Perhaps the most brilliant thing about my recent time spent in Waterford unsuccessfully tracing my ancestry (more about that tomorrow) is that I was able to check out some areas of Ireland that were pretty sparse on tourists. Actually, I’m pretty sure we were the only tourists around for miles, given the travel season and the cold weather.
I probably would never have explored this area if it weren’t for my research that led me to Waterford. The Copper Coast is an area of the county that stretches from Tramore to Dungarvan along route 675.
I woke up at 7 AM with Scott banging on my hotel room door, saying we had to hit the road early to take advantage of the sunshine. I was cranky about it at first, but then we showed up at Kilfarrasy Beach and had the entire place to ourselves. Coppery sand, zero wind, and no interruptions except the crashing of waves. You’re pretty, Ireland.
If you look close enough, you can see Scott taking photos among the rocks.
The abandoned Tankardstown Copper Mine, complete with roaming cattle.
Having a rental car in Ireland seriously made a 100% difference…I’ve never experienced freedom like that before. We zipped and zoomed around backroads and through the countryside, and eventually we came upon the ruins of Dunhill Castle. Again, not a soul in sight…so we climbed the steep steps to the top of the hill and wandered around relics from the early 1200s. Just like that. No admission fees, no line-ups. Just a big ass castle sitting in the countryside.
The la Poers (Power) were an incredibly unpopular family who lived here. They repeatedly attacked Waterford City in the 14th century and were responsible for a whole slew of violence in the area. Note to self: never piss off any of my friends with the last name “Power.”
One of the tourism folks led us to Ardmore, where we found St. Declan’s Well. This isn’t really along the Copper Coast, but it was part of our daily trip, so the hell with it. Declan established this hermitage site close to an old monastery, and it dates back to the 5th century. It’s still used as a site of worship today, and it’s said that the well cures your ailments (including mangled limbs and the like). I dipped my face into the cold water, but I did not emerge looking like Megan Fox, so I’m not much of a believer.
This Round Tower of St. Declan’s Church in Ardmore (again, not exactly the coast) was a sort of reprieve for monks when the vikings attacked the area. The monks would take their treasures and hide at the top of the tower, where apparently they remained untouched by the vikings. Scott and I questioned the intelligence of such actions because 1) Why the hell didn’t the vikings just tip that thing over? and 2) weren’t the monks just kinda pigeon-holing themselves? Whatever. The vikings might have been brutal, but perhaps they weren’t all that bright.
Gotta love a good creepy cemetery shot. In Ardmore, same place as the Round Tower.
Not much beats a walk along the Atlantic. I think about this time I really started feeling at home.
Copper Coast whaddup! Ever been?