Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and its rural communities are as far from fast-paced living as you can get, yet right on your doorstep, often an hour’s drive, or less, away. With its rich mix of beautiful landscapes, rugged hills, soft bogs, peaceful lakes and vibrant townscapes, welcome to one of the most surprising and unspoilt parts of Ireland.
Tap into the relaxed rhythm of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands to uncover unexplored tracks and trails, beguiling Blueways, exciting waterside towns and picturesque rural villages. Use our map to discover what each region has to offer. Here are just some suggestions for what you could see and do in the area;
- Athlone Castle – Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is a family friendly tourist attraction in the heart of Ireland. Filled with modern exhibitions, Athlone’s history, people, castle and battles are explored and brought to life. Child friendly multi media displays and interactive games guide the visitor through the castle.
- Luan Gallery – Stroll across the bridge in Athlone and nestling on the right hand bank you’ll find the stunning Luan Gallery. A showcase for the most interesting artists from the midlands, Ireland and abroad, the building itself is a modern work of art in its own right. With floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views across the majestic Shannon water, it’s a space that gives the work real room to breath.
- Derryglad Folk & Heritage Museum – Experience life in rural Ireland back to the nineteenth century. At the award-winning Derryglad Folk and Heritage Museum you can explore our collection of 7,500+ objects. Their guided tours take you back in time, through the village shops, the school room and kitchen as you learn the stories and traditions of long ago.
- Glendeer Pet Farm – Glendeer Pet Farm is an award winning open farm. It is an unforgettable, interactive experience where you can pet baby animals such as bearded dragons, chicks, rabbits and guinea pigs.The centre is located in Strokestown, County Roscommon and is run by a community-owned company, affiliated to the Irish Family History Foundation.
- Baysports Waterpark – Baysports is home to Ireland’s Largest Inflatable Waterpark. Ireland’s most unique destination and family fun day out in the heart of Ireland, located just outside Athlone and central to everywhere in Ireland. Made up of the biggest collection of original one off award winning floating slides, rockers and challenges, entertaining and delighting people of all ages and abilities.
- Kilbeggan Distillery – The Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath is the oldest distillery in the world, dating back to 1757. A trip to this well-known County Westmeath attraction will enable you to discover the history of authentic artisan Irish whiskey, as well as sample it for yourself.
With so much to see and do in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands why not extend your trip, and stay in one of the many hotels, guesthouses, or B&Bs in the area.
Feeling thirsty or peckish? Whether you’re a consummate carnivore or a vegan, you’ll find plenty of foodie delights in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Check out our list of recommended places for your visit.
Hidden landscapes, captivating stories and a vibrant town; the central area of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is ready to uncover.