A blend of land and water trails, secret spots, and undiscovered gems, a unique place of warmth and charm.

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Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and its rural communities are as far from fast-paced living as you can get, yet right on your doorstep, often an hour’s drive, or less, away. With its rich mix of beautiful landscapes, rugged hills, soft bogs, peaceful lakes and vibrant townscapes, welcome to one of the most surprising and unspoilt parts of Ireland.

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Explore the lush green heartlands of Ireland’s natural rural beauty

Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is close to all the main cities of Ireland; yet feels far away from it all. Dip your toe into not only the lakes of this region but also the culture, immense historical significance and, most importantly, the spectacular nature on offer.

  1. National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park – The stable yards of an elegant Georgian Palladian Mansion owned by the first landlord to be assassinated during the height of the Great famine of Ireland the 1840s are a portal into the darkest period Of Irish life, With its harrowing collection of documents and objects relating to the mass starvation that occurred in Ireland in the 19th century. It’s a sobering, but revelatory, museum, that conveys the tragic devastation that caused so many Irish people to emigrate.
  2. Arigna Mining Experience – Within the village of Arigna, with its panoramic views over Lough Allen, lies the fascinating Arigna Mining Experience. Visitors enjoy a first-hand experience, of a coal miner’s life and the 40C-year-old mining heritage that belongs to this picturesque rural village. Leaving the rural views of Lough Allen outside, visitors are guided underground, to the very coal face, by a local, former miner. From this miner’s personal experience, they learn what it was like to work within the mine’s cramped spaces; what being a miner meant for family life; the superstitions and religious rituals observed by miners; their camaraderie and unique coded language; and the community inspired initiative that sought to preserve Arigna’s 200 year coal mining heritage.
  3. Clonalis House , Roscommon – On a personal guided tour, visitors will get an insight into a long and storied past of one of Ireland oldest families and most historic homes. Visitors can experience a rich heritage and history at Clonalis with correspondence. historical documents, heirlooms, objet d’art. the harp of Turlough O’Carolan (the famous blind harpist). the inauguration stone of the O’Conor Kings and family portraits which all play an integral part in the telling of the O’Conor family’s story. The magnificent Clonalis Library, containing some 7000 volumes, is widely considered to be one of the best collections in private ownership in Ireland.
  4. Derryglad Folk Museum, Roscommon – No trip to the Midlands is complete without a visit to the privately owned, award-winning Derryglad Folk Museum in Athlone, County Roscommon. Were you can view over 7500 items encompassing history, heritage and folk culture. The collection also covers farm and folklife in Ireland from the 18th Century right up to the recent past. On display in the MacCormac Photography Room are the contents of an extensive photographic premises in Athlone from 1948 to 2002. Items from studios, darkrooms, finishing room, political portraits, cameras and much more!
  5. The Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre interprets the significance of a monumental roadway that was built in 148 B.C. across the boglands of Longford. close to the River Shannon. The oak road is the largest of its kind to have been uncovered in Europe.
  6. The Hill of Uisneach, Co. Westmeath, is celebrated as the sacred ‘centre’ of Ireland, a central place in the Irish mythological landscape, and a meeting place of the ancient provinces. Uisneach is ranked in early Irish literature with the great royal centres like ourselves at Rathcroghan, but also the Hill of Tara, Emain Macha, Dún Ailinne and the Rock of Cashel. Uisneach was a place of gathering, ceremony and burial from early prehistory, and its sacral significance endured long after the introduction of Christianity, when it became the seat of power of one of early medieval Ireland’s most illustrious royal dynasties, the Clann Cholmáin of Mide.
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With so much to see and do in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands why not extend your trip, and stay in one of the many hotels, guesthouses, or B&Bs in the area.


Feeling thirsty or peckish? Whether you’re a consummate carnivore or a vegan, you’ll find plenty of foodie delights in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Check out our list of recommended places for your visit.

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Hidden landscapes, a ‘subtropical paradise’, captivating stories and vibrant towns; the central area of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is ready to uncover.

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Discover more of what Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has to offer.