Let's stretch the definition of Ireland's Ancient East somewhat and travel to western County Waterford, where you can find a wonderful mix of history, heritage, and nature, all off the beaten track.
Lismore is a heritage town best known for its castle, situated overlooking the River Blackwater. The castle was the birthplace of Robert Boyle, the Father of Modern Chemistry, and has welcomed many stars over the years, with Fred Astaire a particular fan of the castle. The Lismore Castle Gardens are highly recommended and a selfie standing on Lismore Bridge (with the castle in the background) is a great way to remember your visit to the town.
A little further down the road towards the border with County Cork is Ballyduff, a scenic village home to excellent salmon fishing and one of the best new distilleries on the island. The aptly-named Blackwater Distillery offers guided tours of their quaint premises, where you'll have the chance to sample some of their products, which include gin and whiskey.
Situated halfway between Lismore and Ballyduff is Ballysaggartmore Towers, which offers pleasant woodland walking and picnic areas as well as impressive architecture. If you are looking to experience a quieter corner of Ireland's Ancient East, then this slice of County Waterford is the perfect place.