Visitor Numbers Up.

Visitor Numbers Up.

Waterford enjoys pre-Covid visitors numbers as Winterval visitors are back to 2019 levels


Visitor Numbers Up; Waterford enjoys pre-Covid levels of visitor numbers and an economic impact of €14 million as the number of visitors to Winterval is back to 2019 levels.

Waterford has been bustling for the last 6 weeks as the 10th annual Winterval Festival has drawn visitors from near and far to enjoy the festive festivities on offer all across the City since November 18th.  The festival celebrated it’s 10th birthday and hosted a programme filled with one of 10th birthday special events alongside the continual Wintetval programme of 40 different events, with 25 on offer free of charge. The final week of the festival saw a number of highlights, which included the wonderful winter solstice celebration in conjunction with the Waterford City Arts Office, the Waterford Treasures Irish Museum of Time and the Winterval festival with the unveiling of the brand new outside clock, named Tempus Fugit (Time Flies) at the Irish Museum of Time plus a fireworks display. The final event was Buskaid a wonderful day where Waterford was alive with music on every corner with all monies raised being donated to Tintean Housing Association.

Visitor Numbers Up.
Winterval 2022. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Hotelier Tina Darrer of Dooley’s Hotel and Visit Waterford says, “At Dooley’s Hotel and hotels across the City, we saw large numbers of visitors return to Waterford for Winterval.  Many had not visited in some years and were delighted to be back and loved the new festival layout.  We also had many new visitors from all corners of the country who came to Waterford for the first time to enjoy the festival.  The feedback from all visitors was hugely positive, with many looking to book again for 2023.  We are thrilled to see Waterford enjoy high levels of visitors, and we know that the spin-off these visitors leave has a real impact on Waterford.”

Winterval has featured broadly across national TV, Radio, Print and Online media with very positive reviews received from the professional travel writers who visited the festival. A full RTE Nationwide programme aired on December 16th and showcased the festival offering to the nation, the result of which is a great uplift in visitors to the festival website and the festival itself.

The website attracted just under 20,000 visitors each week with an average of over 5 and a half minutes spent browsing the website by each visitor, which is far above average statistic.

John Grubb of EveryEvent and Trevor Darmody of Waterford Academy of Music and Art are the dynamic duo behind the magic of Winterval 2022 as co-directors of the festival.

Speaking about the festival’s success John and Trevor say, “We are thrilled to have helped to ensure that Waterford City was filled to the brim with people enjoying themselves for the last 6 weeks. For the first festival following Covid, in addition to Winterval’s 10th birthday, there was a lot of pressure to get it just right and we feel it has been a huge success. The number of visitors coupled with the positive feedback speaks for itself.

Winterval is a magical festival and creating that magic takes a lot of effort so we would really like to thank the vast team of Winterval creators, workers and supporters along with the Winterval voluntary committee, a special thank you to all of our sponsors and Waterford Business Community along with Waterford City and County Council without whom, Winterval simply could not happen.”

For the 10th year of Ireland’s Christmas Festival, Winterval events close on December 23rd however Ice Skating, the Port of Waterford Eye and the Carousel in the city, Wizards and Dragons and Santa’s Virtual Sleigh Ride is open to enjoy until January 6th 2023. For further details see