Ballyhoura is the Perfect Last-Minute Midterm Getaway

With much of the pandemic finally behind us at last, and with brighter days ahead in more ways than one, this midterm break is the perfect opportunity to get away with the kids, and Ballyhoura Country will be a hive of activity with fun for all the family (including 4-legged family members!). It also has some great last-minute availability on a range of accommodations, from cosy mountain lodges to a listed Georgian country house.

There’s also plenty to do throughout the region for the solo traveller or for groups of friends taking a short February break, so whether you’re the outdoor or indoor type, the adventure-seeker or the quiet bird-watcher or indeed the discerning foodie, you’ll enjoy spending time amidst Ballyhoura’s undulating green pastures, woodlands, hills, adventures and surprises.

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If the kids are very lucky, they just might come across some fairy magic in Ballyhoura!

The younger ones can discover the magical experience of Animal Magic & Falconry in Kilmallock; they’ll also love the Lough Gur Native Tree and Fairy Trail, Lough Gur being one of the most famous heritage sites in Ireland.

Ballyhoura Beo are running free taster sessions of The Welly Waddlers (kids 2-5) - fabulous outdoor ‘Play, Move and Discovery’ series - from 22nd-26th February in Ballylanders, Doneraile, Castleconnell, and Croom.

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Everyone can enjoy the family-friendly walks through the captivating countryside on the Ballyhoura Nature Trail, the Loop Walk at Clare Glens, the Keale River Walk and the Canon Sheehan Loop.

You can self-guide using the Ballyhoura Trails Guide App, or join in with the renowned Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club, who would be delighted to have you join their February walks on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

You can also channel your inner Robin Hood, and walk through the woods with a bow and arrow doing field archery at Limerick’s Field Archery Club; it’s different from normal archery as you’re walking around outside shooting at 3D animal targets (so you get a bit of exercise as well!). It’s suitable for young and old, and is disability-friendly.

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If you prefer two wheels, The Biking Blitz is happening in Ballyhoura on 27th February. It’s a nationwide cross-country mountain-bike event, and features Novice (beginners) and Expert (experienced riders) categories, with youth categories from under-6 to under-18.

Animal-lovers of all ages have lots of activities to choose from this mid-term, with the Lough Gur Equestrian Centre running mid-term kids’ camps from 21st-25th February.

If a more sedate approach is preferred, birdwatching at Griston Bog might be the way to go; it has a new boardwalk which is wheelchair-accessible. Meanwhile, the wonderful work carried out by the local animal sanctuaries will warm the hearts of young and old alike: it’s nigh on impossible to not fall in love with the residents of either the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll or the Limerick Animal Welfare Sanctuary in Kilfinane!

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There’s also plenty to do for those who aren’t with the kids. Over 16s can partake in the hugely fun activity of Axe Throwing on Friday 25th February (and indeed every Friday) in Ballyhass Lakes Activity Centre in Mallow.

For a more relaxed pursuit you can enjoy extended walks at Doneraile Park and Gardens, and pop into the adjacent Café Townhouse Doneraile for brunch, lunch or afternoon tea.

The Killavullen Farmers’ Market has just re-opened on Saturday mornings in the grounds of the Nano Nagle Birthplace, so plenty of fresh, delicious produce can be found here and in the other markets in the region opening up this month.

Meanwhile, Sunday Night Dancing is back in Deebert House Hotel throughout February, from 9-11.30pm.

Kilmallock’s lovely Friar’s Gate Theatre is showing the award-winning 2020 Irish film, Herself (co-written and starring Clare Dunne, of RTE’s Kin fame) on Thursday 24th February at 7.30pm. Tickets €8 from 063-98727 or [email protected]

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After a great day’s family activity, a cosy place to stay is a must. For families who want to bring their four-legged fur-babies on the mid-term break, the 4* Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges are pet-friendly, as is the Charleville Park Hotel.

To escape right into nature, stay at Ballinwillin House B&B to experience the deer roaming freely on the farm while Park South Accommodation is close to Doneraile Wildlife Park.

For an elegant place to rest your head, stay at Longueville House, the stunning 300-year-old listed Georgian Country House hidden in the heart of a 400-acre wooded estate in the Blackwater Valley, or in Limerick, at the understated and elegant The Mustard Seeds or The Old Bank B&B in Bruff.

In This Event

Animal Magic & Ballyhoura Falconry

Limerick Animal Welfare Sanctuary

Limerick Field Archery Club

Ballyhoura Nature Trail

Griston Bog

Lough Gur Lake

Lough Gur Visitor Centre

Lough Gur Native Tree & Fairy Trail

The Old Bank Bed & Breakfast

The Mustard Seed

Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club

Keale River & Molanna Loop Walk

Clare Glens Loop

Canon Sheehan Loop

Ballyhass Lakes Adventure Centre

Ballyhass Axe Throwing

Doneraile Wildlife Park

Townhouse Café & Interiors

Killavullen Farmers' Market

Nano Nagle Birthplace

Ballinwillin House B&B

Charleville Park Hotel