One of the smaller regions in Ireland, what County Laois lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty.
While Ireland is commonly associated with its coastline, County Laois is the exception and is officially the most landlocked county in Ireland. However, this makes it ideal for countryside exploration and you will find an abundance of activities in the region.
Hit the shops in Portlaoise, the county town of County Laois, soak up the history at Stradbally Hall or at the Steam Museum, take a gentle stroll through the stunning Hetwood Gardens or get lost in the Slieve Bloom Mountains – some of the most beautiful hills in all of Ireland.
Whether you’re after small-town curiosity shops or popular high street brands, Portlaoise delivers. The county town of County Laois offers the perfect mix of character-packed independent stores and commercial retail. The Laois Shopping Centre has over 30 stores, so whether you’re after great fashion or practical pharmaceuticals for those holiday ailments, you’ll find it here.
Whether you’re a fan of engines or agriculture, a trip to County Laois wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Stradbally Steam Museum. Packed with old cars, vintage tractors, steam and fire engines, you’ll be surprised by the variety and number of vehicles on display. It’s a guaranteed hit with both the adults and the children and offers a great insight into Ireland’s heritage.
If you’re already in Stradbally, why not pay a visit to Stradbally Hall? Not only does this 17th-century mansion house host weddings, paintballing and equestrian events, but it is also home to the annual Electric Picnic. Taking place at the end of each summer, this unmissable musical event is considered “Ireland’s Glastonbury” and plays host to some of the biggest names in music. It’s one of the key attractions in the county and is a guaranteed hit with festival goers.
For a more tranquil break, head to Heywood House and Gardens. The gardens blend crystalline lakes with woodland, landscaped flowerbeds and stonework, making this a particularly picturesque visit in spring and summertime. If you want to learn more about the history of the house and gardens – which reaches back to the early-18th Century – you can also book a guided tour.
Last but not least, if you’re keen on the outdoors, don’t miss a day out in the Slieve Bloom Mountain Range. While not the highest in Ireland, the mountains are nevertheless some of the oldest in Europe and offer a varied and beautiful landscape of flowers and forestry. Climb to the peak and you will be treated to some awe-inspiring views of lush green rural Ireland. Situated on the border with County Offaly, on a clear day you may even be able to distinguish the four peaks of the ancient Irish provinces.
Discover the rolling hills, blooming country gardens and fine cultural activities on offer in rural Ireland. Search online and book an unforgettable trip to County Laois today.