Are you looking to get outdoors and active with the kids? Here’s our pick of the best Family Walks in Laois.
Emo Court Park and Gardens
Emo Court Park & Gardens is a favourite with young and old. The Park is the second largest park in Ireland after the Phoenix Park. There are short and longer walks and as there is a tarmac path through parts of the park it is child and buggy friendly.
Children love to play in the garden area in front of the house and enjoy the walk down to the lake where they can feed the ducks. In Spring there are masses of snow drops and daffodils.
Short local walks
Short stroll along the banks of the White Horse river. Start at the bridge on the Limerick road side of town.
- The People’s Park, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise. Perfect for toddlers and the playground caters for 1 – 8 yr olds.
- River Triogue Park – entrance beside Millview estate on Tower Hill Rd or from Green Road opposite entrance to Dunnes Stores, Mountmellick Rd. Short walk and park beside the Togher river.
- Togher Woods – a firm favourite with Portlaoisers – its privately owned and Coillte managed. Very close to the town as it is near the motorway junction on the Abbeyleix Rd. Follow signs for the Rugby Club and take first turn after the Club.
There is a pond near the village that is an angling centre. There is a short walk around the pond and there are picnic benches.
Forest and Wood walks
Portarlington – Carrick Wood
When travelling from Portarlington road to Portlaoise (R419) after approx 2.5 km, turn left for 2.5 km and the car park is on the right hand side.
It is a small site with a picnic area and forest walk and features a prominent local landmark, the 18th century Spire. Fauna includes foxes, rabbits and many bird species. There is a short walk up to the spire. If the weather is showery don’t worry, the trees provide full cover!
When travelling on the N8 Durrow to Abbeyleix, about 2km outside Durrow take the first minor road on left. The entrance to the wood is about .5km on the right. From the Portlaoise side the entrance is about 5 kms approx past Abbeyleix, just past a sharp bend on the road and is easy to miss.
Two rivers Gully and Nore flow through the property. The site contains rabbits, badgers, foxes, nature birds and fallow deer. The site is a Coillte biodiversity area and is designated National Heritage Area/ Special Area of Conservation. The cellars of the old house still remain and there are steps from the old house down to the river Nore. There is a well belonging to the house situated along the river/path. The old estate gates still exist.
1.5 km south of Durrow on the N8 Dublin to Cork road. Capponellan wood was originally part of Castledurrow estate.
From Clonaslee in the direction of Mountmellick on the R423, the turn for Glenbarrow is on the right hand side 6 km from Clonaslee. There are signposts to Glenbarrow all the way. Glenbarrow is situated an additional 4 km after the turn off from the R423.
Glenbarrow is the source of the River Barrow, the second longest river in Ireland and is one of the most scenic parts of the Slieve Bloom area with its waterfalls and steep valley. The area has four way-marked marked trails. The trails all start at the car park and all follow the river for the first section. The trails could be too strenuous for little people but it is possible to walk up to the waterfall and then return to the car park where there are picnic benches. The ground along the river can be wet and rough so waterproof footwear is advisable. There are hares, foxes, badgers, fallow deer and many bird species present.
The Cut is located on the mountain road between Mountrath and Clonaslee. Leaving Clonaslee in the direction of Mountmellick, the Cut road is located less than half a kilometre on the right hand side. Take this road for 7 km until you reach the peak of the mountain and the road cuts through the top of the mountain, hence the name. The car park and the entrance to the site is on the right hand side just before the road passes through the Cut.
From Mountrath follow the signs for Clonaslee and the Cut is a few kilometers past Glen Monicknew. The car park is the far side of the Cut. The car park faces north and overlooks the valley of Glendineoregan down into Clonaslee and over into County Offaly.
The Rock of Dunamaise is a 3kms drive out from Portlaoise on the Stradbally/ Carlow Road and children enjoy the short but challenging climb.
Oughaval Wood – This is about a kilometre past Stradbally on the Carlow Road, on your left going towards Carlow and contains a number of way marked trails of varying length. There is a mass rock on the shortest loop.
Brittas Lake is adjacent to the village of Clonaslee, Co. Laois at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains. There is a car park near the lake so it is possible to take children on a short walk around the lake and picnic benches are provided.
Do you have a favourite place to walk in Laois with kids? Share it in the comments below.