Rosslare is the gateway to Ireland’s sunny south-east corner and the amazing coastlines of Cork and Kerry. You don’t need to drive far to discover vibrant cities like Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny: all three have exciting histories to share, and together form Ireland’s Viking Triangle that makes a great self-drive tour. Waterford City sits at the head of a mighty harbour guarded by the world’s oldest operational lighthouse. A walking tour of Waterford reveals its Viking history, or visit The House of Waterford Crystal to see the skill that creates Ireland’s most famous glassware. As well as history, Wexford Town is known for its culture, with an Opera Festival among many annual events, and in Kilkenny, you can walk the Medieval Mile to discover the city’s turbulent past then shop for new interpretations of traditional Irish crafts.
Families will find friendly seaside resorts within a short drive of Rosslare, including Brittas Bay and Courtown on the Wexford coast, or Tramore and Dunmore East to the south. Head west to discover lively Cork city and enjoy shopping in the Victorian ‘English’ market or shudder at the sight of Cork Gaol. The Queenstown story at nearby Cobh gives a moving insight into Ireland’s tough times, and it was also from Cobh that the ill-fated Titanic sailed on her first and last voyage. At Blarney Castle you will have to bend over backwards to kiss the famous stone, but those who do gain the ‘gift of the gab’ they say. The southwest coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, with sub-tropical gardens such as on Garnish Island in Bantry Bay, while the powder-soft sands, many boasting a Blue Flag rating, could trick you into thinking you’re on a Caribbean beach (though in truth, not quite as hot). Pretty harbours shelter fishing boats, and it is no wonder that Ireland’s freshest seafood can be enjoyed here, from the foodie ‘capital’ of colourful Kinsale to a host of artisan smoked salmon producers in the approaches to the Shannon estuary.