The whole family will embrace the wild spirit of Tullamore along this stretch of the Grand Canal
The gorgeous tranquil canal banks, gentle waters and green fields of Tullamore and the Grand Canal are the ideal place to switch off and get back to nature. The Grand Canal Way is the perfect route to follow on foot, with weathered ruins, charming towns and beautiful boglands along the way. And the thrills of race day are in store at the Kilbeggan races, just a short drive away from Tullamore. It's all about exploring your wild side here, be it garden trails or equine adventures. Family time is time well spent around the Grand Canal – just take a look…
Grand Canal Way - www.discoverireland.ie
Tracing a course across the east of the island from Dublin to the quaint village of Shannon Harbour in County Offaly, the Grand Canal Way is a walking trail teeming with history and nature. The route follows the canal towpath, where draft horses once pulled heavy barges along the waters, and passes by canal locks, working farms, townlands and heritage sites. From Tullamore, take the trail from Digby Bridge to Lough Boora Discovery Park and enjoy sights such as the crumbling Ballycowan Castle, Boland's Lock Keeper's House and the Turraun Wetlands.
Annaharvey Equestrian Centre - annaharveyfarm.ie
On the outskirts of Tullamore is a charming farm where you'll find a family legacy spanning five generations, and where a passion for all things equine runs, or rather, gallops in the blood. Annaharvey Equestrian Centre allows people of all skill levels to saddle up and enjoy the exhilarating sport of horseriding on an authentic country farm. Beginners and novice riders can partake in lessons and cross-country trails, while more advanced visitors can take on show jumping and dressage. You can even enjoy an overnight stay in rustic guesthouse accommodation with fresh homecooked fare on offer each morning.
Mount Lucas Wind Farm - visitoffaly.ie
The gentle rotation of white blades whipping through the air and pretty flowers blowing in the breeze – Mount Lucas Wind Farm is an oddly tranquil experience. Travel by bike or on foot along the 10km trail, which weaves between towering wind turbines, and you might spot pheasants, herons and other birds around the landscape. Those curious about renewable energy can partake in a pre-arranged guided tour for an insight into the science behind these energy-converting giants.
Lloyd Town Park - www.visitoffaly.ie
Situated in the heart of Tullamore, Lloyd Town Park offers 20 acres of lush green space, filled with play areas, tree-lined pathways and sports facilities sure to keep the whole family entertained. It's an oasis of calm in this bustling town, where the sounds of children playing and the splashing waters of the impressive fountain fill the air. Kids will love the pyramid-shaped climbing frame, zipline and collection of swings and slides. Close by the playground, you'll find a skate park where novice and advanced skateboarders test their skills. Across the way sits an enclosed bowling green where local bowling clubs can be seen competing some days. Picnic tables are found around the play area, so it's the perfect place to sit in the shade of the rustling trees and enjoy lunch with family.
Croghan Hill Challenge - croghanhillchallenge.com
Put your endurance levels to the test on the Croghan Hill Challenge. Beginning with team building games and exercises, this three-hour activity gears you up for an adventure through forest, tunnels and mud-baths, with many hurdles in between. It's serious, adrenaline-pumping fun all the way to the finish line. The fact that Croghan Hill is the ancient remains of an extinct volcano just adds to the atmosphere!
Irish National Stud & Gardens - irishnationalstud.ie
The beating heart of Ireland's horseracing industry has to be The Irish National Stud in Tully, County Kildare. As well as its rich equine history, you'll find the fascinating tale of its founder, Colonel William Hall Walker. Walker meticulously recorded a foal's time of birth, and drew up the birth charts himself. If he didn't like the stars, regardless of bloodline, the foal would be sold immediately. A guided tour is a must and, if you visit in Spring, you might spot newborn foals roaming the paddocks. Be sure to leave time for a visit to the Japanese Gardens next door where you'll find a wonderland of flora, fauna and artistic expression.
Tuar Ard Theatre - tuarard.ie
Located in the historic town of Moate in County Westmeath, Tuar Ard Theatre catches the eye with its green-trimmed Gothic windows and curious sculptures. Local productions, national acts, workshops and art exhibitions take place on stage throughout the year. Be sure to tuck in to some freshly baked goods at the café. Across the green, you'll spot a sculpture named "The Bargain", paying homage to Moate's market town origins when it was home to one of the largest cattle fairs in Ireland.
Kilbeggan Races - kilbegganraces.com
County Westmeath's Kilbeggan Races attracts horseracing fans from across the island. With a history dating back to 1901, the races are famed for their unique buzz and take place from April to September, with the top event being the Midlands Grand National every July. Expect Ladies Day fashion events, delicious food options, exhibitions and more.
Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park - lullymoreheritagepark.com
Just a short drive away from Tullamore lies the nature haven of Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park in County Kildare. Once a monastic retreat (until it was ransacked during a rebellion in the early 18th century), the park is now a celebration of the Irish peatlands. Visitors can explore 60 acres of parkland, including a Famine Cottage, Biodiversity Boardwalk and Fairy Village. Glassy lakes, vibrant heathers and wispy bog cotton make up the wild landscape, and fascinating exhibitions and guided outdoor tours will keep the whole family entertained.