The Comeragh Mountains in Waterford provide the perfect backdrop for adventure. Whether you want something quick and easy or would like to spend the day exploring, there is something to suit everyone in this magnificent glaciated mountain range. If you don’t know where to start, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Mahon Falls.
The scenery approaching Mahon Falls is spectacular and reminds me of the rugged and wild landscape of Connemara. Or perhaps it was the abundance of sheep wandering the roads and surrounds that did it. Either way, it’s pretty breathtaking.
Mahon Falls and Surrounds
Mahon Falls is an 80 metre waterfall, formed by the River Mahon as it cascades from the Comeragh Plateau over the sandstone cliffs and rocks below.
As you’d expect, the Falls are most impressive after heavy rain. We haven’t actually had much rain lately though, so it wasn’t quite cascading at its best when we visited! Luckily it’s not all about the falls though. The stunning location of Mahon Falls makes this walk one you will remember, even if you only get a trickle of water.
The lack of water also meant that the rocks around the falls were more exposed than usual. Lots of people were taking the opportunity to climb further up the cliffs. Getting up higher rewards you with fab views back along the valley and right out to the distant sea. We climbed a little but wimped out pretty soon because it was just too damn cold!
We visited on one of those cloudy and very changeable days. One minute the landscape was really moody and then the sun would break out, throwing golden light across the slopes. The sun didn’t reach into the valley, making it appear almost black in contrast and creating some pretty dramatic scenes!
Easy, Family Friendly Trail
I was aware that it wasn’t a very long trail into the falls but it was even more straightforward than I expected. The falls are clearly visible from the parking area and a gravel path leads you all the way to them. The walk isn’t very strenuous. It’s more a gently undulating trail and seems to be well maintained, making it very family friendly.
In fact there were lots of families there the day we visited. Note that if you’re visiting with a baby you may want to just forget about using the buggy. Many started with a buggy but soon it was being pushed along empty and the baby was carried instead. Seems the gravel makes it a bit of a mission or maybe it just makes it too uncomfortable!
It’s clearly a popular walk. Even on a cold winter’s day the carpark closest to the trail was pretty full. There is more parking available down the road though and it shouldn’t take too long to walk back to the trail.
How long is the walk to Mahon Falls?
Allow about 20 minutes each way. From the car park to the base of the falls is roughly 1.5 kms. And layer up for the walk! As we were heading to the falls the wind was against us and it was bitterly cold. Those coming the other way assured us the way back was much better, which it was thankfully. Given we didn’t hang around at the falls too long, we were probably back at the car within an hour.
On a milder day I would have been keen to hang around and do some more climbing or make a longer walk of it. All the more reason to visit again.
Getting to Mahon Falls
The falls are easy to find, particularly if you use Google Maps! Just search for Mahon Falls Car Park and let the app do the work for you. Otherwise, the falls are well signposted off the N25 between Waterford and Dungarvan and from the Comeragh Drive.
When you’ve finished your walk, continue driving uphill as it’s a loop road and will bring you back to join the Comeragh Drive again. The views from the top of the hill and over the surrounding countryside are incredible.
The Magic Road, Waterford
On the way to Mahon Falls you’ll be passing Waterford’s famed Magic Road. When you find this stretch of road you may want to test it out. If you stop at the bottom of the hill with the car in neutral, you car will roll backwards up the hill! Illusion or fairy magic? You decide. Just watch out for other traffic while you’re considering it!
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