If you’re looking to get out and about with the kids, there’s nothing better than a day in fresh air exploring. Laois offers plenty of countryside to choose from, so we’ve rounded up 15 places for great family walks in Laois that are perfect for a day out.
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From village walks to mountains and woodlands, there are plenty of options for family-friendly walks in Laois.
Pack a picnic and get set for a great family adventure!
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Get Out and Explore These 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 Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Here you will find short and longer walks. As there is a tarmac path through parts of the park it is both child- and buggy-friendly and wheelchair accessible.
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 to enjoy.
Entry to the Park is free and is open throughout the year during daylight hours.
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Carrick Wood, Portarlington
When travelling from Portarlington to Portlaoise (R419) after approx 2.5km, turn left and the car park is approx 2.5km down on the right hand side.
This is a small site with a picnic area and forest walk and features a prominent local landmark, the 18th century Spire. There is a short walk up to the spire, and trees provide cover if the weather is showery.
Keep an eye out for local fauna, including foxes, rabbits and many different bird species.
Togher Woods, Portlaoise
Togher Woods is a firm favourite with Portlaoise locals. Although it is privately owned, it is Coillte managed and provides a great local resource.
You will find the Woods very close to the town, near the motorway junction on the Abbeyleix Road. Follow signs for the Rugby Club and take the first turn after the Club.
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Dunmore Wood, Durrow
Dunmore Wood in Durrow is a Coillte biodiversity area and is designated a National Heritage Area/Special Area of Conservation.
Two rivers, Gully and Nore, flow through the property. The cellars of the old house still remain and there are steps from the old house down to the River Nore.
Along the river path you will see a well belonging to the house and the old estate gates, as well as rabbits, badgers, foxes, nature birds and fallow deer.
Rock of Dunamase
This is a historic site and the views from the top make the climb very worthwhile.
Experience the lookout views that were used by the O’Moores to defend their territory from marauding armies. Incidentally the O’Moores were eventually defeated and ejected from the site by the ancestors of Stradbally Hall, the home of Electric Picnic.
The site is suitable for young children who are able to run and walk and will love checking out the views through the various parts of the ruin. Be warned – the children will want to run up and you might be slightly out of breath as a result!
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Slieve Bloom Mountains
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 trails, all of which start at the car park and follow the river for the first section. The trails may 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.
Monicknew Bridge, through which the Glen River flows, is known locally as the Glen Bridge and is in the style of a Roman arch. The bridge, built of sandstone in 1840, is dated on the keystone. The arch is quite impressive when viewed from below on the riverside walk, being 10m high from the river bed. Fauna to watch out for include fallow deer, red and grey squirrel and foxes.
There is a short loop from the car park down to the river bank, under the Glen bridge and back up to the car park. There is a nice grassy area down at the river, a favourite with kids during summer when it is great for a picnic and paddle.
The Cut is a few kilometres past Glen Monicknew and overlooks the valley of Glendineoregan down into Clonaslee and over into County Offaly. The area is ideal for enjoying the view or having a picnic at the picnic tables and benches provided. The car park on the Cut road also has access to the adjoining forest of Glendineoregan. Watch out for wild goats and masses of frog spawn in Spring!
Oughaval Wood, Stradbally
Oughaval Wood contains a number of waymarked trails of varying length, so you can choose what works best for your child’s age and ability. There is a mass rock on the shortest loop.
You will find the Woods about a kilometre past Stradbally on the Carlow Road, on your left going towards Carlow.
Oisin House and Park, Killeshin
Oisin Park is a volunteer-run facility which is free to visit and open from 9am-10pm daily. In addition to walks where you can enjoy the views across the Barrow Valley to the Blackstairs Mountains, there is an enclosed children’s playground, deck/viewing area, free parking and picnic area.
Brittas Lake, Clonaslee
Brittas Lake is adjacent to the village of Clonaslee, 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.
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Short Walks in Laois
- The People’s Park, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise. Perfect for toddlers and the playground caters for 1-8 year olds.
- The River Triogue Park, Portlaoise is great for a short walk and park beside the Togher river.
- There is a pond near the village of Stradbally that is an angling centre. There is a short walk around the pond and picnic benches to enjoy a rest stop.
- Start at the bridge on the Limerick side of Mountrath village and take a short stroll along the banks of the White Horse River.
- Capponellan Wood, just 1.5km south of Durrow, was originally part of the Castle Durrow estate, and can be found on the N8 Dublin to Cork Road.
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Do you have a favourite place to go for walks in Laois as a family? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!