Magic road to the Mahon Falls

mahon falls

It was a sunny day elsewhere, but Mahon Falls greeted me with a perfect rainbow towering over the mountains. This picture was not retouched – all the colors are natural. I parked at the bottom of the Magic Road and held my breath. I used a wide lens for this picture, but in fact the rainbow was so close that I could see the colors on the grass just a few meters away.

I drove under the rainbow and turned around the corner wondering what the Falls look like today, and sure there was a good reason for the rainbow to appear because the Coum Mahon was hosting a huge cloud. I found a spot, parked my car and fearlessly walked into the cloud.

mahon falls

I did it three times and had to return half way because the rain and the wind made it impossible to take any picture of the waterfall.

This was the worst moment. The lens got all wet and foggy, and I had to give up.

mahon falls

On the other side of the car park the weather was beautiful and even my windscreen was dry. I parked so that I could see the ocean and the rainbow.

mahon falls

I didn’t get to see the Falls that day, but other photo opportunities were literally running around 🙂

mahon falls

The cloud was still there but the rest of the world was dry and sunny.

mahon-falls1

The sheep decided to migrate, and it was fun to watch them

mahon falls

There was nothing else to see and I went home to return in two weeks.


This time the sky was blue with no clouds and rainbows. I approached the Magic Road, took this picture, drove a little bit further down the hill, and because there were no cars around, I did what everyone else does in this place: put my car in neutral, and rolled UPHILL with lively speed and style. This is a magic road after all 🙂

magic road

Some people say it is an optical illusion and there is no elevation. Look by yourself. This car was rolling backwards on neutral from where I stand. The family inside it were so excited that the driver forgot to use his steering wheel and almost drove the car in the ditch. There definitely is an elevation, and I actually started even further down the hill. You can watch a good few videos on Youtube about this road. Fairy magic, if you ask me.

magic road

These Hawthorn trees should give you a clue of where the magic comes from.

Comeraghs

Coum Mahon in all its glory. The path to the waterfall is about one mile long, and there is no climbing necessary. The path is wheelchair accessible almost all the way down to the Falls. Coum Mahon is V-shaped, unlike the other coums (hollows) in the Comeraghs that are U-shaped. By the way, the word Comeragh, or Cumarach  in Irish, means ‘full of hollows’. Many of the hollows nestle lakes.

mahon falls

Semi-wild sheep are perched on the edge of the cliff.  If you are lucky, you might see a herd of feral goats around the Coumshingaun ridge nearby.

mahon falls

Black slug is a common sighting. The slugs are quite big and alien-looking.

With very little rain this winter, the Falls don’t look too impressive, but nevertheless it is the most visited and loved place. It is advertised as a picnic area, with which I totally disagree. The wind is usually very strong here, and if everyone decided to bring a takeaway with them, the place would be littered in no time. If you come to visit Mahon Falls, please eat in your car with the doors closed.

Mahon Falls are a 80 m high series of cascading waterfalls. River Mahon begins her jorney from the high plateau of the Comeraghs, falls down the steep back wall and continues to the village of Bunmahon where she drains into the Celtic Sea.

It is possible to ascend the slope quite close to the waterfall. The most popular is the right hand side route, but I have also seen people climbing the left hand side of the Falls. In both cases you have to be very careful. In 2014, two people got trapped on a steep cliff at 45 m with no way down. Luckily, they were able to call rescue services, and were lifted off the cliff by a helicopter crew.

This is a closer view of the lower cascade. I was planning to climb to the upper cascade, but I saw a photographer set up his tripod in the middle of the falls,  and didn’t want to bother him. I climbed to the flat rock over which the water flows down, continued half way to the upper cascade, and returned to the valley.

mahon falls

Lower cascade.

mahonfalls

Upper cascade. I would love to climb along the gorge and take pictures of entire waterfall, but the surface was quite wet and slippy, and I didn’t even have hiking footwear, just a pair of Skechers boots.

mahon falls

A view from the top of the lower cascade.

mahon falls

River Mahon heading south 🙂 The blue stripe at the edge of the picture is the Celtic Sea.

mahon falls

A long walk back to the car park. The sky looks washed out because there is not a single cloud in the sky, and the valley is in the deep shadow.

My plan was to continue driving to take more pictures of the other parts of the Comeraghs, but when I reached the tiny upper car park, I was absolutely blinded by the sun and had to reverse and drive back to where I came from. The contrast between the bright sun and deep shadow was striking. In the picture below you see Majestic Knockaunapeebra lit by the bright sun.

mahon falls

So, that was my latest trip to the Mahon Falls. Here are some photographs of the Hawthorn trees. This one was taken on that stormy day when the rainbow was hanging over the mountains for all the duration of my visit.

mahon falls

This one was taken on my way home after the second trip.

And this is the most famous rag tree that is guarding the Magic Road.

rag tree

If you are interested in climbing the Comeraghs,  read the De La Salle Scout group website.

Thank you for enjoying the magic of Mahon Falls with me. What do you think about the Magic Road and Fairy Power? 🙂

Here are links to my previous Comeragh blogs -1- , -2-  and  -3-

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

130 comments

  1. I love all your pictures but especially the ones with the paths as the focal point. What is going on with the Magic Road, I love it.. I suspect it has something to do with the fairies,, wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for hiking the Magic Road. I am certain about fairies, but people say it is an optical illusion. I have seen many videos recently, and also one of the Canadian gravity road, and I clearly see with my own eyes where the road goes up, and where down. How is it an optical illusion? The funnies thing about these hills is that the higher up you get, the faster the car rolls 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post! I have actually been to the gravity hill (called Magnetic Hill) in New Brunswick on one of my Canadian vacation trips and, while the scenery in that area doesn’t match that around Magic Hill, I thought you and your readers might like to view this clip:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing the video! 🙂 The Brunswick hill is much higher than our Magic Road, but I cannot get it – how is it an optical illusion if I see the elevation with my own eyes. I don’t believe it optical illusions, but I do believe in fairies 😉

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  3. I smiled so big when I saw the sheep in the parking lot! Over here we would have crows in place of the sheep 😉 I didn’t know you are a rainbow chaser but oh how I love that new quality I’ve learned about you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is a very popular place, the car park is always busy. People come with strollers and babies, ramble around, have fun on the Magic Road, but the weather can change in a matter of minutes.

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  4. A magical place, indeed, Inese, as I knew it would be as soon as I saw that fantastic rainbow. 😀 Then of course, we have the Magic Road and later on the famous rag tree that guards that road. It’s definitely a place to inspire magical tales and so strikingly beautiful.
    The photos from both your trips there are wonderful, and a nice contrast. Mahon Falls look pretty impressive as you captured them but I can imagine what they’d look like after a period of heavy rain. Lovely post, Inese. I’ll add this to my growing list of places to visit in Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Inese, I think the falls are impressive! I think all of it is impressive, a purely magical place. Now, I must go look up that giant sluggy thing. That is absolutely impressive. I don’t know if I would scream or say, “Hey, you are kind of cute.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I never walked or drove under a rainbow! That must feel magical 😄
    Migrating sheep, hide-and-seek playing sheep and even perching sheep – what more could one possibly want? 😉😂
    The waterfall looks beautiful and I love the sharp contrasts of weather on either side. What a truly magical post Inese! 😄
    xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anabel, thank you for stopping by! No, these are three different trees, and there is another small group of hawthorn trees on the slope. And that is it, because I guess the sheep wouldn’t let them grow – they eat everything 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. They are fantastic images, right from the rainbow to the rag tree. What fun you must have had walking into the mist and clouds, landing the rainbow on sheep’s head, not to speak of rolling upwards on the magic tree!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was the only one I have got. The storm in the middle of the cloud was very serious.
      They call them gravity hills. Check out if you have one nearby. My car took off much faster than I expected. I did this before, but only on the top of the hill, for a couple of seconds. This time there was no one around and I drove backwards all the way from the bottom of the hill. It was so exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was pretty rough in the middle of the cloud. I was not able to use my camera, so I just turned back. Did it three times 🙂 My car was parked at the opposite side of the car park, and my windscreen was dry but the back of the car was washed clean 🙂 I have never seen a storm that was stuck in such very closed area 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it made me laugh too 🙂
      The storm cloud was sitting in the coum, and the rest of the mountain, including the seep in the picture, was dry, except the tiny mist that produced the rainbow. I was hanging around about an hour, and the rainbow never moved 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful trip! The rainbow looks perfect, one end touched the ground and the other end disappeared into the mountains. I would love to be able to stop and get out of the car to take picture of things you noticed along the way.

    I have seen a documentary not to long ago about the car rolls uphill on without engine. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the show. The show explained it as optical illusion or something along this line but it’s sure strange and I am sure if you experience that yourself. It is magical.

    Love your B&W Hawthorn tree picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That rainbow was something magnificent.
      They call these places Gravity Hills. Yes, there is a theory about optical illusion, but I have been in this place many times, and still believe my eyes that it is a hill 🙂 The car rolled up too fast for illusion – I almost had to use my brakes 🙂
      Hawthorns are very photogenic in winter, and each of them hosts a fairy, as I already wrote before 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for loving our favorite place 🙂 It looks magnificent in a rainy season, but this winter has been relatively dry so far. The height is impressive though. It is like a 26 story building after all, but you only realise it when you see a dot climbing up the cliff 🙂

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  9. How wonderful to see a rainbow and seeing the grass color the same. The sheep are well marked, to find them in the event they are lost? I loved the falls and imagined them with torrent waters falling from them although they were impressive as they were. Thanks for the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for joining the hike, Joseph! The sheep are marked so that the owners know what is whose 🙂
      I wonder if you have a gravity hill similar to our Magic road in where you live? It would be interesting to learn more about this phenomenon.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I have googled this one. Canada has the longest list of them. Great you have been there. Our road is much shorter, but looks steeper. When I approach the road, it clearly goes downhill, but when I put it to neutral at the bottom of the road, I quickly return back to the top 🙂 Love these little things that make life more fun 🙂

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        1. It is the fairies who make a difference 🙂 We have two or three more gravity hills in Ireland. There are no such roads listed in NZ, but there are four in Australia ( from Wikipedia). I wonder if there are more.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. What a discovery. The last thing I’ve looked at since deciding to offer my consciousness up to sleep. ‘This was a magic road after all’…what a line of sublime perfection. Certainly worth staying awake for…by the way are you freezing cold in Ireland…I am in this corner of England where all we do is chat about the weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike, they say that tomorrow we get -6C which would be a disaster. We shall see.
      So what do you think of the magic road? Why was I able to roll uphill? There are many places like this one in the road, and no one really knows what it is about.

      Liked by 1 person

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