Things To Do in Offaly; Explore Irish Castles and Delve into Ireland’s Rich Past
Updated On: August 01, 2023
County Offaly is located in the Midlands of Ireland. It is situated in the province of Leinster and bordered by several other Irish counties including, Tipperary, Westmeath, Roscommon and Kildare.
The idyllic county is best known for its rich historical past, strong traditions in Gaelic sports and cultural attractions. If you’re planning on visiting soon, be sure to check out these splendid things to do in Offaly, Ireland.
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Things to do in Offaly
From ancient castles to impressive mountain ranges, there are lots of things to do in Offaly, Ireland. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff or interested in learning about famous Irish whiskeys, County Offaly has something in store for everyone to enjoy.
Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastic site near Shannonbridge, which was founded by St. Ciaran in the mid-6th century. It includes the ruins of a cathedral, several churches, a round tower, high crosses and a number of grave slabs. Definitely worth a visit for soaking up the heritage of Ireland.
Slieve Bloom Mountains
The Slieve Bloom Mountains are primarily located in County Offaly but they also extend into County Laois. The impressive mountain range covers an area of approximately 62 square miles and is characterised by rolling hills, dense forests, heather-covered moors, and tranquil valleys.
The highest peak in the range is Arderin, standing at 527 metres. There are several walking trails available for both casual walkers and experienced hikers. The trails provide awe-inspiring viewpoints for visitors to enjoy and experience the natural beauty of the region.
Throughout the range you might also come across remnants of old mills, charcoal pits, and former mining sites, offering glimpses into the region’s industrial past. One of the most popular attractions in the Slieve Bloom Mountains is Glenbarrow Waterfall, a picturesque waterfall cascading down a rocky gorge.
If you’re after some thrill-seeking adventure, you can also take part in a range of outdoor activities including mountain biking, horse riding, and fishing. The Slieve Bloom Mountains provide a peaceful and serene environment where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Birr Castle Demesne
The historic castle has been the home of the Parsons family for over 400 years. The castle itself is not usually open to the public, but you can explore its gardens, science centre and the Great Telescope, which was interestingly, the largest telescope in the world for over 70 years.
The Castle gardens are beautiful, with a unique collection of flowers and fauna. A visit here will have you marvelling at the picturesque beauty of Ireland’s castles.
Things to do in Edenderry Offaly
Edenderry is a quaint town in County Offaly and well worth the visit to immerse yourself in the region’s natural scenery and Ireland’s monastic past. Check out some things to do in Offaly, Edenderry below.
Lough Boora Discovery Park
Lough Boora Discovery Park was once a commercial bog where peat was harvested. It has now been converted into a nature reserve and outdoor parkland. Visit here and spend some time exploring the idyllic walking and cycling trails, there is also an onsite lake and sculpture park to enjoy.
Take a leisurely stroll along the Grand Canal, which was constructed in the late 18th century. The canal passes through Edenderry and connects Dublin with the River Shannon, stretching for over 89 miles.
The Offaly section of the Canal Walk offers a picturesque path, providing a tranquil and scenic escape. Visit here and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, scenic views, and the opportunity to observe local wildlife.
Monasteroris Abbey is an ancient monastic site located near Edenderry in County Offaly. Ireland. It is believed to have been founded in the 6th century by Saint Saran, who was a follower of Saint Patrick.
The original abbey was a religious settlement for monks, and it likely thrived during the mediaeval period. Today, only the ruins of Monasteroris Abbey remain, which still show a mixture of architectural styles, including Romanesque and Gothic elements.
Monasteroris Abbey is open to the public, and visitors can explore the ruins, wander through the graveyard, and appreciate the architectural features. It provides an opportunity for quiet reflection, photography, and a sense of historical exploration.
Things to do in Tullamore, Offaly
Tullamore is a charming town located in County Offaly. Visit here to explore ancient castle ruins, museums, stunning natural landscapes and the county’s connection with producing the renowned D.E.W. Irish whiskey.
Tullamore D.E.W Visitor Centre
Tullamore is the birthplace of the famous Irish whiskey. At the Tullamore D.E.W visitor centre, you can learn about the distillation process that is still practised today and the heritage and history of Irish whiskey. The tour concludes with a fantastic tasting session of the renowned liquor.
Charleville Castle is a Gothic-style castle that was constructed in the early 19th century by the first Earl of Charleville. It is now considered to be one of the most haunted castles in Ireland, so visit if you dare!
You can take a guided tour here and learn about its history and ghostly tales. It also boasts a range of stunning features, including a grand entrance hall, a beautiful staircase, ornate ceilings, and intricate woodwork. Visitors can explore various rooms, each with its own unique charm and historical significance.
The castle is also set amidst beautiful grounds, which include woodlands, gardens, and an impressive lake. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque surroundings, appreciating the natural beauty and peaceful ambience.
Lloyd Town Park
Spend some time in the picturesque Lloyd Town Park, a beautiful green space in the heart of Tullamore. The park is great for all ages, with an onsite playground, skatepark and beautiful water features. Visit here to take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or relax in the peaceful surroundings.
Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society Museum
Visit the Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society Museum to delve into the local history and heritage of Offaly. The museum houses a collection of artefacts, photographs, and documents that provide insights into the county’s rich cultural past.
See more of Ireland
Check out these articles to explore more castle ruins, natural spots and cultural attractions in Ireland! Things to do in Mayo | Things to do in Antrim | Things to do in Derry | Things to do in Fermanagh | Things to do in Armagh | Things to do in County Down | Things to do in Monaghan | Things to do in Roscommon | Things to do in Northern Ireland for Couples | Things to do in Donegal | Things to do in Sligo | Things to do in Leitrim | Things to do in Louth | Things to do in Cavan | Things to do in Longford | Things to do in Meath | Things to do in Westmeath | Things to do in Dublin.