Helvick Head

From Irish Climbing Wiki

There are two separate climbing areas on Helvick Head, i.e. Helvick Head northeast and Helvick Head southeast, with different approaches to each.

Helvick Head northeast


Approach. Leave the N25 west of Dungarvan and follow the R674 to Cé Helbhic, Helvick Harbour. From the car park at the harbour walk back to a junction and turn onto the higher road. Walk past the  obelisk and row of cottages, turn right at the two story house and continue uphill to a T junction. Turn here and follow this lane to where it ends, with a wide, unlocked gate into a field on the right (5 min). Go up the steep hill keeping the furze on your left, to reach the summit and remains of a former lookout post. From here locate the start of a narrow path descending steeply through the furze towards a flat white rock (An Carraig Bán) at the top of the cliffs.  15 to 20 minutes.


The area is sheltered and sunny, offering all year round climbing but there is some seepage after heavy rain. The climbs are on a short stretch of sea cliffs sandwiched between two inlets. Both of these inlets are important nesting areas and must be avoided.

It is hoped that the topos will help in identifying the routes and all gradings should be regarded as provisional.

The climbs are described from to right (north) when facing the rock and the first routes are reached by traversing above the top of the climbs along steep grassy slopes, to a point above The Arch (An Droichead).


The foot of the first batch of climbs is gained by abseiling from a block just north of The Arch (An Droichead), or by scrambling across it and back climbing down slabs and a final steep section.

1 Tonn Clíodhna.  Diff. G. Moss. 14/7//21

 From a ledge on the side of the narrow inlet below the seaward face of An Droichead, climb a short, steep section and continue more easily up the slabs to a belay.


Rancás.  HV5a    P. Concannon. G. Moss,  9/8/21.
This route climbs the south side of the seaward face of An Droichead. Start just south of An Droichead, finishing up a short, narrow chimney.


3 Téada.  E1  S.Daly. G.Moss 23/9/21.
This climb takes the north edge of An Droichead, on the seaward face.

The following routes start at the pool:

Helvick Ballygarvan.jpg

The Helvick Thrust VS 12m
Takes a line 1m to the left of the sea arch corner, directly to the top. Good protection when needed.
Colm Peppard, Gerry Galligan 10 Aug 2021.

Lèse-Majesté S 12m
Takes the thin crack 2m to the left of the sea arch corner, directly to the top.
Gerry Galligan, Colm Peppard 10 Aug 2021.


 4  Ceól na Mara.  V. Diff P.C. G. Moss 9/8/21/21.
 Start from a ledge on the north side of the narrow inlet below the seaward face of An Droichead. Gain and climb the obvious sloping ramp running up just  north of An Droichead.

5   Amhrán na Farraige.  V.Diff  G. Moss 14/7/21.
Start as for Ceól na Mara. Climb diagonally right (north) to gain the crest of the arete, which is followed to the top.



Ildáthach.  Mild Severe  G. Moss 14/7/21/21
Start as for Ceól na Mara.  Climb diagonally right (north) to gain the arete and continue scrambling  north above the high tide mark for a few metres to the foot of a dark, narrow, stepped slab which  is streaked with white quartzite.  Climb the slab to the top    


Simléar Cam. V. Diff. G. Moss 14/7/21
Start as for Ceól na Mara. Climb diagonally right (north) to gain the crest of the arete. Scramble north above the high tide mark, passing Ildáthach, to the foot of an easy angled chimney slanting up right on its lower section and bending on the upper half. Climb the chimney.


8 Clúid.  HVS  S. Daly, G. Moss 24/8/21
Start as for Ceól na Mara.. Scramble north above the high water mark, passing Ildáthach to the foot of a narrow, steep facing chimney, which is often damp in the lower section. Climb the chimney.


The next 4 climbs are just of an area of red sandstone and the foot of the climbs is reached by abseiling or scrambling down from a point halfway between An Carraig Bán and An Droichead. (see topo).

9 GG2.  VS4b. G. Galligan. G. Moss 26/9/20
Climb the wide, vertical crack.

10  GG1.  HS4a/b  G. Galligan. G. Moss 26/9/20
Start almost 2m right (north) of GG2 and climb directly to the top.

11.Taoide Lán. M. Severe G. Moss G.Galligan, 26/9/20
This climb follows a line 4m right (north) of GG2.


12 Tús  Maith.  Diff G. Moss, G.Galligan, 26/9/20
Start just right (north) of Taoide Lán at the foot of a short corner. Climb the corner and the slab above tending right.

The foot of the next batch of climbs is reached by scrambling or abseiling  down an easy-angled slab (Bealach Éasca) a few metres. of An Carraig Bán.  From the foot of the slab scramble around south on ledges to a point 4m of the corner.  (see topo).


13 Tar Éis an tSnámh.  V. Diff. J. Duignan.  A. O’Reilly.  22/6/2021
Climb over ledges to the top.

14 Cuairt an tÚachtaráin.   Diff.  A. O’Reilly, J. Duignan  22/6/2021
This route takes a line just over 1m south of the corner crack.

15 Lag Mara.  HS.  G. Moss 13/8/21
Climb the corner crack.

16 Húrla Hárla.  VS4b  G. Moss 13/8/21
Start 4m down from the corner, on a narrow ledge above the high water mark, below the steep wall.. Climb  diagonally then straight up the wall..

17 Bealach Éascha Diff.  B. Denton, G. Moss 22/6/21
The easy-angled slab mentioned above.


18 An Mhaighdean Mhara E1 5b S. Daly, G. Moss 22/6/21
 Start at the bottom right of the easy-angled slab. Climb the steep wall difficulties increasing with height.


19  An Bhearna Bhaoil   HVS 5a  S. Daly, G. Moss 24/9/21
Start from the bottom right of the easy-angled slab. Traverse right (north) through the gap to the foot of the pinnacle. Climb the pinnacle and, from the top, step across onto the face and finish up this.

The next two climbs are on the buttress below and north of An Carraig Bán. Access is by abseil, so be sure you can climb at a minimum of 4a before descending.

20   Éalú.   HVS 5a  S. Daly,  G. Moss 24/9/21
This climb follows a line up the south side of the face.

21  Príosúnaigh.  H4a   S. Daly, G. Moss 24/9/21
This climb follows a line up the right (north) side of the face.

Helvick Head southwest

Approach: Leave the N25 south of Dungarvan and turn onto the R674, following signposts for An Rinn, Cé Heilbhic. . After passing An Linn Buidhe café 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)

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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 furze 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 furze to reach a fence. Head down steeply through furze, heather and rock towards a prominent yellow rock, resembling a squatting frog, sitting on top of the crag. About ten minutes from the carpark.
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.

Gualainn a' Bheadarach 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. HV5a
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


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

north ote: 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


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


Gualainn a' Bheadarach Central Section

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


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

north o 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, north . McGreen 9/12/2001

Bilbo VS4c
Start about 4m left of north o 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 right to reach the horizontal ledge. Gain the ramp and move up right 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's Lament HS

Gualainn a' Bheadarach 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
north ear 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'north eill, P. Brown 14.01/2001

Frodo HV5a
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