I Love the Burg but… Ireland

The ancient East. Probably sounds like I’m traveling to China, but this is in fact one of the far less traveled regions of Ireland. It’s a hot spot for the Irish in the summer where warmer temperatures and sunshine are available in a often grey and drizzly country and I was lucky enough to make the tour with a local who lives in the area.

Dublin for a day… While it’s is the capital city, I can honestly say a day in Dublin is plenty. Take a walk to enjoy the old and new architecture that line the streets. If you want a little more, grab a hop on hop off bus and call it a day.

From Dublin, I grabbed the train to Wexford. The coastal views of the public transport train are quite beautiful, with rock cliffs and blue green waters, it’s a soothing a quick three hour ride.

With a base in New Ross, Ireland, we were perfectly situated to explore the surrounding areas. This small quaint town also is a perfect setting to get a true Irish pub experience. Many of the area’s regions have their own brews, so be sure to ask what’s local on tap. The area is also home to President John F. Kennedy’s ancestors and there is a statute of the former US president in New Ross marking his return there some time back.

Coastal Drive
With views right out of a movie, make your way from New Ross to the coast will take you to the world’s oldest operating lighthouse, the Hook Lighthouse. The historic site is a great stop along the coastline where campaign is also possible. Continue along the coast for a drive full of spectacular drop off cliffs, blue waters and sandy beaches the locals flock to when the sun is shining– for a change.

Dunmore
A perfect example of an Irish vacation town. Without an American accent in the bunch, my friend and I enjoyed a local brew with a fresh serving of lightly breaded and locally sourced calamari while overlooking a beach flanked by green rolling hills. This is a fantastic small town nestled in the beauty of Ireland’s coast.

Waterford Greenway
A recent addition to the area, this 46 km scenic bike path was once the site of a railway, from Waterford to Dungarvan. Get an early start to enjoy the whole ride, approximately three hours across the country side and ancient aqueducts. Don’t want to do the round trip? No problem. Park your car at one end and you ticket includes complimentary return service by van. Kilkenny
A rather traditional modern Irish city on the surface, Kilkenny is home to many historic sights including the Rothe House and Gardens. Nestled in the centre of Ireland’s Medieval Mile, it was built between 1594 and 1610 by renowned merchant, landowner and Mayor of Kilkenny City, John Rothe Fitz Piers, his wife Rose Archer, and their eleven children. It’s considered the only remaining example of its type in Ireland, with original post-medieval features. 

Built in 1195, Kilkenny Castle is another must see for its medieval features as well as being home to one of the first most technologically advanced toilets ever made during it’s time.

Fairy Tree
Located off the beat and path on Waterford Magic Road is what locals have come to know as the “fairy tree.” It’s magical powers, controlled by fairies of course, are a delight to all who visit. How to experience these mysterious powers? Turn the car off, put it in neutral and the invisible fairies are said to push your car up the hill. Fact or fairytale?

A Path by the Ladies of Llangollen
Located in Woodstock, looking above the picturesque city, is a not so well known path that was created in the 1700s by a couple known as the “Ladies of Llangollen.” The two were born to upper class yet chose a personal life of companionship with each other that, at the time, was considered scandalous.” This beautiful path with tall trees and historic remnants of castle structures past is a gem of the area.

While there are no direct flights to Dublin from Tampa just yet, one can connect via British Airways service from Tampa to London or on American Airlines via Charlotte. Best to rent a car for an authentic road trip, but be prepared to drive some tight roads on the opposite side us yanks are used to.

Written by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey is the founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.