The Dungarvan & The Copper Coast Drive embraces the panoramic seascapes, cliffs, bays and coves between Dungarvan and the major seaside resort of Tramore as well as more intimate Seaside Resorts with Blue Flag Beaches, Clonea and Bunmahon. It passes through the villages of Bunmahon, Boatstrand, Dunhill, Annestown and Fenor. Finally, you will arrive at the popular seaside resort of Tramore. The area has a wealth of beautiful yet “undiscovered” secluded coves and beaches, each with a story to tell. It took more than 460 million years to create the Copper Coast, so take your time to visit and explore it!
Copper Coast Geopark: The Copper Coast Geopark is an outdoor museum of geological records. Volcanoes, oceans, deserts and ice sheets all combined to create the rocks which provide the physical foundation of the natural and cultural landscapes of the area. Follow the self-guided “Copper Coast” trail and walking cards available from the The Copper Coast Geopark Centre in Bunmahon. Guided tours for schools and other groups interested in learning about the geology of the area are also available. Further information at 051 292828. The area was declared a European Geopark in 2001 and a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2004. This geologically diverse area contains records of Palaeozoic volcanism and the last ice age.
WHAT TO DO ON THE COPPER COAST
The Copper Coast Geopark Centre: The place to visit for information on the Copper Coast – its villages, beaches, walks and interesting places. There is a coffee dock with free Wi-Fi and an exhibition on the mining and geological heritage of the area.
Address: Copper Coast Geopark Ltd. Knockmahon, Bunmahon, Co. Waterford. Tel: +353 (0)51 292828. Website: Copper Coast Geopark Centre
Tour the Copper Coast: Take a walk in the woods, on the shore or on country lands dipping into the geology, archaeology, mining heritage, the rich flora and fauna of the area. See our walks page for details. Contact the The Copper Coast Geopark Centre for route maps with details of what to look out for whether you are on foot or bike. For those with less time on their hands, you can always take the car but do not forget to stop, get the sand between your toes and wander around the pretty villages.
Mining Heritage: Bunmahon was the centre for Copper Mining in the 19th Century.Tankardstown Engine House (near Bunmahon) offers further insights in the mining heritage of the area.
Water Activities: 8 beaches, all family friendly, are accessible along the Copper Coast and some are suitable for surfers and some for divers. Alternatively, you can explore the islands and caves along the coast by kayak. Half and full day trips with www.seapaddling.com can be arranged.
Angling: The coastline offers many opportunities for: Shore Fishing for bass, flounder etc. at Kilfarrasy, Bunmahon and Stradbally; Rock Fishing from Dunabrattin head and Kilmurrin; Charter Boats from Dungarvan and Dunmor East; Fly Fishing days on Carrickavantry, Ballyscanlon Lakes and Knockaderry Reservoir; Fishing Course on Ballyshunnock Reservoir; Permits from Centra Supermarket, Kilmeaden on the N25.
The Annestown Heritage Trail: A podcast of the Annestown Heritage Trail will guide you around a section of the Copper Coast Global Geopark introducing you to its rich heritage and geology.
The Bog of Fenor is a natural storehouse of fen land flora and fauna with an information/picnic area and a raised boardwalk.
Copper Coast Mini Farm: All the family will enjoy a visit to Copper Coast Mini Farm also in Fenor. It is great place to introduce children to farm animals and farm life.
Ballymoat Gardens in Dunhill: Visits by appointment only (051 396186) from May to September. It is a two-acre rural garden featuring a waterfall and 40 foot pond with over 200 fishes and many exotic and unusual plants.
Littlewood Gardens in Stradbally: Visits by appointment only (051 293122) from April to September. It is an old world cottage with superb display of geranium, viols, pinks, old roses and sweet peas. While in the area, you can also visit the beautiful “Entente Florale” award winning village of Stradbally. Within walking distance from the village of Stradbally is the spectacular Stradbally Cove and a short drive away are the equally dramatic and stunning coves of Ballyvooney and Ballydwane.
Geological Garden in Bunmahon: A glimpse of the geology of the Copper Coast may be found in the Geological Garden in Bunmahon. The garden is home to two ogham stones found nearby, aligned to summer solstice sunset and the typical rocks of the area. A great starting point to become familiar with the rocks of the Copper Coast. The Time Path will also guide you through geological time with 28 slabs depicting the major steps in Earth history and evolution of life.
Walking Trails: Along with an audio tour around Annestown, we also have walking trail cards for the villages along the Copper Coast. The trail cards can be printed or stored for viewing on your phone.
Gaulstown Dolmen: This portal tomb consists of six upright stones forming a chamber with a capstone some 5 metres in length. The two portal stones stick out at the front and are at least 2 metres high. It is very difficult to photograph the portal of this dolmen as the front is bordered by some overgrown trees. After my first visit I was quite disappointed with the pictures I had taken but my next trip proved to be more fruitful.
Dunhill Castle: The la Poer family built the Dunhill castle in the early 1200’s. There is some evidence of an earlier Celtic fort on the hilltop also. The town’s name is derived from the Irish translation of the fort of the rock. The impressive silhouette comprises only about half a fifteenth century tower with bits of outer walls dating to the early thirteenth century.