Maldron Hotel Portlaoise is the perfect base for you to explore the midlands and with all Laois has to offer you won’t be stuck for places to explore.
Birr Castle offers something for everyone and especially interesting and educational for families. The Castle is home to the 7th Earl of Rosse and as such the residential areas are not accessible to the public. The grounds and gardens are publicly accessible. The main feature on the grounds is the “Great Telescope” it was completed in 1845 and was used for decades.
The grounds of the castle contain the oldest wrought iron bridge in Ireland dating from 1820. The walled gardens in the grounds feature box hedges that are over 300 years old. According to the GuinnessBook of Records they are the tallest hedges in the world.
Rock of Dunmaise
Just 7 miles from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, the Rock of Dunamaise is one of the greatest monuments and fortresses in Ireland towers over the Portlaoise/Stradbally Road, offering breath-taking views of the county. There is evidence from early excavations in the 90’s that this site was first settled in the 9th century. The ruins today are those of a castle begun in the latter half of the 12th century but it is not clear who built it. Some people attribute the building to Strongbow who was heir to Diarmuid Mcmorrow who ruled in Leinster at that time.
The Rock of Dunamaise is a sight not to be missed by visitors in Laois. Standing 46m tall, it provides breathtaking views across the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Access is free, open all year round and the climb to the summit is not that hard. Stunning views of the surrounding countryside make the towering Rock of Dunamaise a strategic place to build a fortress.
O‘Moore Park is the home of the Laois GAA teams in both football and hurling. The stadium has been used as a GAA ground since 1888 and was purchased by Maryborough GAA in 1908 and in 1917 it was purchased as the county grounds, making it one of the first grounds to be purchased only 6 years after Croke Park was bought as the home of GAA. It hosts club and county teams throughout the year. The ground has a capacity of approximately 25,000 and is considered one of Ireland’s best under weather football pitches.
GAA supporters receive 10% off food in our new Grain & Grill restaurant with flyer.
EMO COURT AND GARDENS
Emo Court and Gardens is a short 10 minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise and is situated in the picturesque village of Emo just off the M7. This house is best described as a neoclassical mansion, symmetrical in design with superbly designed rooms. It was designed by architect James Ganon in 1790 for John Dawson the Earl of Portarlington.
In 1914 the Earls of Portarlington left for England and the house was closed up for many years before being sold to the Irish Land Commission. It is now run by the Office of Public Works who continues to preserve the house to ensure that Emo Court is an enjoyable experience for its visitors. The gardens extend to 35 hectares of landscaped grounds with Oak, Beech, rare specimen trees and a 20 acre lake.
In 2013 the walk around the lake was completed so you can now walk around the full lake. It is also advisable to bring a picnic basket in the summer. Access to the house is by guided tours only. We have negotiated reduced rates in the hotel, please ask at reception for details. We also offer family packages to include a tour to Emo Court.
Lea Castle Portarlington
Maldron Hotel Portlaoise is 15 minutes’ drive from Lea Castle in Portarlington. The remains of the 13th century Lea Castle lie just 3km outside Portarlington. Originally built by William De Vesey in 1260, the ivy-covered ruins include a section of the unique “towered” keep, a nearly complete corner tower, a walled courtyard, wards and a double towered gate building. The castle was burned down by the O Dempsey family in 1284 and rebuilt by De Vesey. It was raised again along with the nearby town by a Scottish army in 1315 and later burned again by the O’Moores in the 14th century. This site is fascinating for anyone with an interest in History and archaeology.