Thursday, 22 December 2016

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Youghal - Day trip routes

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Touring and sight-seeing
Youghal has numerous attractions to keep you busy. But if you want to see more of Ireland, Youghal is the perfect base to explore the rich heritage, beautiful countryside, and entertainment's of the whole Irish Riviera. All of the major sites are in easy reach, with day excursions fanning out in all directions. Here are a few suggested itineraries,
7 day tours that take in the highlights of the Irish Riviera .

1 West towards Midleton
Although Cork is just 30 minutes away there is lots to see before you get that far! The scenic coastal road begins by Youghal's 5 miles of beach and takes you around the bay, through the village of Shanagarry (birthplace of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania State). Here you'll find the gallery of Stephen Pearce Pottery and the Ballymaloe Cookery School, both are worth visit. Continuing on you'll come to Ballycotton , a lovely fishing harbour and small village. Next stop is Midleton, the bustling market town between Cork and Youghal, famous for the Jameson Heritage Centre , home of some of Irelands most famous whiskey's. The whole family will enjoy a guided tour through the well preserved old distillery, although the tasting session is for the adults only! Its a 20 minute journey back to Youghal.

2 Wildlife and the Titanic
Heading West again for 20 minutes and you'll come to Fota Wildlife Park, a treat for the whole family, and entertainment for a full day. Fota is wildlife park unlike others, as you can walk around with the animals - many of which roam freely about the beautiful grounds. Don't miss it. Just beyond Fota and you'll come to Cobh (pronounced Cove), here you'll find the famous Queenstown Story exhibition - that explains the story of over 6 million people who emigrated from here between 1848 and 1950. The Titanic is also remembered, for this was its last port of call.

3 Heading East towards Waterford
Youghal is set right on the border between counties Cork and Waterford, and a trip to the Waterford city shouldn't be missed. The drive along the main road passes by the beautiful resort of Ardmore (and its spectacular beaches, headland, 1400 year old round tower and church), through the market town and harbour of Dungarvan and then skirts the southern foothills of the impressive Comeragh mountains. There are many diversions you could take, and a full guide book is recommended. In under and hour you'll be approaching the world famous Waterford Crystal factory, for its fascinating guided tour. A little further on is Waterford city centre - one of Ireland's oldest cities, Waterford has a history of continuous habitation since 852, when the Vikings established a settlement there. Daily walking tours are arranged that bring the to life. Waterford also has interesting and diverse shopping, major stores and local specialists too.

4 Cork and Blarney
Just 30 minutes from Youghal is Cork city, the 2nd largest city in the country and designated as European Capital of Culture for 2005. Cork is major city and for shoppers it is a full day trip. All of the major stores are present in the compact city centre, but surrounding them are hundreds of smaller specialist stores that you will find nowhere else. The English Market should not be missed, its an old covered market full of fresh local produce and exotic foodstuffs. When you tire of shopping just travel north for a few miles and come to the famous Blarney Castle . Kiss the Blarney stone and gain the 'gift of the gab', explore this fascinating old fortress, walk in the beautiful gardens or shop at the Blarney Woollen mills on the same site.

5 North to Lismore and Cahir
This is a full day excursion through some of the most beautiful countryside and sights in Ireland. Leaving Youghal via the scenic route along the Blackwater valley, you'll skirt along the river bank of this most elegant and unspoiled river. (If you get a chance on another day, take the Blackwater river cruise from Youghal, it is quite simply breathtaking - For groups of 6 or more the Tourism Office can arrange a private trip for you). Eventually you'll reach Lismore , sadly the spectacular castle is a private residence, but the grounds are open to the public. Keep heading north rising through the Knockmealdown mountains heading for 'the Vee' an amazing mountain pass from where you'll see the whole counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny spread before you, with their patchwork quilt of fields and farms and towns. The small town of Cahir (pronounced care) is nearby, with its fabulously preserved castle. The castle is now peaceful and impressive, but was considered impregnable when built in the middle ages. A guided tour will explain the many fiendish traps its attackers would have faced, and point out the cannon ball still lodged in its walls that marked end of its period of impregnability. Just further on the Rock of Cashel is an alternative to Cahir, set on a 200ft outcrop, it is one of the most striking ecclesiastical sites in Ireland - with architectural remains from the year 370 onwards. The route back towards Youghal takes you through the mountains again and through the pretty town of Clashmore.

6 West of Cork
Another full day excursion around the wild west coast of County Cork, keeping clear of the overdone coach routes of the Ring of Kerry. Travelling west from Youghal, bypassing Cork and on to the famous seaside yacht haven of Kinsale, with its winding streets, pretty shops and restaurants. Through the colourful villages of Timoleague and Clonakilty and on to Ross Carbery and Glandore, with their creeks and sandy coves, and through Skibereen on to the spectacular 220m cliffs of Mizen Head . Meander back along the small roads and expect to get lost amid confusing signs (some measured in miles, some in kilometres)- its part of the experience of driving in the Emerald Isle. Everyone will help with directions but they'll expect, in exchange, to learn all about you, where you are from and how you came to be here today.

7 North to Kilkenny
The trip to Kilkenny takes an hour and a half, but the journey is fascinating with many stops on the way for the curious. Leaving Youghal, heading East through Dungarvan the route turns north towards Carrick on Suir, along a spectacular wooded valley through the mountains . The energetic can stop for a hillside ramble, or stroll to the Mahon waterfalls. Carrick on Suir, is a pretty town straddling the river, Ormonde Castle and Tipperary Crystal are worth a visit. Continuing on the old road leads through the fertile farmlands to Kilkenny . Kilkenny is one of Irelands most delightful towns, with a lively high street and many fascinating and well preserved medieval historical sites. Chief amongst these are Kilkenny Castle, with its keep and massive open gardens, and St.Candice's Cathedral and Round Tower.

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