‘Tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – and a wonderful descending quiet as the children go back to school. September is the month when Ireland starts to reclaim it’s beaches from the busy bucket and spade season, and rural lanes are lined with hedgerows laden with wild blackberries for the picking. Forests and fields are home to wild mushrooms, from the large flat mushrooms found in fairy rings, to varieties like oyster, cep and puffball, among others, buried deep in the heart of the forest floor. Foraging this month can yield some delcious free food.
Ireland in September can also be a place of amazing sunsets. If we are lucky enough to get a few warm sunny days, they end in fiery red, burning orange and deep golden skies that seem to stretch forever. Mornings see gentle mists in the valleys, which slowly burn off as the day warms up. Customary heavy overnight dew this time of year, settles in droplets on the spider’s webs in bushes and shrubs, making them look like they’ve been decorated with fairly lights as they glint in morning sun. September is a beautiful month to explore what Ireland has to offer in vacation terms. This time of year, travellers who don’t have to consider children in their holiday plans can escape for a night or a few nights, and find some really good deals and venues. From city breaks to country hospitality.
Co. Wicklow is a stunning place to visit in September. The mountains and valleys are alive with autumnal colour. Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most scenic spots. Part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which extends across much of this mountaineous landscape. Wildlife is in abundance – foxes, resident and migratory birds, birds of prey and deer can be spotted by those quiet on foot and patient of disposition. You may even see a Common Lizard, which thankfully is the only reptile in these mountains! There are walks, hiking and biking trails throughout the mountains, and lots of equestrian activites too.
The splendour of the Powerscourt Waterfall is also an amazing sight, the highest waterfall in Ireland at 130m. A visit after heavy rain reveals the impressive power of nature at its very best, as this waterfall gushes down the sheer rockface. A walk in the woods at the base of the waterfall is a gentle way to relax, among fresh clean air that sings with the scent and sounds of the woodlands.
Coastal Wicklow includes the seaside town of Bray, with it’s lovely sea front and beach. Bray town centre is a busy place, alive with shops, boutiques, bars, cafes and retaurants.Those who feel energetic may fancy the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk. It’s 7km long and takes an average person about 2 hours to complete – suitable for all abilities. Along the way, perched high over the ocean, you may see a pod of dolphins or porpoises frolicking in the waves, and of course, the odd fishing boat or ferry passing by. Take some binoculars! The walk starts at the bandstand in Bray and ends at Greystones Harbour. Find out more on The Cliff Walk. Afterwards, enjoy a taste of modern and award winning Indian Cuisine at Chakra by Jaipur in Greystones.
A stay in Wickow is a delight at Brooklodge Hotel and Spa. This hotel is set in Macreddin Village, in the Wicklow hills, and has all the outdoor pursuits and tranquility you need on a short break. Enjoy a sumptuous meal in The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, Ireland’s only fully certified Organic restaurant, which serves a menu of organic and wild seasonal foods. This month, on the 15th September travellers can avail of a superb special offer of a One Day Wild Foods Master Class with owner Evan Doyle and his team of chefs, with two course lunch and bed and breakfast. Find out more on the Brooklodge website.
It might be nice to learn a new skill, alongside taking in the city sights in Dublin. The capital is home to the Dublin Cookery School, Lady Eve Cookery School and Donnybrook Fair Cookery School, where lots of day courses and options are available during your stay. ‘Must see’ sights include the historical and ancient Book of Kells at Trinity College, the outdoor space of elegant St Stephen’s Green, and The Guinness Storehouse and museum, which commemorates Ireland’s famous drink made from ‘Liffey Water’! On a visit to the Storehouse, lunch is a treat at Gilroy’s Restaurant. A stroll down the river to the Ha’penny Bridge, or a wander round hipster Temple Bar should always be on the list of things to do in Dublin. The capital has something for everyone – theatre, art, culture. Not forgetting shopping in Grafton Street where all the big names are available alongside some exclusive little boutiques. The Celtic Whiskey Shop has a vast array of whiskeys from all over Ireland and the world, plus other spirits made here and abroad, and rare wines and craft beers. You’ll certainly be occupied for a good while in this shop! The restaurant scene in Dublin includes everything from informal cafes to Michelin star dining. You will be spoilt for choice. We’d recommend Chapter One or L’Ecrivain for Michelin star food, award winning Restaurant FortyOne at Residence for stylish high level cuisine in glamorous surroundings, Cornucopia for healthy and tasty modern vegetarian and vegan specialities, O’Connell’s in Donnybrook for fantastic casual dining using Irish seasonal produce, to name just some places you might want to stop and eat. See our full list of Dublin restaurants here.
WATERFORD CITY AND COUNTY
Waterford City is a great place to vist for history, culture and shopping. Take time to see the famous Waterford Crystal showrooms, where the history of glass making is set and some magnificent pieces show the skills of the craft. Also explore Christ Church Cathedral, dating back to 1779, Stunning Georgian architecture characterises this Church of Ireland Cathedral in the city. Waterford Museum of Treasures is made up of three museums close together in the Viking Triangle, each charting the history of the city from 914, when it was founded by Viking Pirates. The Edmund Rice Heritage Centre celebrates the founder of the Christian and Presentation brothers and he is also mentioned with regard to the Waterford Blaa, a soft white bread roll which was first introduced to Waterford by the Huguenots. Brother Edmund Rice began baking the Blaa in his own bakery in Mount Sion in Waterford in 1802. The Mount Sion area is now home to Walsh’s Bakehouse, makers of the famous Waterford Blaa, which now has protected European PGI status – meaning the Blaa cannot be made outside Waterford. City accommodation is at it’s grandest at the traditional Granville Hotel, right on the river. Service here is impeccable and the location makes it easy to explore all the city has to offer. Dining is available in the Thomas Meagher Bar and Bianconi Restaurant.
Just outside the city, the estate of Faithlegg House provides a perfect relaxing destination for a short break. Faithlegg has a magnificent golf course and gardens. The Roseville Rooms restaurant focusses on local produce,with a special food journey menu devised by Head Chef Jenny Flynn. A special celebration package of dinner in the newly refurbished Roseville Rooms, plus bed and breakast, is available.
Waterford County’s Gold Coast has stunning golden beaches, as the name suggests, and a world class championship golf course at the Gold Coast Golf Club in Dungarvan. Stunning views of Dungarvan Bay and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean for 1.5 miles, this course shows the area at it’s best and provides a fitting challenge for those who like to swing a club! In Dungarvan, food havens include casual dining at Nude Food in the town centre, and modern Irish award winning cuisine from Paul Flynn at The Tannery Restaurant. Accommodation available at the Tannery Townhouse a short walk away from the restaurant. The Tannery Cookery School is also located nearby and runs day courses and demos.
Five star luxury accommodation and Michelin star food is on offer at The Cliff House hotel, a little further along the coast toward Cork, just outside the pretty village of Ardmore. The hotel enjoys a backdrop of the wide open ocean, and some suites have glass walled bathrooms, where you can bathe with uninterrupted views over Ardmore Bay. Michelin starred dining is available at the House Restaurant, and casual dining in the bar. In the village, White Horses Restaurant serves a wonderful casual dining menu, open at weekend during autumn/winter.
The sunny south east corner of Ireland comes into it’s own in Wexford. This county has the lot – beautiful beaches, rural idylls, acres of fertile land which produce the best summer berries and fresh garden produce. Rosslare Harbour is the port for many ferries to Europe. Top attractions include the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross The Hook LIghthouse and Hook Peninsula, Enniscorthy Castle, and for nature lovers, the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve in Ardcavan.
Wexford Town is a busy coastal town, with lively shopping centre. Take your pick from boutiques and bigger name shops. Enjoy the modern Irish food prepared by Warren Gillen at Cistin Eile, the lively cafe ambience in The Yard and Little Yard, or spice it up with some fresh Southern Indian cooking at Spice Restaurant. Fresh fish is a speciality in Wexford, with it’s coastal boundary and close connections to the fishing industry. The county has many Good Food Ireland members dotted in town and county, and you can browse them all here.
You won’t go short of beachwalking in Wexford. There’s a fabulous golden strand of soft sand right outside Kelly’s Resort Hotel in Rosslare. Here’s a family run hotel where you can enjoy fine dining and art, since the Kelly family have one of the best art collections in Ireland, displayed in public rooms and some private rooms.
There are many fruit farms providing the best Irish summer berries in Wexford. Among them, Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants is situated in the heart of all this bounty. Producing fresh blackcurrant in season, frozen fruits all year round and Mr Jeffares Blackcurrant Cordial. You must enjoy a glass while you’re in the area. It’s the toast of Wexford!
Co. Kilkenny is home to Ireland’s most lauded hurling team. The Kilkenny Cats have won the All Ireland Hurling Championships thirty five times and they are always down to the last stages of this competition year after year. The atmosphere in the county is electric during this month, as the Cats make it to the All Ireland finals yet again, taking on Galway in Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday 6th September. Whatever the outcome , if you’re in a local pub in Kilkenny city or county this month, you’ll never be far from a conversation about Kilkenny hurling! Kilkenny city is ancient and historic. It’s beautiful castle is well worth a visit. Set right on the river. Little shops and streets house art galleries and boutiques. The county is home to Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese made in the sleepy village of Stoneyford, with dairy, shop and cafe on site. Goatsbridge Trout farm is also nearby and has a visitor centre and tour of the natural surroundings, deep in the heart of the Kilkenny countryside, where this fesh river trout is farmed. These are the regional foods of the county, and not to be missed. Don’t pass up the opportunity to walk Kilkenny City’s Medieval Mile either, where rich heritage abounds in the narrow streets and historical buildings. Maps are avaiable. Kilkenny is also the home of world class design and crafts, and traditional design houses are to be found in the Castle Yard site. After a browse and a wander, enjoy authentic Italian cooking with Irish ingredients at Ristorante Rinnucini, set just by Kilkenny Castle.
Country house living beckons, in Co. Kilkenny, with a stay at Mount Juliet house and estate. The house is set in a private estate which includes trout and salmon fishing, equestrian opportunites and the famous Ballylinch Stud, where prize racehorses are bred. Mount Juliet has a huge connection to Irish racing, and displays winners from the stud in one of it’s public rooms. The Lady Helen Restaurant is Michelin starred and offers a full tasting menu each evening – always featuring local and Irish produce.