Scenic South West Ireland Tour (6 Night)

Day 1: Shannon to Kinsale

Although a relatively short journey, the trip from Shannon to Kinsale holds a wealth of touring opportunity. First on your tour route is the magnificent Bunratty Castle & Folk Park where the acclaimed 15th century castle vividly captures the mood of this time through authentic and restored furnishings, tapestries and other works of Art. The adjacent Folk Village details life of a later time through re-built cottages and a 19th century town reconstruction; buildings you will find here include the doctors house, a hardware shop, a school and of course the local pub! Continue through the lush farmlands of County Limerick into County Cork, passing through the small villages of Croom and Charleville and across the Blackwater Valley market town of Mallow. Just north of Cork City you come to the town of Blarney where you will have the opportunity to visit the renowned Blarney Castle. Blarney Castle and its ‘Stone of Eloquence’ have been attracting visitors for centuries. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone you will have as the Irish put it, ‘The Gift of The Gab’.  En route to Kinsale you might decide to visit the ‘People’s Republic of Cork’ as it is proudly called locally. This city has many notable attractions including Shandon Church otherwise known as the ‘Four Faced Liar’ because the time differs slightly on each face, The English Market which has been in existence since 1788 and was visited by the Queen of England in 2010 and Cork City Gaol which was built in 1824 and once housed 19th century prisoners. Shortly after this you will arrive in Kinsale which is one of the most picturesque harbour towns of the South West Coast. 

Day 2: Kinsale & Surrounds

Kinsale is a delightful harbour town that has retained its old world charm and character despite being well developed from a tourism point of view.  It has a beautiful waterside location and local facilities including a yacht marina and numerous historic buildings such as Desmond Castle and Market House. Kinsale prides itself to be the gourmet capital of Ireland, boasting abundant superb restaurants and atmospheric traditional pubs. A great deal of your vacation time could indeed be spent in Kinsale itself but if you wish to venture out further afield, your Irish Tourism tailor-made itinerary will help you do just that!  Nearby towns include the harbour town of Cobh, formally known as Queenstown which was the final port of call for millions of Irish immigrants leaving for a better life in the United States and Canada. The town was also the last departure point for the Titanic and its ill-fated crew and passengers in 1912. Two museums pay tribute to this event; The Titanic Experience and Cobh Heritage Centre.  A spot of whiskey tasting and a fascinating tour of a restored whiskey distillery could be had at the nearby Jameson Old Midleton Distillery.

Day 3: Kinsale to Kerry

The best route to travel to Kerry from Kinsale is via Cork’s striking west coast. Pass through the charming town of Timoleague where you might pay a visit to its fascinating Franciscan Abbey, visit Clonakilty which was founded by Richard Boyle the Great Earl of Cork in 1588 or the nearby serene sandy beaches of Inchydoney. Further onward you will come to the town of Skibberreen where a visit to the Heritage Centre will educate you on the harsh conditions faced by the Irish people during the ‘Great Hunger’ of the 1800’s.  Take the short drive to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southerly point, before continuing to Bantry where Bantry House & Gardens are well worth a visit. Before entering Kerry through the quirky town of Kenmare you might wish to explore the Beara Peninsula with the aid of your Irish Tourism detailed itinerary. Characterised by rugged coastline, scenic lakes and rocky mountainous landscape, a driving tour on the beautiful Beara Peninsula will not disappoint you!  Kenmare is magnificently situated at the point where the River Roughty opens into the estuary of the Kenmare River, ideally situated on the Iveragh peninsula, Kenmare is the perfect base to begin your Ring of Kerry exploration! 

Day 4: While in Kerry

A host of touring opportunities in the county referred to by its locals as ‘The Kingdom of Kerry’, the Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry driving tours can be considered foremost. The Dingle Peninsula has a fine collection of historic sites and varied mountainous scenery that will make your vacation truly memorable. The main town of Dingle with its colourful shop-fronts and traditional bars and restaurants has been attracting large numbers of visitors for hundreds of years, many of whom come to learn the Irish language which is spoken naturally in the area. The town is home to a number of notable festivals including the ‘Dingle Food Fest’ in October and ‘Féile Na Bealtaine’ arts festival in May. The Ring of Kerry on the other hand is a stunning driving tour around the Iveragh peninsula, covering 179 Kilometres of scenic coastal scenery.  For those weary travellers who are tired of driving we can arrange a coach tour for you on this route. Some popular stops on the peninsula include Killorglin which is famous for ‘Puck Fair’; one of Ireland’s oldest and most unique festivals that revolves around the capture and crowing of a wild goat as ‘King Puck’! Spectacularly located between the rough Atlantic Ocean and the fresh-water lake of Lough Currane, Waterville will delight you. Take a walk through the traditional market town of Cahersiveen with its traditional shop fronts and Valentia Island where views from the top of Geokaun Mountain will impress you. As a substitute to the Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula day trips you may prefer a wonderful tour by traditional horse and carriage that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After a bite to eat at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat on the beautiful lakes of Killarney.

Day 5: Kerry to Clare

The most direct route to Clare from Kerry will take you by the picturesque town of Adare. Sitting prettily by the river Maigue, Adare has had a varied and interesting history and has been subject to many conquests, wars and rebellions which have each have left their mark. A legacy of interesting historic monuments has been left behind including the pretty thatched cottages that line the main street, Desmond Castle which has been in existence since the 13th century, and the Franciscan Friary which Franciscan which was founded in 1464 by Thomas, the 7th Earl of Kildare, for the "Franciscan Friars of the Strict Observance". After you have soaked up the atmosphere in Adare you can then travel onward to Clare where your next  stop will undoubtedly be the 214M high magnificent Cliffs of Moher, a famous Icon of Ireland,  the cliffs stand proudly with views over the in Connemara, the Aran Islands, Galway Bay as well as the Twelve Pin and Maum Turk Mountains. Not far from the cliffs, the town of Doolin may be found. Doolin is famed for its traditional Irish music scene and you are sure to find an Irish music session in any one of its great pubs. 

 

Day 6: While in Clare

The Burren Centre in Kilfenora may be on your visit list here you will learn about the creation of the unique rocky and karst landscape that covers the area and see how thousands of years ago man left his mark in the form of Dolmens and burial chambers. Should you wish to visit one of these monuments; the Poulnabrone Dolmen can easily be found nearby.  One of Ireland’s most iconic and famous monuments, the Dolmen covers a mass grave which when excavated the remains of 16-22 adults were found as well as some stone axes and pottery. Just beyond the Poulnabrone Dolmen are Aillwee Caves. Regarded by many as Ireland’s premier show caves, this stunning creation of nature was formed by the melt waters of a prehistoric ice age. The caves, carved out of limestone, cut into the heart of the mountain can be explored by guided tour from the visitor centre. The remarkable unspoilt Aran Islands are easily reached from the adjacent town of Doolin by Ferry.  The largest island is Inishmore, followed by Inishmaan and the smallest and most eastern is called Inisheer. Irish is a spoken language, and traditional Irish ways of life can easily be seen on all three islands. Whichever island you choose to visit, you can be sure that an intimate touring coach will await you at the ferry terminal to show you all the local sights, sounds and traditions.