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Old Rectory Emo Self Catering Accommodation
23rd to 31st May
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Places to go and things to do -
in Co. Laois and surrounding counties in Southern Ireland.


What to do when staying in County Laois? 

Mountmellick  Drama Festival in the Community Arts Centre - 6th - 13th March.

Slieve Bloom Walking Festival
1st - 4th May 2015.  Come and join the fun, the beautiful scenery and the great walking at the Annual Slieve Bloom Walking Festival. In the evening relax in good company at a traditional Irish music session in a local pub and join in the fun at the Walkers Hoe Down at Kinnitty Castle.

St. Patrick's Day Parades March 17th 2015 in Abbeyliex, Mountmellick, Portarlington and Portlaoise.

Stradbally Hall Events

Laois International Golf Challenge.  18th to 21st May.  Venue: Golf Courses throughout County Laois.

Laois County Fleadh. 23rd to 31st May.

The 2015 Rose of Tralee Regional Festival.  28th May to 1st June and  will take place at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, Co Laos.  Roses from around the world join those from Ireland to take part in a parade through the centre of town and will visit to top Laois attractions. The Rose of Tralee Regional Festival is hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé who interviews each Rose on stage at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel over three nights, followed by music and dancing until late after the show is over.

Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run will run from May 29th to June 1st 2015. The Gala Ball is on May 30th, 2015.
The event is open to all vintage veteran and classic cars, motorcycles and commercials registered prior to 1984.

Laois Walks Festival 15th July.  Be part of the Laois Walks Festival - 22 walks in 19 locations.  Laois Walks Festival will not be proceeding with their planned monthly walks until Spring 2015 as it's a difficult time of year to organise sufficient stewards and organisers. Thanks to everyone, walkers and stewards, for making the 2014 festival such a success.  Keep up to date on all the latest news from Laois Walks Festival on their website which will be launched very soon

Festival Français de Portarlington.  10th to 12 July.  Venue:  the Huguenot town of Portarlington.

William Edmundson & Friends Gathering.  22nd to 26th July.  Venue:  Mountmellick & Rosenallis.

Ossory Agricultural Show, Rathdowney - 26th July

Durrow Scarecrow Festival 26th July to 3rd August.  www.durrow,ie

51st National Steam Raily Stradbally  2nd & 3rd August.

National Heritage Week - Laois Events 22nd to 30th August.

THE ELECTRIC PICNIC IN STRADBALLY 2015...... 4th - 6th September The Electric Picnic is an annual boutique arts-and-music festival which has been staged since 2004 in Stradbally Hall, Stradbally, County Laois

Mountmellick Yarnbombing Festival. 4th to 25th Snina@oldbankhouse.ieeptember.

National Ploughing Championships - 22nd - 24th September Ratheniska

Slieve Bloom Storytelling Festival - 9th to 11th October.  Slieve Bloom Venues.

Halloween Howls Festival - 24th to 27th October.

INDOOR MOTOR SHOW - 26th October.  See vintage cars. Laois Shopping Centre Carpark.



Great value for rounds of golf with 4 courses within 5 miles.

Portarlington Golf Club, Garryhinch,

The Heath Golf Club,

Portlaoise Golf Club

The Heritage Golf Club at Killenard.


Forest walks & hill walking in the 'Slieve Bloom Mountains'.

Slí na Sláinte - stands for 'path to health'  The walks were developed by The Irish Heart Foundation?. (Emo Woods 4.3kms, Portlaoise- 5 kms, Mountmellick 1.8kms or 6.9 kms, Ballyroan -7 kms.)



Emo Court Gardens open all the year.

Gash Gardens in Castletown - open May -September.

Heywood Gardens in Ballinakill.

Sensory Gardens in Abbeyliex.

Photo 'Reflections in the lake at Emo Court' by Andrea Deverell



The Heritage Golf & Country Club.
Pamper yourself with a visit to the
'Health Spa' at The Heritage. Special rates for our guests.

Portlaoise Leisure Centre - pools, sauna, steam room, aerobics studio

'Information on Portlaoise Leisure Facilities'

Portarlington Leisure Centre -  pools, sauna, steam room, gymnasium, fitness studio 'Information on Portarlington Leisure Facilities'


Fishing in lakes and rivers.

'Laois Angling Centre' - 3 lakes at Coolrain.

'Kellaville Course Fishery' - Ballintubbet, Stradbally.

'Brown Trout Fishery' - Stradbally Lake.



Located on Stradbally Hall Demesne -
'Stradbally Equestrian Centre' .

'Fossey Mountain Springs' - welcome to 'The Wild West' (Western Trekking and riding lessons on American Appaloosa Quarter Horses) - Timahoe.



'Tenpin Bowling', 'Laser Quest', 'roller blading', indoor soccer, 'crazy golf' and 'soft play area for 4 -12 year olds' at the 'Roll'nBowl' Portlaoise.

Supershot Paintball in mature Irish woodland - Stradbally.

Páirc Spraoi na hAnhann (1-14 year olds) ? Link Road, Portarlington.

Solas na Gréine (1- 8 year olds) Timahoe Road Portlaoise.

Sult na Mara, Heritage House (1-12 year olds) Abbeyliex

Full Steam Ahead (1-12 year olds) The Green, Stradbally

Dún Spraoi (1-12 year olds) Portlaoise Leisure Centre


Emo Court House, designed by 'Georgian' architect James Gandon, and its Lakeside Gardens are in the village of Emo. The house is open for visitors during summer months - (entrance fee). The gardens provide a wonderful place for your daily walk or run, at no charge. There are many interesting trees to be seen. Spoil yourself and stop in ?The Cupcake Tearooms?- open 10am - 5pm.

The Rock of Dunamaise'.'

'Aghaboe Abbey'

'Round Tower at Timahoe'


Learn about 'The Quakers' and 'Mountmellick Work' in the MDA Museum, Mountmellick.

Durrow Bygones Museum - a collection representing 100 years of social life in the Durrow area.

Donaghmore Workhouse & Agricultural Museum ? Donaghmore, Rathdowney.
'Donaghmore Museum'

Steam Museum - steam, traction, fire and farm engines in Stradbally.

Narrow Gauge Railway - a heritage railway in the grounds of Stradbally Hall - open on Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays from May to September.


Barrowline Cruisers - The Grand Canal, Vicarstown
Kilvahan Adventure Farm.

The Dunamaise Theatre - check their web site for a great evening out.

Irish Music in local pubs. Excellent Irish Music and Song can be enjoyed in the local 'pubs' - Fisherstown Inn on Tuesdays nights, Portlaoise, Mountmellick and Portarlington.

'Irish Genealogy'- Genealogical research in Laois.

Dine at 'Batoni's' in Emo village, 'Candied walnut' in Portarlington, Sol Oriens in Killenard,
Castle Durrow, 'The Lemon Tree' or 'Les Olives' - for that romantic evening out!

Have lunch at one of the good restaurants in Portlaoise - 'The Kitchen in the Storeyard', 'The Pantry' in Portlaoise,  'The Midway', 'The Heritage' in Portlaoise & Killenard, 'The Kingfisher' - for excellent Indian cuisine and many more in the area. Portarlington also has many good restaurants....Chinese, Italian and good 'pub grub'.


Great days out from the Old Rectory in the surrounding counties.

There are many interesting 'days out' to be enjoyed.

Shop at the 'Kildare Village Shopping Outlet'- just 20 minutes away.

Visit Johnstown Garden & Gift Centre - just 30 minutes away

Visit the AVOCA shopping outlet and restaurents - just 40 minutes away.

Dublin is just one hour away - The Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Guinness Brewery, Grafton Street, St. Stephen's Green etc etc many places to see!

Kilkenny & Cashel - visit Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny Design Centre, St. Canices Cathedral and wander the streets of the town or explore some of the many interesting 'Arts & Crafts' in the area ..... and then on to The Rock of Cashel.

Birr Castle and Gardens - stopping for coffe or lunch en route in Kinnitty Castle. 

Belvedere House and gardens, just outside Mullingar is well worth a visit.

Drive through the Wicklow Mountains to Blessington, 'the Sally Gap', and onto Glendalough. Perhaps have afternoon tea at Laragh. Or you could visit 'The Meeting of the Waters' and Avoca (Ballykissangel in the TV series)

Killaloe/Balllina are also just over an hour away on Lough Derg - stop to visit Garrykennedy en route.
Visit The Steam Museum in Stradbally and then drive over the 'Windy Gap' and onto Altamount Gardens - a little bit of heaven!

Take a drive to 'Newgrange' and Co. Meath.

Go horse racing at the Curragh, Punchestown or Kilbeggan.
Go Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park, Newbridge or Mullingar.

Visit Newbridge Silverware & Museum of Icons and have lunch in the fine restaurant there.

Spend a day at Rathwood - 'Home, Gift & Garden World'.


The Old Rectory self catering coach-houses, Coolbanagher, Emo, Portlaoise, County Laois, Ireland. Phone : + 353 (0)57 8646538 + 353 (0)85 1595455 E-mail:
Ingrid & Wilfred would like to acknowledge that many of the wonderful photographs were taken by the late Brian Parker on one of the occasions that he and his wife stayed at The Old Rectory Coach houses.

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