Depart Dublin early to get maximum time at your first stop of the day – Kilkenny Castle. Built in the 12th century, this Anglo-Norman castle stands dramatically along the River Nore, dominating the backdrop of Kilkenny city. Tour the castle at your own pace, exploring the renovated chambers and corridors, and then meander through the enchanting rose garden before heading into town. At your leisure, explore the charming village of Kilkenny. A true mecca of medieval architecture, Kilkenny offers many splendid sights for the cultured explorer. Explore the Black Abbey, built in 1225, and the Hole in the Wall Elizabethan Tavern, both recently restored to their original design. And don’t miss St Francis Abbey Brewery, brewing Irish ales for more than eight centuries.
Following your Kilkenny tour, stop at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains, where you'll be able to see Border Collies corral sheep across the fields. (Beginning March 1.)
Afterward, head over the wild and rugged Wicklow Gap glacial valley for some spectacular views of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Enjoy a unique photo opportunity with a scheduled stop at the top of the mountain. Gaze down through the centuries old passage way linking east and west Wicklow. Retrace the footsteps which the Celtic clans and St Kevin travelled when travelling through the forested countryside and view the park’s upper slopes, blanketed in heath and bog, before dipping down into the glacial valley of Glendalough.
Throughout history, visitors have come to ‘the valley of the two lakes’ for its mystical history, archaeology and unique wildlife. The monastic city of Glendalough, found in the 6th century by St. Kevin, was once an active locale featuring areas for manuscript writing and copying, an infirmary, guest houses, and a monastery. Now it offers guests a peek into Ireland’s rich cultural history. You’ll have approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to journey through the monastic city before heading back to Dublin.