Emo Court

Top choice in The Midlands

The neoclassical, copper-domed Emo Court was designed in 1790 by James Gandon, architect of Dublin's Custom House. Originally the country seat of the first Earl of Portarlington, it later became a Jesuit novitiate. Admission is by a compulsory 40-minute guided tour. Studded with Greek statues, the extensive grounds contain over 1000 different trees, including huge sequoias. Enjoy refreshments at the cafe or a leisurely picnic before a scenic stroll through the woodlands to Emo Lake. It's 8km south of Portarlington.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Midlands attractions

1. St Paul's Church

3.77 MILES

The 1851 St Paul’s Church, on the site of the original 17th-century French church, was built for the Huguenots, some of whose tombstones stand in a corner…

2. Lea Castle

4.02 MILES

On the banks of the River Barrow, 4.3km east of town, the ivy-covered ruins of 13th-century Lea Castle include a fairly intact towered keep with two outer…

3. Rock of Dunamase

5.26 MILES

The Rock of Dunamase, 6km east of Portlaoise, is an arresting sight: a craggy limestone outcrop rising 45m out of the flat plains. It offered early…

4. Mountmellick Museum

5.52 MILES

For an insight into the town's Quaker and industrial heritage, visit Mountmellick Museum, where you can also see a display of superbly subtle Mountmellick…

5. Timahoe Round Tower

10.16 MILES

In the tiny, charming village of Timahoe, 12km southeast of Portlaoise, is a tilting 30m-tall, 12th-century round tower with an elaborately carved…

6. St Brigid's Cathedral

12.36 MILES

The solid presence of 13th-century St Brigid's Cathedral looms over Kildare's Market Sq. Look out for a fine stained-glass window that depicts Ireland's…

7. Irish National Stud & Gardens

12.54 MILES

The Irish National Stud, 1.5km south of town, is the big attraction in Kildare – visitors have included Queen Elizabeth II. Owned and managed by the Irish…

8. Abbeyleix Heritage House & Museum

14.53 MILES

An old 19th-century school building houses this museum detailing Abbeyleix' rich history. One room looks at the town's carpet-making legacy – the Turkish…