Counties Laois
and Offaly

27-30 APRIL 2015

Tuesday 28th
After a good exploration of the castle ruins at Dunamaise, the party headed off to Athy Heritage Centre. Amongst its displays is an exhibition devoted to Sir Ernest Shackleton, a native of the area. The display includes this superb model of his ship ‘Endurance’.

Next stop was at Burton House, a fine mid 18th century Quaker house, for lunch and a tour of the house and its beautiful gardens.

Off then to Emo Court, a neo-classical mansion designed by the famous London born architect James Gandon. Our tour of this grand house took in the exhibition of Fr. Browne’s (Titanic fame) photographs.  The final visit of the day was to nearby Coolbanagher Church, also designed by James Gandon.


Wednesday 29th
First stop next day was at the magnificent Birr Castle.

Its extensive grounds contain one of the world’s finest collections of trees and the famous telescope.

In the afternoon we crossed the Shannon, accompanied by a local guide, to visit the cathedral of Saint Brendon the Navigator at Clonfert.  This has one of the finest Romanesque doorways in Ireland. 

The grave of St Brendan the Navigator is located in front of the door.

Close by is the burnt out ruin of the Bishop’s palace, the last occupant being Sir Oswald Mosely.

Returning to Banagher we saw the site of Cuba Court where Arthur Bell Nichols was brought up and where he and Charlotte Bronte spent part of their honeymoon.  After a quick visit to his grave and the church where he worshipped, it was time for afternoon tea.  Off then to “Charlottes WayB&B where a warm welcome was received.  Formerly “Hill House”, Charlotte Bronte’s husband, Arthur Bell Nichols, lived here with his second wife Mary Anna.


Thursday 30th
Our final morning was devoted to relaxation and a spot of retail therapy before making our journey home. 

Stopping at Newbridge Silverware, we enjoyed shopping and a visit to its fascinating museum of clothing and jewellery worn by celebrities and film stars. 

So ended a most enjoyable and interesting trip.  Our thanks and appreciation go to Outings Secretary, Finny O’Sullivan, who planned and organised the event.


The Castle Ruins at Dunamaise

Athy Heritage Centre

Burton House

Birr Castle

The grave of St Brendan the Navigator

"Hill House" Charlotte's Way B&B

item10 item9 item8 item7 item5 item3 item1 item4