Dunmore East (Waterford), Ireland
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Approximately 7¾ Hours
Today's tour brings you to Kilkenny, capital of Ireland in the Middle Ages, seat of the medieval Irish parliaments, and lifelong rival to Dublin. Kilkenny's origins date back more than 1,500 years. The great architectural skill of the Normans is very evident in the 11th- and 12th-century buildings they bestowed on the city.
Magnificent Kilkenny Castle began life as a Norman fortress and gradually became more domesticated through the centuries. A self-guided visit introduces you its splendid antiquities and the stories its historic walls contain. The picture gallery includes portraits by Van Dyck and Lely.
The 13th-century Cathedral of St Canice is the second-longest cathedral in Ireland. In 1650, Oliver Cromwell did his best to wreck the cathedral by stabling his horses within, smashing the font and windows, and throwing out the monuments and tombs. But the cathedral has been carefully restored and is now quite beautiful.
Enjoy a traditional Irish lunch at a local pub.
You will have free time to visit the well-proportioned 18th-century buildings opposite the castle, which have been converted into an imaginative enterprise called the Kilkenny Design Centre. Local artists produce high-quality crafts here and a large retail outlet offers some of the finest goods on sale in Ireland. This is an attractive place to do some shopping and most items are uniquely handcrafted.
The return journey to Dunmore East takes you through some lush, green countryside. Take photos in the quaint village of Inistioge. This charming town with a tree-lined square lies in a pretty part of the Nore Valley, where the river winds between wooded banks flanked by hills. It has been the location for numerous movies, including Widow's Peak and Circle of Friends .