Route 1: Borris in Ossory to Abbeyleix - Stradbally - Erno - Mountmellick- Portioaise.
Distance : 103km
The tour starts in Borris in Ossory which lies beneath Slieve Bloom Mountains,take the R435 signposted Rathdowey, you will pass through Ballybrophy and on to Donaghmore, watch out for a brown sign Famine Workhouse Museum on the right.
From Donaghmore continue to Rathdowney on the R435 to do some shopping at the Rathdowney Shopping Outlet.
From Rathdowney take the R433 signposted Abbeyleix to Ballacolla. This is a late eighteenth century, well kept village, which has access to the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
From Ballacolla turn right onto the R434 to travel to Darrow, turn right onto the N8 signposted Cork to enter the village. One of Durrow's finest features is the suite of buildings around the green under the gates and a battlemented wall which in turn encloses a tastefully designed modern primare school and the important castle (1713 - 32), one of the last large pre-Palladian houses to be built in Ireland.
From Durrow, travel back the N8 signposted Dublin, turn right onto an unnamed road signposted Ballinakill. In Ballinakill turn left at sign for Heywood Gardens, which were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Take a left for Timahoe and Heywood Gardens are on the right.
Leaving Heywood Gardens, turn left, then next right onto the R432, travel to the designated heritage town of Abbeyleix, while there visit the award winning library and Abbeyleix Heritage House,
From Abbeyleix, follow the brown signposts to Timahoe, on entering the village turn right to see the Round Tower which was built in the mid 12th Century and is one of the finest in Ireland.
From Timahoe, continue straight on an unnamed road, follow signs for Stradbally on entering the
village turn left to visit the Steam Museum, with some exhibits dating back over 60 years.
From Stradbally you can take a detour on the N80 signposted Portiaoise, you willsee a brown sign post to the right to visit the Rock of Dunamaise, a magnificent example of the remains of a Celtic fortification. Leaving Dunamaise, head back on N80 to Stradbally, on entering Stradbally take a
left on to the R427 for Vicarstown.
Turn right for Vicarstown Bridge where tranquillity is easily found along the banks of the Grand Canal. Turn back on the road that you came and continue straight ahead, follow signs for Erno. Continue on the R422, signposted Mountmellick. Continue on to Emo, where you can visit Emo Court, designed by James Gandon in 1790 for the Earls of Portarlington.
From Emo travel to Mountmellick on the R422, where Mountmellick Museum showcases Mountmellick embroiderythat was developed in the 1800's. The Museum also tells the story of Mountmellick's rich Quaker and industrial history.
From Mountmellick, take the N80 to Portiaoise the capital of county Laois, wher out tour ends in this vibrant town where there are interesting shops, great restaurants and a buzzing nightlife.