Villages of Laois
Nestled all around the county are charming villages set in some of the most beautiful and tranquil countyside. You are never too far from a larger town but far enough away to enjoy some outdoors fun and local hospitality. Don’t ever worry about getting lost in Laois, just ask a local. They are always happy to help and could even share a hidden local gem with you.
Stradbally is home to the Electric Picnic and the National Steam Rally both held in August each year. Situated near the Rock of Dunamase, Stradbally is an ideal stop for refreshments or to enjoy a woodland walk with a number of looped walks nearby. The Woodland Railway also runs on various dates throughout the year.
A visit to Laois isn’t complete without a visit to Emo Court and Parklands and the charming village of Emo. Enjoy a tour of the stately home and explore the parklands. Bring a picnic or stop for lunch in the onsite coffee shop or at the nearby Gandon Inn, the original coach house for Emo Court. Batoni’s restaurant at the gatehouse is the perfect place for an evening meal.
Rathdowney is uniquely situated near the Tipperary and Kilkenny border, making it a perfect base for exploring this region. The historic Donaghmore Workhouse is nearby and it’s always worth a visit to remember the sad famine times in our history. Rathdowney Golf Club offers a good links course and a great restaurant at the 19th hole. The town park is a mecca for children and caters for all ages. The adjacent walking track is an added bonus. Just a few kilometres away is Grantstown Lake which is stocked for fishing and the 2km looped walk around the lake is flat and family friendly.
An extremely well preserved round tower dominates the pretty village of Timahoe. The round tower and adjacent visitor centre are well worth a visit. Learn about early Christianity and subsequent Viking raids. A large children’s playground is located beside the round tower and is a perfect picnic spot. The local village shop just around the corner has recently opened a coffee shop and is the perfect refuelling spot.
It’s hard to escape to the Slieve Bloom Mountains without a trip to Clonaslee. Glenbarrow eco trails with its impressive waterfall are nearby and the walks around Brittas Lake just outside the village are a delight. Stop in one of the local pubs for a spot of lunch to break your journey or just soak up the tranquil village vibe.
Just outside Abbeyleix is the village of Ballinakill and home of Heywood Gardens, where you can enjoy the formal Lutyen’s designed sunken garden which is a gardener’s delight. The surrounding 50 acres of woodlands boasts 2 lakes, a number of folly’s and a number of looped walks and cycles. The recently refurbished 30m outdoor pool can be found in the village and is a perfect haven for sunny summer days. It also boasts a children’s pool and a coffee shop.