WVT Coastal Walk Trail
Cliff Walk – Ardmore
The cliff walk at Ardmore has an amazingly diverse range of flora comprising of 113 species of wildflower, grasses and fern including orchids, vetchs, wild thyme and blue scabious. The Ardmore Cliff Walk is also a birdwatchers paradise and is home to a host of coastal birds. Birds such as rock pipits, pheasant, kestrel and peregrine falcons occupy the habitat.
There are many sights to see along the walking trail including an early Christian well and Church founded by St Declan circa 416, which served as a Baptistry to early Christian Missionaries. The coastguard station was built in 1867 and the castle was also built during this period. By 1921, both buildings were abandoned. The crane ship Samson which ran aground can also be seen. Complete your walk by visiting the Round Tower which is thought to have been founded by St. Declan in the 5th century – predating St. Patrick and it is of 12th century origin.
From Lismore, take the N72 to Tallow. Drive straight through Tallow town and follow the R634 to Youghal. From Youghal, follow the N25 signposted to Waterford. Turn right onto the R673 signposted to Ardmore. From Dungarvan, take the N25 to Kiely’s Cross. Turn left onto the R673 signposted to Ardmore. Once in Ardmore take the Middle Road to the Cliff House hotel. The walk begins just after the hotel car park – follow the road to where it becomes a path leading down to old ruins.
Doneraile Walk – Tramore
The Doneraile Walk is named after a local landlord, Lord Doneraile, who donated this land to the townspeople. During this walk you will pass a monument to one of the worst shipwrecks that Tramore bay has ever seen. The shipwreck was the British ship The “Sea Horse” in January 1816. Over 360 lives were lost and this tragedy inspired the erection in 1821 of the Beacon Towers. This is a loop walk.
Follow the N25 through Waterford City, and branch left, onto the R675 as you leave the City following the signs for Tramore. On entering Tramore, follow this road through the round-about up onto Church Road where the trailhead is located on the left-hand-side.
Dunes Walk – Tramore
Tramore beach leads to a line of some of the highest sand dunes in Ireland, backed by a salt marsh. It is home to a number of rare seaside plants and interesting wildlife. Ecologically, the wetland area of Tramore contains a diverse range of habitats with associated plant and animal communities and is a nationally important area of scientific interest. It is also an internationally important Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SPC). A well-developed dune system surrounded by a backstrand which supports a rich invertebrate fauna on which many birds feed. These sand dunes have been developing for over 5000 years. They form part of a constantly changing environment due to the wind and sand deposits which are covered in marram grass. The grass helps to slow down the erosion
Follow the N25 through Waterford City, and branch left onto the R675 as you leave the City following the signs for Tramore. On entering Tramore, follow this road through the roundabouts to the trailhead and the car park is 700 meters further on, on the left-hand-side opposite the Majestic Hotel.
Dunmore East Coastal Walk
The Coastal Walk includes Dunmore East Harbour and the Coastal Path that connects Dunmore East to the picturesque Portally Cove. The path is situated above many inlets carved out of the conglomerate red sandstones, known locally as “pudding stone”. This stone was used to build the harbour in the 1820s. Also watch out for the many interesting birds including a Kittiwake colony, the “Fulmar” which is a seagull-like sea bird, the red-legged “Chough” and the “Cormorants and Shags”. Watch out for the areas beautiful rich flora and fauna and the occasional seal popping its head up close inshore.
Follow the signs for Dunmore East and Passage through Waterford City onto the Dunmore Rd/R683. Continue to follow the R683 (through approx. three roundabouts). Keep right at the fork in the road at the petrol station (left is for Passage East) onto the R684. Stay on the R684 (approx. 10km). On entering Dunmore East follow the main road (R684/Dock Road) past the left road for ‘The Strand’. After the Azzuro restaurant on the right-hand-side of the bend you will find ample roadside parking. The trailhead is located in the park on the left-hand-side beside the tennis courts
Dunmore East Wood Walk
The Dunmore East Wood Walk offers a completely different flora experience to that of a coastal village. This forest trail takes you through the lower woods, the upper woods and the upper village of Dunmore East.
Follow the signs for Dunmore East and Passage through Waterford City onto the Dunmore Rd/R683. Continue to follow the R683 (through approx. three roundabouts). Keep right at the fork in the road at the petrol station (left is for Passage East) onto the R684. Stay on the R684 (approx. 10km). On entering Dunmore East follow the main road (R684/Dock Road) past the left road for ‘The Strand’. After the “Azzuro Restaurant” on the right-hand-side of the bend you will find ample roadside parking. The trailhead is located in the park on the left-hand-side beside the tennis courts.
Saleen to Ballymacaw Walk
This walk from Saleen to Ballymacaw incorporates high sea cliffs and rocky coves and can easily take up to two hours. It should be noted that the start of the walk can be tidal and while it is always walkable, it is a walk best enjoyed at low tide. This walk is 6.82km (not looped) and is tougher than maps suggests. Therefore it is probably not a walk suitable for young children.
Saleen’s is a length of sandy beach stretching out along the eastern headland of Tramore Bay. It is separated from the largest sand-dune in Tramore, (aptly named “The Baldy-Man,”) by a stream which feeds and empties the back-strand to Tramore Beach. The currents are notoriously dangerous in this area, so this is not a beach recommended for swimming. It is accessed from the region known as Cloghernagh which may not be signposted.
The Tramore Slí na Sláinte loop walk
This is an easy 1.5 hour (5 km) walking route along the stunningly beautiful Tramore coastline. It starts on the Church Road and follows the coastline along the Doneraile Walk. Tramore Strand is on the left stretching for almost 3 miles. The strand incorporates the sand dunes which are among the highest in Ireland. An ancient canon gun lies on top of the cliff overlooking the entrance to the bay. On your right a memorial stone has been erected to commemorate the military victims of the “Sea Horse” tragedy (1816) in Tramore Bay, when 363 people drowned.
Near The Cove, a Haunted Well is located at the foot of the steps. Beware of the spirits that are occasionally seen at midnight! Turning left towards Lady Elizabeth’s Cove you will notice the meandering ramps on the right. Proceed up the ramps, which will terminate at the Cliff Road. The Cliff Road runs parallel to the cliff face until it reaches the Guillameen, which formerly used to be a ‘male preserve’ but has since become a mixed bathing area.
From the Guillameen you can see three 18 metre high pillars. The Metal Man (1824), perched on the centre pillar, warns mariners of the dangers of Tramore Bay. On leaving the Guillameen, turn left off the main road and down towards Newtown Glen. In the Glen, underneath the canopy of the trees and alongside the gently flowing stream, you will see some beautiful native flora and fauna. Continue along the woodland path and turn left once you reach the cliff road again.
Turn right at next T-junction. Along this road you will encounter some of the many leisure facilities that Tramore boasts, namely Newtown Camping and Caravan Park, Newtown Golf Practice Range and Tramore Golf Club. On passing the golf club you will descend down Newtown Hill and back again onto Church Road where you will see the Anglican Christ Church (1850) on your left. The adjacent graveyard contains a Cenotaph to those who perished in the “Sea Horse” Tragedy.
Slí na Sláinte stands for ‘path to health’. It is marked by bright colourful signposts which are not numbered and are situated at 1 km intervals, you’ll find Slí na Sláinte walk routes all over Ireland, developed by the Irish Heart Foundation and supported by Waterford Council.
The Whortle (Hurtle) Route Walk
The famous ‘Whortle Walk’ (sometimes known as the Hurtle) which connects the villages of both Passage East and Cheekpoint has some of the most breathtaking and scenic views over the river Suir Estuary as it widens and nears the sea. This route had been closed for decades until a dedicated group of local volunteers from Cheekpoint, Passage, Crooke and Fournought recently dedicated several months to clear briars and thick undergrowth and reinstate the route. With Phase 1 successfully completed the route has now been re-opened as one of Waterford’s coastal walks. Phase 2 will involve putting up signs for the walk, which is named after the ‘Whortle’ berry, and laying stones on sections of the pathways where it’s still quite mucky. Access by cars is not encouraged.
The Whortle Berry plant comes into fruit around May and can be seen growing along the Russianside area. The Irish word for the fruit is fraughan and another is Bilberry. Apparently, very good for the eyes!!
En route you visit Cheekpoint, in Irish “Pointe na Síge” translates to ‘point of the streak’. The name is said to have originated from a river rock called Carraig na Síge. Near low water the rock shows a trail, or streak of foam on the ebb tide. The village was called ‘Bolton’ or ‘Bolton Inn’ during its heyday but this name ceased to be used and the original is the only one recognised.
Today Cheekpoint is a pleasant little fishing village, set on the headland above the confluence of the River Suir, River Barrow and the River Nore. It offers views of the rivers and the 650 metre Barrow Bridge, including the Great Island Power Station. Above the village the 150 metre high Minaun Hill, provides walkers with wonderful panoramas over the Suir Estuary and nearby Faithlegg Golf club. From a boating perspective this is a an excellent place to stop off for lunch in a nice quiet spot. Visitors can enjoy beautiful walks and excellent pub food plus there are some small provision shops within walking range at Cheek Point.
Passage East, an ancient port and charming fishing village, is home to a small but thriving fishing industry, which provides employment to a number of local people. The village is small and set into the physical constraints imposed by the location’s high escarpment. It has two open squares, surrounding streets and three main quays.
It has a long beach leading to the south that provides for great fishing with some fine specimen of fish being caught including bass, codling, whiting, flatfish and pollock. It is possible to walk from Passage to Woodstown when the tide is out. On a sunny morning it is a great walk which includes stunning views across the river towards Duncannon. Woodstown Beach is a long sandy beach surrounded by private woodlands. It is a tidal beach which extends out around a kilometre at low tide, exposing a large flat beach. It is very popular with families as it is ideal for picnics and long walks.
The Passage East car ferry ‘Tintern’ has been operating out of passage since 1982 and has a capacity for 28 cars. This ferry links the village and County Waterford as a whole, with County Wexford and specifically the village of Ballyhack. It saves motorists, cyclists and hikers a road journey of approximately 55km.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Passage East Goats roaming wild on the cliff edge of the village, protected under Ireland’s Heritage & Environmental laws. However, a word of caution! While these goats are, without doubt, exalted creatures, this is a feral herd, they are not pets…….they will butt! You have been warned!