Laois County

One-Day Historical Journey:

  • Morning: Begin at the Rock of Dunamase, enjoying panoramic views of the Laois countryside from the ruins of an early Christian period stronghold.
  • Afternoon: Explore Emo Court and Gardens, taking a guided tour of the elegant neo-classical mansion and its beautiful gardens. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the estate café.
  • Evening: Return to Portlaoise for dinner at one of the excellent local restaurants, followed by a stroll in the town center or an event at the Dunamaise Arts Centre.

Two-Day Cultural Exploration:

  • Day 1: In Abbeyleix, delve into the town’s heritage and take a guided nature walk at the Abbeyleix Bog Project. Spend the afternoon at Heywood Gardens, followed by an evening visit to the Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum in Attanagh.
  • Day 2: Discover Portlaoise, exploring historical sites like the Fort Protector and engaging with local arts at the Dunamaise Arts Centre. In the evening, enjoy the vibrant local music scene in a traditional Irish pub.

Three-Day Adventure in Nature:

  • Day 1: If weather permits, hike or cycle in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, exploring trails like the Ridge of Capard or the Slieve Bloom Way for fantastic views.
  • Day 2: Visit the Timahoe Round Tower in the morning, then head to Lough Boora Discovery Park for water activities and bike rentals, exploring fascinating sculptural installations.
  • Day 3: Follow the Barrow Way for a leisurely walk or kayak trip along the River Barrow, concluding your adventure in the picturesque village of Vicarstown.

Week-Long Immersive Experience:

Combine the above itineraries and add:

  • A day exploring the heritage towns of Mountmellick and Stradbally, visiting the Quaker Museum in Mountmellick and experiencing Stradbally Hall Estate, especially during the Electric Picnic festival.
  • Dedicate a day to crafts and design by visiting local artisan studios across Laois, meeting the makers, possibly participating in a workshop, and purchasing unique Irish products.
  • For a peaceful retreat, take a day trip to the ancient monastic site of Clonenagh, delving into Laois’s spiritual history.
  • Conclude with a leisure day in one of Laois’s spa hotels for relaxation after a week of exploration.

These itineraries offer structured yet flexible ways to experience County Laois, from its ancient past to its lively present, ensuring a rich and varied visit to the heart of Ireland.