Waterford and Tipperary

Both part of the ‘Sunny South East‘, these two counties have it all to offer. From beautiful beaches to quirky little towns, you will always have something to do in this part of the country!

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Dungarvan

Waterford’s largest coastal town, Dungarvan is back by mountains covered in heath and moors which is located where the River Colligan meets Dungarvan Bay. A busy fishing town and resort destination, Dungarvan is well liked by walkers.

How to Get Here

Use the N25 from Waterford westbound to reach Dungarvan, the journey last three quarters of an hour. Buses stop at Davitt’s Quay and there are regular connections to Waterford, Cork, and Dublin.

Visitor Information

Dungarvan and West Waterford Tourism – The Courthouse, Dungarvan, County Waterford

Top Reasons to Visit

Ring – Ring, An Rinn in Irish, is unusual for this part of the Ireland in that it is a Gaeltacht area in which Irish is still in common, everyday use among the people who live there and classes in the language have been taught here for over a century. The Comeragh Mountains provide the backdrop for the region which includes the Cuinigear peninsula, home to thousands of seabirds, and the small village of Helvic where you can catch fantastic views of the coast. Ring is popular with bird watchers, walkers, and cyclists.

Location: County Waterford (seven kilometres south of Dungarvan, off the R674)

Where to Eat

Nude Food –This café serves a great breakfast, the perfect way to begin a day’s hiking, and the Irish lamb stew with homemade brown bread or ploughman’s platter of hams, preserves, and cheeses is worth checking out when you return later in the day.

The almond tart with clotted cream is a fine choice to finish off your meal. The bakery and deli next door is perfect if you want to take your lunch with you as you walk the surrounding landscape.

Typical main: €12

Location: 86 O’Connell Street, Dungarvan, County Waterford

The Tannery The menu here, regarded to be one of Ireland’s leading restaurants, is seasonal but top choices include corned beef with potato and onion fritters served and a horseradish dressing or the duck with bacon, parsnips, chard, and hazelnut dressing. There’s an adjacent guesthouse and cooking school with regular classes.

Typical main: €27

Location: 10 Quay St, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

Accommodation

Gold Coast Golf Hotel – This hotel is both family run and family friendly with self-catering homes and golf villas available beside the woodland links course. With its views of Dungarvan Bay, the Golf Coast is in a great location and offers good value during high season but the guest rooms are a little bland and lack internet access.

Rates: €120

Location: Clonea Road, Dungarvan, County Waterford

Nightlife

ColaistenaRinne – This is Irish language school in the Ring Gaeltacht invites visitors to watch or participate in a ceili, a traditional Irish dance. Performances take place most nights during the summer.

Location: Ring, County Waterford

Ardmore

Gregory Peck and John F. Kennedy have been two high profile visitors to Ardmore but this scenic village – which offers history, sandy beaches, and impressive cliff-top walks – is regularly overlooked by tourists.

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How to Get Here

Use the N25 west from Waterford as far as the R673, the journey lasts an hour and the final segment is on a narrow country road but parking can be problematic in summer. Buses connect to Dungarvan and Youghal in Cork.

Top Reasons to Visit

Cathedral of Saint Declan – This 12th century cathedral features columns carved with ogham runes, an early Irish alphabet, and weathered biblical scenes on the west wall. Saint Declan is believed to have been buried in Saint Declan’s Oratory, a tiny church from the early Christian era which has been partly renovated.

Declan is said to have arrived in Ireland at Dungarvan some 30 years before Saint Patrick.

Location: Tower Hill, Ardmore, County Waterford

Round Tower – Located on the cathedral grounds, this 30 metre high round tower remains standing in surprising good condition. The door is some 4.5 metres above the ground and was reached by a ladder which could be pulled inside in the event of the church being attacked by local Irish tribes or the Vikings.

Location: Tower Hill, Ardmore, County Waterford

 Where to Eat

The House Restaurant – This award winning restaurant at the Cliff House hotel is presided over by the renowned Dutch chef Martjin Kajuiter. Dinning in summer allows you to take advantage of the sweeping terrace with good views of the sea. Classic Irish meals often form the basis for Kajuiter’s meals but come with his signature twists for a fresh approach. Dinner is based on a three course, fixed price menu and the scallops with pork belly is a truly excellent starter. For your main course, try the sea bass with leek fondue.

There’s a wine to match every course on the menu too and your waiter will be happy to advise you.

Typical main: €35

Location: Cliff House, Cliff Road, Ardmore, County Waterford

Shopping

Ardmore Pottery & Craft Shop This shops sells everything from homemade jams to gold jewellery as well as the handmade knitwear of owner Mary Lincoln. It’s cleverly stocked with a range of high quality goods and has been voted one of Ireland’s best stores.

Location: The Cliff, Ardmore, County Waterford

Sports and Other Activities

Ardmore Adventures – If you’re the water sports-loving type, Ardmore Adventures arranges power boating, kayaking, snorkelling, and other activities involving the sea at Ardmore and the nearby beaches. Rock climbing can also be arranged on the nearby cliffs.

Location: Main Street, Ardmore, County Waterford

Lismore

This village is popular with tourists, romantics, and recreational anglers alike (who come for the Blackwater River’s salmon and trout). Lismore was founded by Saint Carthac in the 7th century and remained an important monastic site for another 500 years. There are two cathedrals here, the older Anglican Church dating from 1633 which was built partially using the remnants of an earlier church and the impressive 19th century Roman Catholic Church.

Lismore Castle was built by the Dukes of Devonshire whose main home is located in England at Chatsworth. Fred Astaire’s sister, Adele, was married to the ninth duke’s younger son, Lord Charles Cavendish and was often seen at Madden’s Pub in the town. There’s also a picturesque library built by Albert Carnegie and a 19th century Gothic folly at Ballysaggartmore – a gate which proved to be so expensive to build, the house itself was never constructed.

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How to Get Here

Use the N25 and then the N72 from Waterford. The journey lasts just under an hour and there are regular buses from Dungarvan. Parking can be problematic during the summer months.

Visitor Information

Lismore Tourist Office – Lismore Heritage Centre, West Street and Chapel Street, Lismore, County Waterford

Top Reasons to Visit

Knockmealdown Mountains – Head east from Lismore on the N72 until you reach the R669, seven kilometres from the village. From Vee Gap, the highest point, you’ll see both the Galtee Mountains and Slievenamon Mountain as well as the Rock of Cashel (32 kilometres away) on a good day. Near Vee Gap is a two metre high stone mound where local landlord Colonel Grubb was buried upright so we lock enjoy the view for all time.

Location: Vee Gap Road, Lismore, County Waterford

Lismore Castle and Gardens – This large castle which can be seen from the village bridge, overlooks the Blackwater from a rocky outcrop and sits on the site of an earlier 12th century castle. The current structure dates from the 19th century and remains the property of the Dukes of Devonshire – most of the building is not open to the public. The West Wing’s contemporary art gallery is open, as are the gardens. The 800 year old yew walk, said to be the place where Edmund Spenser handwrote The Faerie Queene, is one of the paths which can be explored.

There is a wide range of plants and shrubs in the gardens as well as modern sculptures.

Location: Lismore, County Waterford (off the N72)

Lismore Heritage Centre – Located in the old town courthouse, the Lismore Heritage Centre delves into Lismore Gaelic origins and the village’s connections to people such as Walter Raleigh and Fred Astaire. The video presentation, Lismore Experience, details the growth of the village from the 7th century onwards and there’s a craft shop at the centre as well.

Location: West Street and Chapel Street, Lismore, County Waterford

Mount Melleray Abbey – This was Ireland’s first monastery built after the Reformation and was founded by the Cistercians in 1832. The monks have taken vows of silence but you’re welcome to explore most of the abbey and take part in services. There’s a guest lodge and small museum looking into the history of monasteries in Ireland. There are also a few Ogham stones.

Location: Lismore, Cappoquin, County Waterford

Accommodation

Richmond House – Built by the Earl of Cork and Burlington 300 years ago, Richmond House retains its Georgian elegance. There’s a great restaurant and pleasant gardens but the amenities are limited and there are signs of wear and tear in places.

Rates: €120

Location: N72, Cappoquin, County Waterford

County Tipperary

Tipperary is the largest inland county in Ireland and not terribly far from Cork, Waterford, and Kilkenny. As you move away from the coast, you’ll see some of Ireland’s most scenic areas such as the Blackwater Valley and the stunning Lismore Castle as well as some of the country’s most lush farmland. Tipperary is home to the Rock of Cashel, the most impressive and imposing collection of early Christian ruins in the country.

Cahir

A bustling Georgian market town (pronounced ka-here) on the banks of the River Suir near the Galtee Mountains. Both the Suir and nearby Aherlow rivers are noted for their salmon and trout populations making the town popular with anglers.

How to Get Here

Use the M7 from Dublin as far as exit 19 before joining the N24 and then the R670 to reach the town in a journey lasting slightly more than two hours.

There are buses to Waterford and Kilkenny and trains to Kilkenny and Dublin.

Visitor Information

Cahir Tourist Office – Castle Car Park, Cahir, County Tipperary

Top Reasons to Visit

Cahir Castle The town’s centrepiece, Cahir Castle rises over the River Suir on a rocky island and is one of Ireland’s best preserved castles. Once owned by the powerful Butler family, Cahir Castle still features its original defences and has an audio-visual show to inform visitors of the fort’s history. There are guided tours available on request.

Location: Castle Street, Cahir, County Tipperary

Swiss Cottage – This thatched cottage was built for the first earl of Glengall in 1812 at a time when Romanticism had become popular among Ireland’s elite. The cottage, two kilometres south of Cahir, was designed by John Nash who was architect of, among other grand schemes, Regent Street and Buckingham Palace in London.

The cottage includes some of Dufour’s earliest wallpapers direct from Paris. There is a pleasant walk along the river from Cahir but crowds can be severe during the summer.

Location: Cahir, County Tipperary (off the R670)

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Accommodation

Aherlow House Hotel and Lodge – The original house was destroyed during the Irish Civil War and the current structure was built to replace it in 1928. The house sits on a private estate and offers fantastic views of the Galtee Mountains and Glen of Aherlow. The rooms are large while families will find much to appreciate in the lodges. It’s often crowded in summer, particularly at weekends and is popular with wedding parties.

Rates: €120

The Old Convent – This former nun’s convent was built for its serenity and retains that sense of calm today. There are extremely comfortable beds and welcoming owners but it’s quite a walk to the nearest village and there’s little here for kids.

Rates: €170

Tipperary Town

This town is built at the centre of the Golden Vale, perhaps Ireland’s most fertile region, and offers a good base for hiking in the Glen of Aherlow.

There are remnants of the history of Tipperary, built on the River Ara, throughout the town such as the Heritage House in New Tipperary – an area of the town built by local tenants during the Irish Land War of the early 1890s. Charles Kickham, author of The Homes of Tipperary which detailed the severe problems provoked by mass emigration in the county, has a statue in the town’s centre while Saint Michael’s Church features a stained glass window dedicated to a soldier who lost his life during World War I.

How to Get Here

Use the M7 south from Dublin as far as exit 19 and then the M8 to exit nine and finally the N74 to Tipperary Town where you’ll find plenty of parking. There are buses to Cork, Dublin, and Kilkenny and trains to Cork and Dublin.

Visitor Information

Tipperary Tourist Office – Tipperary Excel is an arts centre with the area’s local tourist office and a family history research facility.

Location: Mitchell Street, Tipperary Town, County Tipperary

Cashel

Located on the old Dublin to Cork road, Cashel is a busy market town which was home to the kings of Munster from around 370 CE to 1101 CE and was for a time a centre for druidic rituals. King Aengus was baptised here by Saint Patrick in 432 CE and became the first Christian monarch in Ireland. It is said that when Patrick came here, he used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, thus giving Christianity in Ireland and himself a new symbol.

How to Get Here

The M8 will take you almost the entire way to Cashel from Dublin with the final stretch being on the R639. The journey takes about an hour and three quarters and measures 167 kilometres. Cork City is just over an hour to the south (97 kilometres) on the M8 and N74. There are buses to Cork, Cahir, Fermoy and Dublin.

Trains stop in Thurles and there are buses and taxis to connect the two towns in a journey lasting about 20 minutes.

Visitor Information – Cashel Tourist Office, Cashel Heritage Centre, Main Street, County Tipperary

Cashel Heritage Centre – There are exhibits on the history of the town and its connection to the Rock as well as s scale model of Cashel during the 17th century, the tourist office is in the same building.

Location: Main Street, Cashel, County Tipperary

G.P.A Bolton Library – This library, on the grounds of Cashel’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, features a noteworthy collection of some of Europe’s earliest printed books as well as rare maps and handwritten manuscripts.

Location: John Street, Cashel, County Tipperary

Rock of Cashel This ancient hill in the middle of a treeless valley dates to the Ice Age but as with any such landmark in Ireland, there are plenty of myths about its origins – such as that the Devil tossed it here all the way from the Slieve Bloom Mountains. From the early 5th century, Cashel was home to the kings of Munster who ruled over southern Ireland before giving the Rock to early Christian who transformed the site into an important religious centre.

There’s a museum with the original Saint Patrick’s Cross and audio-visual displays as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – the roof of which was taken down by an Anglican bishop in 1749 to build his own church. You’ll also find a Round Tower and many other building from the Rock’s time as a monastery.

Location: The Rock, Cashel, County Tipperary

Where to Eat

Chez Hans Located in a former church, Chez Hans is a food lover’s paradise. The seafood platter of fish and shellfish is renowned as is the pan-fried turbot which is served with saladeNicoise and crab mayonnaise. The dark wood and tapestries combine to create a wonderful atmosphere but if you’re looking for something more relaxed Chef Jason Matthia has opened a café next door.

Typical main: €34

Location: Moore Lane, Cashel, County Tipperary

Accommodation

Cashel Palace Hotel – This house is a true Georgian mansion with grand Corinthian pillars and red pine panelling with fountains and ancient trees in the grounds which have several good walks. There are few in-room facilities and rooms are expensive for this part of the country.

Rates: €170

Location: Main Street, Cashel, County Tipperary

Dundrum House Hotel –Located on the River Multeen 12 kilometres from Cashel, Dundrum House is a four story Georgian home dating to 1730 with open fires and attractive period details. The old chapel is now a cocktail bar and there’s a health spa and golf course on the grounds. It can attract a rather boisterous crowd and rooms in the main house are generally superior.

Rates: €140

Location: Dundrum, County Tipperary (off the R505)

The Arts

BruBoru Cultural Centre – The audio-visual ‘Sounds of History’ exhibit is open throughout the day and there are frequent arts events held all year. Summer is the best time to visit however, as there folk singing, dancing, and storytelling every night except Sunday andMonday.

Location: The Rock, Cashel, County Tipperary

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