The midlands of Ireland are often overlooked for the dramatic Irish coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. However, we believe there are many hidden gems too precious to be missed. Here, we’ll list just a few of our favourites that are worth the trip during your visit to Ireland.
If it’s castles you’re interested in visiting, look no further. There are some splendid examples of medieval castles dotted all over the midlands of the country. One of the finest is Cahir Castle, located in the town of the same name in North Tipperary. The largest castle in Ireland, it was built in the 12th century as a fortress on the River Suir by the powerful Butler family. Today, there are guided tours through this impressively well-maintained castle.
It’s not just castles though, why not visit the peculiar Swiss Cottage just outside of Cahir. Built in the early 1800s, it’s a classic example of a cottage orné or decorated cottage from the Romantic movement. Guided tours are available to see the inside of this interesting architectural delight.
A trip to Tipperary wouldn’t be complete without seeing the famous Rock of Cashel. One of the most visited historical sites in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel, or St Patrick’s Rock, was once the meeting point for the High Kings of Munster. The site as it is today dates from the 12th and 13th centuries when the Church took ownership. The architectural features such as an Irish High Cross and round tower are well-preserved examples of church buildings from this period.
Another interesting place to visit in the Midlands would have to be Birr Castle. The original castle built in medieval times was sold on in the late 16th century and over the centuries was built on to on either side to give us the imposing building we see today. However, the gardens stretching over 50 hectares are the real reason we love visiting so much. The formal gardens are home to the world’s tallest box hedges as well as a collection of rare flowers, trees and shrubs collected by the Earls of Rosse who still own the castle and grounds. Take a walk through the terraces and see Ireland’s first suspension bridge over the river Camcor. There are some spectacular waterfalls and a lake on the grounds alsoCountyg it the perfect place to visit on a sunny day.
Remaining in County Offaly, another important historical site to visit is Clonmacnoise. Founded in 544 AD by St Ciarán, this monastery was the home of many of Ireland’s saints and scholars and many religious manuscripts were produced here including the Book of Duncow and the Annals of Tighernach. There are a number of ornately decorated high crosses and two round towers among the ruins here. Take a peaceful stroll through the grounds to take in the atmosphere of Ireland’s Golden Age of learning.
Don’t overlook the Midlands when you’re planning your trip to Ireland.
Tom, Laura and team will be on hand to give you the best recommendations from the heartlands of Ireland. Contact Tom or Laura from VIP Chauffeur today. Let’s get started on planning your perfect, tailor made trip.
Tom: +353 87 2612131
Laura: +353 87 989 8585