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    Self Drive
    Ireland’s Ancient East

    1 review(s)

    Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From €1,400
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    Travel Planning and Advice

    Trip created by Eimear Quinn
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    Region: South East – Wexford, Waterford & Kilkenny
    Trip Type: Self Drive
    Comfort: Classic
    Deposit From €350.00 €350.00
    Difficulty: Your Own Pace

    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Explore the spectacular mountain and coastal scenery on this self-drive adventure.

    Learn about the rich history as you self drive Ireland’s Ancient East.

    On this self-drive adventure in Ireland, you will also enjoy a range of activities, soaking in the history of Ireland’s East and South East. Step into Ireland’s golden age of saints and scholars, taping into 5,000 years of history! Interact with both the land and its people as you enjoy this 7-day trip, exploring this ancient region at your own pace. Along the way, enjoy guided walks, boat trips & transformative cultural interactions and experiences. Stay in one-of-a-kind, luxury accommodation Ireland’s Ancient East. We hope you’ll enjoy our recommended places to stop, shop and eat along the way.

    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. Minimum group size is 2. Prices based on 4 people.

    Trip Highlights

    • Enjoy no fewer than three of Ireland's beautiful mountain ranges as well as exclusive cultural & historical experiences, in this off-the-tourist-track region of Ireland.
    • Meet colourful local characters and learn about the history, geology, wildlife and culture of the region through a range of guided outdoor activities.
    • Stay in the very best accommodation in the region from 5 star manor houses to certified luxury bio- hotels.
    • Explore the Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark with a local guide.

    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 local artists such as ceramics and other hand-made crafts, found in the craft village. Probably the most impressive sight in Kilkenny 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 home town of Smithwicks beer, you’ll certainly have enjoy some of the local brew. (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, its time 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)

    PLEASE NOTE – 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

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    Price from: €1,400
    Duration: 7 Days 6 Nights

    What's Included

    Accommodation Read More

    This self drive trip features classic 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 and in towns or rural communities. Accommodation rooming is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower.

    Travel Read More

    This itinerary is designed to start and finish at Dublin Airport.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Eimear Quinn

    Our resident Northern gal, Eimear loves everything outdoors, from gardening to climbing and cycling. As a member of the Operations Team, Eimear is in charge of trip logistics throughout Ireland and knows everywhere from Connemara to Kerry to the Causeway Coast and the East like the back of her hand.

    Ask Eimear 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

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