Located in the middle of the country, it includes the counties of Laois (pronounced “leash”), Longford, Offaly, and Westmeath.
The region’s largest towns include Portlaoise (“pronounced “Portleash”), Athlone, Mullingar, Tullamore, Longford, Portarlington, Edenderry, Mountmellick, Birr, and Clara.
Lakes, waterways and canals dot these counties, but ancient historic sites are also prevalent in this region.
You’ll get stunning views of County Laois from the impressive hilltop perch known as The Rock of Dunamase in Ireland's midlands region.
In 842 AD, the Vikings attacked what was at the time a Christian settlement and by the 1100s, it was known as an important Anglo-Norman fortification.
Dermot Mac Murrough, King of Leinster, gave Dunamase to the Norman conqueror Strongbow in 1170 after Strongbow agreed to marry his daughter Aoife. It was part of a deal to enlist Strongbow’s in helping to regain his land.
It was abandoned by the 1300s and in the 1600s, the notorious Cromwell destroyed it. Its ruins are what you see today.
The site is free to visit, and is well worth an exploration if only to imagine the events that took place in it over the centuries.
Find a B&B in Ireland's Midlands
Longford is a county in Ireland's midlands that is often bypassed by tourists rushing to get to Galway or other coastal parts of Ireland.
But did you know that it boasts the longest county shoreline with the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river, and that there are ample opportunities to enjoy its lakes too, including Lough Gowna and Lough Ree?
As a result, outdoor water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding are popular activities in Longford.
An interesting attraction in Longford is the Corlea Visitor Trackway Centre showcasing what has come to be known as “The Danes' Road,” a perfectly preserved piece of Iron Age road that was believed to have been constructed around 148 B.C.
Other attractions you might want to check out in County Longford include the Edgeworth Literary Trail, which traces the life of Maria Edgeworth, Center Parcs, a short-break holiday village in the heart of the county, and St. Mel's Cathedral in the town of Longford, among other sites.
The most notable attraction in County Offaly includes the sixth-century Clonmacnoise Monastic Site, which is situated along the banks of the River Shannon.
Looking at the remains of this great monastery, which became the center of religion, learning, craftsmanship, and trade in early Ireland, one can only imagine the industriousness of the monks who ran it and the manuscripts they produced.
The site includes ruined churches, round towers, and three ancient high crosses.
Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre is another must-see attraction in Offaly.
The Anglo-Normans were the first to build a castle on this site, which was later occupied by the O’Carroll family from the 14th through the 17th centuries.
The main feature on the grounds of the castle is the “Great Telescope,” which was designed and built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in 1840 and for 75 years was the largest telescope in the world.
County Offaly is also the home of the Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Distillery.
Known the world over, Tullamore Dew is the world’s second largest selling brand of Irish whiskey and among the popular whiskey distilleries in Ireland.
The visitor center, located in the Old Bonded Warehouse along Tullamore’s Grand Canal, is where you can learn about the history of the distillery, which was established in 1829 by Daniel E. Williams (hence the name “Dew”).
County Westmeath in Ireland's midlands region is not far from Dublin (about an hour's drive), but there is plenty of countryside to explore.
Belvedere House Gardens & Park is a popular destination. The Jealous Wall is what seems to attract the most attention.
It is known as Ireland's largest folly, which is essentially a large ornamental structure with no practical purpose.
The structure was built by Robert Rochfort, the owner of Belvedere House and the 1st Earl of Belvedere to obstruct the view of his brother's house nearby.
Tullynally Castle and Gardens is another stately home that you can visit while in County Westmeath.
The carbon-dating of mud, wood, wattle, and tavern tokens, all found at the site of the pub, puts its founding at around 900 AD, according to research conducted at the National Museum of Ireland.