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A wonderful weekend in Waterford

Growing up, I visited Waterford many times — but only the city, never the coastal towns that Conor and I spent last weekend exploring. Now, I can't wait to go back and experience more. We started our weekend off in Ardmore, and finished in the Comeragh mountains, cycling the Greenway from Dungarvan in between. Every moment was pure joy. Here's what we got up to!

Stay

We glamped both nights, in two very different, but equally lovely, locations. First up was Ardmore Glamping Pods, which is on the grounds of Ardmore Open Farm and Mini Zoo. Our cabins was very cute, with a nautical theme, a warm, comfortable bed and an en suite toilet, and our view on the decking was right onto the ocean.


The highlight for me, animal-mad, overgrown child that I am, was the mini zoo, which really is a stone's throw from the cabin. There are so many amazing creatures to see up close, my favourite being this adorable Arctic fox (pictured below, right) - probably because he looks like a dog, my favourite thing on this planet. But each and every animal was a delight to see!


Overall, this place would be amazing for a family getaway; kids would lose their minds for the animals, games and play areas...while the parents can sit out on the deck with a glass of vino!

The second night, we stayed in a new glamping set-up that I found on Airbnb — Raven's Rock (pictured above). It was opened this year by a local couple called Joe and Madeline, located in the heart of the Comeragh mountains. Each cabin has a stove fire inside to ensure it's nice and toasty, and its own kitchen area, which has everything you need to cook up a delish barbeque, which is also supplied free of charge.

There are so many thoughtful details that really made our stay: homemade brownies left in the fridge, extra blankets and board games, marshmallows and skewers to toast on the fire...we will be back, and next time to tackle some of the nearby hikes!


Ate

The food scene in Waterford, and Dungarvan particularly, is amazing! We made the short 20 minute drive there from Ardmore Glamping Pods on our first evening to dine in the popular 360 Cookhouse. On our walk there, we took in all the other options and made mental notes on where to return - Eunice Power's And Chips being one of them! Our meal in 360 Cookhouse was so tasty: we shared starters of crispy, chili and coriander chicken wings and salt and pepper calamari, and for mains I went for the Lebanese falafals and homemade flatbread with green chili hummus, salsa and baba ganoush. A resounding YUM. The staff were also so friendly, and the bathrooms also got brownie points from me, as they have a menstruation station for us women! Free pads and tampons for your taking, and some deodorant to freshen up, too. A nice touch!

Another restaurant I want to return to is The Tannery — especially after trying out their picnic box. We took ours with us on the Greenway (more on that soon) and parked up when we reached Kilmacthomas for what can only be described as a delectable feast: nduja sausage rolls, bacon and wild garlic tarts, potted crab and pickled cucumber with brown bread, salad with buttermilk dressing and a traybake square. It was such a treat to look forward to during the cycle, and devour after it. I highly recommend treating yourself to one!

We barbecued the second night at Raven's Rock, but in the meantime, we sought out some sweet treats. In Ardmore, we ordered ice cream cones from Beachcombers, and lapped them up while looking out at the sea. Bliss. And, in Dungarvan, we visited Churriosity, where we chowed down on freshly-made sugary, fluffy, crispy churros, served with Dulce de leche dips. I'd be happy if this was the only thing I could eat for the rest of my days.


Did

The most epic activity was without doubt cycling the Waterford Greenway. Now, Conor will scold me for saying that we cycled it, as we rented e-bikes which made it a total BREEZE, but still...we did a 40km round trip, and my upper thighs hurt, so it counts! We rented our incredible e-bikes from the lovely Mike at Bike & Hike Adventures, and set off on our route from Dungarvan to Kilmacthomas. It was the most beautiful cycle I've ever done, hands down. The entire route is so well mapped out, and there are plenty of stops along the way for coffee, food, toilet breaks and pictures!

The most awe-inspiring moment is approaching the Ballyvoyle Tunnel (above); it's like some kind of lush, green jungle, before you enter the long, dark tunnel. Another highlight was cycling back into Dungarvan and taking in the coastline of Clonea Beach. B-e-a-uuuutiful!

That same morning, we made our way to Goat's Island, which is very close to Ardmore Glamping Pods. I'd heard that it's a beach worth going off the beaten track to find, and...ding ding! Correct! What a stunning spot, secluded away from the rest of the world.

We braved a swim, but actually, surprisingly, it wasn't THAT cold and we happily paddled around for a while, feeling invigorated when got out. There were a few campers dotted around the entrance to the beach - I'd love to do the same sometime, as it would be quite the magical place to wake up in.

The Ardmore Cliff Walk is another must-do; a 4km walk with incredible seascapes, and lots of flora, fauna and birdlife to take in. There's also lots of history to soak up, such as the fifth century Declan's Well and a Napoleonic era look-out post, so if you're interested in that, you'll especially love it. Finish up back in the village with the aforementioned ice cream cone, and you have the perfect evening!

We were pretty wrecked by the time we reached Raven's Rock Glamping, and we just weren't up for any of the hikes that I had made note of. But, even driving along the Comeraghs is incredible. I do not understand how this isn't marketed as a "must-visit tourist spot" in Ireland - it's just as beautiful as anything you'll see out West, but without the mega drive. It is magic. Next time, we'll do the Coumshingaun Loop Walk — because there will be a next time, very soon.