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Double Take: The vibrant new mural celebrating Waterford's Viking heritage

Ireland’s oldest walled city got a colourful makeover.

ANY PEOPLE view the history of Ireland as being shaped primarily by the Celts. But our Viking heritage from the north continues to make an impact on the country today.

That impact is most obvious in Waterford (which apart from anything else is the only Irish county with a Viking place name).

This was celebrated at this year’s Waterford Walls International Street Art Festival with a stunning mural paying homage to its first settlers, the Vikings.  

The mural of pastel-hued ombré lettering layered atop crashing waves was handpainted by Dublin-based artist Holly Pereira. It spells out ‘Vedarfjordr’, the Norse name for Waterford.

According to Tim Lambert’s detailed account on Waterford’s medieval past on LocalHistories.org, the name given to the county by the Vikings roughly translates as ‘weather ford’. ”It was a place where ships could shelter from the weather,” he writes.

The city has held onto a lot of its original architecture, dating back to the twelfth century. As noted on IrishWalledTownsNetwork.ie, “nearly two kilometers of town wall, along with Reginald’s Tower and five other towers remain. Together they constitute the largest collection of medieval urban defences in Ireland.” 

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Speaking to The Journal.ie, Pereira told us about the inspiration behind her piece for Waterford Walls. “I wanted to convey the importance of Waterford and how it was, historically, a really important trading centre in Ireland”, claimed Pereira.

“I read about the Viking heritage there and the Norse language. I’m in love with all lettering, so utilising a different character set was exciting!”

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