• Mountains, museums and music in Ireland’s Ancient East.

    This weekend, we travelled to Waterford and Kilkenny as we continued on our mission to find the best places in Ireland to visit, to include in our upcoming season’s BEYOND THE GLASS ADVENTURE TOURS.

    We began on Saturday morning with a trip to the Comeragh Mountains. This mountain range lies in the South-East of Ireland, between Clonmel, Dungarvan and Waterford City.

    One of the most beautiful parts of the mountain range is Coumshingaun and it is here where we started our walk. Despite the rain and mist it was a very enjoyable hill walk and there were still some spectacular views and crazy skies. Coumshingaun Lake is a beauty to behold and a fine example of a glaciated corrie lake. The ridge that surrounds the lake makes for a fine Summer’s day hill walk, alas today it was shrouded in cloudsso we left that hiking adventure for another day.

    Waterford City, Ireland’s oldest city established by the Vikings, is a really great place to visit at any time of year. On Saturday night it was bustling with life. The 2018 Winterval Festival had just been launched. There were numerous markets and food stalls set up in the Viking Triangle area of the city, lovely for some stress free shopping and for grabbing a tasty burger. “Kila”, one of Ireland’s finest musical groups, played a free gig at the recently developed Apple Market. The superb music resonating in this great setting made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It was so lovely to see children, teenagers and adults alike, all enjoying the fantastic music.

    On Sunday we explored some of Kilkenny City. We called into Saint Mary’s Cathedral and took a stroll around the streets of the Marble City. In the afternoon, we visited the fantastic new Medieval Mile museum. The museum was definitely worth visiting. The church where the museum is situated has been beautifully renovated to create a wonderful space. There are many items of interest on display in the museum including Medieval coins and buttons, ornate tombstones and beautiful Celtic crosses and old letters. Together it tells the story of medieval Kilkenny very well. This museum is definitely a great addition to the city.

  • Hiking along the river Barrow, County Carlow, Ireland.

    Some photos taken yesterday along the river Barrow just outside Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, Ireland.

    The Barrow is the second longest river in Ireland. It is one of three rivers that form the three sisters, the river Suir and the river Nore being the other two. The Barrow is a fantastic river for outdoor adventures. It is a popular river for kayaking and its towpath makes it an ideal location for a cycling and hiking.

    Yesterday the river was alive with both wildlife and people. Geese, Ducks and a Heron were hanging out by the weir close to the town. Locals were walking, jogging and cycling along the towpath. The towpath runs alonside the river beneath trees who’s remaining leafs were in wonderful Autumnal colours.

  • Biking, Hiking & Surfing in Kerry (Day 1 of 2)

    A two-day activity-filled break in Killarney was just the answer for the Beyond The Glass team last week to blow off the office cobwebs. Biking, hiking and surfing in Ireland’s Kingdom county of Kerry located on the rugged south-west coast of Ireland, more fondly known today as the Wild Atlantic Way. County Kerry features in a lot of our Beyond The Glass 2017 Tours and is a real favourite with all our customers. This blog should give you a flavour of what you’ll experience on one of our tours.

    Day 1 in Killarney

    When you arrive into the town of Killarney you quickly see why it is one of the top tourist destinations in Ireland. It is surrounded by Mountains and Lakes. It’s beauty is breath taking and naturally spectacular and there’s an infectious buzz that makes it a perfect destination for an adrenaline filled adventure tour. The town itself has some amazing restaurants and great shopping, and the expanse of the adjacent Killarney National Park has endless options for activity.

    Starting with a Cardiac Workout up Torc Mountain.

    Torc Waterfall was our starting point, approximately 7 kilometers outside the town. We ascended the locally known ‘cardiac steps’ towards Torc waterfall, a name derived from the annual adventure race that sees athletes running up these steps. We took the gentler option of walking the steps to arrive to the top of the picturesque Torc waterfall. Leaving the bulk of the Tourists behind we then ventured onto the Kerry way. Walking in the shade of ancient oaks until  the path led to open Mountain. The Kerry Way carried on in a south westerly direction but we veered North West to climb to the top of Torc Mountain. On the summit, although just 535 meters high, we were greeted by splendid views of Killarney’s lakes and the McGillycuddy Reeks beyond.

    Following a relaxed and very tasty lunch we took to our bikes to explore the nineteenth century Muckross House and its adjoining gardens. The House and Gardens are set within the larger Killarney National Park and have extensive pathways which are perfect for a gentle cycle. We peddled through the Park while taking in the full beauty of the House and Gardens. The gardens run up to the shore of Muckross Lake, the lake side path which circles the lake makes for a lovely shore side cycle; today we chose to explore the ancient ruins of Muckross Abbey, an old Irish Monastery. The evening light and wild flowers that grow between the fallen stones brought an air of wonder about the place. After a quiet moment at the abbey we took the cycle path that links the park to the town of Killarney and cycled the 7 km to the 15th century Ross castle. The once chieftain stronghold looks very impressive. It stands on the edge of Lough Leane and beyond are Purple and Tommies mountains giving the perfect back drop. The evening was drawing to a close but  there still were a few people on vacation exploring the park. To get back to the town we entered the section of the park beside Ross castle and cycled the short few kilometers past the wild deer that freely roam the park and the rare breed Kerry cow that has been preserved in the area.  As we settled into Killarney for the night we looked forward to the prospects of the next day’s adventure in Dingle.