Thursday, 22 December 2016

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Riviera Resort Towns

The Irish Riviera is made up a group of resort towns and villages all set close to the sunny south coast of Ireland. Each town has its own character and stories to tell, each has its own attractions, places to stay, places to eat, pubs and beauty spots.

Select from the Riviera towns and villages listed below, and delve deeper in the delights that each has in store for you.


  • Youghal - the centre of the Irish Riviera


    Fantastic beaches, great places to stay, loads to see and do - Youghal has been a favoured holiday destination for over 100 years and is right in the centre of the sunny south coast of Ireland.

    The beauty of the setting is the first thing that strikes you about Youghal. The town nestling on the banks of the majestic Blackwater river as it reaches the sea. Familes and kids will love the beaches, Youghal being the only town in Ireland with not one, but two, beaches that have been awarded EU BLue Flags.

    Everyone will enjoy the entertainments of Youghal town, fafamily400.jpgmous restaurants, pubs, shops and of course the sights of this National Heritage gem. There's also spectacular golf courses, river boat trips, fishing, walking and much more. Youghal is so central that everywhere in the south of Ireland is just a day trip away. >

    Being so close to two international airports, ferries and main roads, Youghal is easier to reach than other Irish resorts in West Cork or Kerry, and yet Youghal has not been spoiled self catering ireland,  youghal hotel, self catering cork,the Irish Rivieraby over-development. Youghal is still a real seaside community - friendly and welcoming. 

  • Dungarvan
    2005_1024image0002.jpgDungarvan is a thriving seaside market town nestled beneath the mountains in the centre of the sunny south coast of Ireland.

    Everyone will enjoy the entertainments of the town, restaurants, pubs and shops. There's also spectacular golf courses, fishing, walking and much more.Dungarvan is so central that everywhere in the south of Ireland is just a day trip away.

    Being so close to two international airports, ferries and main roads, Dungarvan is easier to reach than other Irish resorts in West Cork or Kerry, and yet Dungarvan has not been spoiled self catering ireland,  youghal hotel, self catering cork,the Irish Rivieraby over-development. Dungarvan is a lovely market town built around pretty harbour with its restaurants cafe's and bars.

  • Kinsale
    Kinsale is a food lovers and yachting town - a great base from which to explore the Irish Riviera, secure in the knowledge that you will come back to a diverse selection of restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. Kinsale is also home to a large and active creative community and there are number of art galleries, very good record and book shops and several excellent delicatessens.

    Kinsale has a clearly defined past which can be traced from the 12th century, being at the mouth of the Bandon river and with a natural harbour - the town played a key part in Irish history.

    An active person can assimilate all that the town has to offer in a long afternoon, but if you’re not on a mission linger awhile.

    The beach in town is best avoided as it harbours a good deal of seaweed and their sandfly occupants. However there are a number of beautiful coves to be found just a few miles out of town, these locations are a carefully guarded secret by the locals - so you need to engage in small talk to get the inside information!

    The walking routes are easily accessible and great efforts have been made to ensure that the visitor is both informed and entertained – whilst Kinsale is child friendly there are no funfair type attractions.

    The tourist information office located in the centre of town has a series of comprehensive and attractively designed brochures suggesting gentle strolls around the various attractions, which include Desmond Castle, St. Multose Church, the Court House - now home to the Regional Museum, Southwell Almshouses, James Fort and Charles Fort

    Kinsale is a regular haunt of the Cork glitterati which explains the vast choice of quality restaurants and the yacht club plays host to a number of events including the bi-annual Sovereign’s Cup attracting yachtsmen from every continent.

    Visitors can enjoy boat and fishing trips, cycling, walking and of course golf. Night life ranges from open air opera to carnival processions via traditional music in bar rooms. Cork city is but a short drive and Kinsale is a wonderful base for visiting the delights of West Cork.


  • Cobh (Cove)

    2004_0425image0002.jpgCobh (pronounced Cove) was originally known as Cove before it became Queenstown. That might seem typically Irish but in fact stems from a perfectly logical sequence of events and in itself is descriptive of the town’s long and important history. Cove was so called until honoured by an impromptu visit by the young Princess Victoria on her first state visit to Ireland in 1849. Cove was the first place she set foot - her scheduled landing point was Cork but the people of Cove turned out en masse and she was so moved by the colourful throng that she instructed the ship to anchor so that she might meet the crowds - subsequently the town felt so honoured by her visit that when she became Queen they wrote asking if they might name the town in commemoration of her visit. Queenstown later became Cobh the Gaelic spelling of Cobh (there is no V in Gaelic) when the Irish state became an independent republic and references to external ruling sovereigns was deemed inappropriate.

    So as Cobh the place became synonymous with the British Navy and wars against and sometimes as allies with France, Spain and the USA - as a supply depot and safe harbour. The town and its merchants growing rich on the profits from such trade. Architectural examples abound from this era when the town modelled itself on English seaside towns, such as Brighton, frequented by Victorian families in search of watering places and health resorts. As Queenstown it was the departure point for some 2.5 million migrants to the USA seeking a new life and opportunities together with tens of thousands of less enthusiastic deportees to Australia.

    Later, Winston Churchill when first Lord of the Admiralty spent many months in the town overseeing the despatch of troops and supplies to the far flung British Empire. To this day, Cobh, regards its natural deep water harbour facilities as key to its survival and is currently developing new moorings to cater for the huge cruise ships entering Irish waters.

    The major steamships all availed of the facilities at Cobh prior to making fastest record times to America – the steamships prime cargo was in fact mail – there was much more money to made from carrying letters and parcels than there was from live cargo. These ships were named ‘Steam’ Packets to differentiate them from their predecessors which were sail powered and of course the word packet became used to describe bulky letters. Cobh has direct links to the Titanic - being its last port of call on its first and only voyage. The crew and passengers of the Lusitania which was sunk by torpedo in 1915 - both survivors and dead - were offloaded at Cobh keeping them well away from Cork so that the media could be effectively censored – bad news during times of war has always been managed. Conspiracy theories still abound as to why both ships sank so rapidly.

    From many vantage points in the town you can see Spike Island which for many years acted as a holding centre for deportees and subsequently a prison – conditions were on occasion so bad on the island and the attendant hulk ships – catering for the overspill - beached in its environs that the citizens of the town would gather food and clothing to alleviate the suffering of those impounded.

    Cobh is a perfect base for a wide variety of leisure and sport activities including fishing, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, powerboating and of course walking and golf

    Cobh offers an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants and a variety of hotels and B+Bs. Nearby Fota, famous for its wildlife park together with its beautiful Regency house, arboretum and gardens is a really great day out. Fota is an island of some 750 acres which was once the home of the Smith Barrys. Over a period of some 200 years from the mid 18th century they progressively developed a ‘charming’ hunting lodge into a remarkable estate incorporating an exquisitely decorated and remarkably modern property and transformed the grounds or ‘demesne’ to become a paradise representing their own perceptions of style and good taste. The visitor is transfixed by the sheer power of inordinate sums of money spent over centuries to achieve arboretums that those planting them would never see and an effect that no ‘changing rooms quick fix’ could ever aspire to. These people had taste, panache, power and literally moved the earth if not heaven to achieve their aspirations – employing vast quantities of estate worker labour and talented architects over many generations to fulfil their vision. Just the stone wall enclosing the estate is a thing of beauty and unimaginable cost.

    A golfing village with luxury hotel accommodation should be completed in 2006.

    Cobh’s old railway station has been transformed into a fascinating museum depicting life in the town from the early days of English colonialist rule to modern times. It concentrates upon the migration to America and depicts in graphic form, the appalling conditions which existed on the so called coffin ships. It puts into perspective the misery of budget airlines when you consider that migrants sold everything they owned to travel in those conditions.

    A guided walk around the quirky and steep lanes is highly recommended. I particularly liked the sculpture of the man in the boat, in the little park - which also houses the bandstand - by the waterfront. Cobh is an excellent locale from which to travel to other resorts and picturesque locations and Cork city is 30 minutes by road or a combination of road and ferry if you prefer a more interesting journey or wish to visit the delights of Carrigaline and Kinsale, West Cork and the dramatic landscapes of Kerry.

    The Sirius Arts centre, St. Colman’s cathedral which dominates the town skyscape and Cobh Museum are all worthy of your attention.


  • Ardmore

    ardmore.jpgArdmore is a popular seaside village between Youghal and Dungarvan and has won many awards for its attractiveness and its neatness, including the National Title in the Tidy Towns Competition.

    Famous for its beach, Ardmore also attracts many visitors to its famous round tower and monastic ruins. Originally a 5th century monastic settlement, founded by St. Declan in 316 AD, it is reputed to be the first such settlement in Ireland. The monastery grew in eminence and, in the 12th century, was recognised as an Episcopal See.

    Ardmore Round Tower and Cathedral look out over the majestic sweep of Ardmore Bay and the site attracts visitors today just as it did from the growth of its influence under St. Declan.

    You can get excellent views of Ardmore by taking the cliff top walk from the round tower, and round the headland, back to the beach.


  • Ballycotton

    2005_0618image0052.jpgBallycotton, is a picturesque cliff-side fishing village 8 miles from Castlemartyr on the Youghal to Cork Road, and just 30 minutes from Cork City. The village meanders along on a rocky headland overlooking Ballycotton Bay until you reach the end of the road at Ballycotton's beautiful fishing harbour with its views out over the rocks to the famous black lighthouse.

    Ballycotton has been famous for many years as a deep-sea angling centre, and holds many Irish specimen fishing records (check your Guinness book of records! - you'll see). There is shore fishing from the rocks and coves and on the five miles of beautiful beach from Ballycotton to the blue flag beach at Garryvoe and on to Ballywilling all on Ballycotton Bay. For the adventurous, fishing boats (with skippers) can be hired to take you out and see if you can break a world record.

    The coastal path to Ballytrasna(1.5KM.) and on to Ballyandreen(3 km.) is great for walkers, although not for young children, as its cliff side paths require some caution. This is an unspoiled area, rich with all kinds of wildlife was once frequented by the coast-guards keeping a watchful eye on smuggling etc.

    In former years doctors of repute prescribed a week in Ballycotton for patients suffering from fatigue and to the present day the invigorating air and olde worlde charm are most relaxing.


  • Lismore
    lismore_049.jpgThe road from Youghal to Lismore via Tallow enjoys spectacular views of the Knockmealdown mountains. At the mid point between Youghal and Tallow is the appropriately named Half Way Bar with attendant shop and adjacent stable block - both Guinness and Murphys are on tap and friendly conversation is freely available.

    Lismore is somewhat anglicised, comfortable in its sophistication and “take us as you find us” welcome. Lismore has a definable history dating back to 635AD and compact town (unlike England, Ireland sees no need to define locations with cathedrals as cities). You'll see St Carthage's Church of Ireland Cathedral, a castle of heroic proportions that has been owned by the Dukes of Devonshire for more than 300 years after being acquired through marriage to a daughter of the last Earl of Cork. The first Earl, Robert Boyle bought the estate from Sir Walter Raleigh who was having trouble paying the £12 a year ground rent! John F. Kennedy was a visitor and Adele Astaire, Fred's sister, married the younger son of the 8th Duke and spent many years as a resident. It's possible that Fred, who was a regular visitor, developed some of his more outré moves whilst tripping from one to another of the many bars the town boasts. The proprietor of the eponymous Eamonn's bar feels that it is better that I leave out much of this particular part of the castle’s history - so suffice it to say the 20ft high, stone walled garden is absolutely beautiful.

    The cathedral is small but perfectly formed, displaying amongst other treasures a stained glass window by one of the leading lights of the pre-Raphaelite movement, Burne-Jones, a delightfully decorated arched ceiling and a wonderfully carved stone tomb made for the McGrath family in the 16th century.

    Lismore Castle gardens are a happy combination of creative talents contributed over nearly 400 years. They are still being developed today and now contain modern sculptures sitting in harmony with walls and towers built by Sir Joseph Paxton (architect of Crystal Palace) in the 1840's.

    The castle used to have a cluster of houses on the right hand side as you made your way to the main gate - however the 6th Duke decided to have the lower garden constructed - which required the demolition of these properties and the tenants were relocated some half a mile away into new purpose built properties - however they were not particularly impressed with their being so far from the hustle and bustle and named the area Botany after Botany Bay in protest at their deportation!!

    Lismore is renowned for its restaurants - among which we recommend Barça and Cafe Moulise and has heard good reports for Castle Lodge and Eamonn's Place - Richmond House and Buggys epicurean delights are regularly acclaimed. You will also find a highly regarded craftsman jeweller in the High Street – Jonathan is partial to a pint so discuss the finer points of your commission with him at the bar – parting with the bulk of your disposable income will never be more enjoyable.

    The staff at the information centre are delightful and the guided walk at 3 euro per head is an absolute bargain. It would appear that tradition dictates that the heir to the Dukedom, and thus responsibility for the amazing Chatsworth Palace in England, serves his apprenticeship at Lismore and the new Lord Burlington is enthusiastically shouldering this role by opening a section of the castle as an arts centre – apparently there are Lucien Freuds and Rothkos soon to be on view .


  • Ring / Old Parish

    An Sean Phobal - The Oldest Parish in Ireland

    The legend has it that Saint Coleman founded An Sean Phobal (Old Parish) long before Saint Patrick came to the Island. An Sean Phobal is located on the Waterford coast between Dungarvan and Youghal and it forms together with An Rinn (Ring) the Waterford Gaeltacht.

    Before the famine in the mid-19th century, An Sean Phobal (Old Parish) contained a much larger population than it does today. An Sean Phobal, together with An Rinn (Ring) forms the Waterford Gaeltacht. About 13 km (8 mls) from Dungarvan, An Sean Phobal is a large parish covering about 35 square kilometres (14 with approximately 8 km (5 mls) of coastline. This coastline consists of a dramatic seascape comprising of cliffs (approximately 70 m, 230 ft., high) together with a number of deeply incised stream gullies and small bays. The unimproved grassland along the cliffs attracts a wide variety of seabirds. An Sean Phobal is a paradise for bird-watchers and people interested in nature.

    The most prominent man-made feature is the Mine Head Lighthouse. The seas along this stretch of coast are notoriously rough and numerous wrecks are known to lie offshore.

    Built some 4,000 years before the lighthouse is another man-made structure - a pre-celtic Megalithic Tomb, the only example of its kind in County Waterford. The spectacular cliff-top location, with stunning views across to the East Waterford and Wexford coastline to the Hook Head Lighthouse and beyond leave no visitor in any doubt as to why this tomb was built in exactly this location with an all overlooking view.

    Don't miss the Lickey Valley walks. These walks vary in length and offer the walker a rich and varied exposure to local ecology and heritage. The Licky river  valley is of such importance that it has been designated a Special Area of Conservation by the Irish Government. The area is an excellent example of species and habitats deemed to be worthy of conservation at an international level. These seven walks are mapped out and graded to suit all.


  • Tramore
    surfer walking beach uid 1427678.jpgTramore is one of the leading seaside resorts in Ireland with a  5km long sandy beach, that has its own surfing club, Tramore Surf Club. A lively resort, Tramore, has a large Amusement park right next to the beach and the ever popular heated and enclosed Splashworld, for year round swimming.


  • Midleton

    The town, now named Midleton or “Middle Town” is so named because of its stop-off status between Cork and Youghal and was incorporated as a market town and postal depot in 1670, receiving its charter from Charles II, as the “borough and town of Midleton”.

    The town today is a bustling market town, with brand new shopping and entertainment facilities to match its increasing population. Midleton benefits from excellent road links to Cork City, and the railway link is soon to be recommissioned - as Midleton becomes a important satellite to Cork city and in an effort to meet the population growth of east Cork.

    Midleton hosts some excellent accommodation, and one five star attraction - the Midleton Distillery - don't think that this is just an adult exhibit, all of the family will enjour the tour.

  • Cork City

    Cork (Corcaigh in Irish) is the second city of the Republic of Ireland. The principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city of the province of Munster, it is situated slightly inland from the coast, starddling the banks of the river Lee.

    The River Lee flows through the city, and arround the city, as an island in the river forms the main part of the city centre just before the Lee flows into Lough Mahon and thence to Cork Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbours. The city is a major Irish seaport — with quays and docks sited along the waterway. You'll usually see large ships loading timber and grain tied up within yards of smart new hotels.

    The city's name is derived from an Irish word meaning "marshy place", referring to its situation on the River Lee. Cork has a reputation for independence running from the times of Viking invasions to the Irish Civil War, which has given it the nickname of "the Rebel County". It is usual for Corkonians to refer to Cork as the "true capital of Ireland". (Dublin was a foreign stronghold for most of its history).

    Cork's city charter was granted by King John in 1185. However, Cork has its beginnings in a much earlier monastic settlement, founded by St Finbar. Over the centuries, much of the city was rebuilt, time and again, after numerous fires and attacks by Vikings, Norsemen and British and opposing factions in the Irish Civil War.

    Today the city is thoroghly modern city, and proud to be European City of Culture 2005, with great shopping, dining, culture, entertainment and vibrant nightlife.



  • Waterford City
    Waterford (Port Lairge in Irish) was Ireland's first city, founded by the vikings in 914 AD and today Waterford is the fifth largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Waterford  is, historically, the capital of County Waterford in Ireland, though today the county town is Dungarvan.

    Waterford has a fine shopping centre, although traffic through the city and parking are currently an issue. The former will be greatly improved when a new bypass opens in the very near future and directs the main bulk of traffic around the city .

    Waterford is also an important education and industrial centre, and like other coastal cities this has had an impact in the economy and society. The most famous product of the city is Waterford Crystal which originated when a glassmaking factory was opened in the city in 1783.

    The city is an important transport centre, the Iarnrod Eireann railway system has lines to Dublin, Limerick and Wexford. Several important roads in Ireland meet at Waterford, the N9 road is the main road to Dublin (via the N7 road) and also passes Kilkenny, Carlow, and Kildare, among others. Waterford has its own international Airport and the Port of Waterford can even accomodate large ships.

    In 2005 Waterford hosted numerous tall ships prior to the Tall Ships Race and this spectacular sight was so successful a repeat performance is due in 2011.

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