5 unmissable experiences in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands 2 years ago

5 unmissable experiences in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

You need to visit these hidden gems...


With this being the summer to keep discovering our beautiful island, here are five unmissable things to do in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

The region is an outdoors adventure playground for lovers of the outdoors. It’s a paradise for walkers and nature-lovers as well as adventure-seekers and those who like to get off the beaten track.

If that sounds like you or something you'd love to experience, then it's time to add these five suggestions to your bucket list...

Portumna Castle & Gardens, Portumna, Co. Galway


Make like Lord or Lady of the Manor with a meander around Portumna Castle and Gardens. This splendid 17th-century semi-fortified house on the shores of Lough Derg has an engaging self-guided exhibition that brings the history of the castle to life.

There are also blooming beautiful formal gardens, a Willow Maze and a bountiful walled kitchen garden to admire. When you have finished swanning around, you can feast like  royalty in the CaToCa Fine Food tea rooms in the castle’s restored horse stables.


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Mid Ireland Adventure, Co Offaly

Eager to explore the region’s waterways? At Mid Ireland Adventure in the charming town of Banagher, you can rent a paddle board board and travel along the epic River Shannon and Grand Canal. With its bucolic backdrop, it’s a great place to embrace the outdoors and reacquaint yourself with nature. Want something a bit more wet and wild? Join a kayak safari and paddle the ancient waters once navigated by the Vikings.

Speaking of which…


Viking Mike, Athlone

Step aboard a replica Viking ship and sail back in time with your intrepid Captain, Viking Mike. Set off from Athlone Castle and explore the Midlands from the mighty River Shannon. Don a Viking helmet and hear all about the fascinating local history, remarkable religious settlements and the vicious and victorious Vikings.

Please note, whilst on this Viking cruise, photography is permitted, pillaging is not! Alternatively, you can adventure to Lough Ree in search of its famous aquatic monster! Be vigilant, young Viking!

Cloughan Farm & Cookery School, Co. Longford


Jump in the trailer and enjoy a tractor ride around Cloughan Farm in rural Longford. Say hi to the adorable animals, collect eggs from the hens and hand-pick ingredients to recreate tasty Irish dishes during a cookery class with Fiona Egan.

Fancy whipping up scones and homemade jam? How about baking Irish brown bread along with smoked salmon pate?

No matter what class you take, you’ll have a delicious day out learning all about farm-to-table cooking.

Cruising on the Shannon

A cruise on the majestic River Shannon is an exciting way to explore some of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations. Think of it as a road trip but on the waterways, not the motorways. Onboard, you’ll never be bored as you’ll work the locks, cruise past impressive forts, rambling estates and ancient ruins and dock at different destinations along the way.

You don’t need a licence to rent a cruiser and you can begin your cruising holiday in Carrick-on-Shannon with Carrickcraft, in Banagher with Silverline Cruisers or in Portumna with Emerald Star.


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As you can see, whether you are into pedalling or paddling, cooking or cruising, castles or churches you can enjoy all of these experiences and more in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

Capacity restrictions may be in place at visitor attractions, sites and restaurants so you are encouraged to book ahead to avoid disappointment. The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

Brought to you by Discover Ireland