The Vee, Cahir Castle & The Swiss Cottage
We’ve been making the most of the good weather over the past few weeks and have taken Maeve on a few Sunday drives around Tipperary. You don’t see many international visitors coming to Tipp – even my friends who plan trips to Ireland are often unaware of where I live. Since we’re not on a heavily travelled tourist trail its sometimes awkward to try and arrange meet-ups. I think this needs to change because Tipperary is awesome.
So many people come to Ireland for a “true Irish experience” but they never make it to Tipp or the Midlands – however, this is probably where they’re going to find what they’re looking for. A small pub with a fireplace and weekend trad sessions? We have ’em. Rolling green pastures and quaint villages? There are plenty. Fairy ring forts and castles? There’s one of each in my backyard (ok, ok, backyard, back field, down the road; same diff).
The more well-travelled parts of Ireland are well-travelled for a reason. They’re beautiful parts of the country and have the attractions you don’t want to miss out on. That said, if you’re looking to take the road less travelled then Tipperary should be your destination of choice. You definitely won’t meet many other foreigners if my experience is anything to go by!
Two weeks ago, we took a drive to the south of the county to explore The Vee. I’m still kind of unsure as to what The Vee is, but it was an absolutely beautiful drive up a mountain with a lake at the top and the road up was lined with rhododendron bushes that apparently are gorgeous in the spring. The Vee must be the mountain, right? Or is it the name of the scenic drive? Enlighten me, people!
At the top of the mountain there’s a spot to park your car and then you can walk along a well-trodden path to the dark, spooky lake. I loved the lake; it just pops up out of nowhere. Very cool.
The drive will eventually take you to Lismore in County Waterford, but we didn’t go all the way as we had a toddler with a short attention span in the backseat. And we were hungry.
We decided to drive back to the town of Cahir (pronounced “Care”) for some lunch. The weather was absolutely gorgeous when we arrived, so after a carvery lunch at The River House Restaurant, we took the trail from Cahir Castle down to the Swiss Cottage. It’s a gorgeous walk along the River Suir that takes about a half hour.
The Swiss Cottage was constructed in the 19th century for the Butlers, an aristocratic family who lived in the castle. It was supposed to be a whimsical country escape, so while the style is Swiss (with lots of curved lines and floral accessories) there were never any Swiss people (that I know of) actually living there.
I took a walk around the grounds (there are guided tours of the house itself, but I wasn’t there for one) and snapped a few photos. It looked like (nosy me) a couple was planning their wedding ceremony there. What a fab idea, if that was the case!
There were so many other families out for the day, taking advantage of the great weather. Then on the walk back to the car, it started pouring rain. A true Irish experience.
I would definitely visit Cahir again; what a gorgeous town. A great spot to take your kids and have a nice lunch. We’ll be making a return trip to The Vee as well – I would love to see those rhododendrons in bloom!