It doesn’t take long to feel like you’re deep into the Irish countryside as you travel to the counties south of Dublin. For a start, the accent changes—subtly but unmistakably, a mellifluous dialect creeps in, peppered with unique words and phrases (remnants, so it is said, of the ancient Yola language once spoken in the region). The three main counties of the Southeast—Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny—are close enough together that you could use any as a base for exploring the region by car. Like everywhere in Ireland, you sense the layers of history all around you here, but the Southeast has one particular claim to fame—it’s Viking country! Waterford was the seat of the Norse invasion of Ireland, and Waterford City has plenty left to see of that unique heritage. “City,” by the way, is a relative term out here: despite being the largest population center of the region, it is home to just 46,000 residents.