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ON OUR DOORSTEP
St Declan’s Well and Round Tower, Ardmore: St Declan used this holy well as his Baptistry in the 4th century and the ruins of a small church that were built in his honour still stand. July 24th is St Declan’s Day and at midnight on the 23rd, devotees gather here for mass. Walking time: 5 minutes.
The Waterford Garden Trail: The Waterford Garden Trail features some 15 different garden attractions throughout the county, from the new plantings at Ballynatray (driving time, 20 minutes), to the cluster of great gardens around Cappoquin.
I am of Ireland: This company was set up two years ago to represent the brilliance in Irish craft and art. Inspired by the Irish artisan working in rural locations and often using skills long forgotten, the company looks to bring a unique body of work to a much wider audience.
LISMORE AND THE BLACKWATER
Guided History Trip on the Blackwater River: The Blackwater is a delightful place to while away an afternoon, taking in the ruins and stately homes that line its banks with local guide Tony Gallagher putting the history in its context. Departs from Youghal, from May to September. Driving time: 20 minutes.
Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore: A once-derelict wing of Lismore Castle has been transformed into a leading contemporary art gallery that showcases one major international exhibition a year. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Lismore Castle Gardens, Lismore: The main house, once the home of Sir Walter Raleigh, is closed to the general public except on Devonshire Day in March. The gardens are open year-round, featuring contemporary sculptures, ancient yew hedging and stunning herbaceous borders. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Lismore Heritage Centre, Lismore: The heritage centre has an award-winning audio visual display in which your host takes you through an enthralling journey through time, starting with the arrival of St. Carthage to the town in 636 and bringing you right up to the present. See the castle gardens, art gallery and heritage centre for only €10. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Dromana House, Cappoquin: The Villiers-Stuart family and their direct descendants have resided in Dromana House in its different forms for well over 700 years, making it one of the very oldest estates in Ireland prior to the 20th Century. Driving time: 20 minutes.
Tourin House, Lismore: This 1840s stately home, built in the Italianate style, is a fine example of work by the leading Dublin architect Abraham Denny. Driving time: 30 minutes.
Curraghmore House, Waterford: Over 2,000 acres of formal gardens surround this fine neo-classical house, home to the 8th Marquis of Waterford. Hidden in a shrubbery sits an enchanting Shell House. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden: The gardens here are open on Thursdays in the summer only: 70 acres of intensively planted woodland garden and a four-acre walled garden, all inspired by Lionel de Rothschild’s Exbury in Hampshire, England. Driving time: 35 minutes.
The Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork: This beautiful 650-seat listed building is a fine example of late Victorian style and presents an impressive range of live entertainment, from drama to comedy. Driving time: 60 minutes.
Cork Opera House, Cork: This 1,000-seat opera house – the only purpose-built opera house in Ireland – offers a rich programme of events year-round across all disciplines in the performing arts. Driving time: 60 minutes.
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork: This cultural and educational institution promotes the research, creation and exploration of the visual arts in an award winning building which includes display spaces, a riverside restaurant and gallery shop. Driving time: 60 minutes.
Jameson Distillery, Midleton: Discover the history behind one of Ireland’s most famous whiskey brands at the beautifully restored distillery in Midleton. Driving time: 25 minutes.
Waterford Crystal, Waterford: The popular guided factory tour at this state-of-the-art visitor centre lets you see close-up how intricate pieces of this world famous glassware are made. Driving time: 60 minutes.
Cobh Harbour, Cobh: Millions emigrated to America from Cobh in the 19th century. Learn more about Cobh’s intriguing past at the excellent Cobh museum (open March to October). Driving time: 45 minutes.
West Waterford Food Festival, Dungarvan: This annual festival, held in April, celebrates Waterford’s rich culinary scene and is a great way to sample local produce in a fun-for-all setting. Driving time: 10 minutes.
Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle: Said to bestow the gift of eloquence on those who kiss it, the Blarney Stone, set in the battlement walls at Blarney Castle, has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland – a fact reflected in the summer queues. Driving time: 80 minutes.
St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn: This is the only Cistercian monastery for women in Ireland, with a community of 37 nuns. Everyone is welcome to join the community in their prayers on the Blackwater. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Mount Melleray, Cappoquin: This 19th-century Cistercian abbey near the Knockmealdown Mountains welcomes visits for prayer and contemplation. Driving time: 35 minutes.
Tallow Horse Fair, Tallow: One of the oldest fairs in Ireland, this major event takes place in early September every year. Buyers and sellers of horses take over the whole town for a day, with festivities and entertainment. Driving time: 30 minutes.
The Booley House, Ballyduff Upper, Co. Waterford: A show of authentic traditional music with wonderful singing and Irish step and set dancing. It also fosters the unique legacy of the golden tongued Irish story teller or ‘Seanchai’. The show is staged every Wednesday over the summer month. Driving time: 40 minutes.