Ireland's Hidden Heartlands

Unexplored, beguiling & picturesque

Ireland’s hidden heartlands offer much more than just outstanding rural tranquillity and a wonderfully relaxed pace of life. Amongst the rolling hills, flourishing countryside and dewy lakes are charming Irish towns and a superb selection of museums, mansions and monasteries which combine in an enchanting mix of the ancient and the mythological. At the very core of this beguiling region, the lovely town of Athlone is the perfect base for touring. Nestled on the banks of the beautiful River Shannon, this Bronze Age settlement offers history, heritage and a warm welcome. The jumble of streets are dotted with antique shops and colourful houses, and this town is also home to a revered institution: Ireland’s oldest pub.


Immerse yourself in the essence of Ireland

  • Athlone – get to the heart of Ireland by exploring Athlone Castle & St Peter & St Paul's Church
  • River Shannon Cruise – relax, admire the view & enjoy some refreshments
  • Galway – discover this historic, bohemian city on Ireland’s wild west coast
  • Carrick-on-Shannon – enjoy this thriving riverside town
  • Rindoon – explore the evocative medieval ruins
  • Strokestown Park & the National Famine Museum – a fine Palladian property & an important exhibition
  • Belvedere House – step back in time at this magnificent estate peppered with follies
  • Return flights included
  • 4 nights half board accommodation
  • This tour is also available as a coach tour if you don’t want to travel by air

From £939
per person

based on two sharing in a twin/double room, with a minimum of 30 passengers travelling by air in a specific month Coach tour from £749 per person.

Best time to go

May, June, September, October

Suggested Hotel

Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar

  • Stunning lakeside setting in own extensive grounds near Mullingar
  • Family owned
  • Contemporary, luxury feel
  • Renowned for dining and service
  • Swimming pool and spa

Not the hotel for your group? Other hotels are available, contact us.


  • Athlone Castle
    Athlone Castle http www heritageisland 1

    Squatting robustly in the centre of Athlone and overlooking the beautiful River Shannon, this 12th century fortification has witnessed dramatic battles and sieges during its centuries of history. Fringed with hulking battlements, the exhibitions here are immersive and informative.

  • St Peter & St Paul's Church
    St Peter Paul Church

    The elegant spires of St Peter and St Paul’s Church protrude into the skyline of Athlone, adjacent to Athlone Castle on the west bank of the Shannon. Completed in 1937, this monumental church designed by Ralph Byrne incorporates baroque elements and classical references into its detailed façades, and its copper-domed towers shimmer with verdigris.

  • River Shannon Cruise

    Explore the magnificent River Shannon during a boat journey on the River Run, a pleasure cruiser which departs from Athlone. Enjoy tea or coffee with biscuits aboard the luxury vessel whilst admiring panoramic views of this glorious waterway.

  • Galway
    Late Evening Sunlight on colourful houses Galway City Ireland

    Richly historic, the bohemian city of Galway heaves with remnants of medieval history, lively Irish pubs and Gaelic culture. Galway Cathedral and the Spanish Arch are amongst the town’s most interesting sights, and the Galway City Museum tells the story of this colourful port.

  • Carrick-on-Shannon
    The Marina Carrick on Shannon Tourism Ireland

    Lying on the border of counties Leitrim and Roscommon, this charming riverside town is a lively and popular holiday destination. Lined with graceful buildings, it also has a thriving arts and music scene.

  • Rindoon

    Standing starkly on a peninsula which juts into the vast Lough Ree, this deserted medieval town is enigmatic and fascinating. Its ruined 13th century castle and fortified walls point to its history as a key defensive settlement in the Anglo-Norman conquest. Wandering around the ruins reveals glimpses of ancient plots and the remains of a hospital, a church and a windmill. The thriving town was sacked following a Gaelic resurgence in the 14th century, and subsequently abandoned.

  • Strokestown Park & the National Famine Museum
    Strokestown Park http www heritageisland com hi cache file 36406 C3 B 1 DD8 B71 D A0 FA26 ACFF949 B10 source

    This fine Palladian property was the seat of the Mahon family, and still retains many original furnishings in its regal state rooms. Surrounding the property are 6 acres of walled gardens and lovely areas of woodland. Within the estate is the important National Famine Museum, which chronicles the great Irish famine of the 1840s. Denis Mahon of Strokestown Park was the first landlord to be assassinated due to his response to the devastating social disaster.

  • Belvedere House
    Belvedere House Co Westmeath

    This beautifully restored Palladian villa sits within a magnificent estate, peppered with follies and a Victorian walled garden. Built in 1740 for Robert Rochfort, stories of scandal and intrigue surround the property, which has been restored to its former grandeur.


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