Home #WHERETONEXT UK Follow the footsteps of St Declan in Ireland’s Ancient East

Follow the footsteps of St Declan in Ireland’s Ancient East

This is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale.

A new 115km walking trail follows a traditional pilgrim route through the stunning landscape of counties Tipperary and Waterford.

There’s an old Irish saying: ‘Your feet will bring you to where your heart is’.  And with so many wonderful walkways, greenways and hiking trails to choose from on the island of Ireland, there’s sure to be one that will do just that.

Adding to the options is a new 115km walking trail which connects historic parts of south Tipperary and west Waterford in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Dromana Gate, Dromana House and Gardens, Cappoquin, Co Waterford. Ireland’s Ancient East,IAE

St Declan’s Way follows a traditional route from Cashel in County Tipperary to Ardmore on the Waterford coast, which has been a pilgrim path since Declan walked it in the fifth century to meet St Patrick.

It takes a minimum of five days to walk the entire route, which begins at the imposing Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most spectacular heritage sites, and once the seat of the kings of Munster.

Passing through stunning landscapes, running alongside rivers, crossing mountains, and weaving its way over pastureland the trail comes to an end at the pretty fishing village of Ardmore, believed to be the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland.

Along the way are numerous heritage sites, each with a tale to tell of Ireland’s rich history.

Among these is Cahir Castle, County Tipperary, a thirteenth-century stronghold that is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles and has featured in many movies and TV productions, most recently The Last Duel.

The trail also passes Mount Melleray in County Waterford, which is Ireland’s oldest living monastery.

A new hostel has been opened at the monastery to cater for walkers along St Declan’s Way, harking back to the ancient tradition of monks welcoming pilgrims and offering them a place to rest. 

The beautiful heritage town of Lismore in County Waterford is also on the trail. Sitting on the banks of the River Blackwater, Lismore has a medieval cathedral and a history-rich castle, whose manicured grounds are open to the public.

And as St Declan’s Way descends towards Ardmore it passes over the Dromana Bridge and through a beautiful Hindu Gothic gate dating from around 1830, the only one of its kind in Ireland.

Combining breath-taking scenery, fascinating heritage and religious significance, St Declan’s Way is a wonderful addition to the island of Ireland’s top-class waymarked walks.