Waterford Crystal, the prestigious brand behind New York City’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball and the chandeliers at Westminster Abbey, was founded back in 1783. These days, the public can visit the main crystal factory complex to observe skilled craftsmen blowing the molten crystal or browse a collection of dazzling crystal pieces.
Visitors can get inside the facility during a guided tour. Factory tours, lasting around 90 minutes, give visitors an overview of the crystal-making process—from how it’s blown, molded, shaped, cut, engraved, and finished. The factory also showcases examples of the acclaimed crystal in the on-site retail store and showroom. Dublin-based travelers can tour the factory as part of daylong rail trips to Waterford and Kilkenny or on longer multi-day tours around Southeast Ireland.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Learn about the legacy of Irish glassmaking.
- The Waterford Crystal facility is wheelchair accessible.
- A café on-site sells drinks and food, much of which is locally sourced.
How to Get There
The House of Waterford Crystal factory is situated on the mall in the center of Waterford City in Southeast Ireland. The factory is about a 20-minute walk from Waterford Plunkett railway station. Parking is available at a pay-and-display car park directly behind the factory.
When to Get There
The factory is busiest during the summer months. Tour numbers are limited, so if you plan on visiting during July or August, get there early in the day to secure your spot. Midweek is quieter than the weekend.
Historic Waterford City
Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford is packed with historical attractions. After touring the factory, you may want to explore the lanes of the so-called Viking Triangle. You can learn about Waterford in times past at the enlightening Medieval Museum, at the 11th-century Reginald's Tower, which houses exhibits on Viking and medieval history, and at the Georgian-era Bishop's Palace, which chronicles life in 18th-century Waterford.