A pass through the Knockmealdown mountains with a road that links Clogheen with Lismore. The road passes The Old Convent and rises over the mountains, providing spectacular views and access to walking routes. It also provides a more scenic route to Cork, via Lismore and Tallow, than the main N8 road. However, The Vee is probably most famous for its magnificent display of Rhododendrons, entire hillsides and woods full of them. These usually flower in late May and early June.
Right on our doorstep, offers mostly easy walks with no great technical difficulties.
(40km by car) is the most written about mountain in Ireland - in poem and song. It offers an easy climb to a spectacular 360 degree view. Slievenamon is a single mountain sitting in the Golden Vale. As such it has a spectacular all round view of the valley, the other three mountain ranges, the river Suir and beyond. Just about all of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford can be seen, and even further on really clear days. Slievenamon is at the centre of many Irish legends.
The Comeragh Mountains
(33km by car), in County Waterford, offer a fine ridge walk (the Knockanaffrin Ridge) and a high boggy plateau surrounded by coombes (corries). The most spectacular coombe is Coumshingaun, reputed to be the most perfectly formed mountain coombe in Europe and regularly visited by international geology students.
The Galtee Mountains
Crowned by the twin summit of Galteemore and its lower neighbour Galteebeg, Galteemore is the only 3000ft peak in Ireland that is not in one of the coastal ranges. On the summit you can stand with one foot in Tipperary and one in Limerick.
Coumshingaun is located on the eastern side of the Comeragh Mountains. Coumshingaun Lough, the lake within Coumshingaun, lies 1263 feet (385m) below the lip of the plateau. Great care is needed to access the view because of the steepness and the slippery nature of the grass. Since the Comeragh plateau is quite boggy it is not recommended to walk on the plateau following periods of heavy rain.
Mitchelstown Cave is one of the best show caves in Ireland. It is just 14km from The Old Convent, about 2km west of Burncourt, and about 3km off the main N8 road. The section open to the public contains three very large chambers and a wide variety of formations and fossils. The 9m high 'Tower of Babel' is one of Europe's finest columns. Access is down a stone staircase with a handrail. From there on the flat floor of the cave offers easy walking. The short walk up to the cave entrance from the car park also provides a fine view of the Galtee Mountains.
Lismore Castle and Art Gallery
Lismore Castle and Art Gallery are located on the river Blackwater in Lismore, County Waterford, just over the Knockmealdowns from The Old Convent. The castle has been the Irish home of the Dukes of Devonshire, who also own Chatsworth and Bolton Abbey in the UK, since 1753. The gardens are open to visitors from March 17th to September 30th and, in addition to a wide variety of specimen plants, are home to a number of contemporary sculptures, including one by Antony Gormley who created the famous "Angel of the North" in northern England. Adele Astair, the sister and original dancing partner of the famous Fred Astaire, married Lord Charles Cavendish, the younger brother of the Ninth Duke, and lived at the castle. Fred was a regular visitor to the castle and also liked to relax informally in Maddens bar in the town which is just a short walk from the castle.
Cahir Castle is located right in the centre of the town on the river Suir. Built in 1142 it is one of Ireland's largest and best preserved castles. It has featured in two major films, "Tristan and Isolde" (with Richard Burton) and "Excalibur", which features early screen appearances from Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne. It also features Helen Mirren and was directed by John Boorman.
The Swiss Cottage
The Swiss Cottage is located alongside the river Suir about 2km south of the Castle in Cahir. There is a footpath alongside the river from the Castle or it can be reached, with a much shorter walk, from a car park in the Cahir Town Park along the R670 Cahir to Ardfinnan road. It was built as a cottage orné by Richard Butler, the first Earl of Glengall and is not really Swiss. It got its name from local people who thought it looked Swiss. It was designed by the famous Regency architect John Nash who also designed St. Pauls Church in Cahir.
The Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is possibly the most photographed antiquity in Ireland and features frequently on the cover of guidebooks. Originally built as a fort in the 4th century it became the seat of the kings of Munster. The famous Brian Ború was crowned king of Munster here in 977 and later went on to become the first king of all Ireland. The Rock was granted to the church in 1101 with work beginning on the chapel in 1127.
Brú Ború (the palace of Ború), at the foot of the Rock, is a heritage centre incorporating a theatre, a restaurant, craft centre, genealogy suite and other facilities. Regular shows feature Irish music, song and dance from a professional group who also travel worldwide to perform for heads of state and at major events.