Ardmore is a small beach resort in County Waterford in Ireland; its population in 2016 was 434 but this is swollen by summer visitors. It has a 12th century Round Tower and ruined cathedral on a hill (the "great height", which in Irish is Aird Mhór). These stand on the site of a 5th century monastery founded by St Declan, some years before the arrival of St Patrick.
Bus 361 runs from Dungarvan to Ardmore via Helvick and the Ring peninsula. It's every two hours M-Sa but only three run on Sunday.
By road from Dublin follow M8 to Fermoy then N72 to Tallow then turn south on R634 for Youghal and Ardmore. You could also follow M9 to Waterford then N25 via Dungarvan.
The village, cliffs and beaches are all walking distance.
- Beaches: Ardmore's own sandy beach extends 1 km north to Ballinamona. Beyond the headland are Curragh Bay Beach then Ballyquin Beach. They're south and east facing so they have some shelter, but they suffer from pollution and agricultural run-off. At the south end of Ardmore the shore becomes rocky, with a little jetty but not a proper harbour. St Declan's Stone is a boulder of non-local stone resting on two others like a dolmen - it's probably a glacial erratic from the Comeragh Mountains, but there's a fanciful tale of it wafting over the sea after the saint. Even more fanciful were the hopes of pilgrims who wriggled beneath it on St Declan's "pattern day" of July 24th, praying to be cured of arthritis, sin, and the compulsion to wriggle beneath slimy boulders.
- 1 St Declan's Cathedral on the hill above the village has a well-preserved round tower, 30 m tall and dating from the 12th C. Such towers were campaniles or church bell-towers, they weren't defensive. The cathedral ruins are also 12th C, with fine carvings and two Ogham stones; some of this material has been re-cycled from the 9th C Oratory adjacent. The site is free to enter, 24 hrs.
- Ardmore Head is reached along the clifftop, east end of the village. The ruins just beyond Cliff House Hotel are called St Declan's Well. The path passes a couple of lookout posts, Ram's Head with the shipwreck Samson, and Father O'Donnell's Well. You can circle back at this point past the football pitch. Samson was a crane barge, under tow in 1987 from Liverpool to Malta, but the towrope broke in a gale off the Welsh coast. The crew were plucked to safety by helicopter, while the barge drifted for three days before coming aground here. It's slowly collapsing and in 2016 the crane jib fell into the sea.
- 2 Ardo House and McKenna's Castle are adjacent ruins 2 km west of Ardmore. They're on private land and you might have difficulty seeing much from either the public lane or the clifftop path. Ardo House is a tower house, circa 15th/16th century. McKenna's Castle is a 19th century plutocrat's mock-castle, abandoned by 1918; nearby under brambles and nettles is McKenna's elaborate mausoleum.
- 3 Coady Cove is the sandy beach reached by following the dead-end lane past Ardo. Goat Island is just a rock outcrop on the beach, with barely enough grass on it to feed a goat. Whiting Bay is a larger beach just west but more exposed to southwesterly waves and weather.
- Ardmore Adventures offer kayaking and paddle-boarding. They're open M-Sa 09:30-17:30.
- Scuba diving among the many nearby wrecks. You'll have to be self-sufficient for boat and kit, there are no local facilities.
- St Declan's Way is a long distance walking route from Cashel via Cahir, Ardfinnan, Mount Mellaray Monastery, Lismore, Cappoquin and Knocknaskagh into Ardmore. It's a modern invention but traces the route of several historic pilgrimage trails. As of Oct 2020 it's still a work in progress, incompletely waymarked, but if you got a map and hiked between those points you'd be on the right lines.
- Quinn's Supermarket is open M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa Su 09:00-18:00.
- Shipmates does fish & chips and similar, eat in or takeaway. They're open F-Su 11:00-17:00.
- White Horses on Main St (+353 24 94040) has good seafood plus veggie options. They're open May-Sept Tu-Su 12:30-15:30, 18:00-22:00, Oct-Apr F 18:00-22:00, Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 12:00-18:00.
- An Tobar is the village pub. Else try the hotels.
- Duncrone is a pleasant B&B 1 km east along the Ardo lane. It didn't open for the 2020 season.
- Ardmore Seaview Motorhome (+353 87 709 3346) is 500 m north of the village along Dungarvan Rd and takes tourers and campers. It's normally open year round but is closed in autumn 2020. The nearby Powers Caravan Park only has static units on long lets, and doesn't accept tourers or camping.
- 1 Cliff House Hotel, Middle Rd P36 DK38, ☏ . Upscale hotel with good dining and sea views. B&B double €250.
- 2 Round Tower Hotel, College Rd P36 PD61, ☏ . Value-for-money hotel in a 1920s convent. B&B double €120.
As of Oct 2020, you'll manage a mobile call with Three or Vodafone, but Eir has no signal in Ardmore. 5G has not reached this area.
- Dungarvan is a pleasant small port around a Norman castle.
- Lismore has a fine castle with gardens and a cathedral.
- Youghal in County Cork is another historic small harbour.