The Blackwater is one of Ireland’s largest rivers, second only to the mighty Shannon. It rises in the Mullaghareirk mountains of East Kerry, and flows eastwards for 169km – through counties Cork and Waterford – until it enters the sea at Youghal in East Cork. Here, near its source, it is hard to believe that the Blackwater could possibly ever become the wide and powerful river you see in Fermoy and further downriver. This loop is the shorter of two that start and finish near the source of the river.