So our journey around our beloved country continues and after visiting all the coastal counties, it’s time to venture inland. It’s probably true to say that the seaside counties generally receive more column inches but our land-locked counties hold many hidden treasures that deserve the spotlight too-not least the first one on our itinerary, county Monaghan. The words “best-kept secret” come to mind with its wealth of historic sites, tranquil lakes and the lush rolling landscape that inspired the work of Monaghan’s most famous son…..
Born in Iniskeen, Monaghan in 1904, Patrick Kavanagh is one of Ireland’s best-loved poets and novelists. The statue above was erected in his honour in 1968 on the banks of the Grand Canal in Dublin but it was his Monaghan homeplace that provided the inspiration and backdrop for much of his work, elevating the beauty and the hardship of every day and the ordinary in Irish rural life. A trip to the Patrick Kavanagh Resource Center is an absolute must on any trip to Monaghan. Located in Iniskeen, it houses exhibitions on local history as well as the poet himself, and there’s a wonderful walking performance tour of ” Kavanagh Country.”
Treat yourself to the real Irish country house experience with a stay at Castle Leslie in Glaslough. Nestled in 1000 acres of rolling Monaghan countryside, you can sleep in four-poster beds, go horse-riding, hot air ballooning or stroll around its 3 lakes. The feel of a real aristocratic home is truly preserved here and you really feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It was also the first home to have a plumbed bathtub in Ireland!
Carrickmacross Lace Gallery
Next stop Carrickmacross and a trip to its stunning lace gallery. The rich tradition of Carrickmacross Lace dates back to 1820 and remains a precious and timeless Irish craft tradition to this day. Designs of this world-famous lace have adorned the wedding dresses of royalty including Princess Diana. At The Irish Store, we are proud to carry the Carrickmacross Lace map of Ireland (below), one of our range of authentic Irish gifts.
Next, we travel to the heart of the county to the largest of Monaghan’s many lakes, Lough Muckno. This stunning setting is now home to Lough Muckno Forest Park and boasts 900 acres of lush woodland. Take a relaxing stroll, find the perfect picnic spot and enjoy world class angling. For the more adventurous, there’s the water-skiing and wakeboard club.
Rossmore Forest Park
I think we’ll finish with a relaxing stroll around the gorgeous Rossmore Forest Park. Once the site of Rossmore Castle, the ruins of the buttresses and the main entrance stairway still remain in the park. This really is a fairytale woodland wonderland and the best time to visit is early summer to catch the stunning displays of azalea and rhododendron and the bluebell display in May (above) is pretty impressive too.
Thanks again for dropping by. See you next week for further wanderings!
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Slán go fóill!
The Irish Store Founder