The gentle rolling hills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains rise from the central plains of Ireland, forming a natural link between the counties of Laois and of Offaly. The area is picturesque, peaceful, gloriously multi-coloured and one of the least explored in Ireland. Dotted around the mountains are quaint little villages, and to visit one is like stepping back in time to an era when life moved at a slower pace. These are the places where people will take the time to talk to you, will listen to your stories and enjoy telling you theirs. According to the locals, the Slieve Blooms have everything, except the sea! The Slieve Bloom, along with the Massif Central in France, are the oldest mountains in Europe; they were once also the highest at 3,700m. Weathering has reduced them to 527m. On a clear day, one can see the high points of the four ancient provinces of Ireland These are some of the most wonderful gentle hiking trails in an environment vibrant with colours and nature during the summer and it is all a short drive from Tullamore. Of course, all around Charleville Castle is a forest with its own gentle walks but if you want something more strenuous then this is where to go.
Hill Walking & Hiking:
There are numerous trails from ones suitable for parents with pushchairs for young children up to severe hillwalking requiring poles, the proper boots etc. See all the details here each one is scored so you can pick one that suits your mood and ability. slievebloom.ie/walking/loop-walks
As a land that specialises in these noble four-legged creatures, there are many wonderful trails to go riding. Most places have all the required gear to rent. Anna Harvey Farm and Equestrian Centre: 9 Km from Tullamore is a huge farm with horses that also has wonderful accommodation. Perfect if you want to mix a bit of horse riding in the country with dancing in a castle. Please remember riding crops are not allowed on the ronda. annaharveyfarm.ie Birr Equestrian Centre: A bit further away at 36 km from Tullamore but it offers also many more activities as well as horse riding for all levels. You can go clay pigeon shooting and archery if this is your thing, kinda fits with the whole castle idea as long as you don’t start shooting other dancers. birrequestrian.ie
Ireland is full of golf courses, happily, this middle-aged disease skipped me but on asking a golf addict I know, apparently, the best golf course near Tullamore is the Esker Hills Golf course. A mere 6 km from the town of Tullamore and home of course to one of Ireland’s best-known golfers Shane Lowry, you might even meet him there practising between championships. eskerhillsgolf.com