Posted by: travelrat | October 28, 2011

Leg 3: The Road to Kinsale


Dungarvan: September 13th, 2011


We left the Travelodge at Waterford when we felt like it, to make a slow progress to Kinsale. And no, we didn’t visit the crystal glass factory; we know how it’s made, and didn’t want to buy any, because it would never get used, and we couldn’t really afford it, anyway.


The first call was purely on impulse; we saw a ‘brown sign’ indicating the way to Mahon Falls (We know people called McMahon and Mahoney who pronounce it ‘Marn’ so we assume it’s the same here?). That was 7km of winding, narrow single track mountain road, leading to an isolated car park. It reminded me a little of the English Lake District, except there would probably be a pay-and-display machine here. At least, the parking here is free. The falls themselves were pretty, rather than spectacular, and the car park about half a mile away. There was an easy path along which we could have walked to get a closer view of the falls, but it was cold and windy, and starting to rain, so we didn’t bother.


Dungarvan, our next call, is a rather attractive fishing harbour. I was looking for a parking ticket machine, when a smiling traffic warden approached. Now, it’s not often you see ‘smiling’ and ‘traffic warden’ in the same sentence, but this is Ireland! He told me that your first half-hour of on-street parking is free. Only if you stayed longer than that, you must pay. So, if you’re rather tight on budget… or just dislike paying for parking anyway, you have half an hour to explore a fascinating town. And, the ‘free stuff’ continues; this year, admission to Dungarvan Castle, otherwise known as ‘King John’s Castle’ is free!


They call it King John’s Castle, for the obvious reason that it was originally built by King John. And, even if you can’t rattle dates off like some can, some English people know that King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215. (apart from being one of Robin Hood’s arch-enemies, and losing the Crown Jewels in the Wash is just about all he was noted for … even though he wasn’t a bad king, really!) So, it’s an old castle, even though it’s been considerably added to over the centuries.


The castle is owned by the Office of Public Works. It’s roughly the Irish equivalent of English Heritage, apart from the OPW is still a Government department; EH was privatised some while back. No, said the friendly and helpful staff, they don’t have reciprocal arrangements. But, they did give us a map on which other OPW properties were marked.


We considered buying the Heritage Card, which would give us unlimited access to OPW properties for a year, but worked out that it wouldn’t be cost-effective this time around.


Find out about the OPW and the Heritage Card at


  1. Hi Kieth,
    What a beautiful looking harbour, and an odd looking bridge, it seems to not be attached to anything, or it just the angle of the photo?

    Dungarvan sounds like a lovely place a nice place to relax, seems a quiet sort of village.

    Wow another castle, seems you got to see a fair bit this trip.

  2. It’s just that the bridge has a pretty high parapet. Yes, it is attached to something; it carries the road into Dungarvan!

  3. I love the Harbour and the bridge almost does look like it’s suspended above the water. Lovely place!

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