Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reginald’s Tower

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” 
 Mark Twain

For this week’s exploration of the ‘101 things to do...’ we are going to take a look at one of Waterford City’s most fascinating and architecturally distinctive landmarks; Reginald’s Tower. The tower derives its name from a Irish Viking  ruler of the  Waterford City, Ragnall MacGillemaire, who was held prisoner by the Anglo-Normans in the tower.

Located at the apex of the Viking Triangle in Waterford City centre, Reginald's Tower is home to an exciting exhibition which displays a unique and fascinating collection of historic and archaeological artefacts. These artefacts, combined with the history exuded by the building itself, trace and reveal the story of Waterford's Viking heritage.  Built at the beginning of the 13th century, Reginald’s  Tower is a circular defensive tower. When the Anglo-Normans attacked Waterford in 1170, the tower severed a strategic importance, so  its capture heralded the fall of the city. Additionally, Reginald’s Tower was where the infamous Strongbow, leader of the Anglo-Norman invasion force, met Aoife, the daughter of Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster. It can be argued that their marriage the course of Irish history forever. 

While the tower was originally built as a defensive mechanism, the seemingly multipurpose tower has assumed a number of different personas down through the ages.  For instance, in later centuries the tower assumed the functions of a royal castle. Richard II visited the tower in 1394 and again in 1399. In 1399 Richard left Reginald's Tower as King of England and Wales; on his arrival in England he was captured by the future Henry VI and forced to abdicate. 

Additionally, the tower became a very important coin mint. In 1210 after King John visited the tower and order and ordered new coins to be struck here.  In 1463 the Irish Parliament established a mint in the tower. In 1495, the tower’s cannons successfully deterred the forces of Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the throne of Henry VII. This act of loyalty earned the city its motto "Urbs Intacta Manet" - "Waterford remains the unconquered city". In recent centuries, the tower served a number of different purposes such as being used as a prison and even a military store.

Amongst the Muesum’s most fascinating Viking treasures is "The Kite Brooch" which dates to 1090 and is often regarded as the finest example of 12th century metalwork in Ireland, worn by some wealthy Waterford aristocrats. The brooch is made from Gold, silver & glass.  Another fascinating piece is the Kufic Coin, which was minted in 742 in Wasit, Iraq, was found over a thousand years later in Woodstown. Also seen at Reginald's Tower, amongst other exhibits are the Viking Age 9th century beads from the Baltic. The museum also hosts a Viking Lead Weight from the 9th century found in Woodstown!

Reginald’s Tower forms a part of the Waterford Museum of Treasures collective; along with the Medieval Museum and Bishop’s Palace. One of the key features which attract tourists to the Waterford Museum of Treasures is the historical re-enacting experience provided. A team of actors portraying different characters will bring to life Waterford’s fascinating history in these engaging and imaginative tours.  So why not come and experience the history and wonder of the medieval city which are encapsulated in these museums.

If you a planning a trip to Waterford Castle Hotel, why not view our ‘101 things to do’, which contains a variety of activities which can be enjoyed during your trip. To view the list, please visit www.waterfordcastle.com .For further information in relation Reginald’s Tower, please visit http://www.waterfordtreasures.com/ or call +353 51 849501Additionally, if you are planning to visit Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort or if you have recently stayed with us, why not visit our Tripadvisor page http://www.tripadvisor.ie/Hotel_Review-g186638-d212907-Reviews-Waterford_Castle_Hotel-Waterford_County_Waterford.html .

Reginald Tower’s opening hours are as follows:

Easter - May : Daily from 10am – 5pm
June - Mid September : Daily from 10am – 6pm
Mid September - Easter : Wednesday - Sunday from10am – 5pm

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