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How to explore the Waterford Greenway and Dungarvan without a car
Hop on the saddle and cycle to Dungarvan.
Beatrix O'GormanBeatrix O'Gorman is a writer and filmmaker based in Dublin. She has worked for AMC, Disney and Metropolitan Films. She loves travelling around Ireland trying new restaurants.
Stretching 46km south-west from Waterford city through old railway lines and the foothills of the Comeragh Mountains, there’s no better way to appreciate the Waterford landscape than on the Waterford Greenway cycle trail. The route will take you all the way to Dungarvan, a charming coastal town with a picturesque harbour, vibrant arts community and rich history stretching back to the 10th century.

Get on your bike and plan a car-free journey through the Waterford Greenway and onto Dungarvan.

Photo credit: @tonytravels10_

Cycle through the morning on the Waterford Greenway

Visit Waterford Greenway Bike Hire on Hanover Street to hire a bike and cycle the Waterford Greenway (or Déise Greenway, as it's known to locals) towards Dungarvan. Keep in mind the whole route runs a full 46km —  if you’re intimidated by the length, you can rent an electric bike to make the journey easier. Bad weather but still want to get to Dungarvan? Take the 40 Expressway bus (43 minutes, hourly) towards Cork directly from the Waterford Bus Station or Parnell Street to Dungarvan.

En route there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy Waterford’s lush coastal landscape and historic landmarks, like the Waterford Suir Valley Railway, where a restored Mark 2 railway carriage serves as the ticket office and shop. You can even take one of their vintage trains for a 40-minute round-trip sightseeing jaunt (it departs every hour, on the hour).

Two people waving at the Waterford Suir Valley Railway train as it goes by in County Waterford.
Enjoy a train ride at Waterford Suir Valley Railway.

Make a pit stop at the exact halfway point of the cycle route at Coach House Coffee, situated at the historic Famine Workhouse development in Kilmacthomas, for a snack break and a cup of coffee to power you through the remaining 23km.

Continue along the Greenway and witness the artificial horizon of stone arches that make up the Ballyvoyle Viaduct and the historic Ballyvoyle Tunnel as you get nearer to Dungarvan.

Slow down and unwind in Dungarvan

As you approach Dungarvan, you’ll pass by Clonea Beach. If you’ve worked up a sweat on the Greenway, stop off and cool down with a dip in the water. Depending on the day, you may even be able to ease your tired muscles with a 30-minute sauna session in The Hot Pod, a mobile sauna that travels between Clonea, Kilmurrin Cove, Dunmore East and Newtown Cove.

Inside the Hot Pod mobile sauna in County Waterford.
Take a minute to relax at the Hot Pod.

Finish your cycle and return your bike to the Waterford Greenway Bike Hire Dungarvan Depot before setting off on foot to explore Dungarvan town.

Walk along by the harbour and up to the Old Market House Arts Centre, where you can explore two floors of fantastic art, both from Waterford and further afield. Look out from the second floor for a view of the town’s main street, as well as Dungarvan Castle. The Market 23 section of the Centre features work by local artists for sale to the public. Upstairs they host workshops, book launches and other events.

After grabbing lunch nearby, head to Dungarvan Castle, or King John’s Norman Castle, an Anglo-Norman fortification founded in 1185. You’ll enter through an arched doorway and be greeted with a video on the castle’s history, an amazing century-spanning story of Irish conflict. The castle was used as a barracks during the Irish Civil War, then taken by the IRA who, upon leaving, set fire to the structure. There are three rooms upstairs in the main building to explore, as well as a stone tower with a spiral staircase, which takes you all the way up to view the top of the battlements. It’s free to visit, too.

Two people visiting Dungarvan Castle in County Waterford.
Enter the history-steeped grounds of Dungarvan Castle.

When you leave the castle, take a right and walk along Coady’s Quay to the Dungarvan Harbour wall where, in the summer months, you’ll catch the brightest, warmest evening sun. Keep following the curve of the road to the Lookout which offers a beautiful view of Dungarvan Bay.

Finish your day of exploration with dinner in town, then return to Waterford city on the 40 Expressway bus (47 minutes, hourly) any time before 10pm.

Two people sitting at Dungarvan Harbour in County Waterford.
Chill out at Dungarvan Harbour.

Where to eat in Dungarvan

Next door to the Old Market House is 360 Cookhouse, serving up pizza, tapas and cocktails. It’s a great midday lunch option, or you can book in for dinner before heading back to Waterford.

Or grab lunch at Merry’s Gastro Pub, a charming traditional pub housed within a 150-year-old building. The pub boasts open fires and secret snugs, as well as live music on the weekends. Order their famous 'Fungarvan Burger' or the Dungarvan Brewing Company beer-battered cod.

If the sun is shining, grab a table outside or in the Gazebo Room at The Moorings, a maritime-themed bar and restaurant set in a stone building that overlooks Dungarvan Harbour. They do classic-with-a-twist Irish seafood all day, as well as pasta and sandwiches.

Or check out The Tannery Restaurant on the harbour. Their seafood is divine, but if you’re feeling more carnivorous, get the beef feather blade and pair it with a delicious red — and end the meal with their decadent chocolate hazelnut tart. The Tannery also has its own cookery school, where you can book in for a course no matter your skill level.

Aerial image of a plate of food from 360 Cookhouse in Dungarvan, County Waterford.

Photo credit: @360cookhouse

Taste the delicious flavours of 360 Cookhouse's dishes.
Enjoy a car-free day

Switch the car out for a walk, cycle or a boat ride for a car-free trip in Galway, Kerry and more.

More to discover
Family funForget the car and see Waterford city

As Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford has enough history to fill a week’s worth of sightseeing, from its entire museum quarter to its famous crystal factory. But the city is also compact and easily walkable, which means you can fit a ton of exploring into a single day. And the town isn’t just about history — there’s a thriving music and arts scene supported by excellent workshops, music venues and nightlife.

The great outdoorsEnjoy Dunmore East and Tramore car-free

Looking to catch some rays and explore the Sunny South East without a car? Get yourself to Waterford city, then head south by bus — the county’s beautiful coastal towns are only a quick ride away. In 30 minutes, you can be in the seaside village of Dunmore East, tucked away in a bay you’d expect to see on a postcard, with a view out to Hook Head in neighbouring Wexford. Or you can venture the same distance to the ever-popular beach town Tramore, with its white sand beach and excellent restaurants.

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