Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Cycling Ireland’s South: Counties Waterford and Tipperary

We set out from Cork on a biking vacation filled with spectacular cycling routes around Dungarvan Bay and along quiet country roads through quaint villages. We’ll visit historic sites like the famed Rock of Cashel, Holy Cross Abbey, and the castle at Cahir; as well as learn about local culture during a home-hosted visit.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 11 - 32 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Cycling Ireland’s South: Counties Waterford and Tipperary

Strewn with historic castles, rich farmland and vibrant market towns, the south of Ireland overflows with legend. Join VBT on our latest Irish reel along quiet country roads as its stories unfold before you like soft, emerald-green hills. Follow magnificent coasts, bonnie dales and soaring mountains to medieval fortresses and abbeys. Savor lunch at an estate 23 generations old, steeped in history. Explore the legendary Rock of Cashel and Holy Cross Abbey. Along the way, enjoy full Irish breakfasts and unrivalled hospitality, delight in the lilting song of the Irish language, and lose yourself in this enriching and legendary itinerary.

Cultural Highlights

  • View the pretty Dungarvan Bay coastline
  • Visit a historic famine graveyard
  • Cycle on quiet country roads
  • Dine with a 23rd generation family in their home
  • Visit the famous Rock of Cashel
  • Savor a hearty Irish breakfast each morning
  • Visit the restored Holy Cross Abbey
  • Chat with locals at a 19th-century pub
  • Visit the magnificent castle at Cahir

What To Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills, mainly on quiet country roads. Our VBT van support is always available for those who need assistance with the hills. Ideal for enthusiastic beginners to experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 11 – 32 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Cork
Apr 47º/53º  May 52º/58º  Jun 56º/63º Jul 60º/66º Aug 60º/65º  Sep 56º/62º  Oct 51º/59º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Cork
Apr 2.5  May 3.0   Jun 2.5   Jul 3.0  Aug 3.0  Sep 3.0  Oct 4.0

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star Irish hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 Irish breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 3- and 4-star Irish hotels
  • 13 meals – 8 Irish breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • And the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip Extension: Cobh – 2 nights for only $295 • Post-trip: Dublin – 1 night for only $195

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Welcome reception
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Special Good Buy Discount
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $345 | Land Only Single Supplement: $195

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Cork

Depart from home for Cork, Ireland. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Cork

Upon arrival at Cork’s airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area — VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and will make arrangements for your transfer via taxi or van to your Cork hotel (transfer time is approximately 45 minutes, depending on traffic).

VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations about what to see and do in Cork. Please note that hotel check-in time is 3:00 pm, but the staff will do their best to get you to your rooms as soon as possible. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or explore the town on your own. Experience its beating heart at the Victorian English Market, an indoor covered market on the Grand Parade, just a short walk from your hotel. You may also wish to take a short, mile-long walk from the city center up to the restored and atmospheric City Gaol, or prison, complete with furnished cells. Peruse the multimedia exhibit here and trace the lives of individual inmates from the 19th and 20th centuries. The adjacent Cork Heritage Center provides even more insight into life in Cork during that time period.

Hotel: The Imperial Hotel

DAY 3: All guests meet in Cork / Transfer to Dungarvan

VBT No-Air Package guests: Plan to meet a VBT representative, who will be carrying a VBT sign, at the Imperial Hotel, Cork at 12:30 pm (address: South Mall Street, Cork, County Cork, Republic of Ireland; Tel: +353 21 427 4040). Please note: Plan to eat lunch or a snack on your own beforehand as the next scheduled meal is dinner.

To reach the hotel, you can take a taxi from Cork airport into the city (approximately 20 euros), or travel on Bus Eireann, which provides frequent and direct coach service between Cork Airport, Cork City Center and Cork Bus Station (approximately 5 euros; travel time is approximately 25 minutes, depending on traffic; for more details go to www.buseireann.ie). Please note: If your arrival at the Imperial Hotel is scheduled for later than 12:30 pm or if you are delayed, you must transfer at your own expense to Dungarvan (approximately 15 euros for the Bus Eireann from Cork Bus Station – Parnell Place; travel time is approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic). Please contact the Park Hotel, Dungarvan to advise them of any delays or changes, and the hotel staff will pass the message along to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: You are free to relax or explore Cork after breakfast this morning. Plan to eat lunch or a snack on your own before meeting your VBT representative, as the next scheduled meal is dinner. Meet your VBT representative, who will be carrying a VBT sign, in the hotel lobby at 12:30 pm.

You will transfer by private motor coach from Cork to Dungarvan in County Waterford (travel time is approximately 1 hour). Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at the hotel. After settling in, attend a group safety and bike-fitting session and enjoy a warm-up ride. You will follow a disused railway line across the mouth of the Colligan River and out along the coast, admiring magnificent views everywhere you look. Later, get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome reception and dinner in the hotel.

Hotel: Park Hotel
Meals: B, (for Air Package guests only) D
Daily Options: 8 miles (13 km)

DAY 4: Discover Dungarvan Bay

After breakfast, cycle into the magnificent Dungarvan Bay region and the Copper Coast, with the Comeragh Mountains rising around you as a backdrop. Your ride takes you south into the only region in Southeast Ireland whose first language is Irish. You’ll see the change to the road signs as you ride.

After conquering the main hill of the tour, you will find yourself on quiet country roads in the Drum Hills. Ride along the plateau through sylvan forest and open heathland to the An Seanachaí (Storyteller) Bar & Restaurant. An Seanachaí continues a tradition that began during the famine years. Steeped in Irish history, it was founded in the 19th century as a traditional Country Farm Cottage. In 1847 a room was added to cater to mourners who buried their lost loved ones in the adjacent Famine Graveyard. Today, with the famine long over and the food aplenty, An Seanachaí serves up wholesome meals as you will discover over lunch today.

After lunch take a short walk to see the primitive Famine Graveyard before you continue on your route, enjoying breathtaking views over the bay and mountains beyond.

This afternoon you will have time to explore one of Ireland’s picturesque seaside towns. Dungarvan dates back to the 7th century and you can walk along its pretty quays, browse the quaint shops, and see its castle and abbey ruins overlooking the bay. This evening, you can select from the town’s host of eateries around the quay and spend more time exploring its charms.

Hotel: Park Hotel
Meals: B, L
Daily Options:  9, 20 or 25 miles (15, 32.5 or 40 km)

DAY 5: Cycle to Lismore / Home hosted lunch and visit at Dromana House

This morning, you will check out of your hotel and cycle on quiet roads through Ireland’s quintessential green countryside past old stone walls. Your destination is Dromana House. For 800 years and 23 generations, the castle and mansion have been the seat of one of the principle families of the South of Ireland – the FitzGeralds, Lords of the Decies, later Villiers-Stuart. The family now lives in the 17th-century house, built upon medieval foundations and offering sweeping views along the River Blackwater to the Knockmealdown Mountains. One of the family members will greet you upon arrival and lead you on a private tour. Enjoy stepping back in Ireland’s rich history as you admire the portraits of the family’s ancestors and famous visitors over the centuries – including Sir Walter Raleigh, who is said to have brought the first cherry tree in Ireland to this estate.

After a home-prepared lunch, you are free to wander through the 30 acres of gardens and woodlands, part of the Waterford Garden Trail.

Your cycle route continues through rolling countryside, passing under the locally celebrated Dromana Bridge. Local tradition says it was erected as a temporary structure to welcome home Henry Villiers-Stuart after his honeymoon. The couple was so impressed that they had a permanent structure installed. Later, you will pass through the quiet market town of Cappoquin, a renowned center for rowing and coarse angling, before arriving in Lismore (from the Irish Lios Mor, meaning “great ringfort”).

Admire Lismore’s Anglo-Norman castle, the centerpiece of the town. The 12th-century edifice, perched atop a steep hillside overlooking the Blackwater River, has been home over the years to both Sir Walter Raleigh and Robert Boyle (the Father of Modern Chemistry). It is currently home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and though it is closed to visitors, the pretty gardens and impressive art gallery are accessible to the public.

After checking into your hotel you may wish to explore one of Lismore’s walking trails before dinner.

Hotel: Ballyrafter Country House Hotel
Alternative Hotel: Lismore House Hotel
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 11, 18 or 20 miles (18, 29 or 32 km)

DAY 6: Loop ride to Ballyduff / Walk to Ballysaggartmore Towers / Free afternoon

After another full, traditional Irish breakfast, cycle over rolling hills along the Blackwater River valley. Shortly after leaving Lismore, you can stop for a short 1.5-mile walk through the woods to see the fairytale Ballysaggartmore Towers in their magical setting. These imposing gothic-style “follies,” so called as they held little architectural purpose beyond mere decoration, were considered an extravagance when they were built in the 19th century while much of Ireland was starving. But their elegance and the story behind them make them well worth the visit.

Continue riding along the river valley to the village of Ballyduff, another small town known for its fishing. Pedal across the valley using the red iron bridge, which was built in 1887, passing the fortified manor in front. This is the former Garda Station (dating to 1869 and closed in 2013), a fine example of Scottish Baronial-style. You will return to Lismore along the undulating quiet lanes that wind through the opposite side of the valley.

Back in Lismore, enjoy a free afternoon to explore the town named “Ireland’s Best Small Tourism Town” in the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns Competition of 2015. Try one of the small cafes for lunch on your own before visiting the old court house, home to the Lismore Heritage Centre. Here, the Lismore Experience, an audio-visual program charts the history of Lismore and points you toward some of the town’s interesting sites. If they are open, perhaps you’ll stroll the gardens of Lismore Castle, the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. You can also walk along several short marked walking trails around the town. Return to the hotel this evening for an included dinner.

Hotel: Ballyrafter Country House Hotel
Alternative Hotel: Lismore House Hotel
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 13 miles (20.5 km)

DAY 7: Transfer to County Tipperary / Cycle to Holy Cross Abbey and Rock of Cashel

This morning you’ll find out for yourself that it’s not “a long way to Tipperary” when you shuttle about 80 minutes to the town of Thurles, in County Tipperary. Surrounded by the Silvermine Mountains and the Slieveardagh Hills, you will ride from here to Holy Cross Abbey, one of Ireland’s National Monuments. This restored Cistercian monastery is a peaceful landmark on the River Suir that drew pilgrims in medieval days. Today, it is the perfect spot for quiet contemplation. The elaborate vaulted ceiling of the interior creates a calm sense of space. After time here, ride through Tipperary’s green agricultural plain, following roads only used by local farms and tractors.

Later, you will approach the imposing Rock of Cashel, seeming to emerge from the rocky limestone outcrop. The word “cashel” is an anglicized version of the Irish word “caiseal,” meaning fortress, and it certainly lives up to the name. The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological sites, brimming with ancient fortifications. Within its sturdy walls, explore the round tower, a 13th-century Gothic cathedral and the finest 12th-century Romanesque chapel in Ireland, home to some of Ireland’s oldest frescoes. It’s little wonder that the Queen of England visited here during her historic Ireland tour in 2011. Your hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from the entrance, so you can return to this ancient site at your leisure.

After checking in, the remainder of the afternoon is free. You’ll find that walking is the best way to discover the Heritage Town of Cashel. Visit the Georgian St. John’s Cathedral and its Bolton Library, view the impressive city walls, and stop at the former Deanery or archbishop’s palace. At the Cashel Folk Village, you can stroll among replicas of rural buildings that depict country life in early Ireland. See the old public house, butcher’s shop, farmhouse, traveler’s caravan, and chapel. As you wander, you might pause at the monuments commemorating Tipperary’s role in the Anglo-Irish War and Irish Civil War.

This evening enjoy dinner in one of the local pubs or restaurants, perhaps with a glass of Guinness.

Hotel: Baileys Hotel
Meals: B
Daily Options: 18 miles (29 km)

DAY 8: Loop ride to Cahir

Cycle along Tipperary’s quiet backroads today, tracing part of the Tipperary Heritage Way as you ride. Green fields and stone walls point the way to the small, colorful town of Cahir, with its imposing 13th– 15th-century castle on a rocky island in the River Suir. One of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles, this impressive fortress was once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family. Admire its well-preserved keep, tower and original defensive structures. Learn more about it during an excellent audio-visual presentation. Enjoy free time in town for lunch on your own.

After, you will pedal back to the hotel at your own pace, then relax a while before a festive farewell dinner.

Hotel: Baileys Hotel
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 or 32 miles (27 or 50.5 km)

DAY 9: Transfer to Dublin / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: Say farewell to your Trip Leaders and depart by coach at 9:00 am for Dublin and the Schoolhouse Hotel (approximately 2 hours). The tour ends here. Or you may wish to make your own departure arrangements from Cashel.

VBT Air Package guests: Say farewell to your Trip Leaders and depart by coach at 9:00 am for Dublin and the Schoolhouse Hotel (approximately 2 hours). There is no VBT representative on the coach ride. Important: Before departing, your Trip Leaders will provide you with your departure transfer reminder for your return flight home. Upon arrival in Dublin, you have the remainder of the day to take in its historic atmosphere and seek out one of the many restaurants, pubs, or outdoor cafés for lunch and dinner on your own.

VBT provides you with City Information, which includes helpful tips and recommendations on what to see and do in Dublin.

Hotel: The Schoolhouse Hotel
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer to the Dublin airport for your return flight**.

* Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

** Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport is at your own expense.

Meals: B

Map of Southern Ireland bike route

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Accommodations

Cycling Ireland’s South: Counties Waterford and Tipperary

Accommodations for both Land Package and Air Package

Park Hotel

Set on five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds in County Waterford, the 3-star Park Hotel boasts a peaceful location in seaside Dungarven, just a five-minute walk from the town center. You’ll appreciate a warm Irish “welcome home” after each day of invigorating rides. Unwind with a visit to the health club, complete swimming pool, therapeutic whirlpool, sauna and steam room. Start your day with breakfast in the Garden Room restaurant. Sample the pub-style Meladon Bar for a varied menu prepared from fresh, local produce in an intimate surrounding. And relax in the warm, soothing ambiance of your modern, comfortable room. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Bailey’s Hotel

Baileys Hotel Cashel occupies a beautifully restored Georgian building on Main Street in historic Cashel, nestled in Tipperary’s Golden Vale. Its 4-star rating promises a comfortable stay rich in old world charms and generous with modern conveniences. The small hotel has 19 warm and inviting rooms, making for a more intimate and authentic experience. The legendary Rock of Cashel is a short walk away and the many delights of the historic town are right outside your door. Each room provides lush amenities, including en-suite bathroom with heated floors and luxury bathrobes. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Ballyrafter Country House Hotel

Built in the 1800s for the estate of the Duke of Devonshire, the family-run Ballyrafter Country House Hotel is just a seven-minute walk from Lismore Heritage Town. This Georgian Residence is beautifully set on four acres of lawn and gardens among mature trees. During your stay, enjoy views of Lismore Castle, standing majestically opposite. Its high ceilings and period furnishings add warmth and grace to the ten-bedroom stately home, renowned for its intimacy. Enjoy the cozy pub and exceptional restaurant, a local favorite for its locally sourced menu and fresh fish. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Lismore House Hotel

Constructed in 1797 for the estate of the Duke of Devonshire, the Lismore House Hotel is the oldest purpose-built hotel in Ireland. It is ideally located in the heart of the Heritage Town of Lismore, putting its highlights and lovely vistas of the River Blackwater in easy reach. The hotel was completely restored and refurbished with the glory of its Georgian origins in mind. Its old world style and charms embody the spirit of Lismore Castle and its historic surroundings. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

WatersEdge Hotel

Adorned with a nautical theme, the WatersEdge Hotel is located directly on the harbor of Cobh, with rooms that enjoy splendid views over the water. You may enjoy the bistro-style menu in the airy dining room or on the waterside terrace. The warm and cozy boutique ambiance makes for a comfortable stay in spacious rooms with modern amenities and large windows that overlook the harbor. It is a short walk into the atmospheric town center of Cobh. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

The Imperial Hotel

This is one of Cork’s most exclusive properties. Historic architecture merges with contemporary design to create a magical environment. The Imperial Hotel has been serving Cork since 1813, when the Cork Committee of Merchants commissioned architect Sir Thomas Deane to design and build The Commercial Rooms. In 1816, the merchants requested Deane to extend the original building along Pembroke Street to serve as a hotel and coach yard. The Imperial Hotel, originally the place where merchants met to discuss business, remains the most popular business and social center in the city today.
Free WiFi Included

The Schoolhouse Hotel

A hidden gem close to the heart of the city, the Schoolhouse Hotel is just a 10-minute walk to Trinity College, the National Museum, Grafton Street, and other city attractions. Built in 1861, this charming boutique hotel takes its name from its early years as a school. Perhaps you’ll savor French and Irish specialties in the trendy restaurant set within former classrooms. Unwind in the spa, fitness center, and indoor pool. And retire to one of 31 en-suite guestrooms, each named for a famous Irish writer. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included
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