Waterford Castle

Waterford Castle

Coordinates: 52°15′11″N 7°03′25″W / 52.253°N 7.057°W / 52.253; -7.057 Waterford Castle is a historic house on Little Island in Waterford City, Ireland. The house was owned by a branch of the Fitzgerald family for hundreds of years, but was developed into a hotel in the 1980s.

Previous Castle

Little Island Ferry

The original Fitzgerald castle was probably a tower-house or fortified house and was described as a square building with battlements erected in the 16th century, with a pointed doorway and a window flanked by a stone head.[1] The branch of the Fitzgerald family that owned Waterford Castle were the descendants of Patrick Fitzgerald, son of the de jure 6th Earl of Kildare.[2]

Current House

The current castle is a Gothic-style house which was built in 1895 for Gerald Purcell-Fitzgerald (1865-1946)[3] which incorporates the fabric of an earlier (pre-1845) house, and parts of the medieval (pre-1645) tower-house. The designs were prepared by Romayne Walker and supervised by Albert Murrary (1849 - 1924). The construction is in unrefined rubble stone with fine cut-stone quoins and window frames, topped with Irish-style battlements.[4]

The traditions of the Castle are honoured in the décor of the 19 elegant bedrooms; each one offering gracious style combined with all the modern comforts you might expect of a world class hotel establishment. Each of the 5 suites has a private sitting room and 14 deluxe bedrooms are en-suite twins and double/kings. Waterford Castle Lodges are luxurious 3 & 4 Bedroom holiday homes within the 320 acre Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort, superbly designed, the comfortable and stylish Lodges provide the perfect escape for all the family. Discreetly situated in a secluded enclave on the edge of the resort golf course alongside the 11th fairway and adjacent to the 10th green. [5]

Historic Features

The Fitzgerald Coat of Arms is found above the fireplace in the Great Hall, the Fitzgerald Coat of Arms Crest reveals the story of the Norman family who became almost more Irish than the Irish themselves. The quarterly shield forms the centrepiece of the Crest. Crossed lines combine to form the St. Julian Cross. On the top left quarter and right bottom quarter of the shield are quarter crescent moons with a star in the centre. The top right and bottom left quarters of the shield is decorated with several boar heads which are a symbol of hospitality. The two angels holding the shield are protectors and guardians of the family and their helmets symbolise nobility. To the top right of the Crest, a hand holds a sword piercing a boar's head symbolising the family's graciousness and generosity in victory. The inscription at the top of the Arms 'Crom A Boo' is the family's war cry, translating as 'Dissolve Forever'. This motto refers to the family's old Norman allegiance to England and is a public declaration of their loyalty to their English heritage.

The monkey, which is an unusual symbol of Irish heraldry, is shown carrying a crescent moon and star. The crescent moon symbolises the second son and the star represents the third son. A family story revealed to successive generations explains the unique inclusion of the monkey on the Arms: Many centuries ago, the heir of the family died. His second son (symbolised by the crescent moon) acquired the title. His first two sons died, leaving the infant third son (symbolised by the star) as the only surviving heir. While the infant child was asleep upstairs, a fire ravaged the home and in sensing danger the family's pet monkey made his way along the parapet and brought the infant to safety. Saving him from an untimely death.

The Fitzgerald's preserved and paid homage to this unique story by planting a Monkey Puzzle Tree which has survived to this day and can be found standing majestically in the front of the Castle.[6]


The castle's antiquities are an ornate and exquisitely beautiful representation of The Island's history. The Great Hall is decorated with Elizabethan Oak panelling, Portland Stone Walls, graceful arches and striking 16th century plastered ceiling. Also hanging in the Great Hall are the Aubusson Louis Seize style wool tapestries which originally adorned the Castle. One depicting an 18th-century hunting party, the other depicting a christening party assembled outside a castle in 16th century costume. They were both lost at one time however relocated and returned to the Castle by Mr Kearns in 1988.

A Victorian Rococo carved gilt-wood over-mantle mirror hangs above the fireplace in the Fitzgerald Room. The Bar is a Victorian Louis Quinze in carved walnut, decorated with figurative and animal panels, flower leaf scrolls, moulding and beading; A pair of distinguished 19th century English School oil paintings of racehorses with jockeys at full pace also decorate the lounge along with portraits and photographs of the Fitzgerald family.

The Munster Room is exquisitely decorated with ceiling-high oak panelling, a carved oak mantelpiece and fine plastered ceiling. It also contains striking paintings, one of which is the portrait of 'An Architect' with his assistant at a table painted by J. Barry.

Beautiful antique furniture can be seen throughout the Castle; a carved oak settee and chairs decorated with eagles and swan heads; a pair of Victorian Jacobean style oak cabinets with upper cupboards enclosed by colour leaded glass and a pair of George III style carved mahogany cabinets. The cabinets are decorated with carved floral festoons and rosettes, which embellish the doors and yellow vein, inlaid marble tops with Gothic markings; a George III style long case clock gently marks the passing of time. This handcrafted antique was made in Waterford and has a field panel door and brass dial.[7]


Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort were honoured with the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards which are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and they are commonly known as "the best of the best of travel."

Waterford Castle were placed 3rd in the Top Ten Hotels of Europe 2016 and 7th in The 50 Best Hotels in The World by Condé Nast Traveler.

Current Head Chef Michael Thomas of Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort, was awarded the "Best Chef Regional Winner of Munster" and also the main award of the night winning "Best Chef of Ireland 2017" by The YesChef Awards 2017 which took place at the City North Hotel, Gormanston on Tuesday, October 4.[8]


External links

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