1 hr 20 mins 76 km 47 miles
Welcome to Waterford, a city founded by Vikings and graced with magnificent Georgian architecture.
Get to know the tangle of streets here by taking a Waterford City Walking Tour with brilliant master storyteller Jack Burtchaell, who will reveal tales of historic rogues and rascals. Inside the Medieval Museum, come face to face with one of Europe’s greatest treasures – the dazzling Cloth of Gold vestments. It’s a miracle that these fragile 15th century cloths survive – but during the brutal 16th century wars of religion they were buried before Waterford city fell to Oliver Cromwell.
Next up is Bishop’s Palace, designed by esteemed architect Richard Castles in 1741. One of the more unusual pieces on display here is a lock of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair, brought to the island by his niece Letitia, as well as a wealth of items from that era. A short drive out of the city will take you to Curraghmore House and Gardens, an opulent mansion where the 9th Marquis of Waterford lived. In these formal grounds you’ll also find Ireland’s oldest bridge, built in 1205 for a much-anticipated visit from England’s King John – who never came.
If you have more time:
Under the guiding hand of chef Paul Flynn, there is magic happening at The Tannery restaurant in Dungarvan. Recipient of the Best Restaurant in Waterford Award 2015 (and the Best Restaurant in Ireland Award 2013), fish and seafood are star turns on the menu here, with Helvick crab crème brûlée a typical treat.
2 hrs 20 mins 110 km 68 miles
Route: Waterford to Wexford
Marvel at molten crystal moulded and carved into gleaming glass treasures at the House of Waterford Crystal.
Created by George and William Penrose in 1783, the company’s aim was to craft intricate glass ornaments as fine as any seen in Europe. Take a look at the shop before you leave, and you’ll be left in no doubt that they did just that. Leaving Waterford, it’s a short drive to the Dunbrody Famine Ship at New Ross, County Wexford. The ship is a replica of the vessel on which Captain John Baldwin carried up to 300 desperate emigrants at a time to North America between 1845 and 1852. Take a break at the Hall of Fame restaurant here, before moving onto the Hook Peninsula, where secluded beaches and panoramic seascapes dominate the landscape. Reach around the west shore of Bannow Bay and you’ll get to Tintern Abbey, founded in 1200. The abbey’s construction was something of a miracle: caught in a treacherous storm, the Earl of Pembroke vowed to build a church if he reached Ireland without harm. Which he did! Further south is the mansion of Loftus Hall: it’s said that in 1666 the Devil called upon owner Sir Charles Tottenham and has troubled the estate ever since.
If you have more time:
In Duncannon take your pick from the tasteful dishes on offer at the family-run and critically acclaimed Roche’s Bar/Sqigl restaurant.
1 hr 0 mins 45 km 28 miles
Scratch that historical itch at the National 1798 Rebellion Centre in Enniscorthy, which traces the incredible history of Ireland’s revolution in 1798 and the people who shaped it, including celebrated leader Theobald Wolfe Tone.
One of the rebellion’s most significant sites is Vinegar Hill, where 15,000 British soldiers launched an attack on Father Murphy and his band of Irish insurgents. Full-scale re-enactments are held here each year with cannons and muskets, rebels and redcoats. It’s Victorian elegance that comes to the fore then over at Wells House and Gardens, historically home to wealthy Tudors and German industrialists alike. Grab a warm drink here and discover the secrets of this magnificent estate. Don’t miss the enchanting garden’s woodland trails, which are rendered beautifully in the collection of watercolours by former owner Lady Frances within the house. If you like good stories, you’re in the right place too. We all know about the “gift of the gab’”– an innate power to weave stories and pass on our oral culture to others – it’s a tradition as old as time, and remains very much alive and well today. Pull up a stool at Stories from the Hearth, Wexford’s network of seven storytelling cottages, each one complete with a thatched roof
If you have more time:
Located in Gorey, some 90kms from the Hook Peninsula, the award-winning restaurant The Pig’s Tale offers some delicious dishes from the finest in locally sourced food – well worth a visit!
In this trip...
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