“Mullingar, An Muileann gCearr” the county town and administrative headquarters of Westmeath is one of the larger population centres in the midland region. Within an hour’s drive of Dublin, Mullingar lies in one of the most scenic parts of the country, surrounded by rolling pastures and interrupted only by coniferous forests and some of the most beautiful lakes in Ireland earning Mullingar the title of “The Capital of the Lakelands”.
For those interested in leisure pursuits, Mullingar has a lot to offer. The town is associated with some of the best known trout waters in Ireland – Loughs Ennell, Owel, Derravaragh. Other leisure facilities include an 18 hole Championship Golf Course and two excellent Fáilte Ireland approved equestrian centres. Additional recreational activities available include water sports such as sailing and windsurfing. Mullingar is the ideal base from which to tour the midlands. In addition to its lakeland districts, the fine heritage of Mullingar and its hinterland is acknowledged as one of the region’s best tourism assets. There is a variety of places to visit including, museums, monastic settlements, great houses as well as sites of historical and archaeological interest.
places to visit around mullingar
Belvedere House, Gardens and Park
Belvedere House, Gardens and Park, Mullingar Co. Westmeath – Located within Ireland’s Ancient East and with many layers of life and history in the big house, Belvedere House Gardens & Park demonstrates beauty, Intrigue and passion that makes for an enchanting Visitor Experience and an excellent day out with a difference, for all ages. The Earl of Belvedere’s Hunting Lodge at Lough Ennell stands on 160 acres of maintained estate, punctuated with numerous follies, the largest being The Jealous Wall built to obscure the view of his brother’s larger house. Belvedere House is fully restored and is noted for its exquisite rococo ceilings and bow end design. The Victorian Walled Garden exercises all the senses with a fragrant herb garden, old rose beds, tumbling herbaceous borders, alpines, climbers and vegetable potager. Belvedere has a licensed restaurant, gift shop, 4 children’s play areas, 10km of walks/trails, Fairy Garden, and several picnic areas. Belvedere hosts many events in its parklands. For full event updates see www.belvedere-house.ie Tel. 044 9338960. Located 7km south of Mullingar on N52. Open all year round.
Tullynally Castle and Gardens
Tullynally Castle and Gardens is a beautiful country estate in County Westmeath, with lush gardens and parklands that are open to the public. Still a family residence, the castle has been home to the Pakenham family (now the Earls of Longford) for over 350 years. It boasts a unique collection of trees and plants collected in Asia, and a Victorian Experience tour.
Fore Abbey is the old Benedictine Abbey ruin, situated to the north of Lough Lene in County Westmeath, just 25km outside its county town of Mullingar. Fore village, is situated within a valley between two hills: the Hill of Ben, the Hill of Houndslow, and the Anchorland rise area.
Ecclesiastical Museum – The Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar. In addition to wonderful mosaics by famous Russian artist Boris Anrep, frescoes, canvases, models of the Cathedral, vestments worn by St. Oliver Plunkett, and a ring once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette. Viewing by appointment only.
Mullingar Library County Buildings
Historical & genealogical records available here.
The Hill of Uisneach
The Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath is one of Ireland’s most treasured and most mysterious historical attractions. Situated between the towns of Athlone and Mullingar, it was the ancient seat of the High Kings. Its historical roots go back to the Neolithic period. The Stone of the Divisions (Aill na Míreann) is said to mark the centre of Ireland and the coming together of the provinces. Private tours are available. Tel: +353 (0) 87 718 9550
Towns of Co Westmeath
The picturesque village of Finea is located on the river Inny. The area between Finea and Castlepollard is a must for the nature lover. 7km from Finea, Mullaghmeen State Forest offers picnickers a shady haven in which to feast and provides the more energetic with scenic walks of varying length.
Coole is a quaint village located 5km from Castlepollard. The church dates back to 1841 and was endowed by the Dease family who lives nearby at Turbotstown House. An amenity area has picnic facilities as well as boat mooring/launching facilities.
Straid Mighe Breachaighe. The Church is a prominent feature of the village. Brega is a pretty kingdom in early Irish history.
Castlepollard is a most delightful place, full of old-world charm with its neat 19th century houses and dignified churches surrounding the village green. It lies in the centre of a wonderful region of lakes, great houses and ancient monasteries and monuments. In the renovated old National School, the Local Museum contains 3,500 artefacts of household and agricultural interest. On the village green is a sculpture commemorating the four Children of Lir, also commemorated in a stained glass window in the friary church in Multyfarnham. Both the churches in Castlepollard were built early in the 19th century and both are dedicated to St. Michael. Castlepollard is one of the top centres for angling in the midlands.
Delvin is steeped in history with a motte at the southern end of the village built by Hugh de Lacy in 1181. Close to the motte are the ruins of a 13th century castle built by the Nugents, Earls of Westmeath. Nearby Clonyn Castle, which is still inhabited, was one of the last Victorian baronial castles to be built in Ireland.
Ballynacarrigy is an attractive village located on the Royal Canal between Longford and Mullingar. Approximately 5 km from the village on the Rathowen road is the Church of Ireland at Kilbixy. There is a magnificent chestnut tree that is conceivably the largest of its kind in Ireland and is thought to be three hundred years old. Close by on the shores of Lough Iron, lies the ruins of Tristernagh Abbey. A relic known as a “corpnu” which was kept by the monks was recovered here and is on display at the National Museum in Dublin.
Glasson – The ‘Village of the Roses’, Glasson is one of those places that seems to have it all. The historic homeland of Oliver Goldsmith, adjacent to one of Ireland’s most beautiful lakes, a centre for boating, fishing and walking.
Kilbeggan – The home of the oldest Irish distillery at the centre of Kilbeggan for nearly 250 years has been the distillery, now a fascinating theme park. The other great attraction at Kilbeggan is its evening race meetings.
Castletown Geoghegan is named after the McGeoghan family who were extensive landowners, dispossessed during the time of Cromwell. A motte in the village dates from Norman times while a boulder at the south east of the village is reputed to be the inauguration site of the MacGeoghegans.
Kinnegad – Off the main motorway. Dining facilities and shopping available. The fine alter in the RC Church was built by Willie Pearse (a brother of P.H. Pearse) a signatory to the 1916 Declaration of Irish Independence. Kinnegad is only 5km from the famous monastic site at Clonard.
The valley of Fore is a place of rare beauty and tranquility. Fore is rich in ancient ruins and the centre of a wonderful ‘Fore Trail’ which explores the valley itself and the surrounding country. The Fore Heritage Centre provides information and light meals. A church, a post office, a coffee shop and a few houses constitute its buildings. A great ruined 13th century Benedictine Priory, a holy well and a scattering of small stone buildings on the hillside are the reminders of its past inhabitants.
A developed trail affords nature lovers a rare opportunity to stroll through the fascinating landscape of one of Westmeath’s last remaining bogs.
Multyfarnham – A delightful old-world village. Multyfarnham’s greatest claim to fame is its Franciscan friary, founded 776 years ago and still providing its visitors with a quiet retreat. The village today provides self-catering holiday cottages, good food and drink, with music in some of the pubs.
Collinstown is a picturesque village overlooking Lough Lene. The numerous ring forts in the locality suggest that Collinstown has been inhabited from stone-age times.
Clonmellon is an enchanting old-world village on the Westmeath/Meath border. Situated to the east of the village are the ruins of Killua Castle, built in 1780.
Crookedwood is a picturesque village with good quality accommodation and restaurants, located beside Lough Derravaragh. The well preserved fortified Saint Munna’s Church is located near the village. Built in the 15th century on the site of a monastery founded by Saint Munna in the 7th century.
Ballykeeran derives its name from St. Ciaran who founded a monastery on Hare Island before founding Clonmacnoise. Nearby Friars Island is linked to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Visitors have a choice of taking the “high” or “low” road to Glasson. One can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Lough Ree and the Inner Lakes.
Athlone, an ideal regional centre standing on the boundaries of two counties namely Westmeath and Roscommon. It is an historic town because of its strategic location and is commonly referred to as “the gateway to the west”. An ideal place for touring or based holidays this busy and prosperous town has a wide range of tourist attractions, top class accommodation, and excellent restaurants each with its own distinctive character catering for all the family. Athlone is proud to be the centre of Shannon Cruising and its hire boats for tourists on the Shannon. Activities in the area include walking, angling, cycling, and golf. Athlone also boasts excellent shopping facilities and numerous festivals and events throughout the season.
Moate – In the 17th century, Quakers settled in Moate and brought prosperity to the region by introducing small industries.
Tyrrellspass has been the recipient of a National Tidy Towns award and the prestigious European Architectural Heritage Award. It is a model village laid out by Jane, Countess of Belvedere in the early 19th century. Tyrrellspass boasts some good quality accommodation, restaurants and pubs as well as a castle.
Killucan built near the Royal Canal. Features of this village include a collection of wayside crosses that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. St. Etchens Church was erected in the 13th century.