Tucked away in the heartland of Ireland, Mullingar offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. This vibrant town is a gateway to the ancient and the authentic, offering a whirlwind of experiences that make it a must-visit destination on the Emerald Isle. Let’s embark on this journey to discover the variety of things to do in Mullingar, County Westmeath.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Mullingar
The first stop on our itinerary brings us to the historic Mullingar Pewter. Pewter making is an ancient craft, and Mullingar Pewter combines age-old techniques with contemporary design. Artisans lovingly create stunning pieces, each a testament to Irish craftsmanship. While there, don’t miss the chance to see these craftspeople in action – it’s a mesmerizing sight that highlights the town’s dedication to preserving its cultural heritage.
Cathedral of Christ the King
Next, the imposing Cathedral of Christ the King, a majestic symbol of faith that towers over the town. Inside, visitors can marvel at the intricate mosaics, stained glass windows, and the beautifully crafted high altar. The tranquillity that resides within its sacred walls provides a peaceful retreat from the bustling world outside.
Belvedere House Gardens and Park
This 18th-century estate, offers stunning vistas across its gardens and woodlands. An aura of aristocracy pervades the estate, from the Gothic-style architecture to the tranquil lakeside view. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely walk or picnic amidst nature’s splendour.
Mullingar Greyhound Stadium
Lastly, for an adrenaline rush, head to Mullingar Greyhound Stadium. This vibrant venue offers a thrilling insight into the world of greyhound racing. Whether you’re a betting enthusiast or a first-timer, the energy and excitement of race night is infectious.
Top Things in Mullingar
Lilliput Adventure Centre
Your adventure begins at the Lilliput Adventure Centre, where activities abound for thrill-seekers. Kayaking on the serene waters of Lough Ennell, tackling the ropes course, or bushcraft skills workshops – there’s something for everyone.
Joe Dolan Statue
Visit the iconic Joe Dolan Statue, a homage to one of Ireland’s beloved singers. Standing in the Market Square, it’s a popular selfie spot, commemorating the local lad who made it big on the international stage.
Mollie Moo’s Pet Farm
A fun day out for families is a visit to Mollie Moo’s Pet Farm. Children can meet and learn about different animals, enjoy a tractor ride or have fun in the play area. It’s a fantastic way to connect with nature and create lasting memories.
Royal Canal Greenway
The Royal Canal Greenway offers an unrivalled opportunity for cycling or walking along the scenic canal. Stretching over 130 km, it’s Ireland’s longest off-road walking and cycling trail. It’s a peaceful way to discover the charming Irish countryside at your own pace.
Must-See Places in Mullingar
Lockes Distillery is a whiskey lover’s paradise. Established in 1757, it’s the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. A tour of the distillery offers an intriguing insight into the time-honoured process of whiskey-making. Make sure to round off the tour with a tasting of their distinctive single malt.
Mullingar Arts Centre
Next, visit the Arts Centre, which hosts an array of performances, from drama to dance to concerts. It’s a hub of creativity, showcasing local and national talent and contributing significantly to the cultural life of the town.
Venture slightly outside to the enchanting Fore Abbey. This ancient Benedictine monastery offers a captivating journey back in time. It’s also home to ‘The Seven Wonders of Fore’, including a tree that won’t burn and water that won’t boil.
Hill of Uisneach
Round off your must-see list with the mystical Hill of Uisneach, known as the spiritual centre of Ireland. This ancient ceremonial site offers panoramic views of the landscape, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch one of the open-air concerts or festivals held here.
Best Places to Visit in Mullingar for First-Time Visitors
For a scenic encounter, head to Derravaragh Lake, famous for its connection to the Children of Lir, a legend woven into the fabric of Irish mythology. The lake’s crystal-clear waters and surrounding trails offer a tranquil escape.
St. Munna’s Church
Explore the historical St. Munna’s Church, a 6th-century relic that whispers tales of bygone eras. This medieval church’s intricate stone carvings are a testament to the skill of ancient craftsmen.
Annebrook House Hotel
Round off your first visit with a stay at Annebrook House Hotel, a landmark building offering old-world charm with modern amenities. Its central location makes it a perfect base for exploring.
Best Places to Visit in Mullingar for Families
Rock ‘n Bowl Bowling Alley and Jungle Joes Kids Soft Play
Keep the kids entertained at Rock ‘n Bowl Bowling Alley and Jungle Joes Kids Soft Play. This activity centre offers a variety of games and attractions for children of all ages, making it a perfect family-friendly destination.
The Castlepollard Museum offers an educational and entertaining outing for families. Its displays on natural history, folk life, and archaeology provide an interactive learning experience about the history and culture of the region.
Jonathan Swift Park
Spend a day at Jonathan Swift Park, a beautiful woodland area with walking trails, picnic spots, and a fun playground for the kids. Its tranquil setting makes it an ideal location for family outings.
Finally, make your way to Spoutwell’s Folly Farm. Children can enjoy hands-on experiences such as feeding the animals, collecting eggs, and even milking cows. It’s an engaging and educational visit that offers kids an insight into farm life.
Best Places to Visit for Couples
Embark on a romantic outing to Kilbeggan Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries in the world. It offers couples the chance to learn about the distilling process and taste their uniquely flavoured whiskey.
For a touch of luxury, head to Wineport Lodge. This idyllic lakeside retreat offers splendid views, exquisite dining, and relaxing spa treatments – an ideal destination for couples seeking a peaceful getaway.
Mullingar Farmers Market
Enjoy a leisurely stroll around Mullingar Farmers Market. It’s a great opportunity to buy local produce, homemade crafts, and delicious food – a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning together.
End your day with a peaceful walk along Lough Owel. Its serene ambiance and beautiful surroundings offer a quiet retreat, where you can watch the sunset and enjoy each other’s company.
Best Places to Visit on a Budget
Columb Barracks Military Museum
A visit to the Columb Barracks Military Museum is an affordable way to delve into the region’s military history. The museum houses an array of artefacts and memorabilia dating back to the 19th century.
Mullingar Bike Hire
Experience the picturesque countryside with Mullingar Bike Hire. It offers a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to explore the natural beauty and scenic landscapes of the region.
For a free outdoor activity, visit Lough Derravaragh. This beautiful lake is ideal for birdwatching, picnicking, or just soaking in the scenery. Its legend of the Children of Lir adds an element of mystique to this serene location.
Lastly, the Art House offers free admission to a gallery showcasing local and international contemporary art. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene without denting your budget.
Best Day Trips from Mullingar
The lively town is just a short drive away. Highlights include Athlone Castle, Luan Gallery, and Sean’s Bar – reportedly the oldest pub in Ireland.
Discover the ancient burial grounds of Loughcrew Cairns. The megalithic tombs, which date back to 3500 BC, are a testament to Ireland’s prehistoric past.
Head to Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Its imposing façade, historical significance, and cinematic connection to the movie ‘Braveheart’ make it a must-visit destination.
Make your way to Tullamore, renowned for its whiskey. Tour the Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the whiskey-making process and enjoy a tasting session.
Hidden Gems in Mullingar
Ballinafid Bog, a hidden gem that offers a unique landscape and diverse flora and fauna. This preserved peatland ecosystem is a haven for nature lovers.
Royal Canal Way
Escape the tourist trail with a walk along the Royal Canal Way. This peaceful track offers a chance to see the local wildlife and experience the tranquil countryside.
Weirs Pub Multyfarnham
Experience a slice of authentic Irish pub culture at Weirs Pub Multyfarnham. This charming pub serves excellent food and provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere – a perfect way to mingle with locals.
Wilson’s Hospital School
The stunning architecture of Wilson’s Hospital School, a hidden architectural gem dating back to 1761, offers a unique insight into Mullingar’s historical past.
Discover the ruins of the medieval Taghmon Church. Its secluded location and historical significance make it an intriguing off-the-beaten-path destination.
Explore the less-visited Turin Castle. Although a private residence, its striking exterior offers a wonderful photo opportunity for castle enthusiasts.
Take a stroll in Lilliput Bog, a less-known, protected bogland area that offers a unique landscape and a chance to observe rare plant species.
Although not open to the public, a drive-by visit to the neo-gothic Knockdrin Castle is well worth it for architecture lovers.
Best Places to Eat in Mullingar
Red Earth offers an array of gourmet food and specialty products. The café’s eclectic menu and comfortable ambiance make it a top dining spot.
Experience fine dining at Dominik’s Restaurant, where the menu combines traditional Irish ingredients with modern European influences. The duck breast and lamb shank come highly recommended.
Jia Jia’s Street Kitchen
For a taste of Asia, Jia Jia’s Street Kitchen serves authentic Chinese and Thai dishes. Its flavorful Pad Thai and aromatic duck are crowd-pleasers.
Visit Oscar’s Bistro for excellent seafood and steaks. This family-run restaurant, known for its friendly service and cozy atmosphere, is a local favorite.
Must-See Sporting Teams in Mullingar
Mullingar Rugby Club
Catch a match of the Rugby Club. The team’s passionate performances and the enthusiastic crowd make it an exhilarating experience.
Mullingar Athletic FC
Show your support for the local football team, Mullingar Athletic FC, as they take on rivals in the Leinster Senior League.
Mullingar Cricket Club
If cricket’s your game, watch the Cricket Club in action. The friendly atmosphere makes for a fun day out for sports enthusiasts.
Mullingar Equestrian Centre
For horse enthusiasts, take a trip to the Equestrian Centre, home to various equestrian events, showjumping tournaments and horse shows.
Night-Life in Mullingar
Danny Byrnes Pub
Kick off your night at Danny Byrnes Pub, a traditional Irish pub that offers live music, a great selection of drinks, and a vibrant atmosphere.
The Chambers Pub
The Chambers Pub is a popular spot for night owls, known for its stylish décor, impressive cocktail list, and late-night DJs.
If dancing is on your agenda, Karma Nightclub is the place to be. With regular DJ sets and a lively crowd, it’s a hub of Mullingar’s nightlife.
Greville Arms Hotel
Wind down your night at the Greville Arms Hotel. Its charming bar offers a more relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a quiet drink before turning in.
It’s is not just a town; it’s an experience. It’s an engaging symphony of history, culture, and nature that resonates with every traveller. From the palpable heritage in the pewter crafts to the adrenaline rush of greyhound races, from the serenity of Belvedere House Gardens to the bustling farmers market, and from the spellbinding performances at the Mullingar Arts Centre to the spirited nightlife – Mullingar offers a piece of Ireland that is authentic and diverse.
So, when are you planning your adventure in Mullingar? Your Irish odyssey awaits!
Also Read: Things to do in Athlone
Frequently Asked Questions About Mullingar, Ireland
What is Mullingar famous for?
Mullingar is renowned for its rich history, scenic landscapes, cultural activities, and, notably, its pewter industry. It’s also known as the hometown of Niall Horan, a member of the popular band One Direction.
How do I get to Mullingar?
Located in central Ireland and is easily accessible by road and rail. You can take a train from Dublin, which is about 80 km away, or drive via the M4 motorway.
What are some free things to do in Mullingar?
Some free activities in Mullingar include exploring the Town Park, walking along the Royal Canal Way, visiting the Art House, and enjoying the scenery at Lough Derravaragh.
What are the best restaurants in Mullingar?
Some top-rated restaurants in Mullingar include Red Earth, Dominik’s Restaurant, Jia Jia’s Street Kitchen, and Oscar’s Bistro.
Where can I enjoy live music in Mullingar?
Danny Byrnes Pub and The Chambers Pub frequently host live music performances. Additionally, the Mullingar Arts Centre occasionally showcases local and national talent.
What are the best outdoor activities in Mullingar?
Mullingar offers numerous outdoor activities like boating at Lough Ennell, biking with Mullingar Bike Hire, exploring the Hill of Uisneach, or walking around the Belvedere House Gardens and Park.
Are there any notable sports teams?
Mullingar is home to several sports teams, including the Mullingar Rugby Club, Mullingar Athletic FC, and Mullingar Cricket Club. The town also boasts an active equestrian community with the Mullingar Equestrian Centre.
What are some good day trips from Mullingar?
Excellent day trips from Mullingar include visiting the town of Athlone, exploring the ancient Loughcrew Cairns, touring the massive Trim Castle, or experiencing whiskey tasting at Tullamore.
What is the best time to visit?
While Mullingar can be visited all year round, the best time is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is generally warmer and outdoor activities are more enjoyable.
Are there any famous people from Mullingar?
Niall Horan, a member of the globally famous band One Direction, is from Mullingar. The town is also the birthplace of the renowned writer J.P. Donleavy and actor Joe Dolan.