Boyle in County Roscommon, Ireland is a small, pleasant, hilly Irish
country town full of old fashioned country shops and pubs with a history
that goes back to the foundation of the Cistercian monastery here in
The town has a famous annual arts festival which runs for a week starting the last weekend in July. The town also makes a good base for exploring the surrounding area such as counties Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo on day trips.
There is a tourist office right outside the gate of King House which is a good place to visit for orientation.
Recently, the town has come to international attention because actor Chris O’Dowd who is from the town wrote a TV show that features the town, Moon Boy.
The town is easy to get to being on the Dublin to Sligo train line, and the public bus service stops here as well. By car it’s the N4 from Dublin or Sligo.
Boyle Abbey seen on the photo above is the ruin of a 12th century monastery built here by the Cistercian order. It was the starting point for the town of Boyle that developed around it.
King House seen above was the manor house of the local aristocratic rulers of the area, the King family who amassed tens of thousands of acres of land. The house is an interactive museum run by the county council. The museum makes for a couple of hours of entertainment for the entire family.
Rathcroghan Royal Site at Tulsk
Strokestown Park House
Lough Key Forest Park
Cashelore Stone Fort
Pleasure Gardens is the grand traditional name for what has become the towns’ park comprising a playground, tennis court, exercise equipment and a stretch of lawn with shrubs and trees along the river side just across the river from King House.
Once upon a time the aristocratic King family used to stroll along here, now the place will make for an afternoons’ entertainment for the kids, or a pleasant after-dinner walk for grown ups.
Every Saturday there is a farmers market outside the gates of King House. You will find English traders, Germans and some Irish, too, all long time residents of the area who have brought their own cooking, baking and crafts to the town for a delicious West-of-Ireland-type blend of cultures. The market is small, but on a nice day you can prolong your visit by sitting down in the picnic area for a half an hour and sampling some foods. The stalls sell any amount of fresh and organic veg, continental bakery products, homemade jams, crafts and so on.
There is a lovely coffee shop in front of King House run by the Una Bhán Tourism Cooperative, they do good lunches. The Stone House Cafe is a romantic spot by the riverside with home cooking and baking on offer. Some of the pubs serve so called ‘pub grub’ as in carvery meals. The Royal Hotel, once hub of the town, has closed down, unfortunately , but the Chinese across the bridge might continue.
Irish retail culture of old- still alive here!
The town does not have a hostel and only has a couple of B and B’s: Kesh Corran (071 9662255) and Abbey House (071 9662385). There is a campsite in Lough Key Forest Park, about four miles from the town. A great option is to rent a self-catering house or cottage in the town itself or nearby. If you intend to be here for the Arts Festival, book well in advance.
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Copyright 2014 by Colm Sweeney and Susanna Lambeck www.enjoy-irish-culture.com