Exploring Ireland – The Midlands

The central plain of Ireland is known as the Irish Midlands, and it includes the counties of Laois, Longford, Roscommon, Tipperary, Leitrim, Westmeath, and Offaly.

The eastern part of Galway, as well as scenic boglands such as the Bog of Allen, are also part of this picturesque region.

Many appealing tourist destinations are found in the Midlands; one of its most popular attractions is the historical site of Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastery located near the beautiful River Shannon.

Castles and sweeping plains make this section of Ireland a must-see for visitors: highlights of a trip to the Irish Midlands should always include trips to Cahir Castle (Tipperary) and the Glens of Country Leitrim.

Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum (Roscommon) offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, by retelling the story of the Great Famine, a pivotal event in the history of the Emerald Isle and its people.

We’ve put together some information about the best things to see and do when touring the Midlands. Be sure to make these destinations a part of your itinerary during your next trip to Ireland.

The Rugged Splendour of Cahir Castle…

Cahir Castle, located in County Tipperary, is one of the Midland’s shining jewels. Huge and well-preserved, it offers visitors a truly authentic historical experience.

Tours and displays add to the thrill of wandering through this ancient stone fortress, which was built in 1142 for Conor O’Brien, the Prince of Thomond.

This national monument has a rich and sometimes violent provenance…twice besieged by enemies during the Irish Confederate Wars, and then falling into disrepair during the 1800’s, it has been carefully restored, and additions and remodelling have given it back its lustre and rugged beauty.

When you visit Cahir Castle, you will find it rests in the town centre of Cahir. The name of the castle and town translate to “the stonefort of the fishing”. A day trip to this Midland attraction will be unforgettable…

Clonmacnoise – A Stunning Testament Of Faith…

Located in County Offaly, these monastic ruins loom over the banks of the River Shannon.

Built in 545, these ancient buildings were a hub for all sorts of learning, including, of course, religious studies. Other forms of education practiced at this site including the learning of trades and crafts.

A stunning, circular tower and ornately-carved stone High Crosses add a sense of transcendent beauty to the vistas of Clonmacnoise.

For a day spent wrapped in the mists of time, explore this site on foot, and get in touch with nature while touring the outbuildings and grounds.

Other Highlights…

The Glens of County Leitrim provide the ultimate in outdoor beauty. If you love hill-walking, enjoy the fresh air and the splendid views by visiting the The North Leitrim Glens Centre.

Each year, this center puts together a series of hill-walking festivals that celebrate the natural wonders of the region. You can opt for a guided tour or explore on your own.

During festivals, live music and entertainment in the evenings make for a well-rounded holiday.

Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum (Roscommon County) documents the history and effects of the Great Famine. From the years 1845-1850, a blight on the vital potato crop caused untold suffering, poverty, and starvation among the Irish.

The Famine also spurred a wave of immigration that led millions of Irish people away from their homeland.

Learn more about this pivotal event in Irish history at this excellent museum, which provides its visitors with deep and moving accounts of true-life experiences.

Letters, documents, and artifacts bring the rigors of the Famine to life for a new generation, granting visitors a deeper understanding of their ancestors and the culture of Ireland…

Other Ways To Experience Ireland (Without Leaving Home!)…

Whether or not you’ve made your way to the Irish Midlands, you can still enjoy the beauty of Irish culture…a Trinity Knot pendant crafted in the shape of a traditional Celtic Cross will always remind you of Ireland’s unique history (and its beauty)…

The ringed Celtic Cross dates back to the sixth century; it remains one of Ireland’s most meaningful symbols. To look at more handcrafted Irish jewelry designs, visit our online Celtic jewelry store…