My name is Saundra Stenson and I’m very lucky to call Ardmore my home. I grew up in this wonderful and idyllic village and now have the privilege of teaching in the local primary school here.
Ardmore Co. Waterford, or home to me, is a historic village set in a small sheltered bay in the south-east of Ireland. With a driving distance of less than an hour from Cork and 2 hours 30 minutes from Dublin it is the perfect get away for a day-trip or weekend. Ardmore offers heritage, scenery, walking, crafts, sandy beaches and great food, making it the perfect location for couples and families. Shops, Galleries, restaurants and toilets are all located in the centre of the village. Once you set foot in Ardmore you’ll want to come back again and again.
Ardmore is said to have been home to the first Christian settlement in Ireland. St. Declan set about converting the Irish before St. Patrick arrived and it’s clear that he picked a great location! Our beautifully preserved Round Tower stands majestically in the centre of the village beside the remnants of St. Declan’s Monastery and this is a great place to start a sight-seeing walk around the village. Make sure you look out for the beautiful biblical stone carvings on the outside of the Cathedral, the Ogham stones inside and St. Declan’s Oratory.
Continuing on from the Round Tower you can stroll around the wonderful looped Cliff Walk and take in the breath-taking sea views. Along the way watch out for Fr. O’Donnell’s Well, The Lookout and the Samson wreck. All are great for an Instagram worthy photo-op! You’ll stumble across St. Declan’s Well while on this beautiful walk. This is an oasis of serenity and calm. Make sure you take time to sit and enjoy the sound of complete silence or maybe the odd wave lapping against the coast below. This is one of my favourite places in the village.
Where To Eat
Close to St. Declan’s Well stands the amazing Cliff House Hotel. This is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee or lunch break from your walk. Why not sit back on the balcony and take in the views over Ardmore Bay. If you’re feeling like something a little more luxurious, enjoy a meal in the Michelin star restaurant and maybe even a nice treatment in the hotel spa. Whitehorses in the centre of the village and The Round Tower Hotel are also fantastic food options and you certainly won’t be disappointed. If you fancy something a little more casual make sure to try The T-Flag Cafe, The Gallery Tea-rooms, Shipmates Gourmet Diner or Matts Take-Away. Why not enjoy your Fish and Chips on the beach taking in the salty air and scenery? Dessert could be served in the form of creamy 99’s from Quinn’s Food store or Beachcombers Beach and Ice-cream Shop. If you fancy something a little stronger as you meander around the village you have plenty of options including, An Tobar, Keevers, The Round Tower Hotel, The Cliff Hotel or Reilly’s Bar.
When it comes to beaches here, we are spoiled for choice. Take a stroll across our main beach in the village across to Curragh beach and maybe even on to Ballyquinn beach. In the summer, Ardmore pier and boat cove will be bustling with children and fun-loving adults jumping into the cool clear water. Whiting Bay beach, found a couple of miles outside the village, is also the perfect spot for a walk, swim or surf. Goat Island, our hidden gem, is a must see…...if you can find it! If you plan to stay in Ardmore for a few days you won’t be disappointed as there are many other things to do and see. Ardmore Adventures specialises in exciting outdoor activities to suit all ages. Kayaking around Ardmore Bay and headland is a fantastic way of getting a different view of this beautiful place. Ardmore Open Farm is a brilliant family day out and is located just minutes from the village. It is beautifully situated overlooking Whiting Bay. Children and adults alike can also enjoy a stroll along ‘An Sruthán’ a little stream near the beach which the local Tidy Town’s committee have transformed into a beautiful conservation and wildlife area… Look out for the fairies! Ardmore Farmer's Market is held every Sunday during the summer and is fun for all the family. Blackwater Cruises can be found a few miles outside the village towards the town of Youghal. Tony the wonderful skipper/tour guide will bring you on a cruise along the beautiful and tranquil Blackwater River. If you are lucky enough to be in Ardmore around July 24th you are in for a treat. On this day we celebrate our revered St. Declan. We call this festival Ardmore Pattern Festival. A host of activities suitable for the whole family take place around the village on the week of the pattern and it is a great time to visit. The scenic towns of Youghal and Dungarvan are both less than half an hour away from Ardmore and are well worth a visit also.
Artists and writers have always found inspiration here and there are plenty of opportunities to appreciate their work while visiting. Ardmore Pottery, Ardmore Gallery and Tearooms, The Anchor Art and Design, Brigid Shelly Gallery, Judy Shinnick Art Studio and Brenda Harris Art Studio all house wonderful work from local artists which are available to purchase……your holiday gifts sorted!
But where to stay?
There are plenty of options in Ardmore from the wonderful newly renovated and family run Round Tower Hotel to the Michelin starred Cliff House Hotel you’ll be spoiled for choice. Glamping is also available at Ardmore Open Farm and is a fun alternative to traditional accommodation. Campervans are welcomed in Dick’s Campervan Park which overlooks the beach. There is also a fantastic selection of bed and breakfasts, guest houses and holiday/Air B’n’B rentals that can all be explored online.
Whether you come to Ardmore for its sandy beaches, wonderful food, beautiful scenery or you just stumble upon it unexpectedly, you are in for a treat. You will leave feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to plan your next visit!
Ardmore is one of 62 great attractions that you can scratch off with your Scratchable Map Ireland.