Bunmahon Beach In Waterford: A Guide With A Lot Of Warnings

bunmahon beach in waterford
Photos via Shutterstock

The stunning Bunmahon Beach is one of my favourite places to visit in Waterford.

You can walk along the top of the cliffs, take in amazing views, or stay on the ground and take the children to the playground.

However, this is one of a few beaches in Waterford where swimming is not advised (please read the warning below).

In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from where to park when you visit along with a warning about swimming on Bunmahon Beach in Waterford.

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Bunmahon Beach in Waterford

Bunmahon cliffs
Photo by a.barrett (Shutterstock)

Although a visit to Bunmahon Beach in Waterford is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

1. Location

Bunmahon Beach lies south of Waterford, off the R675, and is part of The Copper Coast trail. The Gaelic meaning of Bunmahon is connected to the River Mahon, and Bun means ‘end of’.

2. Parking

There’s plenty of parking available in the large car park beside the beach. It’s here that you’ll find the outdoor play area, too.

3. Facilities

An outdoor playground and a basketball court are right behind the beach. The area is well serviced with amusements, food outlets and pubs. It’s worth noting that the local shop is open only in late summer and autumn. During the summer, there’s also a Surf School.

4. Swimming (warning)

Swimming at Bunmahon Beach is only suitable for experienced swimmers. The high waves and riptide here are dangerous. In fact, Bunmahon Beach can be one of the most dangerous beaches on this part of the coast. Take great care if swimming here and, if in doubt, keep your feet on dry land.

Things to do at Bunmahon Beach

bunmahon beach waterford
Photos via Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Bunmahon Beach in Waterford is that there’s plenty to do at the beach and there’s loads to see nearby.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Bunmahon, from surfing and strolls on the sand to the nearby cliff walk.

1. Surfing

Surfing is hugely popular here because of the power of the south-facing beach-break and the strong rips created by the river-mouth.

 Only suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers, the action is best at mid-tide, but if the waves are big enough, it can even work at low tide. Bunmahon Surf School offer lessons here.

2. The Cliff Walk

Taking a walk along the clifftop at Bunmahon is a real treat. Even before you leave the car park to begin the climb, you can see the frontages of the miners’ cottages across the River Mahon.

You can have a rest at the Titanic memorial before heading on up. An open mine shaft is noteworthy, depending on the time of year and whether it’s overgrown.

You’ll see the remains of a medieval monastery, and the graveyard at the little Fauheen Church is worth a look. When you’re descending, Bunmahon Bay is spread out before you in all its beauty.

When you get to the Church, you can turn right to visit the Geological Garden and have a rest at the Copper Coast seating area.

3. Saunter along the sand

You can access the Bay from the village or the car park and enjoy a stroll along the deep sandy beach. Maybe you want to stop and watch the antics of the surfers or have a sit with your book?

The beach is quite sheltered by the headland, so you won’t be blown away by the wind. During the summer months, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 11am and 7pm.

Things to do near Bunmahon Beach

One of the beauties of Bunmahon Beach is that it’s a short spin away from some of the best things to do 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. Cycle/drive the Copper Coast

the copper coast drive
Photos via Shutterstock

The Copper Coast trail got its name from the copper mines that operated along this coastline stretch. The trail is 25 miles (or 40km) of stunning natural beauty that’s been virtually untouched by modern civilization. With 8 beaches along the trail, you’ll have lots of opportunities to have a swim or a walk along a beautiful beach.

2. Explore Ireland’s oldest city

waterford city
Photo by Madrugada Verde on Shutterstock

Waterford City, founded by the Vikings in 914, is Ireland’s oldest city. If you stop for a while, you can almost inhale the history here. Visit the Viking Triangle, wander around Waterford Crystal or drop into one of the many great restaurants in Waterford.

3. The Coumshingaun Lough walk

two photos of Coumshingaun
Photo left Dux Croatorum. Right: Andrzej Bartyzel (Shutterstock)

Coumshingaun Loop walk takes about 4 hours and takes you around a natural Amphitheatre of magnificent beauty and tranquillity. There are 2 starting points for the walk, park at Kilclooney Bridge and start there or from the official car park to the south of the woods. It’s very popular with hikers and climbers, but it is challenging. Here’s a guide to the climb.

4. Mahon Falls

mahon falls walk
Photo left : By Tomasz Ochocki. Photo right : by Bob Grim

Getting to the Mahon Falls involves following a typical narrow Irish road through the Comeragh mountains and a 20-minute walk from the free car park. The Falls drops for 80 glorious metres and is surrounded by breathtaking beauty, as well as sheep and goats. 

FAQs about visiting Bunmahon Beach in Waterford

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Bunmahon Beach in Waterford 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.

Can you swim at Bunmahon Beach?

Swimming on Bunmahon Beach in Waterford is ONLY advisable for experienced swimmers, as there’s a strong rip tide here along with powerful waves.

Is there parking at Bunmahon Beach in Waterford?

Yes, there’s a decent car park right next to the beach. Keep in mind that this fills up quickly on those rare, warm summer days.

Is Bunmahon Beach safe?

As mentioned above, we personally wouldn’t recommend swimming on Bunmahon Beach unless you’re an experienced sea swimmer. If in doubt, please keep your toes on dry land.

Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.

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