much publicity as Dublin or Cork, but this is the fifth-biggest city in Ireland. There’s nothing ‘provincial’ about the infrastructure here, and visitors find plenty of parking around town.

Any parking operated by the local city council is on a Pay and Display basis. If you’ve already spend time behind the wheel in Ireland, you’re probably familiar with this parking set-up already. If not, the process is straightforward and easy to decipher.

Pay and Display car parks are found on Jenkins’ Lane, Bolton Street and Millar’s Marsh (which is technically in Johnstown). Simply purchase a Pay and Display badge from the on-site ticket machine to prepay for your parking. If your time is about to expire and you leave your vehicle for longer, then you’ll to return to the machine and purchase additional time.

Pay and Display parking is enforced within the following hours:

Monday to Thursday – 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday – 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Outside of these hours, parking is free. If you purchase time outside of these hours, the ticket will be applied to the next morning (i.e. at 8:30 a.m.).

You’ll also find that many of the restaurants and shops at Merchant’s Quay or along Cork Road and Manor Street offer complimentary parking for customers. For example, if you’re heading into Westgate Retail Park, Waterford Shopping Centre or the Regional Sports Centre, there will be no need to pay for parking.

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Car Tours from Waterford

Places to visit with your car rental

Once you are behind the wheel of a hire car in Waterford, you will be ready to get out and explore Ireland’s south-east. There’s a lot to appreciate in this area, from the commercial district of the Quay to the rugged beauty of the Copper Coast. With four-wheeled transport at your disposal, you can do your very best to experience all of it.

Even if you do not plan on doing much exploring in the countryside, there’s still ample cause to rent a car while you’re staying in Waterford. For starters, it’s easy to find parking near the shops and restaurants of the Quay, and having access to a hire car is going to cut out the need for you to shell out a lot of extra cash on taxi fares. Furthermore, when you have your own vehicle you can exercise a lot more control over where you travel and when you get there. 

But as mentioned, there’s also plenty to see outside of town as well. Major cities across the south of Ireland are a relatively short drive away. Kilkenny, Cork and Limerick are all within roughly two hours’ drive from Waterford. And given the relaxed policies of regarding vehicle pick up and return, you may be able to pick up a car in Waterford only to drop it off elsewhere in Ireland.

The primary motorways running into and out of Waterford are the M9 (which runs north to Dublin), the N25 (which connects south-west to Cork) and the N24 (which heads west to Limerick). However, some of the best driving in the region occurs on county roads in the back country.

Back to Waterford Car Hire

Search car rentals

Related Articles

top family trips ireland

Top 10 family outings in Ireland

If you're organising a family trip to explore Ireland, have a look at the recommendations here before making travel plans.

Learn More
the wild atlantic way ireland

About the Wild Atlantic Way

Discover our top tips for Ireland's 2,500 kilometres of breathtaking coastline with white sands and sparkling waves along the Wild Atlantic Way path.

Learn More
top things to do in dublin

Top 10 things to do in Dublin

Whether you are looking for a day out, or more Dublin tourist information about what should be on your list of things to do, look no further!

Learn More
top things to do in cork

About car hire excess

Before you hit the road, it's crucial to understand car hire excess and how it works, especially when you're travelling in a foreign country.

Learn More
backBack to articles