Ireland’s Ancient East – wander through 5,000 years of history
From high kings and heroes to perilous journeys by sea, discover the twists and turns of Ireland’s tumultuous history; stories that have been written on the land and echo in the voices of the locals in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Ireland's Ancient East covers the area outside of Dublin and east of the River Shannon, extending from Carlingford to Cavan and south to Cork City, including East County Cork and East County Limerick.
Wander through 5,000 years of history in Ireland’s Ancient East – a touring region like no other. In this lush green landscape you can uncover the treasures and secrets of three unique areas: the Land of 5,000 Dawns, the Historic Heartlands and the Celtic Coast.
Ireland’s Ancient East touring route can be as long or as short as you want. Our suggestion is to break it into areas, don’t rush and don’t try and fit it all in on one trip, a great excuse to return. The following are some suggested touring routes courtesy of Ireland’s Ancient East
Celtic Coast Itinerary – Travel along the South East coast of Ireland through Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford and onto Cork. Uncover Ireland’s Viking past and early Christian glories. In Wicklow visit the stately houses of Kilruddery and Russborough House and spectacular Powerscourt before moving onto the fabulous Wicklow Gaol.
Moving on from Wicklow into the Wexford taking in the spectacular Hook Head and then onto New Ross to spend time on the Dunbrody Famine Ship. Follow onto Waterford to view the treasures of Viking Waterford including Reginald’s Tower, Lismore Castle and back into the open air Copper Coast Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Your trip then takes you into Cork through the walled town of Youghal and then onto Midleton where you must visit the Jameson Experience in the Old Midleton Distillery and of course sample some whiskey. Travelling into Cork you will then take in a visit to Cobh, the Titantic’s last stop on its doomed maiden voyage. From there you move onto Blarney, home of the famous Blarney Castle & Stone. Don’t forget to kiss the stone and inherit the gift of the gab!
For information on caravan & camping parks along the Celtic Coast click here
Land of 5,000 Dawns Itinerary - Starting at Kells, which gave its name to the famous Early Christian manuscript The Book of Kells, this trip will bring you to some incredible pagan and Christian sites. From the Hill of Tara, to Newgrange and Slane, travel on to hear of a wicked earl, a famous poet and a rebellious archbishop.
Travel from Kells to Drogheda taking in the famous Hill of Tara, Newgrange and onto Brú na Bóinne.
From Drogheda travel through Louth taking in the Old Mellifont Abbey onto Carlingford and the spectacular Cooley Peninsula, the final resting place of Irish hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
Your trip takes you then from Drogheda to Westmeath taking in a trip to the eccentric Castle Leslie. In the northern tip of Cavan visit the ancient limestone plateau of Cavan Burren Park (not to be confused with The Burren in Co. Clare!). In Athlone not to be missed is Athlone Castle, heavily modified over the centuries and finally to the beautiful but troubled Belvedere House.
For information on caravan & camping parks along the Land of 5,000 Dawns click here
Historic Heartlands Itinerary - From one of Kildare’s finest houses, visit the early Christian past in Offaly, the castles and abbeys of Tipperary, the mountains of Limerick, the medieval streets of Kilkenny city and the colourful gardens of Carlow and Laois, before arriving back in Kildare
Celbridge House in Co. Kildare the stunning is a great place to start and then travel on to the peaceful village of Tullamore. A visit to Clonmacnoise is a must. A cathedral, churches, round towers and a bustling town are brought to life at the excellent visitor centre. Birr Castle in Co. Offaly is home to a giant telescope which for over 70 years was the world’s biggest telescope!
After the delights of castles and stately homes, we move on to Tipperary travelling from Roscrea into Thurles. Holy Cross occupies a beautiful spot on the River Suir. The Abbey had a piece of the True Cross (it still has, they say, though it is no longer available to view). We move then onto the seat of the Kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel. With a cathedral, high cross, castle, round tower and chapel, this cluster of Celtic art and medieval architecture is perhaps the finest in Europe. If your interest in history stretches further back, Lough Gur Heritage Centre in County Limerick has traces of every stage of human existence since Neolithic times. From Lough Gur, we head south to Limerick's Ballyhoura Mountains. It’s not a vast range, but its 52km of trails make it a walkers’ and cyclists’ paradise. Staying in Tipperary, Cahir Castle dating back to 1142 is well worth a visit and then onto Carrick-on-Suir, the home of the Dukes of Ormond. This brings us nicely into Kilkenny and the spectacular Kilkenny Castle right in the centre of the city and St. Canice’s Cathedral. Moving eastwards onto Laois where you will find a number of great houses and gardens open to the public.
The final part of this trip brings us into Kildare. The Irish National Stud and JapaneseGardens is a quirky mix of world-class horse breeding and an exotic garden commissioned in 1906.
For information on caravan & camping parks along the Historic Heartlands click here
There is so much to see and do in Ireland’s Ancient East. Get out there and enjoy all the area has to offer but don’t rush give it time.
For more information on Ireland’s Ancient East click here
There are lots of caravan & camping parks throughout this area. For information click here