While there are many things to do when you stay at the Nire Valley Eco Camp, the first thing to say is that you don’t have to do anything. We are very much about relaxation. The camp is located on a quiet country lane, on a bluff overlooking the River Nire. From our elevated site there are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Free from the hustle of more popular holiday destinations, it is a place where you can slow down, unwind and feed your soul.
A haven for wildlife, it is an ideal spot for birdwatching, leisurely walks, nature photography, foraging or simply lying in the grass. However, if you like culture, folklore, adventure or heritage then this is a fantastic place in which to base yourself, with everything you could possibly want from a holiday within a half-hours drive. Waterford is also quickly developing a reputation for quality food. A few of the region’s highlights are listed here.
Hiking and Hill-walking
The Nire Valley Eco Camp is located in the townland of Ballymacarbry in Co. Waterford. It sits on a bluff overlooking the River Nire, not far from where the waters begin their westerly route into the heart of the Comeragh Mountains. From here you have access to some of the most unspoilt hiking and hill-walking routes anywhere in Ireland.
If you are an experienced mountaineer looking for challenging routes across tough terrain or an enthusiastic stroller, and anything in between, there is a route for you.
The Comeragh Mountains are well known for their way-marked routes through the coums, with their mountain lakes, and over the plateau. For some time now we have been mapping the most enjoyable routes around the northern range of the Comeraghs, almost all of which are off-road. It’s not just about challenges, or endurance, or peak bagging. Our routes are selected for their views and areas of interest. Some follow forgotten roads through leafy glades (yes they do exist outside of fairy tales). Others are chosen for their panoramic views. Some are looped and some are linear. Others connect with more established walks to form a network of routes that encompasses the entire mountain range.
We have mapped routes from 5km up to 35km. Many of the shorter and middle distance walks begin and end at the Eco Camp. These are mostly very easy to follow, and generally within the capabilities of all walkers. Even so, conditions underfoot can be sufficiently challenging in wet weather to merit treating them with respect. We can provide paper maps for the traditionalists, or KML/GPX files for the gadget enthusiast. We generally have a very good mobile signal around here so for the most part you can find your way with a smart phone.
For those who are a bit more adventurous we can provide half-day or full-day linear routes from 17km up to 35km. Although it is possible to walk these routes from the Eco Camp, you can cover more ground and avoid public roads with drop-offs at different trail-heads. We can arrange transport for individuals or for groups. We can also arrange for local guides if people do not want to navigate themselves.
A 15 minute drive south from Ballymacarbry is the town of Dungarvan, with access to the hugely popular Waterford Greenway, a recently opened cycle and walkway along the old Waterford to Dungarvan railway line, with access to a vast range of historic, cultural and scenic attractions along it’s route. A very popular resort for local Irish people, the town has gained a reputation as a food destination, and is very busy in the summer months, yet it retains the charm of a small provincial coastal town.
Going east from Dungarvan takes you along The Copper Coast with some of the most remote, unspoilt and spectacular beaches and cliffs in the country. Seashore foraging, sea kayaking and shore angling are just some of the fantastic activities available.
Just fifteen minutes drive north is the historic town of Clonmel, a vibrant shopping and market town, and the gateway to the brand new River Suir Blueway, a leisurely pathway along the old tow path between Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir. From Clonmel there is easy to access South Tipperary and some of the most impressive Norman and Tudor architecture in Ireland’s Ancient East. The Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, Ormonde Castle are some the most popular sites. South Tipperary is also renowned horse country and a visit to the Fethard Horse Country Experience is a must for horse lovers and anyone with a general interest in history and heritage.
The Green Way and the Blue Way
Off-road tracks for walking and cycling are very accessible ways for people to enjoy the countryside without fear from traffic and we are within fifteen minutes drive from two of the newest in the country. The Suir Blue Way includes an 22 km stretch from Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir that follows the old tow-path along the River Suir, and you can hire bicycles if you don’t fancy walking.
From Dungarvan you can follow the old railway line to Waterford along the Waterford Green Way, a 46 km route that takes in some fabulous views of the mountains and the sea. This is extremely popular in summer and you would be well advised to arrange bicycle hire in advance.
The Mountain Tour
This is a full days driving tour of the West Waterford region that takes in the Knockmealdown Mountains, the Vee, Lismore, Dungarvan, Mahon Falls, the Greenway, the Comeragh Mountains and Coumshingaun. While you couldn’t visit all the points of interest in the same day you could happily spend some time at three or four of them and complete the drive. Starting at the Nire Valley Eco Camp, the route takes in some spectacular scenery and viewing points, and includes plenty of places to get out and stretch the legs. Dungarvan is a convenient mid-point for a break for lunch.
The Copper Coast Drive
The Copper Coast is the stretch of coastline between Dungarvan and Tramore and it can be easily driven in a day. Along the route are some of the most unspoilt beaches and hidden coves anywhere in Ireland. And of course this is the Sunny South-east so the weather is as good as it gets. If you enjoy lying on the beach, shore angling, snorkelling, sea canoeing, coasteering or just a leisurely drive, there is something for you.