IRELAND'S SOUTH EAST
Take a trip south to where the Irish canals and waterways meander gently to the sea flowing through and connecting the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford discovering some of the prettiest countryside, charming unspoilt villages, majestic Irish castles and hidden hamlets. A different way to see Ireland from the inside out, allowing the tradition and charm of the south east to unfold and envelop!
Kilkenny has a castle at it's centre, the Irish home to contemporary art, exquisite food and craft. Situated on the River Nore the city is proud of it's rich tradition, the Medieval Mile, Butterslip, Smithwick's and Sullivan's Breweries, restaurants like Zuni, Rinuccini and Michelin-star Compagne, The Butler Contemporary Art Gallery and the National Craft Gallery located in the Castle yard housed where the stables once held hunting horses for the Butler family and of course, there is Kilkenny Castle itself!
THOMASTOWN AND INISTIOGE
Southward along the River Nore is the fine town of Thomastown and film village of Inistioge, both connected by this waterway and some of the loveliest walks along the Trail Kilkenny walkways. See the imposing remains of Jerpoint Abbey, stop at Mount Juliet for a round of golf, a coffee at The Blackberry or perhaps a light lunch at Circle Of Friends in Inistioge itself, called after the film made there. Perhaps enjoy the vistas and gardens of the Woodstock Estate and a creamy pint of Guinness in O' Donnell's Pub before continuing south to the hidden gem that is Ballilogue.
This award-winning jewel is in a way the perfect Irish luxury retreat, big enough to accommodate 22 people sharing and small enough to have the stone houses and barns privately with the opportunity of private dining in the Old Dairy and music at the pre-famine Mrs. Meaney's Cottage. The perfect marriage of Irish tradition and contemporary, light filled interiors. Nestled in the south Kilkenny countryside, Everett Potter, the travel writer, writing for Forbes said Ballilogue reminded him of hillside villages he's seen in the Tuscan countryside.
GRAIGUENAMANAGH AND ST. MULLIN'S
Having feasted, rested and been entertained why not take the short drive to Graiguenamagh where the River Barrow provides the meeting point for the counties Carlow and Kilkenny. Monks settled here bringing with them a strong spiritual heritage in the imposing Duiske Abbey, still in use to this day. Take the Canal tow paths to beautiful St. Mullin's with coffee and cake at the Mulachan cafe. It's a journey to remember in Ireland on a pathway less travelled away from the maddening crowds.
Wexford and Waterford are to the south, hugging the Wild Atlantic coast with the fine Irish trading town of New Ross an entry to another series of adventures. The Kennedy clan have giant feet here with the JFK Homestead and JFK Arboretum, both close to the Dunbrody Famine Experience in the town itself. Explore the rich Huguenot history in the churches and graveyards and take lunch at Cafe Nutshell on the High Street. On to Waterford, Golf at Waterford Castle, visit the world famous Waterford Crystal to marvel at the glass being blown and cut, tour the Bishop's Palace and walk the Greenway to Dungarvan or take the ferry from Passage East to Wexford with it's world renowned Wexford Opera Festival, eateries and galleries.
It's Ireland with a difference, a cultural and scenic wonderland in the Ancient East. Enjoy!