Coumshingaun Lough

There are two ways to enjoy the beauty of Coumshingaun Lough, Co Waterford. One is to take a four-hour Coumshingaun loop trail, and the other is to hike straight to the shore.

On my way to the Comeragh mountains I can see what the situation is and make a change in my plans, if necessary. It seems we will be all right today. Get ready:)

The starting point is Kilclooney Wood car park on the R676. It is roughly a 40 minutes drive from Waterford city. You can also park at the opposite side of the road and at any appropriate place, just make sure you are not obstructing the road and blocking any gates.

Walking through this dark and quiet part of the forest is one of my favorites, especially on the way back.

We join a forest road and turn right.

Finally we reach the place where the communications mast disguised as a tree used to be. In this picture, you can see the satellite antennas on the fake tree. The tree was a familiar landmark and I feel sad that it is gone and the new mast is just a mast…

At the start of our ascent, the path is steep and rocky. We might forget about photography for a while and focus on breathing instead. At least it is definitely true for me. Our first landmark is a huge rock on the skyline. To get there, we follow the track uphill, then turn sharp right, then uphill until we see the rock again, this time closer. The trail is not marked, but you won’t miss the erosion created by thousands of walking boots. To preserve the surrounding vegetation, please keep to the most distinct track.

We look back.  What a view! Who can find the Lackendarra’s rock?

From here, we divide in two groups. The fit and healthy will hike to the rocky outcrop you see in the picture below, do some scramble and continue around the lake on a 4 hour loop trail.

I don’t have my own photographs from this hike. I have never put my foot on the loop trail. From here, I start sharing someone else’s materials and link them to the source. Some of the photographs can only be accessed through the links, but they are worth seeing. I chose the less-enhanced images.

This is a photograph from Reddit by user ShligoShtyle.

Coumshingaun Lake – Ireland [OC] (4656×3492)

If you plan to brave the cliff walk some day, visit a versatile  John Finn Photography blog. They have the best Walker’s Guide for the Coumshingaun cliff walk I could find, illustrated with great photography. You might find the articles from the Mountain View website very helpful too. Unfortunately, there are many misleading copy-and-paste web pages. Sometimes I have a feeling that the author is writing about something else because nothing resembles the real place. And I think a “travel writer and photographer” (allegedly working for the Lonely Planet and The Washington Post) is expected to use their own photographs for their blog, not the free Google images. At least one 😉 At least of a car park 😉

Another two photographs by Paul Hynes and Asia can be found on Google maps – I cannot share them here but they are stunning. Just click on the names.

I love this video about the Coumshingaun loop hike. Please ‘like’ and subscribe – the man is doing a great job in this difficult time.

About the pronunciation. There are two ways to spell the name of the lake. COUMSHINGAUN is the official one, and COMSHINAUN is a local name, known from the centuries ago ( information from Barry Dalby of East West Mapping). The name is pronounced like [com-shi-non] with the [shi] like in ‘ship’. It is the only pronunciation I know.

In my previous blog post I mentioned my conversation with a lone hiker, Garreth. He told me about his friend who run the 4 hour long loop trail in an hour… Visiting the Trail Runners web page left me in awe. I did more research and came across another website – Irish Mountain Running Association.  Oh my goodness, these people are real!

I share a photograph of Scott Jurek, ultramarathoner and author who run the Coumshingaun loop trail on his visit to Ireland back in 2016. I had no idea the man existed before I did my research for this blog post. Thank you, Garreth! The photograph was posted by Mr. Jurek on his Facebook page on Tuesday, 29 march 2016. What an amazing human!

Those of you who won’t run or even hike the Coumshingaun loop, stay with me and we will have a good time simply hiking to the shore.

Keep to the track, don’t try to find a shorter way. There is none.

A look back.

We are getting closer to the coum. There is a beautiful pool of water, a miniature lake.  The river bed was almost dry when the picture was taken.

Another look back.

Notice the tiny hikers to get a sense of scale.

A group of hikers on the north outcrop are finishing the loop. I want to remind you again – keep to the most distinct track.

We are nearly there. Sometimes the sky is clear, but not this time. Clouds can be dangerous when hiking the loop. Have your mobile phone charged in case you have to be rescued, and stay put until you can see your path. Accidents are not unheard of here. Even on this easy trail one can get injured.

Finally there!

The cliffs behind the lake rise vertically from the dark waters to an awe inspiring 1200 feet!

Detailed information about the rock (for the seasoned rock climbers) can be found here.

It is difficult to tell the size of the lake from this point. The cliffs are gigantic and seem to be very close. In fact, the lake is about half a mile long!

As to the lake’s depth – watch the video that was mentioned in the previous video I just shared.

So now we know that the lake is 164 ft/ 50 m deep. Thanks, guys!

I hear a sound and look up. An airplane! I wonder if the author of the Grounded video is back to work?

A little about the sounds in the coum – which is a natural amphitheatre. There is an echo. Also, if a bird crosses above, you will hear a buzz created by the feathers, a very loud sound that is difficult to describe. You might hear some bits of conversations between the hikers on the slopes. Every sound is loud and clear, but it probably depends on exact location of the speaker and the listener.

We hike a little higher to get a better view of the lake. As I already told you, we, the unfit, can have as much fun as anyone else here at the Coumshingaun lake.

Some people even swim here, but I heard that the water is very cold. In a windy day the water is constantly rippled in different directions. The lake looks alive. It is a dark lake, but not the ink black like Bay Lough I wrote about.

This is the Crotty’s horse cave and Lackendarra’s summer residence. I never made it that far.

What goes up, must come down 😉 We begin our return journey.


The force of gravity works in the opposite way now. It is pulling us down the slope, and we have to resist and keep our balance. The balance is quite important for me as I have a heavy camera bag on my shoulder. We take short steps sometimes walking sideways. This is a beautiful slope facing south-east, sunlit for most of the day.

We can watch sheep and birds, take pictures of the timeless hawthorn trees in no hurry now. On a sunny weekend there are many other hikers. If you enjoy solitude, choose the worst weather, like I did on my last visit when I was on my own at the lake for almost an hour.

This is a picture of an Umber-brown puffball. Nothing special about it except that it was taken in December 😉 There is also a baby puffball. I only discovered it when uploaded the picture.

A Golden waxcap, picture taken on the same hike.

Lackendarra would pick up this piece of wool and stuff it in his pillowcase.

This is the last stretch of our hike, the steep rocky path that nearly gave me a blackout on the ascent when I first visited the lake.  It is a piece of cake on the way down though. I look forward to climbing the steps and walking all the way through the wood: my car is parked at the end of the road. This walk is a lovely conclusion of a great hike we had today. I hope you watched the terrific videos and didn’t have any accidents during the hike 😉

Thank you very much for being my hiking companions!

Have a great week!


  1. hello – thank you for passing by – Happy New Year – especially today maybe it should be hold your breath and then throw your hat in the air if it all goes off alright (over there).

  2. What a fantastic excursion. The view from the top is worth the effort!
    Funny side note, I tried to pronounce the mountain´s name… thank God there´s nobody around LOL

    1. The mountain’s name is Comeragh mountain – [komera]. The lake is Coumshingaun – [kom-shi-non] Easy! 😉 When this mess is over, you and your team can come to Ireland and shoot a promotional video on the loop walk. It would be very impressive.

      1. Sure it is easy but I have an extraordinary mispronouncing skill, hahaha!
        Short and funny clarifying story. We took the bus from Swords to Dublin for shopping. I had heard how the locals before me pronounced Dublin and I tried. Something like “D-o-bling” came out of my mouth. The driver turned his head to a couple of girls sit behind and said “This Spanish guy pretends to be from *some town I dind´t understand”, and everybody laughed.
        Coumshingaun doesn´t seem easier than Dublin. Sounds good in my head but I probably can´t do it as any Irish would expect 😀
        About the trip to Ireland, is a lovely idea! Noted on my to-do list. Besides, a pint of Guinness at a real Irish pub would be the best way to celebrate 😉

          1. Haha! Thanks for cheering me up 😉
            There´s no Youtube back in the day, and nobody warned me about this Dublinese patois.
            Pubs closed til the end of the year? That´s what I call planning ahead. Here the politicians decide what to do from week to week… They´re driving us crazy!

            1. We have enormous numbers of people dying, David. Lockdown extended to April. We got that very contagious strain. The numbers just rocketed. I am absolutely sick of staying home too…
              Check out other FAH videos. They are the funniest guys ever.

              1. The situation isn´t any better in Spain. We reach new negative records every single day but for some reason (political, I guess) lockdown is not an option. The capacity is limited (30-50% of full capacity) in almost every business but other than that there is no real preventive measure.

                Thanks for the FAH videos, these guys are hilarious. I´m watching “The Irish farm who writes pop hits” and I´ve just found how to spend the weekend, LOL!

                1. Oh I love that Irish farmer! I watch FAH video every Thursday morning.
                  I seriously can not tell what is better – lockdown or no lockdown. We have it, and we are mentally exhausted. My daughter doesn’t have it, only restrictions and precautions. The numbers are high in both countries. Family and friends got the virus. She is worrying, but they both work and the kids have been in school all year. I don’t know what to think.

                2. Humor videos in the morning is a clever way to start the day 🙂
                  I think nobody knows what to do but nobody dares to admit it. And I get it, because that would imply resignations, dismissals, and no re-elections. What I can´t understand is why focusing only on the vaccine. Where´s a more effective treatment for infected people? Your relatives and friends got the virus, now what? Just wait and pray?
                  We don’t worry about the diseases for which we have a cure, right? It´s all a nonsense.

                3. It is easier and less costly to prevent a disease, when possible. Just imagine we had a vaccine for diabetes etc.
                  I don’t want to share it here for many reasons, but one of the relatives actually received a medicine right after he developed symptoms.

                4. You’re right and I get your point. But here’s my personal experience: I got all the vaccines when I was I child. However, I got measles, mumps, chickenpox, and every time I get the flu vaccine I get the flu 🤦‍♂️ I’m a mess, I know that.
                  I’ve heard last week there is also a Spanish treatment that reduces symptoms and people don’t need hospitalization 🤞
                  I hope your relatives and friends get better soon 😘

  3. Hello Inese,
    Another wonderful post of fabulous scenery, and huge admiration for both the You Tube videos. the thought of lugging 2 canoes up that trail is extraordinary!
    Many many years ago I built a wooden kit build Mirror dinghy, then for its very first outing I dragged it on a trailer a mile an a half to an upland lake in wales, fairly near to where we now live. We rigged it up, and I set off in a light breeze across the lake, with our 2 young boys on board having no idea how deep the lake was. All of a sudden, about half way across there was a thump, a splintering wood sound, and the boar stopped dead in the water. The hull splintered and water began to seep in from the centreboard casing. There was, it turned out, a submerged stone field wall that you couldn’t see until you hit it!
    It was a titanic like moment – no further drama as we made it back to shore, but I always felt that boat was fated after that,
    best wishes

    1. Oh it is a scary story, Julian. So, what was it? A flooded field? At least the lake wasn’t dangerously deep. I grew up at the 18m deep lake. Roughly a 6 story building. They said there was a German fighter airplane on the bottom of it.

      1. Thanks Inese, This lake might have been fairly deep in places – it was man made with a low dam at one end to provide water for a silver/lead mine many years previously, and they obviously just left the wall in place, when flooding the valley. _ wow a fighter plane at the bottom, eh? I wonder if there’s anything at the bottom of your Irish lake? I still can’t get over that video of the 2 lads carting their canoes up. Amazing,
        Best wishes

        1. I am surprised no diver tried to check out the lake. 50 m! I would love to know what it looks like down there. I don’t think it is pit (turf). The water isn’t that black.
          Hope no other people come dragging their canoes with them. No good for the vegetation.

  4. The photo with the trees which look like grey trunks and a little dark in the forest I would love to walk in there.
    the communications mast disguised as a tree used to be. In this picture, you can see the satellite antennas on the fake tree. That is just the cat’s meow going through all that to hide antennas on tope. I wonder what the reason was for that except to keep them camouflaged and now they have the antennas in plain sight.
    In one of the photos a hill looks like a hidden pyramid.
    Look at that sheep photobombing your photograph.
    As per usual beautiful photograph with a description of the tour you take us on. I still want to walk in that forest. Have an excellent day ❤

    1. Yes, this part of the forest is so mysterious and dark. I have to explore it some day.
      The disguised mast has been taken down ( my previous post). It was erected a couple of decades ago when the surrounding trees were still young. The mast was disguised to look nicer, I think:)
      The southern outcrop looks like a pyramid indeed. I don’t think I could hike such a steep slope, but thousands of people do it every year 🙂
      The sheep let me come quite close and I got many interesting shots. I was alone on the slope. On a normal day the sheep keep a distance from people.
      Have a great day you too. You probably have plenty of snow this month ❤

  5. Thanks for guiding “we, the unfit” along, I am sure I felt myself breathing hard as I looked back. Such rugged country. Years ago I was given a book “Walks & Tours of Britain” and dreamed of taking some walks there some day, especially the Lake district. Today I am content to trail along with you!

    1. It is better than nothing, right? 😉 We can even watch the cliff walk videos and let our imagination fly. The lake hike is not that bad. The locals go there every evening. You would be able to walk there if you are accustomed to walking.

  6. “We, the unfit…” Lol. I think I’d be part of that group with no regrets. The runners are impressive, but I wonder if they miss the small details. I’ll go with that as my reason for walking. 🙂 Beautiful views, Inese. What a lovely spot and wonderful way to spend a day. Thanks for the hike. ❤

    1. Thank you for walking with me, Diana! I would love to hike the cliffs some day. May be I will. Never say never. I have watched all the Youtube videos from the trail. My dream is to hike back to the Crotty’s lake from Coumshingaun, and I know the theory and the map:) But then I read in the news “Walkers rescued from Comeragh Mountains” and I think – that would be me:)

      1. The vistas are gorgeous. You’d have to hike it on a perfect summer day to avoid getting caught in some dastardly weather. And bring along a “real life” companion instead of virtual me. Ha ha. But it would be an adventure. 😀

        1. The beauty of solo hiking is meeting other solo hikers eager to chat. I have met many interesting people and learned a lot of interesting information, memories and bits of history. Last year I met a lady who shared my daughter’s name and profession. The name is very old fashioned and rarely heard of:)

            1. You are absolutely right about the risks, Diana. I only hope that my car is a clue… When I write about the Comeraghs again, I will include two stories about accidents that left an impression on me ❤

  7. Love the blog Inese! It was really cool to see Greg Browne’s drone pix to get a really good perspective of the area. Amazing what technology can do. Love your pix too. You always show such interesting things!

    1. Thank you Syd! I wish I could walk the loop, but the lake walk is beautiful too. I still can climb a little bit higher to see the whole lake. This is a place like no other.

  8. I am sure the adventure requires good physical strength but the place looks so gentle and hard to believe for such efforts to get there. I am sure even you did not take any pictures for the duration but you had great time going up there.

    I can feel the the water in the lake must be very cold. I can’t imagine people can be in cold water, amazing.

    1. The first 100 metres are tough, very steep, rocky. After that you walk at your leisure. It is where I started taking pictures. Fast walkers can get to the lake in 45 minutes, but for me it is not an exercise. I simply enjoy the walk:)
      It was the only time I saw swimmers in the lake. The man had a thermal swimsuit on.

    1. Thank you Derrick:) Yes, the first few metres were so steep and rocky that I only thought of survival. Had to be careful walking back though. Could feel the gravity.

  9. Thank you for this beautiful tour. There are so many elements to it..including the communication mast disguised as a tree….I think we should do much more of this all around this the UK. What a shame that they dismantled it.
    I would be hiking with you…..I love to walk and when I lived in Wales walked miles every day…but I am definitely not a trail/hill runner!:)
    I love the idea of the little lake being a natural amphitheatre….very haunting and atmospheric.

    Beautiful photographs and as someone else said who commented – a painter paradise.

    Happy hiking Inese. Janet :)X

    1. Thank you so much, Janet! You would love it.
      The lake looks small because of the 200 m high cliffs. In fact, the lake is almost 800 m long. You would never tell it. The only way to overcome the illusion is to look for sheep on the far side of the lake. When you see a tiny white dot, you realise how far it is from where you stand:)
      Hope we are free to move around soon. Stay safe! X

      1. Thank you Inese for that description. Still in lock down and it looks like it will be this way for some time to come. The new variant is highly contagious. Meanwhile, I paint and write. have a beautiful weekend. Janet X

        1. Thank you, Janet! It will take a while. They talk about the beginning of April here.
          Have a happy and creative week! X

  10. Quintessential Ireland personified. How sad this wretched lockdown, when there’s a paradise out there waiting for respectful persons to enjoy its very being. Splendid, Inese…splendid, indeed.

  11. Thank you for the hike. I admire you for your spirit. 4 hours? Wow! I used to be a very good walker, especially in Paris, but since I didn’t “train” there last year, and lockdown here… Plus I am getting a case of tendinitis which exercises aren’t controlling. Maybe I should move to Ireland…

    1. Thank you, Brian. There are two trails. The 4 hour one goes around the top of the cliffs. I shared other people’s pictures and a video about it. I also shared my own pictures from the 45 min to 1 hour long hike to the shore (good for the unfit people to whom I belong).
      You are right, the lockdown haven’t contributed to our fitness. Sorry for the tendinitis. Is there anything you can do about it? I guess the mountain walks wouldn’t the best idea for you.

      1. One hour is one hour. PLus the fresh air… 👍🏻
        I took therapy sessions and have been doing my exercises twice a day. But constant walking is also good, and missing right now. I’ll be all right.
        Take care.

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