South East Ireland
It’s called the sunny south east for a reason. The weather in these five counties – Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary – always seems brighter, and that’s not just because it’s packed full of activities and attractions.
This tour begins in Rosslare, County Wexford. The following itinerary brings you highlights from the region, the length you stay is optional, we have suggested a 9 night tour but we will make your tour any length you like and to suit your needs and budget.
Perfect Time To Go
April - October
Number Of Nights
Rosslare, Co. Wexford
Rosslare Harbour is at the heart of the south east in County Wexford. To begin your tour, just 3km from the harbour you’ll find Yola Farmstead Folk Park, an 18th century themed farmstead and also a state-appointed Heritage & Genealogy Centre, you can visit a working windmill and watch exhibitions of the age old art of thatching. Granny’s Kitchen onsite will keep you well fed. Overnight in the buzz of Wexford Town.
Take the scenic coastal route from Rosslare to Wexford town to this bustling location. Explore Wexford’s historical roots at the living history park – the National Heritage Park. Exhibitions focus on Viking, Celtic and Medieval Ireland and you can travel back in time with activities such as spear throwing, panning for gold and archery. Overnight in the buzz of Wexford Town.
Hook head lighthouse
William Marshal, Earl of Pembrokeshire undertook the building of the Lighthouse in the early 13th century as a navigational aid to guide his ships into Waterford Harbour. You can climb the steps of this 13th century Hook Head Lighthouse and learn its history during a fascinating guided tour. When driving to the lighthouse, take the Ring of Hook route. It has signposts all along and has the most splendid scenic sea views. If it’s a windy day, wrap up well. Overnight in the buzz of Wexford Town.
Kilmore Quay is a quaint fishing village with a long maritime history. Visit the uninhabited Saltee Islands from here. They are on one of the most important migratory routes for birds travelling to their breeding or wintering grounds, so bring the binoculars. The must do in Kilmore Quay, though, is order fresh fish and chips from Saltee’s Chipper. If you have more time, Kilmore Quay is also great for angling. Overnight in Waterford City.
Waterford city is famous for its Viking roots and has its own Viking Triangle. Waterford, the name, means “ram fjord” or “windy fjord”. Over 1,000 years later, you can find a fascinating exhibition of their treasures in Reginald’s Tower. This city also houses two fantastic crystal manufacturers: Waterford Crystal and The Irish Handmade Glass Company . Both very much worth a visit as each company allows visitors to watch the glass blowers in action. Overnight in Waterford City.
The Carlow Garden Trail
County Carlow’s gardens are so celebrated they have their own dedicated trail. First off is Huntington Castle, boasting beautiful gardens laid out in the 17th century to accompany the splendid castle. Moving on, the star of the show is the Victorian Altamont Garden. Originally thought to be a convent, this houses a man-made lake and peacocks wandering the grounds. Visiting during snowdrop season are a treat as the gardens appear sprinkled with snow. Overnight in Waterford City.
One of Ireland’s eleven cities, Kilkenny has plenty to appeal to all visitors but it’s a crafty place at heart. The National Craft Gallery is located in the castle’s former stable yard and displays the finest in local design and craft.
You can’t miss Kilkenny Castle in the city centre, which was built in the 12th century. St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower cut a dramatic figure in the city, too, with the round tower counted as the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny. Two windows by Harry Clarke, arguably the finest stained-glass artist ever, feature in the cathedral proper. Overnight in Kilkenny.
Avoca Village and Weavers, Co. Wicklow
The television series Ballykissangel made Avoca a small-screen star, and it’s nice to know it hasn’t lost any of its charm since then. Brightly coloured townhouses, snug pubs and the surrounding verdant valley, nourished by the Avoca River, afford the village a picture-postcard elegance.
Avoca Handweavers, right in the village, tells the story if the area’s woollen industry with a still working mill energized by the eponymous river. The Visitor Centre and Mill Tour here are beautifully managed. Make time for tea and a scone in the café here – Avoca’s baking is out of this world. Overnight in Wicklow.
Curracloe Beach, Co. Wexford
When Stephen Spielberg and his producers needed a beach on which to recreate WWII’s D-DAY landings, only the finest would do. Curracloe was that beach. Renowned for its huge expanse, scattering of wispy sand grasses and some of the finest sea views on the south east coast. Should there still be strength in the legs, a bracing stroll up Vinegar Hill ,site of an historic battle during the Irish revolution of 1798. Overnight in Wexford.
Extra Time – Time to Spare
Stretch your time in Wexford to allow a visit to the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a stunningly reproduced famine ship or ‘Coffin Ship’ as they became known. The experience is particularly poignant for those who have Irish ancestry.
In Kilkenny, the St Francis Brewery is the island’s oldest and tells all about fine ale with plenty of surprises. Monday’s and Tuesday’s in Kilkenny, Kytler’s Inn hosts bodhránlessons for one and all. The sessions are quintessential examples of Irish good humour and ‘craic’ and an excellent way in which to engage a group in active enjoyment.
Our package includes the following:
- 9 nights hotel accommodation
- Breakfast daily
- Hire of self-drive rental car OR travel with your own car (we will deduct car rental price) from the UK and include return fare on Stena Line Fishguard/Rosslare route (please ask us for prices)
- VAT at 20%