County Waterford is a maritime
county with no part of it being more than twenty five miles (40 km) from the sea. At it's widest points the county is
fifty one miles wide and twenty seven miles long but contains a variety of landscapes and scenery that are rarely encountered in such a compact territory. The
spectacular plateau of the Comeragh mountains rises up 2,600 feet above sea level in the center of the county.
The earliest proven settlers arrived in Waterford some 9,000 years ago. These were Mesolithic in culture and survived by hunting, gathering and fishing. Farming people arrived 5,700 years ago and built the impressive burial momuments. All of the distinctive types
of megalithic tombs recognised by archaeologists are found in County Waterford.
There are sixteen such megalithic tombs, ten portal tombs
(or dolmens) five passage tombs and one court tomb.
Some 4,500 years ago the first metal using people settled in this part of Ireland. They brought
the stone, box like structures tapering to one end, known as wedge tombs. They also had cist burials in stone lined
pits, tumulaus burials and barrows.
About 500 years ago the warrior aristocracy considered to be Celts settled here, building strongly defended settlements
in the hills and on promontories over looking the sea. Waterford contains two hill forts and over twenty promontory forts. More common are the lightly defended
iron age farmsteads known as raths, fairy forts or lio's. These were usually circular, frequently tree covered, about fifty metres in diameter.