Waterford’s answer to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Copper Coast stretches across the southern stretch of Waterford’s coastline from the fishing town of Dungarvan to the popular beach resort of Tramore. The name stems from the copper mines that once flourished along the coastline during the 1800’s. Driving from Dungarvan, the road passes through the villages of Bunmahon, Boatstrand, Dunhill, Annestown and Fenor before finishing in Tramore. Along the way are panoramic views of beaches and cliff faces, created from millions of years of volcanic and oceanic activity. The drive also has many ruined castles and buildings from history to visit. The surrounding landscape is now a European and UNESCO Global Geopark which includes numerous Blue-flag beaches and the Comeragh mountain range.
Things to do along the way
Walks along the beach
Tramore beach is the longest, and in my view, the most impressive beach along the Copper Coast. The strand itself stretches an impressive 5km in length and consists of footpaths, sand dunes and the sandy beach itself. Perfect for leisurely strolls or joggers looking to add a little resistance to their training. Just make sure to watch out for the tide.
Swimming at the Guillamenes/Newtown Cove
No trip to Tramore is complete without a dip in the sea. The Guillamene and Newtown coves offer ideal spots for swimmers brave enough to test the cold Irish water. There are steps down into the water for easy access. Most impressively, however, is the diving platform, which sits high above the water for those brave enough to jump. Historically, the site was for men only but in modern times both male and female swimmers are welcome. The old ‘men only’ sign still stands at the entrance to the pier for remembrance sake. If you have a wet suit bring it, the Irish water is very cold.
Visit the Metal man
Climb your way up to the Metal man, a statue on top of one of the three pillars near Newtown cover in Tramore. To reach the statue you have to climb up to the top of the cliff beside Newtown Cove and walk along the cliffs edge out towards the three pillars. Be very careful on this walk, the statue and pillars are located on private property and there is no fencing or rails along the way, you are literally walking along the edge of a cliff. Definitely not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights.
Try the amusements at Tramore
Along Tramore strand are loads of amusements, rides and games to play for people of all ages. We tried our luck at the slots machines and arcade games as well as a round of crazy golf for only 3 euro. After the games why not grab some fish and chips from the famous Dooly’s Fish and Chip shop.
Surf the Copper Coast
The Copper Coast has several beaches to try your hand at surfing. If you’re looking to rent gear I’d suggest heading to Tramore, there are loads of shops to rent or buy your surfing gear from. We used Tramore Surf Shop & School when we went surfing for my birthday. The guys here are really friendly, helpful and the gear is cheap to rent. They provide lessons if you need them or you can rent the equipment for the day at a very good rate. The reason I recommend this surf shop over others is that it is the closest one to the shore. This might not seem like a huge benefit, but when you’re carrying your boards and gear to/from the shore, the shorter the walk the better. They also have hot showers for you to use after you’re done, free of charge. Other surf schools include Freedom Surf School and Oceanics Surf School.
Continue your journey as far as Ardmore
Just a short journey onwards from Dungarvan is the small village of Ardmore. It’s here you’ll find the famous 5-star hotel, the Cliff House Hotel. A beautiful cliff walk starts from here and stretches all the way along the coastline. The cliff walk offers spectacular views of the Irish coastline with a chance to see some sea birds and wild flowers. Along the way are several historical monuments and relics including St. Declan’s Well, the Samson wreck, Father O’Donnell’s Well and an old lookout post which dates from the second World War.
Thanks for reading,
Have any questions about the Copper Coast? If so, let me know in the comments below!