Situated almost right in the centre of Ireland lies the not so little town of Mullingar in County Westmeath.
Home of the legendary Joe Dolan (it’s impossible to mention Mullingar and not mention good old Joe, right?!), Niall Horan and Niall Breslin a.k.a. Bressie, Mullingar has produced some exceptional talents.
Just over an hour drive from Dublin and with bus and train links, it’s the real hub of the lesser-explored midlands. With so much history and rich culture, Mullingar is fast becoming an attractive place to live and work. So, if you fancy taking that special someone on a fun day out in Mullingar, then read on.
5. Rock ‘n’ Bowl
Bowling is always a good choice for a first date, it is fun, it is interactive, and it is always entertaining seeing the competitive side come out of both parties.
Rock ‘n’ Bowl is Mullingar’s first and only bowling alley, recently opened in 2009. With ten lanes and open late (Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.), it’s a great choice for a weekday or weekend date.
After impressing your other half with all those strikes you’ll be sure to have worked up an appetite, so pop into the Rock ‘n’ Bowl café & diner, with a wide selection of burgers, pizzas, wraps and hot or cold drinks. Or how about sharing an ice-cream dessert? Talk about romantic!
Address: Lynn Rd, Ballinderry, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
4. Mullingar Arts Centre
A sophisticated step up from the cinema one might say, Mullingar Arts Centre is bustling with a variety of entertainment to suit all tastes.
Whether it’s country, classical, folk or pop, or you’re in the mood to see a play full of comedy, satire or romance, Mullingar Arts Centre has it all. With performances to date from Des Bishop, Christy Moore and Paul Daniels to name but a few, Mullingar Arts Centre is a really rich cultural experience for all ages.
Research a bit of background information on your chosen performance so you can really wow that special someone with your knowledge of the arts!
Address: Mount St, Bellview, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
3. Royal Canal Way
If the day is warm and the sun is high in the sky, there’s no better place to enjoy a first date in Mullingar than in the great outdoors.
The Royal Canal is one of the regions prettiest walking tracks and it’s also a fantastic staging ground for courting couples who meander along the water’s edge.
Make sure to check the weather well in advance though; if you get stuck in a cloudburst it may not exactly be a reenactment of the rain scene in The Notebook.
2. Lilliput Adventure Centre
This one is for the more adventurous folk out there. Just ten minutes outside of Mullingar and situated on the stunning Lough Ennell, Lilliput has everything from kayaking and rock climbing, to archery and assault courses.
If you don’t want to work up too much of a sweat, they also have gentler activities such as laser tag and hillwalking. Lilliput Adventure Centre also boasts a 50-acre forest, perfect for some alone time as you take in the beautiful scenery and breathe in the clean, fresh air.
If you enjoy being on the water, you can also hire a boat and try your hand at fishing! Lilliput is a great place to put your skills to the test and show off to that special someone, it really will be a day to remember.
Address: Lilliput House, Lough Ennell, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
1. Belvedere House Gardens & Park
A beautiful lakeside estate situated on 160 acres of land, Belvedere House Gardens & Park is the perfect spot for a romantic first date.
Steeped in a long and rich history, it’s almost like going back in time as you take in the beautiful architecture of Richard Castle, one of the greatest architects of the 18th century.
Marvel at the beauty of the Belvedere House built in 1740, admire The Jealous Wall which is the largest folly in Ireland and take in the views from the Octagonal Gazebo. You’ll find initials carved into some of the tree trunks from the last century, perhaps from others who were also on their first date?!
Stroll hand in hand through the Walled Garden where you’ll find rare and beautiful flowers, grab a spot of lunch in the licensed restaurant, then take home a lovely memento of the day from the gift shop!
Address: Belvidere, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 EF80, Ireland
Written by Lisa Doran.