Ireland's Enchanting South

  • Kilkenny
  • West Cork
  • Cashel
  • Thomastown
  • Kinsale
  • Ballylickey


September 14 – 24, 2025


  • Evocative stories: from ancient Celts, Christian monks, to heroes of Irish independence
  • Small group intimacy—limited to 12 participants
  • Multi-night stays in high-standard hotels, each in a unique and inspiring setting
  • Classic Irish site visits: the Rock of Cashel, Mizen Head, Garinish Island, Healy Pass, and the Drombeg Stone Circle
  • A delightful culinary scene; opportunities to hear trad music

Trip Description

From medieval Kilkenny to West Cork’s stunning scenery, Ireland is one of Explore Up Close’s “special places,” and this is our latest iteration of an ultimate Ireland itinerary. This trip will be limited to 12 travelers, so it’s an intimate experience in naturally intimate places.

We’ll fly in and out of Cork city, located in the heart of Ireland’s South. Upon landing, we’ll drive to Cashel—a mountainous outcrop (“the Rock of Cashel”) that was the traditional coronation place for ancient Irish kings. Welcome to Ireland! We’ll alight later in the day in the heart of medieval Kilkenny, spanning the River Nore. It’s our jumping off place to visit Jerpoint Abbey (one of Ireland’s most evocative monastic sites), and the lovely village of Thomastown. After two nights in Kilkenny, we’ll travel lovely backroads to the pretty towns of Lismore, Midleton, and Cobh, en route to our home for the next three nights—Kinsale. Stories will range from Cobh’s maritime history, entwined with emigration and the stories of great ships—the Titanic and the Lusitania; to Spanish allies and massive coastal forts; to Jameson’s distillery. Our adventure will naturally build . . . as we enter the headlands-hidden, beach-quaint village world of West Cork. We’ll shift our lodging from Kinsale to Ballylickey, and we’ll see gardens in bloom, ancient stone formations, lovely estates, and village life. We’ll also hear stories on location about Michael Collins and Irish Home Rule, the Great Famine, and Fastnet Rock. The natural beauty is off the charts and will feature mountain vistas and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

We’ll relocate for the last night of our trip in the city of Cork—one of Europe’s emerging stars and a growing tech capital of western Europe.

What's Included

  • Comfortable ground transportation (including yes, by train!)
  • Accommodation for 9 nights
  • Breakfast, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • All touring per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge service throughout the trip

Trip Price

$6,549 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $1,335)

What's Not Included

Price does not include airfare, alcohol, other meals, or optional trip insurance.

. . . well-planned, from interesting and fun excursions planned each day to comfortable lodging and transportation. Our trip leaders, Chumley and Khal, were impressive with their knowledge of each area we explored and gracious in their planning of every aspect of our respective trips.
I highly recommend Explore Up Close. Not only did we enjoy some beautiful cities and landscapes, we learned so much history. They are memory makers!
If you want first-class service within a small group of traveling companions that you can really get to know, then definitely consider Explore Up Close.

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Trip insurance is required for all international trips, in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance or airline tickets. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing airline tickets.

Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip. Our travel agent is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Again, please confirm with Explore Up Close before purchasing your airline tickets or making additional travel arrangements!

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