Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > East Coast and Midlands > County Offaly > Kinnitty
Kinnity is a village in County Offaly, 13 km east of Birr. In Irish Cionn Eitigh means "the head of Etech", a mythical princess whose head is supposedly buried here, and the rest who knows where. The population (as of 2016) is only 381 but Kinnitty does have accommodation; the main reason to visit is to hike in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
Local Link Bus 911 makes one run on Friday morning from Kinnitty to Birr, 35 min, and returns early afternoon.
By road from Dublin follow M7 to Portlaoise, then R445 / 440 over the mountains to Kinnitty. You could also take M6 to Tullamore, N52 to Kilcormac then the lane south.
You'll need wheels to reach the mountain trailheads.
Bike hire is available from Mid Ireland Adventure in village centre. They're open daily 10:00-18:00.
- 1 The Pyramid behind St Finian's C of I church is a burial crypt for the Bernard family, former owners of the castle. Standing 10 m high, it was built in 1834, with the last burial in 1907.
- Kinnitty Castle or Castle Bernard is now an upmarket hotel, see Sleep. Non-residents can still visit the High Cross, which is all that's left of St Finnian's monastery. It's 2.4 m tall: the carvings are 9th century though the cross may be much older. It's reached by a path from the castle car park. The castle itself is from 1811, torched in 1922 but reconstructed.
- 2 Cadamstown is a village 6 km northeast on R421 when the road crosses the gorge of the Silver River. St Lughna's Church (RC), built in 1842 on the site of a 9th century abbey, has a medieval inscribed grave slab, a 12th century decorated animal head and a human face. The tumbledown Old Morrow's Mill is from 1830. An ancient drystone bridge, perhaps 500 years old, just-about-stands north of the R421 crossing: it's reached by a muddy riverside path 1 km from the village. No trace remains of Cadamstown Castle, though its stone may have been re-used for the mill.
- 3 Giant's Grave 4 km upriver from Cadamstown is a megalithic tomb. Nothing to see but eight large boulders, you come for the riverside walk.
- 4 Kilcormac is on the main road between Tullamore and Birr. The main sight is the RC Church of the Nativity, built in 1867 but with a remarkable 16th century Pieta carved from a solid block of oak.
- 5 Clareen is a village 5 km southwest on R421. There's the scrappy remains of an Augustinian priory, with Round Tower, turret and High Cross all sadly truncated, and earthworks from a prehistoric ring fort. Nearby is a Holy Well and "rag tree": people dip scraps of clothing in the water, wipe the afflicted body part then pin the scraps to the bush in hope of cures or blessings. These ensue just as often with charity shop tat and knickers made in China as ever they did with traditional garb.
- Leap Castle is another 5 km along R421, see Roscrea#See.
- Hiking and climbing in the Slieve Bloom Mountains: see separate description.
- Offaly Way is a 37 km lowland trail from Cadamstown north to Lemanaghan.
- De Cleir's is the village store in Kinnitty.
- Kilcormac has a Centra open M-Sa 08:00-20:30, Su 09:00-18:00.
The Hitchcock Vanishes
The film director Rex Ingram (1892-1950) was born in Dublin and grew up in Kinnitty before moving to the United States. His real surname was Hitchcock, but he must have realised that he'd never get far in the movie business with that name. He made some 30 films, best known being The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1922). Michael Powell and David Lean both cite Ingram as a major influence on their work. But he couldn't manage the transition from silent movies to talkies, took up sculpting and writing instead, and converted to Islam. He died of a stroke in North Hollywood.
- Peavoys is a pleasant old-style cafe doing sandwiches, burgers and the like. They're in Kinnitty village centre and open daily 08:00-16:00.
- Kinnitty Castle is the place for fine dining, see Sleep.
- Slieve Bloom Bar, The Walk, Kinnitty R42 W542. This remains closed in early 2021.
- Slieve Bloom Brewing Company is a microbrewery founded in 2018 within the bar. They produce a stout, red ale and IPA.
- Giltraps (Clendennens), The Walk, Kinnitty. M-W 18:00-23:30, Th Su 10:00-23:30, F Sa 10:00-00:30. Friendly pub for a pizza after a hike. They also have rooms, see Sleep.
- Dempsey's is the village pub in Cadamstown.
- Dan and Molly's is a traditional thatched pub in Ballyboy 1 km east of Kilcormac. Dooley's is on N52 through the village.
- Ardmore Country House B&B, The Walk, Kinnitty R42 K681, ☏ . Charming B&B with five rooms in a Victorian farmhouse in village centre. They also have self-catering in O'Brien's Cottage. B&B double €90.
- Giltraps Townhouse & Glamping, Main St, Kinnitty R42 AX81 (opposite Giltraps pub), ☏ . The Townhouse has five rooms en suite. Glamping is in six log cabins or a Mongolian yurt. They offer bike hire. B&B double €90.
- Aaron House is a B&B east side of the village on R421.
- 1 Kinnitty Castle Hotel, Castletown, Kinnitty R42 CY50, ☏ . Plush hotel in Victorian grand pile, great scores for comfort, dining and service. Often hosts weddings. B&B double from €180.
As of April 2021, there's a mobile signal from Eir and Three in Kinnitty, and all along the road from Birr and onward to Cadamstown. There's no signal with Vodafone. 5G has reached Birr but hasn't extended into the countryside.
- Birr is a well-preserved old town with a giant Victorian telescope.
- Tullamore is best known for its two whiskey distilleries.
- Roscrea has a castle and many other ancient buildings.
- Pyramids: if you want to see more, the obvious place to go is Arklow on the Wicklow coast.