3 Centre Tour of Ireland (10 Night)

Detailed Itinerary for the 10 Night 3 Centre Self Drive/Chauffeured Tour of Ireland

In order to give you an idea of the detail that we at IrishTourism.com place in our itineraries, below is the first 5 pages of the 37 page detailed itinerary that we have painstakingly put together for this 3 Centre tour. Regardless of the depth of information that is contained within these itineraries, your dedicated agent is always a quick phone call or e-mail away should you require assistance in any way, whether it be before your arrival in Ireland or during your time here.


  • Kilkenny for 3 Nights
  • Kerry for 4 Nights
  • Dublin/Galway for 3 Nights

Possible Day trips and sightseeing opportunities using Kilkenny as a base are;

Side Trip from Kilkenny to Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary

Travelling to Cashel via the N77 & N8 will take in the region of just over an hour. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. The Rock, which rears above the plain, dominated the land routes southwards. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Brian Boru was also crowned King of Ireland on this spot in the early 11th Century. King Cormac built his superb Royal Chapel in the 12th century. Visit Cashel town to experience and understand the historical relationship between the Rock and the town. Turn the key to the rich heritage in Cashel such as the archaeology, fine architecture, fascinating history and folklore of this remarkable town.

Adjoining the Rock of Cashel, you will find the Brú Ború Cultural Centre. This facility incorporates a folk theatre, restaurant, craft centre, information centre and genealogy suite. Traditional Irish music, song and dance are provided for visitors to the centre by world famous, resident Bru Boru Group of Irish musicians and artists during the summer season. Their latest additional facility is the dramatic and thought provoking underground theatre and exhibition which relays the story of Irish song and dance.

From Cashel, travel south on the N8 for about 10 miles to the small town of Cahir. Cahir Castl, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. Situated on a rocky island on the River Suir, the Castle’s attractions include an excellent audio-visual show, which informs visitors of all the main sites of the area. There are also several exhibitions and guided tours available.

From Cahir, take the N24 to Waterford. When you reach Waterford, take the N25 in the direction of Cork and you will soon see the Waterford Crystal Factory on your right as you reach the outskirts of Waterford City. Although it seems that every tourist that visits Ireland eventually ends up here at some stage, it really is a worthwhile excursion to tour the factory that creates the world’s most famous cut glass.

Waterford Crystal has a long tradition of extending a warm welcome to tourists from all over the world. Visitors are guided through the actual production areas, where the world famous crystal is made. The tour gives you an opportunity to witness how the crystal is produced, from molten crystal through to finished masterpieces. The Gallery is home to the world’s largest display of Waterford Crystal and in addition, you can see beautiful displays of Wedgwood, Rosenthal, Stuart Crystal, John Rocha at Waterford and Marquis by Waterford.

You will also find a Craft & Jewelery gift store, an elegant restaurant, a Tourist Information Office and a Bureau de Change to help you further plan your holiday. The last tour each day will depart strictly at 4.15pm during the summer opening hours and 3.15 in the winter opening hours. Closed St Patrick's Day.

Lismore Castle & Gardens - Prince John built the original castle in 1185. The Estate was granted for a time to Walter Raleigh for a rent of £12 per annum. He sold the property to Richard Boyle, later 1st Earl of Cork, who rebuilt the castle, parts of which are incorporated in the present castle built in the mid-19th century by the 6th Duke of Devonshire. The gardens are set in seven acres within the 17th century outer defensive walls and have spectacular views of the castle. The gardens are believed to be the oldest in Ireland retaining much of their original Jacobean form. A recently planted herbaceous border aligned on the Cathedral's spire gives an impressive show of colour throughout the summer months.

There is also a fine selection of magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and a remarkable yew walk where Edmund Spenser is said to have written the "Faerie Queen". In 1998 several pieces of contemporary sculpture were installed in the garden. The two gardens are delightfully linked by the staircase to the Riding House built in 1631. Lismore is the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire.

The Upper and Lower gardens are connected by a staircase in the Riding House. Public disabled lavatories are nearby but not on the premises. The new entrance will give wheelchair access to points of the Upper Garden and to the Gallery only. The gallery has toilet facilities for the disabled. Currently only the lower garden is accessible to wheelchair users unless by prior appointment.

Take the R700 from Kilkenny to the town of New Ross – a journey of about 27 miles. From New Ross, take the N25 to Wexford. Just before you reach Wexford, you will see signs for the Irish National Heritage Park on the N11. The Park, which is one of the country’s top attractions, features replications of Irish homesteads, burial and worship sites, and takes the visitor on tour through 9,000 years of Irish history.

From Wexford, travel on the R733 through Wellington Bridge. Just west of the town on the R733 is a roadside stop on the left by a cemetery; from here you can look across Bannow Bay to the ruins of Clonmines, a Norman village established in the 13th century. This is one of the finest examples of a walled medieval settlement in Ireland, with remains of two churches, three tower houses, and an Augustinian priory. You can drive to the ruins - just follow the R733 another mile west to a left turn posted for the Coastal Pathway, and continue straight on this road where the Coastal Pathway turns right. The ruins are on private land, so you should ask permission at the farmhouse at the end of the road.

Continuing west on the R733, turn left onto the R734 at the sign for the Ring of Hook, and turn right at the sign for Tintern Abbey . The abbey was founded by the monks of Tintern in South Wales in the 13th century, and it has been much altered. The grounds are beautiful and contain a restored stone bridge that spans a narrow sea inlet.

Named after Tintern in Wales. The remains consist of nave, chancel, towe, chapel and cloister. It was partly converted into living quarters after 1541, and further adapted over the centuries. The Abbey was occupied by the Colclough family from the 16th Century until 1960’s

At Baginbun Head is a fine beach nestled against the cliffs, from which you can see the outline of the Norman earthwork fortifications on the head. Here the Norman presence in Ireland was first established with the victory of Norman forces over the Irish at the Battle of Baginbun.

At the tip of the peninsula is Hook Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is a unique example of an almost intact medieval lighthouse. It dates from the early 13th century and was a major feat at the time of its construction. Purpose built as a lighthouse, it has served sailors and shipping for 800 years, apart from a short closure during the 17th century. It is thought to be one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. When the Tower of Hook became fully automated in 1996 and no longer needed resident keepers, it was decided to celebrate its uniqueness by opening it to the public as a heritage centre.

The Ring of Hook road returns along the western side of the peninsula, passing the beaches at Booley Bay and Dollar Bay. On a promontory overlooking the town of Duncannon is a fort built in 1588 to protect Waterford Harbour from the threat of attack by the Spanish Armada. Just north of Duncannon, along the coast, is the village of Ballyhack, where a ferry operates to Passage East in county Waterford.

Guided tours are available on Sundays only from November to February, last guided tour 4.00 pm

A visit to the Hook Peninsula wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Dunbrody Abbey, in a field beside the road about 4ml (6.5km) north of Duncannon. The abbey, founded in 1170, is a magnificent ruin and one of the largest Cistercian abbeys in Ireland. Despite its grand size, it bears remarkably little ornamentation. Tours are sometimes available; inquire at the visitor’s centre across the road.

Welcome to Dunbrody Abbey, founded in 1170, one of the finest examples of a Cistercian Monastery in Ireland. Attractions include the Abbey, the Maze with Pitch & Putt, Craft Shop and Tea Room. Dunbrody Abbey was founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow, by Herve de Montmorency (his uncle), after the Norman invasion of Ireland. It was completed circa 1220, but additions may have continued for some time. Herve de Montmorency made a grant of the lands to the monks of Bildewas in Shropshire (England), on condition that they should build the Abbey, for some monks of the Cistercian, or White Order (they wore white robes), and upon condition that there should be a Sanctuary in the Abbey for all malefactors.

The remaining details of this itinerary are included with your booking.

Dublin to Kilkenny

Estimated driving time if driving directly to Kilkenny is about 90+ minutes and if you are taking the side trip to Kildare as outlined it would be about 2 hours.

En-Route to Kilkenny you might like to stop in the town of Kildare to visit the National Stud and Japanese Gardens. The National Stud comprises of three separate attractions. The 1,000 acre Farm at Tully has been in use as a Stud Farm since 1900 when it was owned by Col. William Hall-Walker. It is home to some of Ireland's finest thoroughbreds. There's a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland using artifacts, illustrations and text and the skeleton of the legendary steeplechaser 'Arkle'. In fact the winner of the 2003 Californian ‘Breeders Cup Mile’ race is a National Stud horse, the 3rd in the last 9 years.

The Japanese Gardens are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and1910. They are planned to symbolise the 'Life of Man' from the cradle to the grave. St. Fiachra's Garden was designed as a Millennium project and has 2.5 hectares (4 acres) of Woodland & Lakeside walks.

From here take the N9 directly into Kilkenny. If travelling directly to Kilkenny take the N7, the M7, the M9 and then the N9 south before branching off at Whitehall onto the N10.


Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. Kilkenny, from the Gaelic "Cill Ceannaigh", derives its name from a 6th century monk called Saint Canice. Characterised by beautifully restored old buildings and covered slipways, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of fascinating, historical buildings, and contemporary shops, design galleries, cafés and restaurants. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding counties.

The great building prowess of the Normans is very evident in the 11th and 12th century structures they bestowed on the city. Not alone in the large “set piece” buildings, such as St. Canice’s Cathedral, the imposing Butler castle, the four surviving medieval abbeys, but also the linear streetscape, especially the attractive, covered stepped slipways. The 17th century was a time of great social and political turmoil for Kilkenny. It was the seat of the national parliament for a six-year period, the infamous Oliver Cromwell invaded the city in 1650 and Kilkenny College (another superb building in John Street, now serving as County Hall) was attended by such luminaries as Jonathan Swift and George Berkeley. This may mark the beginning of the lively cultural and intellectual movement that still thrives there. As well as Kilkenny Castle other attractions in Kilkenny itself and its environs include; Saint Canice's Cathedral (Anglican), the second longest of Ireland's medieval cathedrals, provides a seminal influence on Kilkenny life. Built on the site of an earlier church, which in turn replaced an earlier timber structure, the major portion of the work that produced the beautiful Gothic structure was carried out by Bishop Hugh de Mapilton in the middle of the 13th Century. Except for the spire, which collapsed in 1332, the present building is largely unchanged from the 13th century.

Features of the cathedral include the fine collection of 16th and 17th century tombstones; black marble monuments to lords, ladies and bishops, and to Edmund Purcell, 16th century captain of the Ormond's notorious gallowglasses, or mercenaries; the 12th century font and St. Kieran's chair, built into the cathedral walls and still used in the enthronement of the Bishops of Ossory; the Bishop's Palace and library, founded in 1679 and containing 3,000 works from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the Red Book of Ossory, a 15th century manuscript which chronicles the lives of early saints.

Cityscope, a scale model of the city as it was in 1640, is on view in the south aisle. Also on view are rich carvings worked in both, timber and stone, some dating to the 13th century, colourful stained glass, and everywhere the authentic air of a structure that has served the community for over 800 years.

Outside, the 9th century round tower, once used by the monks for refuge, may be climbed (weather permitting). Available from mid-March to October, it is well worth taking one of the walking tours of this compact city to fully appreciate the history of the area.