Family Activities in the Midlands

Portlaoise and the surrounding area is jam-packed full of fun family adventures for parents and kids alike. Plan your family hotel break in Co Laois at the Maldron Hotel Portlaoise with some ideas on what you can do on a family holiday in Midlands Ireland below. Also, see our hotel information booklet for more information.

Autumn Activities

We have a host of attractions and activities for the whole family to discover this autumn. Hidden walkways, trails and tracks for those that love to explore nature. Magical fairy lands at the Irish National Stud and Gardens that will bring you on a mystical journey. You will have the pick of the local petting farms with train rides, lamas or camels.

Even on the rainy days, we got you covered, with the indoor swimming pool and leisure club or a short drive to Roll ‘n Bowl. Let’s not forget, there is always something new to discover at Kildare Village, with luxury brands you will be sure to find the treat that delights in the form of a cashmere sweater or trendy pair of Jimmy Choo’s.

Discover Laois

Whatever the weather come here to discover.

  • Be sure to visit Irish National Stud and Gardens. Visitors will enjoy 20% off. Meet baby foals or go on an adventure following fairy path. Pre booking is essential, please ask our reception team for more details.
  • Castleview Open Farm 10% off. Go carting, indoor soccer is just some of many activities that you can enjoy.
  • The National Reptile Zoo in Kilkenny is a taste of our own mini Juristic Park! Spend a day wondering through this wild offering with these magnificent animals  from all corners of the world. And if you are brave enough you might even get to handle one of them. While you stroll through the reptile offering you might even get a chance to choose one of these incredible animals to adopt. What a story to tell your friends! Snap up the opportunity to get 10% discount for all Maldron guests and kids under 3 go for free.
  • Kildare Farm Foods free entry. Grab a feeding pot and stroll around to meet lamas, piglets and other quacks. Hop on the train and zoom around the farm.
  • Emo House and Gardens free to explore and enjoy, with picnic tables and tea rooms to delight.
  • Togher Woods are free to enjoy all seasons and great for kids. Be one with the nature.
  • Kildare Village Shopping is promising to trill daily with an extraordinary finds at additional 10% off and a newly build playground.
  •  Complimentary use of of the leisure centre, including  20 meter swimming pool and kids pool.

Activities in the Hotel

Swim

We are very happy to be a hotel in Portlaoise with a 20m swimming pool on-site, plus there is a dedicated children’s pool available for the little ones. Adults are free to enjoy the sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and gym. Children are allowed in the pool until 6.45pm. During the summer months (July and August) the kids’ times are extended until 7.00pm. Please note during busy periods, the pool area must be booked in advance by dialling 5600 from your bedroom or 057 869 5960 from outside the hotel.

We operate kids activities during all school holidays throughout the year at the Maldron Hotel Portlaoise.

Outdoor Family Adventures

Lullymore Heritage Park

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park is located 39km from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise. The Park was opened by President Mary Robinson in 1993. From very humble origins, the Park has grown every year to become a national tourism award winner in 2017, now encompassing 60 acres of spectacular meandering woodland and peatland trails as well as exhibitions.
The Park is an ideal venue for families and tour groups alike as it offers visitors an opportunity to explore the rich heritage and environment of this midland region while also offering great indoor and outdoor play areas, pet farm, train trips and fun seasonal events. Described by many as a true hidden gem, Lullymore Heritage Park is a great place to discover a beautiful part of Ireland and a really fun day out for all.

Castleview Open Farm

Castleview Open Farm is located 28km from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise was established in 2019. The farm is home to over 100 animals both big and small all year round. Among others, you can see, silver foxes, a Eurasian eagle owl, donkeys, goats, giant rabbits and so much more. There are also play areas, electric go-karts, soccer shoot out, a minigolf course, a playground, a challenging maze, plenty of picnic areas and a cafe. Guests in the hotel can avail themselves of a 10% discount on entry. Brochures are available at reception.

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Fossey Mountain Springs

Located 14.8km from the hotel or 18 minutes by car and just outside the beautiful scenic area of Timahoe, this Western Riding Ranch was dreamt up by Mick La Cumbre who has a passion for horses.

Trail riding and horse-riding lessons are available for all levels. Anyone without previous riding experience can avail of the scenic trail rides and all rides are supervised by an experienced guide. The ranch takes guests on a trail across the scenic wooded landscape from one hour to eight hours. Fossey Mountain Springs Ranch is open 9.00am – 9.00pm 7 days a week. To book, call 057 862 7320.

Silverline Cruises

This scheduled boat trip commences on Wednesday the 4th of July and operates every Wednesday and Sunday during July and August. Silverline Cruises “River Queen” has a fully licensed bar and live commentary provided by the friendly captain on board.

Barrowline Cruisers & Barroway Bikes

Located 17km by car from the hotel Barrowline Cruisers and Barrowway Bike Hire is a family-run cruise and bike hire company based in Co. Laois. The equipped base is ideally located to explore the Grand Canal and the River Barrow. Each waterway offers a completely different experience.

As part of our commitment to Green Tourism, we have teamed up with Barrowway bike Hire to offer all our guests the opportunity to rent a bike from the comfort of the hotel. Once arranged with the company, bikes will be dropped to the hotel. For more information, call us directly on 057 869 5900 or email res.portlaoise@maldronhotels.com.

Kilvahan Horse Drawn Carriages

Award-winning horse-drawn carriage holidays give you the opportunity to step outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Kilvahan Horse Drawn Carriages provides the opportunity for guests to take a break from the real world and find themselves again in the beauty of the Irish Midlands. Include Pat-zoo, pony ride, trekking in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, carriage tours and Castle Banquets. Located 20km from the hotel, close to the village in Coolrain in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, enjoy the freedom of the countryside, travel between rural farmhouses or stop off at a country pub for a lively session, the choice is yours.

Mondello Park

Mondello Park is 57km from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise or 39 minutes by car on the M7 Motorway.

Mondello Park is Ireland’s only permanent international motorsport venue. The circuit has grown from 1.28km (0.8 miles) circuit to a 3.5km (2.4 miles) FIA licenced international race track. Mondello Park offers a wide range of events and activities, including motor racing courses, entertainment, car and bike tracks, plus activities including motor racing experiences, corporate entertainment, team building, conferencing along with learner driver programmes and much more. If you are travelling from Cork, Kerry, Limerick or Clare and looking for a place to stay before travelling on the Mondello Park, Maldron Hotel Portlaoise is the ideal stop off on the M7. Call us on 057 869 5900 for more information.

Emo Court & Gardens

Located 17 minutes by car or 16.9km via the M7 motorway, Emo Court was designed in 1790 by the architect James Gandon for the Earls of Portarlington. Located in Emo, Co. Laois, the house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland which were first laid out in the 18th century and contain formal lawns, a lake and woodland walks with fine trees and shrubs. Passing through several owners during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the house and gardens were taken into ownership by the Irish State in the 1990’s.

It is now managed by the Office of Public Works and open to visitors all year round. Enjoy the mile-long Wellingtonia Avenue, flanked by giant sequoia trees planed in 1853 or take a walk around the lakeside loop which was recently completed. Keep an eye out for Irish Red Squirrels which are native to the estate and rare birds such as Buzzards and Egrets. There’s a visitor car park to the side of the house and once you stop here, you can enjoy 35 hectares of landscaped grounds with woodland walks and a 20-acre lake. Emo Court has become extremely popular with visitors to the hotel and an opportunity to relax in the countryside while escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The grounds are open from 8.30am daily with last entrance at 4.30pm. Tea/coffee and light snacks are available from CaToCa’s takeaway unit located outside the tearooms. For guests in the hotel, enjoy 10% off in the café.

During 2021, guided tours of the grounds are available daily. The house at Emo Court is currently under renovations and will remain closed until 2022.

Indoor Family Fun

Roll and Bowl Entertainment Centre

Located 2km or less than 5 minutes drive from the hotel, this entertainment centre has state of the art ten pin bowling alleys featuring the pinball wizard for children, bowling balls and shoes for all ages. Roll and Bowl also have glow in the dark lanes, pool, air hockey, laser quest, teddy bear making, roller disco and video games available upstairs in the games room with a soft play centre over three levels.

They also offer indoor soccer parties, nail art parties and birthday parties with outdoor crazy golf. There are activities for all ages here. As a guest in the hotel, enjoy discounted bowling for all your friends and family, just ask at reception for more information along with the terms and conditions.

We have teamed up with Roll n Bowl to offer you a fantastic family package. Enjoy an overnight stay with a 2-course evening meal, breakfast and tickets to Roll n Bowl to enjoy a 1-hour bowling experience. This package is available from only €169 per family (2 adults and 2 kids) A €20 supplement applies for the 3rd child

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 Dunamaise Arts Centre

Located 2km from the hotel in the centre of Portlaoise town, Dunamaise Arts Centre comprises of a 238-seat theatre. The centre opened in May 1999 and plays host to the best National and International performing and visual arts you can experience including theatre, musical, film and children’s events. We have a 10% discount for all guests of the hotel. Please ask at reception for further details or at time of booking.

The Grid Go-Karting

Located in Co Carlow, 38 minutes by car or 39.5 km from the hotel, The Grid Karting is Ireland’s fastest go-karting experience with 270 karts. Customers can visit the grid 5 days per week and experience the thrill of indoor go-karting. With the latest Sodi Karts, enjoy the thrill of wheel-to-wheel racing like never before with speeds of up to 45km/h. The Grid Karting has many options for you to enjoy with a selection of arrives and drives catered to fit the needs of all guests.

The race team are on board while you kart, making sure every need is met with the best standards in safety and professionalism. Cal the team directly on 087 702 1822 for more information.

Odeon Cinema Portlaoise

Located 2km from the hotel in Portlaoise town centre on Church Street, Odeon Cinema is a state of the art cinema for blockbusters in 2D, 3D and offers a range of single, family and student deals. There is free street car-parking after 5:30 pm and free parking all day Sunday. Please visit odeoncinemas.ie or phone: 01 686 9460 for ticket prices and current films listings.

Stradbally Steam Museum

Located 14 minutes by car or 13.2km from the hotel via the N80, Stradbally Steam Museum celebrates the steam engines that once ruled Ireland’s railways, built its roads and worked on its farms. Inside the museum, visitors can see a range of steam driven engines, like the Mann Steam Cart from 1918, or The Fowler, another steam traction engine, built in 1936 and used in roadworks and to power stone crushers. Also on display is an elegant black steam engine that hauled raw materials around a track inside the Guinness Brewery. It took barrels of stout to the wharf on the Liffey, where they were put on boats and taken throughout the world.

Close to the Steam Museum, the Steam Preservation Society runs a narrow-gauge Heritage Railway in the Grounds of Stradbally Hall (home to Electric Picnic). This track is 1 kilometre long and built in 1969. Rides on the narrow-gauge railway are available to the public on Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays from May to September. Every year on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the society hosts a very popular steam rally in Stradbally. Check out their website for full details on running times and any other event announcements

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