Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A very pleasant day out: Castlecomer Discovery Park (Co. Kilkenny)

School break again! Not sure if I'm saying it with great joy or great worry... probably all working parents have the same mixed feelings: what to do with the kids during these two full weeks the school will be closed?

I cannot complain though: I was able to take some days off work and decided to take the most out of the break (in spite of the weather!):

We got up early this morning, put on our "explorer" clothes and told our car GPS device to take us to Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co Kilkenny. Did we know what we would find there??? Not really... but had good feelings about it :-)

It was early when we left home (around 09:00 am) so our first stop had to be to have some breakfast, of course. An we chose a place on our way to Castlecomer: Avoca Cafe in Rathcoole.

If you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know by now that I love Avoca: the stores are very tastefully decorated and the cafes serve really food (a bit overprized for my taste and budget, but once in a while we treat ourselves and go there for breakfast). The one in Rathcoole could not be an exception: I like it even more than the others because it is usually not so crowded. This morning, the cafe was almost empty when we arrived:

Breakfast was as pleasant as usual @ the Birdcage Cafe. Dad's French toast looked amazing and the kids ordered a bacon and sausage bap that smelled great!

We sat at a table close to the rooftop terrace, with magnificent views, which made our meal even more enjoyable. The decoration is very pretty (or "cool" as the kids said): some of the lamps are cages, with little birdies inside

And I loooove the huge mobile hanging from the ceiling by the stairs: made of coffe cups!!! So original

As you can see, the attraction of Avoca is not only to its food: it's a bit of everything: the food, the atmosphere, the decoration, the products they sell.... the whole package from the moment you cross the door

A half an hour later we were leaving the place to continue our journey to Castlecomer. We got there after 40 minutes.

The park was not very crowded (the weather was not the best!), so the car park was almost empty - FREE ENTRANCE TO THE PARK, by the way...

Two minutes to put on our coats and start our walk. The trails are well signaled, so we had no difficulties finding our way. As we started walking the sun started shining (yessss!). Nice, not so complicated paths, well signaled, with some surprises along the way

For the ones who like fishing: there are two rainbow trout fishing lakes in the park - one of the lakes  is reserved for fly fishing and the other one is for bait fishing

And also there are some activities prepared for the summer: canoes and pedal boats were floating on the quiet waters of one of the lakes, waiting for the weather to improve...

After an hour walk, it started raining so we decided to go back to the car as the sky was turning "scary": after all this years, I'm still afraid of Irish skies specially during spring time!

The kids wanted to go to the playground (located at the entrance of the park) so Dad and I went to the information center in the meantime. There is a cafe there and also a permanent Coal Mining Exhibition that, during 45 minutes, takes the visitor back to the site's coal mining past (the mines officially closed in 1969).

Right outside the visitor center, in the former stable yard, a bunch of little craft shops where very skilled craft people and artisans sell their unique products.

Last but not least, specially if you have older kids: the tree top adventure walk! A 140 m long walk 10 meters above the ground... just go and try it (do not forget to pre-book in advance!)

Time to go back home! Back to the car towards Dublin. Being outside all day can be tiresome and the kids took advantage of the drive back to rest a little bit :-)

As a summary: Castlecomer is a very nice place to visit. You won't find spots of "dramatic beauty" there, or high risk paths, just quiet relaxing pleasant trails and activities to make a fantastic day out. Totally recommendable!!!!

1 comment:

  1. ¿y se queda "cuerpo de siesta" garantizado? Entonces este paseo es negocio redondo.
    Gracias por compartir tan bonito reportaje de Castlecomer
    Tia Alice