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Monaghan Moments & Experiences

SPEND YOUR DAYS EXPLORING

Hillgrove Hotel is conveniently located just 5 minutes from Monaghan town centre. Explore the vibrant and quintessentially Irish surroundings, where there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, we’ve got you covered. From scenic walks to thrilling outdoor pursuits, Monaghan offers it all.
Dive into the rich history and culture of the area. Visit local museums, art galleries, and heritage sites. Rainy day? No problem! Explore cozy cafés, boutique shops, and indoor attractions.
Enjoy the fresh air! Discover beautiful parks, gardens, and outdoor markets.

DAY 1
Morning – Drumlin Trails
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, get a sense of Monaghan’s famously hilly countryside with a morning’s exploration on two wheels. Drumlin Trails offers bike hire for €15 per day, plus child seats, trailers and electric bikes are available for those who prefer a less strenuous ride. They will also give you access to their App, to choose a cycling route that suits your family, starting from 6km right up to 65km for the more active families. Each route is narrated on the App by local historian, Paddy McQuaid, who will share stories as you cycle along!

Afternoon – Rossmore Forest Park
A new resident Giant has just moved in to Rossmore Forest Park. A star hit with kids, Roddy Den Drum (geddit?) is the first of 10 Drumlin Giants to be created here. Once the estate of the Rossmore family, walking trails take you past barely-there remnants of their 19th-century castle. Plus lakes, picnic tables, and colourful flowers, making this a magical haven for wildlife and birds.

DAY 2
Morning – Quad Biking
Unleash your sense of adventure with an exhilarating quad bike race at Irish Country Quads! You will be fully trained, before heading on a fun off-road obstacle course through underground tunnels, overhead bridges, water splash runs and muddy ditches. For those more comfortable on their own two feet, they also have pigeon shooting, rifle shooting, archery and shuffleboard. Open 8am to late daily, but advance booking is essential.

Afternoon – Lough Muckno Leisure Park
After an energetic morning, it is time for some lunch and a rest at Lough Muckno. Enjoy a picnic overlooking the lough and afterwards the younger visitors in your party can enjoy the magical Wilbert’s Enchanted Garden and playground, followed by a walk around the forest park at Black Island. Entrance is free and open 7 days a week, with more details here.

Slieve Guillon Adventure Park
Situated in the beautiful foothills of Slieve Gullion, next to the enchanted Giant’s Lair, this state-of-the-art adventure playpark is packed with features to captivate any child! All kinds of slides, swings and tunnels, climbing frames, mazes and imaginative play equipment for the older kids are available, as well as a trim trail for adults. For more details, visit their website here.

DAY 1
Morning– Bike Ride through Drumlin Townlands
When was the last time you began your day with a bike ride? Dust off your helmet and discover the Drumlin Townlands. The Drumlin Trails Bike hire is located at Knockaphubbie (meaning “Hill of Congregation”) which is a 15-minute drive from the Hillgrove Hotel & Spa.

Situated in the historic heart of the barony of Truagh, this is a landscape that has a lot of hidden heritage and untold history. Each tour offered by the Drumlin Trails Bike hire offer guests a snippet of useful and sometimes bizarre information! Rest assure there is trails available to suit all ages and fitness levels. Be sure to book your bike!

Afternoon– Glaslough Village
After your adrenaline filled morning, enjoy a change of pace with a visit to the picturesque village of Glaslough, a mere 12-minute drive from the Hillgrove Hotel & Spa. The name “Glaslough” is derived from the Irish translation ‘calm or green lake’, this magical village is located on the outskirts of the famous Castle Leslie Estate.

Surrounded by ancient woodlands and glittering lakes, it is a village filled with impressive historical and architectural features. Beautifully stone cut period buildings and a unique, vibrant, and welcoming community.

Explore this beautiful village, it’s many facilities, business’s and friendly local people.

During your visit perhaps you will find some treasure of your own! Something unique, beautiful, and timeless at Castleview Antiques. Offering an eclectic range of antiques from furniture, clocks, porcelain, and paintings, to lighting and collectables. Or take in the beautiful displays at “The Mallon Gallery” the work of Joan and Joe Mallon. Joan is a renowned artist and illustrator specializing in surrealist imagery with “tongue ‘n cheek” observations of village life. Joe is a well-known ceramic artist. His studio displays an interesting collection of dogs, birds, vases, dishes, and lamps, and accepts commissions.

LATE– PK’s Bistro
After your day galivanting, sit back & relax! It is time to put up your feet and enjoy some well-deserved refreshments at PK’s Bistro. Dig into our delicious menu or sip on a warming Irish coffee. Sounds like the perfect cosy Autumn evening, doesn’t it?

DAY 2
Morning – Patrick Kavanagh Centre
After last night’s dinner in our PK’s Bistro, it is time to find out about PK himself at the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. Situated in a beautiful old church in the nearby village of Inniskeen, your trip to Monaghan would not be complete without a visit here!

The centre recounts the life and work of one of Ireland’s best-loved poets and provides a performance tour of ‘Kavanagh Country’, which takes in local sites immortalised by Kavanagh – with anecdotes, historical facts, wild rumours and even the odd poem recited along the way. For opening times, visit  their website here.

Lunch – Dinkins’s Cafe
No trip to Monaghan town centre is complete without a visit to Dinkins’s Home Bakery & Café. They are an award-winning family run business with eight home bakeries & cafés in Co. Monaghan & Co. Cavan!

On the first floor you will find a “Taste of Tuscany” serving many wonderful authentic Italian dishes as well as traditional Irish options. We recommend the Goat’s Cheese & Vegetable pizza; Mamma Mia it is delicious!

For dessert of course head downstairs to taste a delicious cake and sample some goodies which are baked freshly in their bakery.

Afternoon – Carrickmascross Lace Gallery
At the Carrickmascross Lace Gallery you will hear the fascinating story of the beautiful lace which adorned Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s stunning wedding dress. The story began in the 1820s with a determined woman named Mrs Grey Porter who began teaching the local women appliqué so that they could earn a living.

Made by the poor for the rich and famous, the exquisite lace became increasingly popular. However, Kate was not the first royal to wear Carrickmascross Lace, the sleeves of Princess Diana’s famous wedding dress were also trimmed with it! Today, the exquisite lace is still hand worked by passionate craftswomen in the town.

Afternoon – Shopping
For your very own retail therapy walk into town and discover some stunning boutiques. On those wet & windy days, take a trip Monaghan Shopping centre. A premier shopping destination with something for everyone. Browse through 25 stores and enjoy a wide selection of fashion, accessories, giftware, health & beauty, music and much more.

LATE
When the stomach starts rumbling again, head for the award-winning Batch Loaf Restaurant. This is an exciting new restaurant in the heart of Monaghan, a unique culinary experience that blends traditional dishes with modern contemporary dining.

DAY 1
Morning
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, get a sense of Monaghan’s famously hilly countryside with a morning’s exploration on two wheels. Drumlin Trails offers bike hire for €15 per day, plus child seats, trailers and electric bikes are available for those who prefer a less strenuous ride. They will also give you access to their App, to choose a cycling route that suits your family, starting from 6km right up to 65km for the more active families. Each route is narrated on the App by local historian, Paddy McQuaid, who will share stories as you cycle along!

Afternoon
A new resident Giant has just moved in to Rossmore Forest Park. A star hit with kids, Roddy Den Drum (geddit?) is the first of 10 Drumlin Giants to be created here. Once the estate of the Rossmore family, walking trails take you past barely-there remnants of their 19th-century castle. Plus, lakes, picnic tables and colourful flowers, making this a magical haven for wildlife and birds. Download the Park’s new app which has a range of walking, cycling and nature trails to follow. Free admission.

Evening
After a fun filled day with all the family, return to the Hotel, for a well-earned meal in PK’s Bar & Bistro. We are a family-friendly establishment that includes a comprehensive children’s menu filed with the sort of food they won’t shy away from!

DAY 2
Morning
Unleash your sense of adventure with an exhilarating quad bike race at Irish Country Quads! You will be fully trained, before heading on a fun off-road obstacle course through underground tunnels, overhead bridges, water splash runs and muddy ditches. It’s a brilliant bonding family experience in all weather and younger kids can ride with staff, if they wish. For those more comfortable on their own two feet, they also have pigeon shooting, rifle shooting, archery and shuffleboard. Open 8am to late daily, but advance booking is essential.

Early Afternoon
Only a 5-minute drive away from Irish Country Quads, you will find Riverwalk and Inniskeen Pitch and Putt. It’s the perfect day out for children of all ages and the parents! Clubs, balls, tees and scorecards are all available from the small pro shop, which also sells some refreshments.

Late Afternoon
Visit Busy Bees Ceramics, which is a pottery studio where you can learn all about how pottery is made and have a go on the potter’s wheel and decorate your own mug, bowl or plate (The kids will love bringing in their creation to school to show their friends) – a memorable experience for all the family!

Evening
After another action-packed day, no doubt you are feeling peckish! Take a short drive into the picturesque village of Glaslough and enjoy some nachos and pizza at Ambledown Cottage. If you fancy a pic’n’mix and some popcorn, pop along to Monaghan Cinema to see one of the latest movie releases!

DAY 3
Morning
Castleblayney Outdoor Adventure Centre is located in the beautiful surroundings of Muckno Lake. Take the opportunity to release your inner explorer within Ireland’s Ancient East! Under the guidance of experienced professional instructors, tuition is provided in water-sports such as sailing, stand up paddling, wind-surfing, kayaking/canoeing, as well as a variety of other outdoor activities including orienteering, rope-assisted tree-climbing, cycling and team-building.

They welcome all ages and abilities and encourage all to experience the thrill and challenge of high-quality outdoor learning in a safe, friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Early Afternoon
GR8 Indoor Adventure Centre is the perfect place to be on a rainy day. With lots to do for all the family including, climbing frames, go karts, astro turf pitch, crazy golf, arcade games, 10 pin bowling and much more. There is plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained all afternoon!

Late Afternoon
Mullaghmore Equestrian Centre has a state-of-the-art purpose-built indoor arena and a natural outdoor arena, giving you the best of both worlds, regardless of the weather. You can also trot along the stunning Sliabh Beagh mountain range. The equestrian centre is run by the McCarra family and they offer lessons for all levels and ages 4 years and up. You are guaranteed a fun-packed experience!

Or

Erica’s Fairy Forest
Do you believe in fairies? Erica’s Fairy Forest is open daily and is free to visit!

The forest is full of fairies, one in every tree. Along with the woodland creatures
It’s the happiest place to be! Fairies with their tiny wings, fly from tree to tree. And if you look closely, you might see them flying on a bumblebee.
The sound of birds singing will fill your heart with glee. Full of magical adventures for your family.

Evening
End your exciting 3 day trip to Ireland’s Ancient East, with a family meal in one of the restaurants in Monaghan town. Our top picks would be, The Batch Loaf, Neighbourhood or The Squealing Pig Bar & Restaurant.

DAY 1
Morning
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, get a sense of Monaghan’s picturesque countryside with a morning exploration to Lough Muckno Leisure Park. Follow the forest trails or enjoy the spectacular views overlooking the lake. Did you know Lough Muckno is also a hit with fishermen! If you are feeling adventurous this morning, contact Lough Muckno Waterski and Wakeboard Club, for some fun-filled activities on the lake.

Early Afternoon
About half an hour’s drive from Lough Muckno, you will find the beautiful, unspoilt, magical village of Glaslough. Monaghan County Council, have developed a free heritage self-guided visitor experience app, which starts in the heart of Glaslough Village. You will hear stories about the villagers and the Leslie dynasty, while following a 2km trail passing by local landmarks. Did you know this village has been home to many famous people, such as Dukes, Footballers and Actresses! While touring the village, be sure to stop by Glaslough Chocolates– you can thank us later!

Chocolatier Trish Murphy-Thom, uses all local produce with the honey sourced from less than a mile away and uses the freshest Monaghan cream and butter- our mouths are watering writing this!

We also highly recommend that you take a pottery class with Brenda at Busy Bee Ceramics– souvenir from your trip to Monaghan.

Late Afternoon
Spend the afternoon indulging in absolute luxury at the 5 star Castle Leslie Estate. The Castle was the venue for the Beatles Paul McCartney’s wedding to Heather Mills. Seated in the dining room overlooking the lake, you will be treated like a King and Queen, as they give guests a true ‘old world’ experience. There is also a world class Equestrian Centre on the Estate, which caters for all levels and ages.

Evening
After a day of exploring, return to the hotel for a bite to eat in The Bistro. If you are a whiskey lover, we recommend trying out our whiskey-tasting board, which contains three of our favourite whiskeys.

DAY 2
Morning
Begin the day, with a trip to Monaghan Country Museum. The museum covers the history of the county from over 10,000 years ago, right up to today. It’s free admission and the museum showcases a number of archaeology artefacts that have some interesting stories to tell. Our favourite exhibition is the remains of an RAF Spitfire fighter aircraft, which crashed into a field in Co Monaghan during the second World War.

Early Afternoon
After perhaps sampling a cocktail or two last night in PK’s Bistro, it is time to find out about PK himself at the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. Situated in a beautiful old church in the nearby village of Inniskeen, your trip to Monaghan would not be complete without a visit here.  The centre recounts the life and work of one of Ireland’s best-loved poets and provides a performance tour of ‘Kavanagh Country’, which takes in local sites immortalised by Kavanagh – with anecdotes, historical facts, wild rumours and even the odd poem recited along the way.

Only a stone’s throw away from the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh in Inniskeen, you will find Brehon Brewhouse, which is situated on a full-time dairy farm. It’s a must stop for any craft beer lovers! Founded by Dairy Farmer Seamus McMahon, you can get a full tour of the Brewery and Farm. You will get to see the milking parlour and meet the herd which supplies the cream for the famous Baileys liqueur. You will also get to taste the beer, where all the brewing, bottling and capping is done by hand! Pre-booking is essential.

Late Afternoon
Looking for some outdoor fun and adventure, well then Irish Country Quads is the place for you! Take a tour riding through their highly skilled, purpose-built obstacle courses. If you prefer not to go Quad Biking, you can choose from other fun activities such as, clay pigeon shooting, archery, shuffleboard and air rifle shooting. They’re open all year and activities are suitable for all levels. Pre-booking essential.

Evening
After your day gallivanting, it’s time to sit back and relax! Right in the heart of Monaghan Town, you will find The Squealing Pig Bar and Restaurant. A popular place for locals, you can dine in their modern bar or on the second floor, you will find Porky’s Restaurant, which has a more intimate atmosphere, producing local fresh culinary delights.

DAY 3
Morning
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, it’s time to take out your hiking shoes and head for Sliabh Beagh. Be warned to also wear warm clothes for this hike. Sitting at the foot of Sliabh Beagh, you will find a tourism centre. Here should be your first stop for some maps and local knowledge, as they are 36 looped walks you can take, varying from 4km-15km. You will see plenty of wildlife on route and if you manage to take on the challenge to make it to the top of Sliabh Beagh, you will enjoy panoramic views of Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh.

OR

Join the Monaghan Town Parkrun to keep fit while staying with us and enjoy the local Monaghan town parkrun. A free, fun, and friendly weekly 5k community event. Walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you! The park run takes place every Saturday at 9:30am from Rossmore Forest Park. Forgot your runners? Not a problem! The local sports shop is offering a rental service coming soon, for more details please contact the reception team.

Early Afternoon
Carrickmacross workhouse was one of 130 Workhouses built throughout Ireland between 1841 and 1843, to house the poor. Successful applicants had to surrender any land before entering as Workhouse ‘inmates’, where they were subjected to a strict regime. Now it is one of the few remaining Irish Workhouses to be lovingly and carefully restored. Carrickmacross Workhouse is open for 1 hour tours at 11.30am and 2.30pm, Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday guided tours available by appointment.

Late Afternoon
Carrickmacross Lace Gallery specialises in traditional handmade lace, dating back to 1820. This style of delicate lace, became world famous when Princess Diana and The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton had their wedding dress made out of it. Workshops can also be arranged if booked in advance. You can even purchase some lace; they have several different sizes to match all budgets- that’s the presents for home sorted!

Evening
When the stomach starts rumbling again, head for the award-winning Batch Loaf Restaurant. This is an exciting new restaurant in the heart of Monaghan, a unique culinary experience that blends traditional dishes with modern contemporary dining.

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