Day 1 – Dublin City to Cork City
We depart Dublin and visit the Rock of Dunamase – a completely off the beaten track heritage site. Despite the castle’s ruined state, we get a sense of its former grandeur as home to Strongbow. The stunning views of the surrounding countryside make it worth the stop.
First brewery visit 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. They are very passionate about sustainability and quality. Having whet the appetite at the brewery we’ll enjoy a local lunch of delicious local meats, salads and cheeses with the White Gypsy beers.
The Rock of Cashel is one of the oldest and most impressive heritage sites in Ireland. The fortress of the king!
Take a guided tour or wander the site at leisure.
In the afternoon, we head for Ireland’s second city of Cork.
Cork is full of history and has a laid-back charm. You’ll enjoy some free time to explore the “rebel city”.
In the evening we will visit the Franciscan Well brewpub for a tour. 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: White Gypsy, Templemore, Co Tipperary
Producers of: Ruby Red, Dark Lady, The Banker, Woodcock and Old Smoke.
Breweries: Franciscan Well Brewery
Producers of: Chieftain IPA, Rebel Red Ale, Shandon Stout, Friar Weisse (Wheat beer)
Day 2 – Cork City to Killarney
Before leaving Cork city, we pop in to see 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. Often we pick up a picnic lunch at the market to enjoy later in the day at the Old Head of Kinsale.
Kinsale is a harbour town and the official starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way route. There will an option to visit Charles Fort, take the Scilly walk or spend some time in Kinsale’s artsy town centre.
Beer time! Love visiting 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 super 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 plans for a whiskey distillery are underway. Exciting times for Black’s of Kinsale.
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.
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 tasty craft beers on draft.
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.
Free time in Dingle to check out the many shops – it’s a great place to shop for locally made crafts and jewellery. Overnight in Dingle, time to enjoy a choice of award-winning restaurants, pubs and live traditional music. The craic agus ceol is always flowing in Dingle
Breweries: West Kerry Brewery
Producers of: Cúl Dorcha (dark, fruity ale), Béal Ban (pale English style bitter), Carraig Dubh (chocolate porter)
Day 4 – Dingle to Lisdoonvarna
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.
Drive to 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.
Visit the Burren National Park for a walk in limestone karst landscape formed 350 million years ago. This is the only example of it’s kind in Western Europe with limestone rock and wild flowers co-existing in a lunar environment. There will be time to take a nature walk in the Burren National Park and explore this unique landscape.
It’s time to head for Lisdoon….mandatory 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 and contains no hops.
We will overnight in Ballinsheen House, within easy walking distance to the Roadside Tavern for fantastic pub-grub in Kieran’s Kitchen, pints of Peter’s craft beers and live traditional music.
Breweries: Burren Brewery
Producers of: Burren Gold, Burren Red, Burren Black and Euphoria Fairy Beer!!
Day 5 – Lisdoonvarna to Dublin
A trip to Ireland 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.
Our final brewery stop is a new addition to the tour this year.
Treaty City Brewery Tours are a unique and fun experience in a historical building dating back 250 years ago in the heart of the medieval quarter. Learn about the history of brewing in Limerick which dates back to the 1700’s. Meet Stephen, owner and native to Limerick, he has more than a few stories to tell! Engineer by trade, brewer by choice!
Drive time, back to Dublin for farewells.
Breweries: Treaty City Brewery
Producers of: Harris Pale Ale, Thomond Red Ale, Shannon River IPA