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06/08/2017

Dunmore East Campsite, Co Waterford



Looking up at the cliffs in one of the many coves around Dunmore East
For the second part of my holiday I went to Dunmore East. The reason was that I had been having intermittent car problems and although it had just been fixed, the issue was a 'trial and error' type fix and I wanted to be fairly close to a main route home. As Dunmore East is quite close to Waterford City, which itself is at the end of a motorway taking me to Dublin then home, then it made sense to go there. The area was also supposed to be warmer and drier with all the bad weather in the West. 

I went to Dunmore East Campsite which is associated with Dunmore Golf Club. The campsite is on the edge of the golf club grounds, although I did not have a direct view of the course from my pitch but it was on the other side of the bank. I arrived about 4pm to reception and found that the friendly welcome I had in Garretstown House was not to be replicated here. I did find the facilities very good and spotless, however there is more of a corporate air here and the staff really aren't that interested in the people who were using the campsite. They were busy so I was put in an overflow area which I was more than happy with. I had a more private pitch as a result. If I was here again, I would quite probably request this area again. 

My little orange tent with a tarp pitched over the top to help with the shade

pic credit to the ASCII website, they do accept ASCII cards here. This is the reception and amenity block.


Credit: Pitchup Website

View from the Clubhouse at Dunmore East Golf Club

seen from the Golf Club, a ship presumably carrying wind turbines
The village of Dunmore East is a historic port that is reminiscent of 'Doc Martin' which as you probably know, is a TV series filmed in Cornwall. It would be fair to say that this coast line has a Cornish feel, there's evidence of past copper mining and the coastline to the west of Dunmore is known as the Copper Coast. It's all very 'Poldark' with secret coves, towering cliffs and winding steps down to the shore. It is no surprise to find that geologically, this area shares much of it's mineral formations with the South West coast of England and therefore this is justifiably considered that this part of Ireland that is a bit like going to Cornwall, without all the Londoners. And to top it off, the weather here is so reliable that it is also known as the 'Sunny South East' of Ireland. 

I certainly had a good number of hot, sunny days - in fact it was really too much for me to bear! 

Copper Mining Works near Annestown, Co Waterford

The Strand Inn which is walking distance from the campsite (down a steep hill)


One of the many coves 

 This one is called the 'Mens Cove' 
That's one way to get down! No thanks....

The Strand Inn became a favourite place to hang out because of it's proximity to the campsite. There is a sort of unofficial route from the campsite that takes a shortcut to the road that leads down into the cove where the Strand Inn is situated. By going to the camping pitches that have the view across the bay, you'll find a gap in the fence. A well worn path across the field will lead to a gap in a hedge beside a gate. The campsite itself is at a much higher level than the village of Dunmore East, so therefore walking down is no problem...but walking back, well that's a different story! 

The Strand Inn does good breakfasts, however there are plenty of other places in the village of Dunmore to eat including two shops that sell Croissants and hot food. I found that the best fish and chips were in a place called O'Sheas which is beside the Fire Station. 

The Strand Inn, Dunmore East

Elsewhere, I visited the nearby village of Passage East, which is literally the name of the place. From it, you can get 'passage' in the form of a ferry, Eastwards! It is the sleepiest wee village and I suspect most people drive straight onto the ferry and don't explore the town. It was so pretty and I was struck by all the washing lines on top of the town wall beside the shingle beach. 

Passage East, the village that time forgot

Passage East, Washing lines beside the sea

To wind up this trip, I went to Waterford City and found a place to park up so I could explore for an hour before continuing on my journey home (which took 5 hours) through Dublin.

Reginalds Tower, Waterford City

This hotel (below) is under renovation and the owner has decorated the building with an image representing the struggle of mental health.

Hotel across the River Suir, Waterford City
Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford City








Staying at Garretstown House, Co Cork

I had a rough plan. Just as well it was flexible and I didn't book anywhere as the plan changed as the holiday went on. What should have happened was that I went to Kinsale, spent two days then went North along the Wild Atlantic Way, calling in to Mannix Point in Caherciveen, then Co Clare, Connemara, Achill Island and finally the south Sligo coastline. What happened was that my car played silly buggers on the 6 hour journey south from Northern Ireland to Cork, on day it 2 went into a garage, and for days 3, 4 and 5 stayed in the garage while a 'fuel pressure gauge' was ordered, delivered and fitted. In that time the weather went pear shaped too, and so when I got my car back I went East instead of North. 

The Coach House in the background
I stayed in a campsite called Garretstown House near the village of Ballinaspittle which is a few miles outside Kinsale. It is a holiday park with mobile homes, touring sites and facilities set amongst the remains of a beautiful and ruined Georgian House. There are two historic buildings, one facing the other and with identical facades. The one that was a residence, is ruined, missing it's roof and too dangerous to go into therefore it is closed off. The other is an old Coach House which has been partially restored and has a large useful space indoors for group activities. There is also an Orangery which is being utilised as a sitting room for adults only. The courtyard houses facilities such as a campers kitchen, playrooms for different age groups and a takeaway. The campsite is placed on what would have been a croquet lawn, and has a magnificent view of the sea in the distance from steps leading down to it. It is a fantastic place, I really would recommend it for a family friendly campsite. The youngsters will love it as there are kids discos and kids movies being shown in the coach house on alternate nights. There is quite a steep hill going up through the holiday park from the main road, which is worth noting for those towing a caravan. You can walk to the beach, which is a 15 to 20 minute walk away, and is downhill all the way but uphill all the way back. The campsite is run by a family, Dennis Mawe is the main person but in my time there I met his sister and his brother and they are all active in the running of the site. The family are really friendly, this is the second generation running the site. They were so helpful when my car broke down and helped me find someone to fix the car. When the car was ready they brought me to the mechanic to pick my car up. When I had no car they were concerned and asking about my welfare. I have to say I enjoyed my chats with the family and felt like I was being looked after very well. 

panoramic photograph

The ruinous main residence


The Courtyard

My little Orange tent on the former Croquet Lawn 

view from the steps


Garretstown Beach 

Garretstown Beach is 0.8 miles from the campsites, although there is really two beaches side by side with a hill in between. I noticed plenty of icecream vans, food stalls and even a massage parlour! 

On my visit to Garretstown House I visited the historic town of Kinsale, which is a harbour town flanked by two forts. One of the forts is in great condition and can be visited. Unfortunately, because I had a dog with me I wasn't allowed into the inner courtyard, however I could visit the perimeter. Luckily this included a coastal path that quite honestly I probably wouldn't have bothered looking for if I hadn't been turned away at the ticket booth. 

Charles Fort 

Charles Fort

Charles Fort 

In Kinsale I visited the harbour, the historic narrow streets, and some outlying areas such as 'Summer Cove'. I found Kinsale to be a really pretty place, however very busy and parking is a problem. There is mostly paid parking spaces however Dennis from the campsite told me where the few free parking spaces where and I got lucky both times I visited Kinsale and got a free parking space. Kinsale puts me in mind Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast where I visited last year. Lots of cobblestown streets, narrow and very old. There's plenty of notices around giving the various histories of places and people which is a great touch. 

Kinsale



Desmond Castle which houses a wine museum
Scilly 





Summer Cove

Summer Cove



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