By Paddy Ryan
Reginald’s Tower is the obvious starting point of Waterford’s Viking Triangle. This is because in different formats, it has kept watch on the quays below for over a thousand years. Originally a wooden structure, it was built by the Vikings to fortify the walls of the city where they had established a major trading post.
Indeed, it illustrates the importance of Waterford as it was named Regnall’s Tower after the Viking leader who also ruled York – the most prestigious Viking stronghold in England. During that thousand plus years, it has been put to a diverse range of uses.
The importance of Waterford as Ireland’s premier city saw the Normans take control by 1170 when they re-christened the Viking structure as Reginald’s Tower. At least two kings of those earlier years of the Norman invasion made grand entrances on the quays below.
And just to prove it wasn’t all fanfare and dispensing largesse, four centuries later, Reginald’s Tower hosted the ignominious departure of King James II after his defeat at the Boyne. He is said to have wept bitterly on the battlements before heading into exile.
Reginald’s Tower features prominently in the background of that magnificent painting by Cork-born artist, Daniel Maclise, The Wedding of Strongbow to Aoife Mac Murrough. That wedding was to seal the deal made by the treacherous Leinster King, Diarmaid Mac Murrough, with the Normans, when he invited them to Ireland.
Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own