The beautiful Ardmore Beach is one of the more popular places to visit in Waterford.
Especially as you can pair a visit here with a ramble along the Ardmore Cliff Walk and then lunch in the Cliff House Hotel, if you fancy!
A day trip to the beach is much more special when it comes imbued with history, tradition and plenty of other activities for the outdoor-minded visitor.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from swimming at Ardmore Beach to where to visit nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Ardmore Beach in Waterford
Although a visit to Ardmore Beach in Waterford is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You can park next to the beach, but please note that it does get busy in the summer months so it might be worth planning your visit for earlier in the day, rather than later to ensure you find a spot.
Ardmore Beach is very popular with swimmers in the summer months (and even the hardy souls who venture out there in the winter!). A lifeguard is on duty at weekends in June, and every day in the months of July and August. This may change, but signs at the beach will tell you what’s happening on the day you are there.
Wheelchair users can access Ardmore beach and public toilets are provided during the summer season. Ensure that you are a good visitor by taking your rubbish with you when you leave the beach.
About Ardmore Beach
Ardmore Beach is in Ardmore, the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland, founded by St Declan in around 416 CE, whose feast day is celebrated on the 24th of July, which is commemorated by Pattern Day.
A picturesque village, it has won awards for its neatness (Top Tidy Town) and for tourism. There’s a 12th century round tower and a number of walks you can take to admire the local scenery.
Popular in the summer, this sweeping sandy beach attracts many visitors on sunny days because of its safe bathing waters.
You can also kayak and canoe there, have a go at stand-up sea paddling or try out a bit of rock climbing. The village showcases local arts and crafts, as well as offering plentiful food and drink options.
Things to do at Ardmore Beach
One of the reasons that a visit to the beach in Ardmore is so popular, is due to the fact that you can pair up a trip here with several activities.
Below, you’ll find everything from water-sports and the cliff walk to food, scenic drives and much more.
1. The Ardmore Cliff Walk
The Ardmore Cliff Walk passes the ruined medieval cathedral and round tower. It’s a five-kilometre waymarked route that takes about an hour to walk.
The circular route runs by Ram Head passing the Coastguard Station, the Castle and the Lookout Post used during the Second World War by the coast watch to log all ships and aircraft which passed. Here’s a guide to the walk.
2. Water sports
Ardmore Adventures offers all kinds of water sports activities, such as canoeing, kayaking and white-water rafting. The company also runs summer camps – young explorers for 8–12-year-olds and the adventure challenge for 13- to 16-year-olds. If you want to train, there are courses on offer too.
3. A meal with a view
The Cliff House Hotel overlooks Ardmore Bay and provides breath-taking views of the sunset in summer evenings. The boutique hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant. The eight-course tasting menu focuses on local seafood and produce, with main dishes such as Ardmore lobster with carrot and oyster sauce, butter poached turbot with a duck egg sauce and Comeragh mountain duck with spring onions.
Things to do near Ardmore Beach
One of the beauties of Ardmore Beach is that it’s a short spin away from some of the best places to visit in Waterford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the beach (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Visit Youghal (Cork)
Youghal is County Cork’s most easterly town. You can take a guided walking tour to discover its fascinating heritage and visit the Youghal Clock Gate Tower, the iconic building that straddles the town’s North and South Main Street and its most visible landmark. Find lots to do in Youghal here.
2. Cycle the Waterford Greenway
The Waterford Greenway is a spectacular 46-kilometre off-road cycling trail along an old train line between Waterford City and Dungarvan. You can either cycle the full route of you can tackle it in stages. You’ll find a Google Map of the route here.
FAQs about visiting Ardmore Beach in Waterford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at the beach in Ardmore to what to see nearby.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is there parking at Ardmore Beach?
Yep – you can get parking (literally) right next to the beach. Just keep in mind that this fills up fast on warm weekends.
Can you swim at Ardmore Beach?
Yes, it is safe to swim at Ardmore Beach, but please always be cautious when entering the water. Lifeguards are only on duty here during the summer months, and often only at weekends.
Is Ardmore Beach worth visiting?
The beach here is gorgeous. And it’s perfectly paired up with the Ardmore Cliff Walk, which provides a nice double-whammy activity for a day out.
Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.