2010’s A Decade to Remember
by Aaron Dower
As the 2010’s come to a close, we enter a brand new decade. A decade full of promise, prosperity and positivity. Just to think at the start of this decade Waterford In Your Pocket didn’t even exist (I know it’s scary!). WIYP was born in only 2014. We hope that we’ve provided everyone with as much enjoyment as we had over the best part of last decade!
We have explored Waterford from east to west in search of a place in Waterford we haven’t visited yet. As the Dalai Lama once said “we should visit a new place once a year!” (We do this every week). I had the privilege to visit some remarkable places that were just awe inspiring! Hiking up Knockanaffrin Ridge was truly exceptional with the view overlooking Waterford County. Canoeing down the Blackwater to Cappoquin with the Scouts was another highlight, as we passed under Lismore Castle which was exhilarating – what true beauty! Even when Mr. And Mrs. Waterford In Your Pocket packed a day bag with a flask of hot water with coffee, tea, sugar and milk as well as the necessary Blaas/sambos and a bottle of water for the dogs, I knew we were visiting somewhere new. This was always exciting. We’d visit such places from Dromana Gate and Ballysaggartmore to the Vee (which is in both Waterford and Tipperary) all in one day before returning to Waterford City. Nobody truly knew where we could visit next.
We did have the privilege to whale watch with our dear friend Lenny who tragically passed away earlier this year; but without him we wouldn’t have been able to see the fin whales and porpoises who were swimming around the Waterford Estuary. It was one of those things that would make you feel like you were David Attenborough. The nature we’ve experienced in this decade was truly amazing.
We had so many storms that I have lost track of which one is which! The biggest ones we can remember were “The Beast from the East” and “Storm Ophelia”. The Beast created so much enjoyment for everyone as they were able to build snowmen or bobsled down a hill. As for Storm Ophelia brought us heavy winds and rain that created a “bread dilemma”, which was unbelievably hilarious for the tweets and snaps that surfaced. The best part of the diverse weather of the decade were the heatwaves we had. Where people were warmer here than they were in the Canaries.
We did have a number of misfortunate events through this decade such as Waterford Crystal closing (I know it was 2009) but the positive was that it reopened in July of 2010 on The Mall in Waterford City. We lost so many truly inspirational people throughout the county! Talking about people, the Waterford people were truly amazing in this decade. Without the people and communities of Waterford so many events may not have happened! Waterford In Your Pocket had the opportunity to cover so many of these wonderful events.
Spraoi is always one of our highlights of the year because you’ll always bump into someone you haven’t seen in years, the only other time that will happen is Christmas time. Other festivals such as Daytripper, Big Top Live, West Waterford Festival of Food, Winterval, Tramore Promenade Festival, Dungarvan Aglow, Dunmore East Bluegrass festival, County fair, Comeragh’s Wild Festival, The Waterford Truck Show and many many more were always a joy to cover. The Churchyard Sessions another event that we always thoroughly enjoy, the music is great, the weather is typically good to an outdoor venue. But honestly, I could be here for the rest of the year rattling my brain to remember all the events we covered.
There has been so many positive developments in Waterford this decade from the opening of the Waterford Greenway, which starts at the Edmund Rice Bridge in Waterford City and extends as far as Dungarvan, it passes through picturesque scenery of the River Suir, The Comeragh Mountains and our beautiful coastline. It’s a truly beautiful sight to see.
Speaking of the Greenway, Mount Congreve opened its Gardens to the general public for the first time in this decade after the sad death of Ambrose Congreve. The gardens are always changing from one week to the next due to the nature of the flora and fauna that exists in the gardens.
Another garden that opened up this decade was the Lafcadio Hearn Gardens in Tramore. These Japanese gardens are quite unique for where it’s based in the centre of a built up metropolitan area. Tramore became a favourite destination for coffee and meeting friends as both Moe’s Café and T-bay have become so popular. T-bay was 50 years old in 2019 making it one of the oldest surf clubs in the country. Cafe’s have slowly become more popular throughout the county. There’s nothing nicer than sipping on a coffee overlooking Dungarvan Bay and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Even in Waterford City so many new places opened up with the likes of Cafe Nero, Starbucks, The Vault and Costa as well as Carters (formerly Lily O’Briens). This also led to more development in the city, The Apple Market being one of the more notable places that had a redevelopment, resembling a star destroyer from Star Wars.
The knock on effect to this was the development of a car park in the Gasworks. The Gasworks was the host to many events such as Daytripper and Big Top Live who have had acts such as the king Kong Company, Finbar Fury, Sigala, Madness and the Happy Mondays to name but a few. It’s a prime location for such events!
It was also the facility where the parade for the GAA World Games in 2019 began. People from all over the world who played Gaelic Games, from such places as Germany, Iberia, France, Brisbane, Sydney, Dubai, Chicago, New York and many more flocked to Waterford City. It was a spectacle that showed the impact that Ireland had on communities across the globe! All the games were played at the WIT Arena. The arena didn’t open till 2016 and has been a hub for many events due to the flexibility of the venue from concerts to expo’s to sporting events. A true versatile venue! This was made possible by the construction of the Waterford by-pass (opened in late 2009). The “new bridge” wasn’t given a name until 2015 when it was named after a Waterford man who brought Ireland the Tricolour in 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher!
Waterford has been a hive for redevelopment even Penney’s in Waterford city was redeveloped. The best part of this redevelopment was the ability to preserve an old city wall which is located in the middle of the current Penney’s. A piece of history preserved and protected! It wasn’t unveiled till 2014 making it one of Ireland’s largest Penney’s. The downside to it was it made it too easy to lose people while you were shopping!!! Business has been booming in Waterford. Making the city more attractive. Many businesses have come and gone. I know my generation fell in love with Shake Shack which started first where Inglot is now in City square. They relocated to beside the Book Centre in John Robert’s Square. Many a time I sat in there sipping away on an Oreo milkshake while it’s raining outside! Like I said many businesses have been created in this decade and one such place was Boxworks that promotes office space for a small business. Boxworks only opened their second premises this past year. Great initiative and opportunity for any start up businesses! This helped to increase the development of more micro businesses too. We’ve been lucky to come in contact with so many great people from markets such as the Copper Coast Market and also many home grown micro businesses. There’s so many great micro businesses in Waterford! Arclabs in Carriganore by the WIT Arena has been a “silicon valley” in Waterford with 9 new companies in 2018 moving in after the development of the building in Carriganore which facilitates such businesses!
With so much redevelopment I nearly forgot about the Viking Triangle and City Square which has expanded with a food court moving into where the restaurant and Game Stop were upstairs in City Square. The Viking Triangle has developed into a magnet for tourists with the Medieval Museum, the Bishops Palace, Christ Church Cathedral Reginald’s Tower and the Viking Experience (VR). Waterford has been privileged with the wealth of history that the Viking Triangle offers and all within a short walking distance!
Within the last decade we did have the demolition of the old mills on the North Quays which are going to be a hot topic coming into the new decade. The mills have been on the North Quays for decades and have been in disrepair since their closure. With only bats and rats left in the mill, it was deemed to be knocked down in the hope of pushing a redevelopment of the North Quays. The new decade looks like that redevelopment may just come.
One thing I didn’t mention yet is sport. So many great sporting memories to jump into and reminisce. From Waterford winning the Munster title in 2010 to Waterford FC reaching an Europa League spot in the Airtricity League. The decade saw amazing individual accomplishments such as Thomas Barr being a hair’s breadth away from winning a medal in Rio representing Ireland in the 400m hurdles final. A true sporting achievement as no Irish man has come close to what he did!
Niamh Briggs definitely deserves a mention. The former Irish Captain who has been Ireland’s talisman winning two Six Nations titles in this decade and was in that famous team that beat New Zealand for the first time. This paved the way for the men to beat New Zealand in this decade. She also won Ireland’s Female Rugby Player of the Year award twice. I even had the opportunity to lift the six nations title with Niamh Briggs, a picture is surfaces now and again of that. At a local level Ballygunner have been utterly dominant in the hurling county scene and have made it as far as the semi finals of the All Ireland Club Championship. However, Waterford did win an all-Ireland in this decade thanks to the minors in 2013 beating Galway. To say The Mall in Waterford was full when they came home was an understatement. The next time a Waterford inter-county team reached the final was 2017. We all know what happened but it gave us a Summer of utter craic and surprises, beating Kilkenny in the championship for the first time since 1959. To say everyone needed a day off after that game was probably the biggest understatement in this century! Unfortunately Galway did beat Waterford in the final. When the Hurlers came home tens of thousands showed up on the quay to welcome their heroes back. A sporting memory that will live long with many people. There was an abundance of entertainment in the past decade with such events as Summer in the City, Churchyard Sessions and BuskAid stemming from this niche of entertainment during the Summer.
BuskAid has now become a Christmas tradition in Waterford City Centre, where all the buskers in Waterford play throughout the city centre to raise funds for charity. We are the proud sponsors of this great event with so many great musicians involved. Many have been playing at Summer in the City and the Churchyard Sessions. Without these events the Summer life in Waterford City may not be as vibrant.
From my point of view it was an amazing decade. I have met so many influential and inspirational people that there’s too many to count. I was a 10 year old in De La Salle at the start of the decade and now I’m a 20 year old studying in WIT at the end of the decade. It felt like only yesterday when I was sitting on the wall in Tramore eating a Dooley’s chip after a day at primary school but that was 10 years ago. This decade was unbelievably great for everything that has happened. The Tall Ships in 2011 stands out in my memory as one of the best events ever, where Mr. And Mrs. Waterford in your pocket were married it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Back then Waterford in your pocket was just a brain child. Now, 8 years and 5 months later we are on the eve of 2020. For many people a fresh start. A new decade, a promising future and a world where Waterford In Your Pocket will improve year on year and promote and spread Waterford’s positivity! So many great memories were made throughout this decade. My mind, being like a sieve, doesn’t help me remember all the great things that happened in this decade, but I hope you enjoyed reminiscing about the few I did remember with me!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year from all of us here at Waterford In Your Pocket!