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Ireland's Hidden Heartlands

Take it all in with Só Hotels

Discover Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands with a break away to Athlone Springs and Castle Oaks House Hotel. Explore all the heartlands on the banks of the River Shannon have to offer. From watersports, scenic greenways and riverside walks, we have it all covered.

Day 1 - Athlone Town, Old Rail Greenway

5 minutes from Athlone Springs Hotel


Travelling to Athlone is easy from any direction. Athlone Springs Hotel is located just 5 minutes from junction 13 on the M6. Take some time to explore all that Athlone town has to offer. From boutiques to unique cafes and restaurants, there’s lots to see. Athlone Castle can be found in the heart of the town and offers interactive exhibits with compelling local history from Anglo-Norman times.

For an outdoor family day out, check out the Old Trail Greenway starting from the Marina. Hire a bike locally and enjoy the afternoon cycling along the old western railway. This route is accessible to all levels of fitness so children of all ages can come along for the fun. After your day touring the local region, return to the comfort of Athlone Springs and take a well-deserved soak in the Jacuzzi in our Leisure Club, complimentary for you as our guest.

Day 2 - Bay Sports, Athlone

10 minutes from Athlone Springs Hotel


After a delicious breakfast in our Cedar Restaurant, get ready for a day of adventure on Lough Ree with Bay Sports, Ireland’s largest inflatable water park, located just ten minutes from the hotel. Book your tickets in advance, it can get busy during the summer. They have the largest collection of inflatable slides, rockers and challenges to keep the whole family entertained on the water. They also have a junior inflatable section for younger guests so they can join in on the fun. Why not try their other water activities such as kayaking, pedal boating, dragon boat racing, rafting and boat racing. When you return to the hotel that evening, satisfy your appetite with a delicious meal in the Cedar Brasserie and why not try one of our cocktails while you’re here?

Day 3 - Portumna Castle & Gardens

45 minutes from Athlone Springs Hotel


As you say goodbye to Athlone Springs, there are plenty of amazing attractions to look forward to as you head southwards in the Hidden Heartlands. Your next stop at Castle Oaks House Hotel in county Limerick awaits with old-world charm and comfort on the banks of the river Shannon. On your way, we strongly recommend stopping off in the beautiful riverside town of Portumna, county Galway to see the famous Portumna Castle & Gardens. Take a tour of the ground floor and learn more about the house, its past occupants and the history of the area dating back to the 1600s. Explore the gardens after and take a stroll along the different paths to get a feel for what life was like for the residents of this majestic house. From here, you’re less than an hour away from Castle Oaks where you can relax for the evening and take a dip in the pool at River Leisure Club to relax and unwind.

Day 4 - UL Activity Centre, Killaloe River Cruises

20 minutes from Castle Oaks House Hotel


For a day of adventure and memorable family fun, we highly recommend booking the University of Limerick Adventure Centre. The centre is located just 20 minutes from the hotel outside the town of Killaloe. Choose between land or water activities or a mix of both. For land lovers, try the challenging high ropes, archery or orienteering on Crag Hill, overlooking the beautiful Lough Derg. If you’d prefer to get in the water, they have lots to keep you entertained. From kayaking, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding or canoeing, there’s something for everyone of all abilities. After your day of activity, explore the picturesque town of Killaloe. Cross the bustling marina via the stunning 13 arch bridge to the twin town of Ballina and enjoy a delicious coffee from the Wooden Spoon Café. We recommend checking out Killaloe River Cruises while you’re in town to take in the stunning scenery of Lough Derg from the water. Relax as the boat cruises along the calm waters of Lough Derg and into the River Shannon. The tour guides offer interesting commentary on the sights as you go along giving rich insight into the fascinating history of the area.  It’s the perfect way to round off your evening on the lake. Enjoy a hearty meal in the Island Bar to round off your evening before a restful night’s sleep in our peaceful and tranquil surroundings.

Day 5 - Clonlara Equestrian Centre, 12 O'Clock Hills

15 minutes from Castle Oaks House Hotel


Start your day with our delicious breakfast options in Acorn Restaurant, why not explore the beautiful grounds of Castle Oaks? The hotel is perched on 26 acres of manicured gardens and mature woodlands on the banks of the river Shannon. Follow the meandering paths along the river banks and see if you can spot the fairy woods! For a real experience of the local countryside, we highly recommend a horse trek with Clonlara Equestrian Centre. Go for a trek across their 150 acre estate to see some of the local areas. It’s a fully operational farm so you might even see some baby foals or calves along the way! They take riders of all experiences including complete beginners and young children so it’s a great way to spend a family day out.  There are so many great walks and hikes while you’re in the area. We recommend the 12 O’Clock Hills in nearby Sixmilebridge, Co Clare. There are three different looped walks for different ability levels and even fairy woods for the little ones to explore. From the summit, you can see the beautiful landscape of east county Clare and Limerick. A great way of finishing your adventures around Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands!