Music, dance and tradition
This unspoilt and undiscovered part of the island nurtures strong traditions of culture, tradition and heritage. Traditional music and dance is a passion here – don’t leave without experiencing a local trad session or a cracking céilí (dance). Try the Slieve Bloom Traditional Music Sessions in Offaly, or the Singers’ Circle in Roscommon. The Dun na SÍ Heritage Centre at Lough Ree is a treasure trove of genealogy, music, song, dance and storytelling. For a truly authentic traditional Irish pub, try The Sheelin in Bellanaleck, Upper Lough Erne, which occupies a delightful thatched cottage. While in the neighbourhood, check out The Sheelin Irish Lace Museum, which offers a unique insight into one of Ireland’s most traditional industries.
Inspiring and captivating, it’s no surprise that the Lakelands are indelibly linked to some of the country’s – and the world’s – finest writers. Oscar Wilde and Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett both attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh; John McGahern spent his childhood in the parish of Aughawillan, County Leitrim; while Oliver Goldsmith beautifully evoked the charms of County Longford and County Westmeath. To understand what made such an impression on these great artists, you have to see for yourself the landscapes that sculpted their minds...
Festivals and events
When summer arrives, it can only mean one thing: world renowned festivals. Everything from music, the arts and even the gardening world is celebrated in style. Music lovers will adore The World Fleadh (July/August) in Portlaoise, which is widely recognized as Ireland’s biggest Irish and Celtic music festival; the Electric Picnic (Sept) in County Laois, which has been cited by international experts as ‘everything a festival should be’. Arts and culture aficionados will enjoy The Terryglass Arts Festival (August) in Lough Derg, which is a wonderful family affair that covers a broad range of arts; while the Mid-Shannon area is a hive of activity with the Ballinasloe River & Arts Festival (July), the Ballinasloe Horse Fair (Oct), and the Tullamore Phoenix Festival (July) just a few of the many events to entice you to this glorious region.