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Offaly Holiday Homes

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Offaly is located in the midlands and is a county within the province of Leinster. It is bordered by seven other counties namely Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Laois, and Tipperary. The present county was shired in 1556 by Mary I of England during one of the Plantations of Ireland, and at that time was called King's County after King Philip II of Spain. The county town of this era was Philipstown (now re-named as Daingean) until the nineteenth century. The county town today is Tullamore. However, the former county name of "King's County" is still in partial use to this day and will be seen in the title deeds to a property when they are transferred from a buyer to a seller.  Holiday Home Offaly

The north-western area of the county is a floodplain of the River Shannon, whilst a large part of southern Offaly is covered by the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The county also contains the numerous large bogs, of which the Bog of Allen and Boora Bog are the most notable. The county area measures at 1,999 km² and the population is 71,000. Some towns in the east of Offaly have experienced rapid growth in recent years due to their proximity to the Republic’s capital city of Dublin via an improved road network. For example, Edenderry and Portarlington (which is technically half in Laois as well as Offaly) have seen population increases of over 50% between the years 2002 and 2006.


An Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of graveslabs are on display in the visitor centre. The long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation shown in the visitor centre. There are also exhibitions that deal with the flora, fauna and landscape of the region. Location: 21km from Athlone signposted from the N62 or 20km from Ballinasloe signposted from the R357.



Peatlands of the Shannon Region
‘Peat’ is the international term – in Ireland we call it ‘turf’ and we call the peatlands ‘the bog’. Whatever the name may be, they are a wonderful entity which cover one sixth of the Irish countryside. The peatlands spread like a blanket over the greater part of the mountains and hills of the west and they form immense areas of almost level ground in the midlands, especially in the valley of the River Shannon. Turf means different things to different people. For thousands of years farmers who lived within walking distance of the bog dug the sodden turf every summer, dried it in little stacks and carried it home for fuel. Thousands of people still do this, while hundreds of thousands in towns and suburbs buy ‘briquettes’, bales of compressed and polished blocks of peat produced in factories in the midlands. The briquettes burn to make a cosy fire – with smoke which is renowned as free from pollutants. Conservationists point out that, over the greater part of Europe, peat has been dug away to such an extent that the bog has almost disappeared from many countries. Ireland and Finland retain a greater proportion of it than any other lands. This makes it a precious feature of our heritage and great areas of peatland are now carefully preserved for posterity. The bog has a unique assemblage of beautiful wild flowers and is a haven for many species of birds and other creatures. At the other extreme, the peat is a valuable industrial fuel. Excavated by enormous machines, it is carried on miles and miles of special railway track and fed to power stations, brought to briquette factories or baled as a garden soil improver. Over the past fifty years this has provided employment for thousands of people in regions where there was very little other work. Holiday Home Rental Offaly


Slieve Bloom Walks
Nature's beauty and diversity is part of the attraction of most walks in rural Ireland, but the special EcoWalks in Slieve Bloom draw the walker's attention to flora, fauna and geology in a much more concentrated way; indeed, they will give you new eyes for familiar places, and enrich the walking experience wherever you go! Experienced friendly local guides will take you to their wilderness areas, which are only accessible on foot and rarely frequented by hill walkers. Choose from Self- Guided or Guided Walking holidays. Special 2-7 day Walking Breaks to suit all levels of fitness.
For those who prefer to enjoy the countryside on two wheels choose Self- Guided Cycling.Cycle quiet country roads. Enjoy cosy country pubs. Visit ancient monastic sites, holy wells, haunted castles, historic gardens. Relax in the evening in the welcoming comfort of a charming Country House in front of a glowing turf fire. Enjoy traditional Irish hospitality at its best. Small group size: max 10 provide the ideal opportunity to have great fun, and make lasting friendships. We can tailor make multi activity breaks featuring a combination of walking, cycling, horseriding, golf, falconry, garden and heritage visits. Nature's beauty and diversity is part of the attraction of most walks in rural Ireland, but the special EcoWalks in Slieve Bloom draw the walker's attention to flora, fauna and geology in a much more concentrated way; indeed, they will give you new eyes for familiar places, and enrich the walking experience wherever you go!


Leap Castle
Through turbulent centuries, Leap Castle kept watch for the lords of Ely O'Carroll and still stands fortress-like on its perch overlooking a vast stretch of the countryside. From here the O'Carrolls set out for victory and defeat, here they brought their brides and captives, within lurks Ireland's most intriguing elemental presence - unique in that it is reputed to give off a ghastly ghostly odour. Leap Castle, Ireland's most haunted castle is open to visitors on request.


Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre
The Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre is located in the original 1897 Bonded warehouse. Start your tour with an Audio-visual presentation, (different languages available). Wander through the recreated working stations of the old distillery, such as the malting, boiling or cooperage areas. Throughout the tour, opportunities are there to interact with the artefacts. Indeed, not only can you learn about the whiskey making process, by experiencing how to shovel or grind the barley the old way, but also, you will find out why the distilling business was so important in Tullamore. At the end of the tour enjoy a complimentary tasting of Tullamore Dew Whiskey/Irish Mist Liqueur. Holiday Cottages Offaly



Ballybrittan Castle
Ballybrittan Castle is an extended tower-house which takes its name from the tower or a castle built in the late 15th Century as an O’Connor stronghold in the townland of Ballybrittan, near Edenderry, Co. Offaly. Although a major portion of the castle was taken down in the 19th Century the overall suite of buildings is regarded as one of the best surviving examples of this house type. It still incorporates 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th century features reflecting many extensions, renewals and rebuildings over hundreds of years. While the O’Connor ownership ceased in the 16th Century Ballybrittan is a rare Irish example of a house in continuous use for well over five hundred years for its original purpose as a residence. The Castle and the O’Connor lands in the area were granted to Henry Warren, later Sir. Henry Warren, in the Tudor plantation of Offaly in the late 1550’s. Sir Henry Warren, (subsequently Sheriff and then MP for Kings County), as Ambassador from Queen Elizabeth I to O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and O’Donnell, Prince of Tyrconnell, in 1594 detained hostages as his guests at Ballybrittan to bind the Ulster Princes to the peace. Although twice married Warren produced no children. One of his wives, Alicia, was the daughter of Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh, and first Provost of Dublin University, Trinity College. Lady Alicia Warren’s burial place is at the nearby medieval Churchyard. Warren was succeeded by his nephew Anthony who by his marriage to Mary Preston, daughter of the fourth Viscount Gormanston brought the property into that family. For their support in the royalist cause the Prestons lost their lands, including Ballybrittan, to the Parliamentarians but in 1661 they successfully petitioned Charles II to be restored to their possessions. By the late 17th Century Ballybrittan had passed into the ownership of the Barnewall Family, Barons Trimleston and was sold in 1867 by the 16th Baron Trimleston to Robert Elliot through the landed Estates Courts. Today what remains of the tower-house is just three stories compared with the original four or five stories. The ground floor is barrel vaulted with mural staircases to the first and second floors. Both in the barrel vaulted ground floor and in the mural staircases it still retains the wattle and daub centring. It also retains two attractively carved surrounds to Tudor window mouldings probably inserted by Warren after he was granted the tower and lands. The front of the house as it currently stands is at right angles to the first extension from the tower. It now has the appearance of a long five bay gable ended house, probably built in the early 18th Century at right angles to an existing 17th Century house. The interior of the house boasts attractive early 18th Century joinery all of which has been carefully restored over the past five or six years. Holiday Cottages Ireland


Lough Boora Parklands
Lough Boora Parklands is located in County Offaly. On the area, at Turraun, 250 acres is being allowed to revert back to nature. Some of the area has been flooded to create a habitat for birds and native woodland. In 1919 they raised an embankment along the lower side of the bog and closed off the gravity drainage system. Part of the area flooded by rainwater and springs has become a haven for birdlife. The turraun site is the breeding ground of the few remaining grey partridge which need the unique habitat to survive. For those who would like to watch the birds a special bird hut commands a perfect view over the lake. The parkland commands six lakes most of which are stocked with fish and all providing vital habitat for native and wintering birds. The magnificent wetlands and wildlife of Lough Boora now host some of the most innovative land and environmental sculptures in Ireland. The artists, inspired by the rich natural and industrial legacy of the boglands, have created a series of large-scale sculptures that are now part of the Parklands permanent collection. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts interested in its unique flora and fauna, now enhanced by innovative works of art that change with the weather, through the seasons and the years. Come visit the Parklands and stimulate all the senses as you explore this expansive unencumbered landscape.


Towns and Villages in Offaly
Other towns of note within County Offaly include Ballycumber, Banagher, Bellmount, Birr, Bracknagh, Clara, Cloghan, Clonbulloge, Coolagary, Ferbane, Geashill, Kilcormac, Killeigh, Kinnitty, Moneygall, Rhode, Shannonbridge and Shinrone.



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