Uncovering The Magic Of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands: Where To Stay And What To Do

Cloughoughter Castle And Surroundings  Co  Cavan Med

Above Image: Cloughoughter Castle, Co. Cavan

Think you've seen all Ireland has to offer? There's plenty more you may have missed. Check out all the breathtaking views and thrilling experiences you have yet to enjoy.

Ireland is well-known for the otherworldly magic, laidback charm and fascinating adventures waiting to be discovered in its country villages, towns and cities.

But if you're yearning to find out what's below the surface, look no further than the Hidden Heartlands. Far away from the crowds of tourists on their well-trodden paths, you'll discover a whole new Ireland you never knew existed.

Comprised of the areas around Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford, East Clare, Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary, Galway, and Offaly, the middle of the island is where you'll find natural splendour and hidden gems. The Hidden Heartlands are known for being far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and replete with stunning, tranquil spots to unwind.

Unforgettable holidays and staycations in Ireland are waiting for you, right now. Will you heed their call and book a stay?

Cabra Castle Hotel, Co. Cavan - Uncover the Magnificence of Ireland's Lake County

Looking like an illustration straight out of your favourite storybook, you may have thought Cabra Castle was the stuff of dreams: luckily, it's real. An attraction in and of itself, the historic property is open to the public.

However, as a cherished guest, you'll soon find there's no shortage of excellently appointed rooms where you can escape and curl up by the fireside with a good book or a bit of whiskey.

Treat your tastebuds to a sampling from the Courtroom Restaurant's sumptuous menu, which includes a 4-course table d'hote lunch menu on Sundays. Or, if you fancy something a little lighter, opt for tea and scones in the Drawing Room.

Don't forget to visit the cosy Derby Bar. Here, you can rest your wellies after a muddy walk and indulge in their Hearty Hotpot, served by the fireside.

Cabra Castle 7

Things to do

A town with plenty to do and memories waiting to be made, Cavan promises nothing less than an escape from the doldrums of everyday life.

The Cavan County Museum features recreations of World War I trenches, which you may find even more authentic on cold and wet days! Drop in at Burren Park and transport yourself to ancient Ireland: here is a UNESCO designated Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, boasting geological as well as archaeological marvels. Megalithic tombs and glacial erratics await you, with five looped walking trails which immerse you in a fascinating landscape.

Nearby, the Cavan Adventure Centre delivers exactly what it promises. Kayaking, cycling trails, and a "splashtastic" water park await eager adventurers, with plenty of fun to be had!

Cavan Burren Park

Above Image: Cavan Burren Park, Co. Cavan

Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens, Co. Leitrim - Steeped in History and Luxury

Richness and abundance await you at Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens, where the stone walls whisper of a storied heritage.

Not only does the ancestral castle offer plenty of luxurious suites – one of which includes your own jacuzzi! Self-catering accommodation is also available, so you can find your own private paradise among the walled gardens and Lough-side location. The Eastern Range is the former residence and stables of the Estate Manager, converted with finesse into medieval-themed bedrooms incorporating all the latest mod cons.

At Lough Rynn, packaged experiences have been expertly curated just for you. On Taste Tuesdays, you can indulge in an overnight stay including a complimentary glass of prosecco, dinner in the award-winning Sandstone Restaurant (served with a complimentary glass of house wine) and a hearty Irish breakfast the following morning.

Lough Rynn 9

Things to do

Why not opt for a brilliant day out at Lough Key Forrest Park, where you'll be whisked through the trees on zip lines and segue through enchanting woodlands? Leisurely boat trips are also available here, as well as electric bikes for hire.

Meanwhile, Hayden's Equestrian Centre and Moorlands Equestrian Centre are both within a short distance of the hotel and offer horse riding, guided treks and lessons for all ages.

As a perfect way to round off the day, you could venture over to the Shed Distillery (home of the famous Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin) to enjoy a drop (or several) during a fully guided tour of the first distillery in Connaught in 101 years. The Honey Badger bar is situated within a beautiful glass botanical house and is the perfect place to share special moments.

Lough Key Forest Park

Image Above: Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa, Co. Roscommon - Discover the Quaint Charm of Boyle

Ask any prior guest of Kilronan Castle and Spa, and you'll hear many tales of plush furniture and effortless sophistication.

A lovingly-restored ancestral home nestled among forty acres of lush green estate and next to a beautiful lough, making the castle look like something straight out of a fairytale. Kilronan has been described as "breathtaking" and "incredible". It boasts one of the finest spa facilities in Ireland with a programme of pampering that will make any guest feel like royal heirs.

Meanwhile, well-appointed Earl Grey afternoon teas and fine evening dining from an award-winning kitchen are just waiting to be enjoyed after your luxurious soak. The castle even once had its own metalworking forge: but visit those tunnels today, and you'll find they've been transformed into one of the comfiest cafes you've ever seen!

Kilronan Castle Reception

Things to do

Round out your trip to Roscommon with a trip to the friary, where the town's name was derived from Coman mac Faelchon who built a monastery there in the 5th century. The friary, abbey and castle all lie in ruins now, but as the ivy scrambles up their tumbled stone walls it's easy to cast your mind back to a long-forgotten time and imagine the tumultuous forces which played out among their grounds.

The past is in the present at Roscommon. A magnificent archaeological find was made here in 1945 when a lunula, a gold necklace, and two discs were discovered, dating to between 2300 and 1800 BC. Nearby, the Castlestrange Stone is a granite boulder decorated with flowing spirals by Iron Age hands, dating from between 300 BC and 100 AD. Only three other stones of this type have been found in Ireland, so it is a truly unique sight to behold.

Discover the Hidden Heartlands of Ireland, and a world of magic and wonder will open up for you: book your stay today, and enjoy memories for years to come.

The Shed Distillery

Above Image: The Shed Distillery, Co. Leitrim


Original Irish Hotels are a collection of unique, owner-run hotels, located in Ireland’s most outstanding destinations. Open the door to the magic of unmissable moments with Ireland’s leading collection of independent hotels.

Our 55 hotels are dotted around the entire island of Ireland in must-see locations, from the Wild Atlantic Way, to Ireland’s Ancient East, the Causeway Coast, Dublin and the treasured heartland of Ireland’s midlands and lakelands.

Irrespective of where our hotels are, Original Irish Hotels pride themselves in hosting a unique and truly memorable experience for our guests, and soon to be friends. The collection is made up of a range of traditional and boutique hotels, castles, manor and country houses, all run by locals, ensuring a unique experience every time.