Two Weeks

The Sunny Southeast

Start in one of the most energetic capital cities in Europe. Home to the largest urban park in Europe, the oldest modern art gallery in the world and one of the greatest manuscripts ever illustrated, Dublin is more than just the place where a certain stout is brewed. After a couple of days it’s time to explore.

Head south towards Kilkenny. Before you arrive take a little diversion over to Athy to learn about the great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. There is also a lovely walk along the Grand Canal. Next up are the impressive ecclesiastical remains in Castledermot. The high crosses are simply beautiful. When you arrive at Kilkenny make sure you are booked in for at least a couple of nights. Within the compact city centre are 17th century merchants’ houses, town walls, a magnificent castle and a gothic cathedral complete with 12th century round tower. Not far away are the incredible remains of the fortified monastery at Kells and the abandoned medieval village at Jerpoint.

An hour’s drive from Kilkenny is Fethard. One of the best preserved medieval towns in Ireland, it offers the visitor a wonderful heritage experience. It also has a great pub that in addition to serving some of the best food in County Tipperary also acts as the local undertaker. Just a few kilometres away is Cashel. When you arrive don’t just visit the extraordinary collection of religious buildings on the Rock. Make sure you wander around the beautiful Georgian streets, visit the quirky folk museum and take afternoon tea in the Bishop’s Palace. Next, head southwest to Clonmel and explore the pleasant grounds of the medieval church surrounded by the town walls. When you’re done with all the archaeology go to Hickey’s bakery to have some of the best barm brack you can eat.

When driving south to Waterford don’t go the direct route. Instead travel over the Comeragh Mountains and take the opportunity to go hill walking. Waterford is a place that has embraced its heritage. The city with its museums, impressive medieval walls, and friaries is an ideal place to gain an understanding of how Irish towns and cities have evolved.  From here, move east to New Ross making sure to visit the Dunbrody famine ship and St. Mary’s medieval church. There is also a good historic trail that takes in all the points of interest including the town wall and JFK memorial. Your final destination before heading back to Dublin is the picturesque coastal town of Wexford. Not many places can boast having an international quality opera house and one of the best bird sanctuaries in Europe on its doorstep!