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Cycling Ireland’s South: Counties Waterford and Tipperary

Set out from Cork on a biking vacation filled with spectacular cycling routes around Dungarvan Bay and along quiet country roads through quaint villages. You’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: 17
  • 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

Explore woodlands, heaths and emerald meadows along quiet lanes on this reel through Ireland’s legendary southern counties. Fuel up for the day on hearty Irish breakfasts, then set out to discover historic estates … fairytale abandoned towers … majestic forts and castles … pretty seaside villages … and a graveyard dedicated to victims of the famine. Opportunities to enter into the local culture abound, from a pub visit and home-hosted lunch to an open-air museum. Unrivaled hospitality at charming hotels and inns provides a relaxing cap to each exhilarating day of cycling.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle along the cliffs, bays and coves of Dungarvan Coast
  • Explore a famine graveyard
  • Explore endless emerald meadows along quiet lanes and stonewalls
  • Enjoy a delicious Irish meal at a private family home
  • Uncover the legend of St. Patrick at Rock of Cashel
  • Greet the morn’ with hearty Irish breakfasts
  • Pay your respects at Holy Cross Abbey
  • Meet friendly locals in boisterous Irish pubs
  • Explore Ireland’s oldest castle in Cahir
  • Watch out for Leprechauns!

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
  • 12 meals – 6 Irish breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star Irish hotels
    PLUS one extra night in Cork and one extra night in Dublin
  • 14 meals – 8 Irish breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Transfers
  • And the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip Extension: Cobh – 2 nights for only $245 • Post-trip: Dublin – 1 night for only $145

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. See details.

Reading List

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $345 (2018: $295) | Land Only Single Supplement: $195 (2018: $145)

Please note: This tour has a maximum of 17 guests. Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 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 p.m., 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. Worth seeing is the Victorian English Market, an indoor covered market on the Grand Parade, just a short walk from your hotel. There is a mile-long walk from the city center to the restored City Gaol, (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: Bicycle Tour begins / 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 p.m. (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 p.m. 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 p.m.

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 through the majestic Dungarvan Bay and Copper Coast region, with the Comeragh Mountains rising in the background. Your ride explores the southeast, where the first language is Irish. You’ll see the road signs change as you ride.

After conquering the noteworthy hill of the tour, you explore quiet country roads in the Drum Hills. Ride along the plateau through forests and open heathland. Stop to walk around the 19th century Famine Graveyard.

Continue to the Marine Pub for a traditional and hearty Irish stew. After lunch, your ride continues back around the bay to Dungarvan.

This afternoon you 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.

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

Ride along quiet roads through Ireland’s lush 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 with sweeping views over the River Blackwater to the Knockmealdown Mountains. One of the family members greets you upon arrival and guides a private estate tour. What a thrill to admire the family portraits of 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 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.

Shortly after crossing the bridge, you’ll arrive at your home for the next 2 nights – the family owned and run Richmond House, built in 1704. You’ll have time to relax or stroll through the private parkland before this evenings included dinner.

Hotel: Richmond House
Meals
B, L, D
Daily Options:
11, 18 or 20 miles (18, 29 or 32 km)

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

Today leads you to Cappoquin, a renowned center for rowing and coarse angling, before arriving in Lismore.

Lismore’s Anglo-Norman castle is the town’s landmark. The 12th-century edifice, perched atop the hillside overlooking the Blackwater River was home for both Sir Walter Raleigh and Robert Boyle (the Father of Modern Chemistry). Currently, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Though it is closed to visitors, the public can view the manicured gardens and art gallery.

Your route rolls gently 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” were considered too extravagant during the 19th century, while much of Ireland was starving.

Continue riding along the river valley to the fishing village of Ballyduff, across the valley over the red iron bridge (1887), passing the former Garda Station (1869), a fine example of Scottish Baronial-style.

Back in Lismore, enjoy a free afternoon to explore the friendly town. Try one of the small cafés 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 highlights the town’s interesting sites. If open, the gardens of Lismore Castle are worth exploring. There are several short marked walking trails around the town. Return to the hotel this evening for an included dinner.

Hotel: Richmond House
Meals
B, D 
Daily Options:
   13 miles (20.5km)

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

It’s not “a long way to Tipperary” with an 80-minute shuttle to 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 medieval landmark on the River Suir that drew pilgrims during its heyday. Today, it is the perfect spot for quiet reflection. The ride continues through Tipperary’s green agricultural plain, following farm roads.

Later, you arrive at the 9th century Rock of Cashel also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, built atop a limestone outcropping with panoramic views. This Cashel or stone fort is shrouded in legends and is the original residence of the Kings of Munster. The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological sites. 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 the Emerald Isle’s oldest frescoes. The Queen of England visited this sacred site during her historic Ireland tour in 2011. Your hotel is a short walk from the Rock of Cashel, so you can return and visit at your leisure. Tip: A sunrise or sunset visit is truly magical.

After check–in, the day is yours. Walking is the best way to discover Cashel. Visit the Georgian St. John’s Cathedral and the Bolton Library, view the impressive city walls, and stop at the former Deanery (Archbishop’s Palace). The Cashel Folk Village is an open-air museum featuring replicas of early Irish life including the old public house, butcher’s shop, farmhouse, traveler’s caravan, and chapel.

This evening enjoy dinner in one of the local pubs or restaurants where Guinness is always on tap.

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

DAY 8: Loop ride to Cahir

Cycle Tipperary’s quiet backroads and along a part of the Tipperary Heritage Way. Green fields and stone walls lead to colorful Cahir, with its imposing medieval castle on the River Suir. This is one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles, once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family. The audio-visual presentation is a definitive history lesson. Enjoy free time in town for lunch on your own.

After, you pedal back to the hotel at your own pace 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 Bicycle Vacation Only ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: Say farewell to your Trip Leaders and depart by coach at 9:00 a.m. 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 a.m. 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

Cycling Southern Ireland Bike Tour Map

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Accommodations

Cycling Ireland’s South: Counties Waterford and Tipperary

Accommodations for both Land Package and Air Package

Park Hotel

Accommodation Description: Set on five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds in County Waterford, the 3-star Park Hotel offers a peaceful location in seaside Dungarvan, just a five-minute walk from the town center. You’ll appreciate a warm Irish “welcome home” after each day of invigorating cycling. The guest rooms are modern and comfortable with free Wi-Fi available throughout. Start your day with breakfast in the Garden Room restaurant. The health club has a swimming pool, therapeutic whirlpool, sauna and steam room. Sample the pub-style Meladon Bar for a varied menu prepared from fresh, local produce.
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 memorable stay that is rich in old world ambiance and modern amenities. This cozy boutique property charms its guests with 20 rooms, the setting promises an intimate experience. The legendary Rock of Cashel is a short walk away and town is just around the corner. Each room provides plush amenities, including an en-suite bathroom with heated floors and luxury bathrobes. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
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 a seven-minute walk from Lismore Heritage Town. This Georgian Residence is beautifully set on four acres of lawn and gardens among mature trees. Enjoy majestic views of Lismore Castle. Its high ceilings and period furnishings lends a refined elegance to the ten-bedroom estate home, renowned for its intimacy. Enjoy the cozy pub and exceptional restaurant, a local favorite for its farm-to-table menu and fresh fish. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Free WiFi Included

WatersEdge Hotel

The nautically-themed Waters Edge Hotel is located directly on Cobh harbor with lovely seaside views. You will enjoy the bistro-style menu in the dining room and seaside terrace. This cozy boutique property offers guests a comfortable stay in spacious, light-filled rooms with modern amenities. It is a short walk to the sights in Cobh center. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Free WiFi Included

The Imperial Hotel

The luxurious Imperial Hotel dates to 1813, when architect Sir Thomas Deane was commissioned by the Cork Committee of Merchants to design a commercial center, opening three years later as a hotel. Still the most popular business and social center in Cork, you will discover different dining venues from casual to elegant. Of course, a hotel of this caliber has all the amenities including a full spa. The guestrooms are tastefully decorated and spacious. Free WiFi is available throughout.
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

Richmond House

The Earl of Cork built Richmond House in 1704. Refurbished and restored, each of the 9 bedrooms features period furniture and spacious comfort. All rooms are ensuite (private bathrooms) and feature views of the extensive grounds. The Richmond House breakfast is a pleasant surprise. Each room offers tea making facilities. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Free WiFi Included
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