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 side 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.


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.


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.


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!


  1. I am beyond shocked to see I have had no notifications of your recent posts my darling Inese. I can’t believe the ones I have missed. But on the plus side I now have several to look at and this one is all nice and wet and muddy and murky looking. It is brilliant.

          1. I am going to climb a really high ridge. Waiting for a better weather – don’t want to slip on the rocks. Who knows how long I will have to wait – may be until July 🙂

        1. Well, that is the thing with hills. We were once forced off on in June. It was a nice day but at a certain height it was like crossing into another world. The snow, the ice, the blizzard. That weekend a lot of people were forced off hills in the vicinity. Unreal. You never know what it will be like even in summer.

          1. That’s true. A cloud that would normally pass and dissolve somewhere, gets stuck on the mountain and spills all its content. The mountains attract the clouds like a magnet.

  2. Such an amazing adventure. ^-^ The rainbow is quite spectacular and magic is a good adjetive to describe it. Thanks, Inese. : )

      1. Sometimes I get stuck in some parts, even when they are not the main parts! 😅 I meant the photograph with the sheep in the green spot and the rainbow. I also adore how they shape a texture in the hill, and the cascades… it’s amazing how they look so small but actually they are huge. : )

          1. Now I understand why the concept was not clear to me. I reviewed the list and we have not a similar place, even there are not in near countries. Except Brasil, but due the idiomatic difference that’s an unknown country to us. Almost feels distant as Europe.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 The rainbow was there for about an hour and I took advantage of that. I walked around until I had that group of sheep standing right at the end of the rainbow.

  3. 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

    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

  4. Beautiful, dear Inese…. The sheep, the mountains, the lower cascades.
    Gorgeous photographs!… Thank you very much for sharing. Wishing you a great friday & weekend ahead! 😀

  5. 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:

    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 😉

  6. 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! ❤

    1. Christy, I was very lucky with that rainbow 🙂 I saw it from miles away, but had no idea it was sitting at the end of the Magic Road, my destination 🙂 It was amazing 🙂

  7. Wow, such a cool place. Your photos are beautiful and that rainbow….what beautiful shots! I also love the last picture of the tree on Magic Road. Sounds like a wonderful adventure!

  8. I own a pair of Skechers boots, as well. I’m glad they kept you safe while hiking! You are a risk taker, Miss Adventurer! 🙂 The blue bottomed sheep made me giggle.

    Another lovely time hiking with you!

    1. Thank you so much, Rose! I have three different pieces of Sketchers footwear – they never failed me 🙂 Glad you joined the hike. This place is our favorite. xxxx

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