Clonea is located just east of Dungarvan, about 5 minutes drive. Clonea is a designated blue flag beach and is one of the finest beaches in the South East of Ireland. Clonea has a growing reputation as a good surfing beach and it is clean and very suitable for swimming.
Be warned that during hot summer days the beach gets very crowded and parking can be hard to find. There is a hotel nearby but it's carpark is reserved for hotel guests and is strictly monitored during the summer season.
There is also a caravan and camping park located nearby.
As you tarvel along the main road between Dungarvan and Waterford City (N25) you can't help but notice the small but spectacular Comeragh Mountain Range which divides Counties Tipperary and Waterford.
You can take a number of turns off the rioad up into the mountains and especially Mahion Falls.
Mahon Falls is a popular walk for visitors and locals alike especially on sunny weekends. The falls are located in the centre of the mountain range and are flanked by high craggy maounain sides. You can either take the path to the falls or if you are out for a bit of a climb you can climb the mountain slopes to take in the falls from a height. There is a free car park nearby where you can leave your car but be advised this carpark becomes very busy at weekends and during the summer and can fill very quickly and there are very few altenative parking opportunities. Also the road is very narrow in places so take it very slowly.
An Rinn (Ring)
Ring or 'An Rinn' in Irish is an official Gaeltacht area near Dungarvan. A Gaeltacht area is an area in whihc the predominant language used locally is Irish. Gaeltacht areas in Ireland are mostly located along the west coast such as Kerry (the Dingle Peninsula) Galway and Donegal.
Ring is the only official Gaeltacht area in Waterford.
Because of this, all road signs and a lot of Shop signs are in the Irish language. If you want to hear the Irish language used in everyday life around Dungarvan your best chance is around Ring. However, due to unforgivable negligence by the planning authorities who have allowed far too much housing development in the area the area has become far more "english speaking" in recent years.
thankfully this is not all that Ring has going for it as it boasts some of the most spectacular views out over Dungarvan Bay and the Comeragh Mountains and some great fishing and cliff top walking trails. Drive to the end of the headland to Helvick Head (Ceann Helbhic) in Irish for the best views.
Shell Cottage, Abbeyside
Captain Dave Foley was the owner of Shell Cottage in Abbeyside. During his voyages he would frequently collect shells from his ports of call and on his return home would use the shells to decorate the cottage in intricate patterns and mosaic pictures. The cottage is now uninhabited but is stilll private property. You can still see the shell designs at the front of the cottage but the most impressive display is on the rear wall. You can catch a glimpse if you look down the side of the house to the rear garden.
Another unusual feature of the cottage is the grass. The variety of grass known as "Mind Your Own Business" is a variety of grass that looks quite like clover. The grass does not grow.
St. Mary's Church of Ireland
St. Mary's Church is the Protestant place of worship in Dungarvan. The churchyard is hidden from view by a very old stone wall that faces on to Emmett Street. The present church was rebuilt to a design by James Pain, about 1828. The church has a T-plan and is built of limestone, the windows have simple Gothic style frames in timber. An extension was added to the east end in 1903, and also at this period, new stained glass windows were installed by Watsons of Youghal. In 1795, the old church was repaired and new sets of entrance gates were erected at a cost of £12. These gates still survive today. A curious feature to the west of the church is the old gable wall with its five circular opes. The wall has perplexed local historians for many years, however it now seems certain that it is all that remains of the old Pre-Reformation Parish Church 'St. Mary the Virgin' records of which date back to the 1300's. The beautiful view from here, much admired by 18th and 19th century visitors to Dungarvan can still be appreciated today. In 1642 during the Civil War, the Irish rebels under a Captain Fennell destroyed the interior of the church and used it as a stable and prison for the Protestant inhabitants.
- Historical Travel
Lismore Castle is the Irish home of the Dukes of Devonshire and has been since 1753. The castle is very impressive both in location and style. It is situated on the Blackwater river overlooking the valley and has views over it has views over the Knockmealdown Mountains. The present duke is Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire.
King John's Castle
King John's Castle is an Anglo-Norman fortification founded in 1185. It is situated at the mouth of the River Colligan. The castle would have originally be surrounded by water and was entered with the use of a drawbridge.
During the Irish Civil War control of the castle (then a barracks) was taken by the IRA forces who set fire to it before leaving in August 1922. With the formation of the Garda Siochana in1922, the castle was used as the local station until 1987. After this it fell into disrepair, but has been restored and is now managed by Dúchas The Heritage Service. There are guided tours, an audio-visual show and exhibitions during the summer season.
Reconstruction work on the castle is ongoing.
Colligan Wood is a place nature lovers and walkers will enjoy. Located between Dungarvan and Ballymacarbry and only around 7km from central Dungarvan, the woods are a very popular place for local families who head to Colligan for walks and picnics. The small woodland sits in a narrow and pristinely green vale at the foothills of the Comeragh Mountains and the Colligan River flows through the woods on its way to its Atlantic mouth in Dungarvan Bay. With a recently laid out car park and riverside picnic tables it is a great place to head for an evening walk and picnic.
- Hiking and Walking
Ardmore Round Tower
The earliest monastery was founded here by St. Declan who is alleged to have been a bishop in Munster when St. Patrick arrived, and who is one of the main supports for the belief in the existence of Christianity in the south of Ireland before St. Patrick. Two Ogham stones are located in the Cathedral.One of them, called the Lugudeccas Ogham stone, was found in the gable of the Church and is believed to be the burial place of St. Declan, and a hollow in the south-east corner is pointed out as his grave.
The Round Tower and the Cathedral are said to have been built in the 12th century, although the tower could be older (possibly 10th century.
Copper Coast Drive
While staying in Dungarvan visitors should take the coastal drive from Dungarvan to Tramore. This whole coastal area is a designated European Geo Park. The drive is littered with small seaside villages such as Stradbally, Bunmahon and Annestown. These villages all have their own beautiful beaches and anyone taking this drive will be rewarded with spectacular coastal views and beautiful, unspoilt beaches.
The Moresby Buoy
The Moresby Buoy is located at the Abbetside end of the causeway (opposite Eurospar Shop).
The buoy is a monument to the tragic sinking of the Moresby ship in Dungarvan Bay on December 24th 1895. Twenty lives were lost including Captain Coomber and his wife and daughter. In St. Mary's Church of Ireland there you can see the mass grave of the crew of the Moresby. (See my tip on St. Mary's)
- Historical Travel
Stradbally is another pretty Waterford village located just east of Dungarvan. The village has won numerous plaudits in Ireland's Tidy Towns competition over the years and a Heritage award from Entente Florale.
Aside from it's pituresque charm, Stradbally is located on the Copper Coast, one of Waterford's trump cards and so unsurprisingly possesses it's own coastal jewels. There are two nice coves in Stradbally, one rocky and one sandy. The more popular sandy cove is spotless and is a popular place for locals on sunny days. There are nioce coastal walks to be enjoyed here also.
The Cunnigar is another nature lovers paradise not far from Dungarvan. The Cunnigar is a sand spit which has formed across the mouth of Dungarvan Bay and is a popular place for locals to walk along, especially on sunny days. sand dunes have formed along the narrow spit and it is also a haven for bird watchers as many breeds of native Irish birds nest and breed here. The Cunnigar stretches across Dungarvan Bay from the Ring Peninsula.
- Hiking and Walking
Augustine Church and Abbey
The Abbeyside Parish Church down by the seafront in Abbeyside mainly consisits of a relatively new Church dating from 1820, but is attached to an original 15th century monastery tower. The tower was part of an original Augustine Monastery and the ruins of the chancel of the monastery branch out from the tower towards the sea, perpendicular to the 19th century church building. The chancel itself dates from the 13th century with the tower being added later. Today the church serves as the main church for the parish of Abbeyside/Ballinacourty.
- Historical Travel
Grattan Square is the traditional heart of Dungarvan and is still a busy central point to the town. The square hasn't changed much in the last century and although the shopfronts have changed a little, the square looks pretty much the same as it has done for over 100 years. the only real difference is the presence of cars over horse drawn carriage! However, the down side to this modern development is that the centre of thes square is now promarily used for car-parking! It is on Thursdays that the square reverts to traditional life with the morning farmers market selling fresh food produce. The culmination of this market atmosphere is during the Dungarvan Festival of Food which has grown in stature over the past few years and now has a reputation as one of the best festivals of its kind in Ireland. the festival usually happens around Easter.