Southeast Ireland’s Celtic Coast | Traveling in Ireland Podcast Episode 156

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully selected travel brands and/ or purchases made through links to them. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See why this is important.

Ireland's Celtic Coast, stretching along the southeastern part of the country, may not be as well-known as the Wild Atlantic Way, but you'll find plenty of outstanding coastal views, vibrant villages, and amazing attractions – with far fewer tourists.

My podcast guest is Eoin Cashman, owner of Bespoke Excursions, a family-run tour company based in Ireland's Ancient East. Eoin covered the length and breadth of Ireland with his family ceili band before turning his love of country and culture to tourism.

Hook Lighthouse, County Wexford, Ireland
Hook Lighthouse, Wexford

Ireland's Celtic Coast

Named for the Celtic Sea off the southern coast of Ireland, the Celtic Coast is used to describe the Ireland's southeastern coast, stretching from Dublin to Mizen Head. (In this article I stretch a bit beyond that to take in West Cork to the Beara Peninsula.)

This route is a terrific alternate to the ‘usual' tour route from Dublin to Killarney that travels via the Rock of Cashel, Cork, and Blarney Castle.

In addition to the stunning coastal views, charming villages and incredibly friendly people you'll also discover the ‘real' Irish experiences that so many visitors hope for.


Following Ireland's Celtic Coast from Dublin to Cork

After experiencing the wonders of Wicklow – including Powerscourt, Glendalough, and Avondale, continue south instead of cutting across the country to Cork.

Dunbrody Abbey, County Wexford, Ireland
Dunbrody Abbey

Highlights in County Wexford

The next county south from Wicklow is Wexford. The Ring of Hook and Hook Head Lighthouse – the oldest continuously working lighthouse in the world – offer dramatic coastal views.

Loftus Hall, often called the most haunted house in Ireland, is undergoing renovations and will debut as Ladyville House later this year.

The Irish National Heritage Park is a wonderful outdoor history museum, the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross has an amazing story to tell, and the Kennedy Homestead highlights the close ties between Ireland and the US.

Both Tinturn Abbey and Dunbrody Abbey are wonderful examples of monastic Ireland – and Dunbrody Abbey has a fantastic hedge maze.

The village of Kilmore Quay is where you catch a ferry to the Saltee Islands. And Curracloe Beach is a local favorite.

Kilkenny Castle was built at a fording point of the River Nore in 1159AD by William Marshall. In 1391 James Butler, the 3rd Earl of Ormonde, bought the castle and established himself as ruler in the area. The castle was a residence of the Butler family until 1935. The last member of the Butler family sold the castle to the local Castle Restoration Committee in the middle of the 20th century for £50. Shortly afterward it was handed over to the Irish State. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |
Kilkenny Castle

Highlights of County Kilkenny

In the medieval city of Kilkenny you will find the fairy tale Kilkenny Castle and the Medieval Mile- which includes St. Canice's Cathedral (and one of only 2 ancient round towers that can be climbed), the Medieval Mile Museum, and the Smithwick's Experience.

Castlecomer Discovery Park is a terrific outdoor experience for families.

Sports fans will want to make time for an Irish hurling experience.

Round Tower in Ardmore, County Waterford, Ireland. Nora Roberts Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy. Ireland vacation tips.
The round tower in Ardmore, County Waterford

Highlights of County Waterford

Passing over the Knockmealdown Mountains via the Vee Gap you'll pass from Kilkenny into Waterford. Be sure to pull to the side for scenic views from the top of Sugar Loaf.

Stop in Lismore and visit the gardens at Lismore Castle as you make your way to Dungarvin, a wonderful harbour town.

Between Dungarvin and Waterford is the Copper Coast Geo Park. Waterford's trio of museums, collectively known as Waterford Treasures, share the history of Ireland's oldest city.

The Waterford Greenway also runs between Waterford and Dungarvin. Rent bikes to take in the entire trail or stop and enjoy bits of it as you drive through the area.

The tiny seaside village of Ardmore has a stunning cliff walk from St. Declan's Well to the round tower at Ardmore Cathedral. The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore is a spectacular stay.

Lighthouse at Sheeps Head Peninsula. Things to do in County Cork
Lighthouse at Sheeps Head

Highlights of County Cork

Cork is the largest county in Ireland and while a few spots in the eastern part of the county are quite well-known – Blarney Castle, Cobh, and Kinsale – much of the county is often overlooked.

The Mizen Head Peninsula is the most southwesterly point of Ireland. Cross the large concrete bridge to access the maritime museum and viewing points. This can be a busy location but nearby Three Castle Head has beautiful walks and far less traffic. Stay in Crookhaven for wonderful pubs with live music.

Tiny Sheeps Head Peninsula is a dark-sky area. The hike out to the signal light from An Cupan Tae is wonderful on a fine day.

The town of Bantry has loads to offer. Stay here an explore locations like Whitty Island and Garnish Island or take whale watching and sea safari tours. Glengarriff Park is just around the bay.

The Ring of Beara, split between the counties of Cork and Kerry, is filled with little villages, small shops and attractions, ancient sites, and plenty of unspoiled scenery.


Bespoke Excursions

Bespoke Excursions offers quite a few private tour options, including driver guided tours. But what I think is very unique is the self drive offering.

The Full-Service Self Drive includes your custom-tailored itinerary, rental car with full insurance, accommodation booking, and a personal concierge. And if you want to add in a day tour with a driver that can be included.

Start to build your tour via the Bespoke Excursions contact form or email
Follow Bespoke Excursions on Instagram and Facebook.

Use code IFV when you contact Bespoke Excursions for a 5% savings on your touring package.

3 ‘Off the Beaten Path' Locations to Seek out in County Cork 

Sheeps Head Lighthouse The 1.5 km hike from the car park to the signal light and back is terrific on a fine day. Treat yourself to tea at the cafe on your eturn.

Castlefreke Forest Forest park with trails and a castle to discover. Near beaches and wonderful rural towns.

Cous Pier Caves A remote spot on the Beara Peninsula. Locals enjoy this spot for a swim at high tide. Always be aware of the tides when visiting.

Jody Halsted
Follow Along
Latest posts by Jody Halsted (see all)

Submit your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.