Guide to country cottage and self catering holidays in Ireland's midlands, also known as the Irish lakelands

Enjoy reading through our guide on country cottage holidays in the Irish Midlands, also known as .  Small is definitely beautiful when it comes to the midlands of Ireland. Nestled in the heart of Ireland, the midlands is immersed in rich history, culture and heritage. A popular country cottage holiday destination, spectacular views and magnificent attractions are a feature here, assuring a memorable break. Bestowed with beautiful natural landscapes including tranquil lakes, canals and waterways, this is one of the most popular places for self catering cottage holidays in the whole of Ireland.

Basking in unspoilt nature, the midlands includes Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath. The geographical position of these regions as a whole, form an interesting group, as they are dotted with lakes on all sides. The presence of both small and large lakes has earned the midlands the title of the ‘Lakeland’ of Ireland.

Find country cottage holidays in Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.


An excellent area for peaceful country cottage breaks, Ireland’s midlands have a number of interesting attractions and dramatic landscapes. The ancient monuments and relics should leave holidaymakers awe-inspired.  Some choose to fully explore one part of the midlands whereas others prefer to tour the whole of this ‘lakeland’, going from place to place.  Many cottages accept short break bookings making a whistle stop tour a real possibility with a self catering holiday.  However, it can depend on the season, some welcome short break bookings all year round whereas others accept such bookings only outside of peak season.  Do call or email cottage owners or agencies to find out what is possible.  In terms of making your break as relaxing as possible, even if you want to explore as much of the ‘lakelands’ as you can, it is often nice to keep the same base for at least 3 or 4 nights so you don’t have to be constantly settling in somewhere new.

Offaly offers many things to see and do on a self catering holiday and is often the starting point of a tour of Ireland's midlands region. Offaly is gifted with some spectacular natural attractions and offers ample opportunities for sightseeing.  A notable highlight here is Clonmacnoise, a recognised monastic site, situated in Blackwater Bog.  A visit here enables you to catch a glimpse of ancient examples of the Irish high cross, such as the 'Cross of the Scriptures'.

Another prominent attraction is Birr Castle, which is best-known for its 19th century telescope. The southern part of Offaly boasts several castles and gardens. Another point of interest is the historic Science Centre which is a magnificent landmark.

A visit to the Woodland Cottage Garden, Bellfield House Garden and Lough Derg Garden Trail should be a delight for gardening enthusiasts.   Another place not to be missed is  Sculpture in the Parklands, a wetland area in and around Lough Boora which showpieces numerous pieces of sculpture. Other popular places to visit are Charleville Castle in Tullamore, Kinnitty Castle and Ballybrittan Castle to name just a few.

If it is natural beauty you are after then the midlands has plenty to please.  There are several natural treasures amongst which, Slieve Bloom Mountains is the most spectacular. Tourists on their country cottages holiday, can frequent this natural attraction to enjoy panoramic views of neighbouring Laois. Situated on the estuary of river Shannon, Banagher is another attractive spot to visit and boat trips run from here.  As previously mentioned, Lough Boora Parklands is worth a visit, not just for the art, but also for its wildlife and natural beauty.

Bestowed with diverse scenery along with lakelands, bogland, pastureland and wetlands, Longford is an important part of the Irish midlands. Many visit this quiet and sedate place for its appealing countryside, rich heritage and for the ample opportunities to take part in activities such archery, canoeing, fishing and angling.   Also whilst in Longford you can see a magnificent historical country house, an Iron Age bog road and a picturesque 18th century mansion. The Belvedere House and Gardens and the Ballinamuck Visitors Centre are intriguing and beautiful landmarks which are not to be missed. There is also the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre, which gives insights into the spectacular history of the Old Bog Road. Close to this site is the Corlea Bog, which offers some breathtaking natural scenery.

Laois is another interesting place for self catering holidays.  With a fascinating number of sites steeped in mystery and myth, Laois fascinates many and is home to several enthralling beauty spots.  Mountmellick Museum, Laois Craft Centre, Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum and Steam Museum are some of the prominent attractions of Laois. Laois also hosts several music festivals, which whisper the creativity of the local folklore of the region. If you just adore history and want to learn about the rich history of Laois then you may wish to go to Emo Court House, Ballyfin House, Timogue Church and Abbeyleix Heritage House to find out more. Or if you enjoy being active, options in Laois include riding, golfing and barge-trips.

From The Jealous Wall at Belvedere, Lockes Distillery and Belvedere Gardens to Fishing on Lough Owel, Westmeath is famed for its wonderful lakes and picturesque landscapes. Westmeath is a heaven for water sports enthusiasts, especially those who desire a thrilling boating and stunning cruising experience. Athlone Castle and Genealogical Centre are some of Westmeath’s famed highlights.

If you are after a self catering holiday where you can discover and enjoy an unspoiled natural wilderness, Ireland's midlands region may be the ideal destination for you.


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