Make a Break for Ireland's Ancient East

Ireland's Ancient East has been patiently waiting for us over the weeks and months that we've been staying safe at home — ready to provide the perfect getaway and to re-awaken our hunger for adventure.

With so many destinations and experiences to choose from, Ireland has never felt bigger. This is our chance to see Ireland's Ancient East as we've never seen it before – as though we were explorers setting out to discover new lands once beyond our reach. Feelings of anticipation and delight grow as parts of Ireland once sealed off re-emerge and we savour the thought of reconnecting with family and friends in magical places.

As we dreamt about making a break for it – for a family reunion, romantic weekend or simple day trip – our minds roved over Ireland’s historic towns, cultural gems and places for family fun. It’s finally time to stop dreaming and get ready to go beyond the back garden: to discover a landscape that’s open once more for exploration, adventure, rest and relaxation. 

Along with that excitement comes a need for reassurance: a changed world means a new focus on safety and protection. That’s where the COVID-19 Safety Charter comes in, adopted by tourism businesses across Ireland to signal their commitment to safety measures. It's a symbol you can rely on to guide you on your great escape and help you enjoy it with peace of mind and confidence.

Where to start? As Ireland's Ancient East re-opens, we've shared some adventures in Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Cork designed to reignite your love affair with the region. It's time to start packing those bags again...

More ways to expand your horizons

Explore the legendary lands of Waterford

Make your way to beautiful Waterford to take a break in a county with stunning beaches, rolling mountains and a fascinating ancient history. Whether you get on your bike and cycle the Waterford Greenway or travel back in time to visit with some Vikings, you'll find something fun for the whole family on your trip. Indulge in the famous bread of the region (the blaa), try some local beer at the source with a visit to the brewery, or simply chill out on one of the Copper Coast's stunning beaches and make the most of your short stay in the sunny southeast. Even if you only stick to the city, there's a long list of top things to do that you definitely don't want to miss.

Don't forget to check that the attractions and tourist sites you want to visit are open, or to see if you need to pre-book a tour – then enjoy every minute of your time in the Déise! 

Vikings at the King of Vikings attraction in Waterford
The Copper Coast in County Waterford
Left: Vikings at the King of Vikings attraction in Waterford | Right: The Copper Coast in County Waterford

Plan your escape to Wexford

Make a break for it in wonderful Wexford, land of quaint towns and endless beaches. Steal away as a couple for the weekend and make your way from Wexford Town to the banks of the Barrow; enjoy a family reunion at the Irish National Heritage Park and Dunbrody Famine Ship; and head for the remote Hook Peninsula where an iconic lighthouse has been guiding ships to safety for an incredible 800 years. Wherever your exploration of Wexford leads, you'll find endless things to do.

As attractions and experiences continue to re-open, it's essential to check with individual businesses, services and accommodation to ensure that their doors are open before you travel.
Visiting the Irish National Heritage Park
The Irish National Heritage Park
Meeting a Viking on a visit to the National Heritage Park in Wexford

Uncover medieval mysteries in Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a place where stories come at you from every corner. The Marble City’s cobbled streets are full of history, music, culture, beautiful architecture and, most importantly, craic. There’s so much to see in both the city and beyond whether you're looking for a quick weekend getaway; planning the fun family vacation you've been waiting for; seeking a dazzling variety of things to do or shopping for stunning examples of Irish craft. Make a break for it in Kilkenny – there are so many different ways for you to enjoy a short break in the city and surrounding towns and countryside, you’ll have plenty of reasons to come back.  

As restrictions ease more by the week, it's essential to check with individual businesses, services and accommodation to ensure that they are ready to welcome you again.
Jewellery being made at the Kilkenny Design Centre
Dusk in Cork City
Left: Jewellery being made at the Kilkenny Design Centre | Right: Dusk in Cork City

Explore history and culture in Cork

Busy, vibrant and cosmopolitan, Cork City has revitalised stretches of waterfront that beckon on warm summer evenings. Lose yourself in 17th century alleys and take in the beauty of the River Lee, before indulging in local food, drinks and retail therapy in narrow streets crammed with pubs, cafés and restaurants. Ireland's second city offers the perfect escape, with history, culture and fantastic restaurants all in easy walking distance.

As Ireland's Ancient East continues to re-open, when planning it's essential to check with individual businesses, services and accommodation to ensure that they are available to visit before you travel.

From the perfect day out to a weekend away, the ideal escape is waiting for you. And with more and more destinations to choose from every day, Ireland has never felt bigger. What are you waiting for? There’s so much now open for discovery in Ireland’s Ancient East – so prepare to make a break for it.