County Monaghan lies far off the main tourist grid. It's a land of low, rolling hills with some superb driving potential. In fact, the only way to get around is with hire car in County Monaghan.
There aren't many outright sightseeing attractions in County Monaghan. Instead, the few tourists who do venture out here do so for the raw Irish countryside experience. Towns in these parts are staunchly traditional, brimming with rustic accommodation and the kind of hospitality that's hard to find in bigger cities like Dublin or Shannon.
Carrickmacross has a few historical sites that warrant a stop. A couple of churches in the vicinity are of historic interest, as are the Poor Law Union Workhouse and the Courthouse. This is also the go-to souvenir depot for lace embroidery and handicrafts. Drive over to Clones for an in-depth look at the ‘Clones Cyclone', the famous boxer who bested Mike Tyson in 2005. Local ruins of a 6th-century monastery-turned-abbey are also of note.
Many of the hotels in County Monaghan are in Monaghan Town, where the county museum covers every inch of the region's history and literary contributions. The town is around 140 kilometres out from Dublin, so it's just as easy to drive in for a day visit. Since tourism is little more than an afterthought in this area, most accommodation comes in the form of small family-run inns and bed and breakfasts.
A hire car in County Monaghan is indispensable, as buses only follow major routes between a few cities in this area. The only major motorways passing through are the N2 and the A3, with coaches connecting from the bus station in Monaghan Town to Dublin (2 hours), Derry (2 hours) and Belfast (2 hours).