The backdrop of Timahoe was the setting for the launch of the Timahoe Conservation Plan
Experience the real essence of Spring this year with a break to Laois. The county has a multitude of wonderful locations to visit, many of which have remained largely undiscovered up to now.
Witness Spring take root in all its glory in locales like Heywood gardens, Ballintubbert gardens, Castle Durrow, Emo Court, to name just a few.
The splendour of Emo Court, for example, has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Designed by architect James Gandon the house is a magnificent example of the neo-Classical style, reflecting the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.
It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and sylvan parkland which were first laid out in the 18th century and feature formal lawns, a lake, and woodland walks with many very fine trees and shrubs.
It's the perfect getaway for an afternoon, and can be rounded off with a visit to the Emo Tea Rooms at the house.
See also: Top 10 sights to see in Laois
If you want to add a touch of heritage to your visit, then why not check out the Rock of Dunamase, a hugely important fortification in the Anglo-Norman period, which offers spendid panoramas of the rolling Laois countryside.
Timahoe, as well as being a charming village, is also home to one of the most splendid round towers in the country with its ornate carved doorway which sets it apart.
The county's museums offer a unique glimpse of the past. Visit Donaghmore Workhouse and Agricultural museum, the Irish Fly Fishing and Game museum in Attanagh, the Steam museum in Stradbally and the Mountmellick museum to experience different facets of Irish history.
See also: Don't miss these on a visit to Laois
Laois' towns and villages, such as the heritage town of Abbeyleix, and places like Durrow, Stradbally and Castletown, each offer their own distinctive charms and a warm welcome for all visitors.
The county has an eclectic arts scene, centred in the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise and the Arthouse in Stradbally. To round off a visit, it’s worth sampling some of the county's nightlife, from old world pubs to buzzing vibrant cocktail bars.
A visit to Laois will put a spring in your step, the perfect start to the year.