Fairies and fairy tales have always figured large in Irish culture, and as a parent, I think it’s nice to see that fairies are still a big part of childhood. There’s something magical about kids setting off to see if they can find fairies so here are Places to Find Magical Fairy Trails in Ireland:
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Fairy Trails in Dublin and Wicklow
Fairy Wood at Corkagh Park
The Fairy Wood at Corkagh Park is the perfect place to discover little fairy doors hidden high up in the trees. The name of each of the fairies has been written on a plaque below the tree they live in with a description of what they do. There are many fairy characters to discover such as “Big Red” the guardian of the fairy wood; “Ray” who helps the sun shine through the trees and “Luna”, the moonlight fairy. There is also a fairy picnic area, a “Worry Tree” where you can leave all your worries behind and a “Wishing Tree” with a special seat where you can sit and make a wish!
Tymon Park Fairy Trail
The Tymon Park Fairy Trail in Tallaght offers another fairy trail experience as you go round the walk you will spot fairy doors on trees. Each colourful door has a plaque (in Irish and English) with information about the fairy that inhabits the tree. There’s also a picnic area, lake and children’s playgroun.
Lucan Fairy Trail
The Fairy Trail at Lucan Demesne is another fun interactive fairy trail giving young visitors the opportunity to discover a series of handmade wooden Irish Fairy Doors. You can use your smartphone to find out all about the 17 individual fairies who live behind each door as you explore the trail.
Marlay Park Fairy Tree
Marlay Park in Rathfarnham is home to the Fairy Tree, a special tree in the middle of the woods, home to local fairies who have built a series of very impressive towers on top, stairways and balconies on the inside of the hollow tree trunk and a doorway at the base. The car parks in Marlay are free, and there’s a cafe to head to after seeing the Tree. At weekends in summer time there is a food market in the old courtyard of the Georgian house so you could pick up picnic supplies too.
Fairy Trail Ardgillan Castle
The Fairy Trail at Ardgillan Castle leads you around the woodland area of the walled garden and while kids are busy spotting fairy houses, they will also learn about the different varieties of trees at Ardgillan. Download the map and quiz to take with you or pick one up at the reception in Ardgillan Castle. The Fairy Trail is free to visit.
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Fairy Trails in Leinster
Fairy Trail at Irish National Stud
The fairies have returned from their long winter holidays to take up residence at the Irish National Stud. When you visit they will give you a fairy trail map which you can follow through the enchanting woodlands, alongside the lake in St Fiachra’s garden (be ‘fairy’ careful here) and through the stable yards, where you might spot Hattie taking good care of the newborn foals.
Once you’ve spotted all the fairies, stop by their fun playground and make your wish on the special wishing seat.
Fairy Trail at Russborough House
Lady’s Island at Russborough House is the home of Faylinn the fairy and his fairy friends. They have lived in their beautifully quaint homes for more than 270 years.
When you visit and take part in the magical fairy trail, you are able to learn the fairy language, enjoy fairy games and puzzles, and colour in Shaylee, the shyest fairy.
While there you can also enjoy a wildlife trail, tree trail, audio trail, a beech hedge maze, children’s playground and a walled garden. Do check the opening hours before you travel.
Lough Boora Fairy Avenue
At Lough Boora Discovery Park in County Offaly, Bord na Móna have partnered with The Irish Fairy Door Company to create fairy trail called the Fairy Avenue, which is home to 14 fairies. Pick up a map from the Lough Boora Discovery Park Visitors Centre and find your way from the Fairy Ring all the way around Fairy Avenue. Be sure to visit all the Fairy doors along the way to learn more about who lives there. And stop at the Wishing Seat to make a wish of course.
Wells House Enchanted Woodland Walk
Kids will enjoy the Enchanted Woodland Walk at Wells House in Wexford, complete with interactive fairy doors and castles. As well as the fairy fun, there are wooden sculptures to enjoy including The Gruffalo, racing car, fox, and many more hidden treasures like bug hotels & a troll! The Enchanted Woodland Walk is included in entry ticket price.
Fairy Trail at The Johnstown Estate, Meath
At The Johnstown Estate there are magical happenings and new discoveries around every corner. Some very special guests checked in to the hotel recently and are now living in their enchanted woodland by the hotel. The fairies do welcome visitors into the woodland but they can be shy and may not appear by themselves. However, sometimes you may catch a glimpse of them as they go about their day so keep your eyes peeled to catch a glimpse of the magic!
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Fairy Trails in Munster
Templemore Park Fairy Trail
At the Templemore Park Fairy Trail you can follow the Fairy Trail and challenge yourself to find all the little fairy doors hidden in the trees. You don’t need a map, just follow the path passing beside the pitch and putt course. Head over the heritage stone bridge. Keep straight ahead until you come to a T junction keeping to the right in a circle. Watch out for the fairies as you go on this adventure and enjoy.
There’s also a children’s playground in the park, free car parking and picnic area. The park is open seven days a week.
Fairy Mountain Athea
Hidden away behind the Memorial Hall and the Giants Garden in the village of Athea, Co. Limerick is a unique trail which is home to ten fairies who each have their own fairy door and a purpose. At the end of the trail you will find a Fairy Post Box where you can post your own message to the fairies.
There is also a worry-tree called ‘Croga’ which promises to take away any worries you might have if you place your hand on the plaque attached to it. The Fairy Trail is open to the public all year round and admission is free.
Fairies in Dromkeen Woods, Cork
In Dromkeen Woods outside the picturesque village of Innishannon, you’ll find 20 fairy houses, each with their own brightly-painted front door tucked at the base of a tree. Kids will enjoy the short forest walk spotting the doors, it takes about 30-45 minutes.
Fairy Trail Union Hall
You’ll find a Fairy Trail within Rineen Woods at Union Hall in Cork with several tiny ‘fairy’ houses, some people believe that this is where the tooth fairy lives, and they excitedly leave their letters here. There’s a nice walk which takes about 30-40 minutes (depending on speed of kids) and a picnic area by the car park with picnic tables. You might need boots/wellies if it’s been raining as the path can get muddy.
Fairy Trails in Kerry at Parknasilla Resort and Derrynane House
The Fairy Trail at Parknasilla Resort in County Kerry is one of two Irish Fairy Trails in Kerry. Searching for the fairy homes on the trail makes for a great family fun adventure. Even on a rainy day you will be sheltered in the woods so don’t let rain stop you. The trails are free to visit.
The second Irish Fairy Trail in Kerry can be found in the wooded surrounds of Derrynane House, Caherdaniel. Pick up a map at the cafe and enjoy finding the 20 fairy houses on the trail.
Fairy Trails in Ulster
Erica’s Fairy Forest Cootehill
Erica’s Fairy Forest in Cootehill, Cavan was created by her parents Natasha and Ciaran to honour Erica’s memory and her unshakable belief in fairies and magical kingdoms. It is also a thank you to the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas whose love and support was never ending throughout Erica’s journey.
Fairy Walk in Donegal Town
You can enjoy a flat walk along the west bank of the River Eske and Donegal Bay, it’s 1.5km each way and starts at the west side of the Killybeg road/N56 Bridge. There’s a high bank and a low bank walk, and a lovely way to spend an hour searching for the little fairy doors in the trees. There’s even a post box for kids to send a letter to the fairies. There’s plenty of shade and benches to rest along the way.
Fairy Trails in Connacht
Fairy Garden in The Ardilaun Hotel, Galway
When visiting The Ardilaun Fairy Garden the fairy experts advice is to tip toe and to stay really quiet when out searching as you might have a chance to spot one of the beautiful glittering fairies or see their trail of magic fairy dust. The fairies picked the safest part of the garden to the rear of the hotel’s garden patio near the fountain at The Ardilaun, away from the car park. This is going to be a lovely thing to do for families dining in the hotel or attending events – from weddings to family parties.
Fairy Garden from Bloom to Portiuncula Hospital, Galway
Two Longford women, Grainne Brady and Jasmine Elkhershi, who received a certificate of distinction for their postcard garden at Bloom, have donated it to St Therese’s children’s ward at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.
The garden, which is open to the public and is there for children coming for a sleepover at the hospital to enjoy, comprises of beautiful plants, sponsored by Ardcarne Garden Centre, fairy houses, a wishing well and a fairy trail, where children can explore the trees in the hospitals grounds to find the resident fairies. A wishing chair was artfully crafted by the maintenance team at the hospital and added to the garden. The Longford ICA craft class made the fairy doors for the Fairy Hotel.
Belleek Woods Fairy Trail
An enchanted land awaits you on the magical Belleek Woods Fairy Trail, Ballina in County Mayo. As you follow the Belleek Woods Fairy Trail, you’ll see their tiny little fairy houses, high in the trees and hidden in tree roots. Colourful and miniature, each house reflects the character of its tiny resident!
Ballina fairies are secretive and shy and like to be left alone, so do feel free to visit and admire their houses, but try not to disturb them. They love children and if you treat them well they may grant your wish. Remember to be quiet as you approach and you might just catch a glimpse!
Gillighan’s World, Sligo
At Gillighan’s World near Tubbercurry in Sligo you’ll find Enchanted Faerie Gardens located at Knocknashee, one of Ireland’s ancient sacred hills, and traditionally known as the “Hill of The Fairies”. There are miniature villages and delightful faerie habitats nestling in beautiful water and gardens. Kids will enjoy exploring the glade, pet haven, water cave. Enjoy a picnic and see the spectacular panoramic views from the Celtic Faerie Fort. Admission fee.
Over to you now. Have you visited any of these fairy trails in Ireland? Or do you know of any others we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.