Five Places to See Between Dublin and Galway

Ireland's central heartland, stretching between Dublin and Galway, is a treasure trove of history, natural beauty, and charming towns. While you could easily spend days exploring this often-overlooked region, sometimes a quick detour off the motorway is all you need for a memorable Irish experience. Here are five must-see places between Dublin and Galway that offer a delightful taste of the Midlands:

Killbeggan Distillery

Located in the town of Kilbeggan, this old distillery, founded in 1757, still produces limited batches of whiskey.  The Kilbeggan Experience Tour takes you through the old distillery, no longer in use, and once powered by the water wheel along the river Brosna.  The newer half of the distillery is where the limited production happens and includes the oldest, still working, single pot still in Ireland.  Of course, the tour concludes with a tasting experience and there is also a shop to purchase some of the “water of life” to take home with you.

Kilbeggan Distillery

Belvedere House and Gardens

Situated on the shores of Lough Ennell just outside of Mullingar, Belvedere House and Gardens is a fully restored Georgian villa and during the spring and summer months, the walled gardens themselves are worth the visit.  There is quite the story of the “Wicked Earl” and a tale of jealousy with one result being the building of the Jealous Wall to hide the view of a brother’s much larger house, along with many other follies constructed around the grounds.  An entire day could be spent here, although a few hours visiting the house and gardens makes a great stop along the way between Dublin and Galway.

Tours of Ireland Belvedere Mansion

And if you have more time, rent a boat and explore the islands and crannogs of Lough Ennell, rich with history and legend of the high kings of Royal Meath.

Tours Near Mullingar
Visit Ireland and Belvedere House

Hill of Uisneach

Beltane Fire Festival

The Hill of Uisneach, not previously on many visitor’s lists is becoming more popular each year.  Unlike the Hill of Tara, where the high kings of Ireland are said to have been crowned, Uisneach was the royal residence and there remain today the faint remnants of a road which once connected Uisneach and Tara, as well as ancient roadways leading to other royal and sacred sites throughout Ireland.  Uisneach has long been considered the sacred center of Ireland and has a vast number of solar and lunar alignments with other sacred places throughout Ireland, including the royal sites of the four provinces.  It was here at Uisneach that Ireland got her modern name of Éire after the Tuatha Dé Danann goddess, Ériu, as is told in the “Lebor Gabála Érenn’” or “Book of Invasions.”  The site is on private land and during the season, offers daily tours. Private ours can be arranged in advance any time of year.  If visiting during the first week of May, Uisneach is a must-see as the ancient fire festival of Bealtaine is celebrated on the hill attracting over 2000 participants with food, music, crafts, workshops, well-being, and children's activities.

Druid Women on Bealtaine at Uisneach
Best Irish Tour Guide Marty Mulligan
Visit Ireland for Bealtaine at Uisneach


The town of Athlone, situated along the River Shannon, boasts two places worth a visit and it is easy to visit one or both.  Athlone Castle, once a defensive point at the crossing of the River Shannon has seen many a battle and the visitor center have a nice immersive experience of the Great Siege of Athlone.  You may also enjoy some nice views along the Shannon from the upper portion of the Castle.  Consider the Luan Gallery across the street from the castle where you will find floor to ceiling windows offering excellent views of the Shannon while enjoying the work of local and national artists.

Not far from Athlone Castle, you will find Sean’s Bar, dating to 900 AD, the world’s oldest pub according to the Guinness Book of Records  Stop in and have a pint before continuing your day. 
Tours of Ireland Athlone at Night
5 Places to See Between Dublin and Galway

If you find yourself in the charming town of Athlone, Ireland, be sure to add Dead Centre Brewing to your itinerary. This award-winning brewpub offers a vibrant atmosphere right on the banks of the River Shannon. Their handcrafted beers are a delightful celebration of Irish brewing innovation, with options ranging from classic IPAs to truly unique and experimental flavors. You can even take a tour of the brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at their process. With gourmet pizzas and a lively environment, Dead Centre Brewing is a true taste of Athlone's hospitality and brewing excellence.

Round Tower


Just south of Athlone, you will find Clonmacnoise, a 6th century, early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán.  The site is quite popular and has the largest collection of early Christian grave slabs in western Europe, as well as the ruins of a cathedral, several churches, round towers and high crosses.