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The Midlands Travel Guide

  • Photo: Andrea Seemann / Shutterstock

Plan Your The Midlands Vacation

The Celtic Tiger–era motorways may have bypassed the alluring towns and villages of the Midlands, but for a slice of authentic Ireland—a chance to see how the country gets on with its daily life—this region is worth lingering in. That’s not to say its pleasures are all workaday; visitors can sample first-class food and rural peace in spa hotels or farmhouses, experience festivals,

walk or cycle through lush countryside, and follow well-developed tourist trails—all in an area where life moves at a different pace.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Stately Clonmacnoise Atmospheric and still spirit-warm, this great early Christian monastery survived Viking, Norman, and English invaders over the centuries.
  2. Green Mansions While known for its rich farmlands, the Midlands is also home to stately homes and gardens, including fairy-tale Tullynally Castle and Birr Castle.
  3. Hiking the Slieve Bloom Mountains Dip in and out of the 32-km (20-mile) Slieve Bloom Trail, ideal hiking country for those with a yen to rise above their surroundings.
  4. Athlone The restored 13th-century castle along with the quirky shops and Europe's oldest pub are worth taking time to visit, as is the newly opened Luan Gallery.
  5. The Treasure House of Emo A quintessential landmark of 18th-century Palladian elegance, Emo—the former home of the Earl of Portarlington—has a spectacular rotunda inspired by Rome's Pantheon.

When To Go

When to Go

C'mon, this is Ireland, after all—a rain mac or windbreaker should never be far from your side when you visit the Midlands. The best time is the spr...

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Itineraries

The Midlands Itineraries

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Fodor's Ireland 2015

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