The Historic Heartlands: eat, sleep, do

Michelin-star meals, castle hotels, and world-class golf in The Historic Heartlands of Ireland’s Ancient East

Ballyfin Demesne, County Laois
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  • Known For
    Award-winning restaurants | Castle hotels | World-class golf courses
The Historic Heartlands: Eat

Fact: you will eat well in The Historic Heartlands.

You’ll eat super-fresh seafood at Ristorante Rinuccini’s in Kilkenny and hearty fare at Lennon’s in Carlow.

In Tullamore, County Offaly, The Blue Apron serves up great local produce from shoulders of lamb to pulled pork (all thanks to Grennan’s butchers, just down the road). At Harte’s of Kildare, the eight-hour braised blade of beef with marrow jus is... well, you get the picture.

For added exclusivity, try the residents-only dinner at The Old Convent in Tipperary. Dating from the 19th century, the house has a stunning location at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains.

The Historic Heartlands: Sleep

In Kildare's Carton House, the glorious spa is the talking point, as are the famous guests – Queen Victoria and Grace Kelly, to name but two...

In fact, the Historic Heartlands has been attracting stars for years. At the sprawling Ballyfin Demesne in County Laois, bedrooms are named after the many respected patrons who have laid their heads here.

In the heart of Tipperary, Baileys Hotel Cashel treats its guests to views of the famous Rock of Cashel. Meanwhile, Tipperary's Bansha Castle is not to be outdone for history. Built around 1760 on the site of the original 11th century castle, the real beauty is that you can rent out this castle all to yourself.

Historic Heartlands: Do

CRUISE: OK, the Heartlands are landlocked, but they also happen to be blessed with interconnected canals and rivers such as the mighty Shannon. Unwind with a gentle barge trip on the unspoiled Grand Canal or down the River Barrow.

PLAY: Get a round in at the K Club, where the Ryder Cup and 13 European Opens have been hosted. In Kilkenny, try your hand with a hurley at the Kilkenny Way Hurling experience.

WALK: This is the place to relax with a lazy amble around the splendid gardens of Bellfield House in Birr, which are owned by garden designer Angela Jupe – so expect horticultural magnificence, a gorgeous walled garden and a Victorian glasshouse. Woodlands like the Glen of Aherlow Nature Park are also great for a wander, and keep watch for the statue of Christ the King, with its upraised hand blessing the glen and all who pass by.