Welcome To Offaly!
Offaly lies near the centre of Ireland. In the south-east of the county are the Heathery Slieve Bloom Mountains, among which there are pretty valleys to be explored.
The rest of the county is largely level plain and bogland, with occasional elevations. In the west the River Shannon separates the county from Counties Galway and Roscommon.
The visitor information office of Birr Town in County Offaly has a leaflet instructing you to follow the Birr Town Trail, and it’s worth your while if you have time to kill in Birr. Birr Castle is to this day still the residence of the Earl and Countess of Ross. It indeed looks like a castle – almost too old and grey and crenellated from the outside to be still in use as a habitable abode. Although the house itself is not open to the public, the gardens and the parklands that surround it are. Paths throughout the estate take you on beautiful walks. Ancestors of the residents of the castle were scientists, and groundbreaking research was carried out within the castle itself by many a past resident.
William Parsons built a huge telescope in the mid 1850s – still to be seen at the castle – and teamed up with photographer wife Mary to provide breakthrough images of galaxies and nebulae that would otherwise be mere pinpricks of light or not even visible to the human eye.
Charles Parsons, meanwhile, invented a very early helicopter in 1897. Powered by steam, it pre-dated the Wright Brothers’ successful flight by half a decade. Parsons also invented the steam turbine.
Those of a more spiritual or religious bent will find Clonmacnoise, also in County Offaly, as a place of intense interest. It is the most complete extant monastic site, with a plethora of crosses, churches and other pieces of architecture. The structure of McDermot’s Church (as it stands, a twelfth century building, although the site dates from 904), is very well preserved, with statuary on display above an impressive arch doorway. The three high crosses are housed in a visitor centre, while outside you will find modern replicas. The monastic site saw attack after attack by Danes, English and disenfranchised Irish throughout its history, so it’s a miracle of history that the site is so well preserved.
General information Offaly
County Offaly (Contae Uíbh Fhailí Irish) is is a county in the mid west of Ireland within the province of Leinster. It was named after the of Kingdom of Uí Failghe.
The lost city of Clonmacnoise in County Offaly, located at the river Shannon near Shannonbridge, is Ireland's leading Monastic site. It was the greatest centre of learning in Europe during the first millennium and was regarded as the most important centre for learning, Arts and Crafts and Christianity in Europe. Today famous Celtic Crosses of Clonmacnoise at the site are open to the general public.
The southern part of Offaly is the home of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, with northwestern part in the floodplain of the River Shannon and the remainder consisting of large bogs including the Bog of Allen and Boora bog.Accommodation in Offaly
Offaly provides you with a range accommodation types to suit your requirement and your budget. Bed & Breakfast, Guest Houses, Hostels, Hotels and Farm Houses are some of the possible alternatives for your stay in Offaly.Hotels in Offaly
Hotels in Offaly give you the option of a comfortable nights sleep in a modern environment within a county of rich history and simple pleasures. Hotels in Offaly include Brosna Lodge in Banagher and The Tullamore Court.Bed & Breakfast in Offaly
Bed & breakfast accommodation in Offaly capture the charms of the countryside beautifully, giving you a comfortable and affordable stay along with deliciously cooked breakfast to suit your budget. B&B in Offaly includes names such as The Harbour Masters House in Birr.Offaly Restaurants
Offaly restaurants serve a range of national and international recipes made with local sourced produce where available. Popular restaurants in Offaly include the Bridge House in Tullamore and The County Arms in Birr.Shopping in Offaly
There are plenty of opportunities to shop til you drop in Offaly, especially in the towns of Tullamore and Birr.Offaly Car Rental
Car rentals in Offaly allow you to choose your own route with a range of cars to suit any budget. Car rentals in Offaly include Birr Car Hire, Tullamore Car Hire, Belmont Car Hire and Clara Car Hire.Offaly Golf
The wide open spaces of Offaly mean that there are a wealth of parkland golf courses, where you can work on your handicap in peace. Courses in Offaly include Birr, Tullamore and Esker Hills Golf Clubs.
Attractions Offaly Ireland
Birr Castle - Birr
Birr, county Offaly, is situated on the banks of the River Camcor. The place name "Birr" originated in an Irish term probably used to describe this riverside position, though for many years the town was known as "Parsonstown", as Birr Castle was and still is, home to the Parsons family. Back in 1620 Sir Laurence Parsons was granted 1,277 acres of land and took possession of Birr town. The castle has grown since then and become famous for many things, but mostly for the telescope, which was the largest in the world for over 70 years and was constructed in the 1840s by the Third Earl of Rosse. It was recently restored and is in fine working order.
Charleville Castle - Tullamore
Located at Tullamore, Charleville is Irelands finest gothic revival castle. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Francis Johnstons, who designed the GPO in Dublin. The castle was built between 1798 and 1810. The massive dining room was designed by Sir William Morris.
Clonmacnoise - Shannonbridge
Located at Shannonbridge, on the banks of the river Shannon, one of Ireland's most famous monastic sites, Clonmacnoise was founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century. The site includes the ruins of a Cathedral, eight churches dating from the 10th and 13th century, two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christain grave slabs. The original high crosses and grave slabs are on display in the Visitor Centre. Buried here is the last High King of Ireland - Rory OÇonnor
Leap Castle - Birr
Located South-east of Birr between Kinnity and Roscrea are the remains of Leap Castle. Originally an O'Carroll fortress, it guarded the pass from the Slieve Bloom into Munster. It was destroyed in 1922 during the civil war. Today it hosts occasional Irish music sessions. The site also boasts great views of the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
Slieve Bloom Environmental Mountain Park - Birr
Located at Birr, In contrast with the surrounding plain, this modest 615m high mountain range appears imposing. Blanket bog, green forest with picnic and amenity areas, waterfalls, deep glens and peaceful villages make the area's 155,400 hectares an altogether delightful touring destination.