Located just a couple of hours' drive from Dublin, Cork, Galway or Limerick, the sunny south-east makes a perfect weekend getaway. It's one of the country's most scenic and visited areas and, for me, is a place that gets better with repeat visits.
There are plenty of highlights in the region - here are a few of them:
Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Resort
From the moment you pull into Faithlegg's driveway you get the feeling you are entering grandeur. And so it proves.
The rooms are beautifully decorated and preserved to give a distinctive old world feel, while the suites themselves are some of the finest in the country.
Add in the Estuary Spa - which has a range of pampering services - a swimming pool, the golf course, and plenty of local walking options, and one can use the hotel as a fantastic healthy weekend getaway.
However, if you want to indulge, the onsite Roseville Rooms Restaurant is one of the finest restaurants in the region, and serves some of the best French fare in the country.
Dunbrody Famine Ship
New Ross is home to the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Emigrant Experience, which is one of Ireland's best-run and most-visited tourist attractions.
The ship is a replica of an 1840s emigrant vessel, and through a combination of the ship, a museum and a dramatic reconstruction, one gets a very rounded portrait of life in Ireland during that era - and what life would have been like for an emigrant to the New World.
The ship provides a valuable insight into why so many Irish folk left these shores, with the exhibition providing an excellent statistical insight into how many left and where they settled. For history buffs it really is a must.
La Boheme and Bodéga Restaurants
Waterford City has several excellent eating options, but the pick of the bunch are La Boheme and Bodéga.
La Boheme, with Eric Théze as Head Chef, is a must-visit when in town. The eatery is located in the vaults of the Port of Waterford building and was lovingly transformed by Théze himself in 2006 to create an intimate and tranquil brasserie below street level.
In these recessionary times, Théze prides himself on providing food at a fair price. His motto is "love food, spend less", and his combination of French cuisine with local Irish ingredients produces unique results.
Ten minutes' walk from La Boheme is Bodéga, which has a completely different vibe. It also prides itself on using local produce, but is more of a blend of Mediterranean and Irish cuisines. In addition, the atmosphere is far livelier and Latin-flavoured.
Both restaurants excel at what they do and also link up to provide tasting menus, which start in one restaurant before your party walks over to the other restaurant to continue. If you only have one night in town, this is a great way to eat at both. Get in touch with either restaurant to find out more.
You can take your pick of many, many beautiful locations for a stroll and view of the Irish or Celtic Seas in the sunny south-east, but my favourite spot is Hook Head.
Located right at the point where the River Suir and the River Barrow join the Celtic Sea, on a clear day the view out over the water is breathtaking. A walk along the coastal path that leads down to the Head doesn't take long and provides you with a front-row seat to one of Ireland's most stunning vistas.
In addition, Hook Head Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world at over 800 years and counting. You can take a guided tour of it and make your way to the top. The view allows you to cast your eye out over the sea, as well as back across Wexford and Waterford.
Like vistas, Ireland has an unbelievable amount of beautiful beaches. One of the best long, sandy beaches is Tramore Beach. It has the feel of a bygone era in many ways. On a sunny day it's full of families on a day out, with kids running about the place building sandcastles and generally getting up to mischief.
These days, low-cost airlines jet Irish folk off to all parts of Europe to get some real, hardcore sun, but a day at an Irish beach reminds me of a time before Michael O'Leary changed the face of air travel in Europe.
Heading down to Tramore and grabbing an ice cream, while hoping the sun is going to appear for more than five minutes, is for me a quintessential Irish experience and one that I always like to do when in the area.
If you want to get a bit more hipster on your trip to Tramore then grab a bite to eat in Brooklyn Café at the Pavilion. Built right on the promenade, this is a real good value Italian eatery that serves tasty thin-base pizzas and other European-style food. It's a perfect place to satisfy your munchies and also escape the inevitable downpour!
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