On a whim, we decided to spend 2 days in Dungarvan, Co Waterford while visiting the parents in Kilkenny. The weather was fantastic, especially for Irish standards. We took full advantage with a nice little family road trip to Dungarvan complete with “Dúbh” the dog included.
Our first stop was Clonea Beach to give the dog a run. Located about 5km outside Dungarvan. It is a blue flag beach and is safe for swimming for dogs & humans alike, weather permitting. It is even patrolled by a lifeguard in the summer months. Beside the car park there are a few picnic tables if you are so inclined. The long wide crescent-shaped strand is picturesque and makes an ideal spot for a brisk walk, run, kitesurf or lazy DIY picnic lunch.
The closed Clonee Strand hotel is now home to Syrian Refugees who have been relocated here. I would strongly encourage everyone who meets with the residents to make them feel as welcome as possible and extend every courtesy.
DOG FRIENDLY SELF-CATERING ACCOMMODATION
After our stroll along the strand, and the dog’s swim. We checked into The Park Hotel Self-Catering Holiday Homes hotel in Dungarvan. (We booked through Airbnb which proved to be much cheaper than booking direct). We had full access to the leisure facilities and it was a short walk to the main hotel bar and restaurant. The accomodation was spacious and the kitchen well equipped. The dog-friendly holiday home came complete with walled-in back garden for the dog to run around in.
THE ANCHOR BAR
We left doggy at home to relax and we headed into town for a pint. Dungarvan is home to craft brewery by the same name. We sat outside the Anchor Bar enjoying the harbour view and sampling the Copper Coast Red Ale and Greenway Pale Ales. Both were delicious and flavorful although the pale ale was my favourite.
For dinner, we opted for an Indian Restaurant that was recommended by one of the locals in the bar. It was located only a few steps away from the bar further up the harbour. The staff were attentive and the portions were gargantuan. Hungry after our beach walk we ordered way too much food. Our eyes were much bigger than our bellies. There is no need to order starters here. We ordered a selection of vegetarian and meat starters, sizzling platters of prawns and fish, rich chicken and lamb curries, naan breads and rice. Everything was very tasty although the prawns looked slightly overcooked.
COMERAGH MOUNTAINS DRIVE & SHEEP ON THE ROAD
After lunch the next day we headed for the hills. The stunning vistas along the Comeragh Mountains swooped past us as we drove. The rustic browns and a multitude of green hues illuminated the curving peaks and valleys.
Of course, no Irish road trip would be complete without sheep on the road. Soon enough we came to a stop until the flock eventually decided off roading was a better option.
We stopped by the Ballymacarbry Grotto to have a look. It was a lovely setting by a babbling brook with overhanging foliage, religious statues and ornaments. We explored the river, hopping across stepping stones and admiring the scene. If you believe in them this is a perfect spot for fairies!
The highlight of the whole drive for me was the Mahon Falls. An 80-meter collection of waterfalls near Lemybrien, Co. Waterford. Even the short walk up towards the falls is spectacular. Like a scene from Lord of the Rings. There are multiple tiers to the waterfall with natural plunge pools big enough for a dip in warmer weather. The cliffs encompass the waterfalls on 3 sides and tower over majestically. I could have easily spent half a day here exploring all the rocks and levels of the waterfall and rambling around scrambling up rocks.
DINNER AT THE TANNERY
The Tannery is TV famous fine dining Restaurant, Guesthouse and Cooking school combined run by chef Paul Flynn. I chose the evening set menu at €35 which offered excellent value. I ordered the tasting plate for starters, followed by the braised lamb fettuccine, olives & dukkah and gingerbread crumble for dessert. Every dish was carefully created with great attention to detail and presented beautifully. Even though this is a fine dining restaurant the decor had a hint of humour and colourful artwork gave it a homely feel. The waiter was friendly and casual and offered excellent service. He made you feel right at home and eased you into the experience.
BLAA AT MERRY’S BAR & RESTAURANT
On our last afternoon, we ate at Merry’s Gastro Pub. We all sat by a table at the window and were served by really friendly staff. The bar has the original features with vintage mirrors, snugs and open fires. I had the Grilled Irish chicken, buffalo mozzarella, tomato in a blaa with pesto mayo. A blaa is fluffy white bread bun that is unique to Waterford. Apparently, it is even protected by the European Commission.
We stopped off at Bunmahon beach on the way back. As we missed the turnoff for Clonea. A happy mishap as it turned out to be a stunning spot. Cliffs on one side of the strand and caves and rock pools on the other. On a steep walk across the headland, there is access to a “secret beach”. I just didn’t have time to explore it. We will just have to visit again 🙂
HAVE YOU VISITED WATERFORD OR IRELAND? What was your favourite place? Let me know in the comments below