Layers of History in Waterford City

Waterford City is the oldest city in Ireland and there are times when I love to just soak back into the past when I go in there from my home in Tramore ~ just 8 miles away.

This morning was one of those occasions and I strolled around with echoes from hundreds of years ago sounding everywhere.


This plaque is on the wall of Jordan’s Bar on the Quay.

Jordan's Bar, The Quay, Waterford
Jordan’s Bar, The Quay, Waterford

Jordan’s itself is over 300 years old and has been in the hands of the Jordan family now for 70 years. It served as a boarding house, The Parade Hotel, as well as a bar for many years.

Andy Jordan
Andy Jordan

Andy Jordan is a man with a passion for history and the interior of the bar has wonderful worn wood that goes back into the mists of time.

Jordan’s is known as an American Bar and this is not because it is trying to emulate any US establishment. Rather, it is because it was once a place where people could buy tickets for the boat to America. They would first get a boat from Waterford to Southhampton in England and from there board a ship to America. For most, this was a one way journey.

Lots of things in Jordan’s caught my eye including this print of Waterford in the days before cars:


Andy Jordan pointed out two very interesting aspects relating to this print. It is derived from the well-known A.H. Poole Collection of Photography which operated from Waterford between 1884 and 1954. The building in the foreground is Reginald’s Tower (built in 1003) and the A.H. Poole business operated out of the building next to that. The bridge at the end of the Quay was a wooden bridge, known as Timbertoes, and, according to Andy Jordan, it is said that the pieces of wood from the bridge were used in a number of different premises around the City when it was dismantled in 1910, having spanned the River Suir since 1794.

Waterford City was buzzing with both locals and tourists today and there was also an air of excitement about the fact that the Waterford Hurling team were taking on the might of Co. Kilkenny (which begins for us just across the River Suir) in the Semi-Final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship.

The game, which was a heart-stopping affair, ended in a draw so we’re drawing breath again until next Saturday evening!

Jordan's Window of Time on Waterford!
Jordan’s Window of Time on Waterford!




Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

31 thoughts on “Layers of History in Waterford City”

  1. What a fun read, and educational as well. I love the print–I have a soft spot for early prints. I think I would enjoy having a seat and having a drink, whilst learning about the local lore. Save me a spot at the table!

    1. I can’t agree more! Jean’s posts always brighten my day. One day I hope to visit the wonderful place Jean calls home.

  2. I love learning about the different aspects of the past that we can see today…its always special to walk around and check it out:):) I also love the print…

  3. Interesting historical blog today. My late brother Niall Byrne had a deep love for Water ford’s history.
    The heart stopping match between Waterford and Kilkenny yesterday reminds me of the All Ireland win of 1959 by Waterford. C’mon The Deise!

  4. Fascinating story, photos and history Jean. Thank you so very much. Love the picture of the tower built in 1003. It was 650 years after that before any European even set foot in Canada – except of course the Vikings but they were just short term and only for their purposes, not to colonize. Your history is so much richer.

    As an aside Jean, I did a guest post over at Mark’s today I would be honored if you had the time to drop by. Thank You.

  5. Interesting stuff! 🙂
    No King ever visited our area… but Al Capone had a large house on the river, across from us and south a bit, for many years. The house was for sale, and we actually looked at it, but it was way too big for just the two of us. There is a single road that goes to that house (rurally) and (a good distance from the house) there are two brick houses (all by themselves), one on each side of the road. They were lookout houses, and if the cops came, the Big House would get a phone call and Al would get in a boat and take off down the river (out of sight). That’s the American way! 🙂

    1. WOW, I wasn’t expecting to get such an insight into the American way arising out of this post, even though it has American connections. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Well I never, Jean. Jordan’s was my ‘local’ during my few months stay in Waterford. Though I knew it was connected with the emigrant boats I knew nothing else of its history. A friendly place all right, serving a great pint. Furniture and carpet a bit tatty (in 2009) but that was irrelevant.

    Impressed by the Deise yesterday but I think they’ve had their best chance.

    1. Hi Roy, this post was basically written for you as I knew Jordan’s was your place. I really should have dedicated it to you!
      Yeah, what a history it has.
      As for the hurlers, I’m still in recovery so how must they be? I have full faith and feel that the replay being in Thurles is to our advantage. They are certainly coming of age.

      1. Ah how nice, thank you 🙂 A couple of chapters of my last book (Barry2) was set in Waterford and featured my triangular route of Jordan’s, Katty Barry’s and Alfie Hale’s 🙂 When I had an hour or two, which wasn’t often.
        I’ll be shouting for the Deise again next time. A trip to Croker would be nice for them.

          1. To be honest Jean I didn’t really get to leave the city. The most countryside I saw was up around Knockhouse Road or over the bridge down towards Belview on my Sunday runs. I owe County Waterford a more extensive visit some day.

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