Ireland is well known for its many beautiful drives, the most famous being the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way on the Dingle Peninsula. But there are many others that I’m guessing unless you live here or know someone who does, you’ve probably never heard of. I know that’s been the case for us. But last year when we knew we’d be moving to Ireland, I started following a bunch of new-to-me Instagrammers and I came across a man named Mark O’Riordan who posts stunningly beautiful photos of County Waterford. He often mentions a place called the Copper Coast, a UNESCO European Geopark named for its 19th century mining heritage, so when I knew we were going down to Waterford to visit the crystal factory, I thought it’d be fun to take our new car on a beautiful country drive.
Because we left our house late, we didn’t get down to Waterford and through the factory tour as early as we had initially intended. While he had hoped to drive the full route, unfortunately we only had time for about 1/3 of it. Looking back, I’m glad we went the day we did because the very next day we set the clocks back here in Europe and had we gone on the bank holiday, we would have lost sunlight even earlier than we did. I’m not sure we would have been able to drive even as much as we were able to. The drive generally runs from Waterford down to Tramore and then through a series of small towns and villages on to Dungarvan, the Comeragh Mountains Loop, Lemybrien, and then back to Waterford city. Due to a lack of time we made it as far as the N25 turn off near Dungarvan, and then swung back inland for a nearly three hour drive home to Dublin’s south side. What we did manage to take in was simply beautiful. Seeing the rolling green fields leading up to plunging cliffs that dropped straight down into cerulean seas was worth the cost of gas alone.
I know we didn’t get as much out of the drive as most people would have expected – we only stopped to get out of the car twice – but our goal for this particular outing was to see some of the coast and explore by vehicle. I’m sure there will be plenty of time in the future to explore the heritage center, abandoned castles, road bowling in Fenog, and the beauty of the blue flag beaches in summer. And doing this drive definitely whet my appetite for further explorations here in Ireland. I’m currently in the midst of planning a big vacation for later this month, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe I hold off on that one and plan a road trip locally instead. I mean, people fly halfway around the world to see these sites and they’re right here at my fingertips. It’s certainly tempting, I’ll give you that.