Located in the ‘heart’ of Ireland, the Midland Region encompasses the counties of Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath. The landscape of the Midland Region is diverse, dominated by the River Shannon and its callows along the western boundary, interspersed with the lakes, wetlands, bogs, agricultural lands and eskers throughout the central area, the upland area of Slieve Bloom Mountains to the south and the rolling landscape of the Barrow and Nore valley to the south east.
Road access to the region has progressed significantly in recent years with many large-scale projects completed or nearing completion. Intra and inter regional transport connectivity has been enhanced considerably by the completion of the M6, M7 and the M8 interurban routes. Further improvements are proposed to the M4 interurban route. National rail routes radiate out of Dublin and connect with: Longford and Mullingar on the Sligo line; Athlone, Clara, Tullamore and Portarlington on the Galway and Mayo lines; and Portlaoise and Portarlington on the Cork Line. The region’s central location enables easy access to the airports at Dublin, with Shannon and Knock providing alternative facilities, and the major seaports at Dublin, Rosslare, Waterford and Cork.
With its strategic road and rail links, in the ‘heart’ of Ireland, the Midland Region is afforded unique accessibility between Dublin and all other areas and functions as an inter regional corridor between the north and south of the country. The Midland Region has much to offer the tourist, from both a land based and water based perspective, natural heritage, archaeology, architecture, festivals and food are important land-based associations. Water based visitors can enjoy the River Shannon, the Grand and Royal canals, and the numerous lakes throughout the region which offer opportunities for outdoor activities and pursuits including boating angling, canoeing, cycling, walking and wildlife watching. Associated attractions include Lough Ree Environmental Summer School and the monastic sites of Clonmacnoise, Fore, Ardagh and the islands of Lough Ree. The wetland areas of Lough Boora Parklands and the Slieve Bloom Environmental Park present an innovative way for tourists to interact with the unique landscape of the peatlands.
The region is host to many multi-national companies as borne out by the development and expansion of ICT related activities (Ericsson), pharmaceuticals and related activities (Covidien, Elan and KCI) in Athlone, medical devices / medical services (Isotron Ireland, Integra LifeSciences, Covidien) in Tullamore and engineering (Taconic International and Patterson Pumps) in Mullingar.
The region encourages, supports and promotes the development of innovative and entrepreneurial activities throughout the region, through the numerous enterprise and innovation supporting agencies in the Midland Region, including the Midlands Innovation and Research Centre, which combined offer investors, innovators and entrepreneurs a receptive and supportive knowledge driven and based environment in which to grow and develop their business. The region is also recognised as a national conferencing location, thus, the region has the ability to meet conferencing and corporate entertaining needs of business.