Off the beaten track with Chill Insurance

“The journey not the arrival matters.” –T.S. Eliot

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Pack the crisps, a ‘Now that’s what I call music’ CD (showing my age now aren’t I?) and hit the road with your favourite travel buddy. The great thing about our beautiful country is that you really don’t have to go far to experience some culture. From historic sites to breathtaking lanscapes, Ireland really has a lot to offer.

Chill Car Insurance have recently just released an ebook which describes some fantastic journeys you can take this summer in Ireland, and in collaboration with them I
am delighted to bring you my all time favourite road trip in Ireland.

I live in Dublin but hail from the Sunny South East. It’s no surprise then that my road trip starts in the capital and takes you down to Carlow and Kilkenny to see some of my favourite spots.

Coming off the motorway into Carlow head towards Borris.

Borris is a beautiful town with views of Mount Lenister and The Black Stairs.Keep driving and you will come to Borris House. This historic building is not only a super popular spot for weddings and events (Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas being my favourite) it also holds a very important place in the nation’s history. It is the ancestral home of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs who were one of the very few ancient families to remain in possession of their land.

By now you probably fancy a coffee and you’re in luck, just across the road is The Step House. Another favourite for Brides and Grooms, this charming townhouse turned boutique hotel is the pefect spot for a latte and maybe something sweet.

It’s now nearly time to head for the next destination but driving out of Borris be sure to stop off for a look at the Viaduct, an amazing construction built in the 1800s linking Carlow to Wexford.

The next stop is St.Mullins. This beautiful little village is named after St. Moling who built the monastery here. The monastery was plundered by the Vikings and an Abbey was built on the site. Today you can see the remains of the abbey and visit the grave of Thomas Cloney who was a general in the 1798 rebellion.

You will also see a Norman Motte and make sure you visit St. Moling’s well, known for its healing powers.

It’s probably lunchtime now and you can enjoy this in one of my all time favourite places to eat. Head down towards the River Barrow and enjoy your food in The Mullichain Cafe watching the boats pass by. Take me out of Dublin and onto the Barrow any day of the week!

After a lovely lunch it’s time to hit our next spot and my favourite place in the world, Graignamanagh. Crossing the seven arch bridge, you are now in Co.Kilkenny. Full disclosure, I grew up here so my opinion may be slightly biased.

Your first stop has to be the beautiful Duiske Abbey, a 13th century Cistercian Monastery. The elaborate interior is really special.

Next you’ll get to indulge your creative side. Make sure to visit Duiske Glass to pick up a memento from your trip and Cushendale Woolen Mills where you can take a tour of the mill.

See more about Duiske Glass here.See more about the Woolen Mill here.

Next we head down to the river, the beating heart of the town. Sit on the bench with a view of the bridge and forget all your problems.

I’m a bit of a coffee addict so at this point I’d be looking for another spot to get my fix. The Waterside is a beautiful guesthouse that sits beside the river and serves the nicest coffee and chocolate cake.

If you’re lucky enough not to be a designated driver why not treat yourself to a pint of the black stuff before you head home. Mick Doyle’s Bar and Grocery is an institution in Graignamanagh at this stage and you can get anything from a needle to an anchor in here. I settled for a pint of Guinness.

Graignamangh has a great selection of other watering holes and eateries, too many to mention in this post.So that’s it, it’s back in the car and off home. Take That bringing me all the way to Ranelagh.

*This post was done in collaboration with Chill Insurance.

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