Discover the tale of Dame Alice Kyteler, Ireland’s first condemned witch, or learn the tricks of the trade in the Butterslip, a medieval laneway once notable for its clamouring butter vendors. The grandeur of Kilkenny’s 13th century St Canice's Cathedral
is breathtaking, but no doubt you’ll muster the energy to roam the woodland and adventure trails at Castlecomer Discovery Park
afterwards. Its treetop walks, woodland trails, fishing lakes – and even Ireland’s longest over-water zipline – will help you work up an appetite for the delicious local fare served at the Park's Jarrow Café, including coarse-grained Lavistown sausages and Goatsbridge smoked trout. Survival and courage are the themes that emerge at the Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum
in Laois. Take a tour or explore for yourself a place in which rules on religion and moral habits – including segregation of men from women – meant family units were divided. Rewind the centuries again at the Rock of Dunamase
. Founded by missionaries and pillaged by Vikings, this 800-year-old castle was given to Norman invader Strongbow as a wedding gift in 1172. End your trail at Treacy's thatched pub
in Portlaoise, one of the oldest family-run pubs in Ireland.
If you have more time:
Stroll into the 18th century at the beautiful house and grounds of Emo Court
. You can also experience the antique elegance and natural calm of Laois in the beautiful Heywood Gardens.