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County Laois

Situated in the heart of Ireland County Laois has a rich Celtic tradition which is exhibited in its historical monuments and folklore. It’s also full of beautiful landscapes of gentle rolling hills, hidden valleys, central plains and forests. For accommodation in this region see our cottages in County Laois.

The Slieve Bloom Mountains rise from the central plain and consists of undulating hills, forests and valleys. The terrain is perfect for walking, cycling and pony trekking; rich in wildlife and offering wonderful views it’s just perfect for relaxing days out.

Explore the Grand Canal and River Barrow by boat or saddle up and take to one of the many horse riding trails or mountain biking routes. Children will love the domestic and exotic animals at the working Kilvahan Adventure Farm at Coolrain or visit one of Ireland''s finest stately homes, the James Gandon-designed Emo Court and Gardens.

You will step back in time when you visit Abbeyleix, one of Ireland''s best examples of a heritage town. This planned estate town has a variety of period buildings and an informative Heritage House. For fine examples of Victorian and Georgian architecture, head to Durrow, with its castle and the Leafy Loop, a 14-mile network of walking routes.

Castletown is renowned as being the county''s ''tidiest village'', and is built around the three sides of a triangular green. It boasts the remains of a castle built for Robert de Bigarz in 1182 and there are the ruins of a medieval church in the aptly-named Churchtown nearby.

Discover the history of Mountmellick Work, a unique textile art, and appreciate the fine buildings on show in a town once known as the Manchester of Ireland. Mountmellick has its own heritage trail to guide visitors on a journey into its fascinating past.

History is also brought to life at Portarlington, once referred as the ‘Paris of the midlands’ because of the cultural influence introduced by French Huguenots during the late 1600s and early 1700s. Nearby are the ruins of the Norman fortress of Lea Castle, which was destroyed by Cromwell''s troops in the 17th century.

Everything from fishing, paintballing and point-to-point horseracing to a narrow gauge railway and a steam museum are on offer in Stradbally. There is a lake and plenty of opportunity to picnic in relaxed surroundings.

This part of Ireland is perfect for a rejuvenating break, so browse our collection of holiday cottages in County Laois today.
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