South East Ireland Tourism
Travel guide to Ireland's south east
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Ardmore, Waterford

Ardmore, on Ardmore Bay, is an attractive little resort with a long sandy beach and a language college. It is renowned for its fine Round Tower, 12th century beautifully proportioned monument to Irish monastic life and is one of the finest, if late, examples of this type of structure in Ireland. Round Towers were built between the 9th and 12th centuries and were used as bell towers and places of refuge for the monks and their treasury of manuscripts and altarware in times of attack.

Ardmore is the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. St. Declan lived in the period 350-450 AD and christianised this area before the coming of St. Patrick. St. Declan's feast day is "Pattern Day" every 24th of July.

Things To Do

Ardmore is a most picturesque village and its neatness has won the village many awards, including the national title in the Tidy Towns Competition.

Visit the beautifully proportioned Round Tower & Cathedral built in the 12th century. The Tower’s entrance doorway is some 4 metres above ground level. The purpose of the Round Tower was to serve as a belfry, and as a place of refuge for the ecclesiastics, and for the safe custody of their books, chalices, shrines and relics.

The marvellous Romanesque sculptures on the West Gable Cathedral were sculpted between the 9th and 12th centuries. They are arranged in a series of arcades and depict scenes from the old and new testaments. Two Ogham stones are contained within the Cathedral for safety. One commemorates Lugaid, son or grandson of Nia-Segmon and the other is dedicated to AMADU (the loved one). The latter constitutes the longest known Ogham inscription in Ireland.

The Beannachan, St. Declan’s Oratory, is said to contain the grave of St. Declan. The upper walls and roof were built in the 18th century. Generations of the faithful have scooped out the earth from the Saint’s grave as it is believed to protect from disease.

Along the foreshore you will find St. Declan's Stone which according to legend was carried miraculously on the waves from Wales following Declan's visit there. Beneath the two supporting points is left a little hollow, through which devotees would painfully drag themselves in prayer on "Pattern Day" (every 24th of July), in the belief of receiving health or spiritual benefits.

Up the hill from the foreshore towards the cliff you will come across Ardmore Pottery & Craft Shop. Opposite are some seats from which the views of Ardmore Bay can be appreciated. Further on continue by foot the short distance to the beginning of the cliff walk at which point is a fragment of an old church where St. Declan’s little hermitage was located. Nearby is St. Declan’s Well, where the waters are reputed to have curative powers.

For water sports enthusiasts, a unique and wonderful way of exploring Ardmore Coastline is by Sea Kayak. Ireland’s most renowned sea-paddlers at welcome all, from beginners to the more experienced sea paddlers.

St. Declan's Way is loosely based on a series of ancient pilgrimage routes and offers long distance walkers an opportunity to walk in the company of the saints from historic Ardmore to the celebrated Rock of Cashel in Co Tipperary.

Ardmore Map

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