Celtic Routes – Hero Route

Part 1 Wales / Part 2 Ireland

Welcome to the Celtic Routes Grand Tour. This is a tour in 2 parts. One route meanders through West Wales. The other explores parts of Ireland’s Ancient East. Celtic Route Wales and Celtic Route Ireland are connected through the ferry ports of Fishguard in Wales and Rosslare in Ireland. Together they form the Celtic Routes Grand Tour.








Grand Tour

Take the Slow Road

The Irish and Welsh routes can be travelled in one journey or individually at different times. Each route is circular, beginning and ending at the ferry port which connects these 2 Celtic lands. Circular they maybe, but circuits they are not. Detours are encouraged and take as many pit-stops as you want. Slow down and take time to uncover the Celtic influences which have shaped these lands.

Let Curiosity Be Your Compass

The routes take you through mountains as old as the hills. And along dramatic Celtic coasts. There are towns filled with character and places to enjoy local food and drink. But we encourage you to head off the main route to take roads less travelled to get closer to the Celtic Spirit. You may not be able to touch it or see it. But you can feel it and you can sense it. It’s the impression of being somewhere special. Somewhere timeless. It’s something which people have experienced through the ages. Something which makes people feel they belong, and which draws people back. We call it the Celtic Spirit.

Discovery Points

At times you’ll want to get out of the car, put on your walking boots, and see Ireland and Wales in hi-definition. It’s the little things that make the difference. The things that you miss if you are driving a car. On foot, you can take the time to explore, taste, touch, meet and chat. So, along the routes we’ve suggested places to stop or to wander off- the beaten track. Places which will lead you closer to nature and places which will take you back in time. Places where you can enjoy the land, the sea and the sky.


Hero Route Wales

Fishguard - Cardigan - Aberystwyth - Lampeter - Carmarthen - Haverfordwest - Fishguard

1. Day #1
Start and End Point: Stage 1 - Fishguard to Cardigan


A ferry has connected Fishguard with Rosslare since 1906. But the seafaring connections between Pembrokeshire and County Wexford go back much further. Picturesque lower Fishguard developed as a herring fishery and port, trading with Ireland as well as Bristol and Liverpool in England.


Fishguard and neighbouring Goodwick are famous as the location for the last invasion of Britain. The Royal Oak Pub in the centre of Fishguard is where the peace treaty between the British and French was signed. The French were thwarted by a group of women in traditional Welsh dress and hats. Reputedly the French mistook them for British soldiers.


Did you know?

In 1971, Hollywood A-listers descended on Lower Fishguard which formed the set for the film version of Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.


Follow the A487 heading north through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. To the left is the Irish Sea. To the right the mysterious Preseli Mountains.


Detour: Ynys Dinas Peninsula

At the Village of Dinas Cross, turn left and take the road towards the Ynys Dinas peninsula. On the eastern edge you’ll find the hamlet and beach of Cwm yr Eglwys. Overlooking the beach lie the ruins of St Brynach's church which was destroyed in the great storm of 1859. From here you can wander to the beautiful hidden beach of Pwllgwaelod in the Cwm Dewi valley, which is rich in wildlife. Or walk a part of the Wales Coast path around Ynys Dinas.


At Newport the A487 heads into the Preseli Mountains. Here the National Park extends inland.



Shortly after Newport lies the hamlet of Nevern. A small place with big history. Once a key administrative centre. Here, you can sense the past around every corner. There’s the remains of a motte and bailey castle above the village and an ancient bridge. This is a truly spiritual place. The Norman church was built over much older remains. The Nevern Celtic Cross on the south side of the church features the Vitalianus Stone inscribed in Latin and a stone carved with the Irish Ogham script. You’ll also hear tales of pilgrims, the Holy Grail and a Yew tree that bleeds.


Get your boots on.

From Nevern you can follow ancient tracks through the timeless and atmospheric landscape of the Preseli Hills. So mesmerising, it’s known in Welsh as “Gwlad Hud a Lledrith”, meaning ‘Land of Magic and Enchantment’. Here you will feel close to the Celtic Spirit. Dotted across the wild moorland, heath and grassland are prehistoric remains, burial cairns and Iron Age hill forts. For many the highlight is Pentre Ifan Burial ground. Its mystery and sense of wonder is heightened by its surroundings and the backdrop of Carn Ingli – the “Mountain of Angels”.


Did you know?

The Preseli Mountains are the source of the famous Pembrokeshire ‘bluestones’ that were used to build Stonehenge as well as Pentre Ifan itself.


Continue on the A487, through the villages of Felindre Farchog and Eglwyswyrw  towards the town of Cardigan.


Detour: Cilgerran and Cenarth

At Penybryn, you can turn right and head towards the village of Cilgerran. Situated on the southern bank of the River Teifi, Cilgerran offers opportunities to get closer to nature and to history. Magnificent Cilgerran Castle is perched above the dramatic Teifi Gorge. Nature lovers will want to spend some time at Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. This is home to some of the most wonderful flora and fauna in the UK. Here you could spot kingfishers, otters, deer and wading birds. There are 4 themed nature trails around the reserve and several bird hides. Sit in peace and wait for nature to pass by.


Did you know?

Cilgerran Castle was painted and sketched several times by renowned artist JMW Turner.


From Cilgerran, it’s just over 6 miles via A484 to Cenarth Falls. Cenarth connects the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. At Cenarth Falls, salmon attempt to leap upstream to the accompaniment of the sound of cascading River Teifi. Cenarth is also one of the few places left where little Celtic boats, called coracles, are still used. At the National Coracle Museum, you will find more about the story of the coracle which has been used by Celtic people since before Roman times. At Cenarth, the church of Llanllawddog has an ogham stone in the churchyard. There is also a holy well dedicated to St Llawddog in the churchyard.

2. Day #2
Stage 2 – Cardigan to Aberystwyth


Cardigan is where the River Teifi meets the sea. It’s an historic port and market town. In the 19th century, it was one of the busiest ports in Wales. Then, the town's international trade links and ideal location brought unprecedented prosperity. This history of trading is perhaps why it boasts one of the most successful high streets in Wales. Bustling with independent shops, full of local produce. Cardigan Castle dates back to the 12th century and has been fought over many times. Now it’s a major events venue and interpretation centre. You can even stay there – you can also stay in a former jail in the town, or an old grain-house, now a luxury hotel.  Today Cardigan has the reputation as one of the most creative towns in Wales.


Did you know?

The first ever eisteddfod was held in Cardigan Castle in 1176. Today the National Eisteddfod is held in different  locations every year and is the largest cultural event in the world.


Follow the A487 north as it follows the outline of the Cardigan Bay coastline.



As you head north, almost every left turn will take you to pretty harbour villages or beautiful beaches. Places like Aberporth, Tresaith, Llangrannog and Cwmtydu are great little places overlooking the Irish Sea. A popular harbour is New Quay, this is a great place to enjoy the timeless pleasures of the Welsh seaside. In New Quay, they all come together – beaches, coastal walks, boat trips, dolphin spotting. In summer you can take boat trips to admire a variety of Cardigan bay wildlife and coastline with a knowledgeable skipper who understands and respects the wildlife.


Carry on along the A487. Soon you’ll arrive at the beautiful harbour town of Aberaeron.



With the waters of Cardigan bay sparkling in the background, and the coloured buildings cwtching the harbour, your spirits will be lifted. Aberaeron is dubbed the Town of Colours, because each building is painted a different colour. The town is a popular port of call for those seeking independent shops and places to eat drink and stay.


Get your boots on.

From the harbour, there is a popular walk alongside the River Aeron. This is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. The route takes you to the National Trust property at Llanerchaeron. An elegant Georgian villa, designed by architect John Nash in 1790, complete with a walled garden, farmyard, lake and picturesque parkland. It was once owned by Llewellyn Parry, who could claim his lineage all the way back to the Welsh Princes.


From Aberaeron it’s a 16-mile drive north along the A487 to Aberystwyth.

3. Day #3
Stage 3 – Aberystwyth to Lampeter


Aberystwyth is the Cultural Capital of Wales. The National Library of Wales is based here. It keeps of the nation’s memory and the records of previous Welsh generations. Their lives, their loves, and their legacy. People with Wales in their blood come here to discover their own family histories in manuscripts, maps, paintings, musical recordings and films. Home to the first non-denominational university college in Wales, the town has a cosmopolitan feel, as well as being profoundly Welsh. Set at the heart of beautiful Cardigan Bay, the town is a magnet for visitors enjoying the surrounding area. In the evening take a seat on the promenade and enjoy one of Wales’ best sunset locations.


Did you know?

When walking along Aberystwyth promenade it’s a tradition to “kick the bar” at the one end. No one really knows where this tradition came from. Some say that the all-female university residences were at this end of the town, and the boys used to kick to bar to get their attention!


This stage takes you away from the coast, up into the Cambrian Mountains. Leaving Aberystwyth, take the A4120 towards Devil’s Bridge. As you climb into the hills, if you look to the left, you’ll see the lush Rheidol Valley below. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Vale of Rheidol Railway steam train as it puffs its way, clinging to the valley side. 


This stage takes you away from the coast, up into the Cambrian Mountains. Leaving Aberystwyth, take the A4120 towards Devil’s Bridge. As you climb into the hills, if you look to the left, you’ll see the lush Rheidol Valley below. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Vale of Rheidol Railway steam train as it puffs its way, clinging to the valley side. 


Devils Bridge

After 13 miles you’ll arrive at Devil’s Bridge. This magical place has drawn visitors for centuries. The main attraction is the 300ft waterfall and the 3 bridges built one on top of the other between the 12th and 19th centuries. Legend has it that the original bridge was built by the Devil as it was too difficult a task for mortals.


Get your boots on.

A circular walk starts with a steep descent from Devil’s Bridge Car Park to the bottom of the waterfalls before climbing back up. Be ready for an assault on your senses: water tumbling, birds chirping, dappled sunshine glistening on the water, the woody-earthy smell of damp moss. This is quite a short but strenuous walk. Allow at least an hour.


Detour – Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre

Located just over 5 miles from Devil’s Bridge via the A4120 and A44, this is the place to appreciate Wales’ most famous bird of prey. During the 19th century, the Red Kite was persecuted to extinction throughout the UK. Except in Wales. By 1903 when protection efforts started, only a handful of pairs were left in remote parts of central Wales. Today, there are over 2500 breeding pairs across Wales. But Mid-Wales is where they are most plentiful. At Bwlch Nant yr Arian they feed the Red Kites each day. The sight of around 200 birds gathering for the feast is something to behold.


After leaving Devil’s Bridge, head south on the B4343 towards Tregaron. This narrower road takes you through the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains. Along the way, find some spots to take a moment to breathe the mountain air and admire the view.


Detour - Strata Florida Abbey 

At Pontrhydfendygaid, turn left along a narrow road for the short journey to Strata Florida Abbey. This is where generations of Welsh princes are buried. Once the most famous church in Wales after St Davids. ­ A place of pilgrimage and a linchpin of Welsh culture. No wonder it’s been called ‘the Westminster Abbey of Wales’. In summer you may be able to join archaeological digs.



Tregaron embodies the Spirit of the Cambrian Mountains.  Through the ages, the mountains and the surrounding Welsh countryside, have shaped the character of this truly Welsh town. Drovers, farmers and pony-trekkers, gathered here, bringing noise and vitality. They came to trade, socialize, and tell stories. And in Tregaron, you’ll find stories around every corner. Tales of elephants, peacemakers and bandits. Perhaps the most famous is Twm Sion Cati – the Welsh Robin Hood. You’ll find a carved wooden statue of him in the town square. Also on the square is the world renowned Rhiannon Jewellery. Rhiannon Evans has been designing and making her Celtic-inspired jewellery for over 40 years. Many of her pieces have been influenced by the legacy of the Celts: the language, the folklore and their traditions. On the site, you’ll find a museum and art gallery and there’s a chance to watch the jewellers craft their items.


Did you know?

Legend has it that the body of a travelling circus elephant is buried somewhere beneath the beer garden of the Talbot Hotel in Tregaron.


Detour – Soar y Mynydd Chapel

If you are brave enough the navigate the mountain roads which rise behind Tregaron, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most memorable drives in Wales. Head towards Soar-y-Mynydd Chapel – the most remote in Wales. Soar-y-Mynydd stands in the valley of the river Camddwr, high in the Cambrian Mountains near the eastern border of Ceredigion. It may be remote, but you’ll be repeating a journey made by former US President Jimmy Carter who discovered it whilst on a fishing holiday in Wales in 1986. A painting of the chapel by local artist Wynne Melville Jones is a part of the former President’s art collection.


Leave Tregaron on the A485 and head south towards Lampeter.

4. Day #4
Stage 4 – Lampeter to Carmarthen


Lampeter is a university and market town. It lies on the border with Carmarthenshire. It’s the smallest University town in Britain. The town sits in a natural basin, protected by the surrounding hills and mountains, close to the River Teifi. Lampeter is home to the Welsh quilt centre. Traditionally, Welsh quilts are filled with local wool which gives the quilts their textured look and is what makes them unique. New Englander, Jen Jones, fell in love with Welsh quilts when she arrived in Wales in 1971. She founded the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter’s Old Town Hall. Visitors will see some of the world's finest quilts, and find out more about the tradition.


As you leave Lampeter, you will cross the bridge which gives Lampeter its Welsh name, Llanbedr Pont Steffan. As you cross the River Teifi, you leave Ceredigion and enter Carmarthenshire. Follow the A482 and head towards Pumsaint.


Get your boots on.

Just outside Pumsaint, you’ll find Dolaucothi Gold Mines. Gold mining started here just after the Romans arrived in Carmarthenshire around 70AD. When you visit Dolaucothi, you will be guided on an underground tour uncovering the secrets of this industrial landscape. You’ll even have the chance to pan for gold. You will need to book your tour in advance.


Continue along the A482 to its junction with the A40. Turn right and head towards Llandeilo.


Detour Llandovery

You are close to the market town of Llandovery. It lies close to the Brecon Beacons National Park. The town once had more inns per head than anywhere else. This plethora of pubs results from the towns’ heritage as a drovers town. It’s thought that there were over 100 in the town during the 1700s. Many remain to this day, and because this is farming country you can now enjoy locally sourced fayre along with the craft ales. Around every corner you’ll discover connections to the drovers heritage. Stone Street was the site of Banc yr Eidion Du (Bank of the Black Ox). Established in 1799 the bank issued its own notes featuring the black ox emblem. They acted as a form of payment for drovers, but were completely worthless to any highwaymen, thieves or pirates that might want to relieve them of their takings.


Did you know?

Drovers used dogs to help control the stock, and these would sometimes be sent home alone after a drove, retracing their outward route and being fed at inns or farms the drover had stayed at. The drover would pay for their food on his next journey.



Llandeilo sits on a hill overlooking the River Tywi.  Its narrow streets and pastel-painted Georgian houses sweep down to the impressive single-arch stone bridge below. Today, Llandeilo is a popular shopping destination with visitors and locals alike. They are drawn because Llandeilo is refreshingly lacking the chain stores that are a staple in many other British towns. Instead, Llandeilo boasts a great selection of independent traders and quirky antique shops and art galleries. Shopkeepers take the business of window-dressing very seriously here and there’s often competition for the most elaborate and unique seasonal displays. Llandeilo is the original home of international clothing and lifestyle brand Toast. Today, Rhosmaen Street and the streets off it, are full of quality stores and boutiques. 


Did you know?

The stone bridge in Llandeilo was once the longest one arched bridge in the world. Built in 1848, it was and still is regarded as one of the wonders of Wales.


From Llandeilo, you continue along the A40 towards Carmarthen.


Detour - Carreg Cennen Castle

From Llandeilo take the A483 and turn left towards the village of Trapp. You are now in the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Soon you’ll see what is thought by many to be the finest castle in Wales rising in the distance. It’s also one of the most photographed castles in Wales. The castle sits on a crag of limestone and dominates the valley below. Carreg Cennan has magic and majesty.


Get you boots on.

It’s a bit of a trek up to the castle so you’ll need your walking boots. There are also 2 circular walks (one short, one long) close to the castle which allow you to explore this part of the National Park on foot.

5. Day #5
Stage 5 – Carmarthen to Haverfordwest


Carmarthen sits on the banks of the River Tywi, some 8 miles before this beautiful river flows into Carmarthen Bay. Here Wales’ longest river is still tidal, which is why at one time Carmarthen was reputed to be the biggest port in Wales. Over the centuries the river has shaped the story of the town, providing, defence, leisure opportunities and livelihoods. One of Carmarthen’s most famous early residents was Merlin the Magician. The Welsh name for the town, “Caerfyrddin”, means Merlin’s Fort and many believe the town was named after King Arthurs’ wizard. The Black Book of Carmarthen - the oldest manuscript written wholly in the Welsh language, contains poems about Merlin. Carmarthen has been a market town since Roman times and the modern indoor market sells everything from arts and crafts to local food and drink. Beyond the market, Carmarthen is full of interesting independent shops, vintage shops, and great places to eat.


Leaving Carmarthen, the route takes you west on the A40 towards St Clears.



Take the A484 and head south. You are heading to a fascinating coastline which is far too often overlooked by visitors to Wales. This detour takes you to some interesting coastal towns, long empty beaches, fascinating history and ultimately to a town bursting with industrial heritage.



After 6 miles turn right and head towards your first potential stop. Ferryside was a fishing village at the heart of the Carmarthen Bay cockle picking industry. Ferryside is so called because from medieval times a ferry linked the village with Llansteffan on the other side of the Tywi estuary. Today you can make that journey too. The Glansteffan is an amphibious craft specifically designed to deal with the rising and falling tides in the Bay. It’s best to book in advance.



On leaving Ferryside head towards Kidwelly. Kidwelly Castle, set on a steep ridge overlooking the town, is one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Wales.


Did you know?

The famous opening scene in Monty Python and The Holy Grail was filmed at Kidwelly Castle.


Next head for Pembrey.


Get Your Boots on.

Pembrey Country Park is set in 500 acres of glorious parkland, just a few minutes’ drive from the village itself. At the southern edge of Pembrey Country Park are the dunes and beach of Cefn Sidan – Wales’ longest beach at 8 miles in length. It’s a favourite of sun worshippers, swimmers and walkers alike. There are many walking trails around the park and beach. At low tide keep an eye out for the shipwrecks which are testament to the treacherous nature of the sea here.


Burry Port

The next village is Burry Port. The harbour here was built in the 1830’s to ship coal from the Gwendraeth Valley. Tinplate, copper, silver and lead works grew up alongside.


Did you know?

Amelia Earhart came ashore in Burry Port when her seaplane ‘Friendship’ landed on the Loughor estuary after its record-breaking flight across the Atlantic. Her achievement is commemorated at the Amelia Earhart Gardens in the middle of town.



Your final destination on this detour is Llanelli. It’s also known as Tinopolis because in the late 19th century around 90% of the world’s tinplate was made in southwest Wales and Llanelli was its epicentre. There are several places where you can discover more about the industrial heritage in this area, including Llanelly House and Parc Howard Musuem.


Did you know?

During the mid-20th century that Llanelli was the largest town in the world where more than half the population spoke a Celtic language.


Leaving Carmarthen, the route takes you west on the A40 towards St Clears.


Get Your Boots On.

The 1.5 mile St Clears Town Heritage Trail links 12 historical sites and takes you past plenty of shops and places to eat if you need to rest your legs. It’s easy to follow the trail because it is waymarked by the sign of a boar, chosen because it is an important symbol in Celtic folklore. Twrch Trwyth is linked to the tale of Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion , and to the legendary King Arthur.


Leave St Clears and take the A4066 on beautiful country roads towards Laugharne.



It’s located on the coast, set in a delightful location on the estuary where the River Taf flows into Carmarthen Bay. Laugharne is, perhaps, most famously associated with Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Dylan lived in Laugharne from 1949 until his death in 1953. He once famously described the town as “a timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town”. For many it is The Boathouse which draws them to the town. It is little wonder that Dylan chose to live in the boathouse as it offers wonderful views across the Taf estuary – the “heron priested shore”. No doubt provided lots of creative inspiration. A small shed, close to the main house, is where he went to write. Today the house is a museum and a tribute to one of Wales’ most famous literary talents.


Get your boots on.

Dylan’s Birthday Walk, at roughly 3 miles, is a great way to see the town and surrounding area, as well as the best way to work up a thirst. In 1944, Dylan wrote 'Poem in October' about his birthday walk to the shoulder of Sir John’s Hill. The beautiful poem is about his love of Laugharne and getting older. Quench that thirst at Browns Hotel, Dylan’s favourite watering hole.


Head out of Laugharne for a leisurely drive along the A4066 and B4314. Just off this road you’ll find many great beaches and coastal walks if you want to stretch your feet. Look out for Pendine Sands, Morfa Bychan, Marros Sands, and Telpyn Beach. After you cross the border into Pembrokeshire near Amroth continue on the B4314 north and head towards Narberth.


Did you know? 

On 25 September 1924, Sir Malcolm Campbell set a world land speed record of 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h) on Pendine Sands in his car Blue Bird. You can find out more at the Museum of Land Speed overlooking the sands.



Narberth is a quaint little market town in the heart of eastern Pembrokeshire. It has a well-deserved reputation as a shopper’s paradise.  Shops on the High Street are proudly independent. There’s variety of intriguing and enticing shops, eateries and galleries.


After Narberth, you take the A40 to Haverfordwest.


Detour - Explore the Daugleddau Estuary 

After a short while, turn off the A470 and take the A4075. Shortly turn right along narrow country roads to explore the upper reaches of the Daugleddau Estuary. The Daugleddau estuary is the coming together of four rivers; the Western and Eastern Cleddau, Carew and Cresswell rivers in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The upper reaches of the estuary are particularly stunning; with steep, wooded banks alternating with gently sloping farmland.


Get your boots on.

Minwear Woods is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest. The habitat close to the estuary, with a combination of salt and fresh water, provides a varied habitat for wildlife. Keep an eye out for waterside birds like herons and kingfishers from the viewpoint over the estuary. You’ll also woodland birds like great spotted woodpeckers and tree creepers.

6. Day #6
Stage 6 – Haverfordwest to Fishguard


Haverfordwest is the ancient county town of Pembrokeshire. The centre is dominated by the Western Cleddau river that runs through the middle of the town and the castle that towers above it. The castle is impressively preserved, and inside the castle you’ll find the old prison section and the postern gate. The county archives and the town museum also lie within the walls, displaying collections of local artefacts, items relating to the castle’s past, and the work of local artists.


Leaving Haverfordwest you take the A487 towards St David’s. After 9 Miles you will arrive on St Brides Bay at Newgale Beach.


Get your boots on.

Newgale is a great place to park the car and explore another section of the Wales Coast Path. Walk south to Nolton Haven or carry on through Druidston to the village of Broad Haven. This is a beautiful section of coastline featuring inviting beaches, nested villages, hidden coves and rocky headlands. Look out for Rickets Head – a mighty rock formation.


Continue on the A487 for 4 miles to the picture-perfect harbour and village of Solva.



Solva was once a vibrant fishing and trading port where in its heyday, between c.1750 and the mid-nineteenth century, it was busy with trading ships, warehouses and a population of over a thousand people. Today, this wonderful little place is a magnet for artists and photographers. A great place to stop and wander around the village, harbour and lush valleys.


From Solva it’s only a little over 3 miles to St Davids.


St Davids

This is Britain’s Smallest City and the gateway to some of the most wonder-filled scenery in the country. St Davids is a delightful place filled with galleries, interesting shops, and charming places to eat and drink. But the highlight is the 12th century cathedral built on the site of much older religious buildings. It’s one of Wales’ most iconic religious sites and sits tucked away in a sheltered vale beside the River Alun. Here you can learn about the history of St Davids or just sit in peace. 


Did you know?

St David’s last words were ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.’ The phrase ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd’ - ‘Do the little things in life’ - is still a well-known maxim in Wales.


Detour – The Pembrokeshire Islands

St David’s is a great place to catch a boat and explore the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast. Discover the history, geology and wildlife around these spectacular islands. Enjoy the sight of puffins, Manx shearwaters, gannets, seals and much more from a safe distance.


Get Your Boots on.

Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way

Ireland and Wales are connected by sea, by stories and by saints. St Davids is the final destination on the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way. The route follows in the footsteps of St Aidan of Ireland and St David of Wales. It links St Davids with Enniscorthy in County Wexford. Try a small section from St Davids to the harbour at Porthclais. On the way you’ll find St Non's Chapel, the traditional birthplace of St David. This place is a spiritually charged and evocative site. There is a real sense of connection as you walk in the footsteps of countless pilgrims as you approach the holy well and chapel. Porthclais is a historic harbour thought to have been originally built by Romans. The harbour was also mentioned in the Mabinogion.


Leave St Davids via the A487 and head for 5 miles towards Abereiddy.


Abereiddy and the Blue Lagoon

The hamlet of Abereiddy nestles in a shelted bay. The beach here is famous for its black sand, full of tiny fossils. Many countries have a Blue Lagoon, including Wales. But our Blue Lagoon is really a green lagoon! From Abereiddy you can walk there. It’s an old slate quarry – hence the green sheen. Today, it’s a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Set in the beauty of Whitesands Bay, this is place to sit and wonder and feel close to the Celtic Spirit.


From Abereiddy, you head out on the final part of Celtic Route - Wales and return to Fishguard.



The coastline along this part of Pembrokeshire is filled with beaches, coves and small harbours, all of which are memorable places to visit. Look out for signs to Portgain, Trefin, Abercastle and Strumble Head lighthouse.


Hero Route Ireland

Rosslare - Waterford - Dungarvan - Enniscorthy - Wicklow - Rosslare

1. Day #1
Start and End Point: Stage 1 – Rosslare to Waterford

Rosslare Europort
This is your entry point to Ireland’s Ancient East. The harbour was developed in1906 to accommodate steam ferry traffic between Great Britain and Ireland. Now, named Rosslare Europort, there are direct links with France and Spain as well as Wales.


Stage 1 – Rosslare to Waterford
Leave Rosslare Europort via the N25. Then take the R736 westwards towards Waterford.

Detour – The Saltee Ferry
From April to October, the Saltee Ferry operates daily between Kilmore Quay and the Saltee Islands. Online booking is essential. One of the most recognisable landmarks of the south Wexford coastline, the Saltee Islands are home to an array of seabirds, most famously puffins and gannets.

Did you know?
The Saltee Islands are the setting for Irish writer, Eoin Colfer’s book, ‘Airman’. The islands become a powerful sovereign state based around diamond industry. You’ll treasure the memories of a trip to the Saltee Islands.


Detour – Fethard and the Hook Peninsula
Described as Ireland’s smallest port, Fethard Quay is one of the oldest harbours on Ireland’s east coast. Built in 1741, the harbour is just 30 meters wide and 60 meters in length, consisting of a quay and two piers. It was never intended as a harbour for fishing boats but was purpose-built to shelter just one vessel - the King’s Barge – a revenue cruiser responsible for policing smuggling activities. Here, you can sit and relax on the dock wall and feel closer to the Celtic Spirit.

The Hook Peninsula is a place of tranquillity and beauty. It is famous for great views and stunning land and seascapes. There are also wonderful beaches. All in all this is the untouched Ireland you’ve always imagined.

Get your boots on.
The peninsula has many trails which allow you to explore. The low lying landscape makes for easy trails through this stretch of coastline filled with rugged beauty, and heritage sites. A must is to explore the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Voted one of Ireland’s favourite attractions, Hook Lighthouse in Wexford is truly one of a kind. Purpose built 800 years ago by William Marshal – the1st Earl of Pembroke, in Wales. Take a step back in time and enjoy a guided tour hearing tales of medieval times and life as a light keeper. When you have worked up an appetite, sample one of the many seafood pubs and restaurants. From Michelin dining to award winning bistros, there is something for all tastes and pockets.


Returning to the R736, it is a short drive to Waterford. You’ll cross the border from County Wexford to County Waterford. You’ll also move from the Irish province of Leinster to the province of Munster.

2. Day #2
Stage 2 – Waterford to Dungarvan

Waterford is at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.  It’s Ireland’s oldest city and a treasure-trove of ancient artefacts, elegant architecture and great local food. Stand on the quays in Waterford city, breathe in the salty air and imagine the hustle of ships loading and unloading cargo in the 1700s. Trade with Newfoundland brought affluent merchants to settle here in the late 18th century, turning the city into one of the great ports of Ireland and kickstarting a building boom. Take a stroll around the centre of Waterford and you’ll see a host of beautiful architectural showpieces that date from this time. But to get the real picture, you need to cast your mind back further – to its founding by the Vikings in 914. They helped shape Ireland’s story. The Waterford Viking Triangle, part of the city’s heritage area, sits in the original footprint of the first Viking settlement. It’s said that there’s ‘1,000 years of history within 1,000 paces’, with a trio of museums showcasing the city’s Viking, medieval and Georgian periods.

Did you know?
It’s the high lead content, 33-1/3 percent, that gives Waterford Crystal the clarity and brilliance for which it is known. You can find out more at The House of Waterford. Book a tour and see the master-craftsmen at work.


Leave Waterford on the R675 for the next stage of your route to Dungarvan.

Detour – Dunmore East
Leave Waterford by the R683 and R684 and head to Dunmore East. Famed for its harbour setting, Dunmore East is a popular destination including for visiting yachts in summer. It’s also a location from which to take boat tours of the Waterford Estuary. Enjoy this fabulous waterway while being presented with its rich history, heritage and folklore, tales of shipwrecks, pirates and local legends and maybe even a dolphin or two!

Copper Coast
As your arrive at Tramore, you begin the The Dungarvan & The Copper Coast Drive. It embraces the panoramic seascapes, cliffs, bays and coves between Tramore and Dungarvan. You’ll discover intimate seaside villages and Blue Flag beaches, The area has a wealth of beautiful, yet “undiscovered”, secluded coves and beaches. Each with a story to tell. It took more than 460 million years to create the Copper Coast, so take your time to visit and explore it!

The Copper Coast gets its name from the vast mines that were worked in the area during the 19th century.


Get your boots on.
The Copper Coast is now a UNESCO Global Geopark, it offers a unique and fascinating insight into how humans connected with the landscapes, from ancient times right through to the present day.
It is full a wonderful walks to suit all tastes. You can find out more details at the Copper Coast Geopark Centre. One of the most popular walks is the Annestown Heritage Trail. You can walk to Dunhill castle from Annestown beach following this trail. The castle is one of the stops on the walk, which takes you through the village and along the picturesque Anne Valley. It’s a loop walk, which takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Continue along the R675 until you reach the town of Dungarvan.

3. Day #3
Stage 3 – Dungarvan to Enniscorthy

Dungarvan is a harbour town located at the heart of County Waterford. The town's Irish name means "Garbhann's fort", referring to Saint Garbhann who founded a church there in the seventh century. Dungarvan is situated at the mouth of the Colligan river. Standing over the entrance to the harbour is Dungarvan Castle. It dates from the early days of the Anglo-Norman settlement in Ireland. It was built c.1209 to safeguard the entrance to Dungarvan Harbour. Dungarvan is the former county town of Waterford County. 

Get your boots on.
Dungarvan is the start of the Waterford Greenway. The former Waterford City to Dungarvan railway line has been transformed into a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail. This route will take you across no fewer than 11 bridges, 3 viaducts and through a 400 metre-long tunnel. There’s plenty of things to do and see along the way too.

The next part of the route takes you north on the N25 into the Comeragh Mountains.


Detour – Ardmore and St Declans Way
Before you head north you can take the N25 south towards Ardmore. St Declan came across the village in the 5th century - albeit guided there by a stone on the waves, as opposed to a map or sat-nav.  Here, he founded a monastery. Today, its ruins are Ireland’s oldest Christian settlement.


Get your boots on.
The Ardmore Cliff Walk gives you stunning scenery and fascinating heritage. Its clifftop paths and laneways offer dramatic views and all the bracing sea air you could wish for. The walk takes you to the ruins of St Declan’s Church, (possibly on the site that St. Declan retreated to as a hermit near the end of his life). Next to the church you can also see St. Declan’s Well, with its interesting late-medieval crosses on top.

As you head north east along the N25, turn off at Lemybrien for Mahon Falls in the Comeragh Mountains. It’s only a short drive from the village of Lemybrien.


Mahon Falls and the Comeragh Mountains

Get your boots on.
An 80m high cascading waterfall glistens in the distance where you begin this enjoyable walk to the foot of Mahon Falls in the Comeragh Mountains. The walk is a pleasant outing for all the family which boasts fresh mountain air, spectacular scenery and a well worn path that is easy to follow.

The waterfall tumbles from the highest point in the Comeragh Mountains. The range is formed by 12 distinct peaks, and a range of hiking trails that will lead you to wonderful assortment of ice-age coums/lakes.

Located near Mahon Falls is a legendary ‘Magic Road’ where you can stop your car, put it in neutral and prepare to be amazed as your car rolls up hill!

Head south east from Mahon Falls and follow signs towards N25. Head west on the N25 for about 20 km.

Did you know?
The Irish word “cum “ is very similar to the Welsh word “cwm”. They both mean valley or dell. It’s just one example of the connections between these 2 Celtic languages.


Mount Congreve
Mount Congreve is an 18th-century Georgian mansion and gardens situated near the village of Kilmeaden in County Waterford. The original gardens at Mount Congreve had comprised of a simple terraced garden with woodland of ilexes and sweet chestnuts on the slopes falling down to the river. Ambrose Congreve began planting parts of these in his late teens and so began the process that would lead to Mount Congreve’s recognition as one of the ‘Great Gardens of the World’. The entire collection consists of over 3,000 different trees and shrubs. Words just aren’t enough to express the extraordinary beauty you’ll find in one of the great gardens of the world.

When you leave Mount Congreve take the N25 and N30 to the town of Enniscorthy, the final destination on this stage of the route.

4. Day #4
Stage 4 – Enniscorthy to Wicklow

Enniscorthy sits on the banks of the winding River Slaney in County Wexford. The town is home to St Aidan’s Cathedral. It was built in the 13th century, and the design has long been thought to be based on Tintern Abbey in Wales. At the heart of the town is Enniscorthy Castle – at times, home to Norman knights, English earls and local merchant families. It is also steeped in a turbulent history. Ownership of the castle was often settled by violence.  It was claimed by the Irish in 1375, retaken by the English in 1536, burned down by the Irish in 1569, gifted by Queen Elizabeth in1589, besieged by Orwellian forces in 1649 and then used as a prison during the 1798 Rising. It’s now home to the Wexford County Museum. The castle can be combined with visits to partner sites, Vinegar Hill and the national 1798 centre to get a complete history of the town.


Get your boots on.
The Enniscorthy Riverside Walk is a scenic walk along the western bank of the River Slaney. The trail starts along the promenade at the southern end of the town, heads past a playground, crosses a footbridge at the River Urrin and follows a gravel path through a semi-wild meadow which is part of an extensive Special Area of Conservation. The river and meadow are part of the Slaney River Valley Special Area of Conservation which consists of dense scrub and grass-dominated with herb layers. The river and meadow are also part of the Wexford Harbour and Slobs Special Protection Area for birds and the tranquil walk is only interrupted by the rich sound of birds and wildlife.


Leave Enniscorthy via the N11 for the short journey to Ferns.

Ferns is the Ancient Capital of Leinster. It is perched on a green hill overlooking the River Bann in north Wexford and is a special place. Special because this small village has had a big influence on a nation. Here, the many strands of ancient stories which shape modern Ireland come together. Hear tales of marriages and marauders. Learn of the lives of monks and monarchs. Trace the steps of Saints, Celts, Vikings, and Normans. Discover stories in tapestry or virtual reality. Within a short distance you will find centuries of history. Visit St Edan’s Cathedral, Mogues Well, and Ferns Castle. Ferns is also the start point for the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way which links tiny but mighty Ferns with Britain’s smallest city, St Davids in Wales.

Leave Enniscorthy and head towards Carnew on the R745. From here the route takes you on the R748 and R747 through the villages of rural Wicklow, cross-crossing the border with Wexford. You follow the R747, to its junction with the N81. On the N81, you head north and see the Wicklow Mountains rising in the distance.


Detour -  The Pipers Stone
Turn off the N11 near Arthgreany.  The Pipers Stone is a Bronze Age stone circle which sits on a hillock at Athgreany. Made up of 16 grey granite boulders, there is one larger outlying stone - the piper - with the remaining smaller stones forming a circle of about 22 metres in diameter. These are the dancers. According to a local fairy tale, this group of revellers were daring to dance to the piper’s tune on the Sabbath when God turned them all to stone as punishment.


Carry on the N11 towards Blessington Lakes.

Blessington Lakes
In the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, Blessington Lakes is a 5,000-acre reservoir formed in the 1940’s by the building of the Poulaphouca dam and hydroelectric power station. As well as being the main source of drinking water for Dublin, it’s a popular base for water-based activities like fishing, boating and kayaking. The route takes you on 26km drive around the valley where the Kings River once met the Liffey.

Did you know?
Irish novelist and poet Brendan Behan described his trip to the Blessington Lakes area as a ‘journey to the jewel of Wicklow’.


Get your boots on. 
The Blessington Greenway walk links the historic town of Blessington with the Palladian mansion at Russborough House. The trail starts at Blessington and leads south along the shores of Blessington Lakes and through forest and natural woodland. The Greenway commences at at the southern end of the town and weaves its way along the shores, crosses an ancient medieval ringfort, uses the footpath along part of the N81 before turning back into the forest at Burgage Moyle lane. It then crosses the Valleymount Road (R758) and makes its way to Russellstown Bay adjacent to Russborough House. Along the way you will have the opportunity to appreciate the magnificent scenery and wildlife in the area.

From Blessington Lakes take the R758, after a short drive turn left on to the R756. You are now heading towards the beautiful Wicklow Mountains National Park and your next destination, Glendalough.

Carved out by glaciers during the last Ice Age, Glendalough or Gleann dá Loch, meaning ‘Valley of the Two Lakes’, combines unfiltered beauty with heavenly tranquillity. Little wonder that St Kevin founded a monastic settlement here in the 6th century. It’s said that he spent seven years in isolation in a cave at the Upper Lake, known as St Kevin’s Bed. Even as one of the tourism jewels in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East, if not indeed all of Ireland, you won’t have to wander too far to find the peacefulness and spirituality that drew monks here centuries ago.


Get your boots on.
Glendalough is at the heat of the Wicklow Way. This trail ends just south of Dublin, and despite its proximity to the capital contains many kilometres of wonderfully unspoilt mountain trails of which The Wicklow Way is the best known. Glendalough is a great place from which to explore some of the Wicklow Way. For experienced walkers, we suggest the Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk also known as the White Route. A tough climb is rewarded with spectacular views of the Glendalough Valley and the Wicklow Uplands. You’ll pass the Poulanass Waterfall before joining a boardwalk and wooden steps leading to a viewing point overlooking the Upper Lake. The trail skirts the clifftop before descending to a deserted Miners Village and returning alongside the upper lake shore.

From Glendalough follow the R763 to Wicklow.

Did you know?
The Wicklow Mountains was the location for the hit, History Channel and Netflix, TV series “Vikings”. The imaginary Viking village Kattegat was built on the shores of Lough Tay.

5. Day #5
Stage 5 - Wicklow to Rosslare

Wicklow Town is the capital town of County Wicklow. According to local history, the town was founded circa AD 795 by the Vikings. The Black Castle ruins which overlook the harbour stand as a reminder of the Norman invasion. Visitors often make for the charming harbour.  Enjoy a stroll out either of the piers or further along the Murrough, a coastal wetland, very popular with walkers and nature lovers where you can enjoy beautiful views of the town and coastline. Wicklow’s Jail is one of the most iconic and haunted buildings in Ireland. It showcases the harsh conditions endured by the various waves of prisoners from the 17th Century all the way to 1924, when the last prisoner left. Learn about the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland, the Great Famine and transportation to Australia, where many inmates were sent to.

Detour - Bray
The next part of Celtic Route Ireland takes you south. But a detour north to the coastal town of Bray is a good option. This is your chance to travel by train – it’s a short picturesque 26 km journey from Wicklow.


Included within the top 14 most underrated travel destinations in the world in March 2023 by TimeOut Magazine, Bray is the biggest town in County Wicklow. It is known as the gateway to Wicklow from Dublin and is the longest established seaside town in Ireland. There is a safe beach of sand and shingle to walk on and there is a spacious esplanade. The scene is dominated by Bray Head.

Get your boots on – Cliff Walk
Following the railway track, the Cliff Walk on the eastern side of Bray Head. Despite some landslides it’s still safe to walk as far as the Windgates steps. The cliff walk runs close to the railway. The railway workers built the path to transport tools and materials to the line below. They also created one of the most picturesque cliff walks on the east coast into the bargain. Alternatively, take the path from Bray to the top of Bray Head, to get panoramic views of Bray, north-east Wicklow and Dublin Bay, plus the neighbouring mountains of the Great and Little Sugar Loaf.

Did you know?
Irish singer
Sinaed O’Connor chose to live in Bray for 15 years. In 2023, stars including U2's Bono and Bob Geldof, attended her funeral in the town and thousands of mourners lined the streets to pay their respects.


From Wicklow take the L1102 and R750 to Brittas Bay.

Brittas Bay
Three Mile Water at Brittas Bay is thought to have been the initial landing point of St Patrick in Ireland. With no headlands to disrupt the gentle rhythm of the waves breaking on the sand, this 5km stretch is perfect for bathing, sailing and walking. Except in high summer, the beach is, by and large, the ideal place for monkish solitude and contemplation. Take a moment to get closer to the Celtic Spirit.
Follow the R750 coastal road, towards the town of Arklow.

Detour – Avoca
Alternatively you can take the R773, inland to Avoca. This quaint village is home to Ireland’s oldest working mill, and the birthplace of Avoca Hand weavers. Thomas Moore, in his famous poem ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ said of the Vale of Avoca “There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet, as that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet“. From the nearby Mottee Stone , on a clear day you can see the five surrounding counties and Wales.  Legend says it was used as a hurling ball by Fionn Mac Cumhaill – the greatest mythical hunter-warrior of Ireland.  Lore says The Motte rolls down to the Meetings of the Water every May Day.  Follow its path downhill to the Meetings for a browse in the Craft Gallery and sip a well-earned coffee.


Did you know?
Avoca is the film setting for the BBC TV drama, Ballykissangel. 


Arklow was one of the busiest ports in Ireland and a renowned centre for boat building and sea fishing as well as having a fine tradition in the pottery industry. The fishing village character is still evident in an area called ”The Fisheries” and the port still boasts a sizeable fleet of fishing boats. Take time to visit Arklow Maritime Museum where you are surrounded by centuries of memorabilia, artefacts, stories and eye witness accounts as well as a well stocked historical library.

Leaving Arklow, take the M11 south, once again crossing the Wicklow/Wexford border. Close to Gorey turn off and take the R742 towards Courtown.

Get your boots on – Courtown
The 60-acre wood in Courtown provides a source of shady respite from the nearby beach. Flanked by the Owenavorragh River on the north side and the canal on the seaward side to the east, Courtown Woodland dates back to pre-Famine times and was once home to oak and ash trees. There is a choice of 4 easy trails taking through different parts of the woods.


You continue on the R742 alongside the Wexford Coast. All along you’ll find beaches, coves and villages to get out of the car and explore.

Perhaps the most impressive beach is at Curracloe. This, Blue Flag Award-winning, beach stretches over 11km from Raven Point to Ballyconigar, near Blackwater. Famous for its soft sand, the sprawling dunes and endless blanket of marram grass, all of which are a magnet for both wildlife and the visitors who take great delight in rolling down them!

Did you know?
Curracloe Beach provided a suitable substitute for Omaha Beach in Normandy in the dramatic opening scenes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

Continue on the R742 to Wexford.


The cultural coastal Wexford Town dates back to Viking times. Home to historical sites and the National Opera House, this once-walled community has plenty to discover. You’ll also find characterful pubs and first class restaurants. There are lots of independent shops in its small narrow street streets. Main Street runs parallel to the harbour, and can be lively especially in the evening when the pubs fill up. There are plenty of these in Wexford - even by Irish standards. West Gate Heritage Tower is a restored 13th-century tollgate. It's next to the old town walls and ruined 12th-century Selskar Abbey. The Bullring market place, once a bull-baiting site, has a statue marking the 1798 Rebellion against British rule.

From Wexford it’s a short drive on the N25 and R740 to Rosslare Europort and the end of the route.