Our Irish trip began when we landed at Dublin Airport and we drove south through County Wicklow, to Glendalough through the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Shortly after that, we arrived at the ancient monastic settlement at Glendalough.
Glendalough “the glen of the two lakes” is 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, we drove to Avondale then on to Avoca where we stopped at the Avoca Handweavers factory, famed worldwide for the quality of its woven fabrics. The village was also the setting for the top television series Ballykissangel.
We stopped along the route at the towns of Arklow and Enniscorthy which is an old Norman settlement and is situated on the banks of the River Slaney and is overlooked by the old 1798 battle site of Vinegar Hill. Dominating the town is the Norman Castle (Opening hours 1000 – 1600hrs) which was completed in 1205 and now houses the County Wexford Folk Museum.
We checked into Coliemore House B & B at Castlebridge just outside Wexford. Dave & Di Doyle were wonderful hosts and the breakfast was superb. I would recommend this bed & breakfast for travellers passing this way.
The next day we drove to the Wexford Wildlife reserve, then a short tour of Wexford before driving to Inistoge, where the locals were trout fishing.
Then on to Kilkenny, long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city dates back to 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 modelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Opening times 0930-1730hrs, no photography and takes about one hour to see the castle. Also in Kilkenny is St. Canice’s Cathedral, the second longest of Ireland’s medieval cathedrals. We stopped for lunch and had a pint of Kilkenny ale.
We then visited County Tipperary’s major historical attractions including The Rock of Cashel, 0930-130hrs, 45 minutes, The Rock, which rears above the plain dominated the land routes southward and Cahir Castle. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province.
We then drive to the charming town of Cobh, where 100 years ago the Titanic set sail on her fateful journey to America. From Cobh we drive to Cork, where we enjoyed a good Irish dinner