How to get to Coumshingaun – Directions and things to look out for…

coumshingaunSo you’ve heard about Coumshingaun, the jewel of the Comeraghs, the glacial lake said to be one of the finest examples of a corrie lake (coum in gaelic) in Western Europe. There are nine lakes or coums to explore in the Comeragh mountains, all beautiful but none compare to the majesty of Coumshingaun.

For the uninitiated it can be a bit tricky to find so this blog entry is for those who are  visiting the lake for the first time.

What you will need

  1. Bring a comfortable pair of boots with a good grip on them (in slippery wet weather especially).
  2. It’s also a good idea to bring walking sticks of some sort for the way down in slippy conditions or if you have knees prone to pain.
  3. Bring layers of clothing as the weather can change rapidly.
  4. Bring wet gear. It’s Ireland.
  5. Bring a light picnic too if you can to enjoy at the lake.
  6. If feeling very brave bring togs… it’s rarely ever warm, I scream like Tarzan everytime I hop in.
  7. Bring a camera/phone and make sure it’s charged, you will kick yourself otherwise.
  8. Most importantly, leave nothing behind except maybe your footprints.

Getting there

Allow about 3-4 hours for round trip if travelling from Waterford.

To get there from Cork or Waterford take the turn for Mahon Falls on the N25, if coming from Waterford it’s a right turn a little past Kilmacthomas, from Cork it is a left turn after Lemybrian.

Once you get to mahon bridge, take a right and head down that road for about 3 miles, you are looking for a left turn into a parking area at Kilclooney woods. See map below for directions from the N25.

The Hike

The fake tree

The fake tree

Once parked up at Kilclooney woods walk through the forest up until you reach a flat gravel path. Take the path right towards another small wooded section.  You will pass a fake tree with phone transceivers on it within a green fenced area.  Pass this off (it will be on your left) and go through the forest until you get to a fence with steps over it.

You are now at the foot of the mountain.  Head up the hill towards a rock that looks like a mouse or a frog (I have arguments with my kids over this pretty much everytime we go up).  Depending on your level of fitness this could take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour (more advanced hikers can go up further towards the peak and perhaps do the full loop walk allow 5 hours for this).


Once you get to the “frog rock,” the uphill walk is practically done.  You will see the back cliff of the coum so walk towards this.


coum2You will see many worn paths up, take one that suits your fancy.  If you take the right you will see a small pond, which contains frogs and tadpoles in April/May/June.  If you go this way you might also see a small field of bog cotton in June. If you take the left route you will travel over rocky ground with well kept grass, the sheep do such a great job it’s like a putting green in places.

At this point you are almost there, keep heading up between the two side walls towards the back cliff and over the next crescent to see the lake.  Get ready to be astounded as the lake is revealed.

Take your time to explore the lake and the rock formations, flowers, fauna, wildlife (the sheep won’t bother you, but please keep dogs on a leash as during spring/early summer the sheep are lambing) etc.IMG_4654

Remember to take care if swimming in the lake, it can be exceptionally cold even in june/july and is 60 metres deep at certain points.  There are also legends of a giant serpent swimming in it and I have a video of it on youtube (search for coumshingaun USO if you don’t believe me LOL).

Don’t say you weren’t warned (about the cold at least)!!!

Finally, just do it and be astounded at what is at our fingertips here in Waterford. Get ready for one of the best days of your life.

I’m taking part in a charity trek to Kilimanjaro in September for Diabetes Ireland and would greatly appreciate your support

If you wish to support this cause please visit our everyday hero page:

Guided Walking Tours with ‘Muddy Boots’

If you are interested in a guided walking tour of Coumshingaun to explore the wildlife, fauna and landscape, you might wish to get in contact one of our clients, Muddy Boots Guided Walking tours.  Mario, is an expert guide and I’ve personally been on a few of his walks and they have always been very enjoyable and informative.  Mario runs hikes in the Mountains of Waterford and surrounding areas in the South East of Ireland.


6 thoughts on “How to get to Coumshingaun – Directions and things to look out for…

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  3. Dave

    I made the mistake of veering too far off to the left on the walk up there years ago and ended up and nice but very small and very dry corrie to the left. Much longer and harder walk with a pretty disappointing payoff. Moral of the story, keep the forest at your 8 o’clock!

  4. Eoin Winters

    Drove too far and wound up starting the walk from a farmers field last May. The longest…most painful, walk of my life. Bear in mind we had easily about 15-20kg of camera equipment and camping gear with us. Made the entire ascent through farmers land (apologised afterwards) and only realised our mistake on the way down the next morning when we found the “correct” path. Great spot there and got some stunning panorama shots of Waterford.


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