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The range of facilities, entertainments and activities on offer in County Offaly makes it the perfect place for a holiday, whether you’re seeking family fun, the chance to explore nature or a taste of the legendary Irish hospitality usually referred to as the craic.
The central location of the county makes it easy to get to from across the Republic of Ireland and, thanks to the equidistant presence of two different airports, from all over the world. The centre of County Offaly is 79 miles from both Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport. The choice of which of these two major airports you use will depend upon exactly when you want to arrive in County Offaly and where you’re travelling from.
Shannon Airport, which is open throughout the year, handles five different airlines and takes flights from cities including New York and London (Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted). Dublin Airport handles approximately 175 routes from around the world and works with 50 different airlines.
If the evocation of times past, which hangs so richly over much of Ireland, is what attracts you, then the shoreline of Boora Lakes, in the centre of the county, is a place you simply have to visit. Its archaeological remains, which date back over 8,000 years, show the earliest evidence of human beings settling in Ireland.
To the west of Offlay you’ll find an entirely different way of examining the rich history of the area. Larry’s Old Time Village is a stunningly crafted miniature village that depicts 12 thatched cottages dating from different eras between the 1900s and 1950, as well as figurines illustrating archetypal Irish village events.
Those of you with a strong enough nerve might like to brave a visit to some of the allegedly haunted castles located in County Offaly. These include Kinnitty Castle, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a monk named Hugh, Leap Castle, apparently the most haunted castle in Ireland, and Clonony Castle, where a figure known only as “The Thin Man” is said to wander the grounds in a haze of light.
If all of this talk of ghosts and spirits leaves you feeling somewhat chilled, what better way to warm up than with a visit to the Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre in Tullamore, where a guided tour will let you in on the secrets of the crafting of Tullamore Dew, a whiskey renowned throughout the world.
If you’re feeling more energetic, or have teenagers wishing to let off steam, then pay a visit to Grand Canal Sports, situated on the banks of the canal itself in Daingean, halfway between Tullamore and Edenderry. Here you’ll be able to try your hand at activities such as cycling, fishing or kayaking, with all equipment provided for hire.
Located in the centre of Tullamore, this family-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Lloyd Town Park and Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre. Charleville Forest Castle is 2 mi (3.2 km) away. Tullamore Station is 8 minutes by foot.
Situated in Tullamore, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre and Lloyd Town Park. Charleville Forest Castle is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away. Tullamore Station is 8 minutes by foot.
Situated in Kinnitty, this hotel is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Bernard's Pyramid and 1.8 mi (3 km) from Irish High Cross Kinnitty. Slieve Bloom and Leap Castle are also within 9 miles (15 km).
This family-friendly Birr hotel is located in a rural location, 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Birr Castle, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Leap Castle and Bernard's Pyramid. Slieve Bloom and Lough Boora Parklands are also within 12 miles (20 km).
Situated in Tullamore, this country house is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Durrow Abbey, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre and Locke's Distillery. Esker Hills Golf Club and Kilbeggan Racecourse are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Located in Birr, this family-friendly bed & breakfast is 0.3 mi (0.6 km) from Birr Castle, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Leap Castle and Bernard's Pyramid. Irish High Cross Kinnitty and Lough Boora Parklands are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Situated in a rural location, this bed & breakfast is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Birr Castle, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Leap Castle and Bernard's Pyramid. Irish High Cross Kinnitty and Slieve Bloom are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Situated in Birr, this bed & breakfast is 5.6 mi (8.9 km) from Clonfert Cathedral and 7.7 mi (12.4 km) from Birr Castle. Lough Boora Parklands and An Dun Transport and Heritage Museum are also within 16 miles (25 km).