ireland day trip: the copper coast

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to say that this day trip was impromptu is an understatement. unlike our day trip to the cliffs of moher, i had never even heard of the copper coast until 2 days before we took this day trip. and boy am i glad we ended up learning about the copper coast, but let me start at the beginning.

a few months before we left for ireland we purchased the lonely planet book 'ireland's best trips - 34 amazing road trips'. since we were renting a car and find lonely planet to be a pretty great source, we thought it would be a pretty good resource to have. 

we flipped through the book numerous times before departing for ireland, tagging various routes and recommendations that looked interesting. but the truth was that it was all kind of a guessing game until we got there, because we were still at step one - what is driving the car on the other side of the road from america going to be like?! 

on paper, driving all over ireland sounds fantastic, and we had the car rented so we were definitely going to forge through, but that unknown variable of ' just how good will we be at driving over there?' held us back from pre-planning a lot of the day trips we ended up taking (which is a-okay because we're pretty 'go with the flow' people).

so as we sat in dinner in kilkenny we got to talking. long story short we had only a 40ish minute drive from waterford to castlemartyer, which meant we had all day to do what we want. and being that the coast was only 30 minutes away, why WOULDN'T we go explore?

dunmore east

when we left waterford we first travelled about 30 minutes south to a beach town called Dunmore East. and i fell in love. it was so so beautiful. as we drove into town we had no final destination, we just figured we would navigate our way to the coast and we'd have to find a beach or harbor. 

we rounded a corner and both gasped at the simply beauty of this little town. it was idyllic; restaurants and b&b's perched over looking the ocean, and to top it all off the cutest dog was playing fetch at the beach, just having a blast and enjoy the sunshine. 

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boatstrand

boatstrand is a small fishing village along the copper coast, and it isn't boatstrand that stands out so much as it is the drive. when you first leave dunmore east you travel a bit...off the coast...for a bit, eventually wrapping down onto the coast where the views are just stunning. there will be plenty of places to stop off, explore, and take pictures but you do need to keep your eyes peeled. the roads are small and windy, so be alert for stop offs where you can walk down close to the ocean (or right to the ocean!) and really take in the views.

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dungarven

when you get into dungarven the noticeable difference is that the town looks more harbor-like instead of beach-like. the reason being that you've entered waterford county, which is known for it's fishing and harbor villages around the coast. 

we were starving and ready for lunch, so we immediately headed towards the main square of town to find food. it was a Sunday so I was nervous on our ability to find somewhere open, but we immediately found this lovely little place called 'the square grill' where we were able to get a light lunch, and then we indulged and shared a piece of homemade apple crisp with ice cream. we rarely order dessert, so it really was a treat and was well worth the indulgence.

from there we were ready to head to castlemartyer and check into our hotel (errr, castle!). 

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our itinerary

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waterford > dunmore east > boatstrand > dungarvan > the square grill (dungarven) > castlemartyer

if you're heading to Ireland and looking for an easy and beautiful drive then I can't recommend the copper coast enough. dotted with welcoming beach towns, beautiful views and lush green grass, I would even recommend staying in one of these towns if time allows!

cheers!
heather

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explore the southern coast of Ireland when you take a day trip and drive along the copper coast!