A few weeks ago we stopped off in the lovely town of Tullamore, Co. Offaly on our way home from Galway. It seemed a good halfway stop to cut our drive short, and we were planning some sightseeing in the area.
The Office of Public Works have a great family heritage card for 55 euros, allowing you access to all their heritage sites around Ireland, including many castles and historical sites which have been beautifully restored and made visitor friendly. We are ticking many off our list this summer with our heritage card, and it's providing a brilliant starting point for informative home ed discussions with the kids. No better way to learn about Normans than walk around their castles, climb the spiral staircases and roleplay on the battlements! It would make a lovely present for a family interested in history or Irish culture and is valid for 12 months.
For more information and to buy your heritage card, please click here
A few kilometres from Tullamore is the picturesque town of Kilbeggan, where we spent a fantastic couple of hours, first enjoying ice-creams and the riverside playground, then touring the whiskey distillery. And wow. I'm not a whiskey drinker but my husband is a big fan, and the Gold Medal tour was a birthday surprise for him. We all loved the tour, even the kids. The distillery has a working mill-wheel, huge metal vats, pumps, barrel-making room, we got to smell the whiskey at all its stages of fermentation. We got a walking tour of the restored distillery, complete with all the original impressive machinery, and then the whiskey tasting began. Being the responsible driver I only smelled and tasted a drop of each of the four whiskeys, but I was really impressed with the language and skill used to describe and appreciate the whiskey, just like a wine tasting would be (I imagine, I've never been to one!) One had a smooth caramel flavour, another had the smell of a turf fire! Just a fantastic experience and one I'd recommend to anyone passing that way. There's also a lovely cafe attached, warm and welcoming, the place was full of happy tourists, and the kids got a bag of sweets each, even though we only sat in for a few minutes and had a quick cuppa.
Our first night we stayed in the Bridge House Hotel, the jewel in Tullamores crown I suspect. Plush and elaborate decor in the lobby gives you a breathtaking entrance. We had a lovely room with a double and single bed which we pushed together to give us a bigger sleeping area. The hotel is a popular one for weddings, we saw one each day of our stay, yet happily didn't hear any nightclubbing so got a good rest! There is also a snooker room which really excited our 6 year old. I spent a lovely time in the cosy library bar having a hot port. The library bar had an open fire, leather chairs and lots of old books to flick through. The next morning we tried out the pool, with an exciting outdoor area, so you can look out over the street! There was a lovely view over the town from our room 303, and the hotel is riiet opposite a modern shopping centre, so naturally I had some retail therapy. The doorman took extra care with me and the buggy, escorted us up in the lift. I enjoyed a creamy cappucino and a scone in the lobby the next day, there are lots of seating areas for watching the world go by, and though the hotel was busy, it never felt crowded or cramped.
Here are their latest deals:
Mid-Summer Sale – three nights Bed & Breakfast @ just €199.00 total : link to book
Spa Pamper Package – two nights Bed & Breakfast including one Evening Meal + Spa Pamper Package
Midweek from €149.00 per person sharing : link to book
Weekend from €189.00 per person sharing : link to book
Please click here to view other special offers.
Have you been to Tullamore recently? Got any other hidden gems for us? Please leave details in the comments below!