Your driver-guide will pick you up at your Waterford hotel at the start of your tour. The first stop is Lismore Castle Gardens, which surround a massive 19th-century mansion on the River Blackwater.
The castle is the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire and is closed to the public, but its formal gardens offer vivid planting and historic landscaping. The gardens were first laid out in the 17th century and are divided into a formal Jacobean upper garden, planted with neat rows of vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs, and the lower pleasure gardens of trees, shrubs and lawns. Both are dotted with contemporary sculptures by artists such as Antony Gormley and Eilis O’Connell. Your ticket to the gardens also includes entrance to the Lismore Castle Arts, a contemporary art gallery featuring rotating exhibitions.
After exploring the gardens and gallery, you continue on to Dungarvan, a traditional coastal town built around a small port lined with buildings painted in bright reds, yellows and blues. In Dungarvan, you might want to venture into the town to explore Dungarvan Castle or grab a bite to eat in one of the town’s traditional pubs.
Dungarvan Castle dates back to the 12th century. Admission is free and the 18th-century military barracks inside hosts an exhibition on the castle and its history.
You return to Waterford along the scenic Copper Coast. This coastline takes its name from the area’s rich deposits of minerals, and evidence of its mining history during the 18th and 19th centuries litters the shoreline.
Once mined for lead, silver and copper, this roughly 25 km (15 mile) coastal route is dotted with scalloped beaches, coves, and rocky headlands. It runs between Dungarvan and the beach town of Tramore, which is approximately 20 minutes south of Waterford. From the coast, you head inland and return to your hotel in Waterford.