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The city of Waterford has progressed and developed rapidly in recent years into the cultural, economic, educational, technological and industrial capital of the South East region. Now the fifth largest urban centre in the country, Waterford is a city of colour and excitement, a progressive city which has been identified in the National Development Plan and the National Spatial Strategy as a National Gateway.

With its galleries, museum, busy streets full of fascinating shops and architectural landmarks, Waterford is a delightful city through which to stroll, with 1,000 years of history meeting you on virtually every street corner. Indeed the city is renowned as the oldest centre of continuous urban settlement in Ireland and is consequently the island's oldest city. It also has the distinction of being older than all of the north European capitals except London and Paris.

Many of the city's most famous landmarks are located within walking distance of the city's panoramic quays. The magnificent William Vincent Wallace Plaza is situated on the riverfront; close by is John Roberts Square while several spectacular buildings designed by the renowned Waterford Georgian architect John Roberts are minutes away.

One of the key aspects of becoming a Gateway City is accessibility and imminent projects in Waterford include the construction of the city's Outer Ring Road, the commencement of the City Bypass and a second bridge crossing the River Suir, an enhanced rail and air service and the provision of broadband infrastructure throughout the city. The city is strategically located on the North-South Corridor Euroroute 30, with Dublin, Cork and Limerick / Shannon within a 2.5 hour drive. It's also on the national rail route with direct daily services to and from Dublin, Rosslare and Limerick and there is an excellent long-distance and local bus service. Waterford Regional Airport continues to grow: over 55,000 passengers flew on the scheduled Aer Arann services linking Waterford with London Luton, Manchester and Lorient in 2004.

The fruits of these improvements in Waterford and its hinterlands are clear to locals and visitors alike. The city is currently growing at about twice the national average and twice the average for the remainder of the southeast region. The population of the city stands at 46,736 and there is a population of 335,000 within a 60km radius of the city (Census 2002). This population growth naturally fuels change, with significant demand for new houses likely in the city over the next five years. Waterford's population profile is also getting younger as emigration slows to a virtual standstill and many former emigrants return home to enjoy the benefits of the current economic boom.

This youthful population is further buoyed by the attendance of some 6,400 full-time and 4,550 part-time students at Waterford's Institute of Technology, the largest of the Institutes of Technology outside Dublin. The Institute, which provides education up to doctorate level, is situated on the western outskirts of Waterford city and offers a range of academic programmes covering Humanities, Health and Nursing, Science and Informatics, Engineering, Business and Education. The Institute is set for major expansion in the coming years, with construction imminent on its corporate headquarters and a student village at a recently purchased estate at Carriganore.

One of the Institute's key research strengths is the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group which is a world class Telecommunications Research Centre founded in 1997. The centre has 50 employees with 15 Phds. The primary research focus is on telecommunications software and the mobile internet and the centre manages large-scale multi-national projects in the ICT sector.
Waterford is already home to several major international companies including Bausch & Lomb, AOL, Genzyme and Hasbro. With a strong culture of local buying, the main growth sectors are in electronics, engineering and healthcare. And the city's most famous export - Waterford Crystal - continues to be manufactured at its local plant, also one of the city's and country's top tourist attractions. Other well-known and world-class Waterford exports include Waterford Stanley Cast Iron Stoves, Cookers and Heaters, a local industry which dates back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 18th Century.

Waterford Industrial Park, covers an area of 350 acres, and houses many important employers while the IDA's regional headquarters is based at a 77-acre Business and Technology Park on the Cork Road. Greenfield utility-intensive projects are currently available at the IDA's development at the 500 acre Belview site , 4 miles from Waterford city and close to the new Port of Waterford site
Historically, Waterford has dominated the southern Irish Sea routes to the UK. The Port of Waterford is the nearest major Irish port to mainland Europe. It is Ireland's fastest growing port, offering all the facilities expected of a modern commercial port and will this year play host to the Irish leg of the International Tall Ships Race - an event expected to attract up to 250,000 visitors to the city.
A major rejuvenation project is also planned for the city's North Quays - 7 hectares of semi-derelict wharves, which stretch along the northern bank of the river. The plans for the site include a new hotel and marina, residential areas, shops, office buildings, a pedestrian walkway, a commuter ferry, a cruise liner docking station, car parking and public amenity areas. The plans revolve around a venue building that would offer a location for a very wide range of activities including concerts, conferences and exhibitions.

Property price rises as well as improvements in the provision of services, roads and transport infrastructure have contributed to an increased supply of development land throughout Waterford while the thriving retail market has a direct effect upon the sharp demand for prime city centre units. Buoyed by the spill-over effect of development land prices, farm prices continue to increase by an average of 10% a year in the Waterford area.

Added to this is the momentum of increased investment in urban renewal, new shopping centres and retail parks on the city's outskirts, which are helping to generate further employment and spread the benefits of economic growth.

Recent years have seen strong price growth in the residential sector, though Waterford is still one of the few major urban centres where house hunters can purchase a new, 3-bedroom house for under €200,000. The benefits of increased supply in the locality have been a key factor in contributing to this stability in property prices.

While history, economics and industry are important parts of what makes a city worth living in, Waterford has so much more which contributes to the exceptional quality of life in the city and its environs. Shopping in Waterford is a lively and varied affair, with sophisticated high fashion boutiques, interesting antique shops and craft studios abundant to satisfy even the most fervent shopper.

A popular tourist destination, Waterford offers a wide choice of eateries including gourmet, vegetarian and ethnic restaurants and a host of popular public houses. Waterford's cultural life is also thriving. Garter Lane Arts Centre stages many exhibitions of art, design and photography while Garter Lane is also the name for a modern theatre where Red Kettle Theatre Company has produced many world premieres - several of which have won critical acclaim and international honours. The Theatre Royal, located beside City Hall, is also well worth a visit. The city is surrounded by a wonderful variety of natural and unspoiled countryside. Within 20 miles of the city, you can find seaside resorts like Tramore and Dunmore East as well as other quaint fishing ports such as Cheekpoint and Passage East, and secluded beaches. Also nearby are the Comeragh Mountains from where there are some spectacular views.

The quality of life in the city and its environs is exceptional, whether one is into sailing, mountain walks, or any number of other sports. A natural playground for golf enthusiasts, Waterford offers the perfect sporting experience with quality hotel and conference facilities at Waterford Castle and Faithlegg House Hotel.

Secondary Schools:
De La Salle: 051 - 875294
Waterpark College: 051 - 874445
Mt Sion CBS: 051 - 377378
Newtown School: 051 - 874124
Ursuline Secondary School: 051 - 873788
Sacred Heart of Mary: 051 832930
St Paul's Community College: 051 - 355816
Our Lady of Mercy: 051 - 374161
Presentation Secondary School: 051 - 376584