Clonmel, the capital of Tipperary, is the unassuming gateway to the region. A working town, largely unspoiled by tourism, Clonmel (whose name in Gaelic, Cluaín Meala, means “Meadows of Honey”) makes a pleasant strategic touring base. Looking at this sleepy place on the banks of the Suir, it’s hard to believe that it once withstood a Cromwellian siege for 3 brutal months.
North of Clonmel and deep in the Tipperary countryside, Cashel, with its monastic buildings and dramatic setting, is not to be missed. From Cahir, there’s a gorgeous drive north through the Galtee Mountains to the pristine 11km (7-mile) Glen of Aherlow, a secluded and scenic pass between the plains of counties Tipperary and Limerick.
Petticoat Loose & Other Scenic Diversions
Driving up from County Waterford, you might want to travel via the Vee Gap, an 18km-long (11-mile) road winding through the Knockmealdown Mountains from Lismore and Cappoquin in County Waterford, to Clogheen in County Tipperary. It's a dramatic drive, which peaks at the Tipperary-Waterford border, where the two slopes of the pass converge to frame the patchwork fields of the Galtee Valley far below.
At this point, numerous walking trails lead to the nearby peaks and down to the mountain lake of Petticoat Loose—named after a, shall we say, lady of flexible morals. A more edifying local character was Samuel Grubb, who so loved these slopes that he left instructions to be buried upright overlooking them. Look for the rounded stone cairn off the road between Clogheen and the Vee Gap, where Samuel does indeed stand entombed, facing the Golden Vale of Tipperary.
The Vee Gap also has some terrific walking paths. About 2km (1 1/4 miles) north of R669 and R668, you reach the highest point in the gap; a parking lot is here, as well as a dirt road continuing down to a lake—Bay Lough—nestled into the slope below. This dirt road, once the main thoroughfare over the gap, now offers a fine walk to the shores of the lake, with outstanding views of the valley to the north. For a panoramic perspective of the region, start walking due east from the gap parking lot to the summit of Sugarloaf Hill; the hike is extremely steep, but well worth the effort—the views from the ridge are superb.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.