Attractions in Offaly Ireland Quick Links
Birr Castle and Gardens
Birr Castle set on a one hundred acre demesne in County Offaly Ireland is a fine example of 17th century architecture and is among the top attractions in Ireland for the green fingered. The castle is still home to the Earls of Rosse and as such the residential areas are not accessible but the grounds and gardens are open to the public. The well known and award winning gardens contain more than 1000 different types of trees and shrubs and the castle gardens are home to the world’s tallest box hedges. During spring time the gardens are breathtaking and come alive with colour and wildlife, water is also a prominent feature of grounds with waterfalls, streams and a lake.
Clonmacnoise Monastic Site
Located on the east bank of the River Shannon, approx 13 miles (21km) South of Athlone, is the early Christian Clonmacnoise Monastic site. Founded by St Ciarán in 546, the name Clonmacnoise comes from the Irish Cluain Mhic Nóis meaning Meadow of the Sons of Nós. The strategic location of Clonmacnoise in County Offaly Ireland helped it become an important hub for religion and learning in the country. Today the site is one of the top attractions in Ireland and stands as a preserved ruin with a cathedral, round towers, churches, high crosses and Early Christian grave slabs. The visitor centre offers an audio visual presentation telling the story of the extensive history of the site and also houses some exhibitions with information on the plant life and landscape of the region.
Slieve Bloom Mountains
The Slieve Bloom Mountains rise from the middle of the country and form a natural link between County Offaly Ireland and County Laois Ireland. Peaking at 527 metres is the highest point known as Arderin the mountains can be explored by a number of looped walking trails that have been developed or by car, horse or bicycle. At foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains are nestled several small unspoilt Irish villages offering visitors the opportunity to step back in time to an Ireland of old where life moves at slower speed.
Towns in County Offaly Ireland Quick Links
The Heritage Town of Birr in County Offaly Ireland is a great example of a Georgian town layout with some of the earliest and finest Georgian style buildings dating from the middle of the 18th Century. Once known as Parsonstown after the Parsons (local landowners and Earls of Rosse) the name was changed to Birr between 1891 and 1901. Places of interest include Birr Castle and Gardens.
Tullamore, from the Irish Tulach Mhór meaning great mound, is the county town of County Offaly Ireland and is most famous for its Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew. Although the whiskey is now produced in Midleton in County cork the old distillery in Tullamore reopened as a dedicated Tullamore Dew Heritage and Visitor Centre on Bury Quay and the production of Tullamore Dew in the town can be dated back to 1829. Tullamore is an excellent base for exploring the Slieve Bloom Mountains and also offers other activities nearby such as fishing, golf, horse-riding and boating.