The magnificently restored Bishop’s Palace will be officially opened by Dr Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport at on Wednesday June 22nd in the presence of Cllr. Mary Roche, Mayor of Waterford City and Dr Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland.
The historic Bishop’s Palace reveals the story of Waterford from 1700 to the 1970s and contains many items of national and international significance, including the only surviving Bonaparte ‘mourning cross’ in the world (only twelve of these crosses were originally made in 1812 on Bonaparte’s death ), the Penrose decanter – the oldest surviving piece of ‘Waterford Crystal’ which dates back to 1789, as well as the precious van der Hagen 1736 painting of Waterford city which was commissioned by Waterford Corporation for the princely sum of £20 and which has hung in the council chambers for many years.
The Bishop’s Palace offers a unique experience for visitors. The building contains a cornucopia of fascinating artifacts, period furniture, beautiful fireplaces and a collection of rare and important paintings. An entire floor of the building is dedicated to historic stories specific to Waterford such as Ballybricken’s pig markets, Waterford’s Home Rule story, the First World War in Waterford, the War of Independence in Waterford, childhood and household living in Waterford and the fascinating story of Brendan Bowyer and the ‘Hucklebuck’!
Waterford city boasts the finest collection of 18th century architecture of any city in Ireland outside of Dublin, and its great legacy from the period is its elegant architecture, silverware and of course, fine glassmaking. This period of elegance began in Waterford in 1741 when the Anglo-German architect Richard Cassels designed the wonderful Bishop’s Palace. Today Richard Cassels is celebrated as one of Ireland’s greatest architects having designed most of the great buildings of Ireland including Powerscourt House, the Rotunda Hospital and the seat of the Irish parliament, Leinster House in Dublin.
Eamonn McEneaney, Director of Waterford Museum of Treasures stated that “The Bishop’s Palace is one of the most important 18th century buildings in Waterford which has now been restored to its former glory as a typical grand residence of its time. This wonderful building has been transformed into a showcase for the great treasures of 18th and 19th century Waterford for everyone to enjoy.”
The Bishop’s Palace is the jewel in the crown of the Waterford Museum of Treasures. It marks a significant milestone in the development of the Viking Triangle, Waterford’s historic city centre. With over 1,000 years of history in 1,000 paces, Waterford’s unique history, heritage and culture are key to developing a successful tourism industry. The Viking Triangle development has been made possible under Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Capital Investment Programme as part of the National Development Plan 2007 – 2013.
Eamonn McEneaney (Director of Waterford Museum of Treasures) and Mr. Michael Walsh (Waterford City Manager) are available for interviews on the Bishop’s Palace and Waterford’s Viking Triangle.
The Bishop’s Palace is open to the public from Thursday 23rd June 2011. Full details of opening hours, admission prices and guided tours are available at www.waterfordtreasures.com or on Facebook.