I often find my mind wondering while doing every day things, but especially thinking back to the history of the places I’m passing through. I’ve used pictures of the Waterford Greenway before, because it is very picturesque, but it’s also a road taken by many people throughout our history.
Children today will know this place as a safe playground, a cycle way with no cars and very little in the way of hills. It is a very beautiful route travelling from Dungarvan on the coast around the Commeragh Mountains, then along the Suir Valley into Waterford City.
So who has taken this road before? With the proximity of the river, the area has been important with traders, throughout history. Kilmeaden Castle stands on the south bank of the Suir, and controlled a lot of the local trading with Norman England, which could be why Oliver Cromwell was so upset.
Long before the railway was built and Cromwell came to visit, Waterford was a very popular destination with the Vikings. The Woodstown Viking Site at the edge of the Greenway, was only rediscovered in 2003, whilst doing excavation work for a new road. The were so many artefacts discovered that work on the road was immediately stopped. The range of objects found on the site, on display in Reginalds Tower museum and well worth a visit, show how important international trade was to the Vikings.
At the edge of the river bank, near the Woodstown Site, it this stone. Why is it there? I don’t know the answer, but my imagination tells me it’s important. Think of the river as The Road Taken, would this be the Viking equivalent of a parking meter to moor your longboat to, or maybe it’s for the equivalent of the traffic management camera with a Viking sitting on this guiding the river traffic to the right dock. Maybe one day we will find out for sure.