Discovering The Secrets Of The Blackwater With Blackwater Eco Tours

September 1, 2021by Fiona O'Donnell


If you don’t know this about me already, I love the outdoors. I am always searching for new ways to explore this wonderful island and our trip on the Blackwater river did not disappoint. This weekend, we had the best adventure in County Waterford. I had been contacted by Blackwater Eco Tours who invited me to come and stay for a night and enjoy some time on the water in return for a review of my experience. Of course I jumped at the chance and I am so glad I did.

Pods at the blackwater eco tours
Pods at Blackwater Eco Tours

Where Is Villierstown?

Villierstown is in Co. Waterford just a short trip from Castlemartyr and sits on the edge of the Blackwater river. Cappoquin is only 5 minutes up the road at the foot of the Knockmealdown mountains. The Pods are situated in the village next to the local pub only 5 minutes walk from the pier. Security is great as the pods can only be accessed via a gate with fob opening.

Eco Pods Access Next to the Pub
Eco Pods Access


In the pod, there is a cosy double bed with very comfy pillows and a duvet. There is also a couch that pulls out to make a double bed. Extra duvets and pillows are stored in the box under the couch seat. There is a shower/toilet cubicle in each pod. Be aware, these pods are eco friendly and only store about 5 minutes of hot water. It takes approx 15 minutes for the hot water store to replenish so be conscious of this if you want to wash your hair.

Snuggles on the couch
Couch Snuggles
Pods at the blackwater eco pods
Drinking coffee in the sun

There is a microwave, fridge, sink and a barrel BBQ outside. There is also enough cutlery and crockery for four people. The only downside is that storage space is very short so if you are staying for a long weekend, pack light!

Blackwater River Eco Tour

Heading down to the water
Heading down to the water

This was so much fun. We went out on the water with Eugene who was an absolute fountain of knowledge. After we got fitted for life jackets, we went down to the pier to jump on board. The boat was a longboat. Initially, as we climbed on board, it felt wobbly but soon settled once we were all seated.

The water was flat calm
The Water Was Flat Calm
Gatehouse at Dromana House
Gatehouse at Dromana House

Eugene was also an absolute wealth of knowledge when it came to the history of all the buildings and even the fields along the Blackwater river. He was able to tell us why certain trees were planted, why walls were cleared and who lived where and at what time. If only all history teachers taught like this ……

Boat Shed At dromana House
Boat Block at Dromana House

Flora & Fauna Of The Blackwater River

We learned about all the nesting birds on the Blackwater and watched flashes of blue along the rivers edge as kingfishers darted past. We saw herons take off across the water, dipping the tips of their massive wings as they sailed centimeters from the surface. Eugene let Robert take the wheel and began to describe the dangers and threats to local wildlife. Birds of prey are often shot down or poisoned. It upsets me to think that this practice is still continuing.

taking the helm
Taking the helm

Rather than just talking, Eugene would engage with the children, giving them facts about the local trees and animals and then asking them questions. It was a real learning experience for all of us.

Boating on the blackwater
Alahna takes the wheel

He even explained about taking off slowly, details of the engine and why stopping gradually was important. Eugene also described how the boat took time to change direction after the wheel was turned. He also showed the children how to steer and aim for items far in the distance to keep the boat on track.

Heading For Home

Finally, it was time to head for home. I would definitely recommend bringing a blanket for your legs and perhaps an extra jacket. It can get cold on the river and the extra layers will be so worth it.

navigating the Blackwater
Sailing Home – Left to his own devices

We were so cold when we got in off the Blackwater so we turned on the heaters in the pods. These heated up in no time and we were soon toasty and eating dinner. In the morning, we had a beautiful breakfast in the sunshine.

Breakfast in the Sun
Breakfast in the Sun
one last look at the river
Morning on the River

Overall, we had a wonderful stay and the kids are so eager to come back and do it all again. I am planning a cycle trip with my buddies. Our plan is to cycle to the pods, BBQ and cycle home the following day. The hills of the Knockmealdown will provide a wonderful playground for hill training.

We left just after check out time at 11am and started on the short journey home. We really didn’t want to bring our weekend to an end so stopped off at the Carewswood Garden Centre and Cafe. I wrote a review of it here if you think you might like to visit.

Sun setting on the Blackwater
Sun Setting on the Blackwater

Thanks so much folks for a wonderful opportunity and such a beautiful adventure with the family. This trip got a gold star and I would highly recommend it to anyone with kids (or for a grown ups getaway for a night).

Fi x

Fiona O'Donnell