Slieve Bloom Mountains
The gentle rolling hills of the The Slieve Bloom Mountains rise from the central plains of Ireland, forming a natural link between the counties of Laois and of Offaly. The area is picturesque, peaceful, gloriously multi-coloured and one of the least explored in Ireland. Dotted around the mountains are quaint little villages, and to visit one is like stepping back in time to an era when life moved at a slower pace. These are the places where people will take the time to talk to you, will listen to your stories and enjoy telling you theirs. According to the locals the Slieve Bloom have everything, except the sea!
Only an hour and a bit from Dublin and Limerick and two hours from Cork and Galway the Slieve Bloom are easily accessible from all corners of Ireland. However, as well as being a wonderful destination in their own right, their central location makes the area an ideal base for visitors wishing to make trips to other parts of Ireland.
The Slieve Bloom, along with the Massif Central in France, are the oldest mountains in Europe; they were once also the highest at 3,700m. Weathering has reduced them to 527m. On a clear day, one can see the high points of the four ancient provinces of Ireland.
The Award-Winning Gardens of Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre in Ireland 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.
Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastic site near Shannonbridge,
County Offaly, and a top visitor attraction in Ireland. A walk amongst the
peaceful stone ruins of this famous place will conjure images of the saints and
scholars of Ireland’s renowned Golden Age of learning.
Founded by St Ciaran in the mid-6th century, it became a great centre of religion and learning, visited by scholars from all over the world. Many historical manuscripts, including the 11th century Annals of Tighernach and the 12th century Book of the Dun Cow, were written here.
Today, the site exists as a preserved ruin under the management of the Office of Public Works and visitors can see three high crosses, a cathedral, seven churches and two round towers. The beautifully preserved structures of Clonmacnoise Cathedral, Temple Doolin, Temple Hurpan and Temple Melaghlin will impress and leave those who visit Clonmacnoise with an authentic sense of the history of Ireland.
To dig deeper into the fascinating history of Clonmacnoise, visit the on-site interpretive visitor centre, which displays a number of cross slabs and the 9th century Cross of the Scriptures. The Clonmacnoise graveyard surrounding the site continues to be in use, while religious services are held regularly on the site in a modern chapel.