Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland
Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland The sun setting over the Irish coast Irish locals fishing on the lake at Kylemore Abbey Glendalough, monastic site visited on some of our Ireland tours Traditional Irish music performed for visitors on a Tour of Ireland Sheep grazing on the Irish coastal clifftops

East Ireland Travel Guide Wicklow and the East of Ireland

Welcome to Ireland's East

Escaping the bustle of Dublin and heading south, you will encounter the scenic beauty of Wicklow, wild and enchanting. Stunning landscapes surround you as you explore the majestic glacial valleys and dramatic mountain passes. This rugged landscape of gorse and bracken is home to many of Ireland's most significant archaeological finds, from the stately homes of 18th-century gentry to the very earliest Christian dwellings.

Animal-lovers should head west to Kildare, the home of Irish horse racing and a landscape beautiful enough to rival Wicklow to the east.

Plan Your Trip to The East of Ireland

Attractions of The East

Guests visiting the East on their tour of Ireland should look out for Brú na Bóinne, Glendalough, Powerscourt Estate, Monasterboice and Castletownhouse, all detailed below.

Powerscourt House in County Wicklow, as seen on many of our tours of Ireland Powerscourt House in County Wicklow, as seen on many of our tours of Ireland

Powerscourt Estate County Wicklow

Powerscourt Estate

Even the briefest visit to this Palladian mansion, with extensive Italianate gardens, will give a sense of the inequality which existed in Ireland during the Eighteenth Century when Powerscourt was built. Originally built by Richard Cassels between 1731 and 1743, the main building was the subject of continued rejuvenation for generations to come, with considerable alterations being made in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. The last chapter in this story of renovation would not arrive until 1974 when, tragically gutted by fire, the mansion was subjected to a painstaking restoration which continues to this day, restricting visitor-access to the first (i.e. ground) floor only.

Powerscourt is a very popular attraction and, during the summer months, draws significant crowds. Visitors should allow for this by avoiding peak times wherever possible. Mid-week, visiting tourists can enjoy the estate's many attractions at a relaxed pace, both indoors and out. The formal gardens, redesigned in the Nineteenth Century by Daniel Robinson, are truly breathtaking in their beauty and encompass a panoply of different landscaping styles. Visit Powerscourt Estate Website

Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland

GlendaloughCounty Wicklow

Glendalough

An ancient monastic settlement, Glendalough (meaning: Valley of the Two Lakes) presents today's visitors with a chance to walk not only through the idyllic hills of Ireland's East, but also through the rough-hewn landscapes of ancient Irish history. Founded in the Fifth Century by St. Kevin, the settlement would grow to be very powerful at its zenith some four hundred years later. By the start of the Fifteenth Century, this stronghold was in decline but the stone monuments and buildings remain as evocative and powerful today as they surely must have been then. Glendalough is a destination on many of our tours of Ireland.

Images courtesy of Glendalough Gallery (see full slideshow), taken by John Griffin Photography & Michael Delahunty.

Brú na Bóinne

A thousand years older than Stonehenge, Brú na Bóinne is a huge Neolithic necropolis, built to house the bodies of the social elites who ruled this region of ancient Ireland. Covering a large area, Brú na Bóinne is perhaps best known for three main sites - Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth (Dowth is closed to tourists). A must-see on any Ireland Tour.

All visits to Brú na Bóinne start at the visitor centre, where a shuttle-bus service will collect you and take you to the most important sites. Be warned that tours of Newgrange and Knowth are limited to 750 places per day, while Brú na Bóinne as a whole attracts nearly three times this number during peak season. With no advance booking available, it pays to arrive early and be patient.

The Battle of The Boyne

Fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones, catholic King James II and protestant King William III of Orange, the Battle of The Boyne would shore up the growing strength of protestantism in Ireland, precipitating James's swift departure for safety in France.

The battle itself was fought on a stretch of land between the counties of Meath and Louth which now belongs to the Oldbridge Estate Farm. On site, there is a visitor centre with a short show, original and replica weapons, and a battlefield model. There is also a tea pavilion to which the battle-weary can retreat for hot drinks and cakes.

For information about great driving routes in this area, look up www.boynevalleyroute.com - a really useful resource for those considering a self-drive tour of East Ireland.

Castletown House, County Kildare Castletown House, County Kildare

Castletown House County Kildare

Castletown House

The eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish gentry left plenty of reminders of the opulence they enjoyed, as the Powerscourt Estate (above) will attest. But even among the many stately homes of Ireland, Castletown House stands out as Ireland's largest and most imposing Georgian estate.

Built over a period of ten years from 1722, the house itself was to be the home of Ireland's richest man, William Conolly (1662-1729) who died three years before the house was completed. The speaker of the Irish House of Commons, Conolly was something of a rags-to-riches figure who had made his fortune from astute property trading in the flux which followed the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

This palatial mansion is built in the Italian style and retains a cohesive architectural identity despite the mixed contributions of first- and second-wave architects, not to mention Conolly's creative widow. Visitors will enjoy the Long Gallery, in particular, which houses a large number of impressive family portraits and stucco work by the Francinis.

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara Kylemore Abbey in Connemara

Visit Glendalough on these Tours

Buskers seens on an Ireland Tour

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6-Day Iconic Scenes Hub-and-Spoke Tour

Experience the true essence of Ireland in under a week. Ireland's unmissable destinations in one unforgettable hub-and-spoke tour. Read more...

6-Day Iconic Scenes of Ireland Tour

  • Hub & Spoke Tour
  • 6 Days / 5 Nights
  • €1,075 per person
  • Max. 26 Guests
  • Luxury Transport
2018 Tour
The Cliffs of Moher

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Custom Private Tours Bespoke for your group

Set your own budget, set your own pace. Let us create a bespoke tour package for you and your group. Read more...

Customize your own Private Tour

  • Made to Measure
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Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions

Sally Gap

Accessible by car, this is also one for the thousands hill walkers who visit Ireland each year. Sally Gap offers visitors some of the most beautiful scenery you will find anywhere on your tour of Ireland, so don't forget to bring your camera along with you. Sally Gap is one of two west-east passes across the Wicklow Mountains, and affords fantastic views of Lough Tay and Lough Dan.

Town's of the East

Not known for its own tourist attractions, but a good stop-off nonetheless is Kildare Town . In Trim, County Meath, look out for St Brigid's Cathedral before heading over to the Irish National Stud. A quaint town sitting the shadow of its dramatic castle and ruins. A busy bustle of little streets so look out for your souvenirs here. Another town of note, 30 miles north of Dublin, Drogheda straddles the River Boyne. There is a great museum here and plenty of beautiful old buildings.

The Irish National Stud & Gardens

Just over a mile south of Kildare town, The Irish National stud is perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in this part of Ireland. In her historic 2011 visit to Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II fed her passion for all things equestrian by visiting the stud which is home to some of the world's finest horses. Owned by the Irish government, the stud breeds competition-quality stallions for breeding programs the world-over.

Hourly guided tours of the stud bring you face-to-face with renowned stallions and feature a visit to the intensive-care unit for newly-born foals and visitors between February and June can even see foals being delivered.

The Japanese Gardens are perhaps not large enough to merit a special visit in their own right, but they are very pretty and, when in bloom, add a very pleasant sidenote to the main attraction, the stud itself.

Enjoy The Irish National Stud in County Kildare on your tour of Ireland Enjoy The Irish National Stud in County Kildare on your tour of Ireland

Visit The Irish National Stud on these Tours

Ross Castle, as viewed on our Ireland tours

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Ancient Ireland Small Group Size

An exclusive mini-group tour for 8 guests. Discover Ireland's hidden secrets and stay in a luxury castle on this unique journey through ancient Ireland. Read more...

2018 Ancient Ireland Mini-Group Tour

  • Max. 8 Guests
  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • €2,290 to €2,590
  • Stay in a Castle
  • Luxury Transport
2018 Tour
O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

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10-Day Iconic Scenes of Ireland Our most popular tour

Experience all that is Ireland in this unmissable 10-day adventure. See Ireland's best-loved attractions and its best-kept secrets. Read more...

10-Day Iconic Scenes Tour 2018

  • 10 Days / 9 Nights
  • €1,290 - €1,790
  • Max. 26 Guests
  • Four-Star Hotels
  • Luxury Transport
2018 Tour
Sheep in Kerry, Ireland

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15-Day Iconic Scenes of Ireland Northern & Southern

Discover the Island of Ireland, North and South with this unforgettable 15-day tour. Spend five magical days in Ulster, and then 10 more in Eire. Read more...

15-Day Iconic Scenes Tour 2018

  • 15 Days / 14 Nights
  • €2,485
  • Max. 26 Guests
  • North and South
  • Four-Star Hotels
2018 Tour
Thatched Cottage on Aran Islands, photographed on an Ireland Tour

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Towns and Villagesof Ireland Tour

Experience the Greatest Hits of Ireland along with some of its lesser known, hidden gems on this 8-day exploration of Ireland's history, heritage and people.Read more...

Towns and Villages of Ireland Tour 2018

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • €1,350
  • Max. 26 Guests
  • Luxury Transport
2018 Tour
The Cliffs of Moher

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Custom Private Tours Bespoke for your group

Set your own budget, set your own pace. Let us create a bespoke tour package for you and your group. Read more...

Customize your own Private Tour

  • Made to Measure
  • Private Group
  • Any Accomm.
  • Choose the Duration
  • Tell us your needs
Private Tours

Accommodation in The East of Ireland

Hotels in The East of Ireland

Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Athlone Springs, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

Athlone Springs

With 68 modern bedrooms and state of the art leisure facilities Athlone Springs is the ideal for a break away in County Westmeath.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Leisure Breaks
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Killenard, Co. Laois

The Heritage Killenard, Killenard, Co. Laois, Ireland

The Heritage Killenard

A 5 star hotel based in the beautiful, County Loais. The Heritage has an extensive collection of Luxury Accommodation and Dining.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Great Location
  • Leisure Breaks
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County Kildare

Barberstown Castle, Kildare, Ireland

Barberstown Castle

Built in the 13th Century, Barberstown Castle is a four-star Irish Castle with five-star quality. Close proximity to Dublin.

  • Ideal for Shopping
  • Luxurious Setting
  • Ideal for Business
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Delgany, Co. Wicklow

Glenview Hotel, Delgany, Co. Wicklow,  Ireland

Glenview Hotel

Situated in the picturesque and stunning Glen of the Downs, and set amongst 30 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland walks.

  • Ideal for Shopping
  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Business
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The Curragh, Co. Kildare

Martinstown House, The Curragh, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Martinstown House

Not so much a hotel, more a private country residence situated on its own miniature park with many fine old trees and a beautiful walled garden.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Ideal for Business
  • Great Location
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Drogheda, Co. Louth

Scholars Townhouse, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland

Scholars Townhouse

A 2005 renovation has transformed this magnificent late-Victorian building into a proud, family-owned 16-bedroom Hotel.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Great Location
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Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow

Rathsallagh Hotel, Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Rathsallagh

An award winning Country House with 35 rooms. Converted from Queen Anne stables and located in picturesque County Wicklow.

  • Great Location
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
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B&Bs and Guesthouses in The East of Ireland

Glendalough, Co. Wicklow

Bramble Rock, Wicklow, Ireland

Bramble Rock

A family-run guesthouse that combines friendliness and luxury. Here, you can relax and absorb the beautiful sights of Glendalough.

  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
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Athy, Co. Kildare

Dollardstown House, Kildare, Ireland

Dollardstown House

Welcome to a heart-warming break in an historic family home. Enjoy the grounds and gardens in summer or the open fires in winter.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
  • Budget Friendly
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Ballacolla, Co. Laois

The Foxrock Inn, Laois, Ireland

The Foxrock Inn

Stay in a traditional Irish Inn in the heart of the Irish countryside. Peace and tranquility in the shadow of the Slieve Bloom mountains.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
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Donore, Co. Meath

Newgrange Lodge, Meath, Ireland

Newgrange Lodge

A renovated farmhouse, Newgrange Lodge is uniquely located within the historical world famous heritage UNESCO parkland of Brú na Bóinne.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Families
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Donore, Co. Meath

Tudor Lodge, Meath, Ireland

Tudor Lodge

Tudor Lodge is nestled beside the Avonmore River and Wicklow Way and it is only 1km from the many attractions of ancient Glendalough.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Location
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Hostels in the The East of Ireland

Slane, Co. Meath

Rock Farm Slane, Co. Meath, Ireland

Rock Farm Slane

Rock Farm Slane Boutique Camping Glamping offers you Gold-Certified Ecotourism Luxury Camping on the River Boyne.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
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My Ireland Travel Guide

Barrels at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin City

Ireland's much-loved capital and the gateway to the Emerald Isle. A vibrant, modern and outward-facing city, most Ireland tours and vacations begin here. Read more...

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Trinity College
  • Temple Bar Quarter
  • The Book of Kells
  • Dublin Castle
About Dublin
Lighthouse in Hook Head

Wicklow & the East

This wild landscape of gorse and bracken is home to many of Ireland's most significant archaeological finds, as well its grandest estates. Read more...

  • Powerscourt Estate
  • Glendalough Settlement
  • Brú na Bóinne
  • Battle of The Boyne
  • National Stud
About the East
The Cliffs of Moher

Galway & the West

Pack walking boots, a camera and a sense of adventure as you head west for Galway, County Clare and the Wild Atalantic Way. Heritage, tradition and Read more...

  • Kylemore Abbey
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Clonmacnoise Settlement
  • Clare Music Sessions
  • The Burren Landscape
About the West
Kilkenny Castle by the riverside

Kilkenny & South-East

The sunny South East. Ireland's warmest and driest region is also one of its most popular destinations with tourists and locals alike. Read more...

  • The Rock of Cashel
  • Waterford Crystal
  • Lismore Castle
  • Tintern Abbey
  • St Canice's Cathedral
The South East
Sheep in Kerry, Ireland

Cork and Kerry

Wind-swept, welcoming and rugged, Ireland South West typifies what visitors expect Ireland to look like – vibrant, vivid and verdant. Read more...

  • Cork English Market
  • Blarney Castle
  • The Ring of Kerry
  • Killarney Nat. Park
  • Skellig Michael
The South West
Trad Session in Donegal, Ireland

Donegal and Sligo

Less well-trodden than Dublin, Belfast or Killarney, this picturesque region invites you to get outdoors. Don't forget your camera! Read more...

  • Slieve League Cliffs
  • Lakes and Loughs
  • Maghera Beach
  • Errigal Mountain
  • Glencolmcille Village
The North West
The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

Belfast & The North

In peace, Belfast and the North have staked their rightful claim as some of the Island of Ireland's most iconic and cultural regions. Read more...

  • The City of Belfast
  • Titanic Belfast
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Carrick-a-Rede
  • The City of Derry
Northern Ireland
Solo traveller admiring the coastal view in Ireland

Ireland Solo Travel

Whether you're looking to meet new people or just yearning get away from it all, Ireland is a great place to travel independently. Read more...

  • Experience the Culture
  • Find Your Inner Peace
  • Discover New Paths
  • Start a Course
  • Experience the Nightlife
Northern Ireland

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