The Copper Coast Geopark is located on the South East coast of Ireland, in County Waterford. It extends between Tramore in the east, towards Dungarvan in the west, and includes 6 communities, each with their own character and attractions. The villages at the centre of these communities are, from east to west, Fenor, Dunhill, Annestown, Boatstrand, Bunmahon and Stradbally. These communities, with the support of the Geological Survey of Ireland, were involved with the Geopark from its inception as they were looking for ways to develop geotourism in this rural area.
The Copper Coast is an outdoor geology museum with a heritage that reflects the variety of environments under which the area has evolved over the last 460 million years. Sedimentary and volcanic rocks define a cross section through the core of an Ordovician age island arc volcanic system; closure of the Lapetus Ocean by the collision of 2 continents leading to the creation of Ireland – as part of a desert dissected by large rivers; and finally the effects of glaciation during the Ice Age. Cross-sections of these rocks are exposed along the spectacular cliffs and are interpreted for the public at various points. Copper was mined extensively in the area during the 19th century, which gives the area its name, and the Copper Coast icon is derived from the rescued remains of a mine complex on a high point of the cliffs. Panels there explain how the mine worked. There is also a rich cultural heritage – Neolithic dolmens, Iron Age forts, pre-Christian inscribed stones, ruined medieval churches and a spectacular castle owned by one community group.
The Geopark has created a range of educational services and products over the last few years to raise awareness of the geological heritage of the Geopark, as well as of geology in general. These include visits to primary schools, fieldtrips with secondary schools, a team of local guides trained by the Geopark for summer walks, geology courses, several publications, an actively managed web site and a path through geological time in the geological garden.
The Copper Coast Geopark has acquired and transformed an old church to become the Copper Coast Centre. Here there will be a series of exhibitions telling of the local heritage – principally relating to geology and the copper mining history around Bunmahon. There is a small café and information for visitors to the area. Also there are occasional community events and performances.
The Copper Coast is a strikingly beautiful area where there is always peace to be found. The beaches are a haven for families, with golden sand, rock pools, caves and dramatic cliffs.
Copper Coast Geopark
Tel: +353 51 292828