Hotel Near the Rock of Dunamase

    Hotel Near the Rock of Dunamase

    Located just 9km and a short 9-minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, the Rock of Dunamase is on the N80 road halfway between Portlaoise and Stradbally and a must visit during your hotel break in Laois. One of the greatest monuments and fortresses in Ireland, the ruins of the castle tower over the Portlaoise and Stradbally, offering breath-taking views of the county.

    A sight not to be missed
    The Rock of Dunamase is a sight not to be missed by visitors to our hotel in Laois. Standing 46m tall, it provides breath-taking views across the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Access is free and it is open all year round. The climb to the summit is an easy climb, suitable for all ages. Stunning views of the surrounding countryside make the towering Rock of Dunamase a must-see while visiting our hotel in Portlaoise.


    Maldron Hotel Portlaoise

    9 Minute Drive from The Rock of Dunamase

    Maldron Hotel Portlaoise is a 3-star hotel near The Rock of Dunamase in the heart of Ireland. It is ideal for business and leisure guests due to its location in the Midlands, newly refurbished meeting facilities, air-conditioned rooms, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and free on-site parking. Guests also have the option to make use of our Club Vitae leisure facilities as well as the Grain & Grill bar and restaurant. Throughout the holidays, we also offer a Crafty Kids Club to keep our little guests entertained.

    The Rock of Dunamase is located approximately 9km or a 9-minute drive from Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, making it the ideal base to explore Laois.

    History of the Rock of Dunamase

    There is evidence from early excavations in the 90’s that this site was first settled in the 9th century. The first known settlement on the rock was Dun Masc, or Masc’s Fort, an early Christian settlement that was pillaged in 842 by the Vikings.

    When the Normans arrived in Ireland in the late 1100s, Dunamase became the most important Anglo-Norman fortification in Laois. In the late 1100s, Aoife, the daughter of Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Leinster, was given in marriage to the Norman conqueror Strongbow and Dunamase became the most important Anglo-Norman fortress in Laois.

    The ownership of the castle has been passed on through marriage and inheritance many times, until just after 1330, when the castle appears to have passed into the hands of the O’Moore’s and been abandoned. Local tradition relates that the castle was besieged and blown up by the Cromwellian generals Hewson and Reynolds in 1651. While there are no contemporary records of these events, it may be the best explanation for the ruinous state of the castle today. In 1795, Sir John Parnell, chancellor of the Irish Parliament, attempted to develop a residence and banqueting hall at Dunamase. Many late medieval features, such as windows and doors, were taken from other ruins and added to the castle.

    The Rock of Dunamase is now a state-owned cultural site. Archaeological excavations and conservation work by the Office of Public Works have ensured that the Rock of Dunamase will survive for future generations to enjoy.