- Reach new heights and enjoy a stay in beautiful 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
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