8. Ireland: Blarney Castle, Kilkenny & Irish Whiskey 3-Day Tour
Discover the scenic splendor of southeast Ireland on a 3-day tour of the lush farmlands of Kildare, the stunning Wicklow Mountains, and the fabled Copper Coast road to Waterford. Stop at historic monasteries and castles, learn about the fateful voyage of the Titanic from Cobh, and go to the famous Waterford Crystal Factory. Enjoy a more personal experience in this small group tour with maximum of 16 passengers on a top of the range Mercedes luxury mini-coach, while a quaint bed and breakfast accommodation for 2 nights provides a more intimate experience.
Depart Dublin for Cork, driving through the lush farm counties of Kildare, Laois, and Tipperary. Make a short stop in the heritage town of Cahir to see the ruined abbey and impressive castle on an island in the River Suir. Continue to Blarney on the outskirts of Cork. Visit the castle and take one of the woodland walks to the mystical Rock Close. Explore the village of Blarney, stopping for lunch. There may even be time to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. After this, there is a chance to discover Jameson Whiskey Distillery and taste one of Ireland's favorite exports.
In the afternoon, tour the beautiful coastline of West Cork, and see some of the magnificent beaches, tiny inlets and coves. End the day in the fishing village of Kinsale, where you will be based for the night. Kinsale is famous for its food, and the evening is free to wander the narrow streets, popping into traditional pubs and restaurants.
Explore some of the highlights of southeast Ireland, starting with the historic port of Cobh, the main departure point for Irish emigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was also from here that the Titanic ocean liner set forth on her ill-fated maiden voyage. Continue east to Waterford, traveling along the “Copper Coast” (a designated UNESCO geo-park for its spectacular beauty). Stop at the popular surfing beach of Tramore, before heading into Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city. Founded by the Vikings in the 9th century, it’s also famous for the Waterford Crystal Factory, which you are free to visit along with one of the excellent museums. Alternatively, explore the Viking Triangle on foot.
In the late afternoon, depart for the busy city of Kilkenny with its fine castle and park, as well as some lovely riverside walks. Go to the National Craft Centre, or hang out in one of the pubs and enjoy a glass of Guinness!
Enjoy a free morning to explore Kilkenny before driving to the Wicklow Mountains. Marvel at some of Ireland’s highest granite peaks and see impressive valleys carved by glaciers. One of the area’s highlights is Glendalough, known as the “Valley of the Lakes.” Take one of the walking trails, or explore the ruins of the 6th-century monastery to see its round tower. The last section of your tour takes you into the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, before crossing the famous Sally Gap to descend into Dublin for an approximate 18:30 arrival.