Day 1 – Dublin City to Cork City
We depart Dublin and visit the Rock of Cashel. One of the oldest and most impressive heritage sites in Ireland. Take a tour or wander the site at leisure.
After lunch, visit our first brewery Eight Degrees Brewing. This Brewery started life in 2011 when an Aussie and Kiwi duo arrived in Ireland demanding more adventurous beer!
A few years on, they have expanded their brewery on a large scale and now produce a wide range of exciting beers. Scott and Cam are constantly innovating with new products and won a Bronze medal for their beer Amber-Ella at the World Beer Cup in Denver in 2014.
After Eight Degrees Brewing, we head for Ireland’s second city of Cork. Cork is full of history and has a laidback charm. You’ll enjoy some free time to explore the “rebel city”, and the beautiful English Market. This roofed food market is situated in the heart of Cork City and has been trading since 1788. This makes it one of the oldest markets of its kind in the world.
In the evening we will visit the Franciscan Well. Once a monastery dating back to the year 1219, now home to an award-winning brewpub founded in 1998. During the 1940s the site was used to bottle Guinness for the people of Cork.
You’ll have an evening at leisure to enjoy the many pubs and restaurants in Cork city.
Breweries: Eight Degrees Brewing
Producers of: Howling Gale Ale (Pale ale), Sunburnt Irish Red, Knockmealdown Porter, Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner, Amber Ella, Hurricane IPA
Breweries: Franciscan Well Brewery
Producers of: Chieftain IPA, Rebel Red Ale, Shandon Stout, Friar Weisse (Wheat beer)
Day 2 – Cork City to Killarney
It’s a few short hops around Co Cork this morning. Firstly we’ll visit Kinsale, a harbour town and the official starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way route. There will be time to visit Charles Fort. Built in the 1680’s to a star- fortification design. The fort is still amazingly intact despite battles, fires and hippies residing here!A professional beer taster once said that around noon is the best time for tasting beer as your ability to judge subtle differences between beers is directly proportional to your degree of hunger. For this reason, at precisely this time we visit Sam Black who has been living the dream since 2013 when he opened Black’s Brewery with his wife Maud. Sam has a lot of enthusiasm for his brewery and produces a tasty range of beers. Sam recently got his distillers license so is also producing an excellent gin. There’s rum in a barrel ageing nicely and ready for tastings in 2019.
After a fun tour at Black’s Brewery we follow the Wild Atlantic Way to Timoleague, Co Cork to visit Ummera Smokehouse. For nearly forty years Ummera has built up an enviable reputation for producing some of the finest smoked salmon available and exports it worldwide. Taste the natural flavours and textures achieved by careful curing and gently smoked over smouldering oak fires.
Anthony tells us the story of how his father, a fisherman started the business and how he took it over to expand into both fish and smoked meats. Most recently Ummera won the Best New Organic Product award for its Smoked Organic Picanha Beef.
From the smokehouse, we will visit the ruins of Timoleague Abbey, founded by the Franciscan order in 1240.
Now, it’s time to travel West to Killarney, County Kerry – a very popular travel destination and a vibrant town. The incredibly beautiful surrounding countryside makes Killarney a very special place. Visit Killarney National Park which encompasses Ireland’s most precious natural habitats of ancient woodland, spectacular waterfalls and quiet lakes. The traditional way to explore the park is by horse & carriage known as a jaunting car. This will take you from Torc waterfall, around Muckross Lake to the abbey and finish at Muckross House, a 19th century estate home. Formerly the house was owned by the Bourne Vincent family who gifted it to the Irish State in 1929.
This evening you’ll be free to enjoy the many restaurants and pubs of Killarney with live traditional music. Killarney Brewery is across the road from your guesthouse accommodation and serves pizza and craft beers in the evening.
Breweries: Black’s Brewery, Kinsale
Producers of: Kinsale Pale Ale, Kinsale Black IPA, Rocketship IPA, 1601 Lager, High Viz DIPA
Day 3 – Killarney to Dingle
It’s time to leave Killarney and only a short journey to our next stop – Dingle!
Get excited NOW! Dingle is always a highlight.
Before we reach the town of Dingle we will make a stop at Inch Beach. This long flat stretch of beautiful sands and shallow waters is perfect for swimming. We have had hardy morning swimmers in the past brave the Atlantic, just putting it out there!!
Dingle is one of Ireland’s most charming towns and is a highlight for many. It’s a bright and colourful town packed with local arts and crafts shops with a pub thrown in at every opportunity.
Enjoy one of Ireland’s most scenic drives around the Slea Head Drive with plenty of photo opportunities.
This is where we will find Ireland’s most westerly brewpub called West Kerry Brewery. This is a real hidden gem, brewing beer in very small batches – some in cask being served in the adjoining pub. Adrienne, the brewster is a passionate artist and takes pride in her garden also using botanicals in the brewing process where possible. The summer ale uses rose hips and the autumn stout uses blackberries both creating great aroma and flavours. This cosy pub is a place you could get lost in time and forget entirely about the world.
Overnight in Dingle, time to enjoy a choice of award-winning restaurants, pubs and live traditional music.
Breweries: Tig Bhric
Producers of: Cúl Dorcha (dark, fruity ale), Béal Ban (pale English style bitter), Carraig Dubh (chocolate porter)
Day 4 – Dingle to Lisdoonvarna
On day 4 we’ll travel to Adare, a beautiful heritage town in Co. Limerick. While in Adare, we’ll take a coffee stop and a walk around one of Ireland’s prettiest villages. The town is famous for its thatched cottages built between 1835–70. Onto Bunratty for lunch in the infamous Durty Nelly’s pub. A 1620-era thatched cottage with lanterns and sawdusty floors, once a bar for castle guards.
It’s time to head for Lisdoon….It’s a requirement to learn Christy Moore’s famous song of the same name and sing it at the top of your voice on the approach into town! Whilst in Lisdoon, we’ll visit an impressive duo of neighbouring businesses. The first port of call is the very well known Burren Smokehouse for a talk and tasting of a variety of salmon smoked on site.
Next, we’ll pay a visit to legendary Clare man, Peter Curtin. A well known local character and the owner of the Roadside Tavern & Brewery in Lisdoon. This traditional pub has been run by three generations of Peter’s family since 1893. Recently Peter added another dynamic to the business by brewing his own range of beers above the pub.
The Burren Brewery was highlighted as amongst the best craft beer locations to visit in a new book, Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour. If you’re lucky, you may even get to taste Peter’s Euphoria beer, which is harvested using wild yeast cultivated in the Burren region.
A trip to Clare would not be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Standing 214m (702 feet) high, the cliffs stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic coast. O’ Brien’s Tower has served as a viewing point for hundreds of years. You’ll be able to take a walk on the ‘wild side’, to get the true cliff experience and witness the Wild Atlantic waves majestically break below the cliffs.
Return to Lisdoonvarna which also happens to be the match-making capital of Ireland. This festival takes place annually throughout September. We will overnight in Ballinsheen House, within easy walking distance to the Roadside Tavern for good pub-grub, pints of Peter’s craft beers and live traditional music.
Breweries: Burren Brewery
Producers of: Burren Red, Burren Black, Burren Blonde
Day 5 – Lisdoonvarna to Dublin
We start our final day by travelling through the unique Burren region. This limestone karst landscape which was formed 350 million years ago. In fact, it is a protected landscape, and the only example of it’s kind in Western Europe. This makes it of great interest to geologists and botanists alike as its unique soil and climate allows Alpine, Arctic and Mediterranean plants to grow side by side. There will be time to take a nature walk in the Burren National Park and explore this unique landscape.
Last brewery stop is always a highlight – meeting and hearing the story of Cuilan Loughnane, owner & brewer at White Gypsy. Cuilan is one of the early pioneers of Irish brewing. He has built up a great reputation for his quality beers aged in French and US virgin oak. He will talk us through his unique style on a tour. White Gypsy pride themselves on sourcing as many ingredients as possible for their delicious craft beers locally. White Gypsy Brewery are very passionate about sustainability, which is a big part of their business.
Having whet the appetite at the brewery and keeping things local, it’s down the road to Cuilan’s cousin pub for lunch. Where we will be served a delicious artisan lunch by the fire combining local meats, salads and cheeses with the White Gypsy beers. A lovely end to the tour in a cosy country pub well fed and watered.
Finally, it’s back to Dublin for goodbyes.
Breweries: White Gypsy, Templemore, Co Tipperary
Producers of: Ruby Red Ale, Belgian Blond Ale, Emerald Ale
Bottled: American Pale Ale, German Doppelbock, Russian Imperial Stout, Belgian Dubbel.