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If all you’ve ever seen of Laois is a green blur as you drove to somewhere else, you’ve been missing out. Escape off the main roads, and you will find delightful gems, from the charm of heritage town Abbeyleix to the pristine Slieve Bloom Mountains and a network of rivers and walkways.
The verdant grounds of Stradbally Hall create a scenic backdrop to the annual summer extravaganza of eclectic music, entertainment, and food that makes Electric Picnic the unmissable event of late summer. Pack up your tent this August and head to the boutique festival of Europe.
Ruined for centuries, Dunamase Castle exerts a magical allure from its perch high on a limestone cliff overlooking Portlaoise. The site may have had defensive advantages when the fort was built in the 9th century, but the location is now renowned for its magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and the Slieve Bloom mountains.
The beautifully-proportioned Emo Court was designed by the architect James Gandon in 1790 for the Earls of Portarlington and is an exceptional example of the Neoclassical style. A backdrop of beautiful gardens and parkland extends across formal lawns, a lake, and woodland walks of fine trees and shrubs.
Located in Portlaoise, Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum is a unique resource that seeks to the story of the families who lived and died within the Famine Workhouse walls before, during and after the Great Famine. On a guided or self-guided tour, you will see the authentically restored dormitories, a kitchen, and a waiting hall.
The Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum in Portlaoise was created in 1986 by devoted angler Walter Phelan, who has adapted a traditional farmhouse to chart 300 years of hunting and fishing in Ireland. Exhibits include vintage rods, reels, guns, tackle, tools, and stuffed birds and fish.
Located at Ballinakill, Heywood Gardens is a mix of gardens, lakes, woodland, and architectural features centred on the formal gardens designed by acclaimed architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and one of only four gardens in the country designed by him. The gardens consist of four sections connected by a terrace that ran along the front of the house (which no longer stands).
Mountmellick Museum charts this Laois town’s rich Quaker and industrial history. It also showcases Mountmellick Work, the only form of 19th-century embroidery that can claim exclusively Irish origin and design.
Based in the old walled garden of the Brigidine Convent in Abbeyleix, the Abbey Sense Garden is designed to appeal to all five senses. Plantings include a herb garden and fragrance garden, and there are many water features. All plants are grown and maintained by people with learning disabilities.
The annual Slieve Bloom Walking Festival appeals to walkers of all energy levels, with a choice of ten walks ranging from 5 km to 15 km. Scheduled for the May bank holiday weekend, the event includes gentle strolls and strenuous hill walks, with entertainment in the evening including the Blisters Ball.
Heritage House Museum charts the eventful history of ancient Laois, early Christianity, and the Normans. Exhibits showcase the unique story of the landlord town of Abbeyleix, a Heritage Town of Ireland.
7.5km from Portlaoise
Enjoy exclusive accommodation in a farm setting in the beautiful countryside of Emo, County Laois.The holiday home has two bedrooms (one en suite), with two single beds, one double bed and a cot if required. There is a well-equipped kitchen, multi-channel television, and a barbeque to get maximum enjoyment from the long summer evenings. Enjoy free access to Emo Castle Gardens and forest park, as well as free access to Emo Court - one of the finest historical houses in Ireland, with its beautiful gardens, woodlands, and marked walks.
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0.5km from Mountmellick
This modern 3-star holiday home is located within 5 minutes' walk of Mountmellick town centre in County Laois. Enjoy the freedom to come and go as you please whether on a family holiday or a romantic break.
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8.1km from BorrisInOssory
Welcome to a four-star, four-bedroom hideaway on a working farm in the heart of Ireland. This is an ideal touring location about 1.5 hours drive from Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Cork, and Waterford. It is just 45 minutes' drive from Kilkenny City, Birr Castle and Gardens, Rock of Cashel, and Clonmacnoise. Discounted rates are available for small parties.
0.1km from Killenard
These stunning holiday residences are situated within the grounds of a five-star golf and spa resort in Killenard, County Laois, allowing guests to combine home comforts with the benefits of a luxury hotel. These residences are perfect for families of all ages, with hotel facilities including restaurants and an indoor swimming pool available to all guests.
These three-bedroom properties are located in the village of Killenard, County Laois, overlooking the championship golf course and Slieve Bloom Mountains. All are decorated to an extremely high standard and have open living, dining and kitchen area. Only an hour from Dublin, they make the ideal base for touring the east of Ireland.
1.1km from Mountmellick
7.6km from Portlaoise
Stay at an authentic 18th-century traditional farm cottage just an hour from Dublin. The cottage is perfect for a relaxing break or an action-packed holiday. Located in the countryside near Portlaoise, County Laois, in the very heart of Ireland, it makes an ideal touring base. The superbly refurbished cottage has been modernised without losing its great rural charm.
Tour the Midlands using this three-bedroom holiday home in Vicarstown, Co. Laois, as a base. Located next to the Vicarstown Inn, this accessible holiday rental puts you within easy reach of amenities for golfing, angling, and canal walks.
7.4km from Portlaoise
This apartment is located in a beautiful converted stone building close to the country village of Emo, County Laois (3km from the M7 on the Dublin side of Portlaoise). It enjoys a delightful, traditional farm setting and is in a central location for touring the area. The apartment has its own entrance and guests have free access to Emo Estate, gardens, and woodlands.
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