County Waterford Beaches
Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to get some serious beach time in. The weather’s been hot, the water’s been cold and refreshing and the scenery in our county of residence, Waterford, I have to say, is outstanding.
When we were about to move to Waterford, many of the people we told gave us looks that said, “Why would you want to live there?”
It certainly makes one feel a bit apprehensive. We had no need to feel that way, though. I love Waterford, almost as much as I love Tipperary.
We live on the edge of Waterford City; literally ten minutes from the nearest beach and a quick walk to the countryside. We have all the amenities you’d want from the city – a cinema, plenty of grocery stores/butchers/greengrocers/markets, gyms and spas and shopping centres – with the feel of living in a small town.
It’s also a university city, so there are lots of options for nightlife and we have some great restaurants. The house we rent is a ten minute drive to Patrick’s work in one direction and ten minutes to the hospital in the other (that was a big selling point for us).
No place is perfect and there are a few downsides to living here as well; I wish it were easier to access the downtown using public transit, for example. That said, I’m used to living in the middle of nowhere and this is far from the middle of nowhere. And. We. Live. So. Close. To. So. Many. Beaches.
I haven’t had a chance to try them all, but it is a constant work in progress. If you take the Copper Coast Drive between Tramore and Dungarvan, you’ll find numerous coves and beaches. On a hot, sunny Saturday, cars will be parked along the sides of the narrow road, so you can take mental notes on which beaches to come back to. Here are the beaches I’ve visited so far – I’ll be posting more as we visit them!
I love the coastal village of Dunmore East, and I’ve expressed the opinion several times already that I wouldn’t mind taking up permanent residence there. Although I hear it gets slightly gloomy during the off-season, in the summertime the beach is packed, the pubs are slammed and the hotels/holiday homes are at maximum capacity (especially this unseasonably hot summer). There’s always a lot going on in the village with live music in the evenings at the many pubs and restaurants. If you’re a golfer, there is a beautiful golf course overlooking the cove.
Clonea is located near the beautiful town of Dungarvan. The beach is large and sandy, and on hot days it’s full of holiday-makers. I love this beach because you seem to get more direct sun – it’s not as sheltered as some of the other beaches located in coves. Clonea is a great place to come with your kids because it’s closely monitored by lifeguards. There are also a lot of fun rentals – kayaks and boogie boards – that your kids will love. The downside to Clonea is just how busy it gets on a hot Saturday – it can be difficult to find parking, so getting there earlier in the day is recommended. I do like that they have public washrooms, though, and the water is cold and refreshing, even though there tends to be quite a bit of seaweed to wade through.
This might be my favourite beach yet. Located near the village of Stradbally on the Copper Coast Drive and tucked into a sheltered cove, Stradbally Beach is sandy, less crowded, the water is shallow a long way’s out and it’s the perfect temperature for long, relaxing swims. The beach is surrounded by high cliffs on all sides, and near the edges of the cliffs you’ll find tidal pools full of sea creatures to keep the kids enthralled for hours (although the rocks are slippery and you’ll want to take care with small children). The downside? There aren’t lifeguards, there’s nothing close by (it isn’t in the village, but a few kilometres out), no public toilets, and there is a sign at the beach warning strong currents. It may not be the best beach to bring children to, but it’s still my favourite. Next time I’ll be bringing lots of snacks, though.
The beach at Tramore is massive. It seems to go on and on for days. It’s a haven for surfers, the waves are fun to play in and it’s got a carnival atmosphere to it (thanks to the many shops on the boardwalk and the fun fair on the opposite end). Tramore is a great beach for kids – whether for playing in the waves or searching for sea glass along the shore before taking them for fresh fish and chips and for a few rides at the fair. The downside? It gets crowded, it sometimes feels too big and the carnival atmosphere, while nice and fun, is not always what I’m looking for in a beach. We do love to take our nieces here, though; it really is number one if your looking for a kid-friendly beach.