Clonmacnoise is located in Shannonbridge on the River Shannon, south of Athlone. The site stands as a preserved ruin under the management of the Office of Public Works. An interpretive centre and facilities for visitors have been built around the site, which is open to the public for a fee. The graveyard surrounding the site continues to be in use and religious services are held regularly on the site in a modern chapel.
"After Dublin I was looking for that part of Ireland that you know from stories and TV... the rough nature with ruins and knights. You'll find that right here! Beautiful stop during a road trip between Dublin and Galway," one reviewer commented.
"My B&B landlord recommended I go to Clonmacnoise as there are some of the oldest crosses there. It was so moving to view the ruins and different grave markers. The history and artifacts found were so very interesting. Highly recommend a visit," another stated.
2. Tullamore Dew
Located in Bury Quay, Tullamore, Tullamore Dew is a 19th-century warehouse home of Tullamore Dew whiskey, with tasting tours, a restaurant and a bar. There is also a guided tour available which blends both audiovisual and traditional storytelling to help visitors see, smell, taste and understand the craft, time and passion dedicated to each glass of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.
"Very informative tour, our guide was clued up and very friendly. The tasting at the end was very interesting. Worth a visit and Tullamore is a great wee Irish town," one stated.
"Tullamore Dew puts on a very nice tour. You get to learn about the company and history of the family in Tullamore. It is very well done and the guide was very funny. At the end you get to try some good Irish whiskey. Great way to spend a couple of hours," another commented.
3. Birr Castle and Science Centre/Birr Theatre
Birr is a heritage town and offers tourists a host of attrations, including the castle and the theatre.
The theatre offers those staying there top quality musical acts from across the globe. Across the town, the castle has a host a host of wonders, from the Award Winning Gardens to the newly revamped Science Centre.
"Great day out got a family pass from hotel free as it was Halloween there was a pumpkin trail and the grandchildren had a great time. Staff were very helpful and great with directions," a reviewer posted.
"Excellent show. Great venue. Staff very friendly. Loved the intimate atmosphere. Highly recommended. Will be back soon. Very easy to get tickets online," another commented.
4. Lough Boora Discovery Park
Lough Boora Discovery Park offers over 2,000 hectares of cutaway bogland that has been rehabilitated to provide a world class resource to all those who go to see it. The Park is a haven of flora and fauna for nature lovers as well as families, walkers and cyclists.
"Top attraction in the area by miles. Go visit and you'll understand why. The walks are amazing, there are bikes for hire. A lovely Càfe, with friendly staff at both places. Lakes, sculptures, wildlife. Picnic areas, something for everyone," one wrote.
"A fantastic day out. We visited with our four children. We rang ahead and they reserved a trike for our daughter who has a disability so she could get around the tracks. The men on the bike stand were fantastic and couldn't do enough to help. The kids loved it and we stopped for a coffee and an ice cream in the cafe afterwards," another posted.
5. Charleville Castle
The Castle is located in Tullamore. It has been host to multiple events, including "fright nights", auctions and plays. More recently, it has played host to the Mór Festival, and its successor, Castlepalooza. Facefest, a not for profit festival has been staged at Charleville Castle for a number of years in the Summer Solstice Weekend to great success also.
"Worked on a film here and it was a great location. In good enough shape and perfect for filming/photo shoots. Staff were great and educated on its history. Bring a coat though it's colder in the castle then it is outside," a reviewer commented.
"Absolutely my favourite castle we toured in our two weeks in Ireland. Stumbled across it by accident, and so glad we did! The tour guide was great. Such an amazing story and great work by a group of volunteers. Hope to return some day to see the progress!" another exclaimed.
6. Slieve Bloom Mountains
The Slieve Bloom Mountains span the counties of Offaly and Laois. For those who wish to enjoy the scenery of these mountains, looped walking trails have been developed at six trail heads in the Slieve Blooms, Glenbarrow, Clonaslee, Cadamstown, Kinnitty, Glenafelly Forest Car Park and Glen Monicknew.
"One of the best walking locations in the country, completed untapped as far as there is not so many walkers out and about exploring the mountains, almost feels like you have the mountain range to yourself!! Well worth a visit, but keep it a secret!" one TripAdivsor review exclaimed.
"A beautiful part of the country where you can make that perfect connection and you won't need WiFi. If you tune in nature will speak to you in ways you never imagined possible. Take your troubles to the top of the mountain close your eyes as allow them to float away on the breeze while filling your lungs with clean fresh air. Enjoy your time take memorable photos and leave nothing behind but your footprints as you leave refreshed and ready for the days ahead," another commented.
7. Lloyd Town Park
Lloyd Town Park is located on Cormac Street in Tullamore. The park offers people lovely walks and allows children to run around and stretch their legs.
"A very well kept park pretty much in the town centre but well designed for tranquility. Great playground for kids. Nice expansive walk. Benches dotted around and picnic tables well place. Lovely little woods in the middle. Nice lunch spot on a sunny day," a reviewer posted.
"It's a great location to bring small children, loads for the little ones to play on. They also have parking facilities. They have a water feature which is a big hit with the kids," another commented.
8. Barack Obama Plaza visitor centre
The Barack Obama Plaza visitor centre is located on junction 23, M7 in Moneygall and offers visitors a chance to eperience the ancestral home of Barack Obama, to visit local business and a chance for children to play in the activity park or take a scenic walk around the ‘Rock of Loyer’ walking loop. Guided tours can also be arranged at the nearby Cloncannon Bio Farm which can complement various educational itineraries.
"Travelling on the M7 in Ireland, I saw a sign listing this rest stop and luckily for us it was at the junction of where we got off. Not only could you get gas and a quick meal, they had a decent gift shop and market to purchase snack items and most importantly to me, a full-sized cut out of President Barack Obama whose ancestors were from nearby and his lovely wife Michelle. Proudly I had my picture taken with them," one TripAdvistor review stated.
"Came to Ireland to see Barack Obama's ancestral village and we were not disappointed! The Papa John's was a nice bit of symbolism that showed that maybe we are not so different after all," another American tourist commented.
9. Clara Bog Boardwalk
Located on Rahan Road in Clara, the Clara Bog Boardwalk is a must visit if you are travelling in Ireland as it forms over 50% of the remaining area of uncut raised bog in North West Europe.
"What a beautiful place to take our family, little Pug and the kids grandparents for an evening stroll. Just outside Clara on the road to Rahan it is easy to find and an easy walk for young and old alike. The kids loved peering into the bog pools looking for frogs. It is so tranquil surrounded by miles of pretty heathered bog and heady scented yellow gorse bushes but the majestic sunset over the bog was the most magical sight of all!this is a lovely quiet spot for a walk with a nice boardwalk suspended over the bog and is quite an experience! We will definitely make this a regular visit!" a review exclaimed.
"We enjoyed touring the boardwalk around the bog, a great feat of workmanship in itself, and the nearby visitor centre in Clara town was very well presented (and free!). We chatted with a very knowledgeable guide in the visitor centre, and learned a great deal about bogs and peat as a fuel. This is well worth the short jaunt off the motorway," another commented.
10. Grand Canal
Located in Edenderry and running across the Midlands, the Grand Canal is a very important part of the region's history as well as a nice place to take a walk and enjoy the scenery. A branch from the main canal to Edenderry was planned in 1786 and built between 1797 and 1802. This canal, which is one mile in length with a cut stone harbour, was financed by the Downshire estate at a cost of around £692.
It is now used by walkers, cyclists, fishermen and hosts various festivals and events in Edenderry and beyond.
"Fab fab! The walk along the grand canal is beautiful and the nature around it is wonderful, showing my daughter a heron on the bank just about to take off was wonderful. I do this walk everyday rain or shine," one TripAdvisor exclaimed.