Waterford Greenway: Its Beauties are Crystal Clear
Waterford Greenway: Its Beauties are Crystal Clear
(Stephanie Santagada, The Destination Company, New York)
Whether you reside in Ireland or are coming to Éire from farther afield, a relatively underrated paradise lies waiting for you only 2 hours south of Dublin. I have had two opportunities to experience the “sunny southeast” and its many incredible offerings last spring and summer. My recent travels from New York around Ireland’s Ancient East included the new Waterford Greenway and the seaside town of Dunmore East, both through the expert guidance of Phil and Elaine of Waterford Camino Tours. Their attention to detail, understanding of their clients’ needs, and deep pride of place make a winning combination for a holiday you’ll hold close always.
The Waterford Greenway is a 46 km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line from Waterford City to Dungarvan. The Greenway presents glorious opportunities for those seeking the sportive, active trek or the reflective, meditative journey, and Waterford Camino Tours has prepared fulfilling itineraries for pilgrims of all kinds.
Mother Nature shows off in full force along the Greenway. Three tall viaducts span the course, whose open lookouts, winding streams, and intriguing tunnels create natural scenes for contemplation. Easy nearby jaunts include the quaint fishing village of Dungarvan, the stunning beaches of Tramore, the peaks and waterfalls of the Comeragh Mountains, the beautiful golf courses, and the crown jewel of Dunmore East. The scenery here rivals any vista of the renowned west coast.
Back to Center
The Waterford region boasts a rich history, both spiritual and industrial. From the website of Waterford Camino Tours: “The idea of the Camino has a strong historic resonance in Waterford dating back to the 5th Century when St. Declan traveled from his Holy Well in Ardmore to Cashel, Co. Tipperary. In the 1400s, Waterford Mayor James Rice led pilgrims from Ireland to the renowned Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.” If you feel the need to get back to center and refocus, Dr. Phil Brennan will be a kind, wise guide to assist you on your path. Flexible itineraries allow you to choose from a gentle pace all the way to pro-cycling, depending on your interests.
Today, Waterford is a bustling city with top-quality cultural events, international cuisine and all expected amenities. I enjoyed an excellent Thai meal at Sabai restaurant and took in a beautiful, traditional music performance at the Theater Royal. The stately Athenaeum House Hotel provides a warm, luxurious welcome and is a perfect home base for your Camino journey. Other star attractions in the city are the Medieval Museum and Waterford Treasures Museum. Of course, being in Waterford would not be complete without a tour of the visitor centre of the world-famous House of Waterford Crystal. You would not have to travel far to enjoy a mindful reprieve at The Edmund Rice International Heritage Center, listen to an uplifting local choral performance, or attend a production of The Wexford Opera. If you find Viking history enthralling, look no further than this region for evidence of those Nordic marauders. If sports and adventure are more your speed, Waterford Camino Tours has plenty of opportunities for you and your group as well. The possible experiences here make for the perfect recipe for a dream destination wedding trip!
Dunmore East Excursion
Dunmore East is a seaside village within a half hour of Waterford which has remained pure and authentic; it is not in the least overly touristy. For one night of our stay, we unplugged and relaxed staying in one of the Strand Inn’s new, cozy log cabins, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the wilderness. You can walk to yoga classes and take in the impressive view of Hook Lighthouse, get some sand between your toes, and later grill up a meal on your own sweet patio. Or if you’d rather have someone else do the cooking, I recommend the lovely Mediterranean restaurant, Azzurro. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, and – bonus, a kid-friendly menu. In the mood for a burger or casual fare? Then head to The Cliff. Save room for dessert because you will be amazed by the most glorious ice-cream toppings bar on both sides of the Atlantic. And calorie-free retail therapy is just upstairs! Before heading to bed check out the live music that The Strand Inn regularly offers in the lounge.
During our afternoon fishing in Dunmore East with Dunmore Boat Trips, seasoned skipper Brendan Glody made my two children and me feel at ease with his expertise, friendly manner, and refreshments at the ready. The day’s weather was perfect and by the end of our adventure, we had caught four mackerel (three on one cast!) and two lobsters. I will never forget everyone’s joy and excitement, such beautiful memories! The icing on the cake was that we brought the lobsters to the beautiful Strand Inn where we were staying for the night (whose location cannot be matched), and the kitchen prepared our day’s catch as part of our delicious dinner. It seemed like a magical experience, with stunning sights in what I have termed, “the Irish Riviera.” As a friend stated, “this is the stuff of dreams.”
Getting There from Here
For US travelers, this region offers a genuine Irish travel experience; the locations are not overcrowded and the landscape is pristine. Whatever type of holiday you dream of, I highly recommend making a pilgrimage to Waterford and Ireland’s Ancient East.
Let the team at Destinations Ireland & Beyond/The Destination Company arrange your trip of a lifetime to Waterford, Irelands Ancient East and other stunning Irish locales with our customized itineraries and decades of expertise.
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