Magnificent Munster


West of Dingle, another of Kerry’s popular attractions is the Great Blasket Island. Inhabited until the 1950s, the island was home to a people who lived the most traditional of Irish lives, passing down oral history and folklore and maintaining a self-sufficient society. Visitors can walk around the island and explore the ruins of former homes, as well as learn more about the history of the island at the Blasket Centre back on the mainland.

Any trip to the Munster province should include a drive or tour bus through the Ring of Kerry, a route which begins in Killarney, heads around the Iveragh Peninsula and passes through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorgin. The Ring encompasses some of Ireland’s finest beaches and panoramic sightseeing along the way. There is also an established walking path named the Kerry Way, which roughly follows the scenic drive.


Limerick City is situated along the curves and island of the River Shannon, and is one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations. Limerick Museum, next to King John’s Castle, includes exhibits on the history of the area. Visitors should also explore St. Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest building in Limerick that is in daily use, and the Hunt Museum, which exists in a historic 18th-century custom house by the River Shannon. The museum holds about 2,000 artifacts from Ireland and abroad. Visitors can also take the Angela’s Ashes Walking Tour, designed to take travelers through the sights Frank McCourt described in his Pulitzer-winning novel, including Arthur’s Quay, Sutton’s Coal, Windmill Street, People’s Park Redemptorist Church, and many others.


County Tipperary is steeped in history, as a medieval foundation that became a center of population in the early 13th century. Cashel (meaning Stone Fortress) offers several historic tourism destinations, including the Cashel Folk Village, a series of informal reconstructions of various traditional thatched village shops, a forge, and other buildings. But the town is most renowned for the Rock of Cashel, a site that served as the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. The ruined church and fortifications still stand on the elevation of stratified limestone. Also worth a visit is the Holy Cross Abbey, a restored Cistercian monastery near Thurles.


Waterford City is the primary city of the southeast region of Ireland and is famous for being Ireland’s oldest city, founded in 914 AD by Vikings. Situated at the head of Waterford Harbor, it is a hub of historical significance and Irish culture. Waterford’s oldest cultural quarter is what is referred to as the Viking triangle: the part of the city surrounded by its original 10th-century fortifications. The Mall is a Georgian thoroughfare located near the People’s Park. Waterford’s Museum of Treasures is also worth a visit, housing a collection that spans over 1,000 years of the city’s history.