The newly waymarked Cahore Point Trail offers sea views, a smashing beach and a gastro-pub at the finishing line, says Pól Ó Conghaile
Wexford's sandy coastline just keeps on giving.
Curracloe, you'll know. Rosslare, Carne and Morriscastle too. But what about Cahore? Perched on a point just over 2km from Ballygarrett, south of Gorey, is one of the southeast's sweetest little walking stops.
The 5km coastal loop here has been newly waymarked, surfaced and officially accredited by Sports Ireland as the Cahore Point Trail, and I took a spin before the winter lockdowns to give it a try.
Setting out from The Strand Bar (more of which, later) above the pier, the trail loses no time in delivering the coastal views. Within a few crunchy, gravelly steps you're peering back over the cove, out over the Irish Sea, and southwards towards the ridiculously long strip of sand starting at Old Bawn Beach.
The first stretch brings a couple of curiosities, including a folly-style tower, bird-life flitting about the cliffs, and landmarks like Cahore Castle and the nuns' steps, harking back to the days of a former convent.
Gulping fresh, salty, sea air into your lungs, no sooner are the cheeks reddened than a detour decision opens up - you can continue along the surfaced path, or take a trail down onto the beach.
Whatever the weather, skipping onto the sands is hard to resist. We had slinking splashes of sunshine on our walk - enough to work up a sweat running down the dunes (on a good day, you can see as far as Wicklow Head Lighthouse), before charging back into the brisk waves for a swim.
Afterwards, either return to the path or carry on south along the strand for another kilometre or so - soft sand underfoot won't trouble adults or bigger kids, but think twice with toddlers and buggies in tow.
A waymarker will point you back off the beach at Cahore South, and there you can rejoin the trail - newly developed by Wexford County Council and the Ballygarrett Tidy Towns group - north towards the village.
The final stretch along boreens and country roads lacks footpaths, and there is some local and holiday home traffic, so be careful if there are toddlers running loose at this point.
Cahore itself may strike you as a blink-and-miss-it find - it's not as well-known as Courtown or the brilliant beach at Curracloe, for instance. But those in the know are really onto something, and since 2018 the place has been on the foodie radar, too. That's when Aileen and Pat Hanley rebooted the old Strand Bar overlooking the pier.
Stepping in here is like stepping back into the cosy arms of an old pub, only with the sophistication and flair of a modern gastro-destination. There are open fires, picture windows, board games, staff that know their styff, and sumptuous grub overflowing with carefully-sourced Irish ingredients - think grazing boards laden with Kilmore Quay Prawns, Meyler’s Bullring Smoked Salmon and fresh crab; pizzas using Toons Bridge Irish Flor di Latte Mozzarella or Meadowfield Goats Cheese bon-bons.
Bookings are a must at weekends, especially given Covid-related time and capacity limits, though Pat and Aileen cleverly added a new takeaway, The Hatch, during the pandemic.
Yup, this coastline keeps on giving all right.
Level: Easy. The trail is surfaced all the way, unless you detour down onto Old Bawn Beach, which would make the going tricky for buggies (but lots of fun in other ways).
Distance: 5km. Doable in an hour, or a little more with stops.
Tips: If travelling at weekends or during holiday season, arrive early - Cahore can be a busy little resort, with parking filling up quickly. Pack binoculars for bird-spotting, too.
A bite nearby: A bite at the Strand Cahore should be non-negotiable - whether you order from the new Hatch or book ahead to sit by some of the best picture windows on the east coast. From wood-fired pizzas to smokies, calamari bites, sambos or grazing boards, it's the perfect pit-stop after a stroll.
More info: visitwexford.ie; wexfordtrails.ie; sportireland.ie
For more great walks, visit our Irish walks hub.
It’s strawberries and southeastern sun. It’s opera and hurling with heart; a storied lighthouse and sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s rolling farmland, ghost stories on the Hook Peninsula, and wolfing down chips at Kilmore Quay.