Waterford’s Cultural Quarter

Explore O’ Connell Street’s Cultural Quarter where culture, heritage and creativity are part of everyday life.

In the heart of Waterford city centre lies O’Connell Street – a vibrant part of town, full of character and where creativity and culture are embraced head-on. Once a bustling hub of enterprise in the 1600s, today, Waterford’s Cultural Quarter is a creative space that celebrates freedom of expression, people, art and cultural diversity.

Heritage and history

Situated beside the quays and near the port of Waterford, its location played a key role in the street’s industrial heritage. It was also where the first Quakers came to settle back in 1655. Families fled persecution, made O’Connell street their home and set up business there. In fact, the first cream cracker was created here by the famous Jacob family and the world-famous Waterford Crystal glass was first established here by the Penrose family in 1783.

Discover The Quaker Trail here

Street art adds a burst of colour

When you walk along O’Connell street today, you’ll see an impressive collection of large-scale urban art decorating the walls of buildings that can be admired as you walk the street. Each year, internationally renowned street artists take up their brush during the Waterford Walls festival and leave behind a fine collection of walls of colour to enjoy.

Pub culture

With quite a few traditional Irish pubs in the area, the street has some of the most interesting, charming pubs (and the best pint of Guinness…) in the city. Take Thomas Maher’s pub, Waterford’s oldest pub and up to recently, only served men. These days, everyone is welcome to pop in for a drink. Sample their whiskey mac and listen to stories of times gone by told by some very interesting clientele.

Tully’s Bar just across the road from Thomas Maher’s is another fine pub that serves a great selection of craft beer and whiskeys. A typical night is often bouncing between both Tullys and Thomas Mahers.

Back towards the city centre, check out T&H Doolins – a historical tavern famous for live traditional music and good pints. Finally, there’s J&K Walshes, a quaint Victorian pub and the perfect spot to sip a pint and watch the world go by – all part of everyday life in the Cultural Quarter.

Authentic food and coffee

A visit to the Cultural Quarter wouldn’t be complete without a trip to The Old Couch Cafe. The chef’s passion for creative dishes shines through their cuisine – daily specials, good coffee and fantastic treats to be had. Book ahead if you can.

If you fancy something quick and tasty, Chingon located in The Phoenix Yard Market sells ‘bad ass‘ burritos from their food truck. Fast, fresh and very, very tasty – seating outside too.

If it’s some relaxation you’re after, then a visit to The Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms is a must. Freedom of expression and creativity runs through the heart of the place. With great food and fabulous coffee, it’s a place to relax and enjoy the charm of the prohibition era. Staff are super welcoming too.

The Old Couch Cafe
Cafes

The Old Couch Café

Cosy and chill cafe with great food and coffee. Great for breakfast, lunch or just a coffee and a cake!

Restaurants

Phoenix Street Yard

The Phoenix Yard Market sells ‘bad ass‘ burritos from their food truck. Fast, fresh and very, very tasty – seating outside too.

See the latest art exhibitions at Garter Lane

Cultural events year-round happen at Garter Lane Arts Centre where you can attend art exhibitions, plays, movie nights and other events. Just down the road sits Waterford Gallery of Art – another art gallery well worth dropping in to and features various artists throughout the year.

Shop vintage and ethnic stores

O’Connell street itself has quite a few ethnic food stores to explore. There’s also The Vintage Factory with its impressive facade – take a look inside to find some of the best vintage clothing in town. Souk Dalma, a small retail outlet and one of the newest shops on the street; stocks stylish brands and accessories.

Come see for yourself!

We can only tell you about Waterford’s Cultural Quarter and show you some of our favourite spots. Come see for yourself and discover yourfavourite part of it all.