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Interview with Irish soccer legend

John O’Shea Go Ancient East Magazine, Issue 1




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Publishers Note

Welcome to the first ever issue of Go Ancient East Magazine, where we bring you all of the history, happenings, events, things to see and places to go along Ireland’s Ancient East route.


dding Go Ancient East to our portfolio of magazine titles, that already includes Go Wild Tourism and Go Wild Food Experience, is a huge personal achievement and one that I am immensely proud of. Our dedicated and very haordworking team continually strive to offer you a visual, first hand experience of the magnificence and the multitude of choices for you to discover on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and now on Ireland’s Ancient East. Ireland is simply an amazing country and our Go Wild & Go Ancient East teams are each very proud to have the opportunity to present it to you our way.

Please enjoy your Go Ancient East issue and watch out for our next new Magazine title “Fork Magazine the Food Experience” for Ireland’s Ancient East coming to you very soon………………….

Bobby Power Publisher

Email: Tel: 087 446 7007

Letter from the editor While the Western part of Ireland is known for its breath-taking mountain scenery, majestic sea cliffs and traditional Irish music and culture, the Eastern half of the country, known as Ireland’s Ancient East, harbours a treasure trove of historical highlights, all of which we explore in this issue.


iscover prehistoric passage tombs, lively medieval towns and cities, magnificent monasteries, castles and ancient atmospheric abbeys, mystical waterways, Vikings, caves and museums, gardens and stately homes, and hear stories about Ireland’s ancient past from stone age man to saints, scholars and high kings. Dip into wild adventure have fun at a festival or sample some of Ireland’s finest food. There’s so much to do that you’ll unearth new treasures every time you visit.

stretches from Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the northeast through the Midlands all the way down via Kilkenny’s Medieval mile to Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions.

Fringed by the River Shannon, Ireland’s Ancient East”


It opens up a world of great stories that will stay with you forever, stories spanning 5000 years of history and set against a backdrop of lush green landscapes. Special thanks to Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, for your support, along with our contributors, our fantastic publisher Bobby and designer Dave.

Niamh Murphy Editor



Features writers: Michelle McDonagh,

Graphic Design:

For advertising: Bobby Power, Publisher

Clair Collins, Deirdre Hynds,

Dave Curtin,

Aaron McElroy, Sonny Kennedy,

For accounts: Cleo Power,

Paul Dwyer

Photo Editor: Niamh Murphy

For editorial: Niamh Murphy, Editor

A special thank-you to Fáilte Ireland for their support with content and imagery. The Wild Atlantic Way Magazine ltd, t/a Go Wild Magazine. All rights reserved. The Wild Atlantic Way Magazine ltd t/a GoWild Magazine does not accept any responsibility for any advertising content. All unsubscripted manuscripts will not be accepted or returned. No material may be used in whole or in part without the publisher’s prior consent. While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of all events, information or recommendations in this magazine, no responsibility will be accepted by The Wild Atlantic Way Magazine ltd, its editorial team, designers, authors or agents acting on their behalf for alterations errors or omissions which may occur.

Go Ancient ¥ East

Contents 4-6: Ireland’s Ancient East in a nutshell

46-48: Through the Gardens of the East

8-9: Interview with soccer legend John O’Shea

48: Carlow to Wicklow 2 day itinerary

10-14: Top things to see and do

50-51: Story-telling Trails

16-17: Treasures and Trinkets – craft and gift shopping

52: Wexford Craft Trail

20-21: Waterford Muldoon Gin

54: Home of the black stuff Guinness Storehouse

22: Vikings and Dunmore Caves

56: Sacred Ireland

23: New Waterford to Dungarvan Greenway

57-59: Brewing and wine making

24: House of Waterford Crystal

60: Visit Wicklow

26: Waterford’s Viking Triangle

61: A glimpse inside a prison of the past

28: High Kings and Heroes

62: Hook Lighthouse Oldest working lighthouse

30-31: Experience the festivals of the East

62: Set your heart galloping at The Curragh

32-33: Immerse yourself in Cavan

64-65: Historic Houses and Gardens

34: Myths and Legends

66: The wonderful women of Huntington Castle

36-37: Youghal, an East-Cork gem

68-69: Weekend Break: Carlingford

38-39: Interview with Minister Michael Ring TD

70-72: Best places to Stay

40: Athlone…at the heart of it

73-75: Highlights not to be missed

42: Highlights of Carlow-Kilkenny

76-77: Top 10 for Families

43: Explore Athlone Castle

78: Take the Titanic Trail

44: Carlow to Wicklow 2 day itinerary

80: Be Charmed by Cobh

Join the fun! 


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Steep yourself in rich culture, history and adventure along Ireland’s Ancient East Immerse yourself in 5,000 years of fascinating history, culture and tradition on a magical journey to Ireland’s Ancient East, an exciting new visitor experience that will transport you from the Boyne Valley in the North East, south through medieval Kilkenny and Viking Waterford, and onward to beautiful coastal Cork – with lots in between! Brimming with stories about our rich past and packed with fun family festivals and adventure, see at first-hand how this sacred region seduced early Christians and medieval lords all those years ago. Touch and feel the imprint of these settlers across Ireland’s Ancient East where you can enjoy stunning scenery, top class food and excellent accommodation along the way. Ireland’s Ancient East is all about experiencing living, breathing Ireland. It’s about festivals for all the family. It’s for funlovers and history buffs and adventure seekers and children of all ages.

Wonder at the stunning natural beauty The incredible natural landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East will capture you with its stories at Belvedere House & Gardens, in Co. Westmeath, where you can hear tales of cruel Robert Rochford who kept his wife imprisoned for over 30 years and who also built Ireland’s largest folly ‘The Jealous Wall’. Wander through the world-famous gardens at Mount Usher in Waterford, and Powerscourt in Wicklow. Or tease yourself with the renowned biodiversity of the Cavan Burren.

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Explore medieval castles and megalithic hunting grounds Travel back in time to the Brú Na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage site with its exceptional passage tomb of Newgrange in Co. Louth is bringing you back to 3200 BC. See the wonders of the megalithic Brownshill Dolmen in Co. Carlow and in Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly, explore the monastery founded in 544 by St. Ciarán. Be King as you conquer the wonders of Kilkenny Castle along The Medieval Mile, and attack other regal gems such as Enniscorthy Castle in Wexford, the atmospheric fortress of Athlone Castle or Leap Castle in Offaly. The Waterford Viking Triangle speaks of an Ireland both past and present with medieval treasures, art and craft and a walking tour. Make memories among the ruins of St Kevin’s monastery at Glendalough and the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary. At Wicklow Gaol’s spooky confines, stories abound about the hardships faced by prisoners interred after their involvement in the 1798 Rebellion. For some coastal heritage, set sail for a tour of Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford, reputedly the oldest in the world that still in operation. Or head to picturesque Cobh in Co. Cork and take in the Titanic Experience Cobh or Cobh Heritage Centre.

Feel the sea spray on your face by soaking up Waterford’s rugged Copper Coast. Wexford and Waterford boast some of Ireland’s best golden beaches, the perfect places to take to the water and get the blood pumping with a surf lesson. Or find a spot on a clifftop to make lasting family memories enjoying a picnic with a stunning backdrop. Or how about a reviving walk on the Blue Flag Curracloe Beach in Co Wexford, where scenes from Saving Private Ryan were filmed. Step it out and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of mountains like Wicklow’s distinctive Sugar Loaf – or the beautiful bogland in the flat central plains of Offaly and Longford and the lush green pastureland in Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Home of the Sport of Kings!

Just 20 minutes from both the Curragh & Punchestown racecourses, The K Club in Straffan Co. Kildare is the perfect destination for those who want to learn the origins of the Sport of Kings!

Make your reservation now by calling +353 (0) 1 601 7200 or email

Dip into wild adventure and fun! Ireland’s Ancient East is packed with things to do for young and old alike. This is a land where our tradition of great festivals continues proudly to this day, from the internationally renowned Kilkenny Arts Festival to Electric Picnic in Stradbally Co. Laois, a favourite with music lovers. And literary buffs will love The Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas in Co. Carlow which attracts leading writers from all over the world. Or try some events of a quirkier hue, such as the Trim Haymaking Festival in Co. Meath. The Waterford Harvest Festival of Food is the place to go to taste the best of Irish food. And if food is your thing – do not miss the English Market in Cork City! Take your pick for adventure and fun. Go mountain biking in Co Carlow, or zip-line among the trees at Oldcastle, Co. Meath. Be on top of the world on a hike up the Comeragh Mountains in Waterford and your reward will be a view that will stay with you forever. Water lovers can take to sea kayaking or surf in Waterford and Wexford. Or travel inland to canoe and Stand Up Paddle Board along the River Nore. Or stroll treetop bridges in Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny set in 80 acres of woodland. Ireland’s Ancient East is a region with fertile land that yields the finest of homegrown artisan food. Dine in one


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

of Kilkenny’s two Michelin star restaurants, taste Waterford’s world famous signature bread the Blaa or breakfast with Inch black pudding in Tipperary. You can wash it all down with a pint in a marvellously atmospheric pub. Tynan’s Bridge House pub in Kilkenny is one great pit stop, dating back to 1703. Or take an interactive journey through 300 years of brewing history at the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny. You will not, of course, do Ireland’s Ancient East in one go. Each time you visit you will unearth a new set of secrets adding to your own unique experience to share. The stories of Ireland’s Ancient East are truly compelling - and not only because they have been thousands of years in the making, but because they will stay with you forever. Discover it all at

One of Europe's great open-air experiences where 9,000 years of history comes to life in a magical woodland setting


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Interview with footballer

John O’Shea

Niamh Murphy talks to Irish footballer John O’Shea, who plays as a defender for Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland national team, about his favourite spots along Ireland’s Ancient East, family and his hopes for the World Cup.


orn in Waterford, home to the famous Viking Triangle on the Ancient East route, John O’Shea left his hometown to join Manchester United when he was 17. After establishing himself in the first team, O’Shea went on to make almost 400 appearances in all competitions over 10 years, winning an incredible 15 trophies including five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three Football League Cups, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. He joined Sunderland in July 2011. O’Shea is also a star of the Republic of Ireland national team. He made his debut in 2001 against Croatia and had since gone on to receive over 100 caps for his country. John is recognised internationally as an exceptional footballing talent renowned for his versatility on the soccer pitch. Despite the worldwide esteem in which he is held, the moment you speak with Mr O’Shea, you realise how down to earth he is. In a world often populated by egos, John has remained grounded and is often seen out and about kicking a ball around with neighbourhood kids when he’s back home in Waterford. So how does he stay so down-toearth?

I’m also really excited about the new Waterford-Dungarvan Greenway and am looking forward to cycling that when I’m home next. I love walking so one of my favourite places to go is Dunmore East followed by Sunday lunch in the Spinnaker Bar & Restaurant. There are also great walks by the golf club in Ferrybank, where I’m from, and it’s a beautiful area.

“It absolutely comes down to my upbringing. My parents were working class honest people, and they brought me up to have good values in life. My dad, who sadly passed away recently, had a big influence on me. He taught me to treat people with respect and to work hard. I hope it’s something I can instil in my own children.” John loves to return home to Waterford whenever he has time and is really proud of the area, in particular, it’s new found fame on Ireland’s Ancient East. “Every time I go home, I’m surprised

by how many choices there are for restaurants, bars and shops, never mind the fantastic tourist attractions on the Viking Triangle. ” John also has fond memories of Rosslare from his childhood. “My family used to visit Curracloe beach, and I love going back there now with my own family… we always stop by Tides restaurant, which is a gem.” The 36-year-old married long-term partner Yvonne Manning, in the Lady Chapel in Maynooth, County

The Viking Triangle

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hopefully. We have a fantastic opportunity and have kept up the momentum. We’re in the right place with our manager, coach and backroom team. Of course, we have a big game against Austria in June, but I’m confident we can get a win. It would be amazing to finish in first place.”

Irish footballer, John O’Shea.

Kildare, Ireland on 8 June 2010. A low-key couple, John and Yvonne steered clear of selling their wedding day to a glossy magazine and instead opted to enjoy a small, tasteful ceremony with friends and family, who included celebrities like Coleen Rooney. The ceremony was followed by an intimate reception at the stunning Carton House. This beautifully restored historic mansion in Kildare has been discreetly converted into a modern luxury destination resort - the first of its kind in Ireland. Located just twenty minutes from Dublin, the 1,100-acre private parkland estate includes two Championship Golf Courses, a leisure centre with pool, Spa, Training Pitches, Tennis Courts, and more. Kildare still holds a special place in John’s heart. “We had an amazing couple of days and hoped to return soon to see some more of Kildare.” John and Yvonne now have two gorgeous children, and he had just brought his 5-year-old son, Alfie, home from Sunday morning soccer practice when we spoke.

So is he showing promise? “I’m not putting too much pressure on him”, John laughs “He is only 5 after all. I’m happy once he’s happy and he’s trying out lots of different sports at the moment.” Despite John’s busy schedule, he makes sure to find time to train little Alfie’s team on Thursday evenings when possible. Any final recommendations on Ireland’s Ancient East John? “We celebrated some friends’ weddings at Powerscourt Hotel in Co. Wicklow and it really is a stunning location, so I would definitely recommend a trip there as a treat.” The Five Star hotel resort and spa is set amidst one of the most scenic and historic estates in Ireland. The Great Sugar Loaf Mountain is visible across the valley, between the tall, elegant beech trees, as you approach before revealing the Palladian elegance of Powerscourt with its breath-taking views. The historic house, beautifully manicured garden and waterfall, the highest in Ireland, are a tourist destination in themselves. As this article goes to print, Ireland is currently joint 1st in our World Cup Qualifying Group, so I asked John what he thinks our chances are of qualifying. “I’m really

John remains a huge inspiration to up and coming Irish players, so what advice does he offer to young footballers just starting out on their careers? “It’s getting increasingly difficult for young Irish players to go professional because there is now worldwide competition from Brazil, Australia and so on. The biggest advice given to me was to practice and work as hard as possible and always listen to your parents and coaches as they have your best interests at heart. Finally, no one is perfect so work on your weaknesses.” Go Ancient East wishes the Irish team the very best of luck! C’mon ye Boys in Green!

Waterford to Dungarvan Greenway

The biggest advice given to me was to practice and work as hard as possible, and always listen to your parents and coaches as they have your best interests at heart. Finally, no one is perfect so work on your weaknesses



Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Top things to see and do in Ireland’s Ancient East

Ireland’s Ancient East is an impressive route that gives you the opportunity to explore 5,000 years of history in the East of Ireland. There is so much to do and see that it would be a mean feat to visit everything in one trip! To make things a little easier, here are top attractions that you really don’t want to miss!

Newgrange, Co Meath Newgrange is a 5,200-year-old passage tomb that was built by Stone Age farmers in the Boyne Valley, and really is a jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East. This World Heritage Site is strikingly impressive and is best known for the illumination of its chamber by the sun on the winter solstice. A narrow beam of light streaks along the floor of the ancient passageway, straight into the heart of the pitch-black Stone Age burial chamber. A display, using electric light, recreates what first happened more than 5200 years ago when prehistoric dwellers built the giant mound to house the ashes of their dead. Above the entrance to the passageway, there is an opening called a roof-box. This was created to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21. At dawn, from December 19-23, a beam of sunlight bursts into the roof-box and reaches the floor, gradually extending 19m to the rear of the mound. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens, so the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning at about 9 am. Standing with your back pressed against a wall inside this 13.5m-high structure, it is hard not to try to transport yourself back to a time when Stone Age astronomers harnessed the sun.

Above you is about 200,000 tonnes of loose rock which is holding it all together, but don’t worry folks, it won’t fall down... remember the Irish are world famous for being builders. The accuracy of Newgrange as a time-telling device is astonishing when you consider it was built about 3200BC 500 years before the Great Pyramid of Giza and more than 1000 years before Stonehenge. One theory is the ancients designed it as a pathway to the gods so the dead could follow the beam of light directly to the sun.

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary Rearing up from the fertile plain of the Golden Vale, the Rock of Cashel is a significant historical attraction. It is also known as Cashel of the Kings, as it is said that it was the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick. The Rock is home to three impressive ancient structures – the round tower built around 1100, Cormac’s Chapel that was founded in c. 1127 and the Cathedral, which dates back between 1235 and 1270, within a wall high on a grassy outcrop.


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Belvedere House, Co Westmeath

Kilkenny Castle, Co Kilkenny

Belvedere House is a stunning 160-acre lakeside estate that is comprised of a fully restored beautiful Georgian Villa, an impressive Victorian walled garden and beautiful 18th-century parkland that is scattered with fantastic follies, including the Jealous Wall which is the largest in Ireland. The Jealous Wall was intentionally built to look like a ruin. This type of folly was a favourite feature on estates in the mid-1700s. Visitors can also enjoy woodland walks, the serene lake shore, the café and the tourist shop. Guided tours are available.

Kilkenny Castle is a restored 12th Century castle that is truly breath-taking and is an integral part of the historic Kilkenny City. Due to many additions and alterations along the years, the castle is now a complex structure of various architectural styles, that sits in impressively extensive parklands. Guided tours are available.

Blarney Castle, Co Cork Glendalough, Co Wicklow Glendalough is a striking blend of natural scenery and built heritage, and is one of the best-known of Ireland’s historical sites. The name Glendalough comes from the Irish Gleann Dá Loch, or “Valley of the Two Lakes”. It boasts one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites, including churches, a cathedral and a round tower, and dates back to the 6th century. Many people overlook one of its more unusual treasures, the field known as Seven Fonts, where you can find a remarkable collection of bullaun stones dotted throughout the area and in the adjacent river. “Bullaun” comes from the Gaelic word for a bowl. These hollowed stones are found at some sites around Ireland, often in association with early medieval church sites. They may have been holy water fonts or served a more practical role such as a large mortar for crushing herbs or minerals. Visitors to Glendalough will be spoiled by its spectacular natural beauty, rich history, stunning archaeology and diverse wildlife.

Blarney Castle is almost 600 years old and is one of Ireland’s most well-known landmarks. It is home to the world-famous Blarney Stone, the Stone of Eloquence, and legend has it that a kiss to the stone means you’ll never be lost for words again. There is so much more to explore as well, including the impressive castle itself, the Court which is the ruins of a late 18th-century Gothic mansion, the Dungeon, which is a maze of underground passages and chambers, and the stunning grounds on which all this is found.

Waterford City, Co Waterford Waterford City was a Viking settlement that transformed into a beautiful and bustling port in modern times. Its narrow streets and medieval walls can still be appreciated, along with the Georgian Christ Church Cathedral. A guided tour of the city allows you to discover over 1000 years of history, aided by the three museums of Waterford Treasures.

Go AncEiaestnt ¥ Kells Priory, Co Kilkenny Kilkenny city itself is a treasure-trove of ancient heritage, and the county is full of beautiful places to see; of these Kells Priory is a favourite. This large site has the appearance of a large castle, with high walls and strong towers, but despite its military appearance, it was a monastic foundation, founded by the Norman knight Geoffrey FitzRobert circa 1193 for the Augustinian canons. Some other fascinating sites like Kilree (with its beautiful round tower and high cross), Jerpoint Abbey, Newtown Jewpoint and Kilfane Church (with its remarkable eight-foot tall effigy) are all nearby, making for an enjoyable day soaked in the majesty of Kilkenny’s medieval marvels. Feel the sea spray on your face by soaking up Waterford’s rugged Copper Coast. Wexford and Waterford boast some of Ireland’s best golden beaches, the perfect places to take to the water and get the blood pumping with a surf lesson. Or find a spot on a clifftop to make lasting family memories enjoying a picnic with a stunning backdrop. Or how about a reviving walk on the Blue Flag Curracloe Beach in Co Wexford, where scenes from Saving Private Ryan were filmed. Step it out and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of mountains like Wicklow’s distinctive Sugar Loaf – or the beautiful bogland in the flat central plains of Offaly and Longford and the lush green pastureland in Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Castletown House, Co Kildare Castletown House in Celbridge is one of Ireland’s most spectacular landed estates. It was built between the years 1722 and 1729 and is Ireland’s largest and earliest example of a Palladian style house. Once the palatial residence of William Conolly, it contains 100 rooms and is set in 120 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds stretching down to the river Liffey. Its scale alone, quite apart from its design, makes it hugely impressive. As one 18th-century commentator remarked: “This I believe to be the only house in Ireland to which the term ‘palace’ can be applied.” After Conolly died in 1729, his widow Katherine continued to live in the house and commissioned some spectacular follies (like the nearby Wonderful Barn and Conolly Folly) to keep local people employed during periods of hardship. Today the restored and conserved house and grounds are truly impressive, and a guided tour of the stunning house allows visitors to soak up the splendour, including the drawing rooms, the entrance hall, the bedrooms and the long gallery.

Kells, Co Meath Kells is now a thriving town, but it was once one of Ireland’s earliest monastic settlements. Kells served as a place of sanctuary for monks from the Viking raids of 804AD. They brought with them a sacred manuscript, called the Book of Kells, which is now housed in Trinity College Dublin. The town is still a popular tourist attractive as it is steeped in history, from a 10th-century oratory to several high crosses.

Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly Founded in 548, Clonmacnoise is a just stunning and historically fascinating monastic site which overlooks the River Shannon and is one of Ireland’s most iconic historical sites. The monastery was founded by St Ciarán in the middle of the sixth century. Though today it seems peaceful and somewhat isolated, in the early medieval period Clonmacnoise was at the crossroads of the two major routeways of Ireland: the mighty river Shannon and the Slí Mór (meaning “The Great Way’). At its height, the monastery was surrounded by a large bustling settlement, with markets, craftsmen, labourers and farm workers. Today, it is a truly beautiful and peaceful place to encounter early medieval Ireland. It boasts extensive ruins, including that of a cathedral, castle, several churches, a round tour, two great high crosses and a large set of Early Christain grave slabs. Clonmacnoise was and is still is a major centre of religion, trade, craftsmanship and learning. Quite close to Clonmacnoise, you can discover more wonders from the early Irish church. St Manchán, a monk from Clonmacnoise, founded another monastery nearby at Lemanaghan. His shrine, one of the most breathtaking examples of medieval art, is still on display in the nearby parish church at Boher.

Go Ancient East Issue #1



Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Lismore Co. Waterford Situated close to the river Blackwater, Lismore is a charming and historic town with a wealth of heritage to discover, including the Castle with its lovely gardens, St Carthage’s Cathedral and a superb heritage centre. Just outside the town, you can find the Towers of Ballysaggartmore. The towers were commissioned by Arthur Kiely-Ussher around 1835. It is said that his wife had become deeply envious of Strancally Castle, built by Arthur’s brother John Kiely, and hectored Arthur to make a residence to outshine that of his brother. Plans for a lavish mansion were drawn up, and work began on the long and winding carriageway, with an ornate gate lodge and bridge. However, their ambitions quickly outstripped their funds. Today it is an excellent and unusual setting for a walk.

Lough Gur, Co Limerick Lough Gur is one of the most significant and remarkable archaeological landscapes in Ireland. This small, horseshoe-shaped lake has been a focal point for settlement and activity for millennia, beginning in the Neolithic period. There is much folklore, and mythology abounds here, with legends of a lost city beneath its calm, enchanted waters. The island near the eastern shore is named Garrett Island after the third Earl of Desmond, Gerald (or Garrett) Fitzgerald. He disappeared in 1398 and legend says he is doomed to live under the lake. He emerges fully armed and dressed in his finery at daybreak one day every seven years, mounted on a phantom white horse. He rides across the lake and leads a fairy host. He is compelled to repeat this until his horse’s silver shoes wear away.

The Rock of Dunamase, Co Laois The Rock of Dunamase is dramatically perched on top of a steep limestone outcrop that towers above the low-lying plains of Laois. Dunamase was part of the dowry paid by the king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, when his daughter Aoife married Richard de Clare (Strongbow), the leader of the Norman invasions. He appointed Meiler FitzHenry to hold the castle, which was on the dangerous and unsettled borderland with powerful Gaelic Irish tribes. Later, the famous knight William Marshal continued the work begun by FitzHenry, and transformed Dunamase into a truly formidable fortress. The Rock of Dunamase was finally captured by the Ó Mordhas in 1330, but they left the site unoccupied and it fell into ruin. Today you can explore it and enjoy spectacular views over the lush landscape of Laois.

Castleroche, Co Louth Hidden away in the rolling countryside of Co Louth, you can find Castleroche Castle, arguably the finest example of a 13th-century castle in Ireland, and the only one of its period to have been constructed by a woman. It was commissioned by Lady Rohesia de Verdun in 1236 to serve as a bastion of defence for the Anglo-Norman colony in Louth against the Gaelic tribes of Ulster. Lady Rohesia was a formidable individual: Legend has it that she had the castle’s architect thrown from one of the tower windows so that he could never reveal its secrets.

Loughcrew, Co Meath The Boyne Valley in Co Meath is packed with an almost bewildering array of ancient tombs and monuments, perhaps most famously the great tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, all accessible through the superb Brú Na Bóinne visitor centre. Located to the north of the Boyne valley, near the village of Oldcastle, the passage tomb cemetery of Loughcrew is a must visit. The Irish name of Loughcrew – Sliabh na Caillí – translates to “The Hill of the Witch.” Folklore has it that the monuments at Loughcrew were formed when a witch called An Cailleach Bhéara was challenged to drop an apron full of stones on each of the three Loughcrew peaks: if she succeeded, she would be proclaimed the ruler of all Ireland. She was successful on the first two peaks, but missed the third and fell to her death. The largest of the tombs, Cairn T, stands on the summit of Carnbane East and may be the focal point of the whole cemetery. This passage tomb has some of the finest examples of Neolithic art in Ireland. Visit during the autumn or spring equinox to witness sunlight entering the chamber to illuminate the inside of the tomb.

“Your Home From Home” Opened in 1970, The 4 star Keadeen Hotel is the oldest family-run hotel in County Kildare, located just 40 minutes from Dublin City in the heart of ‘Thoroughbred County’ With 72 luxurious bedrooms and set on 9 acres of award winning landscaped gardens the Keadeen hotel is ideal as a base to explore Ireland’s Ancient East To avail of a special promotional rate simply quote AE100 when making your reservation

Contact Information Curragh Road, Newbridge, Co Kildare, W12 T925.

Tel: 045 431666


The Treasures and Trinkets

of Ireland’s Ancient East

The tradition of craft and design still continues today.

The Powerscourt Centre, Dublin 2 The Powerscourt Townhouse Centre is a historical building, having served as Lord Powerscourt’s townhouse and courtyard in the 18th Century. Today, it is a shopping centre not only with stunning architecture but also with many one of a kind boutiques and restaurants. Every element of the centre is an exercise in lust, and requires ninja like self-discipline, from the entrance, where many beautiful antique and jewellery shops are perfectly positioned for perusal, to the wide open, expansive restaurant on the ground floor, which offers a tempting glimpse of tantalising treats at the dessert counter. Set in a beautiful light-filled space on the top floor of the Powerscourt Townhouse is the MADE Store and Gallery, a concept store curating the very best collections from leading contemporary Irish designers and artists. The streamlined


Ireland’s Ancient East has always attracted wandering eyes, with carefully wrought objects of beauty and precious treasures proved incentive enough to pillage whole communities. The tradition of craft and design still continues today, and there are some excellent shops scattered along the East Coast of Ireland. Deirdre Hynds explores some of her favourites.

space creates a new store experience with regular exhibitions interspersed between featured collections from internationally established labels as well as emerging contemporary designers in the fields of fashion and accessories. Contemporary Irish brands include; We Are Islanders, Keem, Jill De Burca, Natalie B. Coleman, Emma Manley, Laura Kinsella Millener, and Chupi jewellery. The store is a great place to pick up one-off contemporary Irish fashion and design gift. Also located on the top floor of Powerscourt is The Design Centre. Founded over 20 years ago, it has become a forum for up and coming and established designers to showcase their clothing. Magpies will find plenty of bright and shiny treats and trinkets in here, and the current list of designers include; Erickson Beamon, Tricotine, Caroline Kilkenny, Synan O’Mahony, Olivier Duncan Doherty and Irish milliner extraordinaire, Philip Treacy. Kilkenny Shop, Nationwide Dublin (Nassau St, Stillorgan & Swords), Trim Co. Meath, Newbridge Co. Kildare, Greystones Co.Wicklow and Cork (Emmet Place, Douglas, Shanagarry) on Ireland’s Ancient East, plus stores nationwide

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The Kilkenny Shop is Ireland’s largest emporium for Irish designed products. Kilkenny’s philosophy is to offer customers a modern and contemporary interpretation based on the best of Irish traditions, and for over 5 decades, the Kilkenny Group has been the country’s leading promoter of Irish craft and design, showcasing the best of Irish talent and offering their customers a contemporary take on traditional Irish craft. It’s some of the well known Irish names you will find in the Kilkenny store includes; potters Louis Mulcahy and Stephen Pearce, as well as designers Orla Kiely and John Rocha both internationally recognised as masters of their craft, it’s a great spot to bring home a uniquely Irish designed piece as either a holiday keepsake or gift.

Hand Made Soap Company, Jerpoint Glass, Kennedy of Ardara, Anna Faye, Mad4Hats. Visitors who want to take home something unique can spend time perusing the large and varied selection of original artworks and prints, ceramics, glass, soaps, jewellery, candles, handcrafted wood, leather, felt and marble, books, cards and stationery, and gifts which feature illustrations of County Waterford architectural landmarks. The shop is a short walk from Dungarvan town’s Grattan Square, harbour, castle and museum, and its nautical theme and clinker boat counter whet the appetite for this beautiful sea-side town. Avoca, Nationwide Established in 1723, Avoca Handweavers is a family owned craft design company which had its beginnings at the Old Mill at Avoca, County Wicklow where the weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca’s hallmark. Set in the grounds of the old Jameson (of whiskey fame) estate, surrounded by ancient trees and rolling gardens, the Avoca store at Kilmacanogue is the company HQ, and a great place to visit to do some gift shopping. It’s almost impossible to leave without purchasing one of their hand-weaved rugs, or sampling one of their famous scones! The treasure trove shop sells knits, glassware, ceramics, jewellery, toys, books, homewares, and aromatics much of which is exclusive to Avoca. There are two award-winning cafes

with terraces on site for weary shoppers to revive and rest their bones, The Fern House is a beautifully bright and airy table service restaurant with tall windows opening out to its own paved terrace. Built in the style of a Victorian fern house, it’s spacious and plant-filled - including orange & lemon trees. The Beach House Gallery Craft Shop, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford This Aladdin’s Cave style shop is perfect for magpies who love bright and shiny things! The shop is run by the award-winning children’s author and illustrator, Pippa Sweeney, and is situated in a carefully restored building that dates back to pre-famine times. The shop, which also doubles up as Pippa’s working studio, stocks familiar brands like Moth to a Flame, the

The Ballymaloe Shop, Shanagarry, Co. Cork In an ideal world, this is the shop that you would visit stock your dream kitchen. The setting of a beautiful old farmhouse sets the stage perfectly for a selection of enviable interiors which have been carefully selected by proprietor Wendy Whelan and include; beautiful blue Burleigh pottery, hand-blown Jerpoint glass, Le Pentole saucepans, Nicholas Mosse pottery, hand-made chopping boards from Sacha Whelan…and lots and lots of Cookery Books! After channelling your inner Nigella, take five in the adjacent café, where you can enjoy light lunches, coffees and homemade cake.

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THE CRAFT OF LACE Of course, the Duchess of Cambridge was not the first member of the British royalty to commission Carrickmacross Lace as it graced the gowns of Queen Victoria and the late Princess Diana who wore it on the sleeves of her Emmanuelledesigned wedding dress. “Carrickmacross Lace has always been popular, particularly with Americans and Europeans, but it has definitely become more popular since the photos of Kate in her wedding dress appeared all over the world. People of all nationalities love to come to the Gallery to how demonstrations of how the lace is made,” explains Elizabeth Daly, Chairperson of Carrickmacross Lace Gallery, Co, Monaghan. Yet the story behind this beautiful lace is as much about ragged poverty as royalty and romance. It began when Mrs Grey Porter, the new wife of a local rector, collected pieces of appliqué lace while on honeymoon in Italy. Back home, she was inspired to teach local country women the craft so they could learn some much-needed extra income. World-famous lace industry Her initiative sparked a now

by Michelle McDonagh

The story of Carrickmacross Lace began back in 1816, but it was the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William in 2011 that brought the delicate appliqué technique to worldwide attention once again.

world-famous craft lace industry with a distinctive style all of its own. Other lace-making classes around County Monaghan proliferated, as famine relief schemes in the Great Famine of the 1840s, and even in Carrickmacross Workhouse. In her book Carrickmacross Lace, Nellie O’Cléirigh notes that the Monaghan area was particularly badly affected by the Famine, and relief schemes were few, so the lace-making schools made a vital contribution to the survival of many families. It is possible that lace-making may have died off as an industry in the area towards the end of the 19th Century were it not for the interest taken in the craft by the Sisters of the Order of St. Louis who set up a school of lacemaking alongside their primary school. The great era of Irish, and European lace-making ended with the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, but Carrickmacross Lace continues to be made and used by international fashion designers today. The romance of the craft triumphs through the exquisite work — from communion and wedding veils to christening robes and lace brooches — of Carrickmacross Lace Co-op at Carrickmacross Lace Gallery in

Market Square. Passionate about their craft The lace is still hand-worked by a select group of craftspeople, who are passionate about the beauty of fine, meticulously crafted needlework. Using a technique called appliqué, the lace-makers apply fine cambric or muslin to a net base, cutting the excess fabric away to reveal the intricate design on the net. The lace-makers work in their own homes and their work is vetted by a committee to ensure it meets the high standard required. Elizabeth Daly still teaches Carrickmacross lacemaking classes today and loves being able to pass the unique skill on to the next generation. She says: “We are hoping that the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative will put us on the map and let people know we are here. We are linking with the Patrick Kavanagh Centre and Carrickmacross Workhouse down the road to promote the three attractions together. Visit Carrickmacross Lace Gallery in Monaghan to explore the fascinating history of this important industry and browse a range of lace products and gifts.

Heritage Sites Of Ireland Heritage Sites Of Ireland Heritage Sites Of Heritage Sites OfIreland Ireland Heritage HeritageSites SitesOf Of Ireland Ireland

Many millions from Ireland and overseas visit our heritage sites every year. Guide/ranger services and interpretative displays are provided at many centres. For further millions from Ireland andoverseas overseas visit visit ManyMany millions from Ireland and information please contact: our heritage sites every year.Guide/ranger Guide/ranger our heritage sites every year. Visitor Services, Office of Public Works, services and interpretative displays are services and interpretative displays are Unit 20 Lakeside Retail Park, Claremorris, provided at many centres. Forfurther further provided at many centres. For353 Co. Mayo, Ireland. Tel: 00 1 6476592 OPWinformation Heritage Card — please contact: Adult: €40 Senior: €30 Family €90: Child/Student €10 Many Ireland and overseas visit information pleasefrom contact: email:millions Offers unlimited admission to over 45 fee paying sites for one year. Visitor Services, Office of Public Works, our heritage sites every year. Guide/ranger Tel: 00353 1 6476592 Visitor Office of Public Works, UnitServices, 20 Lakeside Retail Park, Claremorris, services and interpretative displays are Unit 20 Lakeside Retail Park, Claremorris, Co. Mayo,atIreland. Tel: 00 353 1 6476592 many centres. For further OPWprovided Heritage Card — Adult: €40 Senior: €30 Family €90: Child/Student €10 Mayo, Ireland. Tel: 00 353 1 6476592 Many millions from Ireland and overseas visit OPWCo. Heritage Card — email: information pleaseto over contact: Offers unlimited admission 45 fee paying€10 sites for one year. dult: €40 Senior: €30 Family €90: Child/Student Many millions from Ireland and overseas visit heritage sitesTel:every year. Guide/ranger email: 00353 1paying 6476592 unlimited admission to over 45 fee sites for one year. Visitor Services, Office of Public Works, services and displays are our heritage sitesinterpretative every year. Guide/ranger Tel: 00353 1 6476592 Unit 20 Lakeside Park, provided many Retail centres. ForClaremorris, further services and at interpretative displays are Co. Mayo, Ireland. Tel: 00 353 1 6476592 information please contact: provided at many centres. For further

The OPW Heritage Card, costing just 25 (euro) for a Senior Citizen and 60 per Family offers unlimited admission to over 40 of our fee paying The Heritage costing justjust 2525 The OPW OPW Heritage Card, costing sites for one year –Card, please (euro) andand 6060 per per (euro)for fora aSenior SeniorCitizen Citizen contact: Family offers unlimited admission offers unlimited admission email: to over 40 paying Tel: 01 6476587 to over 40ofofour ourfeefee paying sites for one year –Dept. please General Information(Photos: Photographic Unit, The Card, costing just 25 sitesOPW for Heritage one year – please Email: Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht) contact: (euro) for a SeniorTel: Citizen 60 per contact: 00353and 1 6476000 email: Family offers unlimited admission email: Tel: 01 6476587 to over 40 ofon ourfacebook fee paying find us Tel: OPW 01 6476587 General Information(Photos: Photographic Unit, Dept. costing The Heritage just 25 sites for one year –Card, please Email: Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht) General Information(Photos: Photographic Unit, Dept. The OPW Card, costing just 25 (euro) for aHeritage SeniorTel: Citizen and 60 per contact: 1 6476000 Email: Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht) Family offers admission (euro) for a unlimited SeniorTel: Citizen 60 per email: 00353and 1 6476000 to over 40 of our fee paying find us onunlimited facebook Family offers admission Tel: 01 6476587 sites for one year – please to find over 40 fee paying (Photos: Photographic Unit,facebook Dept. usofonour


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Good Spirits in Waterford’s 33 The Mall The Ancient East boasts many buildings of historic importance and a notable one of national interest is 33 The Mall in Waterford City.


tanding proudly on the corner of Mall Lane and The Mall this architecturally pretty building with its unusual bow front, is the place where the Irish flag was flown for the first time ever and the original window where it was unveiled is still there to this day. It was the famous Young Irelander, Waterford native and future Governor of Montana, Thomas Francis Meagher, who dramatically unfurled the flag from the first-floor window to show it to an assembled crowd below. His accompanying speech, passionately delivered, spoke of Irish freedom and unity and is enshrined today as one of the greatest speeches ever given in the city. Meagher, who at the time was heavily involved in the fight to free Ireland from English rule, had been to France and witnessed the revolution. He told his rebel French counterparts of the Irish struggle and recognising the parallels with the French story, some local French women sewed together the green white and orange and presented it as a gift to Meagher. It was similar to the new French flag that united the

33 The Mall was built in the late Georgian period. It has been through many transformations. As the Wolfetone Club it was a place for idealists to right the world and pound the tables with talk of freedom and liberation.

red and blue (the right and the left) with the white in the middle signifying peace. The green and orange of how they had envisaged the Irish tricolour, signified peace between the Catholic and Protestant sides in Ireland. Thomas Francis Meagher returned to Ireland with the flag and on 9th March 1848 he used the first floor of the Wolfetone Club at 33 The Mall as public platform and flew the tricolour from the front window. The flag was officially adopted by the new Irish Republic in 1942 and remains the official flag of Ireland to this day. Two blue plaques and a bronze bust of Meagher are displayed on the front of the building and the flag is also on display. It has also inspired an annual festival held in Waterford each March which revolves around the flag being ceremoniously hoisted to remember its origins. At another time, it was a thriving tobacconist shop, a nightclub, a cafe and in the early part of the new millennium it was painstakingly restored to house a high-end restaurant. While the building was completely torn down and rebuilt on the inside, the original façade was saved. Today the building is the headquarters of Anchor Spirits Ireland Limited, a local boutique beverage company that has interrupted the Irish drinks market with premium spirits that are gaining a foothold in markets across Europe. The company founders include a married couple who were well known in the area to start with as they were both broadcasters on the local radio station, WLR Fm. In 2014 Nichola Beresford traded the microphone for booze while husband Timmy Ryan remained on the airwaves to support the new venture. Along with two other friends they created Anchor Spirits Ireland Limited and brought Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liqueur

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Thin Gin takes its name and image from the adventures of Mr Isacc Thin who lived in Waterford for a brief period in the 1920s. The other hugely important feature of the beverages is that they have all been inspired in some way by an indigenously Irish experience or story. Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liqueur, for example, was inspired by the old Waterford legend of Tom Muldoon, an amateur healer and herbalist who believed in the power of uisce beatha (Gaelic word for Whiskey – direct translation – the water of life) and natural botanicals to heal the human body. Folklore tells us that Tom Muldoon would sweeten whiskey so that it was more palatable as a medicine in certain cases. Muldoon, therefore has been made sweet to the taste but retains a lovely warming after taste that makes it the ideal after dinner drink or fireside companion. It also works well in summer cocktails. Interestingly Waterford’s only 4* Hotel, The Granville, allows guests to try Muldoon on their breakfast porridge, which has introduced tourists to what is now a uniquely Waterford experience. At just 25% ABV there’s no danger of being drunk at breakfast.

to the market. Muldoon is a toffee and hazelnut whiskey liqueur and it wasn’t long before the unique taste of Muldoon garnered several awards. In 2016 it won its first international award, a Silver Medal from the highly competitive IWSC. Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liqueur was followed by a full-strength gin called Thin Gin. Thin Gin received the award for Best Irish Gin at the Irish Whiskey Awards in 2015 and this was followed by a prestigious Gold Medal in 2016. The company’s third product is Spike Island Spiced Rum and this year they plan to launch an Irish Whiskey. As a producer of premium Irish spirits, Anchor Spirits Ireland’s ethos is to make drinks for the discerning drinker. It’s about using the best and most natural ingredients to create new tastes and drinks that have substance. These drinks are for people who care about what they put into their bodies and are prepared to invest a little more for great ingredients, green and gentle production processes and unique taste.

Thin Gin takes its name and image from the adventures of Mr Isacc Thin who lived in Waterford for a brief period in the 1920s. Thin Gin is 40% ABV, rich in Irish botanicals and hedgerow fruits and finished with bursts of exotic citrus that conjure summer even on the darkest day in winter. Spike Island Spiced Rum is named after the tiny island that lies off the south coast of Ireland. Spike Island’s rich history of saints and sinners inspired each of the spices chosen for this Bajan rum that comes out a 40% ABV. From the company’s point of view, the background and inspiration for each drink creates an individual personality and this is carried through to the ingredients and presentation. It’s this creative passion that makes the company different and has driven its success to date. How it develops products and conducts its business is rather unusually informed by art and instinct rather than traditional commerce and yet it’s a formula that seems to work. Without a doubt, there are good spirits at Waterford’s 33 The Mall. All products are available in good independent off licences throughout Ireland and in some airport duty free shops.)


VIKINGS They settled. They formed alliances. They integrated. They intermarried.


ne stormy night more than a millennium ago, an Irish monk scribbled a few lines of poetry in the margin of the manuscript he was working on. “Is acher ingáith innocht … fufuasna faircggae findFolt … ni ágor réimm mora minn … dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind.” Tonight, he wrote, bitter is the wind, it tosses the ocean’s white hair, so I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway, coursing the Irish sea. For this new power was horrifying. Vikings hurtling across the northern seas from Norwegian fjords came in search of land and wealth. And the island of Ireland offered rich pickings.

The coasts were accessible. The interior – with its navigable rivers and lakes – was porous. The many monasteries held gold. The people were unprepared for modern 9th-century warfare. To the seafaring Scandinavians, Ireland’s East and South coasts were brilliantly placed for European trade. As the years turned to decades and then centuries the Raiders became traders and founded powerful port cities. Not just Dublin, but Cork and Limerick, Vadrarfjord, Vaesafjord and Vikinglo – Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow. Today there’s evidence of the Viking age across Ireland’s Ancient East – but you need to know where (and how) to look. From the street patterns of the Viking ports, with their keysers or narrow paths

leading to the quays, one pack horse wide. To the distinctive 10th-century round towers dotting the landscape – the defensive system developed by the monasteries during those turbulent times. Down in the chambers of Dunmore Cave, County Kilkenny, excavated skeletons and a 10th-century hoard has revealed Viking ravages and riches. While the lovely woods of Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains have a special significance: tree-ring analysis has proved a Viking ship excavated in Denmark’s Roskilde Fjord was made from these Irish Oaks. So, will DNA analysis now finally prove the old saying that the Vikings brought red hair and freckles to Ireland?

DUNMORE CAVES Leaving the daylight behind and descending the steep steps down the grassy bank into Dunmore Cave, you feel the temperature drop. The 9th-century Irish Triads said this was one of the three darkest places in Ireland, and today it is like stepping over the threshold into another world as natural wonders, Viking history and myths spring from the shadows. But now, immersed in these atmospherically lit chambers formed over millions of years, your eyes are


fully opened to the impressive beauty of nature’s calcite sculptures, stalagmites and stalactites. Alongside the story of such curious rock formations, your guide also reveals the dark tale recorded by the Historic Annals of the Four Masters: how, in 928 AD, Vikings massacred a thousand local people who had sought refuge at the cave. It is a chilling episode backed up by modern archaeological discoveries of skeletons, mainly of women and children. But treasures have been found here too:

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coins that may have belonged to those very Vikings who wreaked havoc, and also a hoard – only spotted in 1999, glinting in a guide’s torchlight – that suggests the cave later became a hiding-place for Viking valuables including silver ingots and buttons. Who stashed them? Why didn’t they return to them? Climbing back up the steps into the daylight, it is tempting to imagine faeries appearing once you have left, to dance on the faerie floor they keep swept clean in the cave. Or so legend says.

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A new Greenway for Waterford Sonny Kennedy explores Ireland’s new Waterford to Dungarvan Greenway, which is now the largest greenway in Ireland


he sunny South East has a new and exciting visitor attraction – the recently opened Waterford Greenway. What was once the Great Southern & Western Railway Line between Ireland’s oldest city Waterford and the seaside hub of Dungarvan, is now a fantastic amenity for walkers and cyclists alike. At 46km in length, the Waterford Greenway takes over the mantle from Mayo’s Great Western Greenway as being Irelands longest Greenway. This reimagining of a railway line unused for nigh on 50 years features as some of the most stunning natural scenery in the south-east, as well as encompassing the ancient and industrial along the way. Joining the picturesque dots of villages such as Kilmeaden, Kilmacthomas and Mount Cosgrove, the Greenway includes 11 bridges, 3 magnificent viaducts and a fairly spooky but perfectly safe tunnel. The route between Waterford and Dungarvan was travelled by railway passengers as far back as 1878, and today you too can make the journey along the Copper Coast, through the Comeraghs and on to the Viking capital of Ireland. Along the way, meet authentic and genuine

Deise men and women famed for their hospitality and pride in their surroundings of beautiful Co. Waterford. Highlights along the route are numerous with some of the standout landmarks being: The Ballyvoyle Tunnel A standout feature of Waterford Greenways proud railway heritage and a must see along the route is the Ballyvoyle Tunnel. Nearly 140 years old this 400-metre long tunnel is one of the finest fully brick lined tunnels in Ireland. It offers a unique experience for walkers and cyclists a like along the route way and of course shelter from the odd rain shower or two! The Durrow Viaduct One of 3 viaducts on the Waterford Greenway, the 7 arch stone viaduct at Durrow spans the River Tay Valley offering

panoramic views for miles around. A fantastic monument of Waterford’s Railway past, the Durrow Viaduct is certainly one of the highlights of the Greenway. Take some time to stop, breath in the fresh Deise air scenery and relish the stunning scenery. Mount Congreve Gardens Take a tour around the extensive grounds at Mount Congreve House, be it the 70 acres of Woodland Gardens or the 4-acre walled garden. Mount Congreve Gardens is a collage of sights sounds, smells and colours on the banks of the River Suir just outside of Waterford City. Renowned for its collection of Azaleas, Camellias and Rhododendrons you will find flowers and plants from every corner of the world. Mount Congreve Gardens is a stop worth making on the Waterford Greenway.


House of Waterford Crystal SINCE the House of Waterford Crystal manufacturing facility and visitor experience opened in June 2010, it has welcomed over one million visitors into its haven of crystal creativity and innovation.


ocated on the Mall in the heart of Waterford City in Ireland’s Ancient East, the House of Waterford Crystal brings a visit to Waterford to a whole new level as visitors can witness the creation of crystal stemware, giftware and masterpieces right before their very eyes. Every year the House of Waterford Crystal melts down more than 750 tonnes of crystal and produces pieces using traditional manufacturing techniques. The factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that is sure to enthral visitors of all ages, both national and international. The tour lets people go behind the scenes for over an hour and see exactly how Waterford Crystal pieces are made and they can witness every stage of production, from the initial design stage right up to the final engraving of the piece. On the tour, visitors first visit the mould room where they witness the mould making, a technique that has remained


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unchanged throughout the centuries, as the Master Blowers shape the molten crystal flawlessly with the use of wooden moulds and hand tools. The next part of the tour is truly magical, as visitors enter the blowing department where they see glowing balls of crystal transformed into majestic shapes as they are put through the 1300-degree furnace. The Waterford Crystal pieces are then hand marked for precision and accuracy, and they are then cut, sculpted and engraved. Visitors get a behind the scenes sneak peak of the highly skilled method of crystal manufacturing and see the high standards that the House of Waterford Crystal has for each and every piece that leaves the factory. The crystal is inspected at each stage of production, so each piece no matter how small goes through six inspections, and if it fails to reach the Waterford Crystal standards at any stage it is smashed and returned to the furnace to be re-melted so that the

piece can be started again. Some of the best known trophies and prizes around the world have also been hand crafted in The House of Waterford Crystal including the annual Peoples Choice Awards, the Solheim Cup, the Irish Open trophy and the Vincent Lombardi trophy. The House of Waterford Crystal is also home to the largest collection of Waterford Crystal in the world; so for that special indulgence or a gift for any occasion, why not indulge in one of the designer Waterford Crystal pieces by John Rocha, Jasper Conran or Jo Sampson. For further information visit Tel: + 353 (0)51 317000 Facebook: House of Waterford Crystal/Twitter: @WaterfordCrystl Instagram: @waterfordcrystalfactory

See Exquisite Pieces of Crystal manufactured before your eyes

Waterford Crystal Factory and Brand Experience

The House of Waterford Crystal brings a visit to Waterford to a whole new level, as visitors can witness the creation of crystal masterpieces right before their very eyes. The factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that allows people go behind the scenes for over an hour and see exactly how Waterford Crystal pieces are made and they can witness every stage of production, from the initial design stage right up to the final engraving of the piece.

Guided Factory Tours daily Waterford Brand & Visitor Experience Open Daily

Book online at and receive a 10% discount on adult tickets

Phone +353 (0) 51 317000


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Waterford’s Viking Triangle is Waterford’s Cultural and Heritage quarter. A tranquil place, characterised by narrow streets, atmospheric public spaces and an array of cultural & heritage attractions.


t is so called because of the 1000-year-old Viking walls which once surrounded it. Perhaps the most famous building in the triangle is Reginald’s Tower (which contains the Viking Museum) but the triangle is also the site of the Medieval Museum and the Bishop’s Palace Museum, collectively known as Waterford Museum of Treasures. After a traditional Waterford breakfast with freshly baked blaa (the traditional bread introduced by the Huguenots), you will certainly feel ready to explore the treasures gathered by Ireland’s oldest city. “Vadrarfjord” was founded in 914 AD, a Viking settlement that became a flourishing port. Today’s narrow streets and medieval walls of the Viking Triangle stand on its original footprint. There’s Georgian Christ Church Cathedral, too, on the site of the Viking church where the great Anglo-Norman knight Strongbow famously married the Irish princess Aoife. You dip and delve into the three museums of Waterford Treasures, reading the changing times through precious artefacts.

Reginald’s Tower

The first is the massive stone fortress of Reginald’s Tower, which houses

Waterford’s Viking Treasures, including the magnificent Waterford Kite brooch, which is the finest example of early 12th century secular metalwork. The Tower is Waterford’s landmark monument and Ireland’s oldest civic building. It has been in continuous use for over 800 years. The first tower on the site was built by Vikings after 914 and formed the apex of the triangular settlement, an area known to this day as the Viking Triangle. Re-built by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century the top two floors were added in the 15th century. Until about 1700 the tower was the strongpoint of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city. The tower now houses an exhibition on Viking Waterford.

The Medieval Museum

A few more steps and you are in Ireland’s only Medieval Museum, which showcases spectacular Treasures from the Middle Ages. The magnificent curved façade of the warm butter-coloured stone building draws in the visitor. The eye-catching giant sculpture on the gable was inspired by a tiny 13th century belt mount found in Waterford. It is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum and the only building on the island to incorporate two medieval chambers, the 13th century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault. Don’t miss the stunning Heavens’ Embroidered Cloths, Waterford’s cloth-of-gold 15th century vestments.

Bishop’s Palace

This exquisite architectural jewel, now a museum, continues to delight over 250 years later, the ground and first floors furnished as a very elegant 18th century townhouse. The 1943 Palace is now home to treasures of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It’s Georgian furnishings are stunning, and the 1789 decanter is the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal. You will also see the superb large canvas, the first landscape painting of an Irish city commissioned in 1736. In the nearby House of Waterford Crystal you can see beautiful pieces still being made: treasures to speak of the city’s heritage in years to come. For more see www.

_____________________________ 0 ,00 E 8 € RIZ P PRO UND F

____________________________ Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort the island, Waterford, Ireland ____________________________ in association with PGA in Ireland

S at u r d ay 1 s t


Price Per Amateur Team 3 Players

• Golf at Waterford Castle Golf Club • Hole in one special win a MAZDA 6 valued at €37,000 with a hole in one on the 16th (t&c) • Gala Presentation Dinner at the King's Channel Club House • Amateur Prizes worth over €3,000 • Buggies / Caddy's available on request

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George Corbett Mazda

Call us on 051 871 633 or visit online PRO UND F w w w. w a t e r f o r d c a s t l e re s o r t . c o m

____________________________ Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort the island, Waterford, Ireland ____________________________ in association with PGA in Ireland

S at u r d ay 1 s t


Price Per Amateur Team 3 Players

• Golf at Waterford Castle Golf Club • Hole in one special win a MAZDA 6 valued at €37,000 with a hole in one on the 16th (t&c) • Gala Presentation Dinner at the King's Channel Club House • Amateur Prizes worth over €3,000 • Buggies / Caddy's available on request

____________________________ ___________________________ • Tournament Welcome Pack

• Professional Individual Stroke Play Prize Fund €8,000

George Corbett Mazda

Call us on 051 871 633 or visit online

w w w. w a t e r f o r d c a s t l e re s o r t . c o m


acrificing a neighbour’s son to the Sun god, fighting with and against the Vikings, kneeling before a Celtic cross – these are the stories of Ireland’s legendary yet pragmatic High Kings… Who was this well-groomed man with his finely shaped beard, his shaved forehead, his long hair gelled and then piled high on the top of his head?

St Patrick (who lights his own fire on the Hill of Slane, to rival the one on Tara), events take a more pragmatic turn: the kings convert, swapping sun worship for Christianity, yet managing to combine both in the distinctive Celtic cross. Kings do battle both with and against the Viking invaders. And it’s an Irish king who invites the first Norman knight to step ashore, to help him defeat a rival.

Their early history is wrapped in fabulous legends – tales of great warriors and rulers both male and female with godlike powers.

The body, found in 2003, had been preserved by the peat bog in Meath for more than 2,000 years. He was almost certainly an aristocrat, sacrificed to the gods of fertility by one of Ireland’s ancient kings. He may well have been a political prisoner – perhaps a prince. For the custom was to steal and keep the eldest sons of rival kings, to ensure peace. Due west of that bog, on the Hill of Uisneach, a fire would be lit (and is lit still) each May, to spark the summer into life. This is Bealtaine, the festival of rebirth.


In earlier times this beacon was the signal to light the fire atop the Hill of Tara and then many another sacred and significant hill across Ireland. They talked of lighting a “fire eye”, with Uisneach being the eye’s pupil.

Back then, Ireland was divided into more than 100 kingdoms, but it was the High Kings crowned at Uisneach and then later Tara who held symbolic power. From the 5th century, with the arrival of

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High Kingship was fought over by many clans whose names echo in the surnames of the Irish today. All those modern McMahons and O’Kanes, O’Kellys, McCarthys, O’Neills and O’Briens. They have a direct link back to the kings.

They still drink the spirit the kings called Uisce Beatha (whiskey). They still play Poc Fada (hurling), the game the legendary warrior Cúchulainn played as a boy. And they still climb symbolic hills in the dark today, right across Ireland’s Ancient East … to see in the New Year, celebrate Halloween, and mark the changing of the seasons.

Mount Sion, Barrack Street, Waterford


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Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Experience the Festivals of Ireland’s Ancient East

The festivals of Ireland’s Ancient East are inspired by the landscape and coloured by its fascinating history. Dotted about the region throughout the year, each event showcases the talents of skilled musicians, poets, writers, artists and chefs. In bustling towns and villages, in market squares, in the gardens of stately homes, in mountains and valleys, festivals and events bring legends to life, recreate times past and provide you with the chance to try something new. As you journey through Ireland’s Ancient East, get a true taste of the land with this selection of festivals.

The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

Festival of the Fires The Festival of Fires on the historic Hill of Uisneach sees the rebirth of Ireland’s oldest festival. A Bealtaine celebration of Irish culture, art, heritage, ceremony and sport, this magical event has been held on the famous hill almost every May for over 1,400 years. Culminating in an incredible night parade and fire ceremony, it ignites the summer gathering season in spectacular fashion. Over 400 acres of rolling hillside will host eight musical stages, theatre and spoken word arenas, genealogy and heritage areas, food and drink villages, walking tours, arts and crafts and lots more.

Hay Festival Kells Hay Festival Kells brings together world-class Irish and international authors and thinkers to celebrate the sharing of stories and ideas. Featuring live entertainment and a dedicated children’s programme, the festival offers workshops, walks, culinary events and pop-up book shops. Associated with the Kells Tourism Forum, the Hay Festival Kells programme includes guided tours of local landmarks like Headfort House, the Spire of Lloyd, Girley Bog Eco Walk and Martry Mill.

Set against the backdrop of Ireland’s medieval capital and referred to in the international comedy world simply and affectionately as Kilkenny, The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival is Ireland’s first and favourite comedy festival. It’s on every June with the best of Irish, British and international stand-up talent, and the friendly, relaxed vibe and the intimacy of the shows make for diverse and intriguing experiences.

Cork Midsummer Festival Cork’s largest arts festival takes place in unusual venues and locations across Cork city and county. Billed as an explosion of arts events on the banks of the Lee, Cork Midsummer features largescale site specific theatre and opera events and will see the return of a family favourite, Picnic in the Park. As a once in a lifetime outdoor, participative experience, it’s a chance to truly get under the skin and behind the scenes of this historic county.

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Carlow Garden Festival 2017 The verdant gardens of Carlow take centre stage at this celebrated summer event. Listen to the best of Irish garden broadcasters and writers, along with top UK gardeners, at the annual Carlow Garden Festival. Fourteen different venues across the county will host an extensive series of tours and talks that highlight the variety of gardens in Carlow, from the magnificent Altamont Gardens to the ancient Yew Walk at Huntington Castle, the multi-sensory gardens of the Delta Centre, to the flora and fauna of the River Barrow in Leighlinbridge.

Carlingford Oyster Festival Wander along the winding streets of medieval Carlingford Village during Carlingford Oyster Festival to savour the taste of oysters, artisan food and other delicious gastronomical treasures. Get involved with pearl hunts along the shore and enjoy world crabfishing contests and sailing regattas on the Lough. The programme also includes heritage walks and talks, food tastings, traditional music and storytelling, living history, children’s activities and educational and cultural events.

Irish Maritime Festival Every year, a Viking invasion takes place at the historical Drogheda Port, where, for two glorious days, families will gather for fun and games. The Irish Maritime Festival is a celebration of all things maritime, from Vikings to seafood, and everything in between. The Viking Village will demonstrate how to live life as a Viking, while the Pirate Parade and funfairs provides excitement for all ages. As a heritage and maritime town, Drogheda is ideally placed to offer a unique weekend experience in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival Next August, see the heart of Ireland’s oldest city transformed into a giant stage, featuring a vibrant programme of entertainment from around the world. The Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival combines street theatre, performance, floats, live music and a magical Sunday evening parade—see the medieval streets of Waterford city light up for the family-friendly three-day event.

Kilkenny Arts Festival Every August, Kilkenny City offers you the chance to experience the arts in a way you’ll never forget. The Kilkenny Arts Festival gathers many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city each August—for ten days, the city’s churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters. Watch the historic buildings and gardens of Kilkenny come alive with a feast of theatre, dance, literature, visual art and craft.

Cork Guinness Jazz Festival Ireland’s flagship international Jazz Festival takes place every October bank holiday weekend in the historic city of Cork. The Cork Guinness Jazz Festival showcases the best of Irish and overseas musicians in an eclectic programme of jazz and jazzrelated music in over 70 unique venues. Over 90% of the music is free of charge and the four day event includes street bands, workshops, master classes and a jazz parade.


IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE MAGICAL LANDSCAPE OF CAVAN ‘An Cabhán’ is the old Irish name for Cavan, meaning ‘The Hollow’, and the name really does say a lot about this secret Eden, where you can wind down and delve deep into the real Ireland.


arm people, delicious food, tranquil lakes, and imposing mountains are found here in spades. It lends the place an abiding sense of serenity, with a bountiful network of soothing, mysterious waterways coursing through its heartland. Cavan is known as fishing country, and rightly so; its well-stocked waters have been attracting German, French and

English anglers for decades; but Cavan is ‘a good catch’ in its own right. The rolling, green hills and ancient, immutable mountains of Cavan are alive with poetry and heritage; nowhere more so than in the mystical Cavan Burren Park. Extraordinarily rich in archaeological and geological heritage, Cavan Burren

Discover Cavan Burren Park

Park is a truly spectacular attraction and is located on the slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain just outside Blacklion in West Cavan, with stunning views over Lough MacNean, and the surrounding Cavan and Fermanagh countryside, in the heart of the UNESCO Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. Here, you’re free to immerse yourself in this forgotten landscape, etched into the earth by the slow, inexorable grind of ancient ice. Take time in the Park’s information centre, which imaginatively displays Cavan Burren’s endless story, or enjoy one of four marked walking trails (one of which is multi-access) through dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Just as Cavan’s land and water is pure, so, too, is its produce. And this is a county with some of the finest food in Europe. In recent years, Cavan has carved out a niche in culinary delights and the ‘Taste of Cavan’ food festival every August is the perfect showcase for a myriad of the country’s best food producers.

Cavan is a place where life moves at a more relaxed pace. This, along with its intoxicating beauty, makes it a walker’s Blacklion, Co. Cavan Discover Cavan Burren Park T: 049 95 26121 paradise. Another festival worth keeping Blacklion, Co. Cavan T: 049 95 26121 an eye out for is Cavan Walking Festival, which takes place every May. The festival promises a week of varying trails, rambles and hikes all led by trained Blacklion, Co. Cavan T: take 049the 95walker 26121on a local guides, who journey into the local heritage, geology, and 4 walking trails including 1 multi access trail / Interpretative centre archaeology of this hauntingly beautiful picnic4tables / guided tours (pre booking necessary) land. walking trails including 1 multi access trail / Interpretative centre



Discover Cavan Burren Park views, C L w Experience spectacular views, Experience spectacular prehistoric tombs tombs & fantastic prehistoric &geology fantastic


Experience spectacular views, If history is your thing, the new World War One Trench Experience at Cavan prehistoric tombs & fantastic geology County Museum, in Ballyjamesduff is a

picnic Cavan tables /Burren guided tours necessary) Lw Discover Park(pre booking C Blacklion, Co. Cavan

T: 049 95 26121


4Experience walking trails including 1 multi views, access trail / Interpretative centre spectacular T: 049 95 26121 picnic tables / guided tours (pre bookinggeology necessary) prehistoric tombs & fantastic

4 walking trails including 1 multi access trail / Interpretative centre picnic tables / guided tours (pre booking necessary)

s, geology centre

must–see. Proving a winner with adults and kids, it’s the largest WWI replica trench exhibition found anywhere in Ireland or the UK and is a brilliant way to lose an afternoon and experience life in the trenches. The 1916 Rising Experience, opened for the centenary of the Easter Rising, complements the museum’s vivid portrayal of this tumultuous period. The Trench is located to the back of the beautiful Georgian building that houses the museum, and over 5,000 years of Celtic history, from warriors to wordsmiths, pipers to prehistoric hunters.

Ireland is an island of castles and conquest, and Cavan’s breathtaking landscape is dotted with ancient fortifications. For a tour with a difference, visit Cavan Canoe Centre and request a boat trip to the island castle of Clough Oughter. Extraordinarily beautiful in its isolation, on an island in the centre of a vast and charming waterway, this Norman castle has quietly stood the test of time. It also must be noted that County Cavan works hard on making the county accessible to all. Multi-access trails are in place across the county and key visitor attractions such as Cavan Burren Park and the Museum are designed with accessibility in mind. Cavan is also unique in Ireland in delivering online access guides to over 500 public buildings and spaces across the county

(available at www.disabledgo. com). So all in all, Cavan is an exciting, enticing, mysterious and scenic county. One that must be explored at your leisure, and where you’re sure to receive a warm and friendly welcome.


To arrange a guide or for more information on Cavan Burren Park please contact; +353 49 9526121 or email Please see for more information For more information on Cavan County Museum please contact; +353 49 8544070 or see

For award-winning restaurants, fabulous hotels, panoramic landscapes, stunning heritage attractions, world-class fishing, breath-taking walks and the friendliest people in Ireland, visit Cavan in 2017. You’ll be surprised at what you find here.

For information on County Cavan visit

Cavan Tourist Information Office Johnston Central Library Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland. t: +353 (0) 49 433 1942

Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, Ireland Three unique centenary exhibition experiences in one beautiful museum WW1 Trench Experience

1916 Rising Exhibition Experience

Battle of the Somme Installation

After war comes peace and when peace comes never let it go.

Tel: 049 854 4070 • • •

The Myths and Legends of ancient Ireland It’s known far and wide that the Irish are famous for spinning a good yarn and keeping an audience captive with stories inspired by our ancient past. The rich culture of folklore is alive and well in Ireland today centuries after these stories were first told.


he strong oral tradition of passing tales down from one generation to the next ensured the survival of some of Ireland’s most famous myths and legends. Children hear them at school and listening with wonder, might even be convinced that some of the mysterious and supernatural elements are true. Each region, county and even each small town have their own stories - and you’re not likely to find the juiciest bits in a book. It’s time to get out there and discover these stories for yourself. A proposal helped by Fairies If you’re hoping the faeries (fairies) bring you success in love then you’re in luck! In ancient times, spots where lovers met were traditionally close to fairy forts and trees. Legend has it that if you proposed at one of these spots, the faeries would intervene and grant the couple a long and happy marriage. Carlingford Lough, County Cavan, is one such spot that still has a proposal stone right on the water’s


Louise Morrissey looks at the myths and legends we all grew up with in Ireland those who were locked away there in the 18th century are still in residence. Some have claimed to hear the cries and wails of inmates during the regularly scheduled night tours of the site, while others say the graffiti still etched on the walls by the prisoners is enough to give them the Gateway to the ‘otherworld’ shivers. Many believe that the spirits of If it’s something other than romance on your mind, a visit to the Hill of Uisneach Irish rebel Billy Byrne and 8-year-old in County Westmeath is an unforgettable Thomas Pitt are making sure that their stories are never forgotten...You’re not experience. Harking back all the way to scared, are you? ancient pagan traditions, climbing this hill is said to bring visitors to the gateway to the ‘otherworld’. Aill na Míreann – the 3 day tour from Meath to Tipperary To really soak up the scintillating drama Stone of Divisions –is said to mark the centre of Ireland and the coming together of it all, following a pre-planned itinerary of the provinces. The goddess Ériu, after devised by experts in the culture of Legends is a sure-fire way to pack in as whom Ireland is named, lies buried much of the mystical as possible. The underneath. The mysteries continue Ireland’s Ancient East Website offers with ancient and hidden roads linking some planning guidelines varying our world to the next, with one such in length and county. The three-day road leading the majestic Hill of Tara. Uisneach is also said to be the place where tour from Meath to Tipperary via Westmeath and Offaly serves up some the sun god Lugh met his end and in his of the highlights of Irish mythology honour each May, a fire festival is held. The Fire Festival is an absolute must visit, that is sure to turn even the strongest and although our suspicious minds might doubter into a believer. Pagan tribes, marauding Norsemen, cultured monks say otherwise, there is always a sense of abound on this route. Taking on the Hill magic in the air. of Tara, resting place of the warrior king The most haunted building in Europe Laoghaire -buried with an upright sword to continue the fight, even in death - the A more modern legend is one for thrill eerily beautiful Rock of Cashel and the seekers only. Wicklow Gaol has been named one of the most haunted buildings Hill of Uisneach. The stories come to life in Europe, and local folklore dictates that and become as real as you want them to be. edge. Not only is the beautiful view incredibly romantic, but if you’re planning on proposing, a little outside help from the faeries could go a long way to ensuring you get a yes.

Go Ancient East Summer Edition

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Russborough House & Parklands


ir Alfred & Lady Beit, heirs to a fortune made in diamond mining, purchased Russborough house and its parklands in 1952. In these new owners Russborough was fortunate to find custodians with both the means and passion to maintain it. Over the course of two decades the Beits added their unrivalled collection of Old Masters paintings, furnishings and decorative arts to the house.


Russborough is home to one of the most impressive private art collections in Ireland which may be viewed by taking a guided tour of the house. The 18th century walled garden has been under restoration since 2011 and is now open for pre booked groups.

For Family Fun there is a Maze, Fairy Trail, Playground & Tree Trail. Free coach park, car park has a â‚Ź2 entry fee. Restaurant & gift shop. Open 7 days a week from 1st March to 23rd December Location: 20 km from Dublin off the N81, 4.5km outside Blessington, Co. Wicklow | Sat Nav GPS: Lat 53.135517 Long 6.572386 Tel: + 353 (0)45 865239 | Email: |


YOUGHAL an East Cork Gem Many Irish people remember with nostalgic affection their summer holidays to Youghal’s beaches and amusements. Clair Collins, a resident of the town, shares all that is wonderful about the coastal village today.

The historical and scenic coastal town of Youghal is nestled where the River Blackwater meets the sea on the South East Coast. Situated proudly in Cork but only a stone’s throw from the nearby Waterford towns of Ardmore and Dungarvan is it a superb staycation spot. Designated as an Irish Heritage Port, this walled seaport town is long and narrow, with an iconic Clock Gate Tower a key feature of its main street and just one amongst a treasure trove of historically unique and important buildings and monuments within the still standing town walls.

boardwalk, the next stretch of beach is known as Claycastle and is backed by dunes and disused historic rifle ranges, the perfect spot for intrepid explorers to let their imaginations run riot. Last but not least on this coastal stretch is the Blue Flag Redbarn Beach, a mixture of sand, pebble and shell. This is a great beach for swimming, walking or beach games and its proximity to the Quality Hotel and Self Catering Accommodation makes it a favourite with families.

Youghal’s beaches are a haven for children providing the opportunity to paddle, swim or build a sandy empire, You couldn’t talk about Youghal without all while enjoying fresh air and activity making a fuss of its abundant stretches free of charge! Why not make a day of it of sandy beaches and grassy dunes. with a beach picnic before heading into Walking from the town, the first beach the town proper for afternoon or evening you encounter is known as ‘Front Strand’ sustenance and entertainment. and enjoys an elevated sheltered position Many Irish people will remember with with a promenade and steps leading nostalgic affection summer holidays onto the soft fine sand. Connected by a in their youth to the beaches and 400-metre wooden wheelchair accessible amusements for which Youghal is famed,


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or the dancehalls which drew crowds from far and wide in the showband days. While these fond memories are an important asset in drawing people back, you would be mistaken in thinking Youghal is just a beach destination. The Town itself is well worth a visit, and I would recommend a weekend or Mid Week break, with a bit of advance research and itinerary planning essential for getting the most from your stay. For places to stay, check out The Walter Raleigh Hotel, The Old Imperial Hotel, Ahernes Town House or any of the many B& B or self-catering holiday homes nearby.

To the right of the Church you can peer over a wall and spot the former home of Sir Walter Raleigh, and to the left, you will find a beautiful walled garden with canons and access to the original town walls in a spot called the College Gardens. Back on the North end of the Main Street, there is also Tyntes Castle, a late 15th-century urban tower house to visit. This is unique in that it is the only remaining of several urban tower houses that would have been dotted around the town of Youghal in that period.

The town and its environs have something for all ages, with history in abundance, scenery all around, some great gastro spots to sample and activities aplenty. A trip to the tourist office is advisable, as they will point you in the right direction for local amenities and they offer a guided walking tour of the town - you might even bump into the Town Crier Cliff Winser! Some of the best historical tourist attractions include The Clock Gate Tower Museum, which has seen multiple uses since it was originally built in 1777 as the gatehouse between the Irish town and the English Town, while St. Mary’s Collegiate Church, one of Europes oldest living churches, is a must. It contains memorials to Robert Boyle, a remembrance chapel dedicated to the fallen from the locality in the World Wars and a wooden barrel vault roof from circa 1220ad.

Taking in all the sights can be hungry and thirsty work so luckily Youghal has a buzzing food scene with a surprising number of great restaurants, bar food and casual dining spots to suit all tastes and budgets. From Irish fare to traditional Italian, Chinese and Indian there is plenty to choose from and a number of standout places worth mention include The Red Store, Clancy’s, Ahernes Seafood and the Bella Roma. For adult recreation, Youghal has a great selection of pubs and bars, some of the best include J.D’s, Bertie, The Anchor and The Quays which has an upstairs nightclub on weekends. For younger visitors activities are plentiful, of course playing on the beaches is a highlight but there’s also fishing off the pier for crab or mackerel depending on the season, festivals such as Youghal Medieval Festival, Moby Dick Festival and Queen of the Sea Festival, all of which feature a lot of family friendly activities in their programmes. A trip to Perks Amusement Centre is a must during the day where everything from an activity and soft play centre, to bowling, laser tag, arcade games, bumpers, a carousel and more will keep all ages entertained. By night check out Youghal Greyhound Trackfree to visit for the months of July and August, for some fun at the tote and the thrill of a night at the dogs. I think the main thing to stress about Youghal is that it is a surprising town and the more you look, the more you find. With a little bit of research and planning, you are sure to have a truly memorable visit, and it should definitely be on your itinerary if planning a visit to Irelands Ancient East.

Youghal Clock Tower opens to the public

The historic Clock Gate Tower in Youghal, East Cork, was recently officially opened after a 10-year €750,000 restoration project to create an iconic visitor attraction on Ireland’s Ancient East. The four-floor Clock Gate Tower was built as a gaol and gallows in 1777 on the site of one of the town’s key 14th-century fortifications, Trinity Castle. It now houses an interpretive centre which will allow visitors trace the rich history of Youghal since the 1400s. Designed by Scroope Design, the works include a permanent interpretative exhibition, costumed storytellers, storyboards and screen imagery, and an audio guide system for non-English speakers which will outline the building’s history as a medieval merchant’s dwelling, a gaol, and a ‘time keeping floor’. An audiovisual presentation also recalls the experiences of the McGrath family who once lived in the tower. Jenny De Saulles, the head of Ireland’s Ancient East project, said the attraction will bring history alive: “This project actually sums up what we are trying to do with Ireland’s Ancient East.”

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Go Ancient East Summer Edition

A Land of Stories By Michelle McDonagh

The key to the success of the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative and brand is that the tourism and hospitality sectors buy into the concept and help to promote and sell it, according to Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring, TD.


he Minister, who launched the Ireland’s Ancient East campaign during his time as

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, points out that the great success of the Wild Atlantic Way brand is largely down to the strong support of the local tourism and hospitality sectors. He comments: “The Ireland Ancient’s East product is a very special product and the plan is to make it into the most personable, engaging cultural experience in Europe. I have no doubt it will be every bit as successful as the Wild Atlantic Way, which in my opinion, is the best product launched since the foundation of the State. It took a while for people to buy into that, but now everybody knows about it and it

has really lifted tourism, particularly in more remote areas along the West coast that would have had difficulty in attracting visitors.” Best storytellers in the world Minister Ring points out that the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative, launched in April 2015, was built on the wealth of historical and cultural assets in the east and south of Ireland. The new initiative seeks to give visitors a personal experience of 5,000 years of Irish history through a journey of discovery in a lush green landscape with stories told by the best storytellers in the world. What will differentiate Ireland’s Ancient East from other destinations, which are equally rich in history and heritage, is both its treasure trove

of legends and folklore and the local people’s reputation for stories and storytelling – their wit, warmth and their way with words. Stretching from Carlingford, County Louth down through Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the northeast and ranging through the Midlands all the way down via Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile to Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions, the new experience brand is intended to match and complement the Wild Atlantic Way in terms of scale and ambition. Last year, Fáilte Ireland installed Ireland’s Ancient East orientation signs and county boundary signs across the region, making visitors aware of the wide range of things to see and do.

Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Image failte Ireland

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and on other video on-demand channels. Based on comprehensive research in overseas markets, the initiative is aimed at particular market segments overseas who have indicated they would be more likely to come to Ireland to explore new landscapes, history and culture or simply to take time out from their busy lives and careers to connect with local heritage and nature and their own place within. A fascinating, enriching journey

Huge growth potential Their research suggests that an initiative themed along these lines has the potential to deliver an extra 600,000 overseas visitors (growth of more than 20%) to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25% to €950m in total by 2020. “Fáilte Ireland is expecting thousands of visitors into the country this year, and Ireland’s Ancient East provides the region with an opportunity to tap directly into this market. The most important thing is for the local tourism and hospitality businesses to buy into the product and sell it so that when visitors arrive in the region, they are excited and enthused about the project,” Minister Ring says he encourages people to avail of the training workshops offered by Fáilte Ireland so they can learn how to sell and promote their own product, and the wider Ireland’s Ancient East concept. One of the Minister’s personal favourite attractions along Ireland’s Ancient East is Birr Castle, Co Offaly, which dates back to the Medieval Age. “Bringing great experiences to life “

“At the end of the day, beyond all the marketing and advertising, the

test of a holiday destination is the experience on the ground. We know that there are great experiences to be had, based on our heritage and past, but that we can do more to bring these to life and deliver memorable experiences to those who come to explore the region.” The initiative has been launched in a number of key markets overseas by Tourism Ireland, in collaboration with Fáilte Ireland and this work will continue. Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland also jointly invested in a significant video production to create digital video footage for use in online video advertising. In total, six locations were captured in this shoot: Newgrange, Castletown House, Waterford’s Viking Triangle, Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle and Glendalough. This is part of a strategy to use attractions with high international recognition to cross-sell other experiences in Ireland’s Ancient East. A range of video ads have been created to bring Ireland’s Ancient East to life in a motivating and compelling way for international audiences. These advertisements have been used to promote Ireland’s Ancient East to potential visitors in a large-scale online advertising campaign throughout 2016, across international markets on YouTube

The idea is that the stories told at individual heritage sites link to other sites across the region and to an overall timeline, building to a unique, fascinating and enriching journey through 5,000 years of European history. From fascinating heritage tours to boating adventures and sumptuous tours, there is certainly no shortage of things to do along Ireland’s Ancient East. Visitors can tour the region’s magnificent big houses including Wicklow’s Powerscourt House and Gardens, the Palladian Castletown House in Co. Kildare, Curraghmore House in Waterford, and the Wells Estate in Wexford, to discover their stories and connect with their history. Other highlights include a trip to Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, the Clonmacnoise Monastic site or the Newgrange World Heritage site, a place steeped in magic and mystery. For those with an interest in the paranormal, Loftus Hall near New Ross in Wexford, said to be Ireland’s most haunted house, contains a dark and strange history. Said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman, the large mansion house on the Hook Peninsula is today famous for its spookily immersive tours conducted by day and night. Itineraries and a map and route planner can be downloaded from


ATHLONE… at the heart of it Here at the centre of Ireland, you’re in the heart of our great historic assembly – the land of Gods, Saints and Kings.


he vibrant town of Athlone is situated in the very heart of Ireland on the boundaries of Westmeath and Roscommon, making it a very popular destination for touring holidays. There are few regions in Ireland that enjoy as many major visitor attractions in close proximity such as Clonmacnoise, Birr Castle and Lough Boora Parklands in Offaly, the Hill of Uisneach and Belvedere House In Westmeath, Lough Key Forest Park, Rindoon Village and Strokestown House in Roscommon, the Islands of the Saints and Scholars in Longford, Athlone Castle, Luan Gallery, The Viking Ship Cruise and the largest water-based fun park in Europe at Bay Sports. The area is, therefore, rich in history, culture, majesty, and stories from times gone by. It also has a great social scene, and there are lots to do for families from waterpark excitement to zip lining and cruising with the Vikings! Athlone’s situation on the stunning shores of Lough Ree and on Ireland’s longest river, the River Shannon, makes it a popular destination for pleasure boats


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and cruises. In the past, the town was of a large strategic importance as the enemy could approach the town by the river. In the eleventh century, King John built a stone castle on the Connaught side of town, Athlone Castle. This big castle still stands today, and a Visitors Center within tells the whole history of the area. Watersports, fishing, trekking, biking, art and serious shopping – you have it all here! Climb the spectacular Slieve Bloom Mountains, enjoy gallery tours and whiskey tasting, take in centuries of history, tee off at one of the region’s 6 golf clubs, or cycle the new 40k greenway on the old railway line. And as all of that is thirsty work, you can even have a pint at an exciting time to visit Athlone. The Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar. Athlone Literary Festival is an annual event which began in 1999, initially as Athlone’s theatre scene is also varied: three theatres, the Dean Crowe Theatre a weekend celebration of the life and works of John Broderick, but which now & Arts Centre, the Little Theatre, and features a great variety of speakers and Passionfruit Theatre all have exciting debaters. programmes for all ages. The RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival takes place annually in the town, bringing together Athlone enjoys unrivalled access from all parts of the country be it by road, rail amateur drama groups from across or water along with an excellent mix of Ireland. Street theatre, art exhibitions, workshops, and events for young people quality accommodation and amenities. For more see are all part of the festival, making it


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Ireland’s Ancient East Aims for Success of Wild Atlantic Way

Deputy Bobby Aylward, a Fianna Fail TD for the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency is hopeful that the Ireland’s Ancient East concept and brand can do for his region what the Wild Atlantic Way has done for the west coast. He speaks with Michelle McDonagh…

I welcome any concept that will attract tourism and business to our region. The Wild Atlantic Way has been very successful for the West coast from Donegal to Cork, and I hope Ireland’s Ancient East will be just as successful for the area from Meath down to Cork. We have a lot to offer from a historical point of view. The Vikings and Normans came in along the route and evidence of this can still be seen today,” he says. The current Fianna Fail Junior Spokesperson on Farming and Skills was born with politics in his blood and followed in the footsteps of his father, Bob Aylward, who was a Senator until his death in 1974. Deputy Aylward’s brother, Liam Aylward, MEP, previously represented the same constituency for Fianna Fail until he retired from national politics in 2007, opting to remain in the European Parliament. Deputy Aylward points out that tourism is of vital importance to Kilkenny city and the wider region.

“Tourism has a big say in our turnover every year and makes up a lot of our income. Kilkenny is a Norman medieval city. Tourists come from all over the world, particularly America and Europe, to visit. Carlow also has a lot of focal points, including the River Barrow. We have a lot to offer and hope Ireland’s Ancient East will help us promote the area further.” With the ‘sunny south east’ known for its nicer weather, Deputy Aylward notes that it is a popular destination for fishing and boating holidays, as well as golfing and other outdoor activities. There is an extensive choice for visitors when it comes to accommodation whether they want the 5 Star treatment, a cosy B&B or a budget hostel. The home of Smithwicks, Kilkenny

is a city steeped in the brewing tradition, says Deputy Aylward. Smithwicks is still brewed to the highest standards today and continues to be enjoyed worldwide. The Smithwicks Experience in Kilkenny run a tour where the rich history of the beer is related. He adds: “Kilkenny has a range of different festivals every year, including Smithwicks Roots Festival, which is always a big attraction. We also have the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival and Savour Kilkenny food festival. We get a lot of weekend visitors from Dublin because of the rail link.”

Go Ancient East Issue #1



thlone Castle and Visitor Centre is a treat for all the family, with courtyard picnic facilities and picturesque town views. This 12th-century stone castle was built for King John by Bishop John de Gray of Norwich, designed to defend the crossing point of the river at Athlone. It’s located on the west side of Athlone Town, on the banks of the River Shannon. From its days as a timber fort, Athlone Castle evolved into a bold, defensive building with architectural features like the Keep of the Castle showcased as a dramatic backdrop to its diverse and fascinating story.

Athlone Castle reopened in 2012 after extensive renovations; today the castle has been transformed into a multi-sensory experience in which family-friendly multimedia displays and interactive games guide visitors through its halls. The great Siege of Athlone is relived in a 360º cinematic experience, transporting visitors to the centre of the 1691 battle.

visual installations and artefacts bring the stories and characters of Athlone to life.

Eight newly-designed exhibition spaces pursue both a chronological and thematic sequence that mixes handson and fun experiences, and features dress-up activities for children and adults. Bold sculptural forms help to convey human figures and historical milestones, while 3D maps, audio-

Athlone Castle, a newly renovated tourist attraction, is the perfect stop-off point in the heart of the Lakelands of Ireland, en route to the Wild Atlantic Way. Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is the perfect family destination, waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

The newest addition to the visitor centre is the John McCormack display—here the world-renowned tenor, born in Athlone, is honoured with artefacts on display from both his fascinating life and his musical career.

ATHLONE CASTLE Discover the history of Athlone, its castle and people through a series of interactive and audio visual exhibitions.

LUAN GALLERY Experience contemporary and traditional visual art in stunning surroundings LUAN GALLERY



Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Carlow to Wicklow 2 day itinerary Featuring Borris House, Altamount Gardens, Glendalough, Powerscourt House & Gardens This is a bite-size journey through Ireland’s Ancient East, taking in some of the most verdant gardens and picturesque estates in the country. Whatever the season, these gardens hold surprising discoveries for those of all ages; whether it’s a spring picnic on the lawn or a blustery autumn walk through the rose gardens, you’ll find something to pique your interest.



1 HR, 40 MINS, 80 KM, 50 MILES

0 HRS, 32 MINS, 27 KM, 17 MILES





Carlow, Wicklow




Points of Interest:

Points of Interest:

Borris House, Altamont Gardens

Glendalough, Powerscourt House & Gardens



Journey Overview:

Journey Overview:

Start your two-day journey in Carlow, at stunning Borris House, home to the McMorrough Kavanaghs, former High Kings of Leinster. Rebuilt in the early 18th century, the house features a beautiful Stapleton ceiling, antiques, artwork and many examples of the legendary Borris Lace. Take a guided tour to immerse yourself in the world of the Big Houses of yore, then explore the nooks and crannies of the Borris Demesne, framed against the backdrop of Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountain. When your wander is finished, grab a coffee and a snack on Main Street in the adjoining town of Borris before taking the road north east towards Wicklow.

In the monastic village of Glendalough, cast your mind back to what the spot must have been like in its heyday as a retreat for peace-seeking monks. But as you wander off into the surrounding hills, spare a thought for St Kevin who was drawn here in the 6th century by the serenity and beauty of the landscape. Walk to the water’s edge at the upper lake, before heading to the fern-green hills around Poulanass waterfall, which cascades gently over mossy rocks.


Head office: + 353 62 53103 USA tollfree: 1800 331 9301 UK tollfree: 0800 282 189



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THROUGH THE GARDENS of the East Open all year round, the Carlow Garden Trail currently features 21 different gardening attractions with an additional three gardens in the surrounding counties of Kildare and Wexford. We explore some of our favourites. Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow.

The Carlow Garden trail includes great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years and smaller gardens which are maturing beautifully with time. Award winning garden centres and forest parks complement the joy of a visit here. The Carlow Garden Trail ranges from small to very large gardens, garden centres and forest parks and from old to new, so there is something to stimulate both the novice and experienced gardener. Known for its mild and temperate climate, County Carlow in Ireland’s sunny South East is the ideal destination for your gardening trip.


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres (16 hectares). The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, natives in the avenues and woodland areas, and exotic specimens throughout the gardens. Lawns bisected by sculpted yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees. A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and massive stone outcrops lead the visitor to the River Slaney. When Corona North, who lovingly cared for the gardens for over 50 years died in 1999, the gardens were left to the State at her request. Ongoing restoration and maintenance continue under the stewardship of the Office of Public

Works (OPW). “Every visitor says it has a unique atmosphere, that’s why so many people come back. Every element you want from a great garden is here, from lovely lawns, floral beds and beautiful woodland going down to the river, to a walled garden and really superb collections, such as the snowdrops, rhododendrons and the fabulous oaks in the arboretum” Paul Cutler, head gardener at Altamont Gardens.

Burtown House and Gardens, Athy, Co. Kildare Burtown House gardens are made up of several areas including large herbaceous borders, shrubberies, a rock garden, a yew walk with dividing pergola, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden and a large woodland surrounded on all sides by water. This area hosts a collection of candleabra primulas, hostas, ferns and iris, amongst other plants. There are many old roses, peonies, clematis and a walled organic vegetable

Go Ancient East Issue #1

garden that has been in continuous production for 150 years. Once the centre of a 2,000 acre estate and built for the Quaker Robert Power about 1710, Burtown is close to the village of Ballytore, one of Ireland’s most prominent Quaker strongholds. Isabel Shackleton (married to the present owner’s great grandfather and first cousin to the explorer Ernest Shackleton) is responsible for some of the original layout, but over the last 20 years it has been greatly enlarged and reclaimed by the present owner, artist Lesley Fennell. Visitors can take a break from their garden visit to enjoy homemade biscuits, cakes or scones with homemade lemonade and apple juice from the orchard. Lunches are served every day that it is open, using fresh seasonal produce from the organic kitchen garden, which can be eaten in the gallery space, the picturesque yard or at one of the tables discreetly placed about the garden.

Delta Sensory Gardens & Garden Centre, Strawhall Estate, Carlow Town The Delta Centre was established in 1990 as an adult centre for people with intellectual disabilities. The centre is now a major employer in Carlow town and caters for about 120 adults with disabilities. The Delta Sensory Gardens which were officially opened in 2007 were the first of their kind in Ireland, set up as a therapeutic focus and benefit for the centres own people with disabilities and local/national groups. Set on 2.5 acres it is now a major attraction in Carlow for local, national and international visitors. These beautiful gardens have come about with help and dedication of some of Ireland’s leading garden designers, such as Gordon Ledbetter, Mary Reynolds, Rachel Doyle, Elma Fenton and Paul Martin and are laid out in a series of 20 interconnecting multi-sensory gardens, including the Celtic Walk, the formal Rose Garden, the Five Senses Garden, the Circle of Life and the Stolen Child Garden.It offers visitors of all age groups a unique opportunity

to rest and indulge their senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and visual delight with something at all times of the year. The theme of each of the gardens celebrates the use of natural elements such as stone, water and wonderful foliage and plants.

Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens and Pleasure Grounds, near Carlow Town Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre (4,856 hectares) estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years.In September 2005 during Heritage Week, Carlow County Council acquired Duckett’s Grove and commenced the restoration of two interconnecting walled gardens. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country. The first phase of the revival of two old walled gardens has been completed, the paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. The Upper Walled Garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses, a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies, a great variety of hardy and tender perennials and choice flowering shrubs including Echium, Watsonia, Acanthus, Jovellana, Daphniphyllum, Arbutus, Euphorbia, azaleas, rhododendrons, daphne and viburnums. The Lower Walled Garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a variety of fruits, including figs and historical varieties of Irish apples amongst others. The borders also contain a variety of shrubs and perennials all echoing the past history of the



Go Ancient East Summer Edition

gardens and people associated with Duckett’s Grove. Restored paths and the repaired sunken stone bridge plus plantings of oak, lime, hazel, spindle and laurel rekindle the spirit of the Georgian Pleasure Grounds. Outside of the Walled Garden, the Ha Ha, Carlow fencing,veteran trees, woodlands walk and stonebridge folly vary the attraction.

Hardymount Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow One of the largest Spanish chestnuts in the country greets you on arrival to Hardymount Gardens, 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of lawns and shrubs surrounded by magnificent beech and oak trees. A wonderful walled garden behind the house contains many unusual plants and flowers in the herbaceous border.The grass paths take you past the pond with lilies and fish to espaliered apple trees, a pergola clothed with wisteria and underplanted with hollyhocks and foxgloves and on to a vegetable garden. A summer house at the end of the garden in a sheltered corner provides a quiet area for rest and relaxation. “Sheila Reeves Smyth puts her work and effort into a garden that will give pleasure for the length of the summer and into autumn. Trellis, espaliered apples and the wisteria tunnel all create a pleasing division of the space and structure in the walled garden.Each little area feels private and secluded. But the overall picture does not look contrived or “designed”. Hardymount is well cared for but not overly manicured, a relaxed country garden.”

Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal, Co. Carlow Huntington Castle, voted one of Ireland’s top 20 Hidden Gems by The Guardian in March 2015 is set in over 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. Thee castle features a fascinating guided tour which explains it’s 17th century history. The tour also features the world famous Temple of Isis located in the old castle dungeons. Huntington offers a fabulous woodland playground, as well as a charming tearoom and giftshop. The gardens were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Esmondes who built Huntington Castle in 1625.They include the French limes on the Avenue, the “parterre” or lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the majority of Yew trees which comprise the Yew Walk. Larger plantings have resulted in Huntington possessing a number of great Irish trees, including four varieties of hickory, a cut leaved oak, Siberian crab and buckeye chestnut. Newtownbarry House & Gardens and Gardens , Bunclody, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. Newtownbarry House was designed by well-known Belfast Architect Sir Charles Lanyon and Partners between 1863-69. The house is situated by the River Slaney and is surrounded by lawns, ancient trees and a Sunken garden, which was restored in 2004 to coincide with the opening of the house and gardens to the public. Since then historical tours of the house have been offered showing the unique Lanyon features such as its impressive glazed barrel vaulted roof, beautiful carved

staircase and mantelpieces. Visitors are then invited to visit the sunken garden which has its original 18th century grottos. The garden is approx. 2 acres and is a colourful walled garden which includes a formal oval pool, a fountain and a series of borders filled with shrubs and herbaceous perennials, enclosed by lines of dwarf hedges. Mature trees, a rose garden and a lake complete the picture. Refreshments are offered in the Farm Café situated in the old servants’ hall. There is a small gift shop and an Art Gallery upstairs to view. Explore the kitchen gardens, with the Greenhouse and the recently restored Rose Gardens. Then stroll through the enchanting Italian Gardens and the ruins of the old Abbey before walking through to the ‘Wilderness’ woodland where formal walks and pathways will guide you past shrubs, flora and bamboo to the old turbine house which supplied electricity to Huntington as early as 1888. The bottom of the wilderness is marked by the delightful River Derry which flows as the boundary between County Carlow and Wexford. Then head back to the castle and experience the fascinating guided tour or simply take a well-earned break in the tearooms. There is always something to discover at Huntington with new features every year – current projects include garden restoration and significant planting projects. For more see www.

Go Ancient East Issue #1

A Glendalough morning Courtesy of

Photo: Gerry Andrews

Looking for an ecommerce store?

LEO are offering Trading Online Vouchers for Small Irish Businesses Who can apply?

Need help? Contact us

The online trading voucher is open to all businesses with ten or less employees, intends to trade online (provided that the business is located and operates within the area of an Enterprise Office) and whose website has a content management system that can be added to over time.

If you would like more information about grants available to you and your business or would like to discuss any of the points that you have read about here, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to help.




Danny: 087 232 6762


Robert: 087 446 7007

Office: 061 748 278




Experience the fun of ‘infotainment’ storytelling trails in Ireland’s Ancient East

ive millennia of history reverberate throughout Ireland’s Ancient East, a place where big houses, Victorian gardens, megalithic passage tombs, early Christian round towers - and so much more speak of our chequered past. These attractions offer great memories for the curious visitor, but the very best way to truly get to know all this touring region has to offer is to avail of the local knowledge, the guides and storytellers who bring the past to life in the most entertaining and informative way.

Nobles, Commoners and the Lesser Divisions of the wood. You can learn about why they were elevated to such a degree in the imaginations of our earliest settlers with a leisurely guided walk in the Blackstairs Mountains on the Carlow/Wexford border. The Blackstairs Eco Trails Tour will ensure you never think about trees in the same way again.

BIG HOUSES AND HARD TIMES Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow is one of the country’s grandest Anglo-Irish manors and it has been painstakingly restored after being gutted by fire And there’s no shortage of in the 1970s. Today guests can storytelling trails to whet your take a guided walking tour of its appetite as these categories magnificent grounds and gardens illustrate… - named by National Geographic as the third best garden in the ANCIENT IRELAND world. For a sense of how the Great Trees enjoyed a very special place Famine of the 1840s shaped the in the affections of the ancient future of Ireland, the Glaslough Irish and they were divided into Village Trail in Co Monaghan


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

includes several kilometres of famine walls. CASTLES & CONQUESTS Ireland’s Ancient East is synonymous with the Normans and their legacy is best appreciated in the region’s great castles, especially those at Kilkenny and Cahir, Co Tipperary which are closely associated with the powerful Anglo-Norman family the Butlers. The former is one of the striking landmarks of the Marble City’s marvellous medieval district and local historian Pat Tynan is the perfect guide to take you on a walking tour of the atmospheric heart of Kilkenny. GREENWAYS AND FAMILY TRAILS What better way to discover the beauty of the area than on bicycle or foot with friends and family? The Waterford Greenway, due to open shortly, goes from the heart of Waterford city to Dungarvan.

Further north, the Old Rail Trail in Co Westmeath is arguably the most memorable way to get from Athlone to Mullingar - just make sure you make a day of it. And Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly is an ideal way to take in the changing of the seasons. HIGH KINGS AND HEROES The Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth is an area steeped in legend and it’s the site of the epic saga known as the Táin Bó Cúailnge - the Cattle Raid of Cooley - which tells of a battle between Queen Meabh of Connacht and the champion Cú Chulainn over the magnificent Brown Bull of Cooley. The circular Táin Trail usually takes two days to complete but offers an unrivalled glimpse into one of the most beautiful stretches of Ireland’s Ancient East. MARITIME GATEWAY Cobh - or Queenstown, as it was known at the time - will be forever associated with the Titanic. The

doomed ocean liner set off for America from here. Local guide Michael Martin runs the Titanic Trail Tour and is just the man to bring the Queenstown of 1912 alive. Due east, Youghal boasts some of the most intriguing medieval buildings in the region and its heritage centre boasts an absorbing tour run by Clifford Winser, the country’s only town crier.

of the spiritual jewels of the region and its round tower speaks of farago centuries. To fully appreciate this ancient site, take a day to walk the well-trodden pilgrim route between Clonmacnoise and Ballycumber, some 24km away. Further south, near Thurles, Co Tipperary, the Kilcommon Pilgrim Route takes you along the venerable Mass path.

MYSTICAL WATERWAYS The fabled Shannon cuts its way along the centre of Ireland, offering a pointer for some great places to discover - like the riverside fortress of Athlone Castle, Co Westmeath. But there are wonders slightly off the beaten track too; including the Slieve Bloom mountain range with takes in counties Offaly and Laois. Organised walks take place all year round with local guides on hand to point out its notable features.

VIKINGS Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford, is synonymous with the feared invaders from Scandinavia and its Viking exhibition is the perfect introduction in Reginald’s Tower. But for a really unique experience it’s hard to beat the Epic Tour and its colourful guides who help bring the Viking story to life while also giving a sense of Waterford’s importance as a merchant city in centuries past.

SACRED IRELAND Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly, is one

For more great ideas on the regions trails and storytellers, see

Go Ancient East Issue #1



settings, is completely handwrought from precious bar or sheet metal.


Go Ancient East Summer Edition Martin also specialises in individually designed engagement rings.

WEXFORD CRAFT TRAIL The Blue Egg Gallery exhibits and sells contemporary craft work by Irish and international makers.


Terry Dunne designs and makes hand woven tapestries, floor rugs and Toilets textile art pieces.

Wheelchair Access


Wonderful colour combinations and funky design are the hallmark of Annette Whelan, a fused glass artist. In her studio near the charming village of Kilmore Quay in south Wexford, she creates glass items such as lamps, mirrors, candleholders, clocks, suncatchers and jewellery. May to October MON – SAT 11am – 5pm

In four or five group exhibitions annually, work Refreshments is displayed by artists working in clay, glass, textiles, wood, willow and metal.


His for materials are as diverse Call more information

as wool, cotton, linen, silk, pine needles, driftwood and willow. BLUE EGG

GALLERY Inspiration for his work comes from the natural world, *including the changing colours through a season and textural studies of the landscape.

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November – April Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

TERRY The gallery also stocks an interesting range of THE WEAVER

functional and decorative work* by well-established and new makers.

Pieces made to order.

TUE – SAT 11am – 5.30pm (and by appointment) (Open SUN – MON during Opera Festival) (Closed January)

Visitors are welcome, please phone in advance on 051 563100.

cross this history county in the towns, villages and down country lanes, you will find the studios of today’s practitioners of traditional crafts.


GILLY THOMAS Wheelchair Access

SCULPTURE Patricia Howard is an Refreshments accomplished and * experienced potter. In her Wheelchair Access Wheelchair Access studio at The Potter’s Yard she produces an inspired At Ceadogán Rugs Denis Refreshments range ofRefreshments sponge printed Kenny has been making tableware, tiles and alpine beautiful statements in planters. purest wools and silks since 1989.Patricia Designed by inspiring offers hands on artists and hand-tufted tuition in a relaxed and by skilled craftsmen with friendly atmosphere. meticulous attention to Workshops are organised detail, Ceadogán Rug foraadults and children reflects all that isthe theyear. very throughout best in Irish traditional craft. Drop by to browse the exciting range Our workshops andof pottery on sale from the studio shop showrooms are located set in beautifully restored in a restored 18th Century stone farm buildings. farmyard overlooking the picturesque and historic March-October 10am-6pm Bannow estuary. dailyBay closed Sundays and Bank Holidays 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Weekends and Bank Holidays by appointment. Group tours welcome An artist in mixed-media and embroidery, Phil Blue Egg Gallery works from original AtThe Ceadogán Rugs Denis BALLYELLAND exhibits sells drawings inspired Kenny hasand been makingby her contemporary craftin workto POTTERY natural surroundings beautiful statements by Irish and and international produce textile pieces purest wools silksart since * makers. At Ceadogán Rugs Denis combining fabrics, paint At Ceadogán Rugs Denis 1989. Designed by inspiring Kenny has been and thread. Callmaking into her Kenny has been making artists and hand-tufted In four or five group beautiful in studio tostatements experience these beautiful statements inwork by skilled craftsmen with exhibitions annually, purest wools and silks since intricately crafted pieces purest wools and silks since meticulous attention to is displayed by artists up close. 1989. Designed by inspiring 1989. Designed inspiring detail, a Ceadogán Rug working in clay,byglass, artists and hand-tufted artists and hand-tufted reflects all that is the very textiles, wood, willow and by skilled craftsmen with by skilled craftsmen with best in Irish traditional craft. Visitors welcome but metal. meticulous meticulous to to pleaseattention callattention in advance. detail, a Ceadogán The gallery also stocks detail, a Ceadogán Rug Rug Our workshops and all that is very the an reflects interesting range of very reflects all that is the showrooms are located best in Irish craft. functional and decorative best in Irish traditional craft. in a restored 18thtraditional Century TERRY work byoverlooking well-established farmyard the THE WEAVER Our workshops and and new makers. Our workshops picturesque andand historic showrooms are located showrooms located Bannow estuary. * Bayare in a restored Century in a restored 18th18th Century TUE SAT Monday 11am – 5.30pm farmyard overlooking 10am ––5pm to farmyard overlooking the the (and by appointment) picturesque historic Friday. Weekends and Bank picturesque and and historic (Open SUN – MON Bannow Bay estuary. Holidays by appointment. Bannow Bay estuary. during Opera Festival) Group tours welcome (Closed January) 10am – 5pm Monday 10am – 5pm Monday to to Friday. Weekends Friday. Weekends and and BankBank Holidays by appointment. Holidays by appointment. Group tours welcome Group tours welcome


Call for more information to The original trail of South Wexford has grown to embrace the fine * workmanship Toilets Toilets be found countrywide. Share the creative vision and make your own rich discovery Martin Doyle works with Callmore for more information Call for information of the authentic handcraft of the area while enjoying the natural beauty and national unusual individually cut * * gemstones and fine quality heritage sites. Gilly Thomas has opened a diamonds combined with

Award-winning Robert O’Connor designs and creates unique Irish wooden gifts, home accessories, MARTIN DOYLE functional and gallery pieces from hand-selected local GOLDSMITH timber. He also accepts private and corporate commissions. Each piece of wood is selected for its natural grain and character and is then planed, turned with perfection and finished to enhance its natural beauty.

WEXFORD Wexford Craft Trail includes a group nineteen, and each has a very diverse craft. CRAFT Discover authentic Irish crafts, meet the makers in their studios, see them at work, TRAIL and learn more about the stories behind products designed. Workshops, RUGS exhibitions

platinum, gold or silver. ROBERT O’CONNOR Some designs are unique, THEonWOODTURNING based the shape and form of a particular STUDIO gemstone. * Each piece, including the settings, is completely handwrought from precious bar or sheet metal.

September – April:

Gallery next to her house showing her sculptures of THE POTTER’S human and animal figures. YARD Her work includes beautiful bronze horse heads, * cats and pen and sleeping CEADOGÁN ink drawings.

Tues – Sat * something original for and events are held during the year. Milliners, Potters, Weavers, Woodturners, for 11.30am-5pm your home or a unique gift. Sculptors and Jewellers all feature across the trail offering visitors an opportunity to May – June: Martin also specialises April to September Mon – Sat - 10am-5pm in individually designed WED – SUN 2pm – 6pm view a broad variety of traditional crafting skills. Closed Bank Holidays engagement rings.

MON – SAT 10am – 5.30pm

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Martin Doyle works with unusual individually cut gemstones and fine quality diamonds combined with Martin Doyle works platinum, gold or BY silver. Martin Doyle works withwith CREATIONS unusual individually Some designs are unique, unusual individually cut cut ANNETTE WHELAN gemstones and quality based on the shape gemstones and fine fine quality diamonds combined and form of a particular diamonds combined withwith * platinum, or silver. gemstone. platinum, goldgold or silver. Some designs are unique, Some designs are unique, Each piece, including the Earth, hand and fire based on the shape based on the shape settings, isofcompletely produce a wide and a particular andcombine formform atoof particular handwrought from range of contemporary gemstone. gemstone. precious bar or sheet tableware and giftware. A Each piece, including metal. Each piece, the the potter forincluding over 30 years, settings, is completely settings, is completely Paul and his skilled team Martin also specialises handwrought handwrought fromfrom handcraft each piece on in individually designed precious bar or sheet precious bar or sheet the potter’s wheel. Unique engagement metal. rings. metal. experimental pieces are also available in the Martin specialises Martin also also specialises pottery shop, together with in individually designed in individually designed workshop seconds. engagement rings. engagement rings. MON – SAT 10am – 5.30pm MON – SAT 9:30am-5:30pm Sunday opening seasonal.

– SAT 10am – 5.30pm MONMON – SAT 10am – 5.30pm



Wonderful colour combinations and funky design are the hallmark of Annette Whelan, a fused glass artist. In her studio near the charming village of Kilmore Quay in south Wexford, she creates glass items such as lamps, mirrors, candleholders, clocks, suncatchers and jewellery. May to October MON – SAT 11am – 5pm November – April Visitors welcome but please call in advance.





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woven in Wexford and a range made from Eco friendly Ahimsa Peace Silk Created by award winning designer Máiréad Cairbre, and inspired by nature, celtic imagery and ancient legends, these robes incorporate their symbolism as blessings for the wearer.

Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

Martin Doyle works with unusual individually cut gemstones and fine quality diamonds combined with platinum, gold or silver. designs Here,Some 15 large, hand-are unique, based onpanels the shape embroidered andby form created 150 of a particular gemstone. embroiderers tell a “tale

told in thread”; hand-held Each piece, including the audiosettings, guides depict the is completely history of the Port of New GRÁINNE KENNY handwrought from Ross and surrounds, precious bar or from sheet DESIGN Celticmetal. Ireland up to the Norman * invasions. This specialises work Martin of fine also ‘needlein individually designed painting’ using Crewel Woolengagement on Jacobeanrings. Pure Linen Twill features dramatic scenes, vivid details, and colourful MON – SAT 10am – 5.30pm figures.



The sea and the changing landscape along the Irish coastline provide the inspiration for Gráinne Kenny’s hand-woven and mixed-media soft furnishings and accessories for interiors. The use of colour, attention to surface detail and texture play a strong role in her creation of truly unique, beautiful bespoke pieces.

The hum of the potter’s wheel, the click of the weaver’s shuttle, THE ROS hammer blows to the anvil and the calm of needlework – theseTAPESTRY are the sounds of Wexford’s craftsmen and women at work.

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10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Weekends and Bank Holidays by appointment. Group tours welcome

MON – SAT 10am – 5.30pm

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Our workshops and showrooms are located in a restored 18th Century farmyard overlooking the picturesque and historic Bannow Bay estuary.


Award-winning Robert O’Connor designs and creates unique Irish wooden Wonderful gifts, home colour accessories, combinations funky functional and and gallery pieces design are the hallmark from hand-selected localof Annette Whelan, a fused timber. He also accepts Wonderful colour glass artist. In her studio Wonderful colour private and corporate combinations funky near the charming village combinations and and funky commissions. Each piece design are the hallmark of Kilmore Quay in design are the hallmark of of of wood is selected south for its Annette Whelan, a fused Wexford, sheand creates Annette Whelan, a fused natural grain character glass artist. In her studio glass items such as lamps, glass artist. In her studio and is then planed, turned near the charming village mirrors, nearperfection thecandleholders, charming with andvillage finished of Kilmore Quay in south clocks, suncatchers and ofenhance Kilmore Quay in south to its natural Wexford, she creates jewellery. Wexford, she creates beauty. glass items as lamps, glassto items suchsuch as lamps, May October mirrors, candleholders, September –11am April: mirrors, candleholders, MON – SAT – 5pm clocks, suncatchers Tues – Sat clocks, suncatchers and and November – April jewellery. 11.30am-5pm jewellery. Visitors welcome but to in October May May to call October please advance. May – June: – SAT – 5pm MONMON – SAT 11am11am – 5pm Mon – Sat - 10am-5pm November – April November – April Closed Bank Holidays Visitors welcome Visitors welcome but but please call in advance. please call in advance.

Award-winning Robert O’Connor designs and creates unique Irish wooden gifts, home accessories, Award-winning Robert functional and gallery pieces Award-winning Robert PAUL MALONEY O’Connor designs and from hand-selected local O’Connor designs and creates unique wooden timber. He also accepts creates unique IrishIrish wooden POTTERY gifts, home accessories, private and corporate gifts, home accessories, * functional and gallery commissions. Each piece pieces

VARNA STUDIO DAINIUS VARNELIS GILLY THOMAS SCULPTURE * * Patricia Howard is an accomplished and experienced potter. In her studio at The Potter’s Yard she produces an inspired range of sponge printed tableware, tiles and alpine TERRY planters.


Patricia offers hands on *

tuition in a relaxed and Enjoy handcrafted hats by TERRY TERRY friendly atmosphere. milliner Amanda Byrne, THE WEAVER THE WEAVER Workshops are organised

who works with a range of for adults and children materials to create unique * * throughout the year. hats and headpieces for and special Drop bycasual to browse the occasions. exciting range of pottery on sale from the studio shop Visitors welcome but set in beautifully restored please in advance. stone farm call buildings.

Perfect if you are looking

PHIL STEWART TEXTILE ARTIST Mairead captures nature’s magical beauty in her inspiring and timeless clay pieces. In her thrown pots, she uses vibrant Terry Dunne designscolours create Marvellous andto makes hand woven Teapots, Generous Tea Cups, tapestries, floor rugs and andart Flowery textile pieces.Vases. Her sculptural work is inspired by His materials are as diverse the breath-taking seas, light CEADOGÁN BLUE EGG as wool, cotton, linen,Garman. silk, and skies of Loch pine needles, driftwood and Visit her studio, Ballyelland RUGS GALLERY willow. Pottery, set in the beautiful * Century mill. 18th * Inspiration for his work CEADOGÁN CEADOGÁN comes from the February to natural December RUGS RUGS world, including the – 5pm TUES – SAT 11am changing *colours through a * season and textural studies of the landscape. Pieces made to order.

Visitors are welcome, please phone in advance on 051 563100.

Blacksmith and designer Dainius Varnelis works Terry Dunne designs AMANDA BYRNE with iron, stainless steel, and makes hand woven copper and brass to create HIGHBURY tapestries, floor rugsDESIGNS and everything from candle textile art pieces. holders to stair cases and Terry Dunne designs Terry Dunne designs His materials are as diverse elaborate gates. makes woven and and makes handhand woven as wool, cotton,floor linen,rugs silk, tapestries, tapestries, floor rugs and and Visitors are welcome but pine textile needles, driftwood and art pieces. textile art pieces. please phone in advance. willow. His arediverse as diverse 087materials 7739743 His materials are as Inspiration forcotton, his work Gilly has opened asThomas wool, linen, silk, as wool, cotton, linen, silk, a comes from the natural Gallery next to her house pine needles, driftwood pine needles, driftwood and and world, including the showing her sculptures of willow. willow. changing colours through human and animal figures.a forwork his work season andincludes textural studies Inspiration for his HerInspiration work beautiful THE POTTER’S comes from the natural of the landscape. comes from the natural bronze horse heads, world, including the world, including the sleeping cats and pen and YARD Pieces made tocolours order. through a changing changing colours through a ink drawings. season textural studies * and season textural studies Visitors are and welcome, please of landscape. the landscape. of the Perfect you are looking phone inifadvance on for 563100. something original for 051 Pieces made to order. Pieces made to order. your home or a unique gift. Visitors are welcome, please Visitors are welcome, please April to phone in advance phone inSeptember advance on on WED – SUN 2pm – 6pm 051 563100. 051 563100.

Let Craft lead the way... PHIL STEWART TEXTILE ARTIST

Mairead captures nature’s magical beauty in her inspiring and timeless clay pieces. In her thrown pots,

* May to September TUE – SAT 11am – 5pm Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

Our sho in a farm pict Ban

10a Frid Ho Gro

October to April by appointment only

CREATIONS BY Here, ANNETTE 15 large, hand-WHELAN The shapes, colours and embroidered panels forms of nature itself created*by 150 inspire the woodturned and embroiderers tell a “tale bespokeCeltic wooden clocks, Legendary Heirlooms Here, 15 large, handHere, large, handtold in15 thread”; hand-held mirrors, bowls, chopping embroidered panels embroidered panels audio guides depict the boards, cheese boards, Created in Wexford, created by 150of New created bythe 150 history of Port lamps, candle holders, worn throughout the world. embroiderers a “tale embroiderers atell “tale Ross and surrounds, from pestle and tell mortars, pepper told in thread”; hand-held toldgrinders inIreland thread”; Celtic uphand-held to the and more created audio guides depict the audio guides depict the Norman invasions. This Tír na nÓg Creations offers by Maurice Duggan. history of the Port of New the Port of New ahistory unique way to celebrate work of of fine ‘needleRoss and surrounds, the birth naming offrom a from Ross andor surrounds, painting’ using Crewel Celtic Ireland up to of the new baby, withup a to range Celtic Ireland the Wool on Jacobean Pure Crafted mostly fromThis native Norman invasions. heirloom ceremonial robes Norman invasions. This Linen Twill features Irish oak, ash,‘needlebeech, walnut ofpure fine made from Irish workwork of fine ‘needledramatic scenes, vividlinen yew, sycamore, and holly, painting’ using Crewel woven in Wexford and painting’ using Crewel details, and colourful each piece is unique. Wool on Jacobean a range from Pure Eco Pure Wool onmade Jacobean figures. Linen Twill features friendly Ahimsa Peace Silk Linen Twill features dramatic scenes, vivid dramatic scenes, Created by awardvivid winning details, and colourful details, and colourful Visitors welcome but please Open Daily 10am-5pm. designer Máiréad Cairbre, figures. figures. call in advance. (Please check and inspired bywebsite) nature, celtic imagery and ancient legends, these robes Open Open DailyDaily 10am-5pm. incorporate their10am-5pm. symbolism (Please check (Please check as blessings forwebsite) thewebsite) wearer.

TÍR NA NÓG Wonderful colour CREATIONS

combinations and funky design are the hallmark of Annette Whelan, a fused glass artist. In her studio THE ROS MAURICE DUGGAN near the charming village TAPESTRY WOODTURNING of Kilmore Quay in south Wexford, she creates * glass items such as lamps, THE ROS THE ROS mirrors, candleholders, TAPESTRY TAPESTRY clocks, suncatchers and jewellery. * * May to October MON – SAT 11am – 5pm


Award-winning Robert Legendary Celtic Heirlooms MAD4HATS Martin Doyle works with Created inindividually Wexford, unusual cut PATSY FLOOD worn throughout gemstones andthe fineworld. quality O’CONNOR Legendary Celtic Heirlooms Legendary Celtic Heirlooms diamonds combined with * gold or silver. Tírplatinum, na nÓg Creations offers Created in Wexford, in Wexford, Some designs are unique, aCreated unique way to celebrate worn throughout the worn throughout theofworld. based on the shape the birth or naming a world. ROBERT O’CONNOR and formwith of aaparticular new baby, range of Vintage designs withoffers Tír naceremonial nÓg Creations heirloom robes THE WOODTURNING Tírgemstone. na nÓg Creations offers modern twist, colour aaunique way to celebrate made from pure Irish linen a unique way to celebrate STUDIO Each piece, including the and texture create the birth or naming woven in Wexford and the birth or naming of aaof a settings, is completely sophisticated yet quirky *baby, new with a range anew range made Eco baby, withfrom a range of of handwrought from look in Patsy Flood heirloom ceremonial friendly Ahimsa Peacerobes Silkrobes heirloom ceremonial precious bar or sheet O’Connor’s handcrafted made from Irish made from purepure Irish linenlinen Created by award winning GRÁINNE KENNY metal. hats and accessories, woven in Wexford woven in Máiréad Wexford and andmade designer Cairbre, luxury yarns ausing range from Eco DESIGN a range made from Ecoand Martin alsomade specialises and inspired by nature, materials Ahimsa Peace friendly Ahimsa Peace Silk Silk in friendly individually designed celtic * imagery and ancient engagement rings. Visitors welcome but Created by award winning legends, these robes Created by award winning please call insymbolism advance. designer Máiréad Cairbre, incorporate their designer Máiréad Cairbre, and inspired bywearer. nature, as blessings for and inspired by the nature, celtic imagery ancient celtic imagery and and ancient Visitors welcome but please MON – these SATthese 10am – 5.30pm legends, robes legends, robes call in advance. incorporate symbolism incorporate theirtheir symbolism as blessings for wearer. the wearer. as blessings for the

O’Connor designs and TÍR NA NÓG MARTIN DOYLE creates unique Irish wooden CREATIONS GOLDSMITH gifts, home accessories, functional and gallery pieces from NA local TÍR NÓG TÍR NA hand-selected NÓG The timber. sea andHe thealso changing accepts CREATIONS CREATIONS landscape the Irish privatealong and corporate coastline provide the commissions. Each piece inspiration forisGráinne of wood selected for its Kenny’s hand-woven natural grain and character and and mixed-media soft turned is then planed, furnishings and accessories with perfection and finished for interiors. to enhance its natural The beauty. use of colour, attention to surface detail –and texture September April: playTues a strong role in her – Sat creation of truly unique, 11.30am-5pm beautiful bespoke pieces. May – June: Commissions Welcomed. Mon – Sat - 10am-5pm Closed Bank Holidays May to September TUE – SAT 11am – 5pm Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

Pa ac ex At Cead stu Kenny h she beautifu ran purest w D pla artists a by skille Pa meticul tui detail, a frie reflects Wo best for in

thr Our wo Dr showro exc in a rest sal farmyar set pictures sto Bannow

Ma 10am – da Friday. Ba Holiday Group

October to April by appointment only

PAUL MALONEY The sea and the changing POTTERY landscape along the Irish * coastline provide the inspiration for *Gráinne * sea and the changing Kenny’s The The sea hand-woven and the changing The shapes, colours and THE FORGE landscape along the Irish and mixed-media softIrish landscape along the forms of nature itself coastline provide furnishings and accessories coastline provide the the inspire the woodturned and CRAFTSHOP inspiration for Gráinne for interiors. inspiration for Gráinne Wonderful colour bespoke wooden clocks, * and funky The Forge Craft Shop is Kenny’s hand-woven Kenny’s hand-woven combinations mirrors, bowls, chopping Earth, hand and fire use of colour, attention home to Bramble Crafts. The The and mixed-media and mixed-media soft softof design are the hallmark boards, cheese combine toboards, produce a wide to surface detail and texture GRÁINNE KENNY owner, Padraic Parle makes furnishings accessories furnishings and and accessories Annette Whelan, fused lamps, candle holders, range of contemporary play a strong role inaher hand-crafted kitchens, home for interiors. for interiors. glass artist. In her studio DESIGN pestle and mortars, pepper A tableware and giftware. creation of truly unique, furniture and other unique near the charming village grinders andfor more potter overcreated 30 years, The use of colour, attention beautiful bespoke pieces. use of colour, attention pieces inDuggan. the onsite workshop. The Kilmore Quay in south by*Maurice Paul and his skilled team to surface detail and texture toofsurface detail and texture GRÁINNE The Forge KENNY alsoKENNY sells a wide GRÁINNE Commissions Welcomed. MAURICE DUGGAN Wexford, she creates handcraft each piece on play a strong role in her play a strong role in her range of other local quality DESIGN glass items such as unique, lamps, DESIGN WOODTURNING the potter’s wheel. Unique creation of truly creation of truly unique, crafts. Once a real working mirrors, candleholders, experimental pieces beautiful bespoke pieces. Crafted mostly from native beautiful bespoke pieces. dating back to the * also * forge, clocks, suncatchers and May to September are in the Irish oak, ash,available beech, walnut 1700s, the premises itself is Commissions Welcomed. Commissions Welcomed. jewellery. – SAT 11am – 5pm shop, yew, pottery sycamore, andtogether holly, with TUE worth a visit Visitors seconds. May to welcome October but please each workshop piece is unique. call in advance. MON – SAT 11am – 5pm May –August MON – SAT 9:30am-5:30pm May May to April September to September October to Thurs-Sun 11am – seasonal. 5.30pm November – April Sunday opening TUE – SAT – 5pm TUE – SAT 11am11am – 5pm by appointment only Off Peak Check Web or Visitors welcome but Visitors welcome but please Visitors welcome but please Visitors welcome but please phone in advance please call in advance. call in advance. call in advance. call in advance. October to April October to April by appointment by appointment onlyonly


The shapes, colours and forms of nature itself inspire the woodturned and bespoke wooden clocks, The shapes, colours mirrors, bowls, chopping The shapes, colours and and MAD4HATS forms of nature boards, boards, forms ofcheese nature itselfitself PATSY FLOOD inspire theholders, woodturned lamps, candle inspire the woodturned and and bespoke wooden clocks, pestle and mortars, pepper bespoke wooden clocks, O’CONNOR mirrors, chopping grinders and bowls, more created mirrors, bowls, chopping


November – April Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

Visitors welcome but please call in advance.

Visitors welcome but please Visitors welcome but please call in advance. call in advance.

March-October 10am-6pm daily closed Sundays and Bank Holidays

Patricia Howard is an An artist in mixed-media accomplished andPhil and embroidery, experienced potter. In her works from original studio at The Potter’s Yard drawings inspired by her Patricia Howard she produces an is inspired Patricia Howard anistoan natural surroundings BALLYELLAND accomplished and range of sponge printed accomplished produce textileand art pieces experienced potter. In her tableware, tiles and alpine experienced potter. In her combining fabrics, paint POTTERY atCall The Potter’s planters. studio at The Potter’s YardYard and studio thread. into her shetoproduces an inspired she an inspired * produces studio experience these

Open Daily 10am-5pm. (Please check website)

Commissions Welcomed.

At C Ken bea pur 198 arti by me det refl bes

Award-winning Robert O’Connor designs and creates unique Irish wooden gifts, home accessories, functional and gallery pieces from hand-selected local timber. He also accepts private and corporate




Patricia accom experie studio she pro range o tablew planter

Wexford Arts Centre Wexford Arts Centre was established in 1974, and we are very proud to be the oldest regional arts centre in Ireland. We are based in the historic listed Cornmarket building. In 1772, Wexford Corporation purchased a piece of property from Mr. John Grogan of Johnstown Castle. Building of a market house commenced and was completed in 1776.

Visit Enniscorthy Castle

‘A view from the Keep’ ‘Walk in the footsteps of Anglo-Norman Knights, Irish Kings and Elizabethan Adventurers’ T: 053 9234699

The National 1798 Rebellion Centre

‘One of the greatest visitor attractions in County Wexford’ T: 053 923 7596 or T: 053 923 4699


Go Ancient East Summer Edition


The home of the black stuff and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure By Paul Dwyer


o visit to Dublin city would be complete without stopping by the Guinness Storehouse to take in the rich history of the home of the black stuff. The Storehouse itself is very accessible from the city centre; located at St. James Gate, Dublin 8, it’s only a 10 minute walk from the busy Grafton street area.

The building itself is seven stories tall and is cleverly designed around a pint glass-shaped atrium and incorporates a retail store, exhibition space, function rooms, a restaurant and two bars located on the second and seventh floor. The storehouse, through its interactive exhibits, illustrates the history of the Guinness family and brewery. Since being first opened in 1876 by Sir Arthur Guinness, the brewery has expanded down to the Liffey and across both sides of the street and, at one point in time, had its very own railway line. When Arthur Guinness wanted to first open a brewery at St. James Gate he had to sign a 9,000-year lease. At the Brewery’s peak in 1930, it employed over 5,000 workers making

it the largest employer in the city. However, due to automation, the workforce has been reduced to just 600 employees; but this drop in workforce numbers has not stopped them regarding production as the brewery still produces over 2.5 million pints of stout every day. The history of Guinness is told through various interactive exhibition areas throughout the seven floors with each floor dealing with a different topic like ingredients, brewing, transport, cooperage, sponsorship and advertising. Perhaps the most interesting section is the fifth floor which illustrates the company’s vast number of creative advertising campaigns from the past to present. This exhibition really shows that how marketing has had an effect on the brand. You see the many different campaigns that had been used in the hope of finding another slogan as timeless as, “My goodness, my Guinness” or the classic, “All good things come to those who wait.” You’ll also discover just what goes into making Guinness - the ingredients, the process, the pulling and finally the drinking, when you reach the top level you will be greeted with your very own complimentary pint of Guinness at the Gravity bar, with fantastic panoramic views of Dublin City Centre. With praise from many satisfied customers on travel websites such as TripAdvisor, there is really no wonder why the Guinness Storehouse is the number one tourist attraction in all of

Ireland, seeing more than 14 million visitors pass through its doors since its public opening in 2000. The Guinness Storehouse also has a restaurant, where visitors can enjoy some good old Irish dishes along with their pint and their souvenir shop has a huge range of Guinness merchandise that you can buy to mark your trip. Prices for adults and students start at 18 and 16 euro with children getting the reduced price of just 6.50 euro. However, booking online will save you both money and time as you can skip the queues if you purchase tickets from their website. Die-hard fans of the black stuff can opt for the Connoisseur Experience, where a designated barkeeper goes through the histories of the four variants of Guinness – Draught, Original, Foreign Extra Stout and Black Lager – and provides delicious samples of each; however, this option is quite a bit more expensive at €45 per person.

Enjoy a Wild & Organic Dining Experience along Ireland’s Ancient East BrookLodge & Macreddin Village is home to Ireland’s first certified Organic Restaurant - The Strawberry Tree, boasting a daily changing menu that reflects the seasons and featuring the freshest Wild & Organic foods. At the heart of The Strawberry Tree Restaurant lies the treasure trove that is the Wild Foods Pantry which holds much of the produce foraged and prepared by the Kitchen Brigade. Call the Macreddin Village Crew on 0402 36444 to secure your Wild & Organic Experience at The Strawberry Tree Restaurant

BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, County Wicklow E: W:

SACRED Ireland

Do you know why they call Ireland the Land of Saints and Scholars? Follow the pilgrims’ routes across Ireland’s Ancient East and early Christian history is revealed. But some sacred sites are even older, and still burn brightly …


t’s a dramatic entrance. The boat winds through beautiful water meadows. (On colder days, you’ll stay snug under blankets provided by the crew.) Then it appears. In the green fields at the water’s edge are clusters of stone churches and round towers, early Christian crosses and carvings, and medieval ruins. Clonmacnoise. Some modern-day pilgrims still walk to Clonmacnoise. Others arrive at this idyllic place by water from


Go Ancient East Summer Edition

nearby Athlone or Banagher. This is Ireland’s first university, built in the 6th century at the Ancient Crossroads where the route from Dublin to Galway crossed the mighty Shannon River. “The Land of Saints and Scholars” refers to that time. Between the 6th and 10th centuries, protected by her seas, Ireland was a bastion of early Christianity – a beacon of light in the so-called Dark Ages. Philosopher-monks held the

old religion close and developed an intense brand of learning whose influence was felt across the Continent. Unique styles of architecture emerged – Irish Round Towers and Celtic High Crosses. Stunning illuminated manuscripts – such as the worldfamous Book of Kells – were produced. Ireland sent monks and friars out across the known world. Pilgrims came here from the whole of europe in search of knowledge and enlightenment.

The Cup Runneth Over

on Ireland’s Ancient East


ootprints of the past has left an indelible mark along the many meadows and moorlands of Ireland’s Ancient East. Traditions of yesteryear permeate, and despite the passing millennia, the bacchanalian mantra of ‘eat, drink and be merry’ pervades and predates the country’s conservative catholicisation. Brewing, distillation and winemaking are ancient traditions that are enjoying a modern day revolution in Ireland. The three disciplines uniquely and respectively tell the story of the land, the people, and the heritage of the region in a very tangible way. The traditions have been reimagined by pioneering brewers, distillers and winemakers who perhaps demonstrate the country’s own signature brew of adventure and craft, a gift bestowed on the land by warriors and wanderers of the sea.

Distilling The Irish distillation industry took as much of a hammering as its craft beer counterparts. There were as many as 2,000 legal and illegal distilleries in the 19th century, but this figure was whittled down to four or five main players as the country was ravaged by war and taxes. The almost complete

decimation of the industry was a particularly painful fall from grace, as by that time Irish Whiskey enjoyed global renown, considered lighter and easier to handle on the palate than Scottish single malts.

bringing along sweet Bourbon Cask notes with dried fruit returning through notes of maraschino cherries and a pinch of brown sugar’ and a 7 year old and 13 year old single malt whiskey.

The Glendalough Distillery was set up by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin who realised they shared a deep passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland. The brand has become distinctive for its effigy of St. Kevin in stark black, the story of whom embodies the drive and determination underpinning the Glendalough concept – St. Kevin was born into Irish nobility, but fiercely followed his own path to realise his vision of building a civilization in an isolated valley that became known as ‘the city of the seven churches’. Glendalough Distillery started out interestingly with a contemporary take on Poitin, Irish ‘moonshine’, famed and decried in equal measures, and up until recently produced largely in old sheds and bathtubs. If the distillery cut their teeth on their white spirited Poitin, they sharpened their bite with an impressive array of whiskies, which include a single grain whiskey, aged first in American Bourbon barrels and finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, described as ‘sweet and creamy on the palate, with butterscotch, honey and peppercorn

The best place to sample the heady delights from the Glendalough Distillery is by paying a visit to The Craft Shop at Glendalough Hotel, Casey’s Bar in Glendalough Hotel or Wicklow Heather.

Wine-Making Ireland may not boast the sunny climes of wine-producing countries likes Italy, France and Spain, but country wine-making is an age-old tradition which enabled the preservation of garden and hedgerow produce, a necessary measure to make it through harsh winter months. Wicklow Way Wines, co-founded by Pamela Walsh and Brett Stephenson, is Ireland’s first fruit winery, and is home to Móinéir Fine Irish Fruit Wine. The pair first sampled fruit wine while living in California and were hooked on the fresh taste and aroma. They returned to live in Ireland and in 2013, and set about making their own wine from the wild elderberries and blackberries, which grow in the meadows of the Wicklow Mountains where the couple live.

Go Ancient East Issue #1



Go Ancient East Summer Edition

Móinéir launched a limited edition strawberry wine at Bloom Food and Garden Festival last year, and from meadow to glass, Móinéir wines reflect the unique characteristics of the Irish countryside. This writer can attest first hand to the gorgeousness of this natural elixir, at the risk of sounding clichéd… it really does tastes like summer bottled. A Blackberry and Wild Elderberry wine, promises a more earthy autumnal flavour. Móinéir is stocked in a wide

range of fine food delicatessens and restaurants, and gourmands travelling along Ireland’s Ancient East, best thing to do is consult their list of stockists on the website.

market towns in Ireland boasted at least one brewery with different regions producing different styles of beer, a vibrant industry which is only starting to return to form.

One of the principal players in Ireland’s evolving craft brewing industry is Carlow Brewing Company, an independent family owned and run brewery, established by the O’Hara family in 1996, as a response to the lack of quality Irish craft beers available on the market. The core range of Irish craft beers produced by the brewery bear the family name, and today the brewery is managed full-time by Seamus, his wife Kay, and a growing team of staff.

Brewing The notion of Irish beer production tends to be dominated by one particular harp embossed brand. However beer production predated Guinness by about 5,000 years. The country’s fertile and productive land combined with soft rain and cool breezes resulted in a climate that was perfect for barley production. Arthur Guinness did famously commercialise the craft, but by the 18th century, most

Huntington Castle Clonegal, Co. Carlow One of Ireland’s historical gems, this amazing Castle is still lived in by descendants of the original builders. The guided tour (approx 35 mins) features the world Clonegal, Co. Carlow famous Temple of Isis in the One of Ireland’ historical dungeons as swell as Castle gems, this Castle is rooms andamazing ghost stories. still lived in bygardens, descendants With formal an of the original builders. The adventure playground, guided tour (approx 35 tearooms and giftshop, mins) features the world Huntington Castle famous Temple of Isisisinthe the perfect place for as a Castle day out. dungeons as well

Huntington Castle

rooms and ghost stories. With formal gardens, an adventure playground, tearooms and giftshop, Huntington Castle is the perfect place for a day out.

Contact Huntington Castle Clonegal, Co. Carlow Tel: 053–937 7160 SatNav: Latitude/Longitude 52.6905, -6.6492 Opening Times

Contact Gardens: Daily May to September Huntington Castle 12:00–18:00h. Castle: Weekends May & Clonegal, Co. Carlow September and daily June, July, August Tel: 053–937 7160 13:00–17:00h (last tour) plus Easter, Halloween, Christmas etc.

Blackwater Irish Spirits, Waterford

SatNav: Latitude/Longitude Admission Rates is situated on the banks of Blackwater Distillery 52.6905, -6.6492 Gardens only Adults €5. Child (U12)

the Blackwater River, just outside Cappoquin in

Opening Times €2.50. Castle Tour & Gardens beautiful West Waterford. Gardens: DailyAdults May to September €9 Child (U12) €4 With an abundance 12:00–18:00h. Castle: Weekends May & and plump barley, it’s of clean air, fresh water Usual concessions apply September and daily June, July, August the perfect setting for Ireland’s first craft gin 13:00–17:00h (last tour) plus Easter, Parking Halloween, Christmas etc. parking (including Coaches) distillery. Ample free

on site Admission Rates Gardens only Adults €5. Child (U12) They like to keep it real, which is why early in €2.50. Castle Tour & Gardens morning Adultsthe €9 Child (U12) €4 they switch on the lights, open the Usual concessions post and apply fire up the still. They make small batch

Parking gin the old fashioned way with 100% Irish spirit, Ample free parking (including Coaches) on sitereal botanicals and lots of care and attention. scenes of this historic county.

Go Ancient East Issue #1


ounded by the O’Hara family in 1996 and still family owned and operated today, Carlow Brewing Company also known as O’Hara’s brewery is located in the heart of Ireland’s traditional malt and hop growing “Barrow Valley” region which has strong connections to the Irish brewing industry. While O’Hara’s are passionate about staying true to the traditions and legacy of brewing in the region, they have managed to add their own unique style that has now become synonymous with the craft brewing industry in Ireland. Through hard work and a dedication to their craft Carlow Brewing Company have remained at the forefront of the craft brewing revolution in Ireland for over 20

years. In this time the brewery has gone on to produce a wide range that includes traditional Irish beers, seasonal brews, their own interpretation of international beer styles, Falling Apple Cider and the company recently accquired Craigies Irish Craft Cider. All of O’Haras’s beers and ciders are widely available in the region so there are plenty of opportunities to try them when travelling through Ireland’s Ancient East. The brewing process used by Carlow Brewing Company comprises of just four main ingredients: water, hops, malt and yeast. O’Hara’s offers tours of the brewery where people can experience their passion for brewing, the tour will take you on a journey of Ireland’s craft brewing

history, teach you about the brewing process and how O’Hara’s beers and ciders are brewed. No tour would be complete without a chance to sample and compare some of O’Hara’s award winning brews. For tour bookings email tours@ or telephone +353 (059) 9720509.



Go Ancient East Summer Edition




Wicklow is at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East and is one of Ireland’s most scenic locations; offering a journey through 5000 years of history with the stunning backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea.

he remoteness of the Wicklow Mountains attracted early settlers and evidence of ancient places of worship in the form of megalithic tombs, standing stones, ring forts, rock art and ceremonial circles, which remain scattered throughout the landscape today. St. Patrick is reputed to have landed along the coast of Wicklow in the 5th Century, sowing the seeds of Early Christianity which, a century later led to the establishment by St. Kevin

of Glendalough, one of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements. Glendalough, meaning ‘valley of two lakes’ is located in the heart of Wicklow Mountains National Park and forms one of Irelands most popular bases for exploring history, wildlife and the great outdoors. The Vikings and later the Normans left their mark along the Wicklow Coast establishing many of the towns, villages, castles and fortifications. The mountains provided a place of refuge over the subsequent centuries of battles and rebellions that shaped this county and Ireland. The 1708 Rebellion still

echoes around the Wicklow Glens and in the Cells of Wicklow’s Historic Gaol. Wicklow’s majestic scenery, abundant woodlands and natural resources attracted Anglo-Irish settlers to establish some of Ireland’s best Historic Houses at Killruddery, Russborough, Avondale and Powerscourt. The beautifully designed landscapes around these houses, many of which can be visited today, led Wicklow to become known as ‘The Garden of Ireland’. With easy and fast access to Dublin, Wicklow offers visitors a tremendous base to explore and experience Ireland’s Ancient East.

Go Ancient East Issue #1


A Glimpse of Life in a Prison of the Past You can smell the terror in the air as the gate clangs shut and the gaoler turns the key. Somewhere a prisoner groans, there are screams and footsteps echo. In these poky cells within the thick granite walls of Wicklow’s historic Gaol you could easily be forgotten. Except that, remarkably, the prisoners haven’t been. sights and sounds of harsh dungeon life. Visitors can choose from day or adult-only night tours, or embark on a paranormal investigation of what is said to be one of Ireland’s most haunted buildings with Irish Ghost Hunters.


rom 1702 to 1924, the brooding edifice on Kilmantin Hill in Wicklow town shut away people deemed to be on the wrong side of history — rebels from the 1798 Rising, convicts awaiting transportation to colonies in America and Australia, desperate women and children who stole simply to feed themselves during the 1840s famine. There’s defiant rebel Billy Byrne or eight-year-old Thomas Pitt sentenced to flogging for stealing a few coins. The infamous gaoler and the hangman have their say too. One of Wicklow’s top tourist destinations, the Gaol is an atmospheric museum experience that offers visitors a glimpse of life in the prisons of the past through an interactive tour led by experienced guides. One of Ireland’s most haunted buildings The harshness of prison life in the 18th century, the story of the Irish rebellion of 1798, the cruelty of the transportation ships and hope of a new life in Australia, can all be experienced. The original dungeon is open again for the first time in over 100 years where visitors can experience first-hand the

Daily life for inmates of Wicklow Gaol was full of hardship, and before prison reform in the 19th century, many of the unfortunate inmates were children. Some were born to exist prisoners, and many others were jailed for relatively minor crimes, mainly theft. Children were regularly whipped, starved, and made to work the treadwheel. Many were transported to various areas of the British Empire, including the Americas and Australia.

encouragement. Implementation of reform took a long time and, even into the 20th century, prison inmates of all ages were still treated very poorly.

Birthday parties at the Gaol If you have ever dreamt of locking your child in jail for the day, well now you can by having their birthday party at Wicklow Gaol. Wanted posters with your child’s photo are pinned The Everlasting Staircase throughout the Gaol, and the whole The most common form of punishment party group are arrested and given was whipping, but prisoners were also jumpsuits to change into, before being subjected to the treadwheel, solitary brought through the gaol. After some confinement and stone breaking. yard time (weather permitting), they Known as the Everlasting Staircase, are fed at The Jailer’s Rest cafe before the treadwheel was a torture device being released back into society. A truly composed of wooden steps built unique birthday party experience. around a cylindrical iron frame. As Wicklow Gaol’s Genealogy Centre the treadwheel began to rotate, each offers digital resources, a genealogy prisoner was forced to continue library and personal advice for anybody stepping along the series of plans. It interested in tracing their Irish roots. was designed to handle a large number of prisoners, and as many as 40 inmates were punished together in some cases. The youngest ever person to be sentenced to transportation was an 11-year-old girl called Mary Wade. Her only crime was to steal clothes and sell them to a pawnbroker to try to get money for food. By the 1850s, crime in Ireland had decreased and whipping, and other corporal punishments gave way to teachings of reformation and


The Curragh Your heart is galloping faster than the thundering hooves, louder than the roar of the crowd as the horses plunge up the home straight. You’re at the moment, outside of time, swept up in a thrill of colour and noise. The Irish passion for horse racing is legendary and experiencing it at The Curragh Racecourse is unforgettable. You get in the mood with a glass of champagne, admire the horses in the parade ring, share banter, have a flutter, find your spot in the crowd, then – sheer, unbridled excitement. The vast open grassy plain of The Curragh in County Kildare is at the very centre of Ireland’s thoroughbred horse industry

and the racecourse, in addition to regular race days, hosts all five Irish flat-racing Classics: including the oldest, the Irish Derby, originating in 1866. Today’s three-day iconic Derby Festival in June is one of the country’s biggest social and sporting occasions, a whirl of music, dancing, fashion and racing that attracts some of the world’s top horses and jockeys. It’s glamorous (with prizes for bestdressed ladies on Ladies Day), and warm and friendly, the Irish way. Even on non-racing days as you pass by in the early morning, you’ll likely spot long lines of thoroughbreds training over the miles of flat, rich plains: the very same horses that win prestigious races around the globe.

The 5,000-acre Curragh Plains are, after all, one of Europe’s oldest grasslands. Legendary Fionn MacCumhaill and his warriors raced their horses here. There were 3rd-century chariot contests and 17th-century noblemen’s match racing. Cuireach, it turns out, is the Gaelic word for “racecourse”. Softer echoes carry tales of pre-Christian gatherings here of all the people of the Kingdom of Leinster, or of the 5th-century King of Leinster granting St Brigid all the land she could cover with her cloak – and it stretched out, right over the plains. Then in the beat of a heart and a hoof you’re back in the moment, swept away by the energy of galloping horses before you.


the world’s oldest working lighthouse


round every other bend in the road there are bright sea pinks and rugged cliffs, ancient ruins and quiet villages: the light and shade of the tapering headland of the Hook Peninsula. And how hypnotic the vast, steely-blue sea and flat open fields. Then you glimpse it, striped black and white in the distance. Capping the Peninsula’s southern tip, Hook Lighthouse, the world’s oldest working lighthouse, has shone across 800 years to help seafarers navigate a rocky coastline that’s exhilarating … but treacherous when sudden fogs descend.


Climbing the 115 well-worn steps of the tower and exploring thick-walled chambers, you now meet a life-size hologram figure: St Dubhán, who tells of perishing nights spent with fellow monks in the 5th century warning sailors against dangers with a beacon they kept alight on the headland – subsequently called Rinn Dubháin (Dubhán’s headland). Dubhán, coincidentally, is Irish for fishing hook.

tower in the 13th century, to guide shipping to his port at New Ross. Or gaze out upon the “graveyard of 1,000 ships” where Cromwell lost his flagship Great Lewis in the 17th century but vowed to take nearby Waterford City “by hook or by crook” – Hook Head and Crook being his two ways in. Today you might spot marine visitors like dolphins, seals, and even a whale! The lighthouse is automated now, but 800 years of human deeds still Then another life-size figure appears blow keenly in the breeze … a thrilling Strongbow’s son-in-law William thought as you enjoy lunch in the Marshall, “the greatest knight that ever former keepers’ houses, the waves lived”, who tells of his empire in the crashing outside. Southeast. He built this very lighthouse

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Kilkenny Design Centre

Wicklow’s Historic Gaol

Kilkenny Design Centre is situated in the heart of Ireland’s Craft capital, Kilkenny City. Once the Castle Stables dating back to 1760’s, Kilkenny Design is now home to three award-winning restaurants and a shop stocking the very best of Irish products including Nicholas Mosse, Max Benjamin, Hairy Fruit Art, Áine Knitwear and Orla Kiely.

Wicklow’s Historic Gaol provides the ultimate interactive journey through two centuries of prison life .... Holographic projections of cruel prison guards, the sound of the defiant cries from the 1798 rebels and the transformation of three prison floors to visually recreate over 200 years of Irish history through the eyes of the inmates.

where Irish made treasures are found...


Moran Park House (beside dlr Library), Queens Road, Dún Laoghaire

Situated near the East Pier on the Dún Laoghaire seafront in the listed old Harbour Master’s House, this enchanting gallery offers art and crafts made and designed within a 50 mile radius of Dún Laoghaire. From Art to Textiles, Glass to Wood, Jewellery to Fashion. Phone: +353 (0)1 6639924 Email: Web: Twitter: @IRDesignGallery FB: Instagram: irishdesigngallery


Ballykisteen Golf Hotel

Kilkenny Design Centre Castle Yard, Kilkenny. Tel: +353 56 7722118

Open every day: 10.30-16.30 Tel: +353 (0)404 61599 For more information, visit

“Great National Ballykisteen Golf Hotel is situated just outside Tipperary town on the main N24 Limerick to Waterford road. With the Galtee mountains as our backdrop you don’t need to wander far to discover the amazing stories of Irelands Ancient East. Accommodation rates from as low as €79 Bed and Breakfast. Great National Ballykisteen Golf Hotel Tel: +353 62 33333

Historic Houses, Gardens & Parks Ireland is famous for its vibrant scenery, but you don’t have to hike to the top of a mountain to experience it. There’s a wealth of heritage houses, gardens and parks on offer, and they make for a super driving tour.

Start your journey at Dublin’s littlest big house



r biggest little house. Whichever way you see it, the 18th century Casino at Marino, designed by Sir William Chambers for the First Earl of Charlemont, is unique. It measures barely 40 squarefeet yet contains 16 rooms – each one breathtakingly rich in design. From Lord Charlemont’s attic bedroom to the basement servants’ quarters, from fanciful friezes to inlaid floors, it’s one surprise after another in a

garden temple ranking as one of the most exquisite neo-classical buildings of its kind in Europe.

Leaving Marino, make your way from one of Ireland’s smallest mansions to one of Europe’s largest walled parks. Phoenix Park is a former royal deer enclosure sprawling over west Dublin, and at its heart, you’ll find Farmleigh House, developed over several decades by Edward Cecil Guinness (Lord Iveagh, 1847-1927). The 78-acre estate is today owned by the Irish government and has hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Emperor Akihito of Japan among other visitors. Eclectic interiors, a Dutch-style sunken garden and an art gallery, are just the start of its treasures.

Nearby, across the River Liffey, you’ll find the War Memorial Gardens. This green oasis is famous both as a memorial to Irish soldiers who died in the First World War and as one of four Irish gardens designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Sunken rose gardens, sculpted lawns and pristine ornamental features combine to make a gorgeous space in which to play, pray, or wallow. Look out for the pair of granite bookrooms, too – one of them houses Ireland’s Memorial Records in eight volumes illustrated by the stained glass artist, Harry Clarke. Visits can be arranged in advance.

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10 minutes west of the Casino lies the National Botanic Gardens. Dating from 1795, this wonderful oasis is home to Ireland’s richest plant collection (over 300 of its specimens are rare or endangered) and a beautiful Victorian palm house.

Not all houses are stately piles, of course. Leaving Dublin, an hour’s drive south along the N81 takes you to the thatched Dwyer McAllister Cottage, sitting in the shade of a mountain near Donard, Co. Wicklow. It was from this whitewashed retreat that rebel Michael Dwyer fought encircling troops before making good his escape over the mountains in 1799. The cottage was later destroyed by fire and lay in ruins for almost 150 years before being restored as a national monument. From here it’s a 45-minute drive south to Altamont Gardens, the jewel in the crown of Carlow’s Garden Trail. A blend of formal and informal arrangements here tumble around an 18th-century house and are famous for their February snowdrops (chalk it down for Valentine’s Day). But, in truth, they’re worth a visit any time of year, with yew-spotted lawns sloping towards a romantic lake surrounded by rare trees, shrubs and rhododendrons. “It’s always beautiful,” as Frommer’s Guide puts it. Altamont is just one of many surprises awaiting on a driving tour of Ireland, with others ranging from artist Derek Hill’s Glebe House & Gallery in Donegal to Emo Court, a neoclassical mansion in Co. Laois and for years the residence of Major Cholmeley-Harrison. Both somehow still feel like homes. From Altamont, continue south through Bunclody and New Ross to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park & Arboretum. Dedicated to the memory of JFK, the 252-hectare Arboretum contains 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all temperate regions of the world, planted in botanical sequence.

This isn’t a random association: Kennedy’s ancestors grew up in nearby Dunganstown, and his great-grandfather emigrated from New Ross in 1848. Long walks, a little playground, panoramic views, a lake spotted with waterfowl and a Visitor Centre housing exhibitions and audio visual show are the perfect intro to Ireland’s sunny south-east. Fancy a bite? Visitors can grab a cuppa, snack or something more substantial at the Boathouse Café in Farmleigh House, the new Walled Garden café at Altamont Gardens, or the café at the JFK Arboretum. If you like those, try these: Other great Historic Houses, Parks and Gardens to visit in Ireland include Áras an Uactaráin, Arbour Hill, the Garden of Remembrance, Iveagh Gardens, the Pearse Museum, St. Enda’s Park and St. Stephen’s Green (Dublin), Doneraile Park and Fota Arboretum & Gardens (Cork), Coole Park (Galway), Derrynane House (Kerry), Castletown House (Kildare), Kilkenny Castle (Kilkenny), Heywood Gardens (Laois), and the botanic gardens at Kilmacurragh (Wicklow). Did you know? One of Ireland’s most exotic gardens is not found on the mainland, but in a sheltered bay off the shores of West Cork. Garinish Island, or Ilnacullin, was landscaped by the Edwardian garden designer Harold Peto, and almost a century later, continues to showcase an incredible richness of plant form and colour. Further info:

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HUNTINGTON CASTLE Sir Laurence Esmonde may have built Huntington Castle in 1625, but it is the women of this home who have left some of the most colourful impressions, as family descendants will tell you.


ewarded with a peerage for his loyal service to the army of Elizabeth I, Lord Esmonde caused quite a scandal when he married Ailish O’Flaherty, a notorious free-spirited Catholic and granddaughter of the pirate queen Gráinne Mhaol. The ghost of the 18th Century matriarch Barbara St Ledger is still seen wandering the castle’s oak corridors, it is said, while the crocodile’s head that greets visitors to the castle at Clonegal was bagged by the intrepid Nora Parsons who shot it in India in 1903 when she was just 16 years of age. Temple of Isis in basement The most unusual feature of the Castle is undoubtedly the Temple of Isis in the basement, a temple to the Egyptian Goddess Isis established by Nora’s daughter, Olivia in 1976 to celebrate the role of the female aspect of divinity. The Fellowship of Isis has become an established world religion, with thousands of devotees all around the world, making Huntington its Jerusalem. Visitors on the Castle tour are given a guided tour of this fascinating and eclectic part of the Castle, which features the sacred well of St Brigid, a main altar and dozens of side altars reflecting different goddesses and zodiac signs. Huntington Castle has continually changed and adapted over the centuries. In the 1680s, Sir Laurence, grandson of the original builder, began to transform the castle into a more comfortable and stylish family home, and began the process of establishing the impressive formal gardens.


Mix of architectural styles and influences The castle was extensively altered in the 1860s by Alexander Durdin, whose uncle had married the Esmonde heiress. His daughter, Helen inherited Huntington Castle in turn, and she married Herbert Robertson, giving the current name of the family, Durdin-Robertson. They further altered the castle, and their son, Manning DurdinRobertson, an architect, also put his stamp on the building, leaving Huntington with a wonderful mixture of architectural styles and influences. The Castle is presently lived in by three generations of the DurdinRobertson family. The current owners, Alexander and Clare Durdin-Robertson can frequently be found giving tours, working in the gardens or making tea in the tearooms. Bringing history to life The half hour tour brings the history and stories of the castle and its occupants to life, taking in the living quarters and formal rooms of the castle, as well as the Temple of Isis in the former dungeons. Huntington Castle has always attracted artists and every generation has brought a different creative energy to the castle. Olivia Durdin-Robertson was a celebrated author and artist and the Temple contains many elaborate shrines and alters decorated by her, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. Olivia’s nephew, David was a talented sculptor and the house and temple are filled with his beautiful carvings and sculptures. Currently working at Huntington

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are David’s wife Moira, his son Harry and daughter-in-law Clare. The next generation of artists are continuing to push boundaries and all explore different avenues and mediums. Alexander Durdin-Robertson says: “We are really excited about the Ancient East Programme. To us, it means sharing our history and heritage with people from all over the world. When they come here and hear our stories, experience what the castle and gardens offer, they are always surprised to learn that is still very much a family home, which they really appreciate.” Huntington Castle and Gardens Clonegal Co. Carlow +353 53 9377160 www.huntingtoncastle. com



f you are looking for an experience that will get your adrenaline pumping in the east of Ireland, then rev it up a gear at Rally School Ireland. Located just outside of Monaghan town, in the village of Scotstown is a 1.1km purpose built tarmac circuit where you are free to be let loose in a selection of rally prepared cars. At your disposal are twenty two cars that cater to everyone’s taste. There is the iconic MKII Escort, a left-hand drive Toyota GT86 and the Subaru Impreza for the rally enthusiast; an older BMW and a pair of Nissan 350Z cars for those who would prefer a totally sideways drift experience. For a more exclusive day, they also have a Porsche 911, Ferrari F355 and BMW M3. Rally School Ireland, which is run by brothers David and Malachy, is now celebrating 17 years in business and they seem to have developed a recipe for success in getting people to challenge their nerves. From start to finish, I found the experience thrilling and incredibly friendly. After a short passenger lap to show us the track, I was strapped in behind the wheel of one of the MKII Escorts and told to go for it. For

Aaron McElroy lives life in the fast lane as he experiences all that Rally School Ireland has to offer

someone who is used to obeying the speed limit and staying on one side of the white line, to be encouraged to throw a car around in an exuberant fashion and behave in a way that would be completely unsafe for public roads was a freedom that goes against all common sense. However it’s one that you adapt to very quickly and it’s highly addictive as you look to make each lap quicker than the last. We also got to drive the left-hand drive Toyota - it was a strange sensation to be sitting on the wrong side of the car, having to adapt my co-ordination to make up for the new seating position. On any given day, there may be two or three other groups taking part, and the watch tower in itself is great fun as you build a comradery with peers as they go around the track. You go from aiming to beat your own times to building an impromptu competition with those you are with and others on the day. As well as catering for small groups, Rally School Ireland also organise Stag and Hen specials, as well as corporate and team building days with branding, boardrooms and catering all taken care of as part of the package. If you want a day to try something new, or live life in the fast lane I would highly recommend it. The facilities are

easy got to, within two hours of Dublin and Belfast and if you are looking for accommodation, Monaghan town is only 15 minutes away and there are weekend vouchers available that include combined spa and driving experience.

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WEEKEND BREAK: Carlingford, in Co Louth, offers a modern take on history Ireland’s Ancient East offers myths, great food, and adventure. Carlingford is the perfect base, writes Eoin English from the Irish Examiner I remember from my childhood readings of the ancient Irish myths and sagas, once upon a time, how the theft of a brown bull sparked a bit of bother on the Cooley peninsula. I remember, too, how a row between two giants just up the road, one of them a handy hurler, apparently, led to the construction of a causeway, apparently. I knew that Carlingford Lough, at its heart, got its fair share of mentions during the shipping or sea area weather forecasts on the radio, and that the mountains of Mourne swept down to the sea on its northern shores. But apart from that, I knew little else about the rugged Cooley peninsula in Louth. So it was with this limited knowledge and an open mind that we visited the area to explore the start of Ireland’s Ancient East and its associated myths and legends, staying a 15-minute drive south in the fourstar Crowne Plaza in Dundalk. We began on foot, taking a walking tour of Carlingford — one of the best preserved medieval villages in Ireland. Old Melifont Abbey Nestled at the foot of Sliabh Foy,


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which at 588m is the highest peak in the Cooley mountains, Carlingford, or fjord of Carlinn, was raided by the Vikings in the 8th and 9th centuries, who probably used its lough for shelter. The first known historical reference to the town dates from 1184 when Norman knight John de Courcy granted ferry rights to the Abbot of Downpatrick. But the town itself began to develop following the construction around the same time of the imposing St John’s Castle, named after King John who visited the area in 1210. The town’s rich history is still very evident today along its winding streets, with our tour taking in the Holy Trinity Church, which is now a heritage centre, the magnificently preserved ruins of the 13th century Dominican Friary, and bringing us right to the foot of the castle ramparts. The OPW, which took control of the castle in the 1950s, hopes to undertake restoration works to open parts of the Norman structure to visitors soon. We traipsed along Tholsel St, weaving between tables heaving with people taking coffee in the sunshine, to see the last remainders of the town’s four gates, and one of the few remaining such gates in Ireland, where tolls were imposed. The town had its own mint, and although the right to mint coinage was granted to Carlingford in 1467, it’s unlikely that minting ever actually occurred.

Carlingford. With hanging baskets bursting with gorgeous floral displays, and the intoxicating aromas of cooking food scenting the air of the pretty cobbled lanes, this is a part of the town that needs to be savoured. I have learned from experience, though, that there is a limit to the amount of history and culture that three young children will accept on a holiday. So the focus shifted to fun later. Carlingford Adventures offers thrillseekers high-speed rides in a powerful rib around the sheltered waters of Carlingford Lough, providing wonderful views from the water of the castle. And if you’re up for it, Shane might just let you take the wheel of his boat as it crashes through the waves. There is nothing quite like a whiteknuckle boat ride and sea air to work up an appetite. Given that our visit coincided with Carlingford’s famous oyster festival, it was only fitting that seafood would feature prominently for dinner. The Bay Tree restaurant, tucked away on Newry St, is owned and run by chef Conor Woods, who sources his beef, fish, lamb, chicken, and duck from local producers, and who grows his own salad and vegetables in a polytunnel to the rear of the restaurant. Once Vivian McCardle talked us through chef Woods’s evening menu,

I opted for the Asian-style oysters, served with spring onion and pickled ginger, and the surf and turf dinner. The oysters are outstanding — but the succulent six-ounce dry-aged fillet steak from William Baird butchers, served with a half lobster, is one of my highlights of the weekend. With its stunning food, unique cosy decor, and excellent service, it’s easy to see why The Bay Tree has won the coveted best restaurant in Louth and Leinster at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The adventure theme continued the next morning at Sky-Park at the Carlingford Adventure Centre. We donned climbing harnesses, scaled 50ft poles, and navigated through a challenging aerial obstacle course before zip-lining at high-speed some 200m to another climbing pole. You could easily spend three hours swinging, screaming, jumping, climbing, and zip-lining your way around the park. But then it was back to culture and history, and I insisted on visiting Newgrange, at the heart of the Brú na Bóinne. But a word of warning. Tours of the tomb are sold on a first come, first served basis. Get to the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre by lunchtime, or even earlier, to be in with a fighting chance.

Don’t do what we did and just arrive on a Sunday afternoon expecting to get in. You will be disappointed. And your children will never let you forget it.

Wave riders

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner in Feb 2017.

Take a high-speed boat ride around Carlingford Lough with Lough Adventures. If you’re up for it, Shane might let you take the wheel of his Adventure One rib. For those who prefer a more relaxing trip, he has a larger cruiser — with a roof. Trips depart from the town’s North Pier under King John’s Castle.

Where to stay, what to do The 14-storey, four-star Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk is an ideal base for exploring the Cooley Peninsula on the start of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Release your inner Tarzan Carlingford is home to the Sky-park and Sky trekking adventure park. A must for adrenalin junkies with a head for heights. Tel: 042 9373100

Don’t be put off by its location in a business park on the town’s outskirts.

Scenic drive Allow two to three hours to explore the scenic route around the Cooley peninsula, taking in the village of Greenore, the Proleek Portal Tomb, one of the finest examples of its kind in Ireland, and the wonderful views of the lough from The Flagstaff, north of the village of Omeath. Newry is a 20-minute drive north, and you can be in Warrenpoint in another half an hour.

You can choose your own Ireland’s Ancient East theme or itinerary on

With spacious, clean, and comfortable rooms, interconnecting family rooms, and friendly staff, it’s perfect for families. The one drawback? It doesn’t have a pool. But its Fahrenheit rooftop restaurant provides wonderful food and offers panoramic views over the Cooley Mountains. Take a walk, on the medieval side A great way to appreciate the narrow medieval streets, the ancient ruins, and scenery of Carlingford, in the company of one of the town’s expert guides. Meet outside the tourist office car park. Booking is advisable. Tel: 042 9373033

Tomb raider Newgrange, one of the world’s bestknown prehistoric tombs, is less than 40 minutes from Carlingford and 30 minutes from Dundalk. Get there early. Worldher Email: brunaboinne@ Tel: 041 9880300.

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Go AncEiaesntt ¥ Castlemartyr Resort, Cork Set adjacent to the ruins of 800-year-old castle, this 220-acre estate has a 17th-century manor house where guests can enjoy far-reaching countryside views and a stylish spa center which includes an indoor swimming pool, 10 treatment rooms and a fitness studio. The hotel has 4 dining options, including the awardwinning restaurant The Bell Tower which offers

Best places to stay on Ireland’s Ancient East gourmet dining as well as a traditional afternoon tea menu including Smoked Salmon on Irish Soda Bread and homemade scones made with fresh, locally sourced produce. Or you can visit their Italian casual dining restaurant, Franchini’s, the relaxed yet elegant Knights Bar or their informal Clubhouse. The Castlemartyr Resort also includes an 18-hole, link-style golf course. Guests can also enjoy a carriage tour of the estate, including a visit to the historic chapel, the tomb of the 4th Earl of Shannon and Mitchell’s Woods.

history however can be traced as far back as the 19th century, to the chaos of the French Revolution.

The K Club, Co. Kildare The K Club, Ireland’s First AA 5 Red Star Hotel and long-standing member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has pioneered 5 star service in Ireland from the very moment their doors opened in 1991. Their storied

BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow


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When celebrated winemaker Hugh Barton fled from the guillotine, he settled in the idyllic townland of Straffan, Co. Kildare, purchasing 550 acres in the early 1800s. The magnificent family home he had built, now the main house at The K Club, was modelled on the classic architecture of a French Chateau and was completed in 1832. Barton’s appreciation for the finer things in life and his commitment to excellence remains a vital part of The K Club’s on-going legacy. Set on 550 acres of mature parkland with the River Liffey flowing through the estate, the K Club boasts 4 fantastic restaurants, the K Spa, and 2 championship Arnold Palmer designed golf courses that have hosted the European Open.

BrookLodge & Macreddin Village is a stunning luxury spa hotel nestled perfectly in the Irish Wicklow Countryside yet just over an hour’s drive from Dublin. Home to Ireland’s first certified Organic Restaurant – The Strawberry Tree, Macreddin Village is a hidden gem in the Garden of Ireland. Located conveniently along Ireland’s Ancient East, near many unique places of historical significance. There is a great variety of stunning heritage sites and visitor attractions within a 30 minute drive including; the awe inspiring Glendalough, The Wicklow Mountains National Park, Avondale House and Forest Park, Avoca Hand weavers and The Meeting of the Waters to mention a few.

Go AncEiaesntt ¥ Glasha Farmhouse, Co. Tipperary Glasha is an attractive farmhouse located in an idyllic area; its position in North Waterford/South Tipperary makes it an ideal base for a touring holiday, an activity holiday or a relaxing break. Just imagine sipping a cup of tea/coffee on the patio or reading a novel in the conservatory and listening to the sound of running

The Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare The name “Keadeen”, (pronounced “kay-deen”) is derived from the Gaelic (Irish language) word “Céidín”, meaning “flat-topped hill”. The story goes that, when construction began on the original Keadeen House

Woodenbridge Hotel, Co. Wicklow Meet, according to the owners, Ireland’s oldest hotel. Life for Woodenbridge began in 1608 as a popular coaching house for merchants. Guests, it’s said, would sit by the grand fireplace driving punch to keep warm. Speaking of guests, the very room where President of Ireland Eamonn DeValera honeymooned is available

Waterford Marina Hotel “Location is Everything” and Waterford Marina Hotel has it – situated on the banks of the River Suir in the heart of the City. The 3 star hotel has everything you would expect including a private onsite complimentary car park, free Wifi and live music from local musicians every Friday and Saturday night.

Best places to stay on Ireland’s Ancient East water from our garden - sheer bliss. For those not wishing for the challenge of the Comeraghs or the Knockmealdowns mountains after breakfast, there are beautiful scenic circular road walks from the house where you can hear the birds singing or see little lambs jumping in the fields in the spring time. No highways or busy traffic - you are now stepping into a different world where you can unwind and relax and take it easy from your busy schedule. www.

in 1899, the proprietor could see a mountain in the distance from the roof. He asked the foreman what mountain it was, to which he replied Keaden Mountain in neighbouring County Wicklow. Keadeen House was later purchased by Paddy J Prendergast and operated as a very successful stud. In 1970 The O’Loughlin family bought the house and stables and converted into a 4 star hotel and is currently Kildare’s oldest run family hotel.

to visitors. A shining example of Georgian architecture, the Castle Hotel first appeared in the early 1800s and boasts a remarkable history. While under the name Williams Hotel, revolutionary Michael Collins made a stop here on his final journey to Cork where he would be assassinated at Beal na Blath. Original features including grand staircases and marble fireplaces have been beautifully restored. www.woodenbridgehotel. com

Their Waterfront Restaurant and Bar with its very own riverside terrace overlooks the River Suir and is a great place to relax and unwind. City centre shopping and nightlife is on your doorstep and it’s just a short stroll to Waterford’s Cultural and Heritage quarter the renowned Viking Triangle, home to Waterford Crystal, Bishops Palace, Medieval Museum, Reginald’s Tower, Christchurch Cathedral and much more. www.

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Best places to stay on Ireland’s Ancient East Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards and ‘Best Wedding Venue in 2016’ by a leading Irish Bridal wedding Magazine.

Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort is Ireland’s only Island Castle. It is set on an enchanted 310-acre private island on the River Suir and is accessed by private car ferry over the King’s Channel. The destination hotel is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed, recognized as the 7th of The 50 Best Hotels in The World, 3rd of the Top Ten Hotels of Europe by

Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin Enjoy a stay at the breath-taking Clontarf Castle Hotel and discover why Dublin’s unique 12th Century castle hotel was named as one of the ‘best hotels in the world’ in’s ‘Loved by Guests Gold Awards’. Enjoy an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s stylishly designed bedrooms, relax with dinner in Clontarf

Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort, Co. Tipperary Ballykisteen Golf Hotel is ideally located in the heart of County Tipperary. Nestled in the shadow of the Galtee Mountains but only a 30-minute drive from Limerick City, Ballykisteen is the perfect hotel for your escape. Relax and unwind in their leisure centre, pamper yourself in their treatment rooms or enjoy


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Waterford Castle offers the very best of Irish hospitality surrounded by the gracious living of an elegant past with every modern comfort, service and convenience. The Resort’s unique location provides luxury, security and privacy like few other destinations. Dining at Waterford Castle provides an opportunity to taste the best of traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine. The Resort’s Head Chef holds the prestigious award of “Best Chef of Ireland 2017” by YesChef Ireland and their Mixologist was awarded the title of National Cocktail Champion 2017 by BAIreland. Leave your worries at the shore and book a trip today.

Castle Hotel’s double AA Rosette winning Fahrenheit Restaurant where Executive Head Chef Stuart Heeney uses the best of locally sourced produce to a create a contemporary menu and finish your trip with a delicious Artisan Castle breakfast the following morning. Located just 10 minutes from Dublin city centre and 15 minutes from Dublin airport, Clontarf Castle Hotel is the perfect blend of old and new. www.

a round of golf on the superb 18-hole championship parkland golf course. Voted one of the top 10 hotels for family breaks in Ireland they have fantastic facilities. While you and your loved one dine in the Junction One Bar and restaurant the team at Ballykisteen will keep your little ones happy and content with lots of fun activities. The Kids Club also runs during the school mid-term holidays. The scenic Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee Mountains are also both nearby.

Highlights not to be missed on Ireland’s Ancient East Castlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny

Dunbrody Famine Ship, Co. Wexford You suddenly spot a rat amid the food in the galley. With a shiver you understand how grim conditions were on vessels such as this. The disease and overcrowding led to them being called Coffin Ships. You sense, too, the desperation that drove people to gamble their lives on a journey to an uncertain future abroad. It’s circa 1849, blighted potato crops in Ireland have failed yet again and the Great Famine that will kill one million people in just seven years is well under way. On the quayside at New Ross poignant scenes of departure have unfolded, before you board the replica three-masted barque of The Dunbrody that once offered escape. It’s a month-long journey to New York and now costumed performers retell passengers’ distress. Those crammed in steerage are allowed on deck for fresh air for just an hour a day, they wash in seawater and use buckets for toilets. A fifth, or even half of passengers on a Coffin Ship died. You follow in the footsteps of lucky survivors to the Arrivals Hall, to discover further struggles ahead for these new immigrants to North America. There are surprises. For many forged successful lives and you find notable descendants in The Irish America Hall of Fame, the story of poverty-to-power rise epitomised by US President John F Kennedy: his great-grandfather sailed from New Ross in 1848 and The Kennedy Homestead is still nearby at Dunganstown.

Enjoy “screen free” fun at Castlecomer Discovery Park as you explore over 80 acres of natural woodland and lakes. Meander around 6km of walking trails ingrained in the woodlands and the lake shores. For the more adventurous get invigorated by taking a trip on Ireland’s longest Zip line, challenge yourself on the high ropes, tree top walk or climbing wall. For a more relaxing view of the park, take a trip in the paddle boats or Canadian Canoes. Castlecomer Discovery Park boasts a beautiful courtyard that has craft shops and an award winning café. Visit the fascinating multimedia Coal Mining Exhibition, which pays tribute to the former coal mining tradition in the town, charting the formation of coal over 300 million years.

Russborough House, Co. Wicklow Russborough is a stately house situated near the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow, between the towns of Blessington and Ballymore Eustace and is reputed to be the longest house in Ireland, with a frontage measuring 210 m/700 ft. It is an example of Palladian architecture, designed by Richard Cassels for Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of

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Milltown and built between 1741 and 1755. The interior of the house contains some ornate plasterwork on the ceilings by the Lafranchini brothers, who also collaborated with Cassels on Carton House. Sir Alfred & Lady Beit, heirs to a fortune made in diamond mining, purchased Russborough house and its parklands in 1952. In these new owners Russborough was fortunate to find custodians with both the means and passion to maintain it. Over the course of two decades the Beits added their unrivalled collection of Old Masters paintings, furnishings and decorative arts to the house.

Irish National Heritage Park, Co. Wexford Located on the banks of the picturesque River Slaney, The Irish National Heritage Park truly is the cornerstone of ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’. This outdoor museum depicts 9000 years of re-created Irish History situated within natural forestry & wet woodlands. Take an unforgettable journey through Ireland’s past and experience stories, sights and sounds that shaped our country. Onsite, the Park boasts the award winning ‘Fulacht Fiadh Restaurant’. Friendly staff are always ready to give you a warm welcome and a hearty meal. Serving traditional home cooked meals, light bites, desserts and speciality teas & coffees there is something to suit every palate. And they house a host of beautiful and unique gifts in their exquisite Craft & Gift shop.

Enniscorthy Castle, Co. Wexford Follow in the footsteps of Anglo-Norman Knights, Gaelic Irish Kings and Elizabethan Adventurers as you uncover the story of Enniscorthy Castle. Exhibitions explore the development of the Castle and town from its earliest Anglo-Norman origins up until its use as a family home in the early 20th century. Unique displays include areas dedicated to the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy (only town to rise outside of Dublin), as well as the work of the renowned Irish furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray. Enniscorthy Castle is one of the few Irish Castles to offer access to its roof where a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside awaits. Or descent to the deeps of an eerie dungeon and view Ireland’s rarest wall art, which depicts a medieval soldier who was imprisoned in the dungeons over 400 years ago.

Wexford Arts Centre Wexford Arts Centre has it all, with a year round programme of contemporary Art Exhibitions, workshops for all ages from toddlers to adults, vibrant events in theatre, music, comedy, and dance with fantastic afterschool programmes. Wexford Arts Centre promotes Arts and Culture on a local, regional, national and international level and they’re full of surprises - so drop in and find out what’s on while you’re in Wexford!


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Viking Splash, Dublin For family sight-seeing with a difference, book yourself and your family a seat on the Viking Splash Tour Dublin. You will see Dublin as you have never seen it before with a tour guide unlike any you are likely to have met before either. You will be taken around Dublin, not on a bus but on an amphibious vehicle called a Dukw. A what? Yes a Dukw – which is an authentic World War Two American land to sea vehicle which was built by the General Motor Corporation. These Dukws played a huge role in landing Allied Troops on the Beaches of Normandy during the D Day landings. Originally there were approximately 22,000 of these work horse vehicles in service with the American forces, but only a few hundred have survived till today. Nowadays in Dublin these Dukws have been pressed into service as unique tour vehicles and for some reason are ‘piloted’ by Vikings. Hence the Viking Splash Tour. www.

Malahide Castle, Dublin Malahide Castle & Gardens is a beautiful & historic medievel castle, with a facinating story dating back to the 12th Century. Located on the beautiful north coast of Dublin City, Malahide Castle was once owned by the Talbot Family for nearly 800 years and is one of the longest owned castles by one family in the country. Set on 250 acres of stunning parkland, Malahide Castle is also home to one of Ireland’s four botanical walled gardens with 5000 species of plants inculding a wonderful collection from many Southern Hemisphere countries. Guided tours of the castle take place daily from 9.30am all year round bringing to life the story of the Talbot family. www.

Cavan Burren Park – where stone-aged kids played Cavan Burren Park opened to the public in May 2014. But the site itself goes back a little longer...probably around 340 million years to the Carboniferous period when this whole area was covered in a shallow tropical sea. Back to the park, today you can experience a wonderful interpretative centre and five amazing walking trails around Cavan Burren Park, all highlighting the spectacular prehistoric tombs, fantastic geology and special stories that make this such a unique environment. Carefully placed interpretation throughout this site explains all the features as you take in the 360° views. Stories of Giants and moving glaciers come to life with every step you take in this breath-taking prehistoric park.

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Top Ten Family Things To Do In Ireland’s Ancient East

by Michelle McDonagh From historical castles and tombs and fairies and leprechauns to rock-climbing, zorbing and zip-lining on Ireland’s longest zip-line, families are spoilt for choice in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Here are our top ten family things to do in the region:

Carlingford Adventure Centre, Louth

Loughcrew Adventure Centre, Meath

From zorbing to rock-climbing, and abseiling to kayaking, there’s something to appeal to all ages and levels of skill at Carlingford Adventure Centre. Try your hand at the obstacle zip-line adventure course, Skypark, or Kids Zone for younger kids. There’s plenty more, including water activities and Challenge Island. While in Carlingford, why not pay a visit to the Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern and meet the Leprechaun Whisperer who built the underground cavern to connect with two old tunnels, one linking with the fairy glen in Rostrevor Co. Down, and the other with Foy mountain and the home of Ireland’s last remaining 236 leprechauns.

If you feel brave enough to tackle the longest zip-line in Ireland, then head to Loughcrew Adventure Centre near Oldcastle, where you can enjoy archery and tree climbing and explore the Forest Crystal Maze. Loughcrew has something for everyone from smallies to grandparents as it offers adventure, history, marvelous views, and peace and tranquility. Of course, no visit to Meath would be complete without a trip to the ancient Stone Age passage tomb, Newgrange, one of the great treasures of the ancient world. Also worth a visit for younger kids is Newgrange Open Farm near Slane where kids can feed the animals, explore the straw maze and take a tractor and trailer ride on the 333 acre farm. Play areas, coffee shops and picnic facilities are also available.

Cavan Burren Park, Cavan Wicklow Gaol, Wicklow Megalithic tombs, hut sites and ancient rock art co-exist alongside striking 19th century ruins and 350 millionyear-old fossils at Cavan Burren Park. Take a walk though time and explore the dramatic and ancient ice-age valley, a unique and prehistoric landscape of monuments, megalithic tombs and spectacular glacial geology. You can also take in the breathtaking views of Cuilcagh Mountain and the surrounding landscapes. There are four walking trails and a visitor centre in the park.


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Wicklow Gaol is an atmospheric jail museum experience offering visitors a glimpse of life in the prisons of the past. Visitors of all ages will feel the chill as they listen to the daily punishment regimes and the strange tales of haunted happenings. While in Wicklow, why not pay a visit to Glenroe Farm where children can enjoy the outdoor playground and find their favourite furry animal, like lambs, rabbits and guinea pigs. Bring a packed lunch to enjoy outdoors or in the indoor picnic area a.k.a. The Piggery.

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Top Ten Family Things To Do In Ireland’s Ancient East

Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford

its extensive gardens and parkland, as well as the Historic Science Centre and the famous Leviathan telescope of the 1840s. For kids, there is a play area, complete with picnic areas, sandpits, and the country’s largest tree house as well as a lovely cafe.

Located on the banks of the River Slaney, the Irish National Heritage Park is an outdoor museum depicting 9,000 years of recreated history. With 16 separate sites dotted through 35 acres of woodland and wetland, you can even try a family sleepover in a replica 1,500-year-old ring fort— a once-ina-lifetime experience that the kids are bound to love.

Irish National Stud, Kildare

Waterford and the Suir Valley Railway The golden age of the railway has been brought to life in Kilmeadan by the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway. Experience the beauty of the Suir Valley from a partially opened carriage. The track runs mostly along the picturesque banks of the River Suir offering a glimpse into the world famous Mount Congreve Gardens, and across the river to County Kilkenny. You will also see The Magic Wood, a magical Fairy glade, where the fairies come out to play and enjoy the sunshine during the day and at night, curl up to sleep in their little houses.

Viking Ship Cruises, Westmeath The popular Viking Ship Cruises run from Athlone , upstream to Lough Ree, or downstream to the historic monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly, which the Vikings invaded many times, beginning in 835. If you would like to explore Clonmacnoise, you can disembark and catch a bus back 90 minutes later (also included in price of cruise). Clonmacnoise is one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland, with an interpretive centre, and is more suitable for older children.

Enjoy a great day out for all the family at the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Kildare town, just off the M7 motorway. A guided tour is the best way to see some of the world’s leading thoroughbred horses up close. Top your visit off with a wander through the adjoining Japanese Gardens. There is a playground for kids and free pony rides during school holidays on selected days. Also in Kildare is Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, which offers a unique and fascinating insight into the development of the Irish people over our 9,500 year history. Take a walk on the Peatland Biodiversity Boardwalk, visit the Famine Cottage and Mud Huts, learn about Stone Age Settlements, and see some magic on the Fairy Trail. Kids will love the pet farm, indoor and outdoor play areas and the train ride to the bog.

Kilkenny Way Ultimate Hurling Experience and Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny The hands-on Kilkenny Way Ultimate Hurling Experience offers a great introduction to an ancient game and demonstrates the finer points of blocking and free-taking. More family fun is in store at the nearby Castlecomer Discovery Park where the range of attractions include woodland trails, a Tree Top Adventure Walk and pedal boats on the lake.

Birr Castle, Offaly Birr Castle has something to offer the whole family with

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WALKING TOUR OF COBH The Titanic Trail walking tours in Cobh include intriguing stories of the harbour and its heritage.


he tour was created and designed by Dr Michael Martin. An international speaker, he is the author of 4 books on historical topics and was involved in the making of over 120 film documentaries on a variety of subjects. His philosophy that ‘History always has to be accurate, but never ever boring ’ results in familiar stories being brought to life in an interesting and engaging way on tours that have been provided to local and international visitors from all over the world. Participants can expect to come away with different historical perspectives on many of the popular myths around RMS Titanic, Lusitania, emigration and gain intriguing insights into the people who form the backdrop to these world events. Offered every day all year (except Christmas Day ) from in front of the Commodore Hotel Cobh, the 11am Titanic Trail is a 60 minute gentle stroll that explores the diverse and magnificent history of Cork harbour, its environs and the architecturally preserved town. An engaging narrative brings together the amazing maritime, emigrant and social history of the area. Cobh was the main departure point for millions of Irish emigrants to the US. Last port of call for RMS Titanic, it also received the victims and survivors after the sinking of the Lusitania during the Great War. Over many centuries, invasions, departures, arrivals and utilisation of the port by many different peoples crafted

fascinating stories that will enthral and engage the visitor no matter what their interests. In addition to the daily guided walk there are numerous other products and combined packages incorporating other local attractions bookable online at Watch out this year for the introduction of a new Titanic Train Day Excursion that will operate from Kent station every day in June, July and August. Full description and booking details will be forthcoming on the website soon. For further information: info@ Tel. +353 87 276 7218 and

An exceptionally elegant 5-star farmhouse in breathtaking County Waterford, guests can relax in sheer decadence at Glasha. A multi award-winning bed and breakfast nestled in the Nire Valley, guests can enjoy king-size beds, spacious rooms, the impressive mountain landscape and delicious home cooked

breakfasts courtesy of host Olive O’Gorman. Only 3km from the pictorial village of Ballymacarbry, visitors can enjoy excellent angling, scenic walking routes, participate in the annual Comeragh Mountain Walking Festival or take the Comeragh Mountain Drive, which passes through the village.

Address: Ballymacarbry (via Clonmel) , Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford, E91X0Y8 Telephone: +353 (0)52 613 6108

Mobile: 0862443255

Email: Web:

BE CHARMED BY COBH The charming port town of Cobh in East Cork is best known as the single most important port of emigration in the country and for its connection with the ill-fated Titanic and Lusitania.


resent day Cobh offers the ultimate visitor experience with beautiful sea views, amenities a plenty and all the charm of a friendly Cork welcome. The waterside town is steeped in history, awash with culture, and has lots of attractions and exhibitions within a short distance of each other and really has the full tourism package perfected. It is the sort of place where one saunters along, spending quality time and making lasting memories - quite simply put the town has charm! Here’s a list of unmissable Cobh attractions courtesy of VisitCobh. com … a fantastic resource for anyone thinking of making a day trip or overnight stay in the area.

Military Fortress, a convict depot, prison and Army and Naval facilities. See the jail cells, walk the ramparts, marvel at the 360 degree views of Cork Harbour and see the huge gun that protected the harbour from attack. Get your adrenaline going at Spike Island Adventure: While you’re on Spike, make sure you visit Spike Island Adventure where you can learn all sorts of useful skills, and they also offer family kayaking tours around the island. www.

Cork is famous for successfully hosting impressive outings of the Irish Open and you could follow in the golf shoe prints of Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington whilst visiting Cobh and East Cork.

Who do you think you are? Trace your ancestors at Cobh Heritage Centre: For international visitors and locals alike, learning more about our ancestors holds a universal fascination. Immerse yourself in the past at the wonderful Cobh Heritage Centre, located in Cobh’s beautifully restored Victorian railway station. The Heritage Centre tells the extraordinary story of the scattering of the Irish throughout the


globe. The exhibition explores famine, war, emigration, coffin ships, the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania and the story of Annie Moore, the first emigrant ever to be processed at Ellis Island. Cobh Heritage Centre also offers a Genealogy Record Finder Service so you can trace your ancestors, and audio guides in different languages. www.cobhheritage. com

Spike your interest! Take the ferry to ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’, Spike Island: Take the ferry from Cobh and explore the extensive star shaped Fort, which was previously off limits to civilians for some 200 years. The island has a fascinating history, from Monastic settlement to

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Use your wits to make a Prison Break at Escapade Cobh: Panic room games are growing in popularity across the globe and what better than an activity that challenges your wits, problem solving and teamwork? Escapade Cobh is for you. This amazing adventure attraction challenges small groups to pit their wits against a series of challenges to escape from a virtual Spike Island prison, rob a bank or assist Sherlock Holmes in solving a dastardly crime. See www.escapadecobh. com for more information For lots more on Cobh, see


Malahide Castle is a magnificent medieval castle just 10 minutes from Dublin Airport. The castle is set on 250 acres of parkland with a story dating back to the 12th Century. Enjoy daily tours of the castle, visit the ornamental walled gardens and dine or shop at the Avoca Café and Retail store. We look forward to your visit.

For reservations please contact +353 1 8169538 or book online at

Malahide Castle & Gardens Malahide Castle & Gardens is a beautiful & historic medievel castle, with a facinating story dating back to the 12th Century. Located on the beautiful north coast of Dublin City, Malahide Castle was once owned by the Talbot Family for nearly 800 years and is one of the longest owned castles by one family in the country. Set on 250 acres of stunning parkland, Malahide Castle is also home to one of Ireland’s four botanical walled gardens with 5000 species of plants inculding a wonderful collection from many Southern Hemisphere countries. Guided tours of the castle take place daily from 9.30am all year round. Our friendly and informative guides bring to life the story of the Talbot family during the 45 minute tour through the main reception rooms & bedrooms.

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Go ancient east issue 1, The Ultimate Tourist guide to Ireland's Ancient East  

Following the success of The Wild Atlantic Way along Ireland's West Coast, Failte Ireland created another amazing tourism opportunity by dev...

Go ancient east issue 1, The Ultimate Tourist guide to Ireland's Ancient East  

Following the success of The Wild Atlantic Way along Ireland's West Coast, Failte Ireland created another amazing tourism opportunity by dev...