Helvick Head

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The sandstone seacliffs along our southern coastline vary greatly in quality, and it is not unusual to find stretches of good and bad rock lying side-by-side, often separated from each other by only a meter or two.

The climbs described here are all on sound rock, mostly with good protection, but bear in mind that sea storms can sometimes alter or even demolish portions of the cliffs. This stretch of coast faces south, is sheltered from the cold northwest and west winds, and is a veritable suntrap, making climbing feasible at all times of year. However, the cliffs should be avoided during southerly winds and high tides.
Approach Leave the N25 south of Dungarvan and turn onto the R674, following signposts for An Rinn, Ceann Heilbhic. (Since the area was designated a Gaeltacht some years ago, all signposts are now as Gaelige) . After passing An Linn Buidhe cafe and supermarket on your left, continue for about 200m and take the turn on the right, at a small crossroads. Follow this narrow road to a carpark and viewing point at its highest point, as shown on sheet 82 of the OS Discovery series : GR X309 882.

<display_map>52.045373, -7.550666~Helvick Head car park</display_map>

The first area described, Gualainn a' Bheadarach is below and slightly east of the carpark and between it and the road there is a narrow strip of steep scrubland, covered in gorse and heather. Just east of the carpark there are two gates, side-by-side. Cross the left-hand gate and follow the fence for about 60m. Cross the fence and bear right to locate an old galvanised oil tank and follow a track cut through the gorse to reach a fence. Head down steeply through gorse, heather and rock towards a prominent yellow rock, resembling a squatting frog, sitting on top of the crag. About ten minutes from the carpark.

Gualainn a' Bheadarach.
The foot of the climbs on the Eastern and Central sections are reached from here by abseil or by scrambling down. From Frog Rock scramble down to the right (facing in), over grass and rock, then move down and back left (facing in) over ledges to the foot of the cliff. From here it is possible, from half to low tide, to scramble right (facing in)to reach the foot of all the climbs in the Eastern Section (about Diff), and to reach all the climbs in the Central Section by scrambling to the left.

The climbs are described from right to left when facing the rock.

Eastern Section

A wide slabby gully lies about 20m E of Frog Rock. The gully has a deep, wide crack between the easy-angled slab and a steep wall to its right. From the bottom right of the slab scramble around to the right, beneath the overhanging line of Rinn Stone Cowboy, to reach the foot of a narrow chimney/groove. This chimney (unclimbed) is at the eastern limit of the good rock in this area and the first route starts about 2m left of it, below a series of small overhangs.
Piercing Screams. VS4b.
Follow a weaving line up through the overhangs, with sparse protection.
G. Moss, P. Bartlett, M. Creedon. Feb, 2001

Rinn Stone Cowboy. HVS 5a
Start at the foot of the long, deep crack that separates the slab from the steep wall on its right. Climb up on to the overhanging face near its left side and move steeply right to a narrow ledge in the centre of the face, just right of a short overhanging crack. Step back left and climb the crack on good holds, continuing more easily to the top. Good protection.
G. Moss, M. Gray. 14/01/2001

Rinnstone1.jpg

Peter's Pence HS4b
Start as for R.S.C. Slant up left from the edge of the face, moving left to climb the slab right of the corner.
P. Brown, F. Power. Feb. 2001

Hell's Bells HS4c
Start 3m up left of R.S.C.below the obvious overhanging corner.Climb the crack, which is hard to start, but well protected.
G. Moss, K. Hutchinson, Feb. 2001

Note: The corner up left of Hell's Bells has been climbed, but is very loose and not recommended.

Happy as Barry V.Diff.
This route climbs the centre of the large slab to the left of the wide crack.
B. Browne, C. Murray. Feb 2001

Happy1.jpg


Surfing Psycho-Spark HS4b
This climb takes the right-facing corner with a squarecut overhang, just to the left of H.A.B.
P. Britton, M. Fitzgerald 13/10/2001

Flying Visit S.
Start below the right-facing corner, as for S.P.S. Move up the slab to the foot of the corner. Make a difficult move out left, over the short overhang, to gain the slab. Move diagonally left and climb the corner.
G. Moss, L. Convery Sept. 2004.

Well Done, Mr. McFly S.
Start near the left-hand end of a wide ledge, reached by traversing in left, from the start of Flying Visit. This ledge is above a short overhanging wall and below an undercut slab. Pull over the step and follow the slab to the top.
D. Cunningham, O. James, K. Raferty. Feb 2001

Mcfly1.jpg

Central Section

This section stretches from Mr. McFly to a deep inlet about 60m to the west (left).

Helvick.jpg

Old, Worn and Torn. HS
Start about 2m left of the start of Mr. McFly, at the foot of an arete. Climb the arete on good holds. Strenous moves through the overhang to gain the corner crack.
M. Gray, G. Moss 14/01/2001

Mussels S.
Start just to the right of the descent route, below a V notch in the short overhang. Awkward moves on good holds lead up through the notch. Continue straight up.
M. Gray, G. Moss. 14/01/2001

Pippin VS4b
There are two corners just left of the descent route. Pippin takes the right-hand corner, which has an overhang on either side at the bottom. Bridge up the steep corner, which is hard to start. Good protection.
D. Shiels, M. Creedon. 14/01/2001

Young, Free and Single. V. Diff.
This climb takes the slabby corner to the left of Pippin. Move up to an overhanging block at foot of corner. Move around to right and step back left onto block. Climb the corner.
M. Gray, G. Moss 14/01/2001

No Room at the Inn. VS4b
Start just left of Y.F.S., below a V notch in the bulging wall. Pull up through the notch on good fingerholds and step up right. Move up left and climb the edge of the wall, just left of a shallow crack.
G. Moss, N. McGreen 9/12/2001

Bilbo VS4c
Start about 4m left of No Room, and just right of a triangular overhang, 2m up. Climb thin crack to a ledge at 3m height. Move slightly right and continue to top. Steep at start, but good gear.
D. Shiels, M. Creedon. 14/01/2001.

Optical Illusion. VS4b
Start just left of the triangular overhang mentioned above, and right of a short, narrow corner at the top of the crag. Climb into a small niche and step left to a ledge. Move up to a small block ledge in the narrow corner and traverse steeply left for 2m to a sloping ramp. Climb straight up from here.
G. Moss, H. Hertzmann. 17/09/2005

Pre-Valentine M. Severe
Start about 5m Right of 'Chickie's Lament' and left of a R-facing corner and ramp above a horizontal ledge.
Climb diagonally R to reach the horizontal ledge. Gain the ramp and move up R to the base of the corner which is climbed to a block belay.
H. Herzmann, G. Moss, J. Reville, 13/02/2010

Chickie's Lament HS4b
Start at the R-hand end of the Central Section, just right of the mouth of the inlet.
Climb to the foot of the short impending wall, pull resolutely over this and continue to the top.
J. Reville, H. Herzmann, G. Moss, 13/02/2010.

Chickie.jpg

Chickie's Lament HS

Western Section

The next stretch of cliff is bounded on the right by a deep inlet, and on the left by a large cave. The foot of this section is reached by traversing carefully W (left facing in) from the Frog Rock until it is possible to scramble down over slabby rock, just before the big cave. This section is characterised by steep and overhanging rock, and there are some testing lines awaiting a first ascent.

Lord of the Rings HVS5a
Near the left end of this section there is a left-slanting corner, that starts half-way up the wall. The corner is split by a fist-wide crack. Climb steeply to the start of the crack and follow it to the top.
T. O'Neill, P. Brown 14.01/2001

Frodo HVS 5a
Start 2m left of corner at the left end of the wall. Climb steep thin crack and pockets to a small slanting ledge. Reach up left and layback ramp to gain ledge. Step up on to ramp then back right to top.
D. Shiels, M. Creedon, 14/01/2001

Sam V. Diff.
Easy climbing up big ledges at the end of the wall.
D. Shiels, M. Creedon, 14/01/2001