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5 Driving Routes from

KILKENNY Detailed route maps, places to see & driving tips


The South East driving brochures were compiled in collaboration with travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile. Pól has written for National Geographic Traveller, The Irish Independent and Cara Magazine amongst other publications, and has three times been voted Irish Travel Journalist of the Year. “There’s something about the South East that makes you want to get behind the wheel,” he says. “Be it sandy beaches or craggy coves, wild mountains or winding rivers, ancient heritage gems or the tingle of excitement as you arrive into Kilkenny, Wexford or Waterford. It could be old. It could be new. But there’s always something different around the next bend.”

Pól Ó Conghaile

Kilk enny Castl e!

For full details on visitor attractions featured in this guide and a detailed regional map, pick up your copy of the South East Pocket Guide, or download from www.discoverireland.ie Every care has been taken in the compilation of this brochure to ensure accuracy at the time of publication. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for printed errors or omissions, or alterations occurring after the brochure has been published.


Driving Routes from

KILKENNY The open road. Rolling mountains and river valleys. Brushing hedgerows, Blue Flag beaches, lingering lunch stops and random detours leading to discoveries you’ll talk about for years to come. There’s nothing like driving in Ireland. And there’s nowhere like the South East for doing it. Within the space of a leisurely few hours here, you can cruise from cobbled streets to cliffcraggy coastlines, from fishing villages to lush farmland, from heritage highlights like Kilkenny Castle and the Dunbrody Experience to buzzing pubs, delicious food and dynamic arts and crafts.

Th e Sou th East is forev er h appenin g – an d Kilk en ny is right in th e th ick of it.

This is Ireland’s medieval capital, home to historic buildings like Rothe House and St. Canice’s Cathedral, but also to cutting-edge comedy, spirited culture and food worth travelling for. In Kilkenny, you can travel through several centuries in just a couple of steps. From here, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Tipperary and mile after mile of tantalising coastline and countryside are just a short drive away. It’s a perfect base for your South Eastern safari.


Route 3

Route 5

approx. 180 km

approx. 140 km

app

Route 1

Route 2

Route 3

THE URBAN TRIANGLE

CAVES, CASTLES & GARDENS

THE BU TRAIL

Tantalise yourself with a taste of Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford - and all the countryside in-between – over the course of one or several days…

Ancient caves, haunted castles and dramatic dolmens are all dotted along this drive. And there’s cutting edge art, gardens and a reptile village too…

Follow in t of the Butl who domi the South centuries, finest cast remarkabl Cottage fo


Route 2

Route 4

Route 1

prox. 170 km

approx. 105 km

Route 4

UTLER

the footsteps ler family, inated East for , from their tles to a le Swiss olly.

approx. 215 km

Route 5

THE RIVER THE OCEAN VALLEY ROUTE ROAD Craft trails, stone-arch bridges, monkeypuzzle avenues and monastic sites are just some of the discoveries on this enchanting journey along the Rivers Nore and Barrow.

An en ch an tin g jou rn ey – be it a day trip or a sev eral day tou r. You ch oose!

A coastal drive from Kilkenny? You bet. The hidden coves and scenic wonders of Waterford’s Copper Coast are little more than an hour’s drive away…


R700

1

2

3

8

9 10

6 R683

7

The Urban Triangle If you’re the town and country type, this is the driving route for you. The Urban Triangle not only takes in some of the most beautiful countryside in the southeast, it also provides a tantalising taste of the urban buzz on offer in Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny.


Route 1

THE URBAN TRIANGLE

10 plaCes To see

4

R733

5

1

Jerpoint Abbey

2

Woodstock Gardens

3

Dunbrody Experience

4

Irish National Heritage Park

5

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agricultural Museum

6

Tintern Abbey

7

Duncannon Fort

8

Waterford Crystal

9

Reginald’s Tower

10

Bishop’s Palace Scenic viewpoint

Kilkenny Castle

Restored to its former glory!


The Urban Triangle Heading east out of KILKENNY City (via R700), you’ll find Bennettsbridge, Thomastown and Inistioge - the kinds of places you might pull into for a mosey, and pull out of carrying a piece of hand-crafted glass, a scrumptious scone, or a photo of an old, stone-arch bridge. Watch out for anglers too. The Nore is famous for its salmon, and the R700 criss-crosses it at several points. In NEW ROSS, travel back in time at the Dunbrody Experience, where costumed actors and a three-masted barque combine in an interactive adventure evoking famine times (you’ll even receive a ticket issued as if it were 1849). As you leave the famine ship for Wexford (via N25), keep your eyes peeled for rocky outcrops north of Newbaun. These are the plugs of extinct volcanoes. WEXFORD itself is full of surprises. The combination of tight-knit streets and airy waterfront, of old town walls and modern eateries, of Selskar Abbey and skyline views from its state-of-the-art Opera House, create the unique feeling of a medieval town in the 21st century. After lunch, it’s time to strike for WATERFORD City (via R733). The Passage East ferry is the highlight of this stretch, with tickets issued from a vintage machine on the ferryman’s belt, and views stretching south to the Hook Lighthouse. It’s at once a Suir Estuary shortcut, and a scenic detour. WATERFORD is Ireland’s oldest city, and you can explore its roots in the Viking Triangle, a new historic quarter housing the Viking Museum in Reginald’s Tower, Waterford Crystal and a Georgian Museum in Bishop’s Palace. It’s not all ancient history, of course – funky shops, cafes and festivals like Spraoi and the Tall Ships ensure Waterford City continues to sparkle in the 21st century.

driving tip

Depending on stop-offs, this route can be undertaken as a day-trip or spread over several days. It can also be shortened by taking the N25 from New Ross to Waterford. Return and one-way fares are available on the Passage East Ferry.


Inistioge

Visit the old, stone-arch bridge

Total distance

Kilkenny City – Wexford Town

1h 40 mins

approx.

Wexford Town – Waterford City

1h 30 mins

180 km

Time

Waterford City – Kilkenny City

40 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


R430 R431

4

5

3

R7

2

R448

8

1

R705

9

10

Caves, Castles & Gardens Ancient caves, haunted castles and dramatic dolmens are all dotted along this drive. And there’s cutting edge art, gardens and a reptile village too‌

R712


Route 2

CAVES, CASTLES & GARDENS

725

6

10 plaCes To see

7

1

Dunmore Cave

2

Castlecomer Discovery Park

3

Brownshill Dolmen

4

VISUAL at Carlow

5

Carlow Museum

6

Altamont Gardens

7

Huntington Castle

8

The River Barrow Way

9

Shankill Castle Gardens

10

Reptile Village, Gowran Scenic viewpoint

VISUAL at Carlow

Centre for Contemporary Art


Caves, Castles & Gardens The first highlight of this drive lies not on the road, but below it. The spectacular series of chambers in Dunmore Cave contains some of the finest calcite formations in Ireland, and some intriguing Viking links too. The Annals tell of a massacre here in 928AD, and recent archaeological digs have unearthed not just human bones, but a stash of Viking coins. Back above ground, continue (via N78) towards Castlecomer Discovery Park. The ‘Footprints in Coal’ exhibition here tells the story of the mines that operated in the Wandesforde estate’s heyday, but there’s much more to the place – including looped walks, a fishing lake, and craft workshops. Proceeding towards CARLOW Town (via R431/0), you’ll pass the ruins of Killeshin Church in the Rossmore Hills. It boasts one of the most beautifully carved Romanesque doorways in the country. In Carlow Town itself, twin a lunch and gallery or museum stop at the stunning VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art or Carlow Museum before visiting the huge Brownshill Dolmen outside the town on the Hacketstown/Rathvilly Road (R726). The 5,000-year-old megalithic portal tomb seems to grow and grow as you approach - it’s probably the heaviest of its kind in Europe. The N80 between Carlow Town and BUNCLODY incorporates several stops on the magnificent Carlow Garden Trail, including Altamont Gardens. From its February explosion of snowdrops to its centuries-old sessile oaks, there’s something for all seasons here. Nearby, there’s a wonderful (and quite possibly haunted) yew tree walk at Huntington Castle. Huntington Castle Gardens are a great picnic location too, or why not stop by their lovely tearooms for refreshments? Beyond Bunclody, carry on through the Blackstairs Mountains before crossing the River Barrow at BAGENALSTOWN. A stop here opens up a stroll along the towpaths of Ireland’s second-longest river, and the old mills, warehouses and locks of its industrial heritage. Two final suggestions before Kilkenny City are Shankill Castle Gardens at Paulstown and the Reptile Village at Gowran. The latter is a mini-zoo with a difference, and one whose monitor lizards and boa constrictors you could easily imagine back in the depths of Dunmore Cave…

driving tip

Depending on your stop-offs, this route can be undertaken in full, or shortened by taking the M9 back to Kilkenny City with possible detour en route onto the R705 to visit Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown.


Altamont Gardens

Ireland’s Most Romantic Garden!

Total distance

Time Kilkenny City – Carlow

45 mins

approx.

Carlow – Bunclody

45 mins

140 km

Bunclody – Kilkenny City

1h 20 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


R691

R689

9

8

R692

10

R660

7

R689

4 5 3

6

The butler trail Butler roots run deep in the South East. As deep as 1185AD, in fact - the year Theobald Fitzwalter, Chief Butler to Prince John, was granted over 400,000 acres of land in Tipperary. Fitzwalter’s title became the family name in the 1200s and the rest, as they say, is history.


Route 3

THE BUTLER TRAIL

R697

R691

1

2

Cahir Castle [left]

One of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles

10 plaCes To see 1

Kells Priory

2

Ormond Castle

3

The Main Guard

4

Cahir Castle

5

Swiss Cottage

6

Mitchelstown Cave

7

Glen of Aherlow

8

Rock of Cashel

9

Brú Ború Cultural Centre

10

Medieval Walled Town Scenic viewpoint


The butler trail Setting out from KILKENNY City (via R697), whose castle served as the Butlers’ principal Irish residence for 600 years, this route stops at Kells Priory before proceeding south to CARRICK-ON-SUIR. Ormond Castle here was built by Black Tom Butler in the 1560s. The Earl was famed for his unnaturally dark complexion (some even suggest he had black eyes), and his broodingly elegant manor house is an architectural ode to Queen Elizabeth. Alas, the Virgin Queen never visited… From Carrick (via N24), continue along the River Suir and Comeragh Mountains to CLONMEL, a bustling shopping town where James Butler built a courthouse in 1675. The Main Guard’s glowing sandstone arches are just a taste of the restoration that awaits inside. CAHIR’s chief Butler legacy is an exquisitely-preserved castle on the River Suir. The Earl of Essex laid siege to the stronghold in 1599, and cannonballs remain stuck in the exterior walls to this day. From here, a short river walk takes you to the Swiss Cottage, a Butler family folly whose rustic thatch and cedar shingles contrast playfully with the Parisian wallpapers inside. The cottage ornée is watched over by a stately yew tree, said to be 1,000 years old. After Cahir (via R660), carry on towards CASHEL, where heritage gems range from the Rock of Cashel to the Bolton Library and Brú Ború Cultural Centre, before continuing towards KILKENNY City via (R692) one final stop at FETHARD. The medieval ruins, remarkable town walls and scattering of Sheela-na-gigs here will provide lots to talk about on your final stretch through the Slieveardagh Hills.

driving tip If you have time, a short detour will take you to the Mitchelstown Caves (just off the N8, half way between Cahir and Mitchelstown), a jaw-dropping series of caverns and calcite formations discovered in 1833. Conversely, if time is tight, you can shorten the route by taking the R689 between Clonmel and Fethard.


Ormond Castle

A castle built for a Queen.

Total distance approx.

170 km

Time Kilkenny City – Kells Kells – Carrick-on-Suir Carrick-on-Suir – Clonmel Clonmel – Cahir Cahir – Cashel Cashel – Kilkenny City

25 mins 45 mins 25 mins 20 mins 20 mins 1h 45 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


1 R712

2

10 R700 R702

9 R729

8

R703

3 4 5 R700

R729

7 6

The River Valley Route The necklace of towns and villages threaded along the River Nore is one of the South East’s most beguiling hidden gems. Road and river intertwine as you pass from one to the next, coming within kissing distance before shying away again. It’s truly a timeless drive.


Route 4

THE RIVER VALLEY ROUTE

10 plaCes To see 1

Kilkenny Castle

2

Rothe House

3

Jerpoint Abbey

4

Jerpoint Park

5

Woodstock Gardens

6

The Dunbrody Experience

7

Ros Tapestry

8

Duiske Abbey

9

Borris House

10

Reptile Village, Gowran Scenic viewpoint

The River Barrow

Ireland’s second longest river


The River Valley Route There’s no end of potential stop-offs on this route – ranging from river views to heritage husks like Jerpoint Abbey, or the bustling shops and cafes tucked away in the towns themselves. Discover a deserted medieval town at Jerpoint Park, where you can also enjoy a horse and cart ride, sheepdog demonstrations, a nature walk, or an elegant afternoon tea in the tearooms. Or why not dip into the Made in Kilkenny Craft Trail, sampling handmade candles in BENNETTSBRIDGE, the flour mill that serves as Nicholas Mosse’s pottery studio, or vibrant ceramics in THOMASTOWN? Continuing south through the NORE VALLEY (via R700), watch out for wading anglers, or take a photo stop at a lay-by overlooking the Anglo-Norman Grennan Castle. At INISTIOGE, don’t miss Woodstock Gardens, home to the longest monkey-puzzle avenue in Europe, or the handsome 10-arched bridge. Unusually too, Catholic and Protestant churches stand side by side in this village. After NEW ROSS (via R729), this route swaps the River Nore for the River Barrow, veering north through ST. MULLIN’S, GRAIGUENAMANAGH and BORRIS, before returning to KILKENNY. The River Barrow was a motorway before motorways existed, as the heritage jewels along its banks testify - from old mills to monastic sites, from grand treasures like Duiske Abbey to the old towpaths now serving as riverside walks. At St. Mullin’s, scramble up the old Norman motte for a smashing panorama over the gorge and gravestones below. Further north, don’t let the apparent modesty of BORRIS fool you. Borris House was not only ancestral home of the Kings of Leinster, but to the redoubtable Arthur Kavanagh. Born in 1831, Kavanagh was an MP, Lord Lieutenant of Carlow, an expert sailor, prolific ladies’ man, superb horse rider and an adventurer whose travels took him as far as the Persian Gulf. Amazingly, he achieved all of this despite being born limbless.

driving tip

You can read more about the Made in Kilkenny Craft Trail at madeinkilkenny.ie. If you wish to extend this route, follow the River Barrow north from Borris to Carlow and take in a visit to Carlow Museum or VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, before returning to Kilkenny City, a 30-minute drive along the M9 motorway.


Dunbrody Experience

Follow the footprints of Ireland’s past!

Total distance

Time

approx.

New Ross – Borris

45 mins

Borris – Kilkenny City

40 mins

105 km

Kilkenny City – New Ross

1h 10 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


R448

10

R696

9

1

2 3 R684

8 R685 R677 R676

7

6

5

R675

4

The oCean road Think Kilkenny, and coastlines don’t exactly spring to mind. And yet, the hidden coves and seaside cottages of Dunmore East are little more than an hour’s drive away. Why not breakfast in Waterford City en route? From either stop, the Copper Coast is your oyster.


Route 5

THE OCEAN ROAD

10 plaCes To see 1

Waterford Crystal

2

Reginald’s Tower

3

Bishop’s Palace

4

The Metal Man

5

Fenor Bog

6

The Copper Coast

7

Tankardstown Mine

8

Mahon Falls

9

Ormond Castle

10

Callan Abbey Scenic viewpoint Blue Flag Beach

Reginalds Tower

Waterford’s most famous landmark!


The Ocean Road Little over an hour’s drive south from KILKENNY (via R448), a gem of a fishing village awaits at DUNMORE EAST. Heading west along the coast (via R685), you’ll come to TRAMORE, Ireland’s quintessential Victorian seaside resort. Drive past the beach towards Newtown Head, keeping an eye out for the famous Metal Man on one of three pillars at the entrance to the bay. The 15-foot sailor was erected by Lloyd’s of London to stem the flow of ships mistaking Tramore Bay for Waterford Harbour. Tramore is festooned with sandbanks, and its history tells of tides and winds claiming one shipwreck after another. The COPPER COAST (via R675) is a European Geopark named for its 19th century mining heritage (watch out for the ghostly old engine house at Tankardstown). Take a left pretty much anywhere here and you’ll end up in a hidden cove like Garrus or Boat Strand, beaches that could have been airlifted from the Algarve. At Ballydowane, the centuries-old remains of a mine shaft can still be seen in a sea stack. Nearby, the horseshoe-shaped Kilmurrin Bay was once a smuggler’s paradise. It’s a hypnotic route, strewn with pretty villages and stunning vistas. Think of ANNESTOWN, one of the few villages in Ireland without a pub, the mining boomtown of BUNMAHON or the old estate village of STRADBALLY, bedecked with flowers, forest, and a sugar-sandy beach running alongside the River Tay. Looking out to sea on the Copper Coast, you may even see a pod of whales… After the Blue Flag beach at Clonea, consider breaking the journey with a bite of lunch and a browse in DUNGARVAN, before driving through the COMERAGH MOUNTAINS (via R676) back to KILKENNY City.

driving tip

If you plan on hitting the Copper Coast in the morning, it’s best to drive west to avoid the sun in your eyes. The coastal section can be shortened by taking the R677 north to the N25 at Bunmahon. There are no petrol stations between Tramore and Dungarvan.


The Copper Coast

See the beautiful vistas!

Total distance

Time Kilkenny City – Dunmore East

1h 15 mins

approx.

Dunmore East – Dungarvan

1h 40 mins

Dungarvan – Kilkenny City

1h 40 mins

215 km

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


driving Tips For yoUr Trip drive on the left Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, everyone is doing it. But if you’re used to driving on the right, it’s easy to fall into old habits first thing in the morning, after a lunch stop, or pulling back onto a quiet country road after taking that latest awesome photo...

heed the speed limits The speed limit on regional (R) roads is 80kph/50mph, on national (N) roads 100kph/62mph, and on motorways (M) 120kph/75mph. In towns, the limit is 50kph/30mph.

get a good map Irish motorways are straightforward. Country roads… not so much. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a reliable map (such as those available for purchase in Tourist Information Offices) or GPS in the glove box before you set off on your South Eastern safari.

safety first Whilst Ireland’s roads are improving all the time, N and R routes can still be thin and bumpy, prone to ice in winter, and may not have hard shoulders. For many drivers, of course, that’s all part of the charm. But it’s wise to adapt your speed to the circumstances.

The tractor factor No matter how meticulous your plans, the chance of chugging along at 20mph behind a tractor, or being held to a standstill by a herd of sheep or cattle, is always there. It’s nothing to worry about (it may even make your trip), just be aware that it may occur!


park smart You’ll rarely have to pay to park in the Irish countryside, but pay-and-display charges are commonplace in towns and cities. Keep some coins handy for the meters, and remember to check the signs indicating times during which on-street parking is charged.

Car rental tips Most rental cars in Ireland are manual transmission, so if you prefer to drive automatic, stipulate this when booking. Rental companies provide numbers to call if you need breakdown assistance, and fuel tanks should be returned as full as you receive them.

don’t forget When driving in Ireland, you need to carry a valid licence as well as insurance and vehicle registration documentation. It’s also illegal to hold a mobile phone when driving, so keep those calls, tweets, texts and Facebook updates for when you’re safely pulled in!

Fill up There are very few online services on Irish motorways, and petrol stations can be irregular between towns. Keep your tank topped up!

need to know In case of accident or emergency, call 999 or 112.

999 112


Map Key

H

Tourist Information

Shopping Centre

Railway Station

Art / Craft Centre

Car Parking

Place of Interest

Hospital

Taxi Rank

Walking Trails

Theatre

Castle

Post Office

Church / Cathedral

Library

Yacht Club/Marina

Cinema

Police Station

Small Airfield

Fire Station

Public Toilet

Bus Stop – National

City / Town Hall

Abbey / Monastery / Round Tower

Heritage Centre

Motorway

Main Roads/Streets

N9

National Primary Road

Other Roads/Streets

N81

National Secondary Road

Narrow Streets / Private Roads

Regional Road

Road Under Construction

M1

R860

19

9

P

7

10

P

11 WC

plaCes to see 1

Kilkenny Castle & Park

11

St. Mary’s Cathedral

2

Butler Gallery

12

Kyteler’s Inn

3

Kilkenny Design Centre & Castle Yard

13

The Hole in the Wall

14

Town Hall/Tholsel

15

St Mary’s Church & Graveyard

16

Butler House & Garden

17

Talbot’s Tower & City Walls

18

Court House/ Grace’s Castle

19

Bishop’s Palace

20

Johns’ Priory

21

Magdelan Castle

4

National Craft Gallery

5

Shee Alms House / Tourist Information

6

Kilkenny Walking Tours

7

Rothe House & Garden

8

Smithwicks Brewery & St. Francis Abbey

9

St. Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower

10

The Black Abbey

P

P


Kilkenny City Map

P

8

P

WC P

18 20 P

12 P

21

14 15

13

5

6

P WC

1

3 4

16

17

2


Discover Ireland Visitor Information Centres For further information on suggested driving routes, visit one of the region’s Discover Ireland Centres and speak to a travel advisor. • Local & National Information • Itinerary Planning • Guide Books, Brochures & Maps • Accommodation Booking COUNTY KILKENNY Kilkenny Discover Ireland Centre Shee Alms House, Rose Inn Street/ Mary’s Lane, Kilkenny City. t +353 (0)56 775 1500 e kilkenny@failteireland.ie WATERFORD CITY Waterford Discover Ireland Centre The Quay, Waterford City. t +353 (0)51 875 823 e waterford@failteireland.ie

COUNTY CARLOW Carlow Discover Ireland Centre College Street, Carlow Town. t +353 (0)59 913 1554 e carlow@failteireland.ie COUNTY TIPPERARY Cahir Discover Ireland Centre* Castle Car Park, Castle Street, Cahir. t +353 (0)52 744 1453 e cahir@failteireland.ie *Centre opens from April to the end of October

COUNTY WATERFORD Dungarvan Discover Ireland Centre The Courthouse, Dungarvan. t +353 (0)58 417 41 e info@dungarvantourism.com

www.discoverireland.ie

COUNTY WEXFORD Wexford Discover Ireland Centre Quayside, Wexford Town. t +353 (0)53 912 3111 e wexford@failteireland.ie


FI/11671-11

beautiful

Fテ!LTE IRELAND 4th Floor Wallace House, Maritana Gate, Canada Street, Waterford. t +353 (0) 51 312 700 f +353 (0) 51 312 710 www.discoverireland.ie

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FI_11671_11 Kilkenny Driving Routes - ALL (Issuu - HR)  

5 Driving Routes from Detailed route maps, places to see & driving tips

FI_11671_11 Kilkenny Driving Routes - ALL (Issuu - HR)  

5 Driving Routes from Detailed route maps, places to see & driving tips