Right at the heart of Ireland’s midlands, County Offaly is not only an ideal base for touring nearby counties, but it also offers an excellent mix of countryside, leisure activities, sightseeing opportunities, castles, abbeys, heritage centres and one of Ireland’s most important heritage sites – Clonmacnoise.
Tullamore is a lively country town with stacks of restaurants, pubs, shops and character, while the small Georgian town of Birr has a wonderful Georgian atmosphere and contains the wonderful Birr Castle Demense and Historic Science Centre.. Read More
Offaly, the Faithful County, is located in the centre of Ireland. For walkers, cyclists and lovers of the great outdoors, Offaly has something for you. Find tranquillity and calm on a short break to Offaly. Relax by the edge of the River Shannon and watch fishermen in action and boats sail by. Visit the welcoming town of Birr and the majestic Birr Castle Demesne to get a real feel for life in the Midlands.
Stroll across the open expanse of Clara Bog for a striking and memorable walk, before making your way to Clonmacnoise and exploring the ruins of the great monastery. From the Slieve Bloom Mountains to Lough Boora Discovery Park and the majestic Birr Castle Demesne, Offaly has a rich history and idyllic scenery.
Both Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport just over an hour’s drive from Offaly offering direct flights from over 100 destinations around Europe, the USA and Middle East. Ireland West Airport is very accessible from Westmeath.
The main ports of entry are Cork, Dublin, Rosslare and Belfast. Dublin Port is approximately 90 minutes drive from Offaly and Rosslare Harbour is over 2 hours. Brittany Ferries operates a service between Cork-Roscoff (France). Rosslare and Dublin ports offer daily services between Ireland-UK and services to France and Northern Spain. The following companies offer ferry services into Ireland – Stena Line, Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries, Kintyre Express, and Isle of Man Steam Packet
There are many Bus Éireann services operating in Offaly connecting the county with Dublin, Westport, Galway, Belfast, Kerry, Cork and Waterford.
There are many daily train services operating from Tullamore and Clara to Dublin, Galway and Westport. Check out Irish Rail for more information.
Birr Castle Demesne
Birr Castle offers a fascinating mix of culture, heritage, beauty and science in a tranquil setting. See the stunning gardens with roses, wisteria, magnolias and towering box hedges. Take in spectacular views of the castle from the outdoor terraces. Find peaceful moments by the lake, waterfall and rivers dotted throughout the grounds.
Visit the Historic Science Centre and learn about the Great Telescope, built by the Third Earl of Rosse and still functioning today. When completed in 1845, the Birr Castle Great Telescope was the largest telescope on Earth, capable of seeing further into space than any telescope had done before. The I-LOFAR consortium have built a cutting-edge astrophysics observing facility in Birr Castle that connects to the International LOFAR Telescope and one of the most advanced astrophysics research projects in the World. The Castle tour includes a one hour guided tour of the reception rooms of Birr Castle with access to the Science Centre, the Great Telescope and the gardens.
Lough Boora Discovery Park
Lough Boora Discovery Park offers walking and cycling trails of varying lengths and minimal difficulty. This includes the Sculpture Park, nationally important Mesolithic settlement and the fairy trail for children, all in an outdoor environment. Bike hire is available on site. Guided tours are available on the park’s art, ancient history and biodiversity. Anglers of all abilities and mobility can test their fishing skills in Loch an Dochas. Lough Boora Discovery Park, County Offaly is an outdoor experience for families, walkers, nature lovers and relaxation.
Clara Bog Visitor Centre
Experience an astounding 10,000 years of history in 10 square kilometres. This naturally wet environment with deep pools and quaking surfaces is the perfect place to connect with nature. Outdoor gear is advised when making a trip to this fascinating place. Bring your camera or binoculars as the special nature reserve is home to many protected wildlife species and animals.
At the Clara Bog Visitor Centre the enthusiastic ‘Dáithí the Dragonfly’ shows you his home and the flora and fauna that live with him, through interactive touch screens. Enjoy Probing the Past, a short film on the history of Clara Bog and go on a guided tour to get expert insight into this heritage site. Make sure you have sturdy shoes as you take on the Clara Bog boardwalk, which meanders through the Clara Bog Nature Reserve, located close to the Visitor Centre.
Tullamore D.E.W Distillery Experience
The Tullamore D.E.W. Distillery Experience celebrates the history of Tullamore D.E.W whiskey and tells the tale of a legendary liquid with 192 years of history. The grain to glass distillery spans 58 acres where whiskey is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, matured and bottled, all on one site. During the distillery experience, visitors will sip and savour an Irish coffee on arrival, walk the still house floor, feel the warm embrace of heat from the bubbling stills and taste the world’s second largest Irish whiskey brand’s award winning whiskeys.
One of the breath taking parts of the tour takes place in the live maturation warehouse. Nestled amongst a sea of barrels stacked from floor to ceiling, is Ireland’s only custom built warehouse snug. In the Secret Snug, visitors will get to “dip the dog” and taste whiskey direct from the cask. At the end of the tour, visitors will get the chance to “Be the Blender” by blending and bottling their own unique whiskey to buy and take away. This state of the art innovation brings personalised whiskey to a whole new level.