Top Free Things to do in Laois

Many local attractions are free, these are a few of our favourites. See our hotel information booklet for more information.

Climb the Rock of Dunamase

Located 10 minutes by car from the hotel, the rock, 46 metres above a flat plain, has the ruins of Dunamase, a defensive stronghold dating back from the early Hiberno-Norman period with views across the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Only a few arches remain of the original structure, as the castle was all but destroyed some 200 years after it was built in the 12th century. Even so, the castle foundations are clear enough to imagine what this sight may have looked like in its day. ­­­It is near the N80 road between Portlaoise and Stradbally.

Emo Court & Gardens

The Neoclassical mansion in Emo is just 17-minutes by car from the hotel. The house and gardens attracts locals and visitors from all over the country. Visit and enjoy the beautiful gardens and parklands which were first laid out in the 18th century. Walks around the lake are a popular way to explore the beautiful grounds. The first Wednesday of every month is free for a tour of the house. While on the grounds of Emo Court, a visit to CaToCa Find Food and Giftware is a must with 10% off for guests of the hotel (not valid on sale items).

Timahoe Round Tower

Located a 12-minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, the round tower was built sometime in the 1100s, on the site of a religious community founded by Saint Mochua (a 7th-century warrior who converted to Christianity) around 600 AD. The tower rises almost 30 metres high and is more than 17 metres wide at its base, with walls that are nearly two metres thick. Inside there are five different floors, all of which were reached by ladders.  In times gone by, Timahoe Round Tower was a beacon for travellers looking for the monastery. Bells contained within its stones would be rung to call the monks to prayer and perhaps to signal when the monastery was under attack. The tower stands in a picturesque setting across a footbridge that crosses the Bauteogue River.

Heywood Gardens

Situated a 20-minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Heywood Gardens were completed in 1912 and consists of 50 acres of woodland, gardens and lakes designed by the talented architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. One of the garden’s most unique features is a sunken garden containing and elongated pool, where at the centre stands a fountain. Heywood Gardens have a spectacular setting on a hillside looking South-East over a sweep of the undulating country which takes in 7 counties. Admission is free.

Slieve Bloom Mountains

The picturesque hills of the Slieve Bloom Mountain range are just under an hours drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise. The mountains rise from the central plains of Ireland, providing a natural link between Laois and Offaly. Here you will find many beautiful walks and spectacular views of the surrounding area. Moniknew is very popular spot amongst the mountains, containing short walks, picnic benches and a stream for paddling. Enjoy a view over Offaly from the Cut, visit the waterfalls in Glenbarrow or take a walk around Brittas Lake in Clonaslee.

Portlaoise Farmers Market

The Portlaoise Farmers Market takes place every Friday from 10am – 3pm in Market square, just a 6-minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise. Shoppers will be able to buy fresh local produce and goods such as fruit and vegetables, cakes, cheese and jams directly from the growers, farmers and producers.

Contact Us

For more information or to book, call us on +353 (0)57 869 5900 or email info.portlaoise@maldronhotels.com. See our hotel information booklet for more information on nearby attractions.

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