Journey to Shannonbridge, Offaly and travel back in time on a visit to the Shannonbridge Fortifications, a Napoleonic fort that dates back to 1810. Follow the self-guided walk around the fort and spend some time at the free exhibition in the main building which explains why the fortifications were built in this setting on the River Shannon. Before leaving Shannonbridge, stop off to see the magnificent sixteen-arch bridge which gives this scenic village its name.
After an afternoon of history, some sustenance is in order. It’s just a fifteen minute spin to Banagher where you’ll find J J Hough’s Singing Pub. This traditional bar sports lots of fascinating bric-a-brac and has a reputation as one of the liveliest spots in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Try a tasty pizza and if you’re staying around for the evening, sip one of the delicious cocktails in the newly opened Hatch Bar.
Book in for an evening of problem-solving and puzzles at EXIT Escape Room in Athlone, Westmeath. Test your logical thinking and see how well you work under pressure with a selection of themed activities. Choose from timed games and mythical mysteries such as the child-friendly Celtic Temple that can include up to seven players. Get a group together and book in advance, this is a great opportunity to see how well you and your family or friends work together as a team.
After all that guesswork, it’s time for a break. Pop into Left Bank Bistro for a hearty meal or stop by Dead Centre Brewing where they make artisan pizza fresh daily. With a dedicated kids menu and tasty craft beers for the adults, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a family dinner.
Leave the rain behind and head indoors for some epic entertainment at The Planet Athlone. Get competitive with a family game of bowling, play some pool on the full-size snooker tables, or have a kickaround on the astroturf pitches. The hurricane simulator is a must for thrillseekers while a game of energetic laser tag is always a hit with groups.
Let the kids roam around Adventureland, a play area with colourful slides, rope bridges and a huge ball pool, giving adults the chance to relax for a few minutes. There’s fun for all ages at The Planet and it’s definitely worth a visit when dark clouds are looming in gloomy grey skies.
Book in with the Arigna Mining Experience in Roscommon and listen to a former coal miner explain the inner workings of the mines on an underground tour.
Check out the permanent exhibition that traces the story of 400 years of mining in the Arigna Valley with a collection of photographs, documents, and early mining equipment. Don’t miss the short film that includes original mining footage and brings this key period of local history to life.
After, take a thirty minute drive to visit King House, an impressive Georgian mansion that houses the Boyle Civic Art Collection. Watch the interactive displays, write with a quill and ink, and explore the eerie prison cells in the basement, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on a rainy day in Roscommon.
Take a rainy day trip to the the National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park where you can learn more about this important period of Irish history. During the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, over two million people died when the potato crop failed. Pour over the archive of letters written by evicted tenants and see some of the original photographs and documents.
Find the the National Famine Museum on the grounds of Strokestown Park House, an excellent example of Palladian architecture. Book ahead and take a guided tour to see some of the estate’s original features including the galleried kitchen, the vaulted stables and the lodge.
Enjoy a warming cup of coffee in the on-site café or if you visit on a weekend, make a day out of it with dinner in The Silver Eel, just ten minutes from Strokestown House. The picturesque restaurant features gorgeous lake views so if you can, make sure to nab a window seat.
Experience Rainy Day Fun
With these five epic indoor activities in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, bad weather won’t stop you from enjoying fun family days out and great group activities. Head over to our Rainy Days page for even more inspiration on brilliant things to do and see.