The Emerald Isle

T he original Gaelic name for Ireland’s southeastern corner is Cuan-na-groith , “haven of the sun,” and it is well deserved. This region of fine river valleys, fertile agricultural land – perhaps at its finest in the Golden Vale in Tipperary – and scenic hill country, with a coast lapped by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, boasts the highest hours-of-sunshine count in Ireland. It also has some of the loveliest beaches in the country, several of them fringing popular holiday resorts on the east coast. There is good walking country for the more energetic all over the region, in the Galtee Mountains in Tipperary, the Knockmealdowns in Waterford, the South Leinster Way in Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary, the Munster Way between Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel, and the southern section of the Wicklow Way in County Carlow. Little wonder, then, that the region still experiences great invasions every year, though now, instead of Vikings and 108 CHAPTER THREE THE SOUTH & SOUTHEAST The Irish & Their Horses “On she went, and her maiden smile In safety lighted her round the Green Isle; And blest forever was she who relied Upon Erin’s honor and Erin’s pride.” —Thomas Moore BELOW: Tintern Abbey, the ruins of a Cistercian abbey located on the Hook Peninsula, County Wexford. OPPOSITE: The snow covered Galtee Mountains in County Tipperary. OVERLEAF: Hore Abbey, near Cashel, County Tipperary. The countryside is so lush and beautiful in this part of Ireland.