Lough Key is frequently referred to as the “Jewel of the West”. From Lough Gara, the Boyle River flows into Lough Key, before continuing its journey through to the mighty River Shannon. The lake fills an almost circular valley, 3 miles wide, with 32 islands. It is our beautiful “Jewel of the West” and star attraction of the area formerly Port-na-Carraige, Rockingham and subsequently Lough Key Forest Park.
Writers, poets, artists and later, photographers, have chronicled and recorded the history, legends and images of Lough Key for over 1000 years. In the 11th century the Annals of Lough Key were compiled on Castle Island, and the Annals of Boyle were written on Trinity Island. Both tell of countless battles fought around the lake’s shores and on its islands, as powerful local chieftains, such as McGreevy and MacDermott, fought off attackers.
Lough Key Forest Park
350 Hectares of stunning mixed woodland, a lake and a number of Islands, Lough Key is one of the most extensive and picturesque forest parks in Ireland. Included in the park is a visitor centre, camping park, nature walk, a bog garden, observation tower, ice house and underground tunnels. Lough Key recently opened a 10 million euros visitor centre, a state-of-the art restaurant, adventure kingdom, a Boda Borg puzzle and tree top walking experience.
Boyle River and Marina
Boyle river flows from Lough Gara through the town of Boyle and on to Lough Key, before joining with Ireland’s longest river, The Shannon. Boyle river is a very rich river which holds good stocks of wild brown trout with the best pools downstream of the town of Boyle towards Lough Key.
Boyle Marina offers Shannon river cruiser holiday-makers
berthing just 1km from Boyle town.
An impressive and well preserved Cistercian Monastery which was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermotts. Though mutilated during the 17th and 18th centuries when it was used to accommodate a military garrison, Boyle Abbey nevertheless retains its ability to impress the visitor as one of the most formidable of the early Cistercian foundations in Ireland. A restored 16th/17th century gatehouse houses an exhibition of Abbey artifacts. Restricted access for people with disabilities.
Boyle Abbey is under the auspices of the Office of Public Works and is open daily, Easter to October from 10.00am-6.00pm, last admission 5.15pm
King House is a magnificently restored Georgian Mansion built around 1730 by Sir Henry King whose family were one of the most powerful and wealthy in Ireland. The grand scale of the reception gallery, its original stone floor, tripartite windows and high vaulted ceiling portray the impression that the house was built as a symbol of the status and power of the King family. After its first life as a home, King House became a military barracks to the famous Connaught Rangers from 1788 until 1922. Until 1947 King House was also a barracks for the Irish Army.
Today visitors can explore the house and enjoy a range of exhibitions that offer an enchanting view of Ireland’s heritage and culture.
Our magnificent dolmen was built before 2,000BC. The word “dolmen” is Celtic in origin and means “stone table”. The Drumanone Dolmen capstone is 4.5m x 3m wide, and is one of the largest in Ireland. Please be aware that the dolmen is located on private property and should only be accessed with care via the gates at the railway crossing provided by Iarnrod Eireann.
Carrowkeel – The Narrow Quarter
Carrowkeel is a large group of megalithic monuments sited on the highest parts of the northern ends of the Bricklieve Mountains in south Co. Sligo. Carrowkeel is located just 10 miles from Boyle in the beautiful Lough Arrow region, south of the village of Castlebaldwin, in one of the most scenic and unspoilt areas remaining in the country.
The well-stocked Boyle branch of Roscommon County Library is located in the picturesque and spacious basement of King House. Internet access is available in the library. Opening Hours: