I usually head west for my photography workshops. Last week, however, I gave a one to one workshop on the Copper coast in Waterford. My student Finbarr wanted to learn about using filters, including the Big Stopper. So we wandered along the coast for the day, exploring the clifftops and coves.
The Copper coast, a designated Geopark since 2001 thanks to the hard work of a small group of locals, is a beautiful coastal route. Stretching from Kilfarassy beach in the east to Ballyvoile beach in the west, the rock formations along this coastline have a unique geological history unlike anywhere else in the country. The evolution of oceans, volcanoes, deserts and ice sheets combined, have carved this coastal landscape over millions of years, forming beautiful coves and beaches backed by high crumbling cliffs.
Kilfarassy beach near Tramore, is a beautiful strand backed by high, eroded cliffs. A sea arch is prominent on the western edge, as it juts out to sea while a picturesque collection of rocks stand vertical on the western shoreline.
At Kilmurrin cove, there is a blowhole on the clifftop on the eastern side while the sea has eroded the rock face to create a natural sea cave further inland. In early summer, the clifftop edges are carpeted with a bloom of pink Sea Thrift.
The remains of an old engine house from the 19th century copper mining industry, sit on the cliffs in Tankardstown. An old chimney stack hints at what lies beneath the cliffs where mineralised rock was mined for copper ore. Mine shafts form a network deep below the surface. All that can be seen today is a fenced-off open mine shaft on the nearby clifftop.
The Copper coast route is only 25 km long, however, a full day is easily filled as you explore and walk along the beaches and cliffs. The route ends near Stradbally beach where the landscape leaves its copper history behind. A beautiful river flows past woodland and enters the sea on the sandy beach. All in all, a great day. The Copper coast is well worth a visit and if you go, make sure to end your day as we did, with fish and chips back in Tramore!