Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

Croíthailte Ceilte na hÉireann

Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

Croíthailte Ceilte na hÉireann

Do you want to get away from the crowds? Join us as we follow the route of the mighty River Shannon, traverse ancient trackways across bogs and experience legendary landscapes to discover the best places to visit in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands!

Ireland's Hidden Heartlands by Abarta Heritage

Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands largely follows the route of the River Shannon and encompasses a large swathe of the Midlands. The geographical area runs from the east of County Clare up to County Leitrim, along with Roscommon and parts of North Tipperary, East Clare, Longford, Cavan, Westmeath and Offaly. This region is often overlooked by tourists, but those who take time to explore find it to be a peaceful and evocative place, full of charm and lovely scenery with an incredible amount of history and heritage.

Together we will enjoy a Viking-eye view of the countryside as we travel by boat along the Shannon from Athlone to the important early monastery at Clonmacnoise. We will explore the wealth of archaeology at Rathcroghan – a land soaked in history and legend. We’ll take a trip to Roscommon Castle, the prototype for the mighty royal castles of Wales and England. We’ll take an atmospheric walk in one of Ireland’s oldest woods that lies alongside a deserted medieval town on the shores of Lough Ree, and explore the ancient landscapes of the Cavan Burren. This is a place for those who love a ‘quiet’ landscape, it’s all lakes, bog, river and stream. No imposing mountains, no raging ocean, just the babble of a stream, the tranquility of birdsong in a hedge, or the whirr of a damselfly.

In our journey through Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands we will also visit the island monastery of Inis Cealtra, a peaceful haven surrounded by the waters of Lough Derg, and go along to Clara Bog to understand the ecology of these incredibly important landscapes. We will take a walk through an ancient woodland in Roscommon and see a handsome castle beside a lake in Leitrim. There’s so much to discover in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands!

Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands – Visitor Information

Getting Around Ireland’s Ancient East

Air Travel: Located in the midlands of Ireland, the region encompassed by the Hidden Heartlands is best served by Dublin and Shannon Airports. Dublin Airport will give you easy enough access to most of the midlands, though if you’re interested in east Clare in particular you’re more likely to be better served by Shannon Airport
Ireland’s Ancient East by Bus:
Bus Éireann is Ireland’s National Bus Service, see here.
Car Rental Companies:  There are a number of rental car companies operating in Ireland, such as: Hertz, Europcar Avis Car Rental, Enterprise or Budget. If you have wheelchair or accessibility requirements, Motability Ireland rent cars and adapted vehicles too.
What to wear: Ireland’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, and quite often you can experience all four seasons in one day.  So suncream, raincoats and good walking shoes / boots are essential!
Accessibility: Many of the sites we tend to feature are a good bit off the beaten track, and aren’t traditionally considered as tourist sites. They include ancient tombs on mountain summits, the crumbling ruins of long forgotten castles, and atmospheric but overgrown monastic sites. That wildness often means they can be difficult to access. However, there are a number of sites that are largely accessible to wheelchair users, with paths and ramps and accessible visitor centres. It’s really important to us that Ireland’s heritage should be as accessible as possible, so we are going to include information on what to expect on the information box of each site. However, if you have any updates about accessibility or if we need to make a correction to a post please do get in touch and let us know here.
Dog Friendly Sites: As you can see on our team page, Peig is our chief osteobarkaeologist and an absolute dote, and we would bring her everywhere with us if we could. However, not all sites are suitable for dog walking. A number are situated on private farmland, others might have a strict ‘no dogs allowed’ policy, and others might be challenging for our four legged friends. We’ll include information on each post to let you know whether it is ideal for a good walk.