It’s amazing how you can visit somewhere nearly every single day when you’re a teenager or a child but as you become an adult and move away from the area, you’re lucky if you can get back to that same spot even once every two years.
You don’t really respect the beauty of this place as a teenager, I didn’t anyway. It was just a place we used to go to because there was nothing else to do.
We were too young to go out and drink (legally) we were too young to drive, we were too young to do anything other than laze about.
And this was one of the spots where the lazing about occurred the most.
I had a lot of ‘firsts’ here: first kiss, first can, first time driving a car that I shouldn’t have been driving (all of these did not happen on the same nights, may I add).
But for the many nights we spent here under the stars, talking absolute brown, setting off fireworks and just shutting off from everyone else who wasn’t in the spot (it has no coverage which was ideal for when you wanted to just go into incognito mode), we never discussed the sheer incredible features that this place has to offer.
…It probably didn’t help that we went there mostly at night time, suppose.
Then, one day I opened up my eyes and saw it for what it really is.
“The Tourmakeady Waterfall is so beautiful and romantic, I just had to propose here.”
That’s what my brother-in-law told me when he asked my sister to marry him in late 2015.
The Waterfall was one of the first places they went to on his first ever visit to the home-house in Mayo and from that day onwards, he knew it would be the place where he’d pop the question to her.
Because whether it was rain, hail, snow or shine, the scene was always going to be set here; so all he needed really was the ring to seal the deal.
Once you enter the gates of the woods, the trees either side of the road protect you and trap you in.
So, your only choice is to follow the road that brings you to the car park and this path is where the beauty begins.
A small little unknown fact makes these trees even more romantic. My parents informed me that when Coillte were sewing some of the new trees at the front of the wood, they were asked to make a contribution.
The handover could be big or small but if you did donate, the people’s initials would be carved in the tree that they ‘helped’ plant.
Of course, my parents were given directions to their tree but lost the piece of paper that it was on.
And as much as I like this place, I don’t fancy searching hundreds of thousands of trees to find that little treasure.
As you make your way to the car park area, you pass a house on the right-hand side. No matter what time we passed the house, there was always no light or action inside despite the fact that a boat and a car lay idle across the road from the house, giving the indication that someone was always there.
The car park area is circular. There’s two different exits. The one with the yellow barrier leads you to the waterfall, you cannot access it with your car.
The other, leads you to a back-road out of the woods – a handy route to know if you ever wanted to lose someone in a hurry.
The bright yellow barrier is always going to catch your curiosity though, even if you don’t know about the beauty that lies at the end.
It almost looks like it doesn’t want you to enter as it covers the whole entry but a little opening on the left-hand side invites you to hop over to see what’s on the other side.
The nature walk leading up to the waterfall is just breathtaking. It’s littered with trees, flowers and the gushing water of the Glensaul River.
About midway through the walk, you’ll stumble across the pièce de résistance.
There’s something so mesmerizing about it. You could honestly just stay looking at it for hours as the water falls down venomously from top to bottom before it floats by you as lazily as possible.
The nearest viewing point for the waterfall gets you close but there are little stones and pebbles that can bring you even closer to it.
It’s not easy though. Much like when Michael Jackson walks on the pavement blocks in Billie Jean and they light up one-by-one, you have to choose the correct stones to step on, otherwise you’ll end up getting soaked.
There’s also certain spots where you can get a serious panoramic view of the waterfall from up high.
This video below sums this place’s beauty up more than my words ever could…
It’s famous among those in nearby areas. So famous, in fact, that the annual magazine that documents all the year’s sport, news, births, deaths, marriages etc in the area is named after it; simply called ‘Waterfall Magazine’, and each year it has an even more stunning picture on the front than the last.
The nature walk in the woods is about 2.5kms in total and will take you roughly around one hour minimum but depending on how long you spend admiring your surroundings, you could be there for a while longer.
Picnic tables are also nearby and it’s highly recommended that you bring some snacks for the journey. All that walking will make you hungry.
It’s also known as ‘The People’s Millennium Forests’. Luckily, that means you and I can access this piece of magic at any time, day or night, 365.
It’s no wonder people choose to get their wedding pictures taken here. It’s no wonder locals walk it almost once if not twice a week.
It’s no wonder tourists fall head over heels for it. It’s no wonder teenagers with nothing better to do hang out here.
But most of all, it’s no wonder you’d end up deciding to propose here because it is just so beautiful and romantic.