Make sure you catch these attractions on your visit to the Faithful County of Offaly, Ireland’s hidden gem. To kick your tour into action we recommend a visit to one of County Offaly’s most famous exports, Tullamore DEW, a blended Irish whiskey originally produced by William Grant & Sons in Tullamore.
9am – A tour of the distillery takes in every step of the artisan craft of whiskey making. Meet the Tullamore D.E.W. Distillery Ambassador, explore the production process from still house to warehouse and even create your own unique blend of whiskey in the blending room.
11am – Coffee Break at Chocolate Browns famous coffee house in Tullamore, a hive of activity where locals go to get their fix. When you need a treat, to perk you up and brighten your day, Chocolate Browns is the place for you.
12pm – Birr Castle Demense – Leaving Tullamore and heading west, the Award-Winning Birr Castle Demense are both rich in amazing feats of science and engineering as well as rare trees and flowers, wonderful wildlife, and walks along peaceful rivers and the lake. The Parsons family invite you to explore one of the most extraordinary places in Ireland. Created over generations it is an environmental and scientific time capsule. Explore the Gardens, tour the castle, travel through space and time. Birr Castle is also home to an engineering marvel, The Great Telescope, it was the largest telescope in the world for 70 years from when it was built in 1845.
2pm – Lunch in the The Loft Café The Loft Café in Birr serves a wide variety of food and drinks with a beautiful menu to choose from. Outside seating is available during the summer months. There is a lovely gift shop located with the coffee shop so why not browse and have a coffee. Treat Yourself!
3.30pm Clonmacnoise Monastic Site After a good meal and a short drive north to the banks of the River Shannon, is Clonmacnoise. This sixth century monastic site, is home to three high crosses, a cathedral, seven churches and two round towers and some credit it to be Ireland’s first city. This great monastery was founded in 548- 9 by St. Ciarán Mac a tSaor (“son of the carpenter”), who studied under St. Finian at the famous Clonard Abbey. The strategic location of the monastery at a crossroads between the major east-west land route through the bogs of central Ireland and the River Shannon helped it become a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade by the 9th century. Clonmacnoise was a centre of learning excellence, and many manuscripts, including the including the Annals of Tighernach (11th century) and the Book of the Dun Cow (12th century), were written here. The monastery flourished for 600 years as a centre of learning and religious instruction as well as providing much of Ireland’s finest Celtic art and illuminated manuscripts. The surrounding area of Clonmacnoise is a microcosm of landscapes within the Midlands. These include the Shannon callows, eskers and boglands both preserved and cutaway. A must for any visitor to Offaly or the midland region.
6.00pm Lukers in Shannonbridge – Dine on the banks of the mighty River Shannon at Lukers in Shannonbridge This gem is one of the oldest and certainly the most authentic bar in Ireland dating back to 1757. Step back in time from the old shop front right through to the kitchen which boasts an open hearth Queen Victoria Regina fireplace, the last one in operation in the British Isles. It is a must see to roll back the years! If you see a man with a moustache racing around, that’s more than likely John Joe (The owner). Be sure to have a chat and get the full tour with all of the history of the surrounding area. The new Food menu has proven to be hugely popular, not to mention our Famous 10oz Angus Striploin Steak which has been described as “The best steak I’ve ever had”.
Later – Just a stroll from Lukers and the banks of the Shannon is Kileens Pub & Shop Full of charm and character, this old-style Irish pub is perfect for a pint…… and a dog. The pub has been in the family for over 80 years and when it comes to their customers, the Killeen’s know how to keep them happy, not least with the trad music and if you bring your own instrument you’ll be happily encouraged to start a session! For more details or ideas on your visit to Offaly, please make sure to check out our website visitoffaly.ie The Visit Offaly tourist information center is located at O’ Connor Square, Tullamore. Or contact the Visit Offaly team by emailing email@example.com We look forward to welcoming you to Offaly, Irelands hidden gem.