The Copper coast

I usually head west for my photography workshops, but this time I was meeting my client for a one to one workshop on the Copper coast in Waterford. The coastline here draws many a landscape photographer, eager to create eye catching shots of the sea stacks along the shoreline. We wandered along the route 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 Fenor to Stradbally, 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 on the Copper coast in Waterford

Kilfarassy beach on the Copper coast in Waterford

Kilfarassy beach near Tramore, is a beautiful strand backed by high, eroded cliffs. A sea arch is prominent on the right hand side, as it juts  out to sea while a small pinnacles of rock stand vertical on the left hand side of the shore. At mid-tide, it is possible to stand next to these rocks, although care should be taken to watch out for rogue waves that might catch you unaware.

Further along the route at Kilmurrin cove, a blowhole on the clifftop spouts water and sea spray with the incoming tide. The sea has eroded the rock face at the entrance to the bay, creating a natural sea cave. In early summer, the clifftop edges are carpeted with a bloom of pink sea thrift.

The remains of an engine house from the 19th century copper mining industry, sits 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 cliff face here blooms with wild flowers in May and June.

The Copper coast route might not cover a great distance, 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. The river Tay flows past the surrounding woodland, mainly oak, ask, alder and hazel and enters the sea on the sandy beach. The perfect end to a great day day of photography.