Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Donadea Forest Park, just outside Co. Dublin

Maybe you've been to Donadea Forest Park a couple of times... or at least heard of it? know someone who's visited it?

I have to be honest: last month I heard of it for the first time. We're always looking for new places to visit, and we love Irish Forest Parks and being in close contact with nature, so I do not know how we've missed this hidden gem for so long!

Some weeks ago some friends (also expats) told us that they had visited the park and that they fell in love with it. We do trust their opinion very much, so a couple of Sundays ago, we got up early, packed a couple of sandwiches and some bottles of water, put on our wellies and drove to the place.

The park is located just outside Co. Dublin, in northwest Co. Kildare, but only 30 kms - a half an hour drive - from Dublin city. The perfect place to spend a nice sunny day with the kids!

It has an approximate area of 640 acres (=260 ha = 2.6km2). Just a little bit of history: in the 1800s the Donadea estates were one of the largest in Co. Kildare, amounting to almost 16,000 acres. They belonged to the Aylmer family. Time went by and the estate reduced in size for different historical reasons. The last Aylmer to live at Donadea castle was Caroline Maria Aylmer; when she died in 1935, she left the estate to the Church of Ireland, who in turn passed it on to the Irish state. In 1981, Paddy Power T.D. for Kildare and Minister for Fisheries and Forestry opened Donadea Demesne to the public ( Info extracted from www.abandonedireland.com).

The place has lots of attractive places to visit, like the castle, 

the lake, hundreds of little and big paths to follow inside the woodland (60% broadleaf and 40% Norwegian conifer), the 9/11 memorial .... and Santa!, who is visiting the park these days (everyday until Christmas Eve). 

And if you get tired of walking, you can take a break and relax having a nice and hot cup of coffee in their cosy cafe.

We loved it! It is true that we were lucky and the weather remained dry during the day we visited... but we loved absolutely everything we saw there. Here are the pictures we took - I hope you like them too.

If you have the chance, go and visit...and when you're back, write a little comment to the post and let us know if you liked it :-).

DON'T GET LOST!: Donadea is located 8kms south of Kilcock on R407 to Naas. Here are some instructions that you should read before leaving (location map, opening times, etc).

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