Waterford is home to the Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre. Edmund Rice was a Catholic missionary who was born in 1762. As a young man he entered the business world.
However, after his wife was killed and his daughter left disabled in a horrific accident he dedicated his life to education and helping the poor. He also supported the Irish republican cause.
He helped the young and the poor
He founded the Presentation Brothers and the Foundation of the Christian Brothers. Both are Catholic organisations who work with the young and the poor.
The Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre is his final resting place. It also has a museum, a chapel and a visitor centre.
The museum tells Rice’s life story. Visitors will also learn about the history of Ireland and the impact the country has had on the world. There are interactive exhibitions, multimedia installations that allow users to see, hear and even smell what life would have been like in Waterford in the 18th century. There is even a 19th century school classroom that shows how times have changed.
Heritage Centre community work
The Chapel at the centre sits on the hill of Mount Sion. It is a circular shape with big windows all around that look over the city of Waterford. It contains Rice’s tomb which is inscribed with his name in Ogham. Ogham is the ancient Irish alphabet.
The Edmund Rice International Heritage centre isn’t just a tourist attraction. It is also a community centre. They work hard to help asylum seekers and refugees integrate themselves into the local community.
Immigrants can receive counselling, English lessons, take computer classes, take part in cultural events and get free legal aid. The rooms in the community centre are also used for activities such as art therapy, yoga and dancing.