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Ireland: Kilkenny & Surrounds


Travel to the heart and soul of Ireland's ancient east on a five-day regional escape from Dublin. Use the historic hub of Kilkenny as your base and get involved in the local Gaelic game of Hurling, watch a live sheep herding demonstration and cosy up in a pub for a lively group whiskey tasting. Cycle the converted Waterford Greenway and discover the river system from Bennettsbridge to Kilkenny on a leisurely hike with your guide. With a range of historic and active inclusions, plus all the hassle taken care of, Ireland’s countryside is all yours to experience.

5 days, from

$1,680

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: BWKK
Style: Comfort
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Details

Countries Visited:  Ireland
Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel (4 nights)
Transportation: Train , Public bus , Private vehicle , Taxi , Bicycle , On foot
Meals: 1 dinners, 4 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Learn the tricks of the trade at a local farm, with a live sheep herding demonstration and an insight into a rural way of life, plus a picnic lunch to soak it all in.

  • Try your hand at the Gaelic game of Hurling – one of Ireland’s treasured national sports. After a city tour of Kilkenny, join a local team to hear about its ancient roots and give it a go yourself!

  • Cycle through the lush Irish countryside as you explore the Waterford Greenway – a traffic-free trail built on a disused railway line – and hike along the River Nore to Kilkenny Castle.

  • What’s Ireland without a drink at the pub? Join your small group in Kilkenny for a night of traditional live music and whiskey tasting, celebrating the best of the country.

  • The charm and small-town feel of Ireland is hard to resist. With the option to extend your stay in Kilkenny or the lively and central Dublin, why not discover more of the country?

Itinerary

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Day 1: Dublin / Wicklow Mountains / Glendalough / Kilkenny

Welcome to Ireland! Meet your fellow travellers at Dublin’s Green Hotel this morning – further details can be found in the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ of your Essential Trip Information. From here, jump in your private vehicle and head through the Wicklow Mountains National Park to the ancient monastic settlement at Glendalough. Listen up to your group leader as they fill you in on local lore, myths and legends of the ruins and surrounding mountain range. Continue to a nearby sheep farm, where you’ll discover the rural way of life here in Ireland. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the farm, complete with local treats, then witness a sheep herding demonstration. Skilled border collie dogs are well practised when it comes to this task, rounding up the flock and taking the commands from their shepherd. Afterwards, head to Kilkenny, located in what is known as Ireland's ancient east – this is your base for the next four nights. Settle in to your comfortable and centrally located accommodation, and perhaps round up some friends of your own with an optional first dinner in town. Be sure to ask your leader their restaurant recommendations!

Day 2: Kilkenny

This morning after breakfast, get your walking shoes on for a guided city tour around Kilkenny. Afterwards, keep the activity going as you participate in one of Ireland’s treasured national sports – Hurling. This Gaelic game is one of the fastest field sports in the world, and forms part of the lifeblood of the country. Join one of the local teams in town for an introduction to the ancient roots of the sport, then don the gear and give it a go yourself! This afternoon, take a breather – the city is all yours to explore at your own pace. Your leader can help you organise an itinerary for the rest of the day, perhaps heading to Kilkenny Castle, Canice’s Cathedral or Rothe’s House & Garden. Otherwise, if you just want to stroll Kilkenny’s so-called ‘Medieval Mile’, go for it! Keep in mind that tonight you’ve got a special meal planned at the 13th century Kyteler Inn pub. Fun fact – this pub is most famous for its original owner, Alice Kyteler, who was tried and convicted as a witch. Yes, you read right!

Day 3: Kilmacthomas / Waterford / Kilkenny

A short train journey this morning brings the group to Waterford, where you’ll transfer to a bus and head to Kilmacthomas – a picture-perfect village at the foot of the Comeragh Mountains. Once arrived, hop on two wheels as you take a leisurely cycle along the Waterford Greenway, which was once a railway line and now converted into a traffic-free cycle path. Your leader will point out some hidden gems along the way, including a Hurley maker’s workshop, small art galleries, quaint gardens and a couple of cafes. Plus, the scenery along the trail is quintessential Irish countryside, so be sure to have a camera handy. On your return to Waterford, the rest of the day is yours to explore at your own pace. You might like to ask your leader where to find the Wall Art Project, or else, go searching for the strong medieval and Viking heritage in town or visit the famous Waterford Crystal workshop.

Day 4: Bennettsbridge / Kilkenny

Join your group on a short taxi transfer this morning as you head off to discover the small village of Bennettsbridge. Historically, this town has been a hub for milling as it is located in the heart of the grain-rich farmlands of rural Kilkenny. Begin a short hike near the studio of a world-renowned Irish potter at their riverside converted mill building, which you can visit, depending on the group’s desires. From here, follow your guide on a trek back into the city, hugging the banks of the River Nore – part of the mighty river system known as The Three Sisters. A host of cottage industries sprung up along the river during the pre-Famine years, including breweries, woollen mills, marble works and flax mills. The hike will finish up on the grounds of the 11th century Kilkenny Castle. Tonight, join your group and raise a toast to the Irish countryside with an included whiskey tasting session, accompanied by some traditional live Irish music in a local pub. Cheers!

Day 5: Kilkenny / Dublin

After an included breakfast, board a train with your group from Kilkenny to Dublin Heuston Station (approximately 1.5 hours). Your tour ends on arrival at the train station around 1 pm, where you are free to continue your own adventure or begin your homeward journey.

Unscripted experiences, insider access and authentic local flavors


Our team of travel specialists and local contacts have curated some of the best, most exclusive and authentic experiences, restaurants and accommodations in Ireland to truly immerse yourself in a way that wouldn't be possible in larger groups or just on your own.

5 days, from $1,680

to book call 1-844-205-6226