Explore the great outdoors in Monaghan, with outdoor activities to suit all ages and interests.
Monaghan punches well above its weight when it comes to outdoor activities. Monaghan has a diverse landscape, ripe for active staycations: from sweeping vistas out across the drumlin-dotted countryside, to picturesque lakes, wild blanket bog, flourishing forests and postcard-perfect villages. Enjoy world-class golf, an expanding network of cycling trails and walks aplenty, as well as outdoor heritage trails and adrenaline-fuelled activities which appeal to those seeking adventure. Holidays in Ireland don’t come much more outdoor action-packed!
We have chosen 10 of our favourite things to do outdoors in Monaghan, to give you a flavour of what an active staycation in Monaghan has to offer.
Float away from it all aboard a kayak, canoe or sailboat on Lough Muckno. One of the prettiest spots in the county, Muckno is home to the Castleblayney Outdoor Adventure Centre from which visitors can rent all the necessary equipment or take advantage of expert tuition.
Quad biking in Inniskeen. The landscape that inspired celebrated poet, Patrick Kavanagh, takes on a whole new hue when hurtling along at 50mph aboard a quad bike. The trail includes underground tunnels, overheard bridges, water splash run, tight corners and muddy ditches.
A nature walk at Rossmore Forest Park offers a complete change of pace: enjoy dazzling displays of rhododendron and azalea; be dwarfed by towering giant redwoods, planted by the original estate; and keep an eye out for mammals including otters, badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and pigmy shrew. Five of Ireland’s seven species of bat are to be found locally, too, making Monaghan and Rossmore an appealing destination for a nature spotting staycation in Ireland.
Play a scenic round of golf in Monaghan. A spectacular 360-degree view out over Lough Muckno and the surrounding countryside is undoubtedly one of the reasons Concra Wood , is considered to be one of the best golf courses in Ulster and a jewel in Monaghan’s golfing crown. There are scenic, challenging parkland courses at Clones, Rossmore, Mannan Castle and the Nuremore, too, making Monaghan a great choice for a golfing staycation.
Explore Monaghan’s drumlins by bicycle. The gently undulating landscape provides an ample leg stretch as well as numerous points of historical and natural interest along the way. With a growing number of cycling trails, from Greenway to park trails and cycles along quiet countryside lanes, there has never been a better time to get on your bike in Monaghan. Or why not rent an electric bike from Drumlin Trails Local amateur historian, Paddy McQuaid, has devised a series of ‘secret trails’, unlocking hidden heritage in the North Monaghan countryside.
Walk or cycle the Ulster Canal Greenway a 4.2km-long stretch along the towpath of the abandoned ulster Canal is now up and running and can be enjoyed by foot or on wheels. The route is graded ‘easy’, with a short on-road section through Monaghan Town.
Discover a treasure trove of historical sites on a heritage tour of Clones. Kick off in the Diamond and marvel at the High Cross of Clones, parts of which are thought to date back as far as the 9th Evidence of the town’s monastic heritage also includes a round tower and St Peter & St Paul’s Abbey. Local historians bring these and other key Clones sites to life via a series of heritage trail videos, which you can access in person, adjacent to the sites themselves.
Birdwatching at Ballybay Wetlands Centre , a year-round refuge for an array of waterfowl and wildlife. With 65 acres of wetlands to explore, encompassing a number of scenic walks, nature lovers will be spoilt for choice.
Experience the wilds of North Monaghan: Sliabh Beagh straddles the border between Monaghan, Fermanagh and Tyrone, and the vast upland heath and blanket bog terrain lends itself to a whole host of exhilarating outdoor experiences – Monaghan’s best walking trails, off-road cycling, trail running, birdwatching and more.
Push your driving skills to the limit at Rally School Ireland in Scotstown. The purpose-built facility has grown to become the premier motorsports facility in Ireland, attracting motorsports pros as well as A-list thrill-seekers. The track is designed to test the driver as well as the car, with a fleet of over 20 sports and supercars to choose from.