Seven Day Tour of South West Ireland 

Tour Highlights

(Day 1) Dublin - Kilkenny - Rock of Cashel - Cahir Castle - Cork

Google route map dublin to cork

Kilkenny is a medieval town in  Ireland. Its grand Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 by Norman occupiers. The town has deep religious roots and many well-preserved churches and monasteries, including imposing St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican priory, both from the 13th century. It’s also a crafts hub, with shops along its winding lanes selling pottery, paintings, and jewellery.

Rock of Cashel.A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th-century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral.  Attractions include an audio-visual show and exhibitions.

Cahir Castle.Once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. It is situated on a rocky island on the River Suir.

(Day 2) Cork - Cobh - Midleton - Blarney Castle - Cork

Google map of cork city and surrounding areasCork, is a university city with its centre on an island in the River Lee, connected to the sea by Cork Harbour. The castlelike 1824 Cork City Gaol once held prisoners bound for Australia, and exhibitions relay the building’s history. The hilltop steeple of 18th-century Shandon Church (officially the Church of Saint Anne) is a symbol of the city.

English Market, Situated in the heart of Cork City, the English Market is a roofed food market and has been trading since 1788.

Developed and still owned by Cork City Council, the Market is one of the oldest municipal markets of it’s kind in the world.

Cobh is on an island in Cork city’s harbour. It’s known as the Titanic’s last port of call in 1912. Titanic Experience Cobh is a themed attraction in the former White Star Line ticket office. More displays on the liner are in the Cobh Heritage Centre, which also explores how Cobh became an embarkation point during Ireland’s mass emigrations. 

Midleton Distillery, the home of whiskey excellence, preserving the Pot Still tradition in Ireland for almost 200 years. The present Midleton Distillery is an intriguing study in whiskey production, given its unique ability to distill a wide variety of distillate types, it is one of the most remarkable distilleries in the world.

Blarney Castle, is a medieval stronghold. the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. Tourists visiting Blarney Castle may hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence.

(Day 3) Cork - Kinsale - Drombeg - Kenmare - Killarney

Google route map Cork to Killarney

Kinsale, originally a medieval fishing port, historic Kinsale (from the Irish, Ceann tSaile – ‘Head of the Sea’) is one of the most picturesque, popular and historic towns on the southwest coast of Ireland.

Visitors to Kinsale are captivated by its beautiful setting; its long waterfront, yacht-filled harbour, narrow winding streets and brightly painted galleries, shops and houses. The impressive fortifications of Charles Fort and James Fort guard the narrow entrance from the sea – giving clues to its rich history. 

Drombeg Stone Circle, the structure consists of 17 tightly packed stones. As a ‘Cork-Kerry’ type stone circle, it contains two taller entrance stones placed opposite a recumbent axial stone. Its axis is orientated southwest towards the setting sun.

Bantry, a lovely little harbour town in West Cork and on the Wild Atlantic Way. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in terms of history, landscape, flora, and fauna. Bantry has a long history with some of the first references to it in the seminal Annals of the Four Masters. 

Kenmare is a haven of tranquility, gourmet food, superb accommodation and breathtaking scenery in one of the most natural, unspoiled environments in Europe. Cradled in the heart of Kenmare Bay, the picturesque town of Kenmare is the perfect location from which to discover the South West of Ireland, linking the internationally famous Ring of Kerry with the rugged Ring of Beara.

Killarney is a town on the shores of Lough Leane in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. It’s a stop on the Ring of Kerry scenic drive, and the start and finishing point of the 200-km Kerry Way walking trail. The town’s 19th-century buildings include St. Mary’s Cathedral. Across the bridge from the cathedral is Killarney National Park. Victorian mansion Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms sits in the park.

(Day 4) The Ring of Kerry

Google routh map of the ring of kerryThe Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. It’s 179km-long, the circular route takes in rugged and verdant coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages. Skellig Michael, a rocky island with an abandoned 7th-century Christian monastery, is a major destination point, with several boats from Portmagee making the 12km crossing during the warmer months.

Valentia Island is one of Ireland’s most westerly points. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of County Kerry. It is linked to the mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee.

Moll’s Gap or Céim an Daimh is a mountain pass on the road from Kenmare to Killarney. Moll’s Gap is on the Ring of Kerry route, and offers views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, and is a popular tourist location.

Torc Waterfall is a 20 meters high, 110 meters long cascade waterfall formed by the Owengarriff River as it drains from the Devil’s Punchbowl corrie lake at Mangerton Mountain. The waterfall, which lies at the base of Torc Mountain, in the Killarney National Park.

(Day 5) Killarney - Inch Beach - Dingle - Slea Head - Connor's Pass - Adare

Google route map killarney to adare in county limerickDingle is a small port town on  Dingle Peninsula, known for its rugged scenery, trails, and sandy beaches. A statue of long-time harbour resident Fungie the dolphin is by the waterfront. Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium has penguins, otters, and sharks. To the northwest, Gallarus Oratory is an ancient dry-stone church with sloping sides. Clifftop Dún Beag is a prehistoric promontory fort to the southwest.

The Blasket Islands were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irishspeaking population and today are part of the Gaeltacht. At its peak, the islands had 175 residents. The population declined to 22 by 1953. The government evacuated the remaining residents to the mainland on 17 November 1953 because of increasingly extreme weather that left the island cut off from emergency services. The evacuation was seen as necessary by both the Islanders and the government.

Blasket Centre tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing, and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing, and entertainment. The Centre details the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture,

Connor Pass, Set in the stunning mountains of the Dingle peninsula the Conor Pass links Dingle Town on the south coast of the peninsula with the settlements along the north. The views from the road are breathtaking, as the glaciated landscape of mountains and corrie lakes comes into view. From the scenic car park at the summit, there are views as far north as the Aran Islands off County Galway.

(Day 6) Adare - Limerick - Buratty Castle - Cliffs of Moher - Galway

Google route map Galway to Dublin Adare is a small village located south-west of the city of Limerick. Renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns, Adare is designated as a heritage town by the Irish government. 

Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland.  Built-in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th-century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th-century life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting.  

The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare. The Cliffs rise to 702 feet (214 m) at their highest point and range for 8 km (5 miles) over the Atlantic ocean. The sheer scale and dramatic impact of the cliffs never cease to amaze and delight in equal measure. The Cliffs are part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, a special region with outstanding geology.

Poulnabrone Dolmen Poul na Brone Dolmen is the Burren’s most famous archaeological monument and is regarded as the finest example of Megalithic tombs in Ireland.

In fact, there is a wealth of remains from ancient civilizations in the Burren that excites the historian and archaeologist. It was excavated in 1986 and the remains of 33 people were discovered some dating back to 3800 B.C.

(Day 7) Galway - Clonmacnoise - Bective Abbey - Trim Castle - Dublin

Google route map Galway to DublinGalway, a harbour city on the west coast, sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques, and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.

The Spanish Arch is thought to be an extension of Galway’s medieval city walls, designed to protect ships moored at the nearby quay while they unloaded goods from Spain. It was partially destroyed by the tsunami that followed the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Today it reverberates with buskers and drummers, and the lawns and riverside form a gathering place for locals and visitors on sunny days, as kayakers negotiate the tidal rapids of the River Corrib.

Clonmacnoise, An Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th  -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the visitor center.
The long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation shown in the visitor center. There are also exhibitions that deal with the flora, fauna, and landscape of the region.

Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare, (Strongbow).  Construction of the massive three-storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun c. 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall, and moat.

Bectve Abbey is a Cistercian abbey on the River Boyne in Bective, County Meath. The abbey was founded in 1147, and the remaining structure and ruins primarily date to the 15th century. The abbey, including its early 13th-century church, 15th-century cloister, and 16th-century tower, 

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