The spectacular Cork and Blarney Day Tour from Dublin takes you from Dublin to the historic city of Cork. To join the tour, make your way to the tourist office at Suffolk Street, the Old Church, Dublin City Centre. During the tour there will be stops every 1 ½ hours or so, in order that you can stretch your legs.
You depart at crack of dawn. Your guide will do a quick introduction to the tour and make sure that everybody is happy and ready to go. As you head out of Dublin, your guide will tell you more about the sights that you pass in the city centre, and maybe advise on the weather you can expect for the day. As you leave the city behind, the urban landscape changes to that of the rolling hills and hedges of the Irish countryside. You will pass an area called the Curragh in County Kildare. This area is ideal for training horses, due to the well-drained sandy soil. Not surprisingly, the Curragh race track is situated nearby.
County Kildare is also well-known for horse breeding and vast tracks of lands today are owned by the likes of the Agha Khan and Sheikh Mohammed. Close to Kildare Town, you will find the National Stud Farm, world famous for its horse breeding, coupled with the lovely Japanese Gardens. After a short stop to stretch your legs, you pass the Knockmealdown Mountains, made famous by the folk song "Kitty Borne O'Brien". This song is a lover's lament for a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to Canada. (Most Irish songs are either about a broken heart or killing the English!)
Further along you will see the Galtee Mountains, Ireland's highest inland mountain range, with its stony scree-covered summit. This is also a famous cheese-making area. Tipperary is also home to hurling, although Kilkenny their neighbour seems to beat them most of the time! Keep your eyes out for handball alleys while on the bus; handball is a traditional sport played mostly in rural Ireland.
When you arrive at Blarney Castle, half the day's driving is already done! The Castle, famous for its Blarney Stone, also has lovely wooded walks and "Rock Close"- a garden filled with Druidic rock formations, believed to date back to pre-historic times. To kiss the stone, you have to bend backwards when on the parapets of the castle, holding onto iron railings – basically hanging upside down. The reward for your efforts: to be bestowed with the so-called "Gift of the gab". You will spend 1 ½ hours at Blarney Castle before departing for Cork.
On arrival in Cork City, you have 2 hours to grab some lunch (payable direct), marvel at the Gothic St Finbar's Cathedral, or even ring the bells of Shandon at St. Anne's Church for a small fee. Cork is home to Murphy's Ale and the Ford Tractor factory.
You will then spend an hour at the amazing Rock of Cashel, traditional seat of the kings of Munster. Various ancient buildings make up the complex at the Rock and together they constitute one of the best collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe. You will see the great Celtic Cathedral, the Hall of Vicars, Cormack's Chapel, which has one of Ireland's oldest Romanesque wall paintings, and the Round Tower, all perched on a solid rock ringed by a curtain wall.
At around 1700h (5:00pm), you leave the Rock of Cashel and return to Dublin, maybe listening to some Irish music and reflecting on the day's experiences. You will arrive back in the capital Dublin around 1900h (7:00pm) and will be dropped off at the point where you were picked up.