Kilkenny is close to the route Dublin to Cork, so that would be my first choice, then Waterford city which is just slightly further away. As you've said you're other two choices are further so I'd leave those for another trip.
The Dublin to Cork road is very good now, almost motorway all the way and without stops will take you just over two and a half hours (traffic dependent).
Yes, I like those two choices.
Alternatively you could stay at Roundwood in County Wicklow first (only about 90 mins driving) and the scenery there is superb, you could visit Glendalough Monastic settlement, Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall, and Russborough House.
Next night could be Kilkenny as already mentioned. The castle is a MUST DO, try and get a guided tour rather than a DIY, visit the Smithwicks Brewery. The brewery tours are set to run again this summer. I'm waiting for confirmation on that. This tour http://www.kilkennycitytours.ie/ is a great way to see the city. I don't think this is a hop on/hop off tour, but you do get to see the highlights and you can then walk back to them for further exploration if you want to. A walking tour is always a great way to see any city, so check this out http://www.kilkennytourism.ie/walking_tours or here is a great self guided walking tour with tons of info http://www.knockahopple.com/Kilkenny.pdf
Enjoy - whatever you do.
You could take the motorway to Waterford which is on the coast and then next day continue on via Dungarvan, Youghal ,Midleton and towards Cork city which will take you along through so nice sea and mountain terrain. You could then spare a night and still not do too much driving. If you wanted to spend a second night somewhere, I'd suggest somewhere like Ballycotton, a small fishing village in east Cork.
Just to update you on the Smithwicks tour. It's not yet up and running. It has been closed for the past year while they "upgrade" it. Must be some upgrade !! It's supposed to be open July/August but no firm date yet. If you follow them on Facebook they will announce it's opening. Hopefully soon.
Dungarvan !!! What the heck have I missed in Dungarvan?
I would always go for Kilkennny everytime for at least one night. The town itself is special and there is a choice wonderful drives you can take down to Cork depending on whether you take the coastal route or through the mountains of Waterford and Tipperary. I would say avoid the motorways as much as possible in favour of the lesser roads where you can stop at small towns such as Ardmore, Lismore, Youghal, and certainly Dungarvan and Clonakilty as well.
-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.
To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html
We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.