WALKING AND CYCLING
For those who love the outdoors, whether cycling or walking these back roads of Ireland, you will find trails full of history, legendary hospitality and breath-taking landscapes. You will have an unforgettable adventure in the land of the thousand welcomes. You will find a route or loop to suit your level of experience in this beautiful quiet place. Cycle along the banks of the canal or quiet country roads. Stay a while at Kinnitty and take in the more challenging loops in the Slieve Bloom Mountains or the more leisurely looped road trails through small villages and towns.
Maps of the many loop walks can be accessed here.
PLACES NOT TO BE MISSED
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.
Birr Hertitage Town
The picturesque heritage town of Birr was developed around the Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family, the Earls of Rosse. With its handsome ensemble of Georgian architecture, there’s a lot to like about Birr. The tree-lined malls and avenues of elegant houses dating from the 1800s tell a fascinating story. Heaving with history, Birr is one of Ireland’s premier heritage towns and proud of its unique character spanning many centuries. It’s most famous landmark, Birr Castle Demesne, has been the seat of the Parsons family – the Earls of Rosse – for fourteen generations.
Birr also has a rich monastic heritage and was home in the 6th century to St. Brendan, one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland”. The original monastic site is probably close to the castle in William Street, behind wrought-iron gates of the old church and graveyard of St.Brendan.
Leap Castle has long been regarded as one of Ireland’s most notoriously haunted destinations. Located in Coolderry, County Offaly, Ireland, this historical structure has garnished worldwide attention and has been featured on a number of television shows catering to an audience with a fascination for the supernatural including Ghost Hunters and TV’s Most Haunted!
Get away from it all and explore the unique beauty of Lough Boora Discovery Park. Relax with friends and family amidst breath taking landscapes. Enjoy the simple things and spend quality time making memories to treasure. Connect with nature to revitalise mind and body.
There’s a variety of things to see and do at Lough Boora Discovery Park. It’s a family friendly environment with a host of free activities for all ages. There are picnic and play areas and a fairy trail which are all accessible for buggies and wheelchair users. Why not hire a bike and explore the sculpture park? Enjoy walking on the many off road trails here too.
Birr Equestrian Centre
Birr Equestrian Centre has been catering for riders and horse enthusiasts for over forty five years under the direction of Noel Cosgrave and his team of dedicated instructors. The centre is open 7 days a week to cater for your every need and there are a range of services from entertainment to sales and breeding.
Birr Equestrian Centre is A.I.R.E. and Fáilte Ireland approved and all instructors are certified by the British Horse Society it offers riding lessons; cross country treks and tuition; hourly, half day and full day trekking in the Slieve Bloom Mountains; trekking holidays in conjunction with local accommodation providers and also seasonal pony camps. Other activities also provided at the equestrian centre include Archery, Carriage Driving, Laser Shooting, Clay Pigeon and Air Rifle Shooting.
PLACES TO EAT OR DRINK
Kinnitty Castle Hotel offers a great dining experience in its Library Bar or The Sli Dala Restaurant. This 13th Century Castle is seated on 650 acres of parkland and is drenched in original features dating back to 1209.
Slieve Bloom Bar is our favourite place and is situated right in the centre of Kinnitty village. Run by local owner Kieran Clements, this traditional Irish pub has always been a welcome spot for walkers, bikers, scouts, anglers and the rest, who are always met with a hot fire! Kieran is well known for his passion for Irish and local history and sport, and loves to chat and debate about facts, myths, stories and Irish folklore!
Giltraps Pub in Kinnitty,
Dating back to the seventeenth century when it was originally a hotel is now a family run operation managed by the Clendennen family. This one is worth a visit, even if just to meet Percy the owner!
Dan & Mollys – Ballyboy is nestled at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the picturesque village of Ballyboy stands Dan & Molly’s pub with its straw thatched roof. Locals and tourists mingle with ease in this old style pub with its family atmosphere. Here you can learn to dance or play Irish music in the many parlour sessions, which we’d really recommend trying!
Whilst partaking of refreshments one can converse with poets, professional bog men, accomplished liars, retired poachers, likeable rogues, artists and craftsmen of all kinds and farmers both rich and poor… Since the early 1800’s Dan & Molly’s has been a continuous place of conviviality where tall tales are often told – and heading here is a really lovely excuse of a bike ride!
Townsend Tapas – Birr is a wonderfully stylish restaurant sat within a picturesque Georgian house. The Townsend House Tapas & Wine Bar is a delightful little eatery that brings a wealth of tantalising flavours to all that find themselves in the scenic Irish heritage town of Birr. Found among spectacular views of the garden beyond, the Townsend House Tapas and Wine Bar offers up a fine spot from which to escape those everyday trials and tribulations.
Spinners on Castle St. in Birr is a family run boutique restaurant located in the picturesque, Georgian town of Birr, Co. Offaly in the heart of the Irish Midlands. The town of Birr is situated right in the centre of Ireland and is only a short distance from all the major capital Cities. The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Spinners on Castle St. is designed to indulge, relax and unwind. From the relaxing and enchanting courtyard to our fine dining restaurant and casual dining bar, this is a place to soothe and inspire. The exquisitely crafted menus are updated monthly and designed to benefit from local produce, emphasising our commitment to fresh organic food.
The Thatch, situated in the village of Crinkill, is one of the oldest pubs in South Offaly. As the name suggests it has always been thatched. The Thatch has the unique distinction of being in the same family ownership for nigh on 200 years. Many of the older generation remember this quaint and indeed exclusive pub as Mother Walsh’s. Throughout the years, visitors have come to The Thatch and reminisced on stories told to them by their fathers and grandfathers who affectionately remember happy evenings spent in the warm atmosphere of this fine traditional pub. In 1995 a restaurant was added and its food business has grown from strength to strength.