Midlands & "Midwest"

The Midlands for our purposes include all of Co. Longford, Co. Westmeath, Co. Offaly, almost all of Co. Laois, most of Co. Tipperary, western Co. Kildare and Co. Meath, eastern Co. Clare, Co. Galway, and Co. Roscommon, southeastern Co. Leitrim and southern Co. Cavan. Although widely considered the most boring part of Ireland, the flat middle one has to cross in order to reach the interesting bits (rather as the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating once remarked that Asia was what one flew over on the way to or from London!),  this extensive region actually well repays exploration.

Midlands Ireland, an oil painting by Patrick Ruane

The Midlands are explored by stretches of ByRoute 6ByRoute  7ByRoute 8, ByRoute 9ByRoute 10, ByRoute 11, ByRoute 12, ByRoute 13, ByRoute 14, ByRoute 15, ByRoute 16  and ByRoute 17, with Special Pages on The Shannon Waterways, Athlone & Environs, Mullingar & Environs, Tullamore & Environsand the North Midlands Lakes.

The “Midwest” is a term that is used in different ways according to the speaker. Some apply it to all of County Limerick, County Clare and even County Galway, which is absurd. Others include parts of County Tipperary and even County Offaly, which might make same sense in terms of river-based commerce.  Here it only refers to the Shannon Industrial Zone, hideous but apparently necessary for Ireland’s economic wellbeing, such as it is;  it roughly overlaps with the area covered by the Special Pages on Limerick City & Environs, which also take in several parts of Co. Limerick and southeastern Co. Clare.