Co. Monaghan is part of the drumlin belt that covers much of southern Ulster. Its lakes, rolling hills and cattle grazing countryside make it one of the most scenic counties in all of Ireland. Straddling the border, you can often drift into Northern Ireland and back to the Republic on the same road without noticing. Often overlooked, Monaghan has a great deal to offer visitors. Below is the top 10 places you need to see in this beautiful county.
1. Castle Leslie
Home to the Irish branch of Clan Leslie, Castle Leslie is both the name of the Castle and the surrounding gardens and demesne. It is rumoured by locals to be haunted. A host of famous names have stayed here over the years, WB Yeats, Michael Collins, Mick Jagger, as well as many members of the Churchill family (with whom the Leslies are related).
2. Lough Muckno
One of the many great lakes of Co. Monaghan, Lough Muckno is located near the town of Castleblayney in the south of the county. At about 4km long and 1km wide, it makes for a fine walk on a spring afternoon. It’s also home to a great variety of fish; European perch, common roach, common bream, gudgeon and the endangered European eel.
Bragan bog, or mountain, is one of the great unknown and unspoilt peatlands of Ulster. It is ideal for walking, cycling, fishing and bird watching. If you’re looking for tranquillity, wilderness and a bit of soul-searching, there is no better place to go than this often overlooked part of the Sliabh Beagh mountain range.
Clones is a quaint little town made famous as the home of Francie Brady, the protagonist of both the novel and movie ‘The Butcher Boy’. Clones was a 6th-century monastic settlement, and you can find the remains of a 12th-century abbey, as well as the round tower built in the 9th century. The Ulster final is played in Clones, and the little town of fewer than 2,000 inhabitants becomes a GAA city on match days and the charming local pubs do a roaring trade.
5. Rossmore Park
Rossmore Park is situated near Monaghan Town and was once the home of the local Landlords, the Rossmores. The castle was demolished in the 1970s, but there is still a great view from the overgrown foundations. Famous for its beautiful forest walk, it contains many curiosities onsite, including the family mausoleum, a pet cemetery, a ‘secret’ garden, as well as various Californian Redwoods.