Mountmellick is a town in County Laois, with a population of 4777 in 2016. It's difficult to believe that this small place was once a large industrial town: English Quakers settled in the 17th century and founded breweries, a distillery, woollen mills, cotton, tanneries and glassworks. These have all vanished, though a tradition of lace-making and embroidery continues. The main reason to visit is to explore the Slieve Bloom Mountains rising to the west. The town itself in spite of its name doesn't have a "mount" - it's from Irish Móinteach Mílic. That means "the bog next to a river" which, this being Ireland, doesn't much help you locate it.
Get in edit
Bus Éireann 73 trundles across the midlands from Waterford via Thomastown, Kilkenny, Carlow, Stradbally and Portlaoise to Mountmellick. It continues to Killeigh, Tullamore, Clara, Moate and Athlone. There are two M-Sa and one on Sunday.
Local Link Bus 558 from Portlaoise only runs on Tuesday.
Mountmellick's 1 main bus stop is central on Market Street.
Portlaoise is the nearest railway station, with hourly trains from Dublin Heuston heading for Galway or Cork. It also has direct buses from Dublin Airport.
By road from Dublin follow N7 / M7 towards Portlaoise. Take Exit 15 at Emo and follow R422 west to Mountmellick.
The spur from the Grand Canal at Monasterevin via Portarlington to Mountmellick closed in 1960, so you can't get here by boat. The main canal and some of its branches have been restored for leisure boating but there are no plans to re-open this spur.
Get around edit
You need wheels to reach the hiking trails in the Slieve Bloom mountains.
- Town centre of Mountmellick is 18th / 19th century low-rise, though mostly grey-harled or whitewashed rather than the usual multiple colours of an Irish small town. Its main O'Connell Square has a large metal "Christmas tree" erected each December.
- Mountmellick Embroidery Museum, off Pearse St, ☏ . This wasn't open in 2021. Donation.
- St Joseph's is the RC church on Sarsfield St.
- Emo Court: see Portarlington for this grand neo-classical mansion. It's closed for restoration until 2022.
- 1 Brittas Forest near Clonaslee has lowland walking trails around a lake. Brittas Castle was a 19th century neo-gothic pile that burned down in 1942.
- Hiking in the Slieve Bloom Mountains is the main reason to be here. Mountmellick has good access to the northeast slopes: park at 2 Glenbarrow. Easy trails from there are a 4 km walk along the River Barrow to Glenbarrow Waterfall, and the 10 km Old Mill Loop.
- SuperValu is on Davitt St, southeast side of Mountmellick. It's open M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-20:00.
- Chen's Chinese on Parnell St does takeaway daily 17:00-00:30. Four Seasons Chinese on Patrick St has similar hours.
- Golden Grill on Patrick St and Roberto's on Sarsfield St do fish & chips, burgers and pizza.
- Hare's Corner next to the museum is open daily 09:00-17:00.
- Dowling's Bar is at 45 O'Moore St, Hollow Bar is on Church St, and Moloney's Gaelic Bar is at 27 Patrick St.
- Lalor's Bar and Turley's Pub are 1 km east on Harbour St.
- Rosenallis village has Poole's Tavern.
- Clonaslee village has Mary Hickey's, Fallon's and Cosy Bar close together on Main St.
As of June 2021, Mountmellick has 4G from all Irish carriers. There's mobile coverage west through Rosenallis and Clonaslee with Eir and Three, but no signal from Vodafone.
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- Portlaoise is a transport hub and has places to stay and eat; its sights (such as Rock of Dunamase) are some way out.
- Portarlington is near the grand mansion of Emo Court, but that's closed for restoration until 2022.
- Tullamore has two famous distilleries and is on the Grand Canal.
- Kildare is in horse-rearing country, near Curragh racecourse.