From the shores of Wexford and Waterford to Kilkenny's river walks

Route:

Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny


Features:

Hook Lighthouse, Kilkenny Medieval Mile, Dunbrody Famine Ship, Waterford Viking Triangle

Journey Overview:

This is a manageable journey, perfect for a weekend of discovery in some of the most fertile lands and historic towns of Ireland’s Ancient East. Start your first day in the Viking city early, as there’s plenty of ground to cover and many sights to see.

Go from lighthouses and famine ships in Waterford and Wexford, onto the winding lanes of Kilkenny City and the picturesque towns of the Nore Valley, with plenty of delicious pit stops and scenic viewpoints to
mark your progress. Dipping your toe into this beautiful region will only whet your appetite for Ireland’s Ancient East.
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Day

Day 1
St Canice's Cathedral

Day 1

  • 2 hrs
  • 55 mins
  • 149 km
  • 93 miles

Route:

Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny


Points Of Interest:

Hook Head and Lighthouse, Dunbrody Famine Ship, Kilkenny City

Engage With The Stories:

Mr What Why and Mrs Rickards

Mr What Why and Mrs Rickards

Dressed in period costume as butler and housekeeper, go on a gossip-filled tour of Waterford City’s Bishop’s Palace.


Journey Overview:

Begin in beautiful Waterford City, a city steeped in the history of the Vikings. Often referred to as Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford was founded by Norse invaders in 914AD. You can discover the city’s past within the trio of Waterford Treasures located inside the Viking Triangle, including the Medieval Museum, Reginald’s Tower and Bishop’s Palace. If you’re getting peckish, it may be time for a "blaa" or two: part of Waterford’s history, it's thought they were introduced by the Huguenots in the 17th century. Enjoy one at the Bodega Restaurant and Wine Bar before setting off for your next destination.

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Take the road north to New Ross, the country’s only inland port in Wexford. Don't linger there quite yet (you’ll be back!) — instead, take the road south to the coast and beautiful Hook Head and Lighthouse, one of Wexford's most evocative spots. This maritime landmark is over 800 years old; as the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world, it offers knock-out views of the sea. Explore the visitor centre and take a guided tour to unlock all of its secrets.  

Once you've captured your fill of coastal photos, take the road back to New Ross, stopping in the pretty medieval town of Fethard for afternoon tea and a stroll, before continuing on to the riverside hub of New Ross. Perched on the River Barrow, New Ross is a small but bustling place, anchored by the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of an 1840s emigrant vessel. Step on board to uncover the truly emotional history of Ireland’s emigrant past through an interactive guided tour delivered by skilled performers and themed exhibitions. The last tour of the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience starts at 5pm, leaving you with just the right amount of time to complete the 45-minute drive to Kilkenny City before the evening falls.  

The city’s historic Medieval Mile awaits, where you’ll discover Kilkenny is named after St Canice (Cill Chainnigh means "Canice’s church" in English) who founded a 6th century monastic settlement. Climb to the 100ft, 9th century Round Tower beside the cathedral to enjoy the most wonderful views over the city and walk the Mile to absorb everything from Kilkenny Castle to tales of witch trials that still reverberate through the ancient streets. As evening falls, the cosy pubs and great restaurants ensconced within the medieval cobblestoned lanes will give you plenty of dining options. Before bedding down in a well-appointed guesthouse or B&B, pull up a chair at one of the city’s legendary traditional Irish music sessions. As well as historic attractions, a vibrant food scene and quaint pubs, Kilkenny City has some great live music venues to tour on your night out, so make the most of it. 

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Day 2
Standup paddle boarding at Graiguenamanagh

Day 2

  • 1 hr
  • 0 mins
  • 45 km
  • 28 miles

Route:

Kilkenny


Points Of Interest:

Kilkenny City, Kilkenny Castle, Mount Juliet

Engage With The Stories:

Pat Tynan

Pat Tynan

From burning maids to greedy merchants, follow the trail of some of medieval Kilkenny's most colourful characters on Pat Tynan's walking tour.
 

Journey Overview:

In the morning, it's time for breakfast at one of Kilkenny’s many fine cafés and a look at some of the county’s finest craft work at the Kilkenny Design Centre and The National Craft Gallery. Just across the road is turreted Kilkenny Castle, one of Ireland's greatest historical landmarks. Touring its hallowed halls will give you an insight into the fascinating history of Ireland’s famous Butler dynasty. After a leisurely wander through the formal rose gardens, you'll leave the city behind and head for the scenic rolling hills, meandering river trails and green meadows of the picturesque Nore Valley.

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Leaving Kilkenny city, the scenery softens into a deep green towards Bennettsbridge, where you’ll find the distinctive pottery work of Nicholas Mosse, housed in a beautiful old mill on the water.  

Next, stop off at charming Thomastown, founded in the 13th century by an Anglo-Norman mercenary, Thomas Fitz Anthony, before taking a slight detour to Mount Juliet. Named after a 16-year-old bride back in the 1750s, the hotel estate is the perfect place to relax with a coffee in The Manor House. Back on the road, pass through Thomastown once more before heading south to the quiet village of Inistioge on the River Nore, and on to pretty Graiguenamanagh – the perfect spot for a hearty Sunday lunch to round off your adventure. 

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