20 May Edenderry, County Offaly
This spacious Georgian town, with a long, straggling main street lined with neat houses and shops, marks the Westward limits of the Pale, the region centred on Dublin that was under direct English rule, and which gave us the expression ‘beyond the pale’. Still to be seen dotted around the area are the crumbling walls of border castles, such as Blundell’s Castle, on a hilltop just off main street.
Edenderry was largely built by Lord Downshire, who inherited it late the 18th century. It was formerly an important trading centre on the Grand Canal that linked Dublin to the Shannon, and is today popular among anglers.
The town is also the gateway to the Bog of Allen, the largest area of bog in Ireland, which stretches in every direction as far as the eye can see. It is the centre of the thriving peat industry, and the source of much of the regions prosperity.
Edenderry is a real hidden gem that is worth a visit while on your tours of Ireland.