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4-Night Southeast Ireland Driving Tour

This inspirational itinerary can be tailor-made just for you. To get started planning your trip, please provide us with some personal specifications.

The south-east coast of Ireland runs from Dublin to Cork and features a palette of greens and blues that extend the length of the coastline, with historic ruins and beautiful towns scattered throughout. Pick up your rental car and head to Cork, stopping to take in the sights of Drombeg Stone Circle and Kinsale town enroute. Arrive at Hayfield Manor, your luxury 5 star hotel accommodation for the night, situated in the city centre. While in Cork, check out the 18th-century covered English market, where locals make and sell delicious organic foods! Get a good night's rest and depart the next morning for a day of activities as you traverse along the coast and visit the Titanic Experience in Cobh, take a tour at The Jameson Experience, Midleton, and the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, a symbol of royal and religious power for more than 1000 years. Head back to the idyllic Lawcus Farm Guest House near Kilkenny City, your cozy accommodation for the next two nights. The next day takes you to Smithwick's Brewery for a guided tour through the history of brewing since medieval times. Spend the rest of the day sightseeing around Kilkenny. Continue north to Dublin through County Wicklow, stopping at Powerscourt Gardens, voted 3rd in the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic. Explore the bustling streets of Dublin's city center and St. Stephen's Green, just outside of the iconic Fitzwilliam hotel, your final accommodation for the night. 

  • 2-nights of 5-Star Hotel Accommodation - One each in Cork & Dublin
  • 2-nights of Luxurious Farmhouse Accommodation in Kilkenny
  • Rental Car with Auto Transmission for 3 Days (Insurance & Taxes Included)


  • 4 Scrumptious Full Irish Breakfasts


  • Titanic Experience Cobh
  • Jameson Premium Experience Midleton
  • Rock of Cashel Visit
  • The Smithwick's Experience
  • Powerscourt House & Gardens Visit


  • St. Anne's Church & Shandon Bells
  • Cork City's Famous 'English Market'
  • Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey & St Canice's Cathedral
  • Ancient Drombeg Stone Circle
  • Charming Avoca Village
  • 6th Century Glendalough Monastic Site
  • St Stephen's Green & Grafton Street

Cork, County Cork

Arrive at

Collect Rental Car from Kerry Airport, County Kerry

Your rental car is scheduled for collection at Kerry Farranfore Airport. Kerry Airport is located just 16 kilometres / 15 minutes north of Killarney Town. A daily bus service (operating 6 times a day) runs between Killarney and Kerry Airport. Alternately, a taxi from Killarney to the airport will cost approximately E 30.00. Please note that if you are collecting your car from Kerry Airport and returning it to a different location, a E 70.00 euro 'drop fee' will apply. This fee is not included in your tour price, but payable locally to Hertz when collecting your rental vehicle.


Hayfield Manor - Cork, County Cork

5 Star Hotel
Room Type: Deluxe Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.

Enroute Sightseeing

Kinsale, County Cork

On the Map: Kinsale is located in County Cork on Ireland's southern coast. From the main N71 road connecting Cork City (to the north) & Skibbereen/ Bantry (to the west), Kinsale is accessible via a variety of country roads.

Located just 16 miles from Cork City in a naturally protected harbour, Kinsale is one of the most picturesque, popular and fashionable towns on the southwest coast. Kinsale is a centre for yachting, sea angling, gourmet eating and golf. Restaurants in Kinsale pride themselves on their high reputation for culinary expertise, and the Good Food Circle has been organizing a Gourmet Festival here every autumn for over 25 years.  A charming town, its narrow streets are steeped in history and its harbour is always full of boats. Visit the museum housed in the French Prison or, just outside the town, the star-shaped Charles Fort with its spectacular views, before retiring to one of the town's many cozy atmospheric pubs.

Enroute Sightseeing

Drombeg Stone Circle, County Cork

On The Map: Drombeg Stone Circle is located in County Cork on the south coast of Ireland. Drombeg is accessed via the R597 road, which intersects with the larger N71 road (connecting Clonakilty to the east, and Skibbereen to the west).

This lovely recumbent stone circle is locally known as The Druid's Altar, and is located on the edge of a rocky terrace with fine views to the sea about a mile away. The word Drombeg means 'the small ridge'. The circle consists of seventeen pillar stones that are graded from the two large portal stones, each 2 metres high, at the north-east towards the recumbent stone. The pillar stones are local sandstone and the recumbent has two cup marks and what looks like an axe -carving on it's upper surface. The midpoint of the recumbent stone was set in line with the winter soltice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills. The best time time visit Drombeg is probably early morning, as there is an almost continuous flow of visitors to the site.

Overnight Location

Cork, County Cork

On the Map: Cork City is located off the southern coast of Ireland. As Ireland's second city, it is well served by good roads - The M8 northeast to Dublin, the N20 north to Limerick & the N25 east to Waterford.

In the bustling city of Cork (often referred to as 'Ireland's Second Capital'), stroll the river walk at the University and pop into the Glucksman Gallery.  Relax in a café, and hit Shandon Street, just a short walk from the main shopping district.  Climb the 120 foot steeple, and ring the bells of Shandon.  Soak up the city views as they fade into the countryside. Award-winning restaurants line the streets, and nightlife choices include Irish Traditional, classy nightclubs, theater, opera, plays, and dance.  (Take the haunted night tour of the city jail—it’s a great way to start your evening with a bang.) Of course, there’s the Jameson Old Middleton Distillery in east Cork.  Learn how Irish whiskey is made, and finish with a tasting. 

Must-See Sites

St. Anne's Church and Shandon Bells, County Cork

Constructed in 1722, St. Anne’s Church is the most important ecclesiastical structure in the city of Cork. The Church Tower is one of Cork's most striking landmarks, visible from many parts of the city, with its distinctive red sandstone and white ashlar limestone faces. It is believed that the colours of the tower gave rise to the red and white sporting colours of County Cork, which are used in fiercely competitive inter-county Hurling and Gaelic Football matches. The eight famous 'Shandon Bells' of the church were cast by Abel Rudhall of Gloucester in 1750, and have been recast twice since in 1869 & 1908. They still bear their original inscriptions. The McOstrich Family were involved in the creation of the tower and whenever a member of their family marries, the bells are rung in their honour. The Clock was erected by Cork Corporation in 1847, and quickly given the name ‘The Four-Faced Liar’ by witty locals, who noticed that the four clocks were not always in agreement of the exact time! The steps of the tower are built into the 7 feet thick walls and climb up past the clocks, through the belfry to the balcony, some 135 feet above ground level.

The English Market, County Cork

On The Map: The English Market comprises Princes Street Market and Grand Parade Market, in the heart of Cork City.

Situated in the heart of Cork City, the English Market is a roofed food market, that has been trading since 1788. The Market was created by the Protestant or “English” corporation that controlled the city at that time. The Market is one of the oldest municipal markets of it’s kind in the world, and as such, it has become a notable Cork tourist attraction. It draws visitors from throughout the world, including Queen Elizabeth II, who stopped by during her landmark 2011 visit to Ireland. The trading stalls are held under 21 year leases from the City Council. The current mix of traders in the English Market represents a diversity as broad as at any time over the centuries of it’s existence. Small stalls sit alongside larger businesses. Fledgling traders beside long-established family businesses passed down from one generation to the next. Meats and fish, herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables, sauces and oils, chocolates and cakes, cheeses and pastas – the Market caters for all culinary tastes and all eating occasions!! You’ll also find crockery, t-shirts, novelty items, clothes alterations and art – an eclectic mix, adding further to the unique atmosphere of the English Market. Visitors can also relax and unwind at the various cafés & delis at the Market.

Open Hours: 8 AM - 6 PM Monday - Saturday, closed Sundays and Bank holidays

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny


Lawcus Farmhouse - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3:00pm & 5:00pm. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the property on 056 772 8949

Included Experiences

Titanic Experience Cobh

Cobh, County Cork

Situated in the original offices of The White Star Line, the location marks the departure point for the last 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic on its doomed maiden voyage to America. The Titanic story is told using innovative audio visual technology bringing characters to life through cinematic shows, scene sets, holographic imagery and touch screen technology. Experience the anticipation of the long journey ahead & a new life waiting in America. Share the excitement of boarding the most luxurious liner of her time. Feel the horror of the tragedy that immortalised this most famous of cruise liners. Investigate how it all went wrong … the unbelievable and “almost” impossible sequence of events that occurred to cause the Titanic to sink.

Jameson Experience Midleton

Midleton, County Cork

Triple distilled whiskey like that at the Old Midleton Distillery isn't just born smooth and balanced. It takes a very carefully crafted process used over hundreds of years to get it just right. This tradition began in 1780 with the great Master Distiller John Jameson who discovered that three distillations was best for his Jameson Irish Whiskey and we continue his legacy to this day. From the 18th century to the 21st, let the expert guides at the distillery lead you through the extraordinary story of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Look, listen and learn, not to mention have your palate tickled by the unmistakable taste of the Irish whiskey that’s triple distilled to be twice as smooth for one great taste.

Rock of Cashel Admission

Cashel, County Tipperary

One of the most visited sites in Ireland, The Rock of Cashel is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a rocky outcrop of limestone, looming above the town of Cashel, County Tipperary. There is a 12th Century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. Long before the Norman invasion, The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the Rock was gifted to the Church. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!

Overnight Location

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

On the Map: Kilkenny City is located in County Kilkenny, in the southeast midlands of Ireland. Kilkenny is well-served by a good network of roads - the M9/N10 from Dublin (to the northeast) and N9/N10 from Waterford City (to the south).

Kilkenny, or the Marble City as it is known, is one of Ireland's oldest towns, and proud of it. Its array of ancient buildings is unrivalled. It is renowned for being a vibrant cultural center, devoted to the musical and visual arts. Its two most impressive landmarks are Kilkenny Castle, founded in 1172 and privately owned until 1967, and St. Canice's Cathedral. The current structure of the cathedral dates from the 13th century, though this is nowhere near the beginning of its story, which is rich in folklore and legend. There is no shortage of pubs to explore and enjoy in Kilkenny and during the summer the city is always full of life. The summer also sees the city host an Arts Festival and a very highly regarded Comedy Festival called the Cat Laughs.

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny


Lawcus Farmhouse - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3:00pm & 5:00pm. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the property on 056 772 8949

Included Experiences

Smithwick's Experience

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Smithwick's unique ale, with its rich ruby glow and creamy head, is the perfect marriage of innovation and tradition. It's infused with hints of caramel and biscuit, a tingle of orange marmalade and a finish so crisp you could snap it in two. The story of Smithwick's is as interesting as the ale itself - truly a beer forged in adversity... It arrives in your glass by way of a darkened medieval abbey, a reprehensible royal, heinous laws, two world wars, two fat turkeys and more! On this Smithwick's tour, you will learn all about this crafty beer. The tale begins in 1231 when some clever monks discovered a way of turning water into ale. Find out how the brew gained worldwide notoriety in the 18th century, and in the Brewhouse portion of the tour, learn how the varied ingredients are combined to create a unique character and flavor. Finally, it's onto the Tasting Room to sample a pint and insure that the secrets of Smithwick's wonderful brewing process have been applied with good effect! (Soft drinks are also available.)

Must-See Sites

Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny

On The Map: Jerpoint Abbey is located 20 kilometres south of Kilkenny City, and 2.3 km south of Thomastown along the R700 and R448 Roads.

Jerpoint Abbey is an outstanding example of a ruined Cistercian Abbey. Founded during the second half of the 12th century, the Abbey was declared a national monument in 1880. Constructed by Donogh O'Donoghoe, the Abbey was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The abbey flourished until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the mid-16th century. The Romanesque Church dates from the 12th century, while in the Transept Chapels, visitors can view 13th to 16th century tomb sculptures. The Tower and Cloister date from the 15th century. The Abbey's most celebrated delight is the sculptured Cloister Arcade, containing many unique carvings. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting and informative exhibition, and guided tours are available.

Saint Canices Cathedral, County Kilkenny

On The Map: St Canice’s Cathedral is located in the oldest part of Kilkenny City – an area known as Irishtown, located just north of downtown.

St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years. The Cathedral has wonderful stained glass that includes two windows from the Harry Clarke Studio, Dublin. Local stone masters The O’Tooneys carved some of the tombstones many of which are unique to the Cathedral and Kilkenny. The See Chair of the Bishop of Ossory dating back to 1120 can be seen inside the Cathedral. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that visitors can climb in Ireland.

Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny

On The Map: Kilkenny Castle is situated in the heart of mediaeval Kilkenny City, in the southeast midlands of Ireland.

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height, commanding a crossing of the River Nore and dominating the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. The original castle was constructed in the early 13th century for the 4th Earl of Pembroke. The Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family, and remained so for almost 600 years from 1391 to 1967. The Butler ownership ended when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. Due to major restoration works, the central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830's splendour, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. A suite of former servant's rooms is the Butler Art Gallery, which mounts frequently changing exhibitions of contemporary art.  The Parade Tower is the Castle's conference venue.

Included Experiences

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Enniskerry, County Wicklow

Voted the No. 3 Garden in the World from National Geographic! One mile long and lined by over 2,000 beech trees, even the avenue leading to the Powerscourt House echoes the magnificence of the whole Estate. In addition the 47 acres of gardens are remarkable for their grandeur of scale, at the same time combining great delicacy and refinement of detail. The house was gutted by fire in 1974 but recently has been reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. An exhibition brings to life the rich history of the Estate. The house is now home to the best of Irish design in gifts, clothes, and furniture in the Avoca Stores and the Interiors Gallery. You can also treat yourself to a dish from the Avoca Cookbook in the Terrace Cafe. The gardens at Powerscourt were laid out in two main periods. When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodelled. The design reflected the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape. To the north formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottos and terraces lay to the south.

Enroute Sightseeing

Avoca Village, County Wicklow

On the Map: Nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, Avoca is reached via a network of country roads. 1 hour/ 66km south of Dublin City in eastern Ireland, Avoca is most easily accessed from the N11 road that runs parallel to Ireland's east coast.

In Avoca Village, you will find the "Meeting of the Waters" - the point at which the Avonmore and Avonbeg Rivers come together to form the Avoca River. Avoca is home to Ireland's oldest woollen mill, Avoca Handweavers, established in 1723. This family-owned craft design company began at the Old Mill where weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca's hallmark. In recent years, Avoca became famous for being the setting of the popular BBC soap opera "Ballykissangel".

Enroute Sightseeing

Glendalough, County Wicklow

On the Map: Glendalough is located in County Wicklow, in the east of Ireland - just 1 hour south of Dublin City. Scenically nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is served by a network of small country roads. From the northeast (Dublin), travel on the R755/R756, from everywhere else, arrive from the west on the R756.

Glendalough ("The Glen of the Two Lakes"), is the site upon which St. Kevin founded a unique monastic settlement in the 6th century. Most of what remains of the settlement is in ruins but the Round Tower at Glendalough, built as a refuge from marauding Vikings, is over a 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. The site itself is set next to two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep glacial valley. It is one of the most serene and beautiful places in all Ireland and it is easy to see why the monks picked it for a place of prayer and contemplation. There are a myriad of walking trails throughout the area making it a truly invigorating place to spend the day.

Overnight Location

Dublin, County Dublin

On the Map: Dublin, Ireland's Capital City is located on the east coast of the country, and is well served by infrastructure linking it to all parts of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin is a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with culture. You could spend your time strolling the streets soaking up the atmosphere, relaxing in its cafes and bars or you could check out its myriad historical, literary and cultural delights. The 8th century illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, must be viewed. It is on display at the impressive Trinity College, Ireland's first university (founded 1592) in the heart of Dublin. For the rest of your time, it is up to you how much you want to pack in. Phoenix Park (twice the size of New York City's Central Park), Georgian Dublin around Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the National Botanical Gardens, National Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery are all highly recommended stops on your tour. Then there's the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.  A visit to Dublin's Temple Bar to experience the lively Dublin pub culture is a must, though many of Dublin's best bars can be found outside this area in the streets and laneways around Grafton Street, the shopper's street of choice. Purchasing a 'hop-on, hop-off' Dublin Bus Tour ticket is a great way to get around and see all the major sites at a very reasonable cost.

Must-See Sites

Grafton Street, County Dublin

On The Map: Grafton Street runs from Saint Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north

Grafton Street is without doubt Ireland's premier shopping street - in terms of retail rent, it's the fifth most expensive in the world! With beautiful historic buildings housing iconic Irish businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir & Sons and Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, Grafton Street offers an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianized, with the exception of a short stretch that runs between Nassau Street and College Green and contains the 18th century Trinity College Provost's House, home to the head of the college. If shopping's not your thing, Grafton Street is still worth checking out. It's a bustling, atmospheric spot, and high quality street performers including musicians, poets and mime-artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds.

Depart From

Depart from Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Return to Dublin Airport at least two hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure. This will allow ample time to check in for your flight home.

After check-in and passenger security, browse the array of shops on offer at 'The Loop' in Dublin Airport. With an extensive range of stores, bars and cafes, any spare time you have will fly!


Your Hometown: Dayton

Amazing!! Every single detail was taken care of for us! Heather did a great job! It was so nice to not have to worry about logistics and we could just enjoy Ireland. I would highly recommend if you are renting a car to get an automatic. I drive a standard in the states, but it would have been way to much to think about and would have prevented me from enjoying the county side.


byElizabeth TravisAuthentic Ireland Travel
Your Hometown: Blacksburg

My husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon and it was AMAZING! Heather helped us and honestly, we had such a fun time. We didn't do a lot of the mentioned or planned items because we tend to just like to explore places but the set up to be able to do that if we wanted to or not was amazing!


Your Hometown: Knoxville, TN

I am a travel agent and I had the opportunity to work with Tim LeGris which was a wonderful experience . The trip was for a 10 day chauffeured trip for an older couple who wanted to see and stay at castles and manors in Ireland. Tim put together the perfect trip. I had lunch with the couple when they returned. They said it was the best trip ever. Tim, thank you for your expertise and the amazing job you did on such a short notice trip to Ireland!

Holiday to Ireland & Scotland

Your Hometown: Sag Harbor

Just wanted to share with all who are interested in booking with Authentic Vacations what a truly wonderful experience we had with our Destination Expert, Michael Erickson... He gave us a wonderful itinerary , with great ideas ,and was quick to email us back when we had questions and last minute revisions ..He was knowledgeable,kind,and made arranging our holiday to Ireland & Scotland a pleasure.. So thank you Michael Erickson & thank you Authentic Vacations.....

Beyond Expectations and Wonderfully Unreal

Your Hometown: AUSTIN

The phrase "Holy F**k" was used on a regular basis as most of the time we spent there paralyzed us from making more sophisticated phrases. Maggie killed it, everything was sorted all we had to do was show up. There were enough plans to keep us on a nice schedule and enough down time to do our own thing. The trip really didn't sink in until day 5 when a few Guinness in we decided to stop into a small tattoo shop next to the pub in the middle of beautiful Doolin. After a few hours chatting and laughing with our artist we left in the midst of a classic evening storm leaving us with one option, back to the pub! As our tattoos healed we drowned ourselves in more Guinness, an incredible dinner and live traditional music. This was my first go at international travel and it was the best decision I've ever made, can't wait for my next trip.

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At Authentic Vacations, each of our self-drive and chauffeur tours are tailor made to your specific requirements. We work with all budgets and group sizes to deliver a personalized experience that remains true to the authentic brand. When you book with Authentic Vacations, you can always expect a package rich with cultural experiences, secret spots and insider knowledge, unique and boutique accommodations and more.

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