Day 2 – The Copper Coast, a magic road and one of the best views in Ireland

We’ve a pretty active day ahead, but it’s one you’ll remember for a long aul time.

We’re going to road trip along a stretch of coastline that’s a bit of a hidden gem, before embarking upon a nice long hike that’ll treat you to a view that’ll knock you sideways.

Here’s everything you need to know about day 2!

What you'll be doingWhere you'll be sleepingWhat you'll need
  • Spinning along the Copper Coast
  • Checking out Dunhill Castle
  • A stroll on Kilmurrin Beach
  • Bunmahon Beach (another magnificent beach)
  • The Coumshingaun Lake Walk
  • The Magic (yes, magic) Road
  • Mahon Falls
  • The Comeragh Drive
The Park Hotel, Dungarvan
  • A decent pair of hiking boots
  • Appropriate clothing depending on the weather
  • A packed lunch as we won’t be stopping for food until later in the evening
  • Water and snacks for the hike

Day 2 Stop 1 – The Copper Coast

Start the drive at 9:00 

The stretch of coastline that sits between Tramore and Dungarvan is known as the Copper Coast and it’s widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, unspoilt scenic drives in 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

As you spin along the Copper Coast you’ll pass many a golden beach and quaint village.

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 – 26-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.

The area is made up of 25 kilometers of magnificent coastline that’s just itching to be explored.

dunhill castle in waterford
Photo by James Barry (@tiawardeise)

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 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.

Copper Coast Stop 2 – Kilmurrin Beach

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 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.

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 waterford
Photo by Copper Coast Geopark via Failte Ireland

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 road trip guides we create here, the best advice we can offer is to let your gut guide you.

Take your time on the Copper Coast. Get out of the car. Walk. Climb. Gulp down as much sea air as your lungs will allow. 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.

Day 2 Stop 2 – The Coumshingaun Lake Walk

Aim to start this walk at 12:00

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

Check this out…

waterford lake loop walk
Photo by @cen92 on Instagram

Excited? The Coumshingaun Lake Walk, for me, is the best thing to do in Waterford.

Anywhere that gives you a solid physical challenge and then rewards you with a view like this always tops my list.

The lads at Dungarvan Tourism have prepared a fantastic guide this walk – their website is a cracking 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;

Coumshinaun Horseshoe
Photo by Muddy Boots

‘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.

Day 2 Stop 3 – The Magic Road

When you get back to the car you’ll be a handy 10-minute drive away (I’m going to slot in 5 hours for the long lake walk, which would mean that you’d arrive to the Magic Road at about 17:00)

I heard about the Magic Road in Waterford on my old school bus.

One of the lads had been in Waterford and his dad had taken them to it. When he told us what happened, we didn’t believe him.

It didn’t make sense then, and it definitely doesn’t make sense now.

You’ll find the Magic Road in the Comeragh Mountains as you make your way to Mahon Falls.

When you reach the cattle grid in the road, keep a look out for two stones inscribed with ‘Magic Road’.

If it’s safe to do so, stop your car and stick it in neutral.

Your car will then, magically, start to roll backwards up the hill.

Watch the video above and have your mind blooooown!

Day 2 Stop 4 – Mahon Falls

Magic Road to Mahon Falls – 5-minute drive (Spend 15 minutes at the Magic Road and arrive at the waterfall for 17:30)

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!

mahon falls waterford
Photo by Max Malloy (@ihaveadarksoul)

The walk from the car park up to the waterfall is facilitated by a gravel path and takes around 20 minutes.

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.

Day 2 Stop 5 – the Comeragh Drive

Mahon Falls to Dungarvan – 25-minute drive (allow yourself an hour at Mahon Falls. This would mean you’d arrive in Dungarvan at about 18:55)

At this point you’re probably pretty wrecked – fear not, however, we’re going to finish off the day with a drive that boasts views that’ll knock you sideways, before heading to Dungarvan for the evening.

the comeragh drive
Via Google Maps

We’re going to do part of the Comeragh Drive. If you didn’t do the hike earlier in the day, definitely look at doing the full Comeragh 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.

Day 2 Stop 6 – Dungarvan for the night

Dungarvan harbour wexford
Photo by Chris Hill

If you’ve gotten this far, fair play!

It’s time to check into your accommodation, grab a nap and the head for food and a couple of drinks.

I’m going to recommend that you stay in the Park Hotel, but where you sleep is completely up to you.

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

And that brings us to the end of our road trip

If you want to continue your trip on along the coast, you can find a full guide to Cork, Kerry and the rest of Ireland’s coastline here.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have I missed somewhere? Is there somewhere you’d recommend adding in (or taking out)?

Pop a comment in the comments section below!