Hi we are Lisa and Oliver from @ourvantasticfamily.
Our page is travel based and we love to travel all around Ireland and abroad in our self-converted campervan. We travel with our three young children and our dog Indi.
There aren’t many places in Ireland we haven’t been to, and we will be busy ticking more off this year.
We live in Co. Offaly, and will be sharing with you some big local favourites, hidden gems and LOTS of places to eat in our home county!
First up is Birr Castle (@birrcastledemesne). This iconic must see castle and gardens are perfect for an afternoon stroll. The children will be amazed with the onsite play area and watch them climb Ireland’s tallest tree house. Be sure to visit the science centre in the castle grounds and check out the iconic telescope. This is a paid entry venue so check out their website for ticket pricing and events.
After your visit to Birr castle be sure to stroll round the town and pop into Villa Café (@thevillacafebirr_) for yummy food and milkshakes!! Our kids love the pancakes here.
No trip to Offaly would be complete without a visit to Lough Boora Parklands (@loughboorapark). Here you can discover many trails and take in the sculptures as you walk. Why not bring the bikes and cycle the trail instead. If you have children with you then “Fairy Avenue” will be top of your list here – it’s a super cute fairy village complete with wishing chair and toadstools. Pack a picnic to enjoy as you will easily spend hours here. There is an onsite café also if you prefer.
Kinnitty castle (@kinnittycastleireland) is a must see. Set in splendid grounds and framed by the forest and the Slieve Bloom Mountains, it is perfect for deer spotting or a woodland walk, and also has a fairy trail. The food here is amazing and of course you can also stay overnight if you wish.
While visiting Kinnitty you simply must check out the Egyptian burial pyramid located in the village behind the church and is just a few minutes’ drive from the castle.
From here we highly recommend the short drive to the Slieve Bloom Mountains (slievebloomoutdoors). The mountain range spans both Offaly and Laois. There is so much to see and do here; you can pick from several walking/hiking trails or even try your hand at off-road mountain biking (bike hire available from @kinnittybikes). Several of the routes lead to stunning scenery such as waterfalls – Glenbarrow and Cathole falls (on the Laois side) or indeed the Ridge of Capard boardwalk or Monicknew woodland area. If a spot of camping is your thing (like us) then pack up your campervan or indeed your tent and enjoy a night under the stars in the mountains but please remember to leave no trace.
If visiting the Tullamore area then Tullamore Town Park is perfectly equipped with a children’s playground, skate park and beautiful fountains. If the weather is poor then bring the kids to @playtowntullamore for the best indoor imaginative play in this family run facility. For some food in the area then pop into the Bridge House Hotel (@bridgehousehoteltullamore) for dinner or indeed accommodation if needed. We love a sweet treat from Bueno (@bueno.ie) after our adventures.
Near to Tullamore is Clara Bog. Here there is a visitor centre showing the raised bog and wetlands. Pack your binoculars for this one to see if you can spot birds or other wild animals in this natural habitat.
A short drive in the Edenderry direction will take you to Mount Lucas wind farm where we love to wander the walk trails and marvel at the sheer size of the turbines.
Cloghan lake is also a regular on our list. It’s a well-known popular fishing spot so if that’s your hobby then be sure to purchase a fishing permit in the local shop and enjoy the fishing. We love it for a peaceful walk and again lots of spots to picnic in. Ample car parking and toilets are on site.
Next up is of course Banagher.
There is so much to do in this town. It’s very popular for its water based activities. If you would like to try your hand at kayaking or paddle boarding then pop into the guys at Mid Ireland Adventure (@mid_ireland_adventure) in the marina. They will hook you up with the kit and you can get to grips with the river Shannon. We have this on our list to try. After you have finished here then pop across the bridge to Banagher Park for a stroll and warm up with a hot beverage and a sweet treat @martellocoffee
If a weekend boat hire is more your thing then be sure to grab your mates and pop into Silverline (@silverlinecruisers) to arrange your boat hire and travel up the Shannon.
The food options in Banagher are plentiful but must try is Spudfeast (@spudfeast_food_truck), a gourmet food truck serving the most amazing homemade burgers, pulled pork and chicken all freshly made on the grill and BBQ by the talented chef Tomasz.
@crankroadrestaurantandcafe and @giannistakeaway are also great food options, as is @angelotakeaway all located in the town just a short stroll from the marina.
Hennessey’s pub and Restaurant in Ferbane (@hennessysgastropub) is another great spot for food. They are family friendly with a huge dining area to the rear of this quaint thatch pub.
I could carry on all day recommending more of our favourite spots in Offaly so this is just a short list. Of course you will find more travel ideas on our instagram page all categorised by county in my highlights and any questions feel free to contact us.
Lisa and Oliver