The 25 mile journey from Tramore to Dungarvan is known as the copper coast.
It is the only official European Geopark in Ireland and is celebrated for it’s diversity of rock formations and beautiful coastline.
Leaving Tramore – Turn left out of our driveway and go straight past the beach area and up the steep hill. Follow the road a few hundred meters until you come to a small roundabout with a shop and the Pier cafe. Turn left and then veer right and you will follow the Cliff Road to Newtown Cove, a secluded swimming cove where the “real” swimmers go for swimming and sunbathing. The Guillamene swimming area on the left was traditionally “for men only” in more modest times and women and children used the right side. Get out and have a look at the Bay and for a glimpse of the Metalman. This colourfully painted figure is poised on the headland in Westown since 1824. His anguished face and rigidly pointing arm are reminders of the treacherous seas around Tramore. The wrecking of the Sea Horse in 1816 led to the loss of 363 lives.
After the Newtown Cove, drive up through the small woods to the T-junction and turn left. You will drive past the Metalman and away from Tramore. At the next T-junction turn left again and proceed for about 3 km. When you come to the next T-junction a left will take you to the secluded Kilfarrasey beach or turn right and you will quickly join up with the main coast road again. At the next stop sign, turn left towards Fenor. Fenor is a very small village and Fenor’s local church is by Doolin and was built in 1894. The coastal drive takes a bend to the left at the church but to the right of the main church just a few meters is Fenor Bog with walkway and a great playground for the kids. From the parking lot next to the church, admire the giant carved angels, take a walk through a real bog for to admire some of the local fauna and flora or give the kids a chance to run amuck in the playground across the road.
Then continue west on the coast road the short distance to Annestown . The beach, with its castellated limekiln, sea arch and island, is most attractive and is popular with surfers as well as bathers. Continue on past Annestown in a westerly direction and you will pass a few quiet coves and then Boatstrand pier. This is an excellent viewing point of the coast. Continuing west, as you approach Bunmahon is the ruin of the Cornish engine house at Tankardstown which served the mines to a depth of 400m. Copper was extensively mined in the area between 1824 and 1877. In the early 1840s more than 1,000 people laboured underground.
In the middle of the village of Bunmahon, turn left towards Stradbally to keep close to the coastline. After about 3 km, turn left at the signpost for Ballyvooney Cove. If the tide is out, you can just make out a shipwreck on the left side of the rocky cove and there are caves to explore to find a secret beach (only if tide is out). Then continue on past this cove to the village of Stradbally. When you come to the T-junction you are in the village, and the coast road continues to the left, but Stradbally square is just to your right. Stradbally is a picturesque village of neat thatched and slated Georgian cottages. It has won numerous awards in the National Tidy Towns Competition. Stradbally has a good shop and two pubs right on the village square.
Leaving the village west along the coast road again, you will pass one of the most photographed thatched houses in the southeast and then you will come to Stradbally Cove at the bottom of the hill just over the bridge, with its sandy beach, is ideal for families. Continue west towards Dungarvan and at the next T-junction with the R675 you can turn right if you want to walk a bit of the Greenway. After turning right, drive a short distance and then park across at O’Mahany’s pub. The Greenway entrance is right there and going left from the car park will take you through a 400 meter tunnel and then over a massive stone viaduct in just a short distance. O’Mahany’s pub has bike rental and public toilets as well.
After the Greenway, head back towards Dungarvan and you will pass Clonea Strand, another one of Waterford’s EU Blue Flag beaches. This lovely crescent of golden sand is set snugly into the coastline. Continue on to Dungarvan, which is a bustling market town with a few nice places for lunch. We recommend the Shamrock for casual down home cooking, or the Tannery Restaurant for something with a bit more style. Both are just off the main square in Dungarvan, just ask anyone and they’ll point you to them.
Running just around the town centre of Dungarvan is the N25 which will take you onwards towards Cork to the west or Waterford city to the east. If you are travelling towards Cork, Middleton is a great place to stop and tour the Jameson whiskey factory and Blarney castle north of Cork is a must see if only to kiss the blarney stone.
If you are coming back to Tramore, take the main N25 from Dungarvan and then veer left and follow the Comeragh Drive which follows the base of the mountains all the way back to Kilmacthomas. Follow the small detour for Mahon Falls for breathtaking photos and views. This is a nice looped detour that will take you up into mountains and from the main car park the waterfall is a short walk with beautiful views back towards the sea and town of Dungarvan.
After Mahon falls, continue eastwards towards Waterford City along the Comeragh drive. Mount Congreve gardens is another beautiful stop along the way and the gardens were lovingly created by the Lord of Waterford and his predecessors with one of the best collections of azalea and magnolias anywhere in the world. This is a great place to wander around or grab a cup of tea in the cafe.
Continue on Eastwards and you can follow the signs directly back to Tramore cross country or go into the city and explore the Viking Triangle, Waterford Crystal and the retail areas. The best parking is behind the world famous Waterford Crystal to be close to everything and the 3 museums are all different and interesting. Reginald’s tower dates back 1100 years and tells the story of Irelands oldest city. The Medieval museum is the biggest and the Bishops Palace covers the more recent history with live actors to show you around. The retail area of Waterford is only a few blocks from the museums and Waterford Crystal and there are lots of good high street and boutique shops, restaurants and cafes to explore. Tramore is only 10 miles south of the city when you are finished with your adventure.