Ireland’s Ancient East: Getting around

Lough Tay, County Wicklow

There's more than one way to soak up 5,000 years of history around Ireland's Ancient East. Self drive, coach trips, cycling, cruising or walking – this will be a journey you'll remember forever...

Megalithic tombs, medieval castles and haunting tales of Viking invasion – in Ireland’s Ancient East, history is never more than a stone’s throw away.

But how can you see it all at your own pace, in your own way; making sure to absorb every single second of your journey? Let us count the ways.

Taking it all in from the comfort of your car is one way to explore Ireland’s Ancient East, but there are plenty of other options if you don’t fancy driving yourself around. You can pick up an Ireland’s Ancient East Open Road bus ticket from Bus Eireann, hire a bike for on or off-road travelling, cruise the wonderful waterways or simply put one foot in front of the other along ancient walking trails. 

Here's how to get going...

Exploring Ireland's Ancient East by bike

Glide around on your bike, and get up close and personal with the tales that linger in these legendary lands. Bring your own bike or hire one out – electric bikes are available in many bike hire shops, too.

Follow a dedicated trail, such as the Waterford Greenway, where cyclists and walkers can travel along an old railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan, crossing viaducts that overlook the lush countryside. Experience the utter peace and tranquility that prevail when you go off-road along the Royal Canal Greenway in County Westmeath, or breathe in that fresh sea air surrounded by greenery along County Louth's Carlingford Omeath Greenway. Bliss on a bike.

Exploring Ireland's Ancient East by boat

Discovering Ireland’s Ancient East from the waterfront is like coming upon an unknown world. It opens up unexpected angles and unusual perspectives, bringing with them strange moments of newness that radically change our perception of a place. Glance at the medieval town of Carlingford, County Louth, from Carlingford Lough and see the lands that gave rise to a thousand legends. 

Go wild on a Sea Safari in Cobh, County Cork, and say hello to the dolphins who accompany you on your tour. Then spare a moment to remember the many emigrants for whom this was a bittersweet last view of home.

Take a Viking Tour from Athlone, County Westmeath, and see the incredible rise of the Christian heritage site at Clonmacnoise, County Offaly, sitting in all its splendour along the riverbank. Or become captain of your own cruiser or canal boat, stopping off at towns and villages, safe in the knowledge that there is no commercial traffic allowed on Ireland’s inland waterways.

Walking and hiking around Ireland's Ancient East

Ramble around on your own two feet and live the tales that grew up around Ireland's Ancient East. Follow the ancient ogham stones and forage for feasts along the Blackstairs Eco Trail. Uncover medieval ruins and acres of dappled forest as you traverse the Blessington Greenway Walk. Or stroll between perfect golden beaches and the crashing seas of the Hook Peninsula on a Wexford Walking Trail. No matter the route you take, the tales that linger here will whisk you away on a fairytale adventure.

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