Munster is one of the 4 provinces of Ireland, located in the south of the island. In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a “king of over-kings”. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were divided into counties for administrative and judicial purposes.
Today, the province is broken up into 6 counties. Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford are spread across an area of almost 25,000 km². Cork is the largest county here while Waterford remains the smallest.
Although the province is spread over a relatively small area of land, ways of life can differ drastically from county to county. For example, Waterford sits in Ireland’s sunny southeast, while Clare finds itself along the windy Wild Atlantic Way. In Cork, you will find hurling to be the sport of choice for locals, while its neighbor Kerry prefers the larger ball of Gaelic football.
No matter what type of person you are or whatever activities you like to seek out when on your travels, Munster will cover your every need. So, what part of Munster is best suited for you?
CLARE – Watersports
County Clare is known for many things. Whether it be its craggy coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way, Irelands most visited tourist attraction, The Cliffs of Moher, or what it’s most commonly known for is its extraordinary setting for hitting the water. Clare prides itself on being one of the best-surfing destinations in the entire world!
Adrenaline junkies come from across the globe to participate in watersports along the Atlantic Ocean waters in the wild and windy conditions in the west of Ireland. Plenty of surfers hit the waves at Fanore and Doughmore beaches, while people wishing to take part in kayaking or canoeing usually head to the pretty seaside towns of Kilkee and Doolin.
CORK– City break
Since Cork is Irelands largest county, you would be right if you assumed that there are numerous activities to keep you entertained here. Lonely Planet boldly claimed, “Everything good about Ireland can be found in Cork”. You can explore National Parks, take a stroll on a beautiful beach, stumble across ancient relics, but one thing you must do while you’re here is visit Cork City.
Ireland’s second city is second to none when it comes to a city break in Ireland. Known as the ‘food capital of Ireland’, cuisine lovers will be delighted to eat out at one of the top-rated restaurants in the area. Visit the famous English Market, essentially a free museum. Stop by the free to enter Crawford Art Gallery, or wander through the historical narrow alleyways and embrace the Irish atmosphere.
KERRY – Nature / Outdoors
Kerry is one of Irelands most visited counties, and after visiting you can see why. Its rugged coastline is everything you would associate with Ireland. Beautiful landscape, small villages dotted around the countryside, and a giant oil painting of green scenery. Although the accent from the locals can be difficult to understand at times, they are still one of the friendliest across the land.
A popular destination for tourists is Killarney. Once you step foot in this small but lively town, you still get the sense that you’re surrounded by nature, and that’s because you are. The Killarney National Park spans across an area of 103 km²! If the smell of the countryside and the impressive scenery isn’t enough for you Muckross House Gardens are just 6km away.
LIMERICK – Off the beaten track
Limerick is often overlooked by tourists for cities such as Galway or Cork or rural countryside’s to its neighbors Kerry and Clare. The upside to this is the fact that the area is not falling into the trap of over-tourism. Visiting here means that you will be supporting sustainable travel and will have a unique story to tell about your trip to Ireland.
Just because Limerick is off the beaten track, it does not mean that you won’t find ways to entertain yourself here. On cold winter days, you can keep warm inside one of the many interesting museums here such as The Hunt Museum and the Limerick Museum. On a warm summer’s day, you can go shopping in Irelands third largest city or step back in time and visit King John’s Castle.
TIPPERARY – Culture / Traditions
Tipperary feels like a region that is still stuck in the 20th century. You either love it or hate it. If you’re into shopping for designer brands, built-up areas, and explosive nightlife, this may not be the place for you. On the other hand, if fresh country air, freedom from crowds and experiencing old traditions of Ireland, then this may just be the place for you!
One of the main traditions of the county is fox hunting, which is still legal here and is in full swing during the winter months of the year. Exploring traditional Irish villages will lay a warm and friendly welcome upon you. While you’re here, you will be amazed by the number of pubs you can spot in one small village! A must-visit attraction here is Lár na Páirce Museum, where you can learn all about the beloved Irish sport.
WATERFORD – History
Waterford may be Munster’s’ smallest county but it packs a big punch. Not only is it Munster’s smallest county, but it is also the Republic of Ireland’s smallest city. Where better to learn about the history of Ireland than in Irelands oldest city! Being Irelands oldest, you would be right in assuming that this charming city is packed to the brim with history and museums.
As the region is conveniently located in Ireland’s sunny southeast, you will have the perfect opportunity to get lost in the history of the city, hopping from the Medieval Museum to the King of the Viking’s Museum. As you move away from the city, you will come across the seaport town of Dungarvan, where you can wander through the Dungarvan Castle then boost your knowledge of the history of Ireland at the County Museum.
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