Day 2: Wexford and Waterford
Day 2 is going to take us through Wexford, with stop-offs at Curracloe beach, Hook Head Lighthouse and Loftus Hall before continuing on to Waterford.
It’s a busy aul day but you’ll be seeing plenty over the course of your spin. As is the case with all of these road trips, you chop and change wherever you fancy!
1. Ballinesker Beach / Curracloe Strand
The drive from the Glendalough Hotel to Curracloe Beach will take 1 hour and 25-minutes. Aim to leave the hotel at 9 and arrive at the beach for 10:25.
If you’ve ever watched the movie Saving Private Ryan, then you may recognise our first stop of the day.
The D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan was filmed at Ballinesker Beach / Curracloe Strand back in 1997 due to its similarity to Omaha Beach in Normandy.
I walked this beach back in July – it’s well worth taking an hour or so to stroll along the sandy shores before taking a detour through the forest to the right of the beach for a ramble.
2. Tintern Abbey
The spin from Curracloe to Tintern Abbey should take around 45 minutes in the car. Aim to spend an hour at Curracloe and arrive to Tintern at 12:20.
You’ll find Tintern Abbey on the west shore of Bannow Bay in Wexford. Once one of the most powerful Cistercian foundations in the South East, the Abbey is now a big (and incredibly well maintained) crumbly ruin.
Although the Abbey is the big attraction for visitors, the majority of the people that I chat to that have visited mention the walled garden as being the highlight of the trip. Check out both for a double-whammey!
If you fancy taking a guided tour and learning about the history, it’ll cost you €5 (Adult price) and lasts 45 minutes.
Top tip: if you nip into the coffee shop, grab a bowl of fresh strawberries and cream! They’ll make your mouth happy!
3. Hook Lighthouse
Thankfully, the drive from Tintern Abbey to Hook Lighthouse will only take 25-minutes drive. Aim to spend an hour at Tintern and arrive at Hook at 13:45.
Once voted the number one lighthouse in the world, Hook Lighthouse has been marking the entrance to Wexford Harbour for at least 800 years.
One of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world, the present structure dates back 800 years to the medieval tower of Hook.
Grab a cup of coffee in the café after your long drive before climbing the 115 steps to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the mighty view of the Wexford coastline.
4. Loftus Hall
Next up is Hook Lighthouse. To get from Hook to Loftus Hall will take 7-minutes in the car (spend an hour at Hook Lighthouse and arrive at Loftus Hall at 13:55).
You’ll find the towering structure known as Loftus Hall on the wild and windy Hook Peninsula in County Wexford.
It’s a large, old mansion house that was built in the mid-1300’s during the time of the black death by the Redmond family. According to legend, the mansion is haunted by both the devil and by the ghost of a young woman.
If you fancy a bit of a scare, you can take a guided interactive tour of the ground floor of Loftus Hall (lasts around 45 mins).
5. Tramore for Foooood
We’re off to Tramore, next. The drive from Loftus will take just over an hour (aim to spend an hour at Loftus Hall and arrive at Tramore for 16:00).
Head for the Vee Bistro in Tramore and fuel up. We’ve a bit of driving left to get through today, so pour the coffee into you, also.
6. Kicking off the Copper Coast with Dunhill Castle
The drive from Tramore to Dunmill Castle shouldn’t take any longer than 15 minutes (spend an hour eating and arrive at the castle for 17:15).
If you’re not familiar with the Copper Coast, it gets its name from the 19th Century copper mines that lie at its heart.
The area is made up of 25 kilometres of magnificent coastline that’s just itching to be explored. Our first stop on the Copper Coast is a short spin from Tramore – Dunhill Castle.
This castle was built in the early 1200s by a crowd called ‘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.
7. Kilmurrin Beach
Next up is Kilmurrin Beach (10 minutes from Dunhill Castle). Spend 20 minutes at the castle and arrive at the beach for around 17:45.
The tiny little beach of Kilmurrin is an often overlooked stop-off point, but perfect for anyone looking to 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.
8. Bunmahon Beach
Our last stop of the day, Bunmahon Beach, is a handy 5-minute drive from our previous stop and it’s the last stop before heading to our accommodation for the night.
Bunmahon Beach is a beautiful spot that stretches for around 5km, and is backed by sand dunes with tall cliffs at each end.
You’ll probably be all beached out at this stage, but this place is definitely worth stopping by.
9. Bed for the night
I’m going to recommend that you stay in the Faha Lodge tonight. It’s a handy 13-minute drive from Bunmahon Beach and the reviews are brilliant.
If you fancy a bit to eat, take the short 5-minute out as far as Kilmacthomas and grab something to make your belly happy.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.