WaterfordIYP‘Waterford In Your Pocket’ Facebook page could be described as a shrine to Waterford city and county.
Every day, the popular page posts details of events taking place throughout every inch of our city and county while also sharing photos of the beautiful city and county which we are fortunate to live in.
The brainchild of local man Paul Dower, the page is celebrating its first birthday.
I met with Paul last year after the page had just been established and he explained his wish to showcase everything that Waterford has to offer.
Over 6,500 Facebook ‘likes’ and almost 2,000 photos later, Paul has certainly ticked that task off his to-do list.
Offering a refreshing antidote to the bile which is often found online courtesy of ‘keyboard warriors’, WIYP instead focuses on positivity.
WIYP, the tagline of which is ‘Waterford, what a place!’ showcases well known and lesser known attractions throughout the city and county.
The page also keeps its fans up to date with festivals, charity events etc. which are happening in the locality.
Photos are a key component of the page, with Paul already managing to snap almost every corner of the city and county.
Whether it’s a wander through the Viking Triangle, a ramble along the Anne Valley, a hike up Coumshinguan, or a stroll on Tramore beach, Paul snaps everything he comes across.
“I love photography. When people see photographs of an area they start talking about that place,” he said.
“I recently posted a montage of photos of Stradbally and there were so many people from the city who commented to say that they had never been to Stradbally which amazed me.”
He continued: “Often, I see things and I say ‘that is what Waterford is all about’. It’s not just the Viking Triangle, not just Ardmore or Tramore. It’s the people, the small places, all the small roads with the grass in the middle. They all lead somewhere. We have a fantastic countryside with beautiful villages.”
He explained that there is a big variety in the Facebook users who interact with the page.
“The beauty behind WIYP is because it’s localised there are local people interacting with the page who have local knowledge. That’s where the strength is,” he said.
“There is also a huge amount of people who are looking for information on Waterford. They often ask me how to get to a place, what the parking is like, if the roads are bad etc. I believe that unless you have all of the information, you can’t make a proper decision. So, I’m trying to provide all the information about places in Waterford so that people can decide if they want to go someplace or enjoy something.”
He added: “Certain people liked the Daytripper photos which I posted recently but maybe that event didn’t appeal to everyone. Others may be interested in viewing photos of our coast or mountains, so the best way to describe the page is to say that there is an ‘eclectic mix’.”
Paul stressed that WIYP is not funded and is a voluntary endeavour.
He paid tribute to his friends who have supported him and is looking forward to the launch of the new WIYP website which is expected to go live soon.
Paul has an infectious enthusiasm for Waterford and a genuine passion for promoting the area.
Paul is a ‘true blue’ and is proud to wave the Déise flag.
“There are 52 weekends in the year, and if you want to go for a spin every Sunday there are hundreds of places to go. In Waterford city alone you could go for a meal in a different restaurant every week and it would be 18 months before you came back to the same restaurant. That’s great variety,” he said.
“This kind of positivity will hopefully change people’s mindset in a small way and people will say, yes we do have a beautiful county and a beautiful city. I never differentiate between city and county. All the people who live in Waterford are from Waterford full stop. We need to break down those divides and show that we are singing from the same hymn sheet.”
After listening to Paul breathlessly advocate Waterford, I wondered what our city and county would be like if we had more of this unbridled passion?
To hear somebody speak so proudly about the place they inhabit is unfortunately something of a rarity and we could do with a few more like Paul championing our cause at national level.
“I rely heavily on the local media for finding out information about what’s happening. The service that local papers and radio stations provide is great. I’m just a platform for compiling information which is already out there and sharing it on a different medium,” said Paul.
“All of us together are creating a story and that story is ‘Waterford, what a place!’”
Visit ‘Waterford In Your Pocket’ at facebook.com/WaterfordIYP.