Ardmore is one of my favourite places to spend a few hours, whether it’s walking the beach with a coffee in my hand, or walking the five kilometre loop from the village around the coastal cliff walk and back into the village again.
I have lots and lots of photographs of Ardmore from many many visits there over the years, and I’ve chosen just a few of them for this blog post.
The photo above is from one of the quieter days on the beach – one of those days where I love to sit on the wall that runs along the beach front and watch the tide slowly coming in.
Ardmore Farmers’ Market
In the summer, there’s a farmers’ market takes place every Sunday where local crafts and foods are sold. The last time I was there I bought pancakes and a coffee and sat on the grass watching everyone coming and going. The weather was glorious. The market runs until the last Sunday in September, so there are still a couple of weeks left to experience the buzz.
An Unusual House
I always thought that the building behind the ass and cart in the photo below was a derelict building painted to look like individual houses. But a few years ago, the property here was advertised for sale with photographs that showed that the entire ‘lot’ was one beautiful, architecturally designed building.
St. Declan’s Stone
As you walk up the Cliff Road towards the Cliff House Hotel and St. Declan’s Hermitage, you’ll pass a large stone on the stony beach below. There are a set of steps leading down to the beach where you can get a photo of the stone known as St. Declan’s stone.
Legend has it that when St. Declan set out for Ireland, he forgot his bell. He had received the bell from heaven whilst saying mass one day and, on discovering he’d forgotten it, he was very upset. He prayed that the bell would return to him. As he was reached Irish waters, St. Declan noticed a huge rock floating in the sea before him with his bell on top. The rock came to rest on the coast of Ardmore and has lain there ever since.
St. Declan’s Hermitage and Well
Walking past the Cliff House Hotel, there’s a wall with a gap that leads to St. Declan’s Hermitage and Well and the cliff walk. For years, this cliff walk was a well trodden path that could be muddy and slippy after rainfall, and where some parts were quite steep and difficult to walk.
The good news is that a beautiful path has been developed that loops around the cliff and provides a safe walk for young and old, and where people can pass each other without having to step into heather or up a steep bank.
Tradition is you take a stone and etch the mark of a cross into the stone wall above the small grotto. I don’t know why it’s done and I wonder about the damage that’s being caused to the wall. The marks run deep from years and years of people etching crosses into the stone.
The Watch Tower
Half way around the cliff walk loop there’s a watchtower (the taller tower of two on the walk) perched high on the cliff looking out to sea. It served during Napoleonic Times as a place to keep watch for a possible French invasion.
The photograph below was taken the first time I saw it several years ago. I drove into a farmer’s field accidentally (I’m so sorry) and snapped the photo before hurriedly turning my car around to leave.
St. Declan’s Round Tower and Oratory
The round tower stands at 30 metres tall and, as is standard with many round towers, has its access door several feet above the ground. When in use, entrance to the tower would have been via a ladder which could be pulled up in case of invasion.
The smallest building in the graveyard is the oratory which is alleged to have been built over the burial place of st. Declan. Jim over on megalithicireland.com describes the little building in some detail.
St. Declan’s Cathedral
The cathedral must be one of the most beautiful old stone structures I’ve seen with its decorative west wall.
For further information on the cathedral, take a look at ardmorewaterford.com.
Of course, after walking the 5k cliff walk, there’s nothing like a bit of lunch in the Cliff House Hotel overlooking the sea. Sheer bliss!!