Loading ...

16 Cool Things to Do in Dungarvan and Nearby (Including the Iconic Waterford Greenway)

Discover things to do in Dungarvan like exploring the Waterford Greenway with a bike hire. Find places to visit near Dungarvan (e.g. Ardmore, Lismore)

Dungarvan is a town in County Waterford Ireland with a population of approximately 10,000 people. Nestled along a picturesque harbour, Dungarvan is an ideal home base to explore the surrounding area. 

Learn about things to do in Dungarvan Town and places to visit near Dungarvan with these tips for a summer visit to Ireland's sunny southeast.

Things to do in Dungarvan at a Glance

Dungarvan Harbour

If you are planning a trip to County Waterford, here are my quick picks of the best things to do in Dungarvan and the surrounding area. 

All of these Dungarvan activities are explored in detail throughout this post so read on!
  1. Cycle the Waterford Greenway
  2. Take a photowalk in Dungarvan Town
  3. Tour Dungarvan Castle
  4. Explore Waterford County Museum
  5. Take a walk in Dungarvan Town Park
  6. Check out the Dungarvan Art Trail
  7. Grab a pint at Merry's Gastro Pub
  8. Go buoy hunting
  9. Visit St. Augustine Abbey Ruins
  10. Grab a coffee at Cafe Bliss
  11. Treat yourself to dinner and a luxurious stay at the five star Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore
  12. Hike the Ardmore Cliff Walk
  13. Go birdwatching by the sea
  14. Visit Lismore Castle
  15. Photograph Lismore Town
  16. Seek out Wexford strawberries by the roadside

Cycle the Waterford Greenway (On Electric Bikes)

The Waterford Greenway is probably the most iconic thing to do in Dungarvan. The Waterford Greenway is a cycling trail that follows an old railway line between Dungarvan town and Waterford City. 

I've got you covered with all the details you'll need for a successful bicycle adventure.
Things to do in Dungarvan: Cycle the Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway Bike Hire

There are at least 3 options for renting bicycles within a 2 block stretch of Sexton Street in Dungarvan. 

There is an entrance to the Waterford Greenway right around the corner on Strandside South which is probably why all the bike hire places set up shop in the vicinity. 

We don't cycle often so we opted to rent electric bikes from O'Mahony Cycles for just 35 EUR each for the day. 

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other ideas of places to go cycling in Ireland? Check out the Great Western Greenway between Westport and Achill Island in County Mayo.

Waterford Greenway Length

You may be wondering: How long is the Waterford Greenway. The Waterford Greenway covers 46 km of varied terrain end to end and is relatively flat. 

We thought that the 92 km round trip would be a little much for us given our level of fitness. 

We also thought it would be too much of a fuss to arrange for transportation back to Dungarvan from Waterford so we opted to cycle to approximately the halfway point of the Waterford Greenway just past Kilmacthomas. 

If you are intent on cycling the full Waterford Greenway, check with your bike hire company, they may offer return shuttle bus options for a fee.

Waterford Greenway Scenery

The scenery changes regularly along the different intervals of the Waterford Greenway. Ride out of Dungarvan Town and then along the coast next to Dungarvan Bay for a stretch. 

It was a really hot day (by Ireland standards), so we welcomed a deeply forested patch of trail that was cool and inviting. This section of the Waterford Greenway felt a bit magical as there were tons of fairy doors nestled among the trees.
Tunnel on the Waterford GreenwayFairy doors on the Waterford Greenway
One of the most memorable features on the Waterford Greenway is the Ballyvoyle Tunnel. This old railway tunnel is about 0.5 km long and you ride right through rather than having to punish your legs by going up and over the hill. 

There are a number of bridges and viaducts to cycle over on the Waterford Greenway between Dungarvan and Kilmacthomas. Keep an eye out for awesome street art on the Waterford Greenway especially near tunnels and bridges.
Street art on the Waterford Greenway
As you progress from Dungarvan toward Kilmacthomas along the Waterford Greenway, the coastal scenery fades away and you'll find yourself among green pastures with lovely views of the Comeragh Mountains.
Views of the Comeragh Mountains along the Waterford Greenway in Ireland
As with any outdoor activity in Ireland, make sure to dress for the weather when cycling the Waterford Greenway. Many portions of the trail are very exposed to the elements especially the bit that is closest to the sea. 

It's always a good idea to bring layers and gear to cover you in both sunny and rainy conditions. As they say: if you don't like the weather in Ireland, wait 5 minutes!

Waterford Greenway Amenities

The Waterford Greenway seemed well thought out. Red gates marked every point where the trail intersected a road. Green signs helped us orient ourselves to our location. Trail etiquette was clearly displayed. 

We even found two filtered water stations over a distance of about 20 km so that we could stay hydrated and fill up our water bottles.
Trail signs on the Waterford Greenway near DungarvanWater refill station on the Waterford Greenway
There were port-a-potties and a mobile coffee outpost near a ruined signal box close to Durrow on the Waterford Greenway. 

I recommend holding it if you can until Kilmacthomas. The loos were more than a little stinky.

Visiting Kilmacthomas

We made it to Kilmacthomas, about 24 km from Dungarvan! Exiting the Waterford Greenway into the town is a little confusing. 

We turned off at the first sign along the trail and cycled into town down a fairly steep hill. Explore the surprising Olympic history of the town. 

A number of places in Kilmacthomas seem to be named after Percy Kirwan who was an International Athlete Olympic Judge. 

Make sure to check out the bright blue Old Schoolhouse which is my pick for the most Instagrammable spot along the Waterford Greenway.
The Old Schoolhouse in Kilmacthomas on the Waterford GreenwayIced coffee at the Signal Box on the Waterford Greenway
We could have simply stayed on the Waterford Greenway and rode into Kilmacthomas on a less arduous path further up the trail. 

However, we would have missed views of the historic Ballyvoyle viaduct which was blown up in the Irish Civil War in 1922 and rebuilt.
Ballyvoyle Viaduct on the Waterford Greenway
Re-enter the Waterford Greenway at Kilmacthomas by the Mill parking lot. 

It's an uphill climb on a gravel path so I really appreciated the power assist from my electric bike. I wouldn't have been able to make it under my own pedal power!

From Kilmacthomas to the Coach House

Once you get back onto the Waterford Greenway after a pitstop in Kilmacthomas, you'll ride over the Ballyvoyle Viaduct. 

Take a peek and a sniff over the side and spot porridge maker Flahavan's. The area smells like cereal! (The aroma took me back to my Buffalo River silo cruise).
Coach House Coffee on the Waterford Greenway
Stop for an iced coffee and a small tub of Freezin Friesian ice cream at The Signal Box. The brownie and honeycomb ice cream really hit the spot after the ride from Dungarvan to Kilmacthomas. Bike racks and picnic tables make this an ideal place to stop.

If your final stop on the Waterford Greenway is Kilmacthomas, push on a little further to Coach House Coffee. You'll find sweet and savory treats (we tried a flaky pork and black pudding sausage roll) and best of all... Clean toilets!

The Return from Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan

We turned around at Coach House Coffee and road back to Dungarvan rather than riding on to the Suir Valley and Waterford City beyond. The route is more downhill on the way back and we managed the return trip in less than 2 hours. 

I have to say, I really appreciated the trail markers along the Waterford Greenway. I happened to notice that as we got closer to Dungarvan, the markers went from 1 km to half kilometer intervals. 

The Waterford Greenway definitely feels longer at the end of your journey! I'm proud of myself for only using the bare minimum power assist on my electric bike. 

My battery pack was still at 5 bars full when we got back to Dungarvan. I'd definitely like to return to County Waterford one day and cycle the other half of the Waterford Greenway.

Trail marker on the Waterford Greenway

Things to do in Dungarvan

Visiting Dungarvan is less about the town itself and more about the things to do nearby (e.g. the Waterford Greenway). However, we spent the day discovering the best of Dungarvan Town. 

Take some time to peruse my picks of the best things to do in Dungarvan Town.

Take a Photowalk in Dungarvan

A photowalk is my "go to" thing to do in nearly every town in Ireland and Dungarvan is no exception. Walk along beautiful Grattan Square before the shops open for unfettered views of the colorful facades.

You can't beat the colorful pubs of Dungarvan! I even stumbled upon my favorite kind of pub...one with a brightly colored door. 

Speaking of Ireland's doors, not surprisingly, I found a few that I liked in Dungarvan. Take a photowalk in Dungarvan and be uplifted not only by the colorful facades but also by the sea views and greenery surrounding the town.
The Lady Belle Pub in Dungarvan Ireland

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Interested in my top picks of destinations for photographers and Instagram-lovers in Ireland? Check out these photos of Ireland for inspiration and then consider:

Tour Dungarvan Castle

Take a self guided tour of 12th century Dungarvan Castle (yet another Irish Castle called King John's Castle!) We've visited at least four of King John's Castles: in Limerick, Carlingford, Dungarvan, and Athlone

This one was used as a barracks during the Irish Civil War and was a Garda station until 1987 before being turned into a tourist attraction under the care of the OPW (Office of Public Works).
Things to do in Dungarvan: Visit Dungarvan Castle

Explore Waterford County Museum

Pop into the Waterford County Museum. The exhibits are eclectic and while the ones near the front were not the most interesting, stick with it. 

The museum is free so take a 15 minute wander around. I loved the cycling exhibit with authentic Penny Farthings on display in the back corner.
Things to do in Dungarvan: See the penny farthings at the Waterford County Museum

Take a Walk in Dungarvan Town Park

Take a walk in Dungarvan Town Park. Catch some shade in the gazebo and look out onto Dungarvan Bay. You'll also find a monument to Ireland's independence tucked away in the park.

1916 Proclamation Sculpture in Dungarvan Town Park

Check out the Dungarvan Art Trail

Check out the Dungarvan Art Trail where you'll find surprising works of art adorning abandoned shopfronts. 

When we visited, we found scenes from Hitchcock's Vertigo peering out at us all around Dungarvan.

Vertigo exhibit on the Dungarvan Art Trail

Grab a Pint at Merry's Gastro Pub

Dungarvan Brewing Company is one of the oldest craft beer purveyors in Ireland. Grab a pint and some tasty patatas bravas at Merrys Gastro Pub. 

You'll find dark wood paneling and eclectic items of flair inside. There is even a surprising suit of armor by the door to the toilet. 

Better yet, sit outside and enjoy being surrounded by Dungarvan's colorful facades. Merry's Gastro Pub sits in the shadow of the atmospheric Old Market House Arts Centre. 
Things to do in Dungarvan: Drink Dungarvan Craft BeerPatatas Bravas at Merry's Gastro Pub in Dungarvan Ireland

Things to see in Dungarvan: Suit of armour at Merry's Gastro Pub

Go Buoy Hunting Around Dungarvan

Buoy hunting is a unique thing to do in Dungarvan. You'll find some cool giant painted buoys as well as others that were clearly used in the working harbour or at sea in the past. Dungarvan's buoys are a great way to guide your exploration of the town.

Things to see in Dungarvan: Decorated buoysThings to do in Dungarvan: Walk to St. Augustine Abbey Ruins

Visit St. Augustine Abbey Ruins

Check out St. Augustine Abbey ruins on a walk in Abbeyside which is about a 15 minute walk from Dungarvan's Grattan Square. The ruins date back to the 13th century and are situated right on Dungarvan Harbour. 

You may even find adventurous locals taking a swim at the small beach in the abbey's shadow. Take a detour past the eccentric shell cottage as you walk back toward town.
Things to see in Dungarvan: Shell Cottage in Abbeyside

Grab a Coffee at Cafe Bliss

Looking for a caffeine fix in Dungarvan? Grab a coffee at Cafe Bliss. 

Bell Lane beans are the best and are roasted nearby in County Westmeath. If you are feeling hungry, you'll also find sweet and savory options for breakfast or lunch.

Things to do Near Dungarvan

Dungarvan is also a great home base for exploring the surrounding area in West Waterford and beyond in County Cork. Explore things to do near Dungarvan within a 30 minute drive.

Treat Yourself to Dinner and a Luxurious Stay at the Cliff House in Ardmore

View of the five star Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore Ireland
Ardmore in County Waterford is located about 20 minutes by car from Dungarvan. We visited once before for less than an hour en route from Dublin to Kinsale

Spend one night at the spectacular 5-star Cliff House Hotel. You'll find amazing sea views from both the restaurant terrace and your suite. Take a dip in the pool and enjoy jacuzzi views too. 

There is even a tidal pool where you can take a dip at The Cliff House. It was summer, but the water was still cold and tempestuous so we decided to just walk down the stairs and take a peek without jumping in. 

Stroll through the Cliff Garden while stopping to smell the spectacular array of flowers.
Flowers in the Cliff Garden at the Cliff House Hotel in ArdmoreSuite views at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore Ireland
The highlight of a visit to the Cliff House Hotel is dinner in House Restaurant which boasts a Michelin star. We tried an eight course seafood-focused tasting menu with lots of local ingredients foraged nearby, perfectly paired wines and even a cucumber gin cocktail to match the raw langoustine dish.
Collage of desserts on the Michelin star menu at House Restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in ArdmoreCollage of dishes on the Michelin star menu at House Restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore
The menu changes frequently, but here's what we had when we dined at House:
  1. A quartet of amuse-bouche including carrot, seaweed paste and crispy barley; potato crisp, smoked cod roe and green strawberries; clam, summer peas and chive; Harty's oyster with beef tea and rose
  2. Dungarvan stout bread and cultured butter
  3. Raw langoustine with sorrel and a sauce of cucumber and gin
  4. Mussel puree, tagetes, sea beet, and mussel cream
  5. Cabbage, lovage, and wild herbs
  6. Ardmore lobster, carrot and oyster sauce served with a milk bun
  7. Turbot, Ardmore potatoes and a duck egg sauce
  8. Lamb and spring onion
  9. Carrageen pudding, caramelized celeriac, apple and spruce
  10. Strawberries, tagetes and raw cream
  11. Petit Fours including honey tuille with lavender cream and smoked spruce fudge
Dinner menu at House in the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore IrelandWine pairings with a Michelin starred meal at House Restaurant at the Cliff House HotelOyster amuse bouche at House Restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore Ireland
As we ate breakfast the following morning (a delicious Full Irish Breakfast on the Cliff House Terrace), we saw a tiny fishing boat going out to check lobster traps. 

You can't get any fresher than the meal we enjoyed the night before!

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: We love celebrating special occasions with Michelin-starred dinners. Looking for Michelin Star-rated restaurants to add to your bucket? Here are my top picks based on our personal experience:

Take a Photowalk in Ardmore Village

Ardmore is an incredibly picturesque town. In fact, I'd argue that Ardmore is probably the most picturesque village in Ireland's Ancient East. 

Take a photowalk on a sunny day and be dazzled by the colorful buildings. Discover thatched cottages on the main shopping street that really amp up the charm. 

Shop for souvenirs at the adorable arts and crafts shops in Ardmore overlooking the sea. 
Pink house with a door decorated by painted birds in Ardmore Ireland

Window with red flowers on a thatched cottage in Ardmore IrelandAntique painted water spigot in Ardmore County Waterford Ireland

Hike the Ardmore Cliff Walk

The Ardmore Cliff Walk is one of the best things to do in Ardmore. St. Declan's Well and Church is situated along the cliff walk not far from the entrance to the Cliff House Hotel. 

We had the good fortune to visit St. Declan's Well and Church on St. Declan's feast day (July 24). 

St. Declan is believed to have predated St. Patrick in bringing Christianity to Ireland. In fact, Ardmore is believed to be the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland.
St. Declan's Well in Ardmore Ireland
Ardmore Cliff Walk is an amazing way to spend a couple hours on a sunny summer day. It had been unseasonably hot around the time we visited in late July, but the cool breezes made this a perfect walk. 

You'll find stunning wildflower studded cliffs, 19/20th century lookout towers, ancient wells and a well preserved round tower.
Ardmore Cliff Walk viewsArdmore round tower and cemetery

Go Birdwatching by the Sea

We were lucky to spot some amazing birds on a gorgeous sunny summer weekend in Ardmore. Keep your eyes open as you walk along the coast in Ardmore Village and especially along the Ardmore Cliff Walk. 

I spotted a delightful stonechat and a juvenile robin who was just as curious about me as I was of them.
Bird in Ardmore Ireland

Visit Lismore Castle

Lismore Castle is another ideal Dungarvan day trip. You can drive from Dungarvan to Lismore in less than 30 minutes. 

We really enjoyed strolling the gardens of Lismore Castle. The castle is privately owned, but you can explore the gardens for 8.50 EUR per person at the time of writing. 

There is free public parking about 200 meters away from the castle. We loved the Walled gardens, impressive facade, works of art, and even a piece of the Berlin Wall on the property.
Exterior of Lismore Castle in Ireland
Lismore Castle even includes a modern art museum with rotating exhibits with admission. 

There is also a small cafe that sells seeds, jams, and chutneys made from ingredients grown in the castle gardens. We bought a green tomato chutney which was surprisingly sweet!

Photograph Lismore Town

Lismore town is worth a quick wander after you finish exploring Lismore Castle Gardens. Check out Lismore Millennium Park and the gorgeous brightly colored facades that define the town.

Seek out Wexford Strawberries by the Roadside

Ireland is known for fantastic strawberries in summer and the best of the best are Wexford strawberries. County Wexford is adjacent to County Waterford. 

One of the best things to do near Dungarvan in summer is to stop for roadside strawberries at one of the kiosks that crop up every summer. It's a defining point of any Irish road trip in the summer!

Did you enjoy this post about things to do in Dungarvan and the surrounding area? Sharing is caring...

Things to do in Dungarvan IrelandThings to do in Dungarvan - Cycle the Waterford Greenway

#DrJSabbatical,38,Adriatics,5,Africa,12,Americas,52,Argentina,7,Asia,40,Asia Pacific,25,AUNZ,21,Australia,13,Austria,5,Baltics,4,Barcelona,1,Belfast,1,Belgium,13,Berlin,3,Best of,390,Best of Europe,2,Beyond Dublin,31,Bologna,3,Boston,2,Brazil,2,Bruges,2,Brussels,2,Bucharest,2,Budapest,1,Buffalo,3,Bulgaria,2,California,13,Cambodia,6,Canary Islands,1,Canterbury,2,Cardiff,1,Central America,3,Central Europe,67,Chile,7,China,5,Christmas Market,4,Copenhagen,1,Cork,3,Costa Brava,3,Costa Rica,2,Croatia,2,Cyprus,1,Czech Republic,1,Denmark,3,Dresden,1,Dublin,51,Dusseldorf,1,Eastern Europe,8,Edinburgh,3,El Calafate,1,England,18,Essen,1,Estonia,1,Europe,221,Faversham,1,Featured,5,Financial District,1,Finland,3,Fisherman's Wharf,1,Flanders,1,Florida,3,France,17,Galway,2,Gdansk,1,Germany,18,Girona,1,Granada,1,Greece,4,Greece and Cyprus,5,Hamburg,1,Hangzhou,1,Hanoi,3,HCMC,2,Helsinki,1,Ho Chi Minh City,2,Hobart,1,Hoi An,2,Hungary,1,Hurling,1,Hyderabad,2,Iceland,5,India,5,Ireland,92,Ireland & UK,120,Ireland Road Trips,16,Italy,13,Itinerary,3,Jackson Square,1,Japan,12,Kaunas,1,Kilkenny,1,Kuala Lumpur,1,Kyoto,1,Languedoc,2,Lanzarote,1,Latvia,1,Leipzig,1,Liechtenstein,1,Lima,1,Limerick,1,Lisbon,17,Lithuania,2,Ljubljana,1,Lloret de Mar,1,London,9,Los Angeles,2,Louisiana,1,Lucerne,1,Luxembourg,2,Machu Picchu,1,Madeira,3,Malaga,1,Malaysia,1,Malta,1,Marrakech,1,Marrakesh,1,Massachusetts,2,Mendoza,1,Menton,1,Miami,1,Midwest,3,Modena,2,Monaco,1,Montpellier,1,Morocco,1,Muenster,1,Munich,1,Naples,1,Netherlands,4,New England,3,New Orleans,1,New York,9,New Zealand,8,Nice,2,Noe Valley,1,Nordics,19,Norrkoping,1,North America,43,North Beach,1,Northern Ireland,1,Norway,5,Nuremberg,2,Ollantaytambo,1,Osaka,1,Palafrugell,1,Panama,1,Paris,1,Parma,2,Patagonia,3,Pennsylvania,6,Perth,1,Peru,5,Philadelphia,1,Pingyao,1,Piran,1,Pittsburgh,5,Poland,8,Porto,1,Portugal,35,Puerto Natales,2,Punta Arenas,1,Queensland,1,Recent,87,Regensburg,1,Reykjavik,1,Riga,1,Rio de Janeiro,1,Rochester,1,Romania,3,Rotterdam,1,Rovinj,1,Russia,2,San Francisco,4,San Sebastian,1,Santiago,1,Scandinavia,10,Scotland,5,Seattle,3,Segovia,1,Seoul,2,SF - Further Afield,7,Sicily,3,Siem Reap,2,Singapore,1,Sligo,3,Slovakia,1,Slovenia,2,South Africa,1,South America,19,South Beach,1,South Korea,2,Southeast Europe,14,Southern Europe,66,Spain,17,St. Petersburg,2,Stockholm,2,Strasbourg,1,Stuttgart,1,Sweden,3,Switzerland,12,Sydney,3,Taipei,2,Taiwan,3,Tallinn,1,Tasmania,4,TBEX,1,Telegraph Hill,1,Texas,3,Thailand,1,Tipperary,1,Tokyo,2,Top World Destinations,4,Torres del Paine,1,Transylvania,1,Trieste,1,Uganda,10,UK,28,Union Square,1,United States,46,Uruguay,1,Valparaiso,1,Vietnam,9,Vilnius,1,Wales,2,Warsaw,2,Washington,3,Western Australia,1,Western Europe,37,Westfield,1,Whitsundays,1,Wicklow,2,Wroclaw,1,WWI,1,Xi'an,1,Zurich,5,
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 16 Cool Things to Do in Dungarvan and Nearby (Including the Iconic Waterford Greenway)
16 Cool Things to Do in Dungarvan and Nearby (Including the Iconic Waterford Greenway)
Discover things to do in Dungarvan like exploring the Waterford Greenway with a bike hire. Find places to visit near Dungarvan (e.g. Ardmore, Lismore)
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog