Visit Offaly and create treasured journeys through nature, culture, heritage and history. Design your own Offaly experience that is unique, surprising and rewarding by discovering the hidden gems throughout the county. We have picked a few of those hidden gems here that will help inspire you to create your own treasured journey.
Just mention “Tullamore” to any foreigner and there is a good chance that they will have heard of it because of Tullamore Dew Whiskey. Today, Tullamore D.E.W. is the worlds only triple distilled, triple blend, triple matured whiskey and delivers an award winning flavor. In the heart of Tullamore, Co Offaly by the banks of the canal is Tullamore Dew’s old bonded warehouse. Why not explore the Visitor Centre with daily guided tours, and enjoy some food at the restaurant and bar.
Founded in 545Ad by St. Ciarán of Roscommon, Clonmacnoise is Offaly’s best known heritage site. For many hundreds of years, the monastery of Clonmacnoise was a centre for study and religious guidance with scholars visiting from all corners of the globe. Now in ruins with the Visitor Centre accommodating the three original sandstone crosses, it draws many visitors every week. Among the ruins at Clonmacnoise are churches, round towers and replicas of the sandstone crosses. It’s a very peaceful and contemplative place which overlooks the River Shannon.
Situated in the picturesque town of Birr in Co. Offaly, Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre is a wonderland for every age with something for everyone. One could very easily pass a day on the beautiful grounds alone with their award winning stone walled gardens, beautiful glass houses and exotic flowers. For the children, Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre boasts hosting Ireland’s largest tree house. At the entry of the demesne, there is a lovely gravel courtyard with a café and gift shop. The famous Great Telescope designed and built in the early 1840s was once the largest in the world. Birr Castle is home to the Parsons family and their ancestors were leaders in the worlds of design and innovation. Check out the Science Centre at the castle and learn more about engineering, astronomy and photography in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The parklands at Lough Boora are a wonderful amenity for tourists and locals alike. The park is home to walking routes, cycle paths, outdoor sculptures and the famous 'Sky Train'. Not too long ago the park was a working peat bog managed by Bord na Mona. Nowadays people visit Lough Boora for its tranquil spaces. The large scale sculptures are a mix of art and nature as the materials interact with the climate. The pathways are a great way to take in some exercise and you can hire bicycles with no booking required. Explore a little while and you’ll find the fairy avenue. An enchanted forest where the little magic folk live in harmony with nature. It’s a lovely distraction on a summer’s day as the sunlight breaks through the leaves and tree branches.
With trails to accommodate walkers of all levels, the Slieve Bloom Mountains has lots of trekking options. Slieve Bloom Way is long-distance, covering 60kmbut if you are stuck for time, there are plenty of shorter looped trails to choose from. Slieve Bloom Way covers a distance of 60km where as the looped trails consist of twenty one marked walks.
Ireland’s longest river is the natural boundary between Offaly’s western edge and counties Galway and Roscommon. The river is a stunning natural feature and flows by the picturesque Offaly villages of Banagher, Shannonbridge and Clonmacnoise. The only way to experience the Shannon is by boat. You can hire a cruiser and whether you set off north or south you’ll be surrounded by nature, history and serenity. You’ll see wildlife, ancient ruins and gorgeous villages with that unmatchable Offaly warm welcome.