Often described as the most central point in Ireland, historical and culture-filled Tullamore in County Offaly, at the heart of Ireland’s midlands, makes for a unique and alternative getaway in Ireland.
In 48 hours there is so much to discover and experience on a visit to Tullamore and, if the idea of a weekend or midweek break there sounds appealing, then check out this 48-hour itinerary we have put together below.
Day 1 in Tullamore
After checking into one of Tullamore’s hotels or B&Bs, take a walk along the beautiful Grand Canal that flows through the town to get your stay off to a good start. Enjoy the natural wonders of the canal and the historical buildings that lie on either side of it.
Visit a Distillery (or two)
Start your walk at the beautiful Tullamore Distillery, which – whiskey fan or not – is worth a visit to find out more about the well-known Tullamore Dew and to have a nosey round the historic building. The distillery, established in 1829, was closed down in 1950s but reopened in 2014 to much excitement. Today, visitors can take a tour around the building’s incredible warehouse, whilst hearing about the distillery’s story so far and, of course, enjoying a whiskey tasting along the way. This is a must see when in the area.
Whiskey lovers should also check out the Kilbeggan Distillery in Westmeath, Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery. Located just 15 minutes from Tullamore, these distillery trips are perfect for whiskey fans, and you may even be able to grab a bus or hop in a taxi to ensure you can sample to fine whiskey on offer in both. If you are driving to Kilbeggan Distillery, be sure to visit the monastic site of Durrow Abbey on your way, a 5km drive from Tullamore.
Walk the Canal
Further along the canal is Round House at Boland’s Lock, an impressive Loch Keeper’s home that sits overlooking the canal. The house, built in the 1800s, is the brainchild of architect Michael Hayes who clearly took much delight in giving the building much character and charm.
Take a well-earned rest at the Ballycommon House pub, located at Ballycommon Bridge, for lunch or a few drinks. Then, if you’re keen to enjoy a few more historical delights, amble over to St Catherine’s, a Gothic Revival church from 1818, or venture to Charleville Castle, situated just outside the town.
With several great restaurants and pubs in Tullamore, call it a night as you relax in the company of the friendly locals, with Captain House, Blue Apron and Siroccos favourite eateries with locals and visitors alike. Call it a night and get ready for day two in Tullamore.
Day Two Exploring Tullamore
For those keen to take part in an activity during a stay in Tullamore, the popular fishing along the Grand Canal or a game of golf at Tullamore Golf Club, will both prove to be a morning or afternoon well spent.
Drive Slieve Bloom
Alternatively, Tullamore provides an excellent base to explore nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains, its highest peak reaching 527m. The mountains can be accessed with or without a guide and once among them, you will feel miles away from everything. Be sure to give you plenty of time to explore the mountains, and if you want to make a day of it, why not explore the 40km Slieve Bloom Scenic Drive, which recently made it into our list of 10 great Irish driving holidays to consider for the summer.
Visit the Many Monastic Sites
Surrounding Tullamore are also several intriguing monastic sites, where the feeling of stepping back in time will be very much felt. The county holds the largest number of significant monastic sites in Ireland so there are plenty to discover, including Rahhan which is less than 15 minutes’ drive from Tullamore and the spectacular 6th-Century site of Clonmacnoise which lies about 30 minutes from the town.
Discover the Great Telescope
The stunning Birr Castle and Gardens also lie about 30 minutes from Tullamore should you want to explore the surrounding area in more detail. Birr is home to the Great Telescope, once the world’s largest telescope, marking Offaly as a must-visit destination for scientists and astronomers from all over Europe in the 1800s. If you’re travelling with kids, Birr Castle is also home to Ireland’s largest tree house, along with a bounce pillow and science centre giving you plenty to explore with the family.
Call it a Night
To end off 48 hours in Tullamore, spend an evening wandering through the vibrant town centre and enjoy one of Tullamore’s popular pubs; favourites include Fergie’s Bar, Hugh Lynch’s, Copper Pot and the Old Harbour Bar.
Continue Your Trip Through Ireland’s Ancient East
Not wanting to end your journey in Tullamore? Enjoy a wider exploration of this part of Ireland with the Historic Heartlands driving route, setting you up perfectly to continue exploring over 5,000 years of ancient Irish history along the popular Ireland’s Ancient East driving route.
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Images via Fáilte Ireland.