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Glendalough

Discover the valley of Glendalough amidst the purple mountains and rolling boglands of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Once the solitary retreat of St. Kevin in the 6th century, this spiritual site expanded into a cathedral, six churches and a round tower. Viking and Norman invasions have left their mark, reducing these iconic buildings to ruins but the round tower still stands tall. Lace up your walking shoes and ramble around Glendalough’s twin lakes, gazing skywards to catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons hunting from the cliffs.

Wicklow

Known fondly as the Garden of Ireland, Wicklow deserves your time and curiosity. Built in 1730 by the 1st Viscount Powerscourt, Powerscourt House and Gardens is a must-see. Indeed the gardens were voted 3rd best in the world by the National Geographic. Art lovers will appreciate Russborough House with its impressive art collection including works by Rubens and Geurcino. Another local treasure is Kilruddery House & Gardens where an afternoon is well spent exploring the French-style Baroque Gardens. 

Wexford

This beautiful county has many fascinating stories to tell. Once home to John F. Kennedy’s great granddad, he set sail for America in 1848. Learn all about this famous family’s local history in The Kennedy Homestead and the JFK arboretum, a memorial park dedicated to the iconic American president. Step on board the Dunbrody Famine Ship and walk in the shoes of 300 desperate passengers who paid a lofty 3 months wages’ to escape starvation. Tintern Abbey also has a captivating story. Caught in a formidable storm at sea, the Earl of Pembroke vowed to build a church if he survived. Luck was on his side and he kept his word, building the magnificent Abbey in 1200.

East Cork

Explore East Cork and get lost along this charming coastline. The final port of call for the RMS Titanic, Cobh is a charming village steeped in maritime history. If you have a penchant for whiskey, the Middleton Distillery will regale you with mellifluous tales 230 years in the making. Visit Blarney Castle and kiss the legendary Blarney stone to receive ‘the gift of the gab’ (or the ability to be a smooth talker). Reawaken your Celtic roots at the Rock Close, an ancient Druidic settlement with a mystical air. 

Hook Head

At the precipice of Hook Head stands the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world. Below, the treacherous waters have been named the graveyard of a thousand ships. 800 years ago the lighthouse was built by the Earl of Pembroke and lit by monks. Today you can chase their footsteps up the 15 winding steps to survey the sweeping seascape. Why not explore the headland safari style in a 4-wheel drive? Where the road ends, adventure begins.