Monday, July 22, 2024

Plenty to see and do in the Midlands this Summer

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With the school year winding down and (fingers-crossed) the days getting a little warmer, it’s time to get out out and explore the host of activities on offer here in the midlands. From outdoor adventures and family activities to garden tours and open air theatre, the choice is yours.

Explore Lough Boora Discovery Park

If you’ve never been to Lough Boora Discovery Park in Boora, Co. Offaly before, don’t put it off any longer as this Summer is the perfect time to visit and discover the fantastic park for yourself.

Allow at least one full day to fully explore the park. Enjoy a delicious lunch served by the award winning Ballycommon Bake House at the Lough Boora café, bring the bikes or hire on site with bike hire by Mid Ireland Adventure. It really is the perfect day out for all ages, even for those who want a nice stroll in the open air.

Lough Boora Discovery Park has walkways, bike trails, angling, fairy trails, sculptures, bird watching areas, and much much more on offer. Visitors are in for a treat this Summer as the sea of bog cotton is in bloom and numerous orchids such as the Bee Orchid will be coming into flower over the next month.

There are miles and miles of park area to explore and discover in Lough Boora. The park is a wonderful place to see biodiversity and nature at its finest as well as offering immense health benefits from being in the wonderful outdoors. If exploring is not your thing, then book a tour, so you don’t miss out on what’s on offer. Lough Boora Discovery Park offers guided tours for groups of all ages and abilities.

Lough Boora Discovery Park has a quaint cafe on site for you to enjoy a cuppa and something to replenish your energy from the day’s activities in the park. The Pavilion area provides a space for events, group activities and information about Lough Boora’s history and there are public toilets, a picnic area as well as bike and car park facilities on site 8am to 6pm, 7 days free of charge.

Have tea at Tullynally Castle this Summer – and pick up some rare plants!

This Saturday, 22 June sees the return of the popular rare plant fair to the wonderful Tullynally Castle in Castlepollard (N91 HV58).

The plant fair starts at 11am and runs until 4.30pm. This is your chance to spend the day at this beautiful location, which is an oasis of tranquility in County Westmeath. Explore the fabulous gardens with unique trees and shrubs, each one carefully tended to by the team at Tullynally Castle and Gardens as well as by Thomas Packenham himself. Thomas inherited Tullynally estate in 1961 and is a passionate gardener. In recent years, Thomas has brought back seeds from plant hunting trips to China, Tibet and Sikkim in Northern India. Most of his planting has been in the Forest Walk.

Apart from the beautiful gardens, they have waterfalls, lakes, Llamas, guided tours and a children’s discovery trail as well as the highly recommended Courtyard Tearooms. Enjoy tea and cake or refreshments of your choice, as well as other tasty treats in these stunning surroundings in Tullynally.

The perfect day out at Belvedere House, Gardens & Park

Belvedere House, Gardens & Park is a stunning Georgian house and large estate on the eastern shore of Lough Ennell in Mullingar. Within 160-acres, visitors can enjoy the magnificent period house, lakeshore walks, woodlands trails and stunning Victorian Walled Garden. The extensive estate has 10km of woodland trails, lawns, and gardens making for a pleasant day out along the lakeshore. The grounds include 4 children’s play areas.

The Lakeside Café is open daily offering a varied menu and gift shop. A number of fascinating follies dot the estate, including the Jealous Wall, a huge Gothic folly, the largest in Ireland. There have been many fascinating owners who have all left their mark, and an optional audio-guide tour provides you with information on the colourful history of the estate.

Belvedere and surrounding areas are now serviced by a new bus route operated by Transport for Ireland. For the summer there will be departures to and from Belvedere three times a day. See for up-to-date information. Belvedere is open daily, with late summer opening.

Great value membership is available to enjoy the estate and its natural beauty year-round.
Belvedere has a number of events throughout the summer. In June and July we welcome back Chapterhouse Outdoor Theatre for a performance of Little Women on June 29th and Beauty & the Beast on July 9th. On Wednesday July 24th it will host an outdoor performance of The Little Mermaid. The Plant Fair is back on Sunday July 28th from 11am.

They also facilitate activities and workshops including the popular outdoor yoga every Saturday, the Sprocket Rocket Cycling Programme for kids organised by Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar (see their Facebook page for more info), Grow Remote Local Meet Up on June 19th see, Junior Einsteins in June & July see, Bricks 4 Kids & Running Wild Summer Camp in July see and Running Wild on Facebook to book. Events for all ages, for more information or to book see

Enjoy a distillery tour in mystical Fore

Summer is upon us and Fore Distillery has the perfect day out for you, your friends or family! Fore Distillery is open for tours Thursdays to Saturdays and will be open from Tuesdays to Saturday for tours from July! On your tour you will get an exclusive inside scoop on how Fore Valley alcohols come to life by Head Distiller and Founder Oliver Guirke!
You will also get a sample tasting of Fore Valley Golden Rum, white rum and poitín. Tours are approximately 45 minutes long and afterwards you can treat yourself to breakfast, lunch, sweet treats or a coffee in their Barrel and Bean Café overlooking Lough Glore.

There are special lunch and afternoon tea packages available with your tour to give you the ultimate Fore Distillery experience! Before you leave you can pick up souvenirs and Fore Valley alcohols at the Distillery shop. Fore Distillery is just a two-minute drive from Fore Abbey at Eircode N91TY06.

Children go free and tickets start from €10! You can book your tour or browse packages online at or email or you can phone 044 966 1775.

A fun day out with a difference at Andean Alpacas

For a fun day out with a difference, a visit to Andean Alpacas for a two-hour trek with an alpaca will leave all visitors leaving with a smile. Based just outside Mullingar, the award-winning Alpaca Farm boasts some of the most prestigious Alpacas in Ireland and the UK.

At the beginning of the trek, each participant will be paired with an alpaca and you will be given a quick talk on the animals and some tips on how to get the most out of your trekking experience, where photo opportunities will be available. The trek is suitable for all ages from 10 years of age and above.

The meet and greet experience at Andean Alpacas is aimed at younger children who are unable to participate in their full trekking experience. During the meet and greet you will be introduced to many curious and friendly alpacas, including baby alpacas which are known as cria. You will have the opportunity to feed them and learn a little bit about them.

Depending on the ages of children, it might be possible to bring some of the smaller alpacas on a walk which is considerably shorter than their full trekking route.

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