Whether you’re looking for relaxing family fun or exhilarating outdoor adventures, Mullingar and the Royal Canal have something to offer.
Long rambling walks along woodland trails, meetings with inquisitive animals at a pet farm, the wobbles and splashes that inevitably follow a first attempt at paddleboarding… There is no end to the fun that you and your family can enjoy here. It’s time to switch off the devices, tune into each other and just enjoy what happens next.
The Kildare Maze
Covering 1.5 acres and with pathways bordered by six-foot hedges, the Kildare Maze has a reputation for keeping both kids and adults challenged. Follow its twists and turns as you search for the centre. Then climb the viewing tower for a quick victory dance and a chance to see just how you’re going to make your way to freedom. If the maze isn’t enough to keep your little explorers occupied, there’s also a smaller wooden maze for little ones, a petting zoo, zipline and crazy golf. Ideal for even the most adventurous family.
Mollie Moo’s Pet Farm
Located just a short distance from Mullingar, Mollie Moo’s Pet Farm offers the perfect day out for families. Armed with a bag of food for the animals, kids can meet all sorts of creatures, from sheep and donkeys to rabbits and ducks… and even Lucy, the resident alpaca. There’s a playground and sandpit for younger kids, crazy golf and go-carting for the older ones, and a well-kept picnic area – great for sunny afternoons. molliemoos.ie
Mullingar Equestrian Centre
From tiny tots to horse-mad teens, absolute beginners to old pros, Mullingar Equestrian Centre caters for everyone. At their superb premises, the Fagan family has created a one-stop-shop for all things equestrian, with experienced instructors and full AIRE approval. So whether you want to enjoy a leisurely ride around the onsite cross-country track or book the kids in for their first-ever pony ride, you’ll find a safe and relaxed environment here.
Mullingar Arts Centre
Since Mullingar’s historic old town hall was reincarnated as a slick, modern venue, it has become a focal point for the arts. The centre presents a varied programme of events throughout the year, including children’s performances from well-known theatre companies such as the Barnstorm Theatre Company and the Dublin City Theatre. Watch out also for children’s workshops on music, dance and drama.
Belvedere House, Gardens and Park
It’s pretty easy to while away a blissful family day at Belvedere House, a Georgian estate on the shores of Lough Ennell. There are acres of woodlands trails to explore; a grand mansion to check out; and a bright, airy visitor centre with a café and ice-cream parlour where you can take a break and refuel. Then, while the kids tackle the towers, slides and swings in the play areas or fly through the air on the 30-metre zipline, you can enjoy a quiet coffee and soak up some of the history of this amazing place.
Lilliput Adventure Centre
Fun, friendly and guaranteed to satisfy little thrill-seekers, this outdoor adventure centre caters to groups of 12 or more and makes the most of its stunning location in Jonathan Swift Park, beside Lough Ennell. There’s a mind-boggling range of activities on offer here, from kayaking and hiking to archery and rock climbing. Qualified instructors are on hand to make sure everyone stays safe, and the facilities include showers, scenic picnic areas and plenty of parking. Book in for a day trip that will really take your breath away.
Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, County Longford
Discover culture, creativity and storytelling in the pretty village of Ardagh in County Longford. The old Victorian schoolhouse has been transformed into a quirky centre that offers arts and crafts workshops for kids and adults as well as heritage tours of a village that is steeped in myth and history. From weaving and felting to sketching and even clay modelling, the centre encourages kids to get creative and is an lovely choice for families who want to do a digital detox and enjoy some simple pleasures.
There’s no better way to spend some quality time together as a family than with a gentle cycle along quiet country trails – and the Royal Canal Greenway is a perfect example. This off-road trail runs from Maynooth to the River Shannon at Cloondara and opens up a blissfully peaceful world of grassy towpaths, stone bridges and still waters. Hire a bike from one of the conveniently located providers along the way, such as Mullingar Bike Hire, and off you go. Just outside Mullingar, the Greenway links up with the Old Rail Trail, another off-road route that follows the old railway line between Mullingar and Athlone. If you’re looking for a bit of local colour, book a trip with Midland Cycling Tours and your guide will share some of the history of this beautiful area.
mullingarbikehire.com / midlandsyclehub.ie
Fun in the water
Splashing about in water is something that most kids relish, and with the Royal Canal and a selection of beautiful lakes in such close proximity, Mullingar will not disappoint your water babies. They can enjoy the paddling trails along the Royal Canal Blueway, try out stand-up paddleboarding in the Activity Zone in Mullingar Harbour, swim in the clear waters of Lough Ennell or go sailing with the Mullingar Sailing Club on Lough Owel.