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    Self Drive

    Ireland’s Ancient East

    1 review(s)

    Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From €1,850

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    Trip created by Patricia Doe
    View Patricia's Profile

    Region: South East – Wexford, Waterford & Kilkenny
    Trip Type: Self Drive
    Accommodation: Classic
    Deposit From: €462.50 €462.50

    Grading: Your Own Pace

    Carbon Footprint: 66kg ? What does this mean?
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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Rich in ancient history and shaped by the folklore of the past generations, explore the underrated mountain and coastal scenery in Ireland’s Ancient East on this private self drive tour. Stepping into Ireland’s golden age of saints and scholars and travelling through 5,000 years of history, enjoy a range of activities and experiences on your next Irish adventure to the Ancient East. 

    Interacting with both the land and its people, explore this ancient region at your own pace through spectacular guided walks, paddling tours, car-free bike routes, and transformative cultural experiences. Relax in one-of-a-kind, luxury accommodation in Ireland’s Ancient East.

    On our Self Drive trips, enjoy the flexibility to travel at your own pace as well as benefit from passionate, local guides on certain days who will interpret the landscape and introduce you to the culture and history of Ireland. Leave the planning and reservations to us – we’ve identified the very best of each region to get a great sampling of the nature, history and culture of Ireland. Hikes and other outdoor activities are matched to your ability levels. The minimum group size is 2.

    Trip Highlights

    • Hike through Glendalough Monastery and Wicklow Mountains National Park
    • Enjoy activities like canoeing along a river and biking an ancient railway track
    • Step back in time traversing the halls of medieval Kilkenny Castle

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Explore Cork City

    Our Ancient East adventure kicks off in the cosmopolitan Cork city, the original capital of Ireland. Known as the Rebel County – to do with shifting allegiances You have a few different ways you can choose to spend your day – from the bustling stalls of the Victorian-era English Market to the fort-turned-Victorian prison atop Spike Island to the historic Ballycotton Lighthouse, Cork city and county has a wealth of fascinating sites.

    Day 2 – Bike the Waterford Greenway

    In order to revitalise disused Victorian-era railways, there’s been a recent surge in turning railways into greenways. The Waterford Greenway is a 46-km car-free cycling route. After picking up your bikes, head for the trail where you’ll pass dramatic viaducts, ruins of Viking settlements and crumbling castle towers, former mills, exotic gardens and great iron bridges. Not only will you enjoy stunning views over the river and the bay but you’ll bike along on a backdrop of the graceful Comeragh Mountains, ending in a picturesque coastal village. Now all that’s left to do is wander the quays in search of ice cream or perhaps a hint as you await your transport back to your accommodation. (B, G)

    Day 3 – Medieval Kilkenny

    The medieval town of Kilkenny is certainly one of our best-kept secrets. An artsy, colourful town, Kilkenny is home to local artists such as ceramics and other hand-made crafts, found in the craft village. Probably the most impressive sight in town is Kilkenny Castle. One of the most fascinating castles in Ireland, learn about the massive restoration process behind the castle, following clues back through the years to restore the castle to its former glory. As the hometown of Smithwick’s beer, you’ll certainly have to enjoy some of the local brews. (B)

    Day 4 – Canoeing along the Barrow River

    Starting in the lovely little town of Graignamanagh, meet your guide to pick up your canoes. Together, you’ll paddle the lapping waters of the River Barrow. Journey through woodlands and valleys, soaking up the history, flora and fauna of the region. Get ready to learn how to paddle rapids and weirs of the River Barrow as your guide helps you navigate a centuries-old system of river locks. (B, G)

    Day 5 – Glendalough Monastic Site

    Glendalough Monastery is one of the oldest and most significant monastic and pilgrimage sites in Ireland. Founded by St Kevin in the 7th century as a respite from the world, it eventually grew into an important centres of learning, its scholars producing astonishing illuminated manuscripts as well as astronomical and mathematical texts. Not only is Glendalough’s history intriguing, its setting in the lush wooded valley of two lakes is stunning. Also perhaps make the time to visit local potter Nicolas Mosse’s studio or learn about the age-old tradition of handweaving at a 300-year-old family-run establishment. (B)

    Day 6 – Wicklow Mountains National Park

    One of Ireland’s six national parks, the Wicklow Mountains are the epitome of Irish countryside. With your guide, pull on your hiking boots to trundle through the heather- topped Wicklow Mountains, following trails once traversed by pilgrims and monks. On your way, bask in panoramas of patchwork fields dotted with white fluffy sheep, each lined with hedgerows and old stone walls. With a few different options through the Wicklow Mountains, work with your guide to find the best one for you and your group. In the evening, tuck into a cosy pub for a satisfying end-of-trip pint. (B, G)

    Day 7 – Dublin & Departure

    Awaking in the Wicklow Mountains, it’s time to trade the quiet lakes and sun-dappled hills of Wicklow for the bustle and liveliness of Dublin, where you can continue your onwards journey, or make your way home. Looking for a second week in Ireland? Pair this trip with the next self drive itinerary, Belfast, Giant’s Causeway and Donegal. (B)

    The itinerary is indicative only and may be subject to change at the discretion of Wilderness Ireland with regard to weather conditions and other factors.

    Self Drive
    Ireland’s Ancient East

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Price from: €1,850
    Duration: 7 Days 6 Nights

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This self drive trip is graded classic and features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. Expect small, comfortable and characterful lodgings. You will have the choice between cosy B&Bs or 3-star family-run hotels or guesthouses, with options in towns or rural communities. Accommodation rooming is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower. You will also have the option to upgrade your accommodation standards to deluxe and luxury options in the same region.

    Single rooms are available upon request. If you would prefer a double room for single occupancy, a supplement will be charged depending on availability. If you require a single room, please get in touch and let us know.

    Meals Read More

    Each morning, enjoy a homemade breakfast of your choice at your accommodation. We will provide local suggestions for lunches and dinners, to be taken according to your own preferences.

    Inclusions Read More

    This trip includes the following:

    • 6 nights accommodation in classic hand-picked 3 star standard accommodations
    • A detailed itinerary and map outlining your itinerary, accommodations and stops
    • Breakfast every morning at your accommodation (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • The services of experienced and knowledgeable guides or local expert-led activities at various stages in the trip as stated in the itinerary (marked G)
    • Recommended stops, hikes and points of interest along the way
    • 24/7 hour in-country support

    This trip includes all accommodation and as well as some meals. It does not include drinks or any gratuities you may choose to leave.

    Trip Grading Read More

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Ireland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle, low-level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready.

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    Your adventure starts in Cork where the closest airport is Cork International. Other options are to come through Dublin or Shannon. Car hire is available at the airport, or have a look at our Optional Extras listed below for more information on hiring a car with Wilderness Ireland.

    You can drop off your car at the airport of your choosing on the final day of your trip.

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip Read More

    Extend Your Stay

    Why not extend your stay in Ireland with another exciting week exploring Northern Ireland and Donegal? Our Self Drive – Belfast, The Giant’s Causeway & Donegal follows on from where you left off in Dublin by continuing north to the thriving metropolis of Belfast, hikes in the Mourne Mountains and along the famous Causeway Coast, and westward on to some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe: Slieve League in County Donegal. Simply ask your Adventure Consultant for more info on extending your tour.

    Car Hire

    Planning to hire a car here in Ireland? Make your life easier by leaving the car rental process up to us. Just tell us your preferences and we’ll take care of the rest.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Patricia Doe

    An avid cyclist and hiker, Patricia enjoys exploring Ireland’s wild landscapes every chance she gets u2013 she particularly loves the under-appreciated regions of Mayo, Connemara, Sligo and Donegal. Having spent nearly a decade in the hospitality industry, Patricia is an expert on Ireland’s luxury and unique accommodations. As Wilderness Ireland’s General Manager and head of the sales team, Patricia is ready to help make your Irish adventure spectacular.

    Ask Patricia a Question

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    At your Own Pace

    Discovery journeys are self-drive with personal activity experiences tailored to your own personal activity level. They allow you to discover Ireland with one-to-one meet ups with local guides and experts who can lead you through activities and hikes at you own pace. They also include overnight stops at the very best local 4 and 5 star accommodations. For the days you are self-guided, we will provide you with suggestions of places to stop, eat and things to see along with maps and directions.

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 review(s) of Self Drive – Ireland’s Ancient East



    Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

    That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.


    Reviewed on 21/09/2017

    The Bottom Line

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