Just a little disclaimer before I begin, as I have been asked this before. All the recommendations I give you are just places I like to frequent. I'm not being paid by anyone to say these things, I'm not getting discounts by anyone to say these things. These are just the places I like to go. I always appreciate getting a good recommendation when I travel, and I like to pass them on to you!
A trip through County Waterford
Driving from Waterford City to West Cork via Mahon Falls and Dungarvan. A dog-friendly holiday part 1.
Mahon Falls and the Magic Road
At the end of May, myself and the Doggo took our very first holiday together. The first stop we took on our holiday was to Mahon Falls: a beautiful place up in the Comeraghs in County Waterford. Years ago I used to come here with my dad and our dogs, and it was a very different place back then... there was a small rocky path and the place was kind of wild and unkempt. (As you approach, make sure to stop on the magic road! Just past the entrance gate you will spot a fairy tree (Hawthorn). Turn off your engine and pop your gear into neutral. Wait a moment, and you will find your car reversing uphill... all on its own! Magic indeed!)
Now today Mahon Falls is actually much easier to access and visit: There is a car park with plenty of space. The pathway to the Falls has been extended and made nice and wide and easy enough to walk which is fantastic. The path is also able to take wheelchairs and pushchairs which is brilliant for families to get about, however I will say wheels will need a little bit of help over the final section on approaching the Falls, as those sections can be quite steep, so do be aware of this!
The path to the Falls is along this incredible scenery, with sheep absolutely everywhere (and they are very used to people walking by.) They will pose for your pictures if you so wish, and it's a wonderful way for children to get up close to sheep and animals in general. Do take into account that you must always keep your dog on a lead, no matter how well they are trained. The puppy really enjoyed herself, and she had a lot of fun staring at the sheep, and the sheep stared right back! There was a one lamb that wanted to play, but we kept on going to the Falls where many people had sat to have a picnic in the sunshine. It was a lovely easy walk, and just a nice thing to do as we drove down to Dungarvan from Waterford.
Things to do outdoors - Hiking and Swimming at Coumshingaun
Back in the car we continued on our way, with amazing incredible views of the Comeraghs - it's absolutely worth even just taking a drive out there for an afternoon, I highly recommend it. If you have more adventurous people in your group you can always go for climb up to Coumshingaun, as it is a beautiful walking trail. Just always remember to let somebody know where you are, and bring some water and essentials.
Dungarvan - The perfect little holiday town
Dungarvan itself is one of my favourite places to go. When I have time off I tend to go down there and spend some time in the sea, by the shore, and visiting all the beautiful little shops and amazing restaurants in this lovely little town. It's definitely worth going to visit as there are loads of little independent shops, bakeries, florists and eateries that are exceptional. My favourite place to eat is 360 cookhouse specifically because it's dog friendly and has a beautiful outdoor section with blankets, heaters, an open fire... they even have a doggy menu and plenty of dog bowls! The food is also always wonderful - I've been going there for years and it's one of my favourite stops in Dungarvan. Other places I like to visit when I'm in Dungarvan include Isabels Place, a gorgeous gift shop, Dun Artisan Bakery, with its incredible pastries, and Jitterbeans for their sausage rolls and white chocolate mochas.
Things to do in Dungarvan
Oh, and I think one of the best things in Dungarvan, is that your first 30 minutes of parking in town are free, which is just such a great initiative by the council down there, and I think it's a great way to get people to stay in the town. There is a beautiful park in walking distance and lots of lovely little walks around the town, and by the sea: keep an eye out for the famous seals surfboard! By one of the bridges next to the park in Dungarvan there is a surfboard which the seals like to hang out on: it's very well-known! I also highly recommend the Greenway that makes its way to Waterford City - a gorgeous walk/cycle/skate-way! A couple more honourable mentions of things I haven't done yet but can't wait to do is visiting the castle and the museum here in Dungarvan.
Seaweed Baths and Sea Swimming - an Excellent Combo!
Other things we did while we were here was drive out to Helvick Head, or Helbhic Head, a beautiful spot five minutes from Dungarvan, where I go at least three times a year to take seaweed bath in Solace na Mara. The doggo and I love walking up to Helvick Head and going for a swim, climbing around on the rocks, eating a simple picnic, and just generally enjoying ourselves and the incredible nature and views that surround us. This is also a popular spot for camper vans during the summer as there are public toilets here, which is very handy, however I don't think tents are allowed.