Eight kilometres down the Nore from Thomastown is the quaint village of INISTIOGE (pronounced “Inisteeg”), set around a tree-lined green, an old church and a narrow-arched stone bridge over the river. Unsurprisingly, the attractive location, with its verdant hills rising above the village, has drawn film-makers and both Circle of Friends and Widows’ Peak were shot here in the 1990s. The steep lane rising from the village green leads after a couple of kilometres to the Woodstock Demesne. When its owners left Ireland during the War of Independence, the estate’s Georgian mansion was taken over by the Black and Tans and, like many similarly tarnished dwellings, was burnt down after independence in 1922. However, since 1999 the county council have been restoring the Victorian gardens and you can enjoy walks lined by firs and monkey puzzles, an arboretum, rose gardens, rockeries and breathtaking views of the Nore valley, as well as a summertime tea room in a cast-iron conservatory.

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