- Reach new heights and en­joy a stay in beau­ti­ful Mun­ster

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - CONTENTS -

Mun­ster

The south­ern coun­ties of­fer a huge range of ac­tiv­i­ties and touristy nuggets for fam­i­lies, sin­gle trav­ellers and cou­ples alike. Dur­ing the sum­mer months, our Sunny South West lives up to its name dur­ing the sum­mer months as vis­i­tors flock to its stun­ning coast­line and blue flag beaches.

With world-class nat­u­ral at­trac­tions rang­ing from the Cliffs of Mo­her to the Ring of Kerry, a hol­i­day in Mun­ster could eas­ily be spent out­doors. There are lots of uniquely ‘Mun­ster’ things to see and do in this re­gion, like the Dursey Is­land’s cable car. Ire­land’s only cable car and the only cable car that tra­verses open sea­wa­ter in the whole of Europe; it is one of the great at­trac­tions of West Cork.

Founded in 1969 this fan­tas­ti­cally unique mode of trans­port was cre­ated be­cause the tidal wa­ters of Dursey Sound proved too treach­er­ous for boats wish­ing to make the daily cross­ing.

The cable car runs all year round and each car can fit about six peo­ple. www. dursey­is­land.ie Fans of Fa­ther Ted have to visit County Clare to play homage to his fa­mous house. Glan­quin House is set on an organic farm owned by the McCor­mack fam­ily, in a beau­ti­ful val­ley with Slieve na Glasha to the north and Mul­lagh Mor and its Na­tional Park to the south.

The house was built in the 19th cen­tury and has been in the fam­ily for over thirty years. The McCor­mack’s of­fer a spe­cial af­ter­noon tea for vis­i­tors to the house, book­able by ap­point­ment www.fa­thert­ed­shouse.com

Mun­ster is also home to the world fa­mous Lis­doon­va­rna Match­mak­ing fes­ti­val, which takes place dur­ing the first week of Septem­ber ev­ery year. Over 40,000 peo­ple de­scend on the Clare town for this fes­ti­val, where bars host top names in coun­try mu­sic and ro­mance is the name of the game. www.match­mak­erire­land.com

On the wa­ter

Mun­ster’s wa­ter­ways of­fer a huge range of boat trips that show­case an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent way of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the area.

When in Kerry, a trip to the oth­er­worldly Skel­lig Michael is not just for fans of Star Wars (the lat­est movie filmed scenes on the is­land). It is also home to a colony of fan­tas­ti­cally coloured puffins that breed there ev­ery year.

Cy­clists will be in heaven on the Bal­ly­houra Moun­tain Bike Trails. These bike trails are nes­tled into the Ball­houra Moun­tains, which strad­dle Cork and Lim­er­ick. De­signed by Daffyd Davis and run­ning over 90km of the most pic­turesque hills and forests that Ire­land has to of­fer, there is a trail here to suit ev­ery fit­ness level. www.vis­it­bal­ly­houra.com

Get into the spirit of kin­sale

Steep your­self in the his­tory of Kin­sale from your perch on board The Spirit Of Kin­sale, a har­bour cruise with a dif­fer­ence. Leav­ing from the ma­rina, the cruise takes in Charles and James’ Fort and glimpses the Old Head of Kin­sale, all the while lis­ten­ing to a ver­bal his­tory of the area. On sunny days, ex­pect to see seals and some­times even a dol­phin or two! www.kin­sale­har­bour­cruises. com

Spot a whale

If you thought whale watch­ing was the kind of ac­tiv­ity only found in more ex­otic climes, then think again. West Cork at­tracts minke whales, fin whales, and hump­back whales to feed in it’s rich wa­ters ev­ery year and Cork Whale Watch op­er­ates daily tours out onto the wa­ters to check them out. De­part­ing from Reen Pier near Union Hall, tours run year round, de­pend­ing on weather con­di­tions. www.cork­whale­watch.com

Lake life

Ex­pe­ri­ence the Lakes of Kil­lar­ney in the most tra­di­tional way pos­si­ble with Gap Of Dun­loe Tra­di­tional Boat Tours. Start­ing with a pony and trap ride to the lake­side, tours me­an­der through three lakes and two rivers,

and take in The Meet­ing Of The Wa­ters, where three lakes meet and wa­ters shoot the rapids. www.gapof­dun­loe­tra­di­tional boat­tours.com

Go eco in din­gle

Blas­ket Is­lands Eco Marine Tours are spe­cial­ists in whale watch­ing and dol­phin and bird watch­ing on the Din­gle Penin­sula.

The eco tour leaves Ven­try vil­lage and takes in the cliffs be­low Slea Head, where they of­ten meet bask­ing sharks be­fore head­ing to­wards Inis na Bro, Inisvick­alaun and Tear­aght where thou­sands of seabirds nest.

They sail past the Blas­ket Is­lands to see the hun­dreds of grey seals who re­side there and some­times if they are really lucky spot dol­phins and the oc­ca­sional Orca whale. www.marine­tours.ie

Fol­low the river

Kil­laloe River Cruises op­er­ate daily hour long tours of the River Shan­non and Lough Derg.

This ul­tra re­lax­ing cruise trav­els north along the Shan­non to Lough Derg, tak­ing in the mag­nif­i­cent scenery, wildlife and folk­lore of the area. The boats are ex­tremely fam­ily-friendly and are a won­der­ful way to ex­plore the wa­ter­ways of the area. www.kil­lalo­eriver­cruises. com/boat-trips

A foodie par­adise

Mun­ster is home to some of the coun­try’s most lauded food pro­duc­ers, as well as some of the finest restau­rants on the is­land.

From Pat Whe­lan’s world-renowned beef drip­ping in Tip­per­ary to the Bur­ren Smoke­house where cured meats and fish and cheese be­come el­e­vated beyond all com­pre­hen­sion, to Gubeen for cured meats, to the buf­falo Moz­zarella of Mac­room and Toons­bridge, foodie tourists to the area will find them­selves in gas­tron­omy heaven.

Inchy­doney Bay, Co. Cork

Din­gle town, Co. Kerry

Port­magee, Co. Kerry

Charles Fort, Co. Cork

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