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Offaly Bucket List: 13 Things To Do In This Beautiful County On Your Next Short Break

By Brian Dillon

September 19, 2019 at 12:05pm

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Fresh air, fab nature and good food are the reasons you should probably consider spending a walking break in County Offaly. Since we’re all busy in 2019, a few days away to re-energise the mind and body is just what the doctor ordered.

In a recent article, we highlighted just why the Kinnitty Castle Loop in the Slieve Blooms, County Offaly is an unreal place to go walking. With stunning views, lush forests, a beautiful castle and plenty of flora and fauna to discover, walking this trail in Ireland’s Ancient East makes you feel brand new.

But while you’re there for the walk, sure you may as well make a few days out of it. While the walk itself should be enough to persuade you to go on a short break here. There are a few more hidden gems in and around the beautiful Slieve Blooms that will entice you further.

Luckily, the surrounding area of Kinnitty has plenty going on and makes for a perfect few days away from the madness of modern life.

Have a luxury stay in Kinnitty Castle Hotel

If you’re looking to relax and give the mind and body a new lease of life, a stay in the 4* Kinnitty Castle Hotel is pretty good for that.

This stunning 13th-century castle is set on 650 acres of parkland, including 60 acres of rolling lawns.

There are 37 luxury en-suite guest rooms in the castle with amazing amenities making your stay as easy and relaxed as it could possibly be.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 5mins

Stay at Ardmore Country House B&B

Staying at Ardmore Country House B&B is a truly authentic Irish B&B experience. Host Chris does everything she can to ensure guests have a relaxed and enjoyable stay.

Enjoy a cup of tea with some freshly baked scones before and after your day of activities.

Chris also plays the fiddle and often takes guests to trad sessions with her, making sure they get to enjoy all the craic there is to be had when staying in the area.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 5 minutes

Discover science at Birr Castle

History and science meet at Birr Castle. This 90-room castle, which lies on 1,200 acres of land, is open to the public to visit but is still owned by Lord and Lady Rosse, whose ancestors have resided in the castle since 1620.

The Parsons family has achieved global recognition in the fields of astronomy, engineering, photography and horticulture, so there’s plenty to learn here while you look around the castle.

Stroll through the gardens, which are full of rare plant life and features the world’s tallest box hedges as well as rivers, lakes and waterfalls.

There is also the opportunity for children to explore the country’s largest treehouse, while you enjoy tea, coffee and wholesome food at the Courtyard Café.

The castle is open all year-round and tours are available between May and August.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 20 minutes

Explore the beauty of Lough Boora Discovery Park

Lough Boora Discovery Park lets you explore art and nature all at once via their sculpture park route. Artists took inspiration from the surrounding bogland to create beautiful large-scale sculptures.

It’s well worth going along to really appreciate both art and nature.

Click HERE for more info

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 20 minutes

Go on a whiskey tour in Tullamore DEW Distillery

A tour of this distillery is truly one of the most unique experiences Offaly has to offer.

Tullamore DEW visitor centre sits on the banks of Tullamore’s Grand Canal and has been shipping quality whiskey around the world since 1829.

A whiskey tour includes a tutored whiskey tasting, as well as discovering the secret that gives Tullamore D.E.W. its unique complexity. And follow in the footsteps of Daniel E. Williams as he goes from stable boy to distillery manager to creating the whiskey which still bears his initials today.

While on a tour of the distillery, you can also try some scrumptious grub from their restaurant, The Bond.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 25 minutes

Have a drink in the Dungeon Bar

The Dungeon Bar in Kinnitty Castle Hotel transports you back to the Ireland of yesterday with traditional music and dancing.

It’s an ideal spot for a relaxing drink and serves food until 9pm every night.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop:  5 minutes

Have breakfast in Tullamore

Nothing says 'treat yourself' like a hearty full Irish brekkie. Tullamore has a few cafes and restaurants where you can get your fix of wholesome Irish breakfast. You’ll get a whopper fry at [email protected]’s on Kilbride Street.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 30 minutes

Travel back in time at Clonmacnoise Monastery

Clonmacnoise Monastery on the banks of the River Shannon is probably a lesser-known historical site, but it’s impressive all the same. With plenty of history to be learned in the visitor centre and the site itself, it makes for a fascinating experience.

It was founded in the mid-sixth century and includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graves in Western Europe.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 45 minutes

Stroll along the Grand Canal

The Grand Canal joins Dublin to the River Shannon and features some stunning walkways, including the one in Tullamore.

Walkers can admire the 18th and 19th-century engineering work along the canal as well as the flora and fauna along the way.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 30 minutes

Lose yourself in Woodland Cottage Garden

This garden in Birr can be found along the Lough Derg Garden Trail. Bursting with a vibrant array of colours, the garden is awash with some of Ireland’s loveliest and most interesting flowers and foliage.

Gaze at the new rose garden or follow grass pathways that meander through some old heritage apple trees.

It also makes for a mean Instagram photo.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 30 minutes

offaly flowers

Get cycling

Birr Cycle Hub allows visitors to see many of the sites around West and South Offaly like the River Shannon, Slieve Bloom and the vast peatland landscape the county is known for.

There’s also a brand new mountain bike trail in the Slieve Bloom Mountains area.

Gilstraps Bike Hire in Kinnitty will provide you with all the requisite gear and necessary protective equipment, so you can get spinning.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 5 minutes

Drink at the Giltraps Pub in Kinnitty

If you’re looking to unwind with a pint after a long day of hiking and exploring, Giltraps Pub in Kinnitty village is a great place to do that.

It was originally built in the 17th century and once served as a hotel, but now it’s a cosy family-run pub complete with an open fire, friendly service and perfect pints of Guinness.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 5 minutes

Get spooked at Charleville Castle

This castle is stunning, but it’s just a little bit haunted.

Built in the early 19th century, this castle is said to be home to the ghost of a little girl: the daughter of the 3rd Earl of Charleville, Harriet, who tragically died at the age of eight.

The castle is also surrounded by an oak forest which is hundreds of years old, just to give it that extra spooky factor.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance from Kinnitty Castle Loop: 30 minutes

For spectacular sights, invigorating sensations and unforgettable experiences, make your next short break a walking break in Ireland's Ancient East. Walking makes your break

To find out more, visit irelandsancienteast.com.

To find out more about the Kinnitty Castle Loop Walk and other walking breaks around Ireland, head to our Tales and Trails hub.

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