By Elaine Whelan
My family and I have always had a love affair with the town of Dungarvan in County Waterford. I have spent summers in a mobile home by the beach, sunny days strolling down the quays and most of my childhood smelling the salty air as I swung from the monkey bars in the playground. I know every twist and turn on the road there off by heart and still have yet to ever tire of the place. Part of my heart will always belong to this seaside town and I know many others who agree. If you want to fall in love with Dungarvan just like me, here’s what to see, eat and do.
What to do:
The Waterford Greenway
If you venture to Dungarvan at any point during the year you could easily mistake it for the city of Amsterdam. With bikes and cyclists left, right and centre, cycling is an integral part of Dungarvan culture. The town is the birthplace of Tour de France cyclist Sean Kelly and The Sean Kelly Cycle is held each year. At the centre of this love for all things two wheels is The Waterford Greenway. The Greenway stretches from Dungarvan to Waterford City and back. The scenic cycle is frequented by families and professionals from both near and far all year round. Imagine the salty sea air, the sea breeze in your hair as you cycle past coastline, vast stretches of greenery, over old railway bridges and under tunnels. Bring your own bike or hire one from the many bike hire shops in the town.
The Clonea Strand is one of Waterford’s EU Blue Flag beaches. This lovely crescent of golden sand is set snugly into the coastline and has beautiful views and scenic walks. The beach is located approximately 5km outside Dungarvan. Clonea is immensely popular with both locals and tourists alike. On the beach front you will find two fish and chip shops and two shops which will provide you with everything from a 99 to bucket and spade. Much of my childhood was spent enjoying a bag of chips by the shore before leaping into the waves.
About a 15 minute drive from Dungarvan town is Mahon Falls, an 80m waterfall nestled in the Comeragh Mountains. The dramatic waterfall which is surrounded by breathtaking beauty makes this a trip not to be missed. While travelling up the hill to the waterfall carpark, test out the Magic Road. Legend has it that if you put your car in neutral with the handbrake up, your car will magically roll up the hill. Unfortunately, the Magic Road doesn’t seem to like me much as it has never worked for me. Even if it doesn’t work, a sneaky foot on the accelerator will have the kids delighted!
Where to eat:
And Chips is one of the most popular Fish and Chip shops in the town. Sitting overlooking the harbour, on a sunny day you will find throngs of people sitting on the wall and dangling their feet above the water while tucking into something from And Chips. And Chips is far from your traditional chip shop.
Also situated on the quays, The Anchor is the spot to be in. This bar/restaurant overlooks the water and people often frequent here for their cocktails, pints and delicious food.
Dungarvan has its own culinary quarter and the 360 Cookhouse is one of the most popular restaurants in this area. The Cookhouse serves artisan coffee, cakes and bakes and a unique lunch menu during the day. The restaurant was even voted in The Irish Times Top 100 restaurants for lunch. In the evening the place comes alive with the smell of succulent dishes like grilled fish, tapas and pizzas. With cocktails, craft beers and wine ready to compliment every dish. Of course kids menus are also available for the little foodies.
Where to Stay:
The Park Hotel
The three star Park Hotel is located seconds away from the town centre. Families can choose from their self-catering houses or our family rooms within the hotel. The hotel is also equipped with its own leisure centre, including gym and swimming pool.
The Gold Coast Resort
At the Gold Coast offers an array of different self-catering family options. Families can choose between four bed houses, villas or lodges as well as hotel rooms. With a playground on site as well as tennis courts, football green and an indoor games room your kids will have plenty to do. The resort is further from the town but is closer to the beach.