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Coumshingaun Loop Walk: Map + Trail Guide

Coumshingaun Loop Walk: Map + Trail Guide

The Coumshingaun Lake walk is a tough, 6.13km looped trail that poses a real risk to safety in places.

Starting from the Kilclooney Wood Car Park, it takes you up a steep, grassy trail before passing through a trecherous section where you need to scramble.

The entire loop, which should be done in a clockwise direction, takes between 3 and 4 hours. Below, you’ll find a map of the Coumshingaun hike along with photos of each section. Enjoy!

Some quick need-to-knows about the Coumshingaun Lake hike


Photos via Shutterstock


The Coumshingaun Loop isn’t as straightforward as some of the other walks in Waterford – proper care is needed here, so please take note of the below:

1. Location

You’ll find Coumshingaun Lake tucked away in the breathtaking Comeragh Mountains, a short spin from the glorious Mahon Falls. It’s a 20-minute drive from Dungarvan, a 35-minute drive from Waterford City and a 30-minute drive from Clonmel.

2. Parking

You park at the Kilclooney Wood Car park for this hike (here on Maps). Now, a warning – as this is one of the more popular things to do in Waterford, the car park fills quickly on fine days.

3. Length + difficulty

This is a roughly 6.13km trail that will take you 3 – 4 hours depending on pace/stops. I’ve done the Coumshingaun Loop several times and I’d consider myself to be reasonably fit. I found the first half of this trail very tough and stopped at least 10 times. It’s extremely steep for the first 2.3km.


4. Do it clockwise

Although you can do this trail clockwise or anti-clockwise, it’s recommended that you follow the trail clockwise. If you do the anti-clockwise trail, some of the descents are very steep and tricky.

5. Safety warning

The Coumshingaun hike isn’t one you do without proper preparation – this trail is treacherous in places. Plan your walk for a day when the weather is good, wear decent hiking shoes (absolutely essential) and bring appropriate clothing and snacks. The trail is hard to follow in places, so the ability to navigate is required.

A map of the Coumshingaun loop


The Coumshingaun Loop walk map above shows the rough trail I took recently when doing the hike. In theory (and on a fine day) it’s a nice straightforward loop.

However, the danger that really arises here is if you don’t prep properly and mist/fog descends. The trail can be tricky to follow on a good day.

On a day with reduced visibility, it can pose a real risk to your safety.

Want a shorter walk? If you’re looking for a short walk, you can walk from the car park to the bottom of the lake and back. It’s about 1.8km each way.

An overview of the Coumshingaun hike

If you hit play on the video above you’ll see the trail to follow from the moment you leave the car park.

If you’d rather skim, I’ll give you an overview of the Coumshingaun Lough hike below.


1. Starting the trail

Kilclooney Wood

Photo via Google Maps

The trail starts from the Coumshingaun Lough car park (Kilclooney Wood car park).

Park up and look for the picnic bench. This is where the trail starts.

Follow the dirt trail up into the forest for around 5 minutes or so and you’ll reach a mini t-junction. Go right here.


2. Go left at the ladder and look out for the stone wall

the gate in the comeragh mountains hike

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

Continue along the trail until you reach the little step ladder in the photo above.

Take a left here and continue walking until you reach the stone wall.

You need to then climb over the wall and continue up through the bushes until you’re out into the clearing.

This is where the Coumshingaun Lake walk starts to get tough.


3. Look out for the little ‘castle’

the point we're aiming form

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

OK, so this thing clearly isn’t a castle, but it kind of looks like one from below.

As we’re doing the Coumshingaun Loop Walk clockwise, we’re going to aim for this.

The climb up here was, in my experience, rough.

It’s very steep from this point so don’t be afraid to stop, turn around and admire the views of the Comeragh Mountains behind you.


4. When you reach it, caution is needed

coumshingaun loop dangerous sections

One of the outer trails

It’s from this point that the Coumshingaun Lake walk gets dangerous and you need to proceed with caution.

For the most part of the route to the summit, there’s inner and outer trails.

The inner trails, in my experience, are dangerous in places and you’re often scrambling with a massive drop to your right.

On my recent visit, I opted to stick to the outer trails which were easier to navigate and just felt safer.

Take your time and safely navigate your way through.


5. Then the summit will be in sight

the summit at Coumshingaun

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

After you clear the rocky area, you’ll have a very clear view of the summit (once the day is clear) and the trail to follow.

This is fairly steep, but you’ll be rewarded with views of Coumshingaun Lough shortly.

Now, when you do get to the top, you’ll be met by bog.

After bad rainy, this can be a mess to wade through, and it’s here that waterproof hiking boots come in handy.


6. The view of the lake

reaching the summit of Coumshingaun

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

After reaching the summit, continue rambling along and eventually you’ll be greeted with the view above.

On a clear day, there’s few places in Ireland like it.

Just be extremely careful and make sure to keep away from the edge – if you slip here it’s game over.


7. Making your way down to the lake

Coumshingaun lake

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

I found the descent of the Coumshingaun hike a bit tricker to follow then the initial climb.

Follow the trail around until you see the big formation/mound in the photo above. It’s from here that the descend really begins.

There’s no real trail to follow in places here, but you’ll see sections of the ground that have been trodden before to help guide you.

Keep an eye out for the edge of the lake.

It’s there that you aim for (the video from earlier in the guide shows this clearly).


8. Reaching the lake

paddling at Coumshingaun lake

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

When you reach the bottom you’ll be greeted with a magnificent view of the rugged cliff face that surrounds the lake. Photos don’t do this justice.

Although I’ve seen people swimming in Coumshingaun online, I opted to stick my feet in, as I was hiking solo. Kick-back here and soak up the views.

I thought the viewing point at the summit would be the highlight of the Coumshingaun Loop walk, but the view from the lake is just something else (especially with no one around!).


9. Finding the trail to the car park

finding the trail back to the Coumshingaun car park

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

When you finish up at Coumshingaun Lough you’ll have a clear sight of the trail that leads you back to the parking area.

It’s a well trodden trail.

From here, you’re around a 20-minute ramble from your start point and a well-earned rest.


Things to do nearby

Mahon Falls

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the beauties of the Coumshingaun Loop Walk is that it’s a short spin away from several of the best things to do in Waterford.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw away:

  1. Mahon Falls (15-minute drive)
  2. The Magic Road (10-minute drive)
  3. One of the restaurants in Dungarvan for food (20-minute drive)
  4. Start point of the Waterford Greenway (20-minute drive)

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Martina Gallagher

Sunday 4th of February 2024

Just had a stunning day on Coumshingaun, its been a long time wish, followed you advice so a big thank you ... was spot on and we met lovely guys who helped us too.


Saturday 27th of May 2023

This is an excellent guide to Coumshingaun Loop Trail. Did it today. Fab weather. Spectacular scenery. Many thanks.


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Just want to say thank you for this guide. Briefly read through your tips before hiking to the summit this morning and your advice helped to make sense out of the few more questionable parts of the trail. Also, appreciated your advice of going clockwise, once on the trail it becomes obvious why, although my knees were still sorry coming down hill. We had beautiful weather for the hike and are very happy we got to do it all the way through.

Keith O'Hara

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Glad you found it useful Anna. Definitely a tricky trail in places. Hope you got some good weather for it!


Friday 2nd of September 2022

Stunning up there today with the ravens, and swallows fattening up on midges (21c, little breeze) before their southward journey. Still some fraughauns on the plateau, delish! I like it signless, there isn't much wilderness in this beautiful country.


Thursday 28th of July 2022

Any idea why they don’t put any signs to guide you on this trail as at times hard to follow when it disappears between rocks etc.

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