Day Trip Ideas

A Local’s Guide to Carrickmacross

Tour guide Margaret Freeman, based in Carrickmacross Workhouse, tells us where to go and what to see in her hometown of Carrickmacross.

Walking tours of Carrickmacross take place on Saturday mornings throughout the summer. Expect to learn all about the history of the town, the landlords, the buildings like St. Joseph’s Church that have Harry Clarke Windows, and St. Finbarr’s Church. The tour meets outside the Shirley Arms at 11am.

Carrickmacross Lace Gallery
in Market Square is the place to buy great gifts made from this historic lace. My favorites are the wedding pieces and the Monaghan Crest. There is one that says ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ which is a great one to send to friends or relatives living abroad. The lace can be put into frames and hung as pictures on walls.  Anyone I have bought a piece for has really loved it!

I love Collective too, the shop just beside the Lace Gallery. Many of the items stocked are made locally in County Monaghan and carefully chosen by curator, Catriona, who has a flair for unusual and unique pieces.

Carrickmacross Workhouse is a must! Tour guides tell the sad story of this beautiful old building and the people who came through its front door. History is brought to life using an animated film, interpretative artworks, information panels, and architectural features.

From the Workhouse to the big house –  just outside Carrickmacross on the Kingscourt Road is Cabra Castle, formerly part of the Pratt Estate. This property is worth a visit just to look at or to grab a bite to eat.

There are lots of great walks to enjoy in and around Carrickmacross. The Town, Avenue and Lakeside Walk  incorporates a lot of the town features. I love the Convent Avenue and, of course, St. Joseph’s Church, with its beautiful Harry Clarke stained glass windows. I would recommend Dun a Rí forest park which is just outside the Monaghan border.

There is lots of choice when it comes to eating out in Carrickmacross. For lunch, I usually recommend Matilda’s, Dinkin’s, Hughes Coffee Shop and Grey Porter. The Courthouse is perfect for something a bit different and special; the Shirley Arms Hotel always provides good food; and The Valley Lodge serves up great pub grub, although you do need to book at weekends as it is always busy. Nallo’s is my pub of choice – I took a group of Norwegians there last week to they could try out the Guinness and they had a great time.

I always recommend Brehon Brewhouse in Inniskeen. It’s a fun place to visit. Learning about how the craft beer is made and visiting the old homestead for the beer tasting can be great craic. 

Tours of Carrickmacross Workhouse take place Mon-Fri 11.30 and 2.30pm and must be pre-booked in advance by phone 042 966 45 40 or email