We’ve decided that you need to know a little bit more about the gem of a county that is Monaghan. I grew up there and I’ve been rediscovering just how many things there are to do in Monaghan. It’s funny how we
We’ve listed off the 15 best things to do in Monaghan so you don’t have to go searching. From some of the best golfing and fishing spots in Ireland to incredible castles and unknown hidden gems, this is one county you definitely need to visit!
It’s halfway between Dublin and Belfast, so if you’re staying in either it’s a great day trip. The great thing about Monaghan is that it’s definitely off the tourist track so you’ll experience the “real Ireland.”
Top Things To Do in Monaghan
Monaghan is well known for its rolling drumlins, and they create the perfect natural landscape for golf, and the Farney county has embraced that. You’ll find courses for all levels, and some pretty swish clubhouses to recoup in afterwards.
Ireland is known for its rain, so it might be useful to have a look at bringing some rain gear with you.
2. Driving range at Mannan
Maybe you believe that golf is a way to ruin a good walk, but you can’t deny that driving ranges are a hell of a lot of fun. Right beside Mannan Castle Golf Club, you can smash away any frustration with a €2 bucket of balls. Of course, aiming for the little ball collector when they’re out gathering in your 200-yard drives is crucial.
Luckily the driving range has a roof over the top, which makes it a great rainy-day activity.
3. Visit Castle Leslie Grounds for some afternoon tea
Take a little step back in time and get your Pride and Prejudice vibes going with a walk around the stately Castle Leslie. Just outside Monaghan town in Glaslough, the grounds are covered with trees, teeming with birds and the castle itself overlooks a blissful lake and rolling hills.
After your slightly stilted conversation with your personal Mr Darcy, complete the day with some decadent Afternoon Tea in the Castle Conservatory. You’ll be surprised at some of their reasonable prices, especially if you can get there in midweek.
You can also spend the night in this stunning castle, have a look at our article about Castles to spend the night in Ireland. If the castle is a little too pricey, then they also have a lodge on the castle grounds. It’s a little more like a hotel, but it’s still on the grounds of the castle and is a beautiful place!
Monaghan is well known amongst fishing fanatics, and a quick google earth look can show you why. There are too many lakes here to list, but they have great coarse fishing, pike fishing and sport fishing!
Have a look at this amazing list of places to go fishing in Monaghan. Fishing is definitely one of the top things to do in Monaghan for locals and tourists alike.
Maybe the life of leisure isn’t for you, and you need something a little more high octane! Luckily for you, the landscape in Monaghan that makes for great fishing and golfing also makes for great quad bike terrain.
Quads are great for team building, stag/ hen parties, or even just a day trip with your mates. I don’t think anyone needs much convincing to jump on a quad, so just book it already with Irish Country Quads. One of the most adventurous things to do in Monaghan!
If you’re a real adventure junkie, this part of the world is amazing. Even just outside Monaghan is Carlingford in County Louth where there are all sorts of adventure activities.
6. Rally School Ireland
Staying on the motorsports theme, Rally School Ireland in Scotstown is one for the real adrenaline junkies. With expert instructors and a huge range of cars to try, this is easily one of the best things to do in Monaghan.
There are packages from €130 per person, all the way up to a €4500 3-day exclusive driver training. They also have a police car chase, and also you can do 12 laps in a Porsche 911 Carrera for €195. It might be a quick way to spend your money, but dammit if it isn’t fun!
7. Lunch in Concra Wood, Castleblayney
One place that could have been mentioned in other sections for its golf course is Concra Wood. The golf course here is excellent, and arguably the best view of Hope Castle is from Concra Wood.
However, I chose to put it as it’s own thing because the views of the Monaghan landscape from the restaurant are simply stunning. Combine that with great food and you’re definitely taking in the best Monaghan has to offer. Try to get there for sunset, and take in that view.
8. Swimming Pool in Monaghan Town
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If even reading about all this is making you feel like you need a shower, maybe the Monaghan Swimming Pool is more your vibe. Renovated a few years ago this once crumbling shed now has a slide that goes outside before dunking you back in (this blew my mind when I was younger)
9. Watching a Match in the Squealing Pig
You don’t always have to be involved in the action in Monaghan, in fact, one of the best bars to watch pretty much any sporting occasion is The Squealing Pig in Monaghan Town.
Gaelic Football dominates the TV here, but the atmosphere for soccer and rugby, The Pig is hard to beat. They also have a pretty tasty restaurant, check out the menu!
10. Clones for Ulster Final Day
The Crown Jewel of Stadiums in Ulster is right here in the small town of Clones. The experience of going to an Ulster Final here is like no other, mainly because EVERYONE there is going to the game, or at least trying to grab some tickets.
Stadiums this size are usually in much bigger towns, so you’ll always have some disgruntled passer-by who forgot the game was on and is barging through the crowd, but not here. The atmosphere is chaotic in the best possible way imaginable.
You’ll have flag bearing, face painted people of all ages milling through the pubs and towards the stadium, all of them filled with that strange mix of county pride, province loyalty and fierce competitiveness that only Ulster GAA fans know. The game is usually on in July, but the exact date can change!
You can get tickets for most big GAA games on Ticketmaster. See if you can fit in a game on your trip to Ireland, it’s something you’re sure not to forget!
11. The Clones Film Festival
We’re staying in Clones but for a very different reason this time. Not just content in having a few big matches being played in the grounds every year, Clones decided they wanted in on the growing Film Festival scene too.
Famous people, big films, and an awesome 48-hour film challenge make this one of the most fun festivals going. They haven’t announced the schedule just yet, but keep an eye on their website for updates!
12. Carrickmacross Festival
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Returning to the festival this year is none other than the fantastic JOHNNY BRADY 😁. His electric performance last year made such an impression we had to get him back. If you're a fan of one of Ireland's distinctive country stars please let everyone know where they can find him. ❤️ www.Johnny-brady.com #johnnybrady #carrickstreetfestival2019 #livemusic #familyfestival #countrymusic #festival #streetfestival
Ever wanted to own a cow? Well The Carrickmacross Festival is the place you need to be! That’s not all that’s on offer, this is an all-out street party that happens every June Bank Holiday that draws people from Carrick home, no matter where they’re living now.
The festival organisers play a blinder every year, packing a booklet with bands that will be playing all over the town, if not on the open truck container that makes the main outdoor stage, then in one of the pubs that line the partying Main Street.
You might not recognise many of the bands, but there’s a lot of cover bands playing the classics, as well as local Monaghan bands trying out originals. If you’re looking for a quiet one, this might not be the time or the place.
They just had another wildly successful festival this year, so it’ll be a while before they start planning the next one, but again, keep an eye on their website, and block off the June Bank Holiday weekend for next year!
Oh, it’s free by the way, didn’t we mention that?
13. Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney and the Garage Theatre in Monaghan Town
You didn’t think that the county that brought us Dougle McGuire from the infamous Father Ted would be short in theatres, did you? There are so many different types of shows that come through here that it’s hard to keep up.
From serious dramas to local school plays to Internationally renowned comedians. These two theatres are nothing like the traditional hokey local theatre group halls of the past. These places put on some seriously great shows, and often at a much lower cost than in cities.
14. The Patrick Kavanagh Centre
Monaghan hasn’t just discovered its creativity now, it was in fact home to one of Ireland’s great poets, Patrick Kavanagh. In his poetry, Kavanagh describes Monaghan lyrically and maybe not in the best light but we can be sure that the stony grey soil of Monaghan left its mark on Kavanagh as much as he left a mark on it.
The Patrick Kavanagh visitors centre was opened in 2014 by Irish President Micheal D. Higgins, a poet himself, who described Kavanagh as one of the most important Irish poets to date.
The centre aims to bring Kavanagh’s work to a younger generation. You can go explore his hometown of Iniskeen and see if you recognise the landmarks that he wrote so eloquently about.
Understanding the Irish people is a big part of coming to Ireland, so make sure you learn some of our phrases that might be new to you!
15. Carrickmacross Lace Gallery
Just as intricately and beautifully made as the words of Patrick Kavanagh are the pieces of Carrickmacross Lace.
This style of delicate lace became world famous when Princess Diana had her wedding dress made out of Carrickmacross Lace. Even in Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding, she continued the trend of holding this Monaghan-made lace in such high esteem by using it in her wedding outfit.
You can go into the Carrickmacross Lace Gallery right in the heart of Carrickmacross from Monday to Saturday 9.30 to 5.30 and see for yourself the arduous and beautiful work that goes into creating even one square inch of this amazing fabric. You can even bring home some lace, they have several different sizes to match all budgets, presents for home sorted!
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re in Monaghan, you might be on your way up to Northern Ireland, you can have a look at our articles on The Most Beautiful Seaside Towns in Northern Ireland or how about finding some secret castles while you’re there?
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