The 2020 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The most detailed itinerary we've created

Day 6 (Waterford) – The incredible Copper Coast

Our 6th (can you believe that we’re only six days in?! My hand feels like it’s going to fall off already!) day of our Ireland road trip is one of my favourites from the three weeks.

It takes us along the often overlooked Copper Coast.

We’ll be doing a hike today, so make sure you have sturdy hiking boots, weather appropriate clothing, and some water and snacks.

1 – The Copper Coast

// Start your drive at 9:00 //

The stretch of coastline that sits between Tramore and Dungarvan is known as the Copper Coast.

Although it’s widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, unspoiled scenic drives in Ireland, it’s regularly overlooked by those planning a trip to Ireland.

Declared as a European Geopark in 2001 and a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2004, the Copper Coast boasts a beautiful, ever-changing landscape with seemingly endless rolling hills and steep cliffs.

the copper coast waterford
Photo via Failte Ireland

We’ve a number of stop-off points along this wonderful stretch of craggy coast.

Copper Coast Stop 1 – Kicking off the drive with Dunhill Castle

// Dooley’s Hotel to Dunhill Castle – 25-minute drive (aim to arrive to Dunhill castle for 9:00) //

Dunhill Castle from afar
Photo by Luke Myers

If you’re not familiar with the Copper Coast, it gets its name from the 19th Century copper mines that lie at its heart.

Our first stop on the Copper Coast is a short spin from our base on day 1 – Dunhill Castle.

This castle was built in the early 1200’s by ‘The la Poer family’, who became infamous in the 14th century after they launched a load of attacks on Waterford City.

Drop by the castle and have a little ramble around.

Copper Coast Stop 2 – Kilmurrin Beach (the first of many great beaches that we’ll be visiting on our Ireland road trip)

// Dunhill Castle to Kilmurrin Beach – 10-minute drive (spend 30 minutes at the castle and arrive at the beach at 9:40) //

The tiny little beach of Kilmurrin packs a mighty punch, considering its size.

Hop out of the car, stretch the legs, and gulp down some fresh sea air.

If weather permits, plonk yourself down on the sand and enjoy the view of the horseshoe-shaped cove, with rugged cliffs rising beautifully on either side.

Copper Coast Stop 3 – Bunmahon Beach

// Kilmurrin Beach to Bunmahon Beach – 10-minute drive (spend 30 minutes at Kilmurrin and arrive at Bunmahon at 10:20) //

Bunmahon beach waterford
Photo by Copper Coast Geopark via Failte Ireland

Our third stop on the Copper Coast is Bunmahon Beach.

Bunmahon Beach is a beautiful spot that stretches for around 5km, and is backed by sand dunes with tall cliffs at each end.

I know we’ve already visited a beach this morning, but this place is definitely worth stopping by.

Watch the video below to see why.

Copper Coast Stop 4 – The stop that isn’t really a stop

Like many of the Ireland road trip guides that we create here, the best advice that I can offer is to let your gut guide you.

Take your time on the Copper Coast. Get out of the car. Walk. Climb. Listen to the waves and allow this place to consume you

We’re going to allow for another 2 hours on this stretch for those of you that fancy spending some time exploring.

2 – The Coumshingaun Lake Walk

// Aim to start this walk at 12:00 //

Our second stop of day 2 involves a reasonably challenging hike that’ll treat you to one of the best views in Ireland.

waterford lake loop walk
Photo by @cen92 on Instagram

The Coumshingaun Lake Walk is special. And the view that you’re treated to from the top is simply out of this world.

The lads at Dungarvan Tourism have prepared a fantastic guide this walk – their website is a brilliant resource for those looking for more info.

You can embark on a short walk or a long walk. Here’s how to navigate the short (2.5 hours) walk according to Dungarvan Tourism;

‘The walk commences at Kilclooney Bridge on the R676 Dungarvan/Carrick-on-Suir road. It is possible to park on a side road to the right just before the bridge. Cross the road to Comeraghs side, go through a gate, and negotiate a wet patch near the river to get onto a grassy path which will bring you all the way up to the lake.’

For those of you that fancy trying the longer (5 hours) walk, here’s what to do (it’s a continuation of the short walk);

‘Walk to the steep spur going up the left (South) side of the corrie, where you will observe a clear ridge path. This becomes narrow and weaves up between large boulders in parts and involved some scrambling now and again-great care is needed.

Above the boulders the path is still clear and there is a final very steep ascent on a heathery section where great care is again required, before you reach the plateau.

Detour a few hundred metres to the left, if you wish, to the cairn, which is the highest point of the Comeraghs, Fascoum (789m) and now resume your clockwise circuit around the corrie. You next ascend a grassy local top called Staicin (704m), and from here, your descent route is down Eastward along the obvious spur.’

Make sure to be vigilant on your descent.

3 – Mahon Falls

// Coumshingaun Lough to Mahon Falls – 10-minute drive (arrive for 17:00) //

mahon falls waterford
Photo by Max Malloy (@ihaveadarksoul)

Hop back into the car and head straight for the car park at Mahon Falls where you’ll be treated to your first glimpse of the waterfall.

Your legs are probably screaming at this stage, but bear with me, this’ll be worth it!

The walk from the car park up to the waterfall is facilitated by a gravel path and takes around 20 minutes (hopefully you had a pocket full of snacks for the hike that are still keeping you going!).

As you move higher up the path, the roar of the water gets louder and louder, willing weary walkers to keep going.

When you reach a point that you’re happy with, kick-back, soak up the natural beauty in front of you and let the melody of water crashing against rock ring in your ears.

4 – The Comeragh Drive

// Mahon Falls to Dungarvan – 25-minute drive (allow yourself an hour at Mahon Falls. This would mean that you’d arrive in Dungarvan at about 18:30) //

At this point you should be pretty wrecked – fear not, however, we’re going to finish off the day with a drive that boasts views that’ll knock you sideways.

the comeragh drive
Via Google Maps

We’re going to do part of the Comeragh Drive – another regularly overlooked Ireland road trip route.

When you leave the car park, turn right and continue up the hill until you reach the top.

the comeragh drive in waterford
Photo via Google Maps

Park the car and enjoy the spectacular views from the Comeragh Heights overlooking the Mahon River Valley to the east and the Tay Valley to the west.

When you’ve had your fill, hop back into the car and continue on the same road as it winds down the hill.

waterford comeragh drive
Photo via Google Maps

We’re heading for Dungarvan, so pop it into the sat nav/Google Maps and head off on your merry way.

5 – Dungarvan for the night

Dungarvan harbour wexford
Photo by Chris Hill

It’s time to check into your accommodation, grab a nap and the head for a much-needed bite to eat.

I’m going to recommend that you stay in the Park Hotel, Holiday Homes & Leisure Centre on night 6.

Grab a few hours rest and head on down to The Moornings for a bite to eat and a well-earned pint.

Ireland road trip itinerary
Use Pinterest? Pin me for later!

49 COMMENTS

  1. Keith absolutly amazing as usual, you need a medal or a freedom of ireland one for all this, but think you already have that lol

  2. Simply amazing! My fingers hurt for you. ?

    I’ve been researching and plotting our trip to Ireland for months. It’s a lot of work! I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of the suggestions and information that you have. You’ve helped me and yet have also added to my to-do list because now I have to rearrange my plans to include a lot of your suggestions. ?

    We’re planning on staying for 4-6 weeks and I’ve been looking for a road trip that was longer. I was so excited to find yours. We probably won’t do as many of the hikes that you have listed because I don’t think we would survive all of them, but definitely will fit in a few.

    Thank you again!

      • Yes, first trip over. We’re planning September 2020. And when I just saw your newest itinerary for 4 weeks… WHOA! Thank you, thank you! It’s perfect! I can’t tell you how much researching you’ve saved me. We’d like to do a bit of meandering around and getting lost, but it’s nice to have an outline to follow for those days that we want to accomplish something specific. I do appreciate your awesome efforts and if I do book anything that you’ve listed links for, I’ll be sure to use them!

        • Ah, cheers Terri – appreciated you taking the time to comment!

          A lot goes into creating these guides, so it’s brilliant to get feedback like this.

          Thanks a million and feel free to give me a shout if you need any help with the planning!

          Cheers,

          Keith

  3. Filled with so much needed information, thank you!!!!
    My 2 cousins and I are planning a 6-7 day road trip in October and will definitely be pulling many of your suggestions to build our itinerary. We can’t wait.
    I will check back afterwards and let you know how it all worked out. I’m sure it will be amazing.
    I have enjoyed all your articles. They are simple, clear and informative.
    Again thank you!

    • Thanks for the kind words Darlene.

      I’m glad it was useful.

      Enjoy the trip and definitely let me know how you got on!

      Cheers,

      Keith

  4. This is fantastic!!!!! Thank you for all your work! I can see we will be making use of your suggestions when we go over to The Emerald Isle soon.
    Kathy

  5. Amazing !!! As I could see, you need to rent a car to do this 25 days road trip around Ireland, otherwise you will need to get transport tips as well.

    Regards Keith. I will visit Ireland soon.

    • Hi Arturo – yep, a car is needed for this one.

      We’ve a getting around Ireland without a car guide in the works!

    • Hi Bridget,

      I’ll be completely honest with you – I’ve no idea.

      It’ll completely depend on what you do, where you stay, and where you eat.

      Personally (I live in Ireland) I find that my biggest costs on trips here are food and accommodation.

      I know this doesn’t in any way answer your question!

  6. Fantastic, having just done the Scottish NC500 we really want to visit Ireland and this is just what I’ve been looking for. It will prob be 2021 before we are able to do an Ireland trip but we wanted to take 3-4 weeks over it and this will be a huge help, many thanks for all your hard work & research.

  7. This is unbelievable. I’ve loved your website for ages. Living in Mayo and loving all your tips – and the way you deliver them – for planning a few days away to places I never heard of before not so far from me! I shared your giant road trip link just now in two groups I’m in – Ireland -Tips for Travellers and Ireland Travel tips … hope that’s okay with you. Your website is an incomparable resource I think they will all visit and love. Best of luck to you Keith. What you’re doing is brilliant.

    • Hi Siobhan!

      Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the guide.

      Writing and researching this one nearly killed me!

      Thanks a million for sharing. Much appreciated.

      I hope you’re getting the sun in Mayo.

      Keith

  8. Thank you for your hard work in researching and writing this guide. I’ve made one trip to Ireland already (on a tour) but plan to return next year with my family (no tour). Your guide will help immensely on what to do and see.

  9. Hi Keith!
    I’ve been following your newsletters since the beginning of this year. Simply indescribably good! Simply best!
    Your descriptions are at least as good as scones, Irish breakfast and Guiness, no – even better, the good taste lasts much longer! We love Ireland!
    We spent 12 days on roadtrip in Co Cork and Kerry in April and will be back in October for 7-10 days, but we still don’t agree on where to go. The ideas are many, either Dingle and Killarney or Connemara / Achill Island or Northern Ireland/Donegal or Wicklow incl. Wexford / Waterford. Do you have a tip regarding the usual weather conditions during this period?

    Kind regards from Berlin!
    Andreas

    • Hey!

      Sorry – I’ve been away on holidays for the past week and I’m only catching messages here now.

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad they’re proving to be useful!

      October is my favourite time of the year to travel around Ireland.

      There’s orange leaves scattered across the trees, the air is cool and crisp, and there’s far less crowds of tourists milling about the place. Accommodation is also generally cheaper than the months leading up to it.

      The one thing you can never really predict is the weather. The days are shorter in October and you could have clear, crisp days or wild and wet ones. It’s the luck of the draw on that side of things.

      Where to go is a tough one.

      If it was me, I’d start in Galway and work down along the coast and around to Cork.

      You can easily veer off and drop into the likes of Limerick as you work your way South.

      What route did you do during your visit in April?

      Cheers,

      Keith

  10. Hi Keith, what an incredible job you have done! I have only just come across your website and it is fantastic! It will certainly make planning our upcoming road trip much easier.
    Having only just started browsing, I can see that you have included approximate travel times from/to each place, which is great. Looking at the 4 Week Guide, is there an approximate average driving time each day, (eg 3-4 hours) or does the driving time vary considerably each day? Many thanks in advance. Diane

    • Hi Diane,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and for the kind words!

      So, in the 4 week guide there isn’t an approx driving time.

      It’s something that would definitely be useful adding, so I’ll pop it onto the to-do list.

      The driving time definitely varies quite a bit over the 4 weeks.

      If you’re the type of traveller that prefers to base themselves from one spot for several days and explore what’s around them, you could chop and change it a bit to suit.

      If there’s anything in particular you need help with, shout!

      Cheers,

      Keith

    • Deadly! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Tony.

      I did a spin out to West Cork with the aul lad last summer.

      Lough Hyne, Brow Head and Mizen were the highlights. Serious spot altogether!

      Enjoy the trip!

      Keith

  11. Hi Keith,

    Thank you so much! Amazing tips for road tripping in Ireland!!! I will definitely be copying majority of your trip, it looks incredible!

    Quick question, how much roughly did you spend on petrol in the 4 weeks? For those of us that want to make sure we’re budgeting more than enough for an awesome trip.

    I’m from Australia, and have never been to Ireland… I’m looking at doing a 4-5 week road trip through Ireland & Northern Ireland in August/September next year, so your notes are just an incredible help!

    Thanks again.
    Katies

    • Hi Katie,

      Apologies – I’m only seeing this message now!

      So, I didn’t actually do this journey in its entiriety – it’s more of a guide for people that are here for 4 weeks and that need a hand with the route, where to stay, etc.

      I couldn’t even give you an estimate on how much fuel for the 4 weeks would cost, sorry! I know that’s not much help!

      Very jealous of your trip. That’s a lovely chunk of time to play with. You’ll be able to see loads.

  12. I just wanted to say thank you thank you thank you! Its very apparent how much work went into sharing your travels with us and I must say this is by far the most through blog and itineraries I’ve found! Reading all of your suggestions and specifics on details has made it so much easier and less stressful planning my trip. Thank you again! <3

    • Ah, cheers Mallory! Appreciate you taking the time to stop by and pop in a comment.

      My hand is still cramped from writing this one 😉

  13. Hi Keith
    Firstly, what an amazing site and SO much information! Thank you for the incredible amount of work you done to produce it ☺
    We are planning our trip in May June 2020 and are hiring a motorhome. We are in our 60’s and retired farmers in Australia. We had our first trip to Ireland 3 years ago and did ‘the full circle’ on organised coach tours. It was a fantastic trip and we loved it so much we want to come back and do ‘our own thing’.
    We will have 3 weeks in the motorhome and we are mainly interested in scenery and old pubs, also hoping to do a few days on a gypsy caravan tour. My biggest concerns are taking the motorhome on the many narrow roads and also finding places for overnight stops – we call it free camping. Can you give us some advice please

    • Hi Gaye,

      Thanks for the kind words – I’m glad you’ve found it useful!

      I’m afraid I’m a complete novice when it comes to all things motorhomes/motor camping, but I’ll try my best.

      There are roads in Ireland where you simply won’t be able to fit a motorhome down them (the Torr Head Scenic Route in Antrim, for example). I wouldn’t worry too much about this, as signage tends to be good (but that’s arguably a sweeping statement).

      As far as finding places to park overnight goes, I’ve seen plenty of campers parked up near beaches (Keem Bay in Mayo was the most recent) and in parking areas in villages and towns.

      Once you use sound judgement, I’m sure you’ll be fine!

      Have a fantastic trip.

      Keith

  14. Hi Keith,

    Love what you’ve done.
    I like you’re 28 day itinerary but am wondering if this is do-able without changing accommodation quite so much and perhaps staying 3 or 4 days in a region and doing road trips from those bases.
    If so, any ideas as to how to go about this?

  15. Hello,
    I am looking to go to Ireland for about 4 weeks but do not want to do any driving. What would you suggest if this is the case?

    Linda

    • Hi Linda – we haven’t actually published any guides to getting around Ireland without a car as of yet. They’re in the works, though. I’d recommend you use rome2rio to understand how to get from point A to point B.

      It’s a great site for linking numerous modes of transport together. You’ll need to use public transport and avail of organised tours, at times, which shouldn’t be an issue.

      It’s worth noting that a good few of the places in this guide won’t be reachable by public transport and many tour providers won’t include them on their itinerary.

      Have a great trip.

      Keith

  16. To Keith,
    We really want to do your 4 week trip and even though you are very thorough and detailed, I am STILL confused about how best to divide the trip so we can perhaps do this and not stay in 20 different accommodations.
    Is it at all possible to break it down into perhaps 3 and 4 day stays at a time. I’m sorry but I’ve been stuck on this for days.
    Erika

  17. Hi,
    Thank you so much for all this useful info. I am planning a trip on 5/7-5/16, leaving from Dublin, I think we are going to focus on Kerry and Clare. We will most likely leave Dublin Airport around 1PM (if all goes as planned) and want to stop in Kilkenny and Rock of Cashel, staying overnight in Cork. Will we be able to get there before nightfall?
    Thanks, Natalie

    • Hi Natalie,

      It depends on a couple of things: where in Cork are you staying and will you be driving or using public transport?

      Cheers,

      Keith

  18. Keith,
    I will be driving, and not sure where in Cork, we just wanted to get down towards Co. Kerry. Thanks for responding.
    Natalie

  19. Thank you for such a great guide. My husband and I have a week in Ireland in August and your site has really been helpful. There is so much to see and do. Your site is helping me figure out what we have to see and what we will plan to see on a future visit.

  20. Keith,my husband and I are planning a 4 to 6 week trip to Ireland in May/June of 2020. I viewed your itinerary and was very excited. Will you be able to send me a copy.
    Thank you,
    Mary

  21. Thanks very much for this, planning a month in Ireland this summer and this seems to have done all the hard work of planning for us.

  22. Hi Keith! We are hoping to visit for a month this coming November. Hoping vaccines will be done and travel is allowed. If we wanted to spend more time in each place say 3 to 4 days what would be the absolute places to visit scaling back from your list? Your recommendation will be appreciated. Thanks!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.