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Make the Most of your May Bank Holiday Weekend in Laois

Make the Most of your May Bank Holiday Weekend in Laois

Plan ahead and enjoy a fun-packed weekend in the hidden heartlands

With another Bank Holiday weekend on its way, we wanted to make sure you had an itinerary to follow so your weekend runs as smoothly as possible. From events happening across the weekend to some of Laois’ must-visit attractions, including food breaks in between, we hope we can inspire some of your Bank Holiday weekend plans and encourage some of the fun you get up to!


Day 1: Start south 

Explore Abbeyleix Bog Walk to a sweet treat at Polly’s

Begin your Bank Holiday weekend with a productive day discovering Laois’ outdoors. Pack your trainers and perhaps a coat as you know Ireland can be unpredictable. We suggest a morning walk in Abbeyleix Bog Walk which is the perfect excuse for nature enthusiasts, outdoor lovers and snap-happy photographers to explore the paths and habitats that lead to Laois’s lovely landscapes and hidden views that can only be seen from the boardwalk. Abbeyleix Walking Tours are taking place on Saturday 20th April at 10:30am – 3:30pm. Learn more here:


Instagram: @mixie68

Fall in love with Heywood Gardens and explore the gardens at Castle Durrow 

After wandering, stop by Polly’s at the car park entrance and grab a coffee and sweet treat before heading to Heywood Gardens for more wandering. This time, wander around the stunningly picturesque Heywood Gardens, just 8 minutes from Abbeyleix Bog Walk. This eighteenth-century site conserves beautiful gardens, lakes, architectural landmarks and woodlands. It’s difficult to put its beauty into words, which is why it’s certainly a lovely spot to hit when in the heartlands. While south, a short distance visit to Castle Durrow should also be on the cards to walk the gardens and take in the blooming blossoms during this spring and summer in between time.


Lisa & Lori Photography

Discover Timahoe Round Tower, dine in McEvoy’s Steak & Wine Bar and see live music gigs and shows

Before ending the day, a 20 minute trip to Timahoe Round Tower to learn all about the monastic site and story of the round tower is definitely worthwhile before heading back to Abbeyleix for an evening meal in the popular McEvoy’s Steak and Wine Bar. After dinner, head 8 minutes down the road to Lennon’s Lounge in Durrow to see Chantel Kavanagh live. Learn more here:

Or if muscial choir songs are your thing, head to Dunamaise Arts Centre 14 minutes up the road to 65 Kitchen Choir Musical Songs which is a show set to get you off your feet and reminiscing with songs from every decade this Bank Holiday weekend! Learn more here:


McEvoy’s Steak & Wine Bar


Day 2: In the heart of Laois

Climb the Rock of Dunamase and make the perfect breakfast plans

Start the day bright and early at the Rock of Dunamase. If you’re enthusiastic enough, set your alarm and climb the rock for sunrise to see Laois light up around you. Pack your flask and take a picnic blanket to patiently wait for the sun to rise above the hill. It’s certainly worth waiting for. Now it’s time to make your way into Portlaoise to indulge in a hearty breakfast. Try The Bay Tree or perhaps Rafters Café and slow down for the Bank Holiday Sunday.


Winter sun Rock of Dunamase
Rock of Dunamase

Explore the joys of Portlaoise

After breakfast, stroll around the town and discover local Laois businesses. Browse, take it slow and enjoy the chats with each local Laois character you meet along the way. Wander to Fitzmaurice Place and learn more about the remains of the 16th-century fort in the centre of Portlaoise town which is a reminder of the town’s origins as the first planted town in Ireland.
Joana Photography (Instagram: @made_by_joana) – Portlaoise Town

End the day on a good note

Make a booking in one of Portlaoise’s finest restaurants and enjoy the nightlife that lifts the town. See where is good here:  After dinner, hit Lilly’s Bar & Kitchen for a neat drink or some cocktails before heading to Kavanagh’s Bar & Venue for another live music gig. Learn more here:


Lilly’s Bar & Kitchen

Day 3: End on a high

Join in on the Slieve Bloom Walking Festival 

In its 26th year, the Slieve Bloom Walking Club is holding yet another walking festival in the Slieve Blooms which takes seasoned and hobby walkers through a mixed terrain, from riverside to woodland walks and rolling hills and more, it ensures all those participating learn about Slieve Bloom’s history, geology and fauna as they hike – definitely a must-do festival to enjoy when in Ireland’s heartlands! Learn more here:
Slieve Bloom Walking Festival 2022

Take it easy in Emo Court & Parklands

After a morning of walking, make a beeline for Emo Court & Parklands. But first, coffee. Just at the foot of the parklands, stop by CaToCa Fine Food and Giftware for lunch or even go as far as treating yourself to afternoon tea. Then enjoy an easy and slow afternoon of strolling through Emo Court and Parklands where a stunning neo-classical mansion is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parklands with woodland walks and lakes presented across the estate. Under restoration work at the moment, the house will allow for exhibits and displays to explore when the restoration is complete.


Emo Court and Parklands - Attractions in Laois - Laois Tourism
Emo Court and Parklands


Laois is waiting to be discovered this May Bank Holiday weekend and a break to the midlands should be on the cards this summer. Explore for things to doplaces to staywhere to eat and more this Bank Holiday weekend.

Explore Laois’ What’s On Guide and check out the events, gigs and shows taking place across the weekend!

You’re welcome to our place this May Bank Holiday Weekend!

#LaoisTourism #KeepDiscovering #IrelandsMidlands