Area Attractions and Sites to Visit
Sites within a 15 mile radius of Ross Castle
The towns of Oldcastle, CastlePollard and Granard are all within a 15 mile and 15 minute drive from Ross Castle while the hamlets of Finea and Mt.Nugent, are only 5 kilometers and a comfortable walk away from the Castle. The two hamlets are situated on opposite ends of the Lough Sheelin and feature the obligatory pub, general store and some country amenities.
Cavan County Museum (8 miles)
Location: Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan
Cavan County Museum, is a magnificent 19th century building designed by Cavan architect William Hague. It is beautifully situated amid extensive grounds, nestling among the East Cavan lakes and drumlins.
Some of the facilities available at Cavan County Museum include picnic areas, gardens, trails and exhibition galleries, both temporary and permanent, audiovisual displays and interactives.
The second floor houses temporary exhibitions of both, local and national importance. Artists, sculptors, craft workers, musicians, and quilters have all displayed their work in this gallery, which is also used for workshops.
Loughcrew Cairns (9 miles)
Location: Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath
The Loughcrew Cairns, are a group of Neolithic passage tombs dating to 3000BC. Stunning views of Ireland as well as these magnificent ancient tombs make this place well worth a visit.
Tullynally Castle and Gardens (11 miles)
Location: Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath
This castle, home of the Pakenham family since the 17th century, was later transformed into a romantic, gothic revival castle. It is one of the largest castles in Ireland, surrounded by romantic woodlands and walled gardens, laid out in the early 19th century and recently extended and replanted. The pleasure grounds include a grotto and two ornamental lakes.
Fore Abbey (15 miles)
Location: Fore, Co. Westmeath
Established in 630AD by St. Fechin, Fore is one of Ireland’s preeminent religious centres. It is set in the rolling hills of Westmeath. This site now houses the remains of a 13th century Benedictine Priory, an anchorite cell and St. Fechins Church. Visitors will also discover the seven wonders of Fore.
Sites with a good half hour's drive
Sites North of Ross Castle
Killykeen Forest Park (16 miles)
Location: Co. Cavan
This beautiful park is woven around lake and islands of Lough Oughter.
Drumlane Monastic Sites (26 miles)
Location: Milltown, Co. Cavan
An idyllic setting between Lakes Drumlane and Derrybrick. A round tower and church mark this sixth century monastic site. The church building dates from the thirteenth and fourteenth century and is located half a mile form Milltown village.
Slieve Russell Golf Club (36 miles)
Location: West of Cavan
Set in the heart of the Cavan countryside, this Paddy Merrigan designed championship course winds its way through natural drumlins and makes full use of the lakes. It provides a testing experience for golfers of all abilities.
The Cavan Way (56 miles)
Location: Dowra to Blacklion, Co. Cavan
The Cavan Way provides a pleasant hill and valley walking connection between the Leitrim Way at Dowra, a small village community near the source of the River Shannon and the Ulster Way at Blacklion village.
Sites East of Ross Castle
Ballinlough Castle Garden Demesne (17 miles)
Location: Ballinlough, Co. Meath
This 17th century castle is the home of another branch of the Nugent family. The walled gardens enclose 1.2ha and are divided into four walled sections. On view are herbaceous borders, grass tennis courts, a rose garden, a lily pond, a herb and soft fruit garden. The gardens have been under restoration since 1994 and are now open to the public, together with the lakeside and woodland walks.
Áras Cilian (St Kilian Heritage Centre) (18 miles)
Location: Mullagh, Co. Cavan
This heritage centre traces the fascinating life and turbulent times of the Cavan born, St Kilian, born in Mullagh, County Cavan in 640 AD.
Kells Heritage Centre (22 miles)
Location: Kells, Co. Meath
Kells Heritage Centre is a new vibrant visitor attraction located in the Heritage Town of Kells. Housed in the beautifully restored courthouse are multi-media exhibition, gift shop and Tourist Information Office.
Kells High Cross and Round Tower (22 miles)
Location: Kells, Co. Meath
As one of the religious centres of Western Europe in the 8th & 10th century, this holy site not only housed the Book of Kells for centuries but also produced one of Ireland's most important collection of High Crosses, some of them still standing.
Hill of Tara (32 miles)
Location: Navan, Co. Meath
This ancient site, and one of Ireland’s premier attractions, was the symbolic seat of Ireland’s High Kings until the 11th century.
Hill of Slane (40 miles)
Location: Slane, Co. Meath
It was on the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick lit his Pascal fire at Easter in 433 A.D. Today it features the remains of a 16th century church on the site of the ancient house of worship founded by St. Patrick.
Bru na Boinne Visitors Centre (Newgrange) (43 miles)
Location: Newgrange, Co. Meath
This magnificent visitors centre explores the archaeological heritage of the Boyne Valley, including the megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, some of the most famous prehistoric monuments in Western Europe dating from 5000BC.
Newgrange Open Farm (43 miles)
Location: Newgrange, Slane , Co. Meath
A traditional working farm where visitors can enjoy a unique hands-on experience, holding and feeding farm animals, view demonstration displays of crops, vintage farm machinery, tractor and participate in trailer rides. This is Ireland’s leading, genuine, working farm open to the public.
Trim Castle (43 miles)
Location: Trim, Co. Meath
Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy began its construction in 1172, but the central tower - the keep - was not completed until 1220 and is twenty-sided and three stories high.
Butterstream Gardens (43 miles)
Location: Kildalkey Road, Trim, Co. Meath
A wonderful, two acre garden. Described by House & Gardens as the most imaginative garden in Ireland, Butterstream is a modern creation having been made single-handedly created by its owner since the early 1970’s.
Trim Heritage Centre & King Johns Castle (43 miles)
Location: Trim , Co. Meath
The "Power and the Glory" exhibition brings to light the lifestyle of Norman times. King Johns Castle, constructed in 1220, is the largest and best preserved Norman Castle in Ireland and was used as a location for the award winning film “Braveheart”.
Sonairte (56 miles)
Location: The National Ecology Centre, Laytown , Co. Meath
Sonairte is Irelands premier environmental visitor centre. The centre contains an organic garden, riverside nature trail, renewable energy interactive park, wind, rain and solar exhibits.
Sites South of Ross Castle
Mullingar Bronze and Pewter Visitor Centre (23 miles)
Location: Mullingar , Co. Westmeath
Two of Irelands best craft studios, Mullingar Pewter and Genesis Fine Arts, were built with the visitor in mind.
Belvedere House (23 miles)
Location: Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
This attraction opened in April 2000 at Mullingar. The magnificent early 18th century stately home of Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere, stands in 160 acres of parkland on the shores of Lough Ennell. The eighteenth century hunting lodge, walled garden and landscaped park have been restored to their former glory. An array of facilities are available to enjoy.
Rockfield House and Gardens (23 miles)
Location: Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Rockfield is a classic Georgian home with delicate and ornate plaster work, offering traditional character and charm. It stands secluded among mature trees in nature’s wonderland garden and woods with wandering wildlife and farm animals.
Tyrrellspass Castle & Museum (38 miles)
Location: Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath
A 13th century tower house originally home to the Tyrrell family who were cousins of William the Conqueror. Facilities include: museum, gift shop and licensed restaurant.
Lockes Distillery (38 miles)
Location: Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath
Lockes Distillery was licensed in 1757 and has produced whiskey for over 200 years. Now open as a museum, it is the only example left in Ireland of a typical, small pot distillery, so common many centuries ago, on which Ireland’s famous Whiskeys are based.
Dun na Si Cultural & Heritage Park (47 miles)
Location: Moate, Co. Westmeath
In the center of Ireland Dun na Si is a microcosm of Irish culture. Visitors can explore the folk park: a picture of by-gone days with preserved farm machinery, trace their family roots with the assistance of qualified researchers or enjoy music, dance, song and story-telling of the Folklore show.
Moate Museum (47 miles)
Location: Moate , Co. Westmeath
Over 1,000 artifacts covering the folk history of the town in the 18th and 19th century.
Tullamore Dew (48 miles)
Location: Tullamore , Co. Offaly
Exploring Tullamore's distilling, canal and urban history.
Charleville Castle (48 miles)
Location: Tullamore , Co. Offaly
Dating from 1798, this is one of the finest examples of the great Georgian house in Ireland. The entire structure stands in its original form, having never been altered externally.
An Dun Transport and Heritage Museum (46 miles)
Location: Doon, Ballinahown, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
This museum displays features of road transport dating from 1922 to the classics of the 60's, beautifully restored and displayed by their owners - farm machinery, commercial and motoring auto-mobilia, household utensils, model rail display and video.
Athlone Castle (46 miles)
Location: Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Built in the 13th century to command the ford on the Shannon, Athlone Castle now includes audio-visual presentations on the flora, fauna, the power resources of the Shannon, and local history.
The Viking Ship (46 miles)
Location: Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Cruises are offered to Loughrea and historic Clonmacnoise on a replica Viking Ship where passengers dress up in Viking Costumes of the day.
Clonmacnoise (65 miles)
Location: Shannonbridge, Co. Offally
An early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th-13th century), two round towers and three high crosses.
Clonmacnoise and West Offaly Railway (65 miles)
Location: Shannonbridge , Co. Offaly
This 45 minute train journey offers a guided 9km (5 ½ mile) tour across a working bog- environment, a cutaway area of preserved peatlands showing 12,000 years of history, heritage and archaeology.
The Shannon Water Meadows (65 miles)
Location: Shannonbridge, Co. Offaly
Visitors have the opportunity to experience the water meadows near the monastic site of Clonmacnoise where the rare corncrake may still be heard.
Lusmagh Farm (68 miles)
Location: Banagher, Co. Offaly
This mostly mixed sheep and cattle farm offers a large variety of other farm animals and pets on view. A range of decorative fowl and wild birds are a popular feature.
Birr Outdoor Education Centre (70 miles)
Location: Co. Offaly
The centre is located on the edge of Birr Town, on the Birr/Roscrea road. Just 10 minutes drive from the centre the Slieve Bloom Mountains provide a rich field of study for the historian, antiquarian, archaeologist, geologist and botanist.
Rock of Cashel (120 miles)
Location: Co. Tipperary
This spectacular group of Mediaeval buildings set on an outcrop of a limestone in the Golden Vale including a round tower, Romanesque Chapel, cathedral and restored hall of the Vicar's Choral is open all year and by appointment.
Sites West of Ross Castle
Ardagh Heritage Centre (20 miles)
Location: Ardagh, Co. Longford
Ardagh Heritage Centre is located in an the old 1898 schoolhouse. The story of Ardagh is one of history, literature and storytelling and the exhibition in the centre draws on the rich fabric of Ardagh life down through the ages.
Carrigglas Manor (28 miles)
Location: Longford , Co. Longford
Carrigglas Manor is the seat of the Lefroy family who are still in residence there. A visit includes a guided tour of the fine interior, stable yard, woodland/water garden, costume and lace museum and gallery.
Ballinamuck Visitors Centre (31 miles)
Location: Ballinamuck , Co. Longford
In the historic, former RIS Barracks visitors will find this lively exhibition giving details of the battle of Ballinamuck in 1798.
Corlea Trackway Visitors Centre (35 miles)
Location: Kenagh, Longford , Co. Longford
The centre tells the story of the local Iron Age bog road, which was built in 148BC across the boglands close to the River Shannon. This oak road is the largest of its kind to have been discovered in Europe.
Bogwood Sculpture (39 miles)
Location: Newtowncashel , Co. Longford
Bogwood is found in Irish Bogs where it has been preserved for 5,000 years. From this, beautiful sculptures are created by artists Michael and Kevin Casey at their workshop and studio.
Strokestown Famine Museum (44 miles)
Location: Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
The Great Irish famine of the 1840's is now regarded as the single, greatest social disaster of 19th century Europe. Between 1845 and 1850, when blight devastated the potato crop, in excess of two million people - almost one-quarter of the entire population - either died or emigrated. The Famine Museum is located in the original Stable Yards of Strokestown Park House. It was designed to commemorate the history of The Great Irish Famine of the 1840's and in some way to balance the history of the 'Big House'.
Arigna Mining Experience (47 miles)
Location: Arigna, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Arigna Mining Experience is Ireland’s first Coal Mining Museum. With an exhibition area tracing 400 years of mining and a tour which actually takes you through what was a working mine.
The Suck Valley Visitor Centre (54 miles)
Standing on the banks of the River Suck in Athleague, this award-winning Centre, which was originally used as a Church of Ireland, dates from the early 19th century. It now houses a Coffee Shop, Visitor Information, Craft/Gift Shop and Conference facilities. The Suck Valley Visitor Centre provides detailed information on local attractions.
Derryglad Folk Museum (55 miles)
The museum is privately owned and run, and houses a unique, wide-ranging collection of of rural artifacts.
Boyle Abbey(60 miles)
Boyle Abbey is an impressive and well-preserved Cistercian monastery, which was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermots. Although it was used to accommodate a military garrison during the 17th and 18th centuries, Boyle Abbey still retains its ability to impress the visitor as one of the most formidable of the early Cistercian foundations in Ireland.
Castlerea Railway Museum (67 miles)
A Railway Museum has been built around a metropolitan Vickers diesel-electric locomotive, and the overall effect suggests that it has arrived through the wall of the building into the bar. A valued repository of railway heritage memorabilia in the country.
Belleek Pottery (72 miles)
Location: Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Established in 1857, Belleek Pottery holds a very special place in the cultural and commercial heritage of County Fermanagh. Nestling on the banks of the River Erne this imposing building is home to the world famous Belleek Fine Parian china and also to one of Irelands top five visitor attractions.