Are you looking for outdoor activities for kids. Here’s our pick of 8 Great Family Walks in Kilkenny, in no particular order!
#1. Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum
Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum, Inistioge provides a mixture of formal and informal gardens to stroll around, with something for all the family – the arboretum containing many specimen trees, the walled garden abundant with flowers and vegetables, the yew walk, rose garden, Monkey Puzzle Avenue and Noble Fir Avenue.
Refreshments are available in the tea rooms. There are also picnic tables, a playground and toilet facilities. There is a €4 admission fee per car, payable on exit.
#2. Jenkinstown Wood
Jenkinstown Wood is a great location for a family day out. There are two marked walks through the forest – the Walled Garden Loop (2.5 km) and the Jenkinstown Wood Loop (4km). Both walks start and finish at the car park and are suitable for all family members. There are plenty of benches so you can take a rest along the way if necessary.
One notable item of interest is St. Colman’s Well. There are also picnic areas with picnic tables, grassy areas for the children to play on, and public toilet facilities. The car park is open from 9.30am to 5.00pm. Maps of the walks can be found at www.coillteoutdoors.ie
#3. Ballyrafton Wood
Ballyrafton Wood, Ballyfoyle is a small wood, just off the Castlecomer Road at the turn to Jenkinstown Wood. A circular trail through the wood is unmarked, but starts and ends at the carpark. It’s a nice length for younger children. The trail is a little uneven in parts but you should be able to manage a stroller.
Keep younger kids close on the return half of the trail, as there are some steep slopes down towards the river. There are picnic tables in the carpark.
#4. Mountain Grove
Mountain Grove, Piltown is a marked walk along trails through pretty woodlands with some small streams. It is posted as being 4km long, but it seemed shorter when we walked it. It is not suitable for pushchairs, and we recommend waterproof boots as some of the ground is quite soft and muddy – even after a spell of dry weather! A map of the walk is available on www.trailkilkenny.ie
#5. Coill an Fhaltaigh
Coill an Fhaltaigh, off the Callan Road (from Kilkenny, turn right off the Callan Road at Castleinch – the sign for the car boot sale and recycling centre). This is a millenium forest covering 230 acres. There is a pond and wildlife sanctuary with lots of flora and fauna. Dogs must be kept on a leash. There are three marked walks, all of which are suitable for all of the family, including pushchairs.
For those in need of a rest along the way, there are plenty of benches. Picnic tables are adjacent to the car park. Before you go, check out www.millenniumforests.com to find out where your household’s millenium tree is planted, and then use the maps in the park to visit your tree.
#6. Kilkenny Castle Park & Gardens
Kilkenny Castle Park & Gardens – The castle is set in beautiful grounds which can provide a great afternoon out for the family. To the north are the beautiful rose gardens surrounding a large fountain. To the south are parklands with rolling hills, meandering paths, a wildlife area and a large playground.
It is a lovely venue to walk and picnic with the whole family. There aren’t many picnic tables, but there is plenty of open space in which to spread a picnic blanket. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
#7. Lacken Walk
Lacken Walk, Kilkenny City – The redevelpment features a boardwalk, as well as picnic tables and seating along the way. The walk provides 1.6km of scenic view along the riverside from Maudlin Street to Ossary Bridge.
Walkers can now take the Lacken walk as far as the ring road, where they can then travel to the Bennettsbridge roundabout, down by the Black Quarry and onto the Canal walk, back towards Kilkenny Castle & city. If taking a buggy, you will need help at the Lacken Steps at the Dublin Road access point.
Poyntz Road, Inistioge – This is a magical walk along the bank of the River Nore in Inistioge (starting beside O’Donnell’s pub in the Square). It is narrow in places so I would not recommend it for pushchairs or younger children. However, older children should enjoy the walk and the scenery, and have fun trying to spot all of the flora and fauna listed on the nature board at the start of the walk. After about 1km, the trail leads slightly away from the river bank, and if you follow it for about 2km you will reach the waterfall and ruins of the Swiss Cottage. Again, this is suitable only for older children as the climb to the ruins is steep in places.
Alternatively, instead of following the river, you can take a right turn up the hill to Sandford Castle (signposted), to the ruins of a castle from the late 18th century. The walk to the castle is through lovely woodland, and the views from the castle of the village, bridge and countryside below are stunning.