Counties Wexford, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny are (along with the southern chunk of Tipperary) referred to collectively as the 'sunny southeast'. This being Ireland the term is, of course, relative. But it is the country's warmest, driest region. A tiara of golden-sand beaches adorns the counties of Wexford and Waterford, and there are plenty more eye-catching gems, including picturesque thatched cottages, elegant seaside towns and dramatic windswept peninsulas. If you're looking for real sparkle, check out the world-acclaimed Waterford crystal. Deeper inland, the verdant valley of the River Barrow separates the riverside villages and arts and crafts studios of County Kilkenny from the country houses and flower-filled gardens of County Carlow. Kilkenny city is the urban star with its imposing castle, cathedral, medieval lanes and cracking pubs and restaurants. And thanks to that 'sunny southeast' climate, these four counties offer some of Ireland's best outdoor pursuits.