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Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Dublin to Kilkenny and Kilkenny Sightseeing

Arrive at Dublin Airport and pick up your rental car. From here, use your Irish Tourism suggested itinerary to travel onwards to Kilkenny. Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. The City is a pleasure to stroll around with its cobbled streets, colourful cafes and lovely craft shops.

An essential stop for any craft lover in the city is the Kilkenny Design Centre, located close to Kilkenny Castle. The design centre stocks Jewellery, Knitwear, Celtic Gifts, China & Crystal, Pottery & Glass, Home & Fashion Accessories and other Irish handcrafted gifts. The Castle Yard is also home to the National Craft Gallery which features works by Irish and international designers, artists and makers across a variety of disciplines who share a passion for their chosen field. The Craft Gallery often have Textile exhibitions on display which may be of particular interest to those on knitting and craft tours of Ireland.

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Day 2: Discovering Knitting and Craft in Kilkenny County

Kilkenny has long had the reputation for being a hub of creativity and you will find craft makers scattered throughout the County. Travelling south today your first stop may well be Nicholas Mosse Pottery, situated in an old Mill building, their pottery is loved here in Ireland and further afield. At the studio you can see the pottery makers in action.

Nearby we recommend you stop at Bennett Bridge Farm where Suzanna Crampton farms the Zwartables breed of sheep which produce a very distinctive yarn. Tour the farm, see the raw fleece or the spun Zwartbles and Alpaca yarn and meet the sheep who will come right up to you! Travel onward to the nearby Cushendale Mill where the Zwartables Yarn is spun and made into quality Woollen products. Some other stops that are worth visiting today include Kells Priory, one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland and Jerpoint Abbey, a ruined Cistercian Abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century. Return to Kilkenny City where you have a fantastic choice of places to eat and drink. Famous pubs include Langtons Bar and Matt the Millers. As part of your tour, tickets for the ‘Smithwick’s Experience’ are included. This famous Irish Ale was first secretly produced in Kilkenny by monks in 1231 and this atmospheric tour culminates with a pint of this now world renowned Ale.

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Day 3: Kilkenny to Cork and Hedgehog Fibres

There are two options for your journey to Cork today and your Irish Tourism itinerary will help you choose which way to go; via the famous Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle followed by Blarney Castle or by Waterford City and its many wonderful historical museums. Both touring routes offer you the chance to stop at Hedgehog Fibres; an Irish artisan fibre and yarn dyeing studio located in Cork.

The studio was started by Beata Jezek after she saw a gap in the market for soft yarns in vibrant colours. Staff will be on hand to talk to you about the yarn and you may purchase some if you wish before you move on. Cork City centre is surrounded by interesting waterways and is filled with great restaurants and arguably the best food scene in the country. Cork's individuality is reflected in contemporary buildings, bars and arts centres. The best of the city is still happily traditional though – snug pubs with live-music sessions most of the week, excellent local produce and a genuinely proud welcome from the locals.

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Day 4: Cork Sightseeing

Today you have the option to take a break from driving and explore Cork city by foot or by bus. The city has a great number of great places to visit including the historic Cork City Gaol, The Church of Saint Anne Shandon often referred to by the locals as ‘the four faced liar’ and St Finbarre’s Cathedral. A nice place to get your bearings is The English Market, a covered fruit and vegetable market established in the 1600s and a famous Cork meeting point.

From here you can easily explore the city centre on foot perhaps making your way to Paul Street noted for its ethnic restaurants, chic bars, trendy bookshops and boutiques. Across the river on Bridge Street, Vibes and Scribes is a good place to stock up on yarns and other knitting paraphernalia and about 5 minutes’ walk from Vibes and Scribes you will find the Cork Button Company where you will find beautiful buttons in many different materials for your knitting projects. If you do decide to venture further afield your Irish Tourism itinerary will detail plenty of touring options for you. You could visit nearby Cobh and Midleton, the latter famous for its Jameson Whiskey distillery and the former known for its immigration museums. Alternatively you could visit the pretty town of Kinsale with its stunning Marina.

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Day 5: Cork to Kerry and Killarney Sightseeing

There are two options for your journey to Killarney today, take the scenic route via the Sheep’s Head Peninsula where every year The Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival is held or travel directly. The short journey to Killarney will allow you to do some sightseeing in and around Killarney Town today or the option of touring the stunning Ring of Kerry.

In Killarney itself, pay a visit to Muckross House and Gardens and Mucros Weavers. For over thirty years Mucros Weavers have produced quality woven accessories, colourful scarves, stoles, capes and rugs, are made from materials such as wool, mohair and alpaca. In the craft workshop visitors can see spinning and weaving carried out the traditional way. If you feel like doing some more touring you could also travel the Ring of Kerry today. This famous driving route takes in colourful villages and traditional coastal communities. There is also the opportunity to take a walk on the miles and miles of unspoilt and near deserted beaches. In Kenmare stop off at Kenmare Lace where there is an antique lace exhibition on display and lacemaking demonstrations are available.

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Day 6: The Dingle Peninsula

Today you have the option to travel to the fishing town of Dingle today as well as touring the dramatic Dingle Peninsula. On the way to Dingle we recommend that you stop by Kerry Woollen Mills in Beaufort which is not far outside Killarney. This mill has been creating fabrics and yarn from fine wool for more than 300 years.

Staying faithful to the traditions of its founders, the mill uses modern weaving technology, joining tradition with contemporary styling needed for today's discerning customers. You can buy beautiful yarn for your knitting projects on site. The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. Dingle is also haven for craft makers with several studios in and around the peninsula. You will find a full list of craft stops in your touring itinerary and you can choose the ones you would like to visit. Of particular interest to you may be Lisbeth Mulcahy’s Weavers and Commodum Art and Design centre which stocks a great selection of Irish yarns.

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Day 7: Return to Dublin

There are two options to return to Dublin from Killarney, the most direct route will take you via the pretty town of Adare with its colourful thatched cottages and historic ruins or travel via Cahir Castle and the famous Rock of Cashel. You can read more about each stop on your itinerary which should help you decide which way you would like to go.

On arrival in Dublin if the weather is nice you might decide to talk a walk in Dublin’s famous ‘Stephen’s Green’ or check out the shops and cafes on Grafton Street, stopping like many people do to take a picture with Molly Malone, one of Dublin’s most famous statues. You may feel like learning more about Ireland’s political history by taking a trip to Leinster House where the current parliament sits or Dublin Castle which was the seat of English rule from the 13th Century. Dublin Castle also houses the Chester Beatty Library which displays manuscripts, prints, miniature paintings and early printed books from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. This evening, take another opportunity to check out Dublin’s traditional music and pub scene. Knitting stops that you won’t want to miss when visiting Dublin include The Constant Knitter, This is Knit and Springwools which is just outside the city. You will find details for those and other craft stops in your full itinerary.

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