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.
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) //
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) //
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.
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) //
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Monday 13th of March 2023
Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you
Thursday 9th of March 2023
the link to the mailing list sign up isnt working...can I have you send me the document by email? it sounds amazing through quick page hopping! thought this morning that we might go this late Sept/early October for 3ish weeks.
Monday 6th of March 2023
Hi Keith, we’re looking at visiting Ireland September 2023, for four weeks, coming from Canada. Thankfully I found your guide, it is fantastic, you put in a great deal of work organizing this. Thank you. I have a couple tours books to cipher through as well, but it is painstaking slow. I need to get an itinerary put together fast, I see accommodations are filling up quickly for September. One question I have is, is it possible or wise to do your road trip in reverse? We’re not used to driving on the left side, haha, will it be safer doing the trip in reverse?
Saturday 18th of February 2023
Do you have a PDF of the whole list that we could buy/download with links? We were planning to do the reverse of this in October 2023 (34 days)---but, rethinking after seeing yours!
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
This itinerary will be the basis of our upcoming trip this year. We prefer to base ourselves in a place for maybe a week and explore the surrounding areas. We will be picking up a car in Belfast on 26 May and have it for almost 6 weeks. We are unsure of our direction of travel, but leaning towards anti-clockwise. Excluding Dublin, can you suggest 5 or 6 "bases" for exploration. Small towns with a bit of character ideally.
Keep up the good work.