Immerse yourself in a county that’s steeped in myth and legend, with hidden gems around every corner and friendly faces to greet you. Embrace your inner Harry Potter and stay in a magical location, or imagine you are royality and stay in a stunning castle located on a secluded lake. Enjoy unforgettable adventures from high in the trees, to deep in the ground. Inspired to visit yet? Keep reading and you will be.
I went along to King House yesterday to find out all about the adventures on offer in County Roscommon. I knew of most of them but it’s something different when you see them altogether and realise just how much the county has to offer. Grab a cuppa and join me as I tell you about just some of the places you can visit and some of the places you can stay.
Firstly if you are a fan of Harry Potter there is a magical house that you can stay in right in the heart of Boyle. Embrace your inner wizard and give the whole family an unforgettable experience when you stay in Draiocht House. Draiocht means magic in Irish and this house has an abundance of it. From the Harry Potter themed bedrooms to the treehouse in the garden – and even the bicycle in the bathroom!
Boyle is also well worth exploring. Step back in time in Boyle Abbey – a well preserved monastery that was founded in the 12th century. King House is well worth a visit, explore rooms that tell the story of this magnificent house and view the exhibitions of Irish history – be brave if you venture to the basement and former cells.
If you are in Boyle on a Saturday be sure to visit The Courtyard Market for locally produced foods, crafts, plants etc. There’s a great atmosphere and lots of friendly faces. The Boyle Craft Shop is also well worth a visit for that special gift and to find out what’s happening in the area. Check out the Moone Boy Trail too – and you might even see Chris O’Dowd if he happens to be home.
Boyle comes to life in July when the Boyle Arts Festival takes place. You can expect art exhibitions and live music, drama, spoken word, plus so much more.
The Lough Key Forest Experience – explore underground tunnels, tree canopies, acres of woodland to walk, cycle, or even segway. Take a boat trip around the lake, enjoy zip wire fun, escape rooms, an adventure playground and more. This is a fantastic day out for all the family. For information about boat hire or private boat trips visit Lough Key Boats.
If you are interested in fishing, check out Angling Services Ireland, they are based in Boyle, in the heart of a fantastic fishing region and they’ll give you all the help you need when you are planning your fishing trip.
Lough Gara Stables & Country Pursuits are a family run business based 5 miles outside Boyle on the shores of beautiful Lough Gara. See Roscommon from horseback. Find out more on Facebook.
The John Mc Gahern Barracks in Cootehall. This boutique style museum opened in April 2021, it commemorates the Life of John Mc Gahern in the Cootehall Barracks, which was John’s former family home in the mid-1940s/1950s when his father was a sergeant there. Bookings are by appointment.
Get up close with cuddly creatures at Knockvicar alpacas. Visit the farm or go on an alpaca trek. Just don’t get too close in case they spit!
A stones throw from the alpacas you will find the magical bluebell woods. Derreen Woods is also known as the bluebell woods and it’s beautiful to visit all year round but especially in the bluebell season.
Arigna Mining Experience. This is a visitor centre like no other and on your tour, with an ex-miner as a guide, you will discover the history and the heritage of the mining community. You will visit the former coal mines and get a glimpse of what life was like for these workers. There is also an interesting exhibition on the site, and the most stunning views. If you are a walker check out the Miner’s Way walks, the route follows many of the paths used by the Miners going to work in the Arigna Coal Mines.
If you are looking for a totally relaxed couple of hours, I have just the place for you. Mountallen Farm isn’t your average farm, it’s something very special, and a must visit for nature and wildlife lovers. You can enjoy a biodiversity and ecology farm tour in North Roscommon, overlooking Lough Allen and Sliabh an Iarainn. Read my full blog post here: https://magnumlady.com/2021/06/06/a-farm-with-a-difference-in-roscommon/
Rathcroghan Visitor Centre is a wonderful centre, explore evidence of Ireland’s first farmers (4000 B.C-2500 B.C) through to the early modern period, when it served as an inauguration site for O’Conor chieftains. In the centre you will find various monument types located at Rathcroghan, you will also find out about the Cattle Raid of Cooley (The Táin). If you are brave enough, explore what’s been called the ‘Gateway to Hell’ go to Oweynagat (Cave of the Cats). It’s amazing there, well worth a visit.
Elphin Windmill is a fully restored 18th century windmill. It’s over 300 years old and you will be fascinated by your visit. You’ll meet locals who will tell you about the history of the windmill and you can watch an informative video too.
Take a walk around Ballaghadereen, at the back of the town you will find The Plots, they are fantastic especially in the autumn.
The Dr. Douglas Hyde Interpertative Centre is in Frenchpark. Tour by appointment from May – September, contact Derdre on 0877823751 to book. The gardens are well worth a visit too, there’s a sensory garden and the trees and shrubs have been selected with reference to the ‘Calendar-Alphabet’ System.
Explore the Castlerea Demesne, visit the fairy garden, with musical instruments, and the grave of Cindy the Elephant. This is such a sweet story, Cindy took a stroll in Mannion’s bar in Castlerea in 1963, and there’s a photo of her leaving the pub. When she died in 1972, the Castlerea folk offered a plot for her to be buried in. There’s now a lovely memorial dedicated to the little elephant that made a big impression.
Castlerea is also home to a railway museum. The museum is next to the Hell’s Kitchen Bar which is now closed, but back when it was open it was the only pub in Ireland that had a full-scale train in the bar. The museum is open by appointment and you can find out more here: https://www.hellskitchenmuseum.com/visit-us/
Trinity Arts in Castlerea is well worth a look to find out what events are taking place. It’s located in a former church which is over 200 years old, such a wonderful setting to experience music and theatre.
Clonalis House run tours during the summer so that you can explore their beautiful home. You can also stay there too.
Lough O’Flynn is worth a visit, check out the outdoor gym, playground and looped walk. Visit Roscommon have all the information you need https://www.visitroscommon.ie/lough-oflynn-bog-loop/
Visit Loughnane Sculpture Park Trail and Roscommon Castle. There’s a 14 acre recreational Park which contains the ruins of the 13th Century Roscommon Castle, outdoor gym, playground, and a beautiful sculpture trail, including a nature chair carved with wildlife from the area.
Glendeer Pet Farm is a great day out for the young and young at heart. You’ll see farm animals such as goats, sheep, donkeys, cows, and more. You also get to see monkeys, wallabies, parrots and meerkats. There’s also zipline, double obstacle course, a maze and a fairy trail.
Experience life in rural Ireland back to the nineteenth century as you visit Derryglad Folk and Heritage museum. Enjoy a guided tour and explore the collection of 7,500+ objects.
Put a visit Strokestown Park House on your list, there’s a beautiful walled garden, a wonderful forest walk complete with a fairy trail. You can also take guided tour of Strokestown Park House, a stunning Georgian Palladian Mansion, with all of its original furnishings and fabrics. It’s also home to the National Famine Museum. The house and museum are closed at the time of writing this blog (April 2022) but will reopen soon. Visit their website for details.
Lough Ree Access for All is aimed at providing people with disabilities with unlimited access to the waterways of Ireland. The boat can carry up to eight wheelchair users, and you can enjoy a tour of the lough or a fishing trip. The boat is available to everyone regardless of mobility.
And now to relax. If you are looking for a wonderful spa treatment check out Kilronan Castle, it’s such an experience, they also serve afternoon tea so you can make a day of it. If you want a fairytale break you can stay there too.
Hodson Bay hotel offer Afternoon Tea and their four star hotel looks beautiful. It’s located on the shores of Lough Ree and has an award-winning spa.
If you want to bring your dog on holiday with you, check out Gleesons in Roscommon town. They have dog friendly rooms.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly stay check out Riverhaven self catering log cabins. Located on the shores of Lough Key and the Boyle River, the perfect place for a relaxing holiday.
Derrbehy House is a wonderful bed and breakfast with panoramic views of Lough Allen. You will enjoy the warmest of welcomes from your hosts Mary and Kieran.
I hope this post has given you some inspiration to plan a trip to Roscommon. To find out more check out Visit Roscommon.
This guide is not sponsored or affiliated with any business, organisation, or event, but if you’ve enjoyed the blog and would like to send me a tip, any amount would be much appreciated. https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/magnumlady
Thanks, Val, although i have a good few of those places visited and seen, I know now that i barely scartched the surface.