Southern Ireland

Simply Hard to Describe

Kick off this luxury Irish excursion in Dublin, an easy walking city with stunning places to visit and explore. Grafton Street is one of two notable shopping streets in Dublin. It is also known for its many Buskers, street performers who regularly entertain the crowds and made famous by former Busker Glen Hansard in the opening scene of the film (and later Broadway play) Once. At the northern end of Grafton is College Green, where Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth, is located. Trinity College is widely considered amongst the most elite in all of Europe. The campus, which sits opposite the historic Irish Houses of Parliament, is picturesque. We like to arrange the Guinness Storehouse, the Brazen Head Pub (dinner at Ireland’s oldest pub) and the five-star FitzWilliam Hotel as magnificent places to put up your feet and ward off any jet lag.

The way out of Dublin leads to Glendalough Valley in County Wicklow, a glacial valley known for its two pristine lakes, plentiful walking/hiking options of varying difficulty      and the remains of an entire monastic city erected in the 6th century. As the trip heads south and west, the next stop is a private tour of Kilkenny Castle, completed in approximately 1195 and used for defense as part of the Norman occupation.

On the way to Cork, it’s worth a visit to the Rock of Cashel, a fortress turned church dating back to the 13th century and one of Ireland’s spectacular stories, and an afternoon stopover at the Jameson Distillery, the birthplace of Irish whiskey!

The Rock of Cashel at sunset, a fortress turned church dating back to the 13th century!

Cork (the city in County Cork) is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Originally founded as a monastic settlement in the 7th century, it survived Viking raids and English occupation before becoming the lively city it is today, full of markets, parks, old prisons and lots and lots of churches.

Just 30 minutes south of Cork, is the charming deep-sea fishing and yachting town of Kinsale (County Cork). Once a medieval fishing port, historic Kinsale is one of the most scenic resorts on Ireland’s southwest coast. With surrounding scenery that is quite simply breathtaking, the town has also become both a world-class golf and food destination. 

The trip west from County Cork to County Kerry goes along a coastal drive past the quaint coastal towns of Clonakilty, Skibbereen and Bantry, sometimes referred to as the Irish Riviera because of their small size and beautiful beaches. The Skibbereen Heritage Center is a must see as it tells the poignant story of being one of Ireland’s most affected areas during the Great Famine of the mid-1800s.

Killarney (County Kerry), is an ideal spot to explore the southwest coast of Ireland. Choices include exploring the Dingle Peninsula, the 178 kilometer (111 mile) long Ring of Kerry around the Iveragh Peninsula or the lesser traveled Beara Peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula includes Mount Brandon and its purple siltstone, Slea Head Drive with its stunning view of the west end of the peninsula and beautiful Inch Beach. The Ring of Kerry tour encompasses the Killarney National Park, the MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range as well as Waterville and Kenmare, small hidden gem towns that lead the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The Beara Peninsula is a great place for hikes along several loops in beautiful Ardgroom, as well a visit of Dursey Island or a stop in Castletownbere, a small fishing port that overlooks the spectacular Berehaven Harbour.

The Cork City Gaol, a prison that has been turned into a museum, offers stunning architecture.

Saying goodbye to Killarney means saying hello to Adare (County Limerick). Adare is known to be one of Ireland’s prettiest towns and home of the impressive Adare Manor.  The original structure of this five-star manor was built in the 17th century. It indulges guests in some familiar and some unaccustomed activities, including fishing, archery, biking, falconry, horse riding, tennis, clay shooting and more! So much of a visit to Southern Ireland is about staying in the castles and historic manors like Adare Manor and including Hayfield Manor, Dromoland Castle and Great Southern Killarney. And sneaking in a round of golf at some of the best golf courses in the world!

Ireland is truly an enchanting place that surpasses all expectations. There is so much to choose from that you can drive yourself crazy with the planning. Few know this country like we do. Let us put all the pieces together for you.