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Introducing The Midlands

Rarely explored by those on their first visit to Ireland and refreshingly free of tour buses and souvenir stalls, the Midlands is brimming with verdant pastoral landscapes, stately homes, archaeological remains and sleepy towns where the locals are genuinely glad to see you. Although the region may not have the scenic drama or sophisticated cities of coastal Ireland, getting lost along its twisting back roads is an unhurried pleasure and you're virtually guaranteed to happen upon a local village shop/pub/garage/post office and find it little changed in decades.

The Midlands is dominated by the River Shannon, which meanders through fields and forests, drawing boaters and fishers in shoals. Plush hotels and gourmet restaurants have sprung up along its banks, making it a wonderfully scenic and surprisingly cosmopolitan way to travel. If you're in search of a genuine slice of rural Irish life, this area makes the perfect retreat.