COMERAGH MOUNTAINS, CO WATERFORD
This easy to access mountain range offers wonderful vistas across the county and down to the sea. Described by some as Ireland’s best kept secret, the Comeraghs offer everything from a dramatic waterfall down a cliff face to the mystery of the ‘magic road’ which runs through the gap of the range.
These waymarked walks within the open countryside and uplands of the Comeragh Mountains include linear walks and Failte Ireland National Looped walking trails. The waymarked trails provide the walker with a choice of two to four and a half hour walks of a moderate or strenuous level of difficulty and an opportunity to experience Waterford’s Natural Heritage of the Comeragh Mountains in a sustainable manner.
These mountains give visitors plenty to take in – from the dramatic scenery of the Nire valley to the spectacular Coomshingaun corrie lake. From delightful villages like Kilbrien and Rathgormack to the unique ecosystem of the moorland, the Comeragh Mountains have it all. The wonderful Mahon Falls is a must but everyone can find their own bit of heaven in the Comeraghs.
The choice is infinite for walkers: climbing Knocksheegowna and walking along Knockanafrinn ridge, wandering through quiet forests, discovering trails where it appears no one has walked for thousands of years – or staying on the beaten path and ambling along signposted looped walks…
There are many different walk you can take from easy to moderate and difficult.
The mountain trails are on mountain land. Although the routes are waymarked, in many places there is no path and the terrain underfoot is rugged, including sections of steep and boggy ground.
Coumlara Looped Walk in the Comeragh Mountains
A-B. Starting from the map board follow the red (and blue and purple) arrows along the sand road that goes left at the exit from the car park. The blue arrows are for an ‘out and back’ walk to the Sgilloge lakes, the purple arrows for the longer and harder Coumduala Loop. After 100m pass through a gate and follow the roadway as it swings right and downhill and then turns left onto a track. Joining a sandy road veer left and climb to a gate/stile. Cross the stile and follow the arrows as the loop takes you across the Nire River at a footbridge and then ascends towards Sgilloges Lakes. At the top corner of a wire fence, the loop turns left onto the top side of the fence. [Note: The Sgilloges Walk turns right here - if you have the time the 30min trek up to, and back from, the lakes is well worth the effort.]
B-C. Follow the red (and purple) arrows along the fence for almost 1km to reach a stream flowing from Coumlara. Cross the stream and follow the arrows along the shoulder of Carrignagower to reach a wire fence. Turn left and after 150m reach The Gap at a gate and stiles. The longer Coumduala Loop goes straight on here - you turn left onto a mountain track.
C-A. You join The Gap Walk (green arrows) on your return to the trailhead. Follow the mountain track as it travels across the shoulder of Carrigeen for more than 1km. Cross a stile and rejoin the purple Coumduala Loop as it descends from your right. Turn left and enjoy the last 300m downhill to the trailhead.
Ascent: 550m / 350m
Estimated Time: 3hrs – 4hrs
Grade: Moderate - Average levels of fitness
Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, snack, fluid and mobile phone
Grid Ref - OS Sheet 75, S278 127
Services: Hanora’s Cottage (2km), Ballymacarbery (10km)
Terrain: Hillside tracks, green paths
Trailhead: Nire Valley