- B&B Drogheda (2 nights)
- Sheraton Hotel Athlone (1 night)
- Imperial Hotel Cork (1 night)
- Granville Hotel Waterford (2 nights)
- Brooklodge Hotel Wicklow (2 nights)
Breakfast each morning except day of arrival
Hertz manual compact car with unlimited mileage, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), theft protection (TP), value added tax (VAT), third party liability and location service charge (LSC)
- Travel wallet, luggage tags and driving map.
- Expert travel assistance throughout.
- Visitor Attractions
- Room Upgrades
- Car Upgrade
- Chauffeur Driver
- City Tours
Price is per person based on double occupancy during low season and is subject to availability at the time of booking.
9 Days / 8 Nights
Ireland's Ancient East is a well sign-posted route through the east and south of Ireland, stretching from Newgrange to Boyne Valley in the north east, and traveling through the Midlands all the way down via Kilkenny's Medieval Mile to Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions. With Ireland’s abundance of historical attractions,visitors can tread where legends were born and see the amazing historical sites that are an integral part of the beauty of Ireland today.
The east and south of Ireland showcases their wonderful historical touring region, stretching from Meath to Cork. As part of the 'Ireland's Ancient East' experience visitors can also enjoy the stunning Irish countryside, stop off and explore Ireland's friendly towns and villages, take in a festival, sample local cuisine and stay in accommodation run by local Irish families.
Day 1: The largest battleground in the Land
Leave the Airport and head north to County Meath for your first historical finding, the famous grounds of, the Battle of the Boyne. The largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battle field, fought in this battle. The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center is located in the recently restored 18th century Old bridge House, which is on the battle site. Free access to the battle site.
The next Highlight of the Historical trail is Newgrange. The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerb stones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The Restaurant /Tearoom serves a good range of food and tasty snacks, so why not take time and have some lunch before its time for the next stop at Trim Castle. You can take a guided tour of 45min which run weekdays November to February by members of the Trim Living History community group. Make your way back to Drogheda for some fine local cuisine and a relaxing evening chatting to the friendly locals.
Day 2: Hills and Hollows
Well-rested and rejuvenated its time for another day of ancient east activities. Take a drive west for a well-worth visit to the intriguing Lough crew Cairns. There are over 30 mounds and cairns, mostly on the two main hills, Carnbane East and Carnbane West. The tombs were built around 3200 BC and their primary purpose is to measure time. After working up an appetite stop off for some lunch in Navan and re-boost your energy levels. Proceed on to the Hill of Tara, best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. It is located 12km south of Navan town. The Hill of Tara has been an important site since the late Stone Age when a passage-tomb was constructed there. Attractions include an audio-visual show and guided tours of the site on request they usually last for 35-40 minutes. After you have been wowed by the Hill of Tara, its back to Drogheda for your second night. Work up an appetite by taking and evening stroll around the town and maybe a spot of retail therapy is calling. Enjoy an evening meal and relax before heading south bound on Day 3 to the lush green pastures of the midlands.
Day 3: The medievil midlands
After and early rise, its time to head south through the flat plains of the midlands. Steeped in numerous ancient historical sites, your route just keeps becoming more exciting. Stop off at Castletown House in Cellbridge Co.Kildare which was built in 1722. It is the only Irish Palladian house to have been built with the correct classical proportions and it is said to have influenced the design of the White House in Washington. Clonmacnoise Co.Offaly is your next stop. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13thcentury), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graves labs in Western Europe.
Explore the neighboring town of Athlone and experience a magnificent immersive journey through the history at Athlone Castle Visitor Center and Museum. Here you can test replica weapons, enjoy games from that era and take photographs dressed in period costumes. Athlone is also where you will spend the third night of your exploration.
Day 4: Beauty and awe of nature
Having had a relaxing night in Athlone make your way along the course of the River Shannon until you reach the town of Birr. While this stop-off is synonymous with the times of ancient Ireland for its castle, its surrounding demesne also portrays the beauty and awe of nature. The demesne includes formal gardens with the world’s tallest box hedges, wisteria and old roses. It also has terraces that afford stunning views of the castle and come alive with color in the summer. Additionally,water is a prominent feature, with a waterfall, lakes and rivers throughout the property.
After Birr, its onto to Holy cross abbey Co. Tipperary. One of Ireland's hidden gems, it has a very curious history and the distinction of having been one of the principle places of pilgrimage in Ireland for over 800 years. Pilgrims visited from all over Europe to view the relic of the ‘true cross’ or ‘holy rood’ from whence the Abbey it got its name. From here its only a short distance to the famous Rock of Cashel. A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. From Cashel, make your way to Cork city where you will spend your next night of the Ancient East route.
Day 5: Who is the King of the Castle?
Explore Cork cities heritage landmark buildings including St Anne’s Shandon and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. It can be seen by walking through the medieval lane ways of the North Main Street or along the Area of Special Character at Wellington Road/St Luke’s Cross. It can also be experienced by visiting the unique bird sanctuary at the Lough or simply walking along the banks of the Lee at the Marina. Take a short 15 minute drive to Blarney castle and investigate the heritage for which it is steeped in. You are now heading towards the sunny south-east, but first a stop off at Lismore Castle and gardens Co. Waterford. Why not take some time to check out the south east coastline and get on-board the Blackwater Cruise in Waterford or unwind your fishing rod at the scenic Dungarvan. Visit the Waterford Crystal factory and see how Ireland's renowned beautiful glass pieces are made. You will spend the night in Waterford City so enjoy the fin cuisine, lively traditional music and get to know the locals over pint of creamy Guinness.
Day 6: The Sunny South-East
Head further south-east to Co.Wexford, the home of Irish strawberries and Potatoes. Visit The Kennedy Homestead, birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. It celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and is still today farmed by his descendants. Take a coastal drive to Hook lighthouse and along by Rosslare Europort and feel a real since of rejuvenation from the coastal breeze. Its back to Waterford for a second night. Enjoy and evening meal and take a stroll around Waterford Harbor.
Day 7: Visit to the the Marble city
You will now make your way North-East towards Co. Wicklow but first take a visit to Kilkenny city and explore the city's famous Norman Castle was home to the Butlers of Ormonde for nearly five centuries. A tour will bring you to the Picture Gallery Wing, and around the nooks and crannies of the library, with its beautiful color scheme. Investigate the local gourmet and have some lunch in one of the many cafes and restaurants. Next stop is Co. Wicklow. It is well recommended that you take a visit to Wicklow Gaol. Located in Wicklow Town, it tells a story of crime, cruelty, exile and misery. The harshness of prison life in the 18th Century, the passion of the 1798 rebellion, the cruelty of the transportation ships and hope of a new life in Australia can all be experienced in Wicklow Gaol. It is in Wicklow town you will spend your seventh night.
Day 8: The wonderful Ways of Wicklow
The final day of adventure will lead you to the beautiful Glendalough. This early Christian ecclesiastical settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses. The Visitor Center has an interesting exhibition and an audio-visual show. If the sun is shining, it might be a good idea to stop and pick up some snacks to enjoy along the Glendalough walkway. It is also worth taking a trip to the Powers Court gardens which are only a short distance away. You will spend your last night in Wicklow town. So sit back unwind and reminisce about the astonishing trip of Ireland's Ancient east.
Day 9: Home Sweet Home
After breakfast make your way to the Airport.