second city although the people that reside there believe
that it is the capital. A very historic city right at the
southern end of Ireland. This tour will take you on a voyage
of history visiting a castle, a monastery and Cork city itself.
We depart at the crack of dawn from the Suffolk
Street Tourist Office. Your guide will do a quick introduction
of the tour and will make sure that everybody is happy and
ready to go. We will be leaving Dublin and passing by the
Guinness Factory and also College Green Tourism Office, the
best tourism office in the country! Extreme Ireland, our parent
company run this office. On the way, we will tell you more
about the sights that we pass in the city centre, and maybe
advise on the weather you can expect for the day. As we leave
Dublin behind, the urban landscape changes to that of the
rolling hills and constant hedges of the Irish countryside.
We'll pass an area called The Curragh in County Kildare. This
area is ideal for training horses, due to the sandy soil that
creates excellent drainage, making it an ideal spot for horse
racing. Not surprisingly, the Curragh race track is situated
nearby. County Kildare is also well known for horse breeding
and vast tracks of lands today are owned by the likes of the
Agha Khan and Sheik Mohammed. Close to Kildare Town, you will
find the National Stud Farm, world famous for its horse breeding,
coupled with the lovely Japanese Gardens.
After a short stop over to stretch our legs,
we pass the Knockmealdown Mountains, made famous by the folk
song "Kitty Borne O'Brien". This song is a lover's
lament for a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to Canada.
Like most Irish songs it is either about a broken heart or
fighting with the English! Further along the way, we will
see the Galtee Mountains, Ireland's highest inland mountain
range, with its stony scree-covered summit- but more on the
Galtee's under our "Of special interest" section.
This is also a famous cheese making area in Ireland. Tipperary
is also home to hurling although Kilkenny their neighbour
seems to beat. them most of the time! Keep your eyes out for
handball alleys while on the bus, a traditional sport played
mostly in rural Ireland.
We arrive at Blarney Castle and half the day's
driving is already done! Blarney Castle, famous for its Blarney
Stone, also has lovely wooded walks and "Rock Close"-
a garden filled with Druidic rock formations, believed to
be dating back to pre-historic times. To kiss the stone, you
have to bend backwards when on the parrifits of the castle,
holding onto iron railings- basically hanging upside down.
The reward for your efforts: to be bestowed with the so-called
"Gift of the gab".
We arrive in Cork City, where we have 2 hours
to maybe grab some lunch at the English Market (now with a
very international flavour), go marvel at the Gothic St. Finbar's
Cathedral, or even ring the bells of Shandon at St. Anne's
Church for a small fee. Cork is home to Murphy's Ale and the
Ford Tractor factory.
At the Rock of Cashel, we visit this great Celtic
Cathedral, which include the Hall of Vicars, Cormack's Chapel,
which has one of Ireland's oldest Romanesque wall paintings
and the Round tower, all perched on a solid rock ringed by
a curtain wall. This Rock of Cashel, is the seat of the archbishop
of the diocese of Cashel and is the sight where the historical
synod of Cashel. It dates back from before there Anglo-Norman
conquerors and contains an amazing collection of architecture,
history and Romanesque art.
At 5 pm ish we depart from the Rock of Cashel
and return to Dublin, maybe listening to some Irish music
and reflecting on the day's experiences.
We arrive back in the capital Dublin around
7 pm after a great and informative day.