There are plenty of things to do in Dungarvan, especially if you’re looking to get active!
Nestled beneath the Comeragh mountains, the coastal town of Dungarvan is a scenic place to head for a weekend getaway in County Waterford.
In the guide below, you’ll discover a clatter of things to do in Dungarvan, along with plenty of places to visit nearby. Dive on in!
Our favourite things to do in Dungarvan (and nearby)
The first section of our guide tackles our favourite things to do in Dungarvan and nearby, from food and beaches to some of the most popular places to visit in Waterford.
The second section of the guide tackles things to do near Dungarvan (within a reasonable driving distance, that is!)
1. Cycle the Waterford Greenway
For keen cyclists, Dungarvan is the start (or end) of the 46km-long off-road cycling trail known as the Waterford Greenway. This fantastic trail takes you across eleven bridges, three viaducts and through an old tunnel along the old railway line from Waterford City to Dungarvan.
Along the way you can see an ancient Viking settlement, Norman Castles, a famine workhouse, old railway stations and incredible scenery of the coastline.
The town makes for a great base to start your ride to Waterford City, with bikes available for hire if you don’t have your own. This is one of the most popular things to do in Dungarvan for good reason!
2. Tackle the Comeragh Drive
To fully appreciate the Comeragh mountains, take this spectacular scenic drive to the Mahon Valley and Comeragh Heights and then all the way back to Dungarvan.
On the way you can enjoy incredible scenery of the mountains and green countryside. There is plenty of signage along the drive indicating places to stop, including Mahon Falls, the Magic Road and scenic viewpoints.
It follows skinny country roads, so be aware of oncoming traffic and enjoy the winding road at a gentle pace. If you have extra time, there are a few spots where you can also get out and explore on foot.
3. And stop off to see Mahon Falls on the way
One of the highlights on the Comeragh Drive is Mahon Falls, which are a beautiful 80m-high plunge of water over the exposed rock of the Comeragh mountains.
It’s just 23km away from Dungarvan near Lemybrien. There’s a small carpark there where you can begin the easy 15-minute walk to the falls.
The water at these falls can sometimes slow to a trickle in summer, but the scenery here is worth seeing no matter what time of the year you decide to visit. See a guide to the longer walk here.
4. Take an early morning ramble on Clonea Strand
Clonea a beautiful long stretch of Blue Flag beach and it’s the perfect spot for an early morning ramble (or for a post cycle stroll!).
Clonea is a popular spot for swimming, but note that lifeguards are only on duty during the summer months. There are some interesting rock pools around the beach which the kids will certainly love, and dogs are allowed on a leash.
5. Ramble along the An Coinigear Walking Trail
An Coinigear is the long skinny stretch of sand that sticks out into Dungarvan Bay. It’s one of the best bird watching spots on the coast, plus it provides incredible views of Knockmealdown, the Comeragh mountains and Helvick Head.
The walking trail starts at Mooneys Pub and makes its way down to the coast until you come to the entrance of An Coinigear.
You can follow the curve of the shoreline out to the sand dunes on this sandy spit. Head out as far as the highest sand dunes to enjoy the best views of the bay. This is one of the best walks in Waterford for good reason!
6. Treat yourself to something tasty from 360 Cookhouse
You’ll find one of the best restaurants in Dungarvan located right in the middle of town on Castle Street. 360 Cookhouse really is hard to beat!
With everything from fresh fish and steaks to gourmet burgers, stone-baked pizzas and range of tapas on offer, there’s something to tickle most tastebuds here.
It’s also a wonderful place for a drink with classic cocktails, cask wines, and local craft beers served at the bar. The cosy candle-lit interior is perfect for a relaxing dinner after a day out exploring.
Other worthwhile things to do in Dungarvan (and nearby)
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Dungarvan out of the way, it’s time to look at some other great activities and places to visit in Dungarvan and close by.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and hikes to waterfalls, woodland walks and much, much more. Dive on in.
1. Drive or cycle the Copper Coast
If you’re keen to explore more of the coast outside of Dungarvan, a scenic drive or cycle along the Copper Coast is an incredibly memorable experience.
Between Dungarvan and Tramore, you can take a relaxing drive through Bunmahon, Boatstrand, Dunhill, Annestown, and Fenor with beautiful coves, beaches and cliffs to see.
The Copper Coast is a unique geological area with incredible rock formations that have been shaped over millions of years. The area also has an interesting mining history that you can discover at the old towns on the way.
2. Explore Colligan Wood
A peaceful place to get away from the crowds, Colligan Wood is the perfect spot to head for a picnic or ramble alongst the trees.
The wood sits on the Colligan River just a 7-minute drive north west of Dungarvan town, making it popular amongst the locals.
The beautiful natural area has plenty of spots for a picnic, jog or walk through the woodland with viewpoints over the surrounding area, including Dungarvan harbour. There are two designated walking trails, both well-marked and easy for most levels of fitness.
3. Take a look around Dungarvan Castle
Right in the middle of town and overlooking the harbour, this old castle dates back to the early days of the Anglo-Norman settlement.
It was built around 1209 to defend the harbour in a polygonal shape, which was very rare in Ireland at the time.
The remains include a wall, corner tower and gate tower, with military barracks inside which date back to the 18th century. It’s open to visitors with an interesting exhibition inside which details the intriguing history of the castle and the town.
4. Spend a rainy day at the Dungarvan Brewing Company
Where else to head on a rainy day than to a brewery. The Dungarvan Brewing Company is a microbrewery which was established in the town in 2010 and since become an icon of Dungarvan. All their beer is brewed, bottled, canned, casked or kegged on the property in town and in small batches.
Their taproom is open for tours and events in summer which take you through the ingredients and process used by the company. Of course, you’ll also get to taste a range of their beer as well at the end.
5. Or step back in time at Waterford County Museum
Another indoor activity for a rainy day is the Waterford County Museum. Located in the main centre of Dungarvan, it’s a volunteer-run museum dedicated to preserving the history of the area.
Inside, it has a range of exhibitions with plenty of photographs and artefacts, most of which have been donated by local people. The museum is open Monday through Friday and is free to enter.
If you’re wondering what to do in Dungarvan when it’s raining, this is a fine spot to whittle away a wet afternoon.
6. Head off on the Ardmore Cliff Walk
Just a 20-minute drive south of Dungarvan, you can head off on the beautiful Ardmore Cliff Walk. This short and sweet coastal trail goes for 4km around Ardmore Head. Taking just around an hour to complete, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea all the way along.
You’ll also get to see a shipwreck off the coast, known as Sampson, which has been wrecked there since 1988.
There are two old lookout posts and an old 12th century era cathedral and round tower to pass by as well. You can begin the walk at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore.
7. Or the brilliant Coumshingaun Lough Loop Walk
In the other direction, you can drive out to Coumshingaun Lough which is 20 minutes north of Dungarvan for another walk. This beautiful lake sits amongst rugged green mountains which forms a natural amphitheatre.
It’s the kind of landscape that you expect would be perfect as a move set for the Lord of the Rings, so bring you camera!
There is a great 7.2km loop walk that begins from the carpark and heads up to the tops of the cliffs for panoramic views. It’s certainly on the more difficult side, so make sure that you’re fully prepared. You can read our full guide to the Coumshingaun Lough Loop Walk here.
8. Explore Ireland’s oldest city
Waterford City is just under an hour’s drive away from Dungarvan. Ireland’s oldest city has a long history dating back to a Viking settlement and defense fort which eventually grew into the city of Waterford that it is today.
What to do in Dungarvan: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Dungarvan from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best things to do in Dungarvan
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from active things to do in Dungarvan to where to visit nearby.
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?
I’d argue that the best things to do in Dungarvan are to tackle the Waterford Greenway (it starts in Dungarvan), do the Comeragh drive, visit Clonea Beach and head off on the Coinigear Walking Trail.
Is Dungarvan worth a visit?
Dungarvan makes a great base to explore Waterford from. If you can, use it as your base for a few nights. There’s lots of pubs and restaurants in the town and there’s loads to see nearby.
Where is there to visit close to Dungarvan?
There’s an endless number of places to visit near Dungarvan, from Coumshingaun Lough and Mahon Falls to the Copper Coast and more (see above).
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.