This Easter, Coillte are encouraging the public to discover Ireland’s wild side, by exploring the many tracks, trails and forest parks available throughout Ireland, while taking in wild woodland flowers and looking out for wildlife waking up for Spring.
Families looking for some ideas for the Easter break are encouraged to go wild and have some down-to-earth fun in one of Coillte’s 12 forest parks or 180 recreation sites. From spring, Ireland’s woodlands come alive and visitors to Coillte forests will be treated to springtime flower displays over the coming weeks.
Coillte, Ireland’s national forestry company, provide a great range of outdoor recreation facilities for all ages and abilities across the country.
Daithi de Forge, Recreation Manager at Coillte said, “Whether you’re a gentle rambler, a seasoned hiker, or a mountain biker, you’ll find plenty of outdoor recreation options this spring. Coillte forests showcase all that is beautiful about spring and no matter where you live in the country you are never far from a variety of wonderful Coillte outdoor amenities. So this Easter we are encouraging the public to cast away the cobwebs, to visit their local forest and put that ‘spring’ in their step.”
“Each year Coillte welcomes over eighteen million visitors to its forests. We provide some of Ireland’s best outdoor recreation opportunities from walking and hiking to family cycling and mountain biking, picnics, fishing and nature watching”, said Daithi de Forge.
Coillte is Ireland’s leading provider of outdoor recreation, landscape management, nature conservation and archaeological heritage to a value of approx. €600m per annum according to independent research. Coillte and the Irish Sports Council have estimated that forest recreation has a public goods value of €97m.
For more information on Coillte’s tracks and trails, including wheelchair and buggy accessible parks, as well as about forest parks and recreation sites nationwide, log onto www.coillteoutdoors.ie.
Coillte would like to remind everyone using the outdoors to bring home their litter, watch out for wild fires and most of all, to have a great day outside!
Coillte Outdoors: www.coillteoutdoors.ie is an information resource for anyone interested in outdoor recreation in Ireland to research and plan activities around the country. The site provides maps and information on the different types of Coillte tracks, trails and other recreation amenities which people can visit.
There are five flagship Coillte mountain bike trail centres:
- Ballinastloe Co. Wicklow.
- Derroura Co. Galway.
- Ballyhoura Co. Limerick.
- Portumna Forest Park, Galway.
- Ticknock Mountain Bike Trails, Dublin.
Coillte’s 12 Forest Parks are spread all around the country and offer a wonderful array of facilities including children’s playgrounds, marked walking and cycling trails alongside scenic woodlands. They are ideal places to take the family on a ramble, spot some nature, and get some fresh air into the lungs over the Easter med-term break. Note: there is a parking fee of €5.00 for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted) at the forest park car parks.
- Ards Forest Park, Donegal
Ards forest Park is situated 5km north of Creeslough on the N56. There several walking trails, including the Binngorm trail, the Salt Marsh Trail and the Sand Dune Trail, which offer great views out across to the sea.
- Dun a Ri Forest Park, Cavan
Dun a Ri Forest Park is situated north of Kingscourt on the R179 to Carrickmacross. There are four signposted walks in Dun a Ri Forest Park as well as a duck pond and lake.
- Killykeen Forest Park, Cavan
Killykeen Forest Park is located on the shore of Lough Oughter in the lake district of Co Cavan. The scenic Forest Park lies on the shores of Lough Oughter. As well as walking trails that lead through dark forests, over bridges and along river banks, there is a children’s playground.
- Rossmore Forest Park, Monaghan
Rossmore Forest Park is located 3.5km south west of Monaghan town. The park has forest and lakeside walks where a wide variety of nature is on show.
- Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon – www.loughkey.ie
Lough Key Forest Park is located on the N4 13km west of Carrick on Shannon and 4 km east of Boyle. In addition to the numerous trails through 350 hectare parkland, Lough Key has many other activities for all the family including Tree Canopy Walk, Boda Borg (weather dependent), Lakeside Café, and the Adventure Play Kingdom.
- Portumna Forest
The Park is adjacent to Portumna town, Co. Galway on the northern side of Lough Derg. There are 4 looped trails in Portumna Forest Park ranging from a multi-access trail suitable for all visitors of approx. 1km length, to a long multi-use trail of over 10kms for walkers and cyclists.
- Donadea Forest Park, Kildare
The Park is located 8 KM south of Kilcock on R407 to Naas. Donadea has abundant wildlife, many walks and there are many historical features, including the remains of the castle to be seen.
- Avondale Forest Walk, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
Avondale House, famed for its variety of trees as well as Charles Stuart Parnell’s home stead. It provides a variety of tree trails and walks ranging in duration from one to five hours, passing through a wide variety of species of trees including Maple, Beech, Oak, Douglas and Silver fir, Pines, Cedars and Larches. Avondale is home to most of our common woodland animals including red squirrel, badger, hedgehog, stoat, fox, rabbit and hare along with a rich bird life with over ninety species having been recorded here.
- Curragh Chase Forest Park, Limerick
Curragh Chase Forest Park is located 22km west of Limerick on the N69 coast road close to Kilcornan and Askeaton. There are a number of looped way marked trails in the park to suit all visitors. They vary from the multi-access trails suitable for wheelchair users and family walkers to the longer Curragh and Glenisca trails suitable for those looking for more demanding walking and cycling.
- Farran Forest Park, Cork
Farran Forest Park is located 20km west of Cork city and just north of the N22 towards Macroom. There are 2 waymarked looped forest trails in the park; the Woodland Loop and the Enclosure Trail. There is also a children’s playground, just a short distance from the car park, which has an adventure trail to captivate the imagination of the adventurous and energetic children.
- Cavan Burren Park
Cavan Burren Park is a new geo-park opened earlier in 2014this year in partnership with Cavan County Council. There are a number of trails throughout the park, which is dotted with unique geological features and important national monuments.
Also for the more adventurous hiker there is the Nephin Beg Park in Co. Mayo, Ireland’s first wilderness area, which spans over 11,000 hectares.
- Gougane Barra National Forest Park
Gougane Barra National Forest Park is bordered by three mountain ranges and the wide open River Lee Valley. It is here that St. Finbarr, Patron Saint of Cork, planted his monastery. This is Ireland’s first National Park. The forest park is comprised of 350 acres that were planted by the Irish Forestry Service in 1938. The trees are primarily Lodgepole Pine, Sitka Spruce, and Japanese Larch.
Follow trails to scenic views, across bridges and up hillsides. This park is tucked in a valley that feels like a mini Yosemite Valley. Lush places to picnic, hike, and inhale the fresh air.