NiceIrlande, I see that you made a couple comments indicating that if a tourist visits a place, it’s considered “touristy.” I’m sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree. There are so many beautiful and interesting places worth seeing in the world that are not tourist attractions. A great example is Cahir Castle; while it may be considered touristy, it certainly isn’t advertised as so. In fact, I have never heard of Cahir Castle before this post, and I have been planning for months. When people visit Chicago, I recommend that they visit the John Hancock Building rather than the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), because it isn’t as crowded and you actually get better views of the city. This is the type of information I’m interested in. Thank you Ray C for the suggestion, Cahir Castle is now in our itinerary!
>>>A great example is Cahir Castle; while it may be considered touristy, it certainly isn’t advertised as so. In fact, I have never heard of Cahir Castle before this post, and I have been planning for months.<<<
Sorta makes my point as in Ireland many of their nicest attractions are not widely publicized or marketed.
That said, we were aware of it (and the Swiss Cottage) because our research included the OPW website and their brochure map. I'm so thankful that we were aware of some of their lesser known sites and were able to see many of them including both Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage.
Plus just outside cahir you have the mitchelstown caves which is worth a visit!!!
If you aren't in a hurry, you can take a less direct path from Kilkenny toward Cahir Castle. We headed south from Kilkenny on our way down to Kinsale but did not take a direct route as we wanted to take a scenic route. Shortly after leaving Kilkenny, we stopped at Nicholas Mosse pottery which was an unplanned stop, but we happened to see signs for it. It's a historic old mill along a river - scenic place that you can take a brief walk through and see them making the pottery as well as purchase from their large shop. From there, we continued on through some quaint little towns, before coming upon Jerpoint Abbey. This is a great stop - beautiful views with interesting history. There is a 45 minute tour, but we hadn't planned on staying that long but the guide gave us the 15 minute version which was incredibly helpful to understand what we would see when we walked around the ruins. In hindsight, I wish we had done the 45 minute tour. From there, we headed to Carrick on Suir to see Ormond Castle, which is really an Elizabethan manor house. The tour, which is very informative, was free. While it wasn't the easiest to find, though only 5 minutes off the road through town, it was definitely worth the stop. There was no one there, but the guide was very knowledgeable and we were glad we stopped.
After that, we were headed toward the Vee Pass which would take us over the mountains to Lismore which was our next planned stop before making our way south to Kinsale. However, we missed our turn and ended up stopping to ask directions. The woman we asked said that we'd make better time if we took a different road than the one we planned, and that ended up bringing us just near Cahir. We drove right by (and darn, wish we'd stopped!) the Swiss Cottage and were only a few minutes south of Cahir Castle. We didn't do Cahir Castle that day as we were going to stop on our way back to Dublin on a different day. Instead, we continued south over the mountains to Lismore.
However, if you are interested in this route, you could easily see Swiss Cottage and Cahir Castle. I'm not sure what your destination is from Kilkenny, but if you were planning to do both Cahir Castle and Kilkenny, the route we took enabled us to see some "off the beaten path" tourist stops as well as get to see and stop in several little towns along the way.
We purchased the OSI Road Atlas and that is what I used to plot our routes from place to place. I'd look at the map in advance and as we were driving, as well as had my guide book, and that is what enable us to find several of these places that I hadn't necessarily heard about on TA before our trip. The map notes many historic or "tourist" places so using the map gave us an idea what we'd be able to stop and see along the way, even if it meant a quick detour off the route we were taking. it was a very useful resource to have!
Bean A, rossbeigh- stay at glenbeigh and its only 2 km away use local taximan
Ballinsskellighs bay - Waterville over looks the bay, derrynane- stay at caherdaniel only 3km away again local taximan.... Buses run daily from Killarney through glenbeigh Waterville and caherdaniel, hope this helps you with your travel plans!!
Thank you Ray. But you stated in your post that
"The local bus company goes to every town and village in the country but the service might be once a day or every second day to some of the smaller villages."
When in actual fact they don't. Lots of places don't have bus services.
Thanks Fourkids4us. We were actually going to purchase the Ireland maps for our Garmin GPS, it's $70 but we thought it might be worth it since we're planning to venture off the beaten path. Is the OSI Road Atlas sufficient?
We had both a Garmin and the Road Atlas. Honestly, the Garmin was useful at times, but I preferred the road atlas because I like to see the bigger picture, not just what road is coming up and where I need to turn. You can buy the road atlas online, but we picked ours up in Kilkenny for 10 euro as I didn't think of it in advance. For the small price, I felt it was incredibly worth it. It is spiral bound so it's easy to use in the car, but also when hanging out in your B&B/hotel and looking at where you might like to go the next day. There were also times where our Garmin lead us astray and the map totally saved us. I actually heard about it here on TA and very kindly told where I'd be able to find one in Kilkenny (wonderful book store right on the main drag as we were walking around in Kilkenny).
I'm kind of a map geek though - I have a strong sense of direction but also really like to look at maps to familiarize myself with my surroundings.
Some places hardly have a weekly bus, especially in the more scenic-and remote areas.