Tour Style: Cultural Activity Holidays
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Bike and walk amongst the hills and valleys of Ireland's South, as you explore charming villages, splendid ancient castles, ruined abbeys and forgotten monasteries, on this short activity holiday through Ireland's 'Sunny South'.
Leisurely walks, exhilarating bike rides and tranquil kayaking take us along a stunning coastline and out onto beautiful headlands, to discover many of Ireland's hidden southern gems!
We begin with a fun-packed day in Killarney National Park, and through the Gap of Dunloe, before arriving in one of the lesser-known corners of Ireland on the Ring of Kerry, overlooking tiny Portmagee harbour – famous for its traditional music and dance sessions. In the days to follow, stunning walks, cycles and discoveries will take us through the quiet back roads and colourful villages of west Cork, before we plant a kiss on the Blarney Stone. After revelling in the 'cultural capital' of Cork, we'll marvel at coastal beauty in Ardmore and explore incredible medieval Kilkenny, before turning to the tranquil waterways of the Barrow for a leisurely walk, cycle or optional canoe trip. We'll end our tour with a walk in the footsteps of pilgrims at the ancient monastic site of Glendalough, where we'll learn about Ireland’s reputation as ‘the land of saints and scholars’, before heading over the Wicklow hills on a stunning scenic drive or cycle through the Sally Gap towards Dublin. This fantastic tour features a brilliant mix of history, culture and activities.
We begin this fun-packed day with a visit to Muckross Estate and Killarney National Park, where you can choose to walk or cycle the shores of Muckross Lake to Torc Waterfall or take an optional visit into the magnificent 19th century Muckross House. Alternatively, you can experience Killarney National Park from a different perspective, on an optional kayaking trip out onto its magical lakes. Following a scrumptious picnic lunch in the shadow of the 15th century Ross Castle, we begin our afternoon's adventures in open boats, crossing over the tranquil lakes to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. Once on dry land again, we'll enjoy a leisurely walk through the ruggedly beautiful Gap of Dunloe (approx. 7kms) to Kate Kearney's Cottage - a traditional pub that marks the trail’s end.
Today, we explore the spectacular coastal scenery of the Ring of Kerry, taking one of the most scenic walks in Ireland along the old Mass Path, which forms part of the Kerry Way. The path brings us out on the sand dunes above Derrynane beach. Here, on a fine day, you can take a dip in the Irish Atlantic, or, if the tide is out, you'll be able to cross over the beach to Abbey Island, where you’ll find the remains of a 10th century abbey and the local cemetery. We continue on to the heritage town of Kenmare for lunch, with time to explore the colourful market town and the nearby Bronze Age stone circle. In the afternoon, we discover the art of Irish cheese making traditions at Manning’s Emporium and sample some local cottage varieties, before heading out onto Sheep’s Head, where, without a doubt, sheep outnumber people on this secluded peninsula. One of the quietest and most remote parts of Ireland, Sheep’s Head possesses a tranquil beauty where we can enjoy our trails in picturesque solitude. When the sun sets, you have the option to join us on a starlight kayaking trip, where, if we’re lucky, we may experience the beauty of bio-luminescence around us while we paddle, marvelling as the waters glow with a thousand tiny lights!
Romantic, rural Ireland is epitomised as we creep along the Cork coastline, passing through the many colourful towns and villages as we go. Walks and cycles take us along the craggy coastline and through the verdant hills of West Cork, past abbeys and ancient ruins, into the picture-perfect postcard town of Kinsale. Known as the gourmet capital of Ireland, we’ll be sure to arrive in plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and lots of photos, before heading up to the magnificent Charles Fort. Standing guard over the sheltered bay, Charles Fort is considered one of the most well-preserved 17th century star-shaped forts in Europe. After our visit, we end our day in vibrant Cork City, known as the Venice of Ireland. You have the option to see Cork from a different perspective, on an optional guided evening paddling tour of the city along the River Lee, before you venture out to discover this exciting, thriving capital of the south.
Departing Cork for the ‘Sunny South East’, we begin our day’s touring with a trip to an old favourite, the famed Blarney Castle. Prepare to hang upside down and receive the ‘gift of the gab’ as you kiss the Blarney Stone! We’ll then follow the pilgrims' footsteps to the pretty seaside village of Ardmore, where it’s said that St. Declan brought Christianity to Ireland even before St. Patrick! It boasts a beautiful 5km cliff walk, along part of a longer walking trail known as ‘St. Declan’s Way’, which ends at the old monastic site and round tower. We follow our visit with a cycle along the spectacular Copper Coast in Waterford. In the afternoon, we enjoy a peaceful walk or cycle along the meandering Barrow River, between St. Mullins and Graiguenamanagh, or you can join an optional paddling trip on the tranquil river instead, before enjoying a well-deserved pint in ones of Graigue’s extraordinary traditional pubs. We rest our heads in Ireland’s finest medieval city, the seat of Irish political power in the Middle Ages, which has left its mark on the town with a majestic riverside castle, charming architecture and a medieval cathedral.
We begin our day with a scenic drive through the lush landscape of County Carlow and into Wicklow, stopping at Ireland’s oldest working woollen mills, in the pretty village of Avoca, where we learn of the time-old tradition of weaving. We then make our way along the valley, into the ancient monastic ruins of Glendalough, meaning ‘valley of the two lakes’. We take a visit to the famous Glendalough Monastic Settlement to learn about ‘the land of saints and scholars’, before taking a walk along the lakeside to the picturesque Poulanass Waterfall. We finish our day with a spectacular scenic drive through the Wicklow Mountains National park, over the Sally Gap, where those who fancy pedalling will be rewarded with a breath-taking cycle back down towards Dublin.
This tour is available on the following dates:
All of our tours are subject to a minimum amount of bookings - if you can see a green tick to show the tour is guaranteed to run, this means we have already met the minimum amount of bookings required.
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