Watch Tower, Longitude: 7° 6' 43" W. Latitude: 52° 15' 23" N.

Looking south along the walls on Castle Street

Waterford

Town Defences

At over eleven hundred years old Waterford is Ireland's oldest City. It was established by the Vikings, in an area still known as the Viking Triangle, in the early 10th century. After the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1169, a major rebuilding of the towns defences took place. By the end of the first quarter of the 13th century, the defences had been extended to the west. More rebuilding and additions took place into the middle of the 15th century. At one time 17 towers formed part of the towns defences. Including Reginald's Tower, where I suggest you begin your walk around the walls, six of these towers are still remain today.

Double Tower, Longitude: 7° 6' 46" W. Latitude: 52° 15' 24" N.

If you walk about 650 metres south west from Reginalds tower, away from the river, you will come to the Watch tower. It stands in a small green area on the east side of Manor Street. It is cylindrical in shape with walls jutting out from the north-west and the east, see top image. The gun loops at the bottom of the arrow slits, suggest that these embrasures may have been modified in the 15th/ 16th century. Walking back across the road, and up Castle street, you will see the Double Tower on your right. This flanking tower, see image above, consists of two chambers, which gave the tower it's name. In the north west chamber a passageway gave access to St John's Priory Hospital. This seven metre long rectangular tower, was built into the town walls in the late 15th, early 16th century.

The French tower from within the town

French Tower, Longitude: 7° 6' 51" W. Latitude: 52° 15' 26" N.

Semi-Lunar Tower

Further along Castle street you can see the French Tower. It is believed the name is derived from the large French community that lived in this part of the city. The walls take a sharp right turn north along cross street at this point. This section of wall, viewed from within, is probably the best conserved section. At the end of Cross street the walls turned left then right. A section of wall with a flanking tower, known as the Semi-Lunar tower, still exists behind St Stephen's De la Salle Primary School. At certain times there is access to this section, through the school grounds. Please ask for permission. I could see the tower, above the top of a locked gate, from Mayor's Walk. See image left. Further north the walls turn right running down Patrick Street. There is a section of wall by St Patrick's Methodist Church where St Patrick's Gate once stood.

After St Patrick's take the 2nd left up a small Lane, This cul-de-sac will take you to the top of Beach Tower, pictured below. The tower was built upon a rocky outcrop and offers commanding views of the River Suir. An unusual feature of the tower are the Irish crenellations. The 15th century tower was rebuilt in the 17th century. It was built as a bastioned citadel on the outside of the city walls. To get a better view of the tower and walls from the outside, walk back towards Patrick St, but take the left lane down to the car-park below. From here, in the car park, you can see the outside of the city walls leading up to the Beach Tower. Although Cromwell failed to take Waterford City in 1649, it was taken by Henry Ireton the following year, it is believed the phrase "By Hook or by Crook" was derived from Cromwell's determination to take the city, by Hook, a headland on the east side of the Suir, or by Crooke, a village on the western banks of the river.

Beach Tower, Longitude: 7° 6' 49" W. Latitude: 52° 15' 40" N.

Situated: This short photographic tour begins at Reginald's Tower at the eastern end of Parade Quay, opposite the Towers Hotel.

Discovery Map 75: S 6108 1245. Last visit July 2018.

Longitude: 7° 6' 19" W. Reginald's Tower

Latitude: 52° 15' 38" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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