|Well-signposted walks, over 500 acres…|
Explore Dense Woodland and Themed Walks
Avondale House and Forest Park offers something for all the family, with a children’s playground, walking trails through the dense woodland and plenty of spots for picnics. This is a great option for a day trip out from Kippure Estate, loved for both its natural surroundings and as the birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest political leaders in Irish history. Whether you’re interested in the historical house or the stunning wilderness, there’s plenty to keep you busy on your visit to Avondale.
The house was built in the late 18th century, nestled in a 500 acre estate stuffed with a diverse collection of trees and shrubbery. The estate stretches down the banks of the Avonmore River, and was originally built for Samuel Hayes – one of the forefathers of Irish forestry. After his death, it was transferred to the Parnell family and Charles Stewart Parnell was born there. He went on to become the president of the Irish National Land League and the leading proponent of land reform. His commemorative museum is situated in the house itself, and the outlaying grounds are a natural exhibit of the history of Irish forestry.
With such extensive grounds, there are plenty of options for scenic walks. You can traverse the Cairn Walk, the Exotic Tree Trail, the Centenery Trail, the Pine Tree Trail and the Slí na Sláinte (in English, the “Path to Heath”). There’s also the Railway Walk, a trip from Rathdrum Railway station which curves through the forest and to Avondale. These are all well-signposted so you won’t end up lost somewhere in the 500-acre grounds!
In Avondale there are a multitude of woodland animals, from hedgehogs and foxes through to red squirrels, badgers and rabbits. It’s also home to over 90 different species of bird, providing ample opportunities for the wildlife-lover. There are also options for the kids, including a playground, a deer pen and tons of spots for scenic family picnics. Plus, there is also a small bookshop and a cafe where you can relax after a day on the grounds.
Avondale House and Forest Park is a 45 minute drive from Kippure Estate, located one and a half miles south of Rathdrum. You can get there from the N11; just take Junction 17 to Rathdrum. It’s open from Easter to the end of October.
If you’re still looking for a day trip during your stay at Kippure, the next article in the series introduces the sandy shores of Brittas Bay!