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

South East Ireland Travel Guide Wexford, Kilkenny and The South East of Ireland

The Sunny Southeast of Ireland

The warmest and driest region of Ireland, the South East is a favourite among visiting tourists. Attracted by the beaches of Wexford and Waterford, as well as the quaint and picturesque seaside towns and fishing villages, visitors also enjoy the rich history of this region.

Plan Your Trip to The South East

Kilkenny City

The city of Kilkenny, the most urbanised area in the region, lends its castle, cathedral and medieval thoroughfares to the strong sense of living history which pervades this stretch of Ireland. Peppered with shipwrecks from throughout the centuries, the coastline and peninsulas tell many tales of Viking raids, solitary monks and crusading knights.

Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions

National 1798 Rebellion Centre

The Eighteenth Century is perhaps one of the most formative times in the history of Western democracy. It is also one of the bloodiest. The American and French revolutions would have a significant effect on the Irish sense of identity, not to mention the revolutionary spirit which ran through it.

The 1798 Rebellion Centre charts the history of the attempted revolution of that year, thwarted by British military superiority and the ruthless deployment of spies, informants and torture tactics. After a bruising campaign, the Irish rebels regrouped on Vinegar Hill in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, where they would make their final stand against the British. The result was a crushing defeat for the Irish, whose superior numbers could not make up for the firepower of the redcoats below. Armed mostly with pikes, the Irish dead would number high in the thousands.

The National 1798 Rebellion Centre recounts the tale of this most dramatic year in Irish history with vivid interactive displays and moving recreations. Visitors are advised to come here before travelling to Vinegar Hill itself; the former conveying the gravity and significance of the latter.

National 1798 Rebellion Centre

St Canice's Cathedral

With its monumental round tower, St Canice's Cathedral rises majestically above the north of Kilkenny's city centre. Perhaps understandably so: ranking just behind St Patrick's in Dublin, it is Ireland's second-largest medieval cathedral. Gothic in style, it is characterized by its iconic round tower which affords commanding views of the surrounding area. The history of the building itself, long and varied, began - at least according to legend - in the Sixth Century with the establishment of a monastery there by St Canice, Kilkenny's patron saint.

St Canice's Cathedral

Jerpoint Abbey

Founded in the second half of the Twelfth Centrury and recently partially restored, Jerpoint Abbey is one of Ireland's finest Cistercian ruins. The main church, with its Romanesque flourishes, dates from these earliest days in the abbey's long history, but visitors will also find additions from the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Look out for figures carved into the cloister pillars, some of them quite entertaining.

Copper Coast Geopark Website

The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

Rock of Cashel County Tipperary

Rock of Cashel

Ireland has more than its fair share of outstanding archeological sites, but the Rock of Cashel is arguably the most impressive. The 'rock' from which it takes its name is in fact a limestone hill, covered in luscious green, rising from the plain which characterises the surrounding area. The word 'cashel', by contrast, is derived from the Irish gaelic word caiseal, meaning stone fortress.

In both respects, the Rock of Cashel lives up to its title. The rock itself is vast and imposing, and one can only imagine the difficulties it would have posed for attackers throughout the ages who had designs on the stone fortress above. The masonry of the fort itself is no less spectacular and is remarkably well preserved almost a full millennium after its original construction. The Rock of Cashel can be seen on man of our Ireland tours.

The Rock of Cashel, County Tiperary, as seen on many of our tours of Ireland

Rock of Cashel

History

The history of the site itself is long and varied. First used as a base for Welsh invaders, the Eóghanachta clan, who would become kings of this region of Ireland. The clan, and hence the rock, have been closely associated with St. Patrick (considered by many historians to be a Welshman), earning Cashel's pseudonym, St. Patrick's Rock.

Although, under Eóghanachta rule, Cashel would rival Tara as Ireland's centre of power, it was wrested from their control in the Tenth Century before being presented to the Church in 1101. The site would change hands many times again in the centuries to follow, giving rise to the various buildings whose remains now occupy it.

The Rock of Cashel is just a five-minute walk from Cashel town. Visitors travelling without a guide are advised to call ahead for details of on-site guided tours.

Visiting The Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel, Ireland Rock of Cashel, Ireland

Visit The Rock of Cashel on these Tours

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland

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Deluxe Irish Castles Tour Stay in Castles

Stay in Ireland's historic castles and romantic country manors on the finest all-inclusive tour Ireland has to offer. Live like royalty for 10 days. Read more...

Deluxe Irish Castles Tour 2018

  • Stay in Castles
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights
  • €1,990 to €2,290
  • Max. 26 Guests
  • 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
A farmer with his sheep, photographed on an Ireland Tour

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Castles and BackroadsStay in Castles

On this 7-day adventure, see the true face of Ireland as you explore not only the top tourist attractions, but also the road less travelled.Read more...

The Castles and Backroads Tour 2018

  • Stay in Castles
  • 7 Days / 6 Nights
  • €1,545 to €1,595
  • 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...

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Private Tours

Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions

Saltee Islands

Two islands, both privately owned but open to public, make for great photos and a real taste of Ireland's natural side. Once the stomping ground of smugglers and pirates, the islands are today home to one of Europe's most important bird sanctuaries, providing a safe environment for over 375 species of birds, including gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins.

Kilkenny City

A picture-postcard Irish destination, Kilkenny has all the charm and all the history you could ask for. An ancient setting, with its castle and cathedral, it is home to many equally ancient pubs, where good craic and good live music are assured. Kilkenny also has lots of good restaurants to choose from. Kilkenny is a hidden gem that many people who visit don't see as an essential destination on their tour of Ireland but when they leave are glad they made the journey.

Waterford City

As well as the well-known House of Waterford Crystal, visitors should look out for the Waterford Treasures museums: the Medieval Museum, Reginald's Tower and Bishop's Palace.

Ardmore

A secluded seaside village in Waterford, Ardmore attracts summer visitors to its long, sandy beach, as well as its cliff walks, shops and early Christian monuments. Visitors should add to their to-do list any and all of the following depending on your interests and group make-up: St Declan's Church, Ballyquin Beach and Ardmore Pottery which will leave you well placed to finish the day with a cliff-top stroll before dinner.

Dungarvan

A must-see destination for all foodies visiting Ireland, Dungarvan is home to the regular farmers' market, the Waterford Festival of Food, and the Tannery Restaurant and Cooking School

The Ancient Ruins of Tintern Abbey, Count Wexford The Ancient Ruins of Tintern Abbey, Count Wexford

Tintern Abbey County Wexford

Tintern Abbey

Like the Rock of Cashel, Tintern Abbey owes its heritage to Wales, founded as it was by the Earl of Pembroke in the Thirteenth Century for the benefit of its Welsh monk inhabitants. Today, there remains a Welsh counterpart with the same name.

Much of the original building still stands, including the cloister walls and crossing tower, as well as the chancel and transept chapels. But visitors will enjoy the surroundings at least as much as the abbey itself, with lakes, streams, woods and ruins providing distractions for all age groups. Perhaps most alluring of all is the Colclough Walled Garden, built over 200 years ago and restored since 2010.

Visiting Tintern Abbey

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The People's Park, Waterford City, Ireland The People's Park, Waterford City, Ireland

Waterford The Deise

Waterford City

As well as the well-known House of Waterford Crystal, visitors should look out for the Waterford Treasures museums: the Medieval Museum, Reginald's Tower and Bishop's Palace.

A must-see destination for all foodies visiting Ireland, Dungarvan is home to the regular farmers' market, the Waterford Festival of Food, and the Tannery Restaurant and Cooking School.

A secluded seaside village in Waterford, Ardmore attracts summer visitors to its long, sandy beach, as well as its cliff walks, shops and early Christian monuments. Visitors should add to their to-do list any and all of the following depending on your interests and group make-up: St Declan's Church, Ballyquin Beach and Ardmore Pottery which will leave you well placed to finish the day with a cliff-top stroll before dinner.

Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions in Waterford

Lismore Castle & Gardens

Irish castles are not few in number, and they rank among the most popular attractions on any giventour of Ireland. But if you were looking for a single example of what people might expect a picture-postcard Irish castle to look like, Lismore Castle might be the one. Although the original castle dated back to 1185, what visitors see today was in fact built in the early 1800s, so its turrets and towers are in immaculate condition.

What might impress visitors rather less is the lack of access, so take note before you make a special trip: you won't be able to go inside the castle itself, the interior spaces of which are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to explore the extensive and ornate gardens which, considered the oldest in Ireland, are arguably worth the trip in themselves, especially for the more green-fingered visitor.

Lismore Castle & Gardens Website

House of Waterford Crystal

Waterford crystal is known the world over for its quality and, throughout a history which dates back to its establishment in the South-East of Ireland in 1783, it has been a landmark of its own in this part of Ireland. Today, Waterford Crystal is no less recognisable than its sister-brands, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton.

The visitor centre is a modern building on The Mall, a tour of which teaches visitors how crystal is made. Undoubtedly the most popular part of the tour is the blowing room, where the crystal glasses, vases etc. are 'blown' into shape.

Waterford Crystal Website

Copper Coast Geopark

This stunning region of south-east Ireland was declared a European Geopark in 2001 and a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2004. It earned its name following generations of metal-mining industry, the legacies of which now make the region such a tourist attraction. Today, it retains all of its geological diversity, with various marked walking trails offering unique access to this most charming face of Ireland.

Copper Coast Geopark Website

Evening falling on Hook Head Lighthouse, County Wexford Evening falling on Hook Head Lighthouse, County Wexford

County Wexford

Wexford

As well as the well-known House of Waterford Crystal, visitors should look out for the Waterford Treasures museums: the Medieval Museum, Reginald's Tower and Bishop's Palace.

A must-see destination for all foodies visiting Ireland, Dungarvan is home to the regular farmers' market, the Waterford Festival of Food, and the Tannery Restaurant and Cooking School.

A secluded seaside village in Waterford, Ardmore attracts summer visitors to its long, sandy beach, as well as its cliff walks, shops and early Christian monuments. Visitors should add to their to-do list any and all of the following depending on your interests and group make-up: St Declan's Church, Ballyquin Beach and Ardmore Pottery which will leave you well placed to finish the day with a cliff-top stroll before dinner.

Accommodation in South East Ireland

Hotels in The South East of Ireland

The Mall, Co. Waterford

Tower Hotel, Waterford City, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Tower Hotel

Located on a beutiful river side location in the idyllic and historic city of Waterford. Perfect for meetings and events.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
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Campile, Co. Wexford

Kilmokea Country House, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Kilmokea Country House

A beautiful Country House and Garden based in the idyllic, sunny South East. The stunning garden is open year round and is a must see.

  • Great Location
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Luxurious Setting
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New Ross, Co. Wexford

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Brandon House Hotel

The Four Star Brandon House Hotel and Solas Croí Eco Spa is a Country Manor House conveniently situated on the N25 in historical New Ross.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Great Location
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Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Cashel Palace, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Cashel Palace

An elegantly appointed four-star hotel, ideally located for visitors to the Rock of Cashel. Choose from rooms, deluxe rooms or suites.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Great Location
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Waterford, Co. Waterford

Granville Hotel, Waterford, Ireland

Granville Hotel

The Granville Hotel Waterford overlooks the waterfront & marina in the heart of Waterford City's business & shopping centre.

  • Great Location
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Shopping
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Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny

Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny, Ireland

Pembroke Hotel

Four-star hotel situated on Patrick Street, Kilkenny's most exclusive area right in the centre of a city rich with medieval heritage.

  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Families
Find out More

B&Bs and Guesthouses in The South East of Ireland

Cappoquin, Co.Waterford

Dromana House, Cappoquin, Co.Waterford, Ireland

Dromana House

Set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Blackwater Dromana House is surrounded by 600 acre privately owned estate.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
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Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

Kilcannon House, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Kilcannon House

A relaxing stay in a traditional Irish B&B, nestled in the wonderful West Waterford countryside, surrounded by rolling hills.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
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Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny

Rosquil House B and B, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Rosquil House B&B

Phil & Rhoda Nolan welcome you to Rosquil House, a guesthouse offering the ambience of a hotel with the best traditions of Irish hospitality.

  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
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Longford, Co. Longford

Augherea Guest House

Augherea Guest House

A period residence and coach house just 1km from Longford Town, Augherea was built in 1775 and retains many of its original features.

  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Ashley Park House, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Ashley Park House

An 18th century country house offering the accommodation on the grandest scale and in a setting of unmatched tranquility and peace.

  • Leisure Breaks
  • Luxurious Setting
  • Great Location
Find out More

Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford

Forest, Ireland

Dawn House B&B

Enjoy a warm welcome at Dawn House in rural County Waterford with amazing scenery, beautiful green fields and forests.

  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
Find out More

Ardmore, Co. Waterford

Duncrone B&B, Ardmore, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Duncrone B&B

Spacious grounds make Duncrone especially family friendly, and the breathtaking views will make you want to stay forever.

  • Great Location
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
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Moone, Co. Kildare

Greese View House,Moone, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Greese View House

A relaxing setting with extensive grounds and fantastic views from the spacious conservatory. The perfect place to unwind.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
Find out More

Arthurstown, Co. Wexford

Marsh Mere Lodge, Ireland

Marsh Mere Lodge

Enjoy good food, stunning views while sampling the local cuisine and authentic Irish hospitality. Beside Dunbrody Country House.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Great Food & Drink
Find out More

Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny

Newlands House, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Newlands House

Newlands Country House offers true luxury in the charming Kilkenny countryside, just a short distance from the bustle of Kilkenny city.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny

Springview Farm House, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Springview Farm House

A traditional Irish farm house to take you even closer to the authentic Irish experience. A charming 18th-century residence on a working farm.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Location
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
Find out More

Gorey, Co. Wexford

Woodlands House, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Woodlands House

At Woodland Country House, relax in comfortable old-world charm in an idyllic Wexford setting. Well located for Gorey & Courtown Harbour.

  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
Find out More

Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Rivervalley Farmhouse

Traditional Irish hospitality in a beautiful rural area of Wexford, 30 minutes from Rosslare and just two hours from Dublin.

  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Location
Find out More

Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny

Bridge across from Woodstock Arms, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Woodstock Arms

A comfortable and affordable family-run B&B and pub situated on the central square in the picturesque village of Inistioge, Kilkenny.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Food & Drink
Find out More

Annagh, Co. Longford

Inny Bay, Annagh, Co. Longford, Ireland

Inny Bay

A Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering accommodation located on the peaceful shores of Lough Ree, just 20 minute drive from Athlone.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

The Dining Room in Killurin Lodge, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Killurin Lodge

A four star, family run B & B offering a hearty Irish Welcome in a modern, comfortable setting. Wexford town is only a 5 minute drive.

  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
Find out More

Hostels in The South East of Ireland

Clonmel, Co. Waterford

Ballymacarbry Hostel, Waterford, Ireland

Ballymacarbry Hostel

A welcoming community hostel with self-catering facilities and plenty going on. Locals come here to enjoy yoga, Zumba, sports, crafts etc.

  • Great Location
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Budget Friendly
Find out More

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

Find your Way Around