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01 Dec 2021

REVEALED: The top ten tourist attractions in Offaly as ranked by visitors to the county

REVEALED: The top ten tourist attractions in Offaly as ranked by visitors to the county

IT’S often interesting to hear what people from other parts of Ireland and even abroad think of our county and what it has to offer.

Anyone who has ever gone anywhere in the world frequently look up TripAdvisor for the best things to do in an area, the main attractions, places to eat, or the best hotels within your price range. 
TripAdvisor has listed the Top Attractions in Offaly in this order 

1.Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre,
2. Clonmacnoise
3. Charleville Castle
4.Lough Boora Discovery Park
5. Birr Castle, Gardens and Science Centre
6. Clonmacnoise (again)
7.Lloyd Town Park, Tullamore
8. Slieve Bloom Mountains
9. Lough Boora Discovery Park (again)
10. Clonony Castle

Other attractions included are The Irish Parachute Club and Birr Theatre and Arts Centre. 

Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre
The facility received 1,162 reviews and it has a 4 and a half star rating. 

Obviously many of these reviews date back to pre-pandemic and took place at the visitor centre at Bury Quay which is now closed with the visitor centre moving to the distillery at Clonminch.

In 2018 a visitor from Minnesota gave the facility at Bury Quay a 5 star rating. This is what they had to say: “Very informative tour of the history of Tullamore Dew and the difference in Irish Whiskey/Scottish Whisky/American Bourbon. Tour was not too long, ending with the tasting of 3 different types. I’m not a drinker so I didn’t pay attention to the types that were sampled. We did get to keep the shot glass we sampled in as a souvenir. We were part of a bus tour and this was included so I can’t tell you how much it cost. A beautiful historic building along a canal. Did not eat at the restaurant. It looks nice and the gift shop looks nice, too. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll recommend you stop by.’’

In October 2020 two friends attended a cocktail making class at the centre.

“We attended as a group of two for the evening cocktail class on Friday. Aoife was our guide, she was exceptional, full of energy, very enthusiastic and made the tour of the distillery and class extremely enjoyable. We were given cocktails on arrival and then made a further 3 cocktails and enjoyed a shot also. The class was great and I would definitely go back!’’ 

Clonmacnoise
This historical site has 1,024 reviews and  received 5 stars. Visitors from Chesapeake, Virginia said: “Arrived early on a Saturday morning and had to share this magical place with only six other tourists.The museum is well laid out to reflect the history of the site. The short 20-minute video is very well done, and you should make the time to view it.

Walking this very tranquil place along the River Shannon was a pure joy. Round towers from the 1100’s. Celtic crosses of every size, and a modern site where Pope John Paul II visited in 1979.

Ideal place to see the history of conflicts and growth of Christianity in Ireland.

Very clean rest rooms and a friendly staff at the gift shop. A great value at €6 for seniors. Free parking.’’

A UK tourist who visited in August this year described Clonmacnoise as “Breathtaking”

“An enchanting place. Wonderful history and some quite beautiful headstones and architecture. Not completely open due to COVID but still worth a visit.’’

Charleville Castle
[At the time of writing Charleville Castle was closed due to Covid] 

A Dublin family gave it 5 stars.
“We were away for the weekend staying nearby and came across the castle from a Google search and luckily we did. We arrive at 2pm and a lovely volunteer at the door named Roman (from France) welcomed us in for a tour (there is a donation to be made as it’s a voluntary run project) to note they do not have a card machine and we only had credit cards no cash so we drove down to the town to get an ATM and were back for the 3pm tour. The castle is beautiful and its history and stories provided by Roman were so interesting and captivating. The rooms within the castle were just out of this world. Thoroughly enjoyed and will definitely be back. Well done Roman for delivering such a great and informative tour for us.’’

A Dublin family who walked to the castle in August this year, said they would save their 5 stars until it opens but they enjoyed the walk to the historical site. 

“Beautiful walk up to the gates of the castle- some fairy doors scattered around. Upon arrival the view of the castle is breathtaking.’’ They gave it a 4 star rating as it was closed. 

Lough Boora Discovery Park
A couple who visited in August this year said 
“We brought our bicycles out to Lough Boora Discovery Park and had such an amazing time. It was definitely the best way for us to get around and see as much as possible. The Sculpture Park was my favourite part. On a side note, the public toilets and facilities were very clean, very impressive for a free amenity. We enjoyed a 99 from the Organic Kitchen and walked along the lake. There is so much to see at the Discovery Park, we'll be back again soon.’’

Birr Gardens and Science Centre 
A family from Athone visited in August 2021 and  described it saying:
“Went for a day with my kids 11 and 9. The morning turned out to be a bit damp but that worked in our favour as we had the place mainly to ourselves. It was so peaceful to walk around and there is lots to explore and amazing sites. We walked part of it, had a picnic (lots of tables and benches dotted about) and then checked out the tree house. My kids loved it. After a coffee and letting them play for a while we explored further and found more hidden gems. Back to the tree house again and then checked out the science centre. Overall we spent about 5 hours here which for €20 for the 3 of us I thought was really good. We will definitely go back.”

Lloyd Town Park Tullamore
This person visited in July this year.
“I visited this park many years ago during the Phoenix Festival and was amazed to see the transformation. It caters for all ages with a playground, skate park and beautiful water features. It was lovely to be able to spend time there during our trip to the town.’’

Slieve Bloom Mountains
“Wonderful scenery and sense of remoteness in this wilderness. We walked the Slieve Bloom Way over 2 days and stayed at Giltraps pods in Kinnitty which worked out well.”

Monicknew Forest
May 2021 • friends did a 7.5km walk through Monicknew forest which is part of the Slieve Bloom mountains. They described it as “breathtaking scenery, amazing views, out and about in nature a perfect day.”

Clonony Castle
In August of this year a family visited the castle.
“We called in yesterday afternoon and Rebecca was so welcoming. She is so knowledgeable about the history of the castle and the restoration process.
“She is a wonderful storyteller and really engaged us all. Such a treat on our short trip through Shannonbridge. Amazing to see.”

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