The road less travelled – walking trails in Waterford
All odysseys of significance are not without their peril. We have taken our first tentative steps out on our Waterford Camino and have survived. Maybe, a little more than that! We’ve put the pieces of our business together, assembled a great team and are ready now to embark on the next leg of the journey. The vision has become a reality!
The scary bit… there’s no guarantee we’ll climb the mountain and arrive at the other side no matter how clear our focus, how great our resolve.
So much of what happens is below the radar; the contacts with hoteliers, the website design, marketing initiatives, brainstorming on Camino options, market research, tour operator contacts… yet without this preparatory time, we could not move forward with confidence.
The Waterford Greenway has become a corridor for thousands of people into the heart of the countryside. The Greenway has an enchanting allure for those who share our Caminos, drawing us onwards as it meanders its way with nonchalant ease through 46km of picturesque vistas and coastline. We’ve all become privileged passengers on this old railway line, spectators to the timeless beauty we pass on our way.
The tourism landscape is evolving and the aesthetic wonders of our County have a role to play in defining what is to come. Whilst the iconic visual treats along the Waterford Greenway have been well documented, it is good to place a wee spotlight on some of the many hidden gems around the county that we feature on our Camino. Visitors are genuinely surprised by the abundance of scenic delights they have passed on their walking and cycling trails. I’ve tried to capture what people have said …
“Coumshingaun is a beautifully disguised Corrie Lake in the heart of the Comeragh Mountains within a 30 minute drive from Waterford City. The landscape is amazing with wildlife, forestry and panoramic views of the entire county that will live long in the memory. If you walk uphill to the lake, it will take you around 3 hours to touch your toe in the lake and head back down the mountain to your point of departure. This Camino should be on everyone’s bucket list.”
“We loved when our Waterford Camino led us to the Mahon Falls. Here, you feel you’re on hallowed ground, a cathedral of stillness carved out of rock that dates back over 300 million years. It takes 20 minutes to walk out to the thundering Falls. They cast a mystical spell, like a dimmed oasis in a cauldron of stone. We slowed down to soak in the vast kaleidoscope of contour and colour that opened up before us from the Falls to the sea beyond. This ‘compass point’ on the Waterford Camino is one that we want our Grandchildren to experience. Spellbinding!”
“The Crough Woods trail is memorable on so many levels. All the senses come alive. The sounds of the cascading waters, the birds chirping, the autumnal light seeping through the trees, all combine to carry you through this mystical forest trail as you take the 6km Camino uphill to the Mahon Falls. Certainly gives you plenty to chat about as the sun sets over a creamy pint of stout.”
“Tramore was a particular highlight on our Camino. This seaside resort is renowned for its long beach walks, popular cafes and the many surfing schools that have sprung up here in recent years. We did both the 7km walk around the Sandunes and the 2 km Doneraile to Newtown Cove walk. Both were amazing. We even had time for a quick swim in the renowned Guillame Cove. Some of the swimmers we met take the plunge all year round! We made time between trails to have an icecream on the prom as tourists for centuries have done in this beautiful coastal town and then enjoyed a gentle stroll around the stunning Lafcadio Hearn Gardens. A day to remember!”
“Dunmore East… where have you been all my life? We love you! The trail from the harbour to the picturesque Portally Cove and back will stay with us forever. It is simply breathtaking in its beauty. We even spotted the occasional seal basking in the sun. Hook Head lighthouse simmered against the sparkling waters on the horizon. The descent into the photogenic fishing harbour of Dunmore East reminds you of something from times past. The Camino by land extended to the sea as Brendan brought us out to the Bay after lunch. We caught mackerel and lobster, no mean feat over a few hours. We had to celebrate when we got back to dry land. Dunmore East from the cliff to the sea is a sight to behold.”
“We feel honoured to have been part of the Waterford Camino tour. What can we say; fabulous, fun, scenic, breathtaking, inspiring, generous, kind, loving. Everyone needs to experience this amazing tour through Ireland’s Ancient East in this hidden corner of this beautiful country.” (Jo, Wexford)
“Was it the beauty of Mahon falls or the water rushing through Crough Woods or the walk in Durrow Tunnel on the Waterford Greenway or the lovely boat ride in Dunmore East? I’m not sure but something on this unique Camino changed me that day…. Somehow the dark cloud lifted, if not completely, enough to see the beauty around me, enough to revive my hope. The people I walked the Camino with had become my wounded healers who shared their light with me. Nature inspired me to see that all need not necessarily stay the same. Somehow I am not scared to go the hard route to climb my mountain. I have started to dream again.” (Jas, Kilkenny)
“Mother Nature shows off in full force along the Waterford Greenway. Easy nearby jaunts include the fishing village of Dungarvan, the stunning beaches of Tramore, the peaks and waterfalls of the Comeragh Mountains, and the crown jewel of Dunmore East. The scenery here rivals any vista of the renowned West Coast. Whatever type of holiday you dream of, I highly recommend making a pilgrimage with Waterford Camino Tours.” (Stephanie Santagada Wells, Travel Designer with The Destination Company, New York)
A thought struck me on a recent Camino through Crough Woods. The waters we had experienced upstream at the Falls were the same waters that surged past beneath our gaze. What has gone before us, sometimes shaded in regret and misfortune as you look back, paves the way for all that lies ahead downstream. The river rolls unrelentingly to the wider ocean below. All that is behind us does not define us! Einstein reminds us to “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. Think he knew a thing or two!
I’ve learned that to move forward in life, to wade through the waters of uncertainty, you need to create your own current rather than be buffeted about by the dictates of others. So often in life, people can let you down. You have to believe in yourself, map out your own course and have people close by who genuinely want you to succeed. Popularity can be feigned with ease. Close companions on the journey… earned!
“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future.” (John O’ Donoghue)
Waterford Camino Tours offer a wide range of 1 Day to 5 Day options. All you have to do is get here. Leave the rest to us! For further information check out www.waterfordcamino.com or contact Phil or Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover photograph, Dunmore East and Tramore photographs are all courtesy of Mailo Power, Athenaeum House Hotel. Thank you to Brendan Butler and Hayley Crosbie for Crough Woods and Mahon Falls photographs.