Ireland’s ancient south east comprises of 15 counties and 5000 years of fascinating history. Whether you want to explore some of the most historical sites in all of Ireland or simply relax in the charming country towns, Ireland’s ancient south east offers something for everyone. Below we have listed 5 of the most charming towns and cities you can find in Ireland’s ancient south east.
The small town of Trim is located in County Meath with a population of only 9,194. The town’s most notable feature has got to be the ruins of Trim Castle which has been standing since around 1220 and is bursting with Anglo-Norman history and architecture. A stroll along the River Boyne which passes through the town will take you to the ruins of the 13th century Priory of St John the Baptist and Saints Peter and Paul’s Cathedral. Although a small town, Trim still has its fair share of traditional Irish pubs and charming country houses which are ideal for spending the night in the town.
Kilkenny is well known as Ireland’s best-preserved medieval city with most of its historical sites packed within the town’s ‘Medieval Mile’. The Medieval Mile runs through the centre of Kilkenny city, linking the 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman Kilkenny Castle. The Medieval Museum can be found here too, the best place for visitors to learn all about the town’s past. As a small city, Kilkenny also offers a cosmopolitan buzz with plenty of upbeat high-street stores, bars and restaurants. On the outskirts of the city there’s a variety of towns and villages too, perfect for breaking away from the hustle and bustle.
With archaeological evidence of Viking settlement in the 10th century, Waterford is thought to be Ireland’s oldest city. Parts of the city’s ancient walled core remains and there are three museums covering 1,000 years of history: Reginald’s Tower, Medieval Museum and the Bishop’s Palace. As well as being part of Ireland’s ancient south east, Waterford also makes up part of Ireland’s sunny south east. Waterford is notably sunnier than other parts of Ireland because there’s more hours of sunlight a day than anywhere else in Ireland!
Located in County Tipperary, Cashel is a small town and urban district with one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions: The Rock of Cashel. The 358-foot rock which was once the stronghold of the kings of Munster from the 4th century dominates the town’s landscape and attracts thousands of visitors each year. A variety of impressive ancient ruins can be found in the town of Cashel, including Hore Abbey, where you’re more likely to avoid the crowds. There’s also the Brú Ború Culture Centre which offers a unique experience of Irish traditional entertainment with its summer season of live shows.
Wexford is another town which makes up part of Ireland’s sunny south east as it’s the area with the least rainfall in Ireland. It’s even recently been named as one of the top 3 places to visit in Ireland for a staycation! Wexford is famous for its golden beaches that stretch for miles along the coast, including Curracloe, Ballymoney and Courtown. Many of the town’s attractions lie in the surrounding countryside and along the coastline, such as Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operational lighthouse in the world.
Discover the charming towns and cities of Ireland’s ancient south east through our South East Ireland tour. This tour begins in Rosslare, County Wexford, covering all the highlights from the region. We have put together a sample itinerary for this tour here. We have suggested a 9-night stay, but the length of your stay is completely up to you. We can amend this plan to suit your requirements.
Get in contact with our team to find out more.