The Celtic Routes counties are dotted by a number of beautiful falls, both big and small. From the enchanting and gently cascading waterfalls that tumble down the valley from the spectacular glacial lake of Llyn y Fan Fach, to the impressive force of nature that is Cenarth Falls, which roars when the river is in full flood. There’s a reason this part of the world is known as waterfall country.
On the borders of three counties – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – is the charming village of Cenarth. Its main attraction since Victorian times is the cascade of waterfalls on the River Teifi. In autumn, visitors come from far and wide to watch the fascinating spectacle of leaping salmon. This natural phenomenon sees migrating salmon fighting to clear the falls and reach upstream to spawn. Cenarth is also one of the few places left in Britain where coracles are still used. Fishermen use these small round-bottomed boats, made of woven willow or ash and covered with a waterproof material, to drift down the river and catch salmon and sewin.
You’ll find the enchanting glacial lake of Llyn y Fan Fach at the western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The lake is associated with the 14th-century legend of the ‘Lady of the Lake’. In this tale, a young farmer marries a beautiful woman who has emerged from the lake, with a promise that he would not strike her 3 times. Having been struck by him 3 times (though never in anger), she duly returns to the lake. She returns briefly to instruct her sons, who go on to become doctors, known today as the ‘Physicians of Myddfai’.
Below the hills lies the picturesque market town of Llandovery. It’s home to a 5-metre high stainless-steel statue of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan. Known as the ‘Welsh Braveheart’, he was executed here by Henry IV as punishment for his support of Owain Glyndŵr.
Three separate bridges span the 90m waterfalls of the River Mynach – one built on top of the other between the 11th and 19th centuries. According to the legend, the original bridge was built by the Devil himself as it was too difficult a task for mortals. He agreed to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first being to cross the bridge. However, he was outwitted by a canny old woman and banished from the country forever.
The river Saith cascades over the cliffs onto the beach below – perfect for a fresh water shower after a swim!
On the high plateau of the Cambrian Mountains, near the remote Teifi Pools, one of Ceredigion's secret waterfalls cascades into a tranquil pool, where, legend has it, a giant used to wash his hands.
Spectacular at any time of the year, Mahon Falls is especially impressive after heavy rains, when water can be seen cascading with immense force down the steep rock face to the pools several hundred feet below. In the depths of winter, following severe frosts and snow, the Falls occasionally freeze over completely and ice climbers can be seen making the most of this phenomenon.
Set at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains, Powerscourt Waterfall is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft) and is located 5km from Powerscourt Estate and Gardens.
As you drive from the gate lodge towards the waterfall you are surrounded by Beech, Oak, Larch and Pine trees, some of which were planted over 200 years ago. Look out for the Giant Redwoods, which are native to Northern California and grow up to 80m high.
The Glenmacnass River follows the Old Military road from Sally Gap to Laragh and Glendalough. The Glenmacnass Waterfall is a stunning scenic location and a popular photo stop for visitors touring along the uplands of the Wicklow Hills.