The lively town of Dungarvan is a grand aul base for exploring many of the best places to visit in Waterford.
Located on the south east coast of Ireland against the backdrop of the Comeragh mountains, the small town is a great little spot for a weekend getaway.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do while you’re there to where to eat sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Dungarvan in Waterford
Although a visit to Dungarvan is fairly straightforward, there’s a few quick chunks of information worth knowing in advance of your trip.
2. A great place to explore from
It’s a great little coastal spot from where you can explore much of the best things to do in County Waterford. It’s within easy reach of Waterford City, Ireland’s oldest, or you can explore more of the spectacular coastline in either direction.
3. A popular beach destination
With nearby Clonea Beach, Dungarvan is a popular summertime destination. The beautiful Blue Flag beach is just 6km to the east of town and is great for families. Further afield, you’ve also got Ardmore Beach to the south or Bunmahon Beach to the north.
Dungarvan is a small town and harbour on the south east coast of Ireland. Located just 46km south of Waterford City, it’s where the Colligan River meets the sea. The name of the town originally comes from the foundation of a monastery by St Garvan back in the 7th century.
Dungarvan Castle was commissioned in the late 12th century by King John of England, with the structure still remaining by the harbour today.
The town has been mentioned a number of times in literature over the years, including by British Port Laureate Sir John Betjemen and in novels by William Trevor.
The town is popular as a summer destination with nearby Clonea Beach and the famous Waterford Greenway beginning or ending in Dungarvan as well. It’s easily reached from major cities, as it sits on the N25 road which connects Cork and Waterford.
Things to do in Dungarvan
From the Greenway and the Copper Coast to the Comeragh Drive and much, much more, there’s plenty to see and do close to Dungarvan.
1. Cycle the Waterford Greenway
Dungarvan is the start or end of the spectacular 46km off-road Waterford Greenway. Using former railway lines, the trail takes you over several bridges, viaducts and tunnels all the way to Waterford City.
It’s a great way to see the coastal area with beautiful scenery along the way, as well as, an ancient Viking settlement, Norman castles and old railway stations. There’s bicycle rental available in Dungarvan, so it’s perfect if you want to head off for a cycle on the Greenway.
2. Then explore Ireland’s oldest city
If you make it all the way to Waterford on the Greenway, Ireland’s oldest city is worth some of your time. Dating back to Viking times, you can still explore parts of the ancient fortification that stands in town.
If you want to learn more about the history of the city, there are some great museums. Otherwise, you can easily grab a meal or a drink, with plenty of wine bars, gastropubs and cafes to enjoy.
3. Tackle the Comeragh Drive
As the backdrop to this pretty harbour town, the Comeragh mountains are best explored on a scenic drive. The Comeragh Drive takes you to the Mahon Valley and Comeragh Heights before heading back to Dungarvan for a nice excursion from town.
There’s plenty of spectacular scenery to see on the way, including views of the mountains and surrounding countryside. The drive is also the best way to see the Mahon Falls and stretch your legs on a little wander.
4. And stop off to see Mahon Falls on the way
On the Comeragh Drive it’s worth a stop off to see the Mahon Falls. The picturesque 80-metre-high plunge drops over the exposed rock of the mountains. It’s located just 23km away from Dungarvan where you’ll find a small carpark to stop and explore the area.
The walk to the falls is an easy 15-minutes suitable for all levels of fitness. While the water flow can slow to a trickle sometimes, the scenery around here is still breathtaking at any time of year.
5. Take an early morning ramble on Clonea Strand
The beautiful golden Clonea Beach is just 6km to the east of Dungarvan is the perfect spot for a morning ramble.
This popular Blue Flag beach is considered one of the best beaches in Waterford, so it gets rather busy in summer.
The beach is at its quietest during the early morning, otherwise you can always spend the day swimming and paddling around with a lifeguard service every day during July and August.
Restaurants in Dungarvan
There are plenty fine places for a feed in Dungarvan, ranging from relaxed and casual to some fancy fine dining.
In our guide to the best restaurants in Dungarvan, you’ll find several great places to eat that’ll make your belly happy! Here are some of our favourites:
1. 360 Cookhouse
As one of the best restaurants in town, you can’t miss a meal at 360 Cookhouse. This gem of a place is right in the heart of town on Castle Street. You’ll find a varied menu with fresh fish, gourmet burgers and stone-baked pizzas served in a cosy candle-lit dining room. If you’re after a drink, they also serve classic cocktails, cask wines and craft beers at the bar.
2. The 2 Sisters
Dungarvan has some great places to grab a late brunch, but the 2 Sisters Restaurant is one of the best. The fresh and delicious food has options for everyone, from big, cooked breakfast options to tasty sandwiches which get rave reviews. Located right in Grattan Square it’s conveniently at the centre of town with its blue exterior hard to miss as you wander through town.
3. The Square Grill
Another good option on Grattan Square is the Square Grill. This family restaurant has an extremely welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. They’re open for brunch and lunch with all-day breakfast available at reasonable prices. From mixed grill options including roast chicken, sirloin steak and lamb to fresh seafood, it’s a great option for a post-cycle feed.
Pubs in Dungarvan
There’s some excellent pubs in Dungarvan in Waterford, the best of which, in our opinion, is the brilliant ‘The Local’.
During the summer months, you’ll find live music and mischief taking place in many of Dungarvan’s public houses. Below, you’ll find three of our favourite spots for a pint.
1. The Local
If you’re after a traditional pub in town, The Local should be your go-to. The bar and restaurant on Grattan Square always has a buzzing atmosphere with plenty of friendly locals. It’s a great spot for a pint or you can always grab some lunch or dinner here too. They serve up wraps, burgers and fish and chips, as well as their ever popular seafood chowder.
2. Maisie’s Bar Dungarvan
This beautifully decorated bar is perfect for a post-beach drink. Serving excellent gin, cocktails and craft beers, it’s everyone’s favourite bar for a huge selection of drinks. With a mind boggling 75 different gins and 30 different whiskeys, you really can’t go wrong. The staff are always friendly here too and they even have the occasional live music as well.
3. Foley’s Pub
Another pub in Grattan Square, Foley’s Pub is a cosy spot for a pint of Guinness. It’s also a great place to head if you want to catch some sport, as they’ve got a few TVs going for racing and football. The friendly staff are always very welcoming to new and returning customers.
Accommodation in Dungarvan
Although we go into places to stay in the town in our Dungarvan accommodation guide, you’ll find three of our favourite spots below.
Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.
1. The Park Hotel
For a complete package, the Park Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Dungarvan. Looking over the Colligan River, the property sits on 5 acres of gardens. It has everything that you could possibly want for a relaxing stay including, en suite rooms, a gym, swimming pool and sauna.
2. Macs Townhouse Dungarvan
Located on the edge of the Dungarvan Harbour, this townhouse has newly refurbished, self-catering apartments. They’re perfect for large groups, being able to sleep up to 7 people with added sofa beds, if you need. With a lounge, kitchen, dining area and terrace, they are the perfect spot to stay in Dungarvan for a self-catering trip.
3. Gold Coast Resort
If you enjoy a round of golf, a stay at the Gold Coast Resort is likely the best option. Located just outside of town but overlooking the bay and 18-hole golf course, they have a wide option of rooms and villas to choose from.
FAQs about visiting Dungarvan in Waterford
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Waterford that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Dungarvan in Waterford.
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.
What are the best things to do in Dungarvan?
You can spend a day tackling the Greenway and another exploring the Copper Coast. You can see Mahon Falls, conquer Coumshingaun and much, much more.
Where are the best places to eat in Dungarvan?
It’s hard to go wrong with a visit to The Square Grill, The 2 Sisters or 360 Cookhouse.
What are the best places to stay in Dungarvan?
Gold Coast Resort, Macs Townhouse and The Park Hotel are three solid options for accommodation in the area.
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.