Waterford is a beautiful county situated on the southern shoreline of Ireland, between the counties Cork and Wexford. It’ well known for its Viking past and its crystal, but did you also know that Waterford has one of the most important ports in Ireland? In fact, it is the closest Irish port to mainland Europe. Read on for more.
Maritime activity has always been a major part of Waterford’s history, since the Vikings first discovered the strategic importance of this little settlement. Here, three large rivers met and entered the sea – the Suir, the Nore and the Barrow.
Trade was a huge part of the port’s activity and even from Norman times it was a major point of import and export especially from Spain, France and Italy with wheat, flour and butter making up the bulk of the exports. During the 19th century it was the setting for major shipbuilding, which became a huge industry here – in fact, some major transatlantic liners and the largest fleet of iron steamers in the world were built here!
The Port of Waterford can be found located downstream from the city centre and about 20km from the open sea. It is one of the most significant ports in Ireland as it has the strategic advantage of being the closest to mainland Europe. Most shipping connections favour this route as it saves on fuel, time, turnaround times for ships and it also makes the port a superb base for importers and exporters.
The port mainly handles cargo and container services but also the odd cruise ship. Bellview is the port’s main facility and was developed in the 1990′s. It has all the relevant bulk handling equipment and warehouse space, as well as direct access to the N25 national roadway.
Cruise ships are a frequent sight, as the Port of Waterford has become an attractive cruise ship destination. The location of the port close to the Irish Sea, English Channel and Atlantic Ocean makes it a suitable ‘stop-over’ on a lot of cruise ship itineraries.
The Port of Waterford is now one of the fastest growing ports in Ireland having processed 2.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2008. It also played host to the Tall Ships Race in 2005 and beat off some stiff competition to secure the port as a destination again for the Tall Ships Race in 2011.
For more information on the Port of Waterford check out the Port of Waterford website