- Distance: 4.2KM (loop)
- Elevation: Hike has a total elevation gain of 1103ft
- Start/Finish: Mahon Falls carpark
- Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
- Terrain: Varied – No marked trails for large sections, steep ascent, & river crossings required.
Located on the Southern Cliffs of the picturesque Comeragh Mountains, Mahon falls is a spectacular 80m waterfall which is surrounded by breathtaking beauty from all angles. The falls are lined with sheer rock faces on both sides, made up from Sandstone which creates a very unique backdrop for the crashing waterfall.
I set off last weekend for my first attempt at actually doing the entire loop right around the falls. The weather Gods were definitely on my side – clear skies, crisp Autumn air and not too breezy… pretty dreamy for the end of October!
Mahon Falls are very well signposted from the main road so finding the carpark was pretty easy (although it does get busy so best to arrive early). The beginning of the trail is extremely straightforward – you can see the waterfall from the carpark so it’s pretty much impossible to get lost! This part of the trail is flat & well maintained and is the end of the path for the majority of people who visit. However, to see the waterfall from another angle and really get some amazing scenery, I would definitely encourage venturing further & doing the entire loop.
Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise?
I took the option of doing the trail counter clockwise which I definitely think was a good idea – the rocks past the waterfall can be slippery and it’s extremely steep so I’m definitely happy we went up rather than down them.
For me, the river crossing was quite challenging… it had rained heavily during the week, so the current was strong, and my shaking legs weren’t playing ball… I did get there eventually with a little help, so all was good 🙂 I might suggest crossing the river slightly higher up along the waterfall as it did look easier further along but definitely use your own judgement depending on conditions.
Back on solid ground, the next part of the hike involves a steep ascent all the way to the top of the waterfall – there is a faint path left behind from other hikers, but it is steep and involves some scrambling along the rocks. The top of the waterfall means yet another river crossing – this one easier than the earlier crossing but care was required nonetheless. The views from this section were really fabulous – you could see down along the waterfall which was spectacular alongside the cliffs and rolling hills right out to the Irish Sea.
The trail continued up over the cliff before looping around, along the cliff top & following the fence back towards the carpark. There is no specific trail for this section so good navigation is a must.
Some take-aways from the hike:
Overall, I found this hike to be really nice – it’s not too long but yet provides great views and a variety of terrain. There were a significant number of sheep on the mountains so dogs are not recommended. I would only recommend on a clear day – there is no track and there are two river crossings alongside steep inclines & declines, so I think it could be quite difficult in fog or high winds.
For those seeking something a little less strenuous, there is the option to walk from the carpark down to the falls and back. This section of the trail would also be suitable for strollers so a great one for young kids!
Don’t miss these hidden gems:
- There’s a plunge pool for swimming near the top of the falls. We weren’t brave enough to jump in but there was a couple swimming there so it’s definitely doable! I’d imagine you’d have to be a pretty strong swimmer as the current from the waterfall would be pretty epic!
- For a great café stop-off, check out Crough Coffee, Mahon Bridge which is a short drive from the hike – hot chocolates & coffees to die for!
- The magic road is just around the corner from the falls & well worth a post-hike visit… stop on the road with the handbrake off, & your car will appear to roll backwards up the hill. Some say it’s an optical illusion, others say it’s the fairies at play… who knows?!