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The first 5 nights will be spent in the south eastern counties of Wicklow, Wexford & Waterford where you will have the opportunity to visit attractions such as the monastic settlement at Glendalough and Powerscourt Gardens in Wicklow, the Dunbrody Famine Ship and The Kennedy Homestead in Wexford and the Waterford Crystal Factory and Lismore Gardens in Waterford.
In Cork and Kerry where you will be able to Kiss the Blarney Stone and visit attractions such as the Cobh Heritage Centre, the Midleton Jameson Distillery, the Ring of Kerry and of course the beautiful Dingle Peninsula. From here you will be travelling north along the west coast of Ireland including visits to the Cliffs of Moher and Burren region in County Clare.
By day, enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes of Ireland. By night rest your weary bones by a roaring turf fire, accompanied by superb traditional Irish music in one of a myriad of welcoming pubs.
Upon collection of your rental car, you will be traveling south through County Wicklow, also known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’. First stop will be Powerscourt House & Gardens. Surrounding this 18th Century Palladian House in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, you will find a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statuary and ornamental lakes together with secret hollows, rambling walks and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. Shortly after this, you will arrive at the ancient monastic settlement at Glendalough. Glendalough “the glen of the two lakes” is a truly spellbinding place - an ancient monastic settlement and two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep valley, which was carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age. The monastic settlement has been a centre for pilgrims and visitors since its foundation by St. Kevin in the 6th century. From here, follow the signs for Avondale House. Built in 1779 Avondale House is set in the spectacular surroundings of Avondale Forest Park, now a museum to the memory of one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history, Charles Stewart Parnell, who was born in Avondale on 27th June, 1846. Continue on to Avoca where you will find the Avoca Handweavers factory, famed worldwide for the quality of its woven fabrics. As well as visiting its shop, you will be able to take a tour of the factory in this most picturesque of villages. The village was also the setting for the top television series “Ballykissangel”.
While in Wicklow, you may wish to take a day trip to the city of Kilkenny. Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. Characterized by beautifully restored old buildings, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of fascinating, historical buildings. Kilkenny Castle is a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Also in Kilkenny is Saint Canice's Cathedral, the second longest of Ireland's medieval cathedrals. Built on the site of an earlier church, the major portion of the work that produced the beautiful Gothic structure was carried out in the middle of the 13th Century. Also well worth a visit is the Smithwick’s Brewery Tour in the centre of the city as well as the Medieval Mile.
Leaving Arklow, travel to Enniscorthy in the neighboring county of Wexford. Enniscorthy is an old Norman settlement and is situated on the banks of the River Slaney overlooked by the old 1798 battle site of Vinegar Hill. Dominating the town is the Norman Castle which was completed in 1205 and now houses the County Wexford Folk Museum. The museum gives special emphasis to the part played by the local community in the battles fought against English Rule. From Enniscorthy, head to Wexford Town. This coastal region is rich in heritage sites, tranquil villages, breathtaking scenery and warm hospitality. First stop on this journey would be at the Irish National Heritage Park. The Park features replications of Irish homesteads, burial and worship sites, and takes the visitor on tour through 9,000 years of Irish history. From Wexford town travel on through Wellington Bridge from where 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.
Today visit Tintern Abbey. The abbey was founded by the monks of Tintern in South Wales in the 13th century. The grounds are beautiful and contain a restored stone bridge that spans a narrow sea inlet. Also in this area you will find Baginbun Head nestled against the cliffs. 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 from the early 13th century. It is thought to be one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. 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. Dunbrody Abbey, founded in 1170, is a magnificent ruin and one of the largest Cistercian abbeys in Ireland. After the Abbey, you may wish to visit to the Kennedy Homestead in Dunganstown just south of New Ross. The Kennedy Homestead, birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy, celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and is still farmed today by his descendants. Joining the multitudes of Irish fleeing the Great Famine, Patrick Kennedy departed from this homestead for the port of New Ross on a wet day in 1848 to set sail for the United States.
Traveling down to New Ross, it is well worth stopping at the Dunbrody Famine Ship. The Visitor Experience provides a unique, authentic re-creation from a period in history which shaped modern day America and Ireland. Visitors climb the gangplank to the main deck of the Dunbrody. They descend a companionway to enter the quarters of the captain and mate and the stateroom assigned to important passengers. Continue to Waterford and the major sights in Waterford include the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, a retail outlet and visitor centre in the heart of Waterford city which employs 80-90 full-time staff at the facility, a number of whom will be highly skilled local craftsmen. Make sure to visit the Waterford Museum of Treasures which tells the 1000-year-story of Waterford from the treasures of Viking Waterford at Reginald's Tower, the oldest civic urban building in Ireland, to the story of Georgian Waterford at the Bishop's Palace from 1700 to 1970. The newly restored Bishop's Palace charts the history of Waterford from 1700 to 1970 and gives a wonderful insight into the history of what was up to the 1750s, Ireland’s second city.
Travel first to Youghal, famous for its point lace (point d'Irlande) which is distinguished by its vivid patterns as well as the fact that the film ‘Moby Dick’ starring Gregory Peck was filmed here in 1956. After Youghal, you will travel to the village of Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours. It was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The heritage centre sympathetically recounts these events and tells the story of emigration from Ireland to the United States and Australia from the time of the famine in 1847 up to the 1950s. A stop to climb to the Blarney Castle ramparts to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’, said to bestow the gift of eloquence, and is a must for those who dare. On to Kinsale. 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 with its beautiful waterside location, local facilities including a yacht marina and historic buildings such as Desmond Castle and Market House as well as Charles Fort overlooking the sea and town. Kinsale styles itself as the gourmet capital of Ireland, boasting numerous excellent restaurants and atmospheric traditional pubs.
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! If you did not have a chance to visit the following of Kinsale's major attractions, make sure to include them today. Desmond Castle and the International Museum of Wine, which was built in about 1500, had many uses. In 1600 and 1601 it was used as an arsenal by Don Juan Aguilla during the Spanish occupation of the town which lasted for 100 days prior to the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. In the 17th century the castle became popularly known as the "French prison" and was used for prisoners of war, most of whom were captured at sea. During the American war of Independence, the crews of many American vessels were held prisoner in Kinsale in poor conditions. Other notable attractions include Charles Fort, the 17th Century star-shaped fort. St. Multose Church is well worth a visit and was built in 1190. The Courthouse and Regional Museum in was used for ceremonial occasions in the 18th century. In 1915, the Courthouse was used for the inquest into the sinking of the Lusitania. The Regional Museum is now housed in the Courthouse.
Today you have the option of the scenic but longer coastal route or the shorter route via Blarney Castle. The longer route includes visits to Mizen Head, the southernmost point in Ireland, as well as Bantry House and Gardens and the French Armada Centre, also in Bantry. From Bantry, you will be heading north to Killarney via the Healy Pass. Have your cameras at the ready for some breathtaking scenery across the Caha Mountains that divide Cork from Kerry. After the mountain pass, you come to the town of Kenmare. The town was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty and has a history of lace making, demonstrations of which can be seen at the town’s Heritage Centre. The alternative route for today’s journey is a shorter one. First stop is the famed Blarney Castle where a climb to the ramparts to kiss the Blarney Stone is said to bestowe the gift of eloquence, otherwise known as ‘the Gift of the Gab’. From there it is straight to Killarney. With its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges, Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries. The Killarney National Park is internationally renowned both for its scenic beauty and scientific interest. There are many walks and trails around Killarney including a 2-hour tourist trail around the town itself. You will also have a chance to visit Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe or simply take a stroll through the streets of this quaint town to enjoy the great pubs and enjoy the traditional Irish music on offer.
On everyone’s bucket list while in Killarney is to discover the Ring of Kerry through a driving tour. The Ring of Kerry is a journey through some of the country’s most outstanding scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula. Stunning mountain and coastal scenery combined with colourful towns and villages will make this one of the highlights of your tour. For those who wish to take a break from driving we can arrange a bus tour through this route. Following the peninsula drive, you then arrive at Muckross House. Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake and set beneath the impressive backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains. As an alternative to the Ring of Kerry tour you may prefer to take a wonderful tour by pony and trap that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After an optional snack at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat via the beautiful lakes of Killarney.
Travel to the fishing town of Dingle today as well as the dramatic Dingle Peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. Dingle is the most westerly town in Europe and attracts large numbers of visitors each year, many of whom come to learn the Irish language in the surrounding ‘A Flor-Gaeltacht' – Irish speaking district. On route stop in the village of Annascaul, the birth place of Jerome Connor, the famous sculptor, and Tom Crean, a local hero who accompanied Scott and Shackleton on three Antarctic expeditions, including Scott’s doomed attempt to reach the South Pole. On his return to Annascaul Crean opened the "South Pole Inn", which is still in business today. Minard Castle is also well worth a visit. The castle is said to have been built by the Knight of Kerry and is the largest fortress on the peninsula. Continue on past Dingle and visit Dunbeag Promontory Fort. What makes it one of the most dramatic archaeological sites on the peninsula is that results show that it was begun in the late Bronze Age, 800 BC. Continue on to Slea Head and here you will see Dun An Oir (Fort of Gold. Here in 1580, after three days siege, over 600 Irish and Spanish soldiers surrendered to Lord Grey only to be massacred by his troops. Nearby is the Gallarus Oratory, one of the best preserved early Christian church buildings in Ireland. Back to Dingle for the evening. Here you will find among other great pubs and restaurants, Dick Macks, possibly Dingle’s most famous pub, which is half a leather shop and half a pub so you can buy a pint and a purse at the same time! Foxy John’s is a hardware store and pub combined – an unusual arrangement to say the least.
One of the most dramatic days of your tour brings you from Dingle to the west coast of County Clare. First stop will be the Village of Adare in County Limerick. Adare is regarded by many a seasoned traveller as Ireland’s prettiest village with its charming thatched cottages, manicured public park and ancient church. From Adare continue towards Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this majestic castle was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour. Within the grounds of the Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated. Continue on to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare. Just north of the Cliffs you then have the lunar like Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs.
There are several touring options available for day trips from Clare, head north towards the small fishing village of Doolin where you could stop for some lunch, as there are many music pubs and restaurants to be found. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals or 'fleadhanna' of Irish and international music. From Doolin, you could either take a ferry out to the Aran Islands, the nearest of which, Inisheer, is only 10km off the coast or alternatively, head further north to the Aillwee Caves, which have regular tours of the beautifully lit caverns as well as a farm shop and the Burren Birds of Prey & Educational Centre. If you’d rather head south, there are plenty of attractions as well, an ideal day tour would be to travel inland to the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in County Tipperary as well as Limerick City, just 10 minutes from Bunratty. This route will have a driving time of well under 3 hours and if you fancy an even longer day, you could continue on to Blarney castle near Cork City.
Bunratty Castle is now a very popular tourist attraction. The interior has been furnished by Lord Gort with tapestries & artifacts from various eras in the history
The Burren is a unique karst-landscape region in northwest County Clare, in Ireland and one of the largest Karst landscapes in Europe.
The Cliffs of Moher boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as are the valleys and hills of Connemara.
The Cobh Heritage Centre provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries, the mass emigration, the Great Famine, and on how criminals were transported...
The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. It is situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, on the road that crosses the peninsula between Dingle Town and the...
There are so many things to see, to do, to explore, to experience on the Dingle Peninsula . . . from almost 2,000 archaeological sites, to more walking than you could fit into a ...
Doolin is small fishing village on a sandy bay world-famous for its wealth of Irish music & has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals. Overlooked by Doonag...
The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful glacial valley in the Macgillacuddy Reeks mountain range, which dominate the skyline of Killarney on the Ring of Kerry. Here you can enjoy an ene...
Guinness Storehouse has attracted over 4 million visitors from all over the world, The Storehouse is laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium taking the shape of a p...
Below, you will find a price for this self drive tour including your car rental. Pricing for other accommodation and transport options is also available upon request. Please also note that all of our driving tours itineraries and sightseeing guides are available to those wishing to avail of one of our experienced driver guides.
|Accommodation Type||B&B's||3* Hotels||4*Hotels & Manor Houses||Combination|
|Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec||€943||€1,086||€1,498||€1,246|
|April & October||€943||€1,185||€1,562||€1,303|
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