Get Up Get Out! Coillte Forest Parks for Families

Jill Holtz

March 5, 2013

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Mykidstime has partnered with Coillte Outdoors for Get Up Get Out! a special campaign to give parents lots of fun ideas for outdoor activities for kids!  Coillte Forest Parks are a great place to take the kids, for walking, cycling, picnicking and general outdoor fun!  Here are 11 great places to go around Ireland:

11 Fantastic Coillte Forest Parks

Coillte’s 11 Forest Parks are spread all around the country and offer a wonderful array of facilities including children’s playgrounds, picnic sites, marked walking and cycling trails alongside the beautiful scenic woodlands.  They are ideal places to take the family and have a ramble, spot some nature, have a picnic if the weather permits and to do some fun outdoor activities and games!

Ards Forest Park, Donegal

ards forest donegalArds Forest Park is situated 5km north of Creeslough on the N56.

Amenities includ: Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Barbecue area, Walking Trails

The sea is one of the real treasures of this forest park and there are several trails, the Binngorm trail, the Salt Marsh Trail and the Sand Dune Trail, which offer an opportunity to experience it in all its facets.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Dun a Ri Forest Park, Cavan

Dun a Ri Forest Park is situated north of Kingscourt on the R179 to Carrickmacross.

Amenities include Picnic Site, Public toilet, Walking Trails.

There are four signposted walks in Dun a Ri Forest Park as well as a duck pond and lake.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (coins only 50c, €1 &€2 accepted)

Killykeen Forest Park, Cavan

Killykeen Forest Park is located on the shore of Lough Oughter in the lake district of Co Cavan.

Amenities include Picnic Site, Playground and walking trails.

Very scenic Forest Park as it lies on the shores of Lough Oughter which is part of the River Erne system. As well as walking trails that lead through dark forests, over bridges and along river banks, there are Picnic areas and children’s playground.

Rossmore Forest Park, Monaghan

Rossmore Forest Park is located 3.5km south west of Monaghan town.

Amenities include Picnic Site, Public Toilet, Walking Trails, Viewing Points

Rossmore Forest Park has forest and lakeside walks, nature trails with viewing points as well as picnic areas.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon

Lough Key Forest Park is located on the N4 13km west of Carrick on Shannon and 4 km east of Boyle.

Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Barbecue, Boat launch, CampsiteCaravan park

lough key forest parkThe ‘Lough Key Experience’ will take you on an engaging audio journey through the history, flora and fauna of the Park using the 19th century underground tunnels with the refurbished Moylurg viewing tower.

There’s also a contemporary Tree Canopy Walk, the first of its kind in Ireland.  This 300m long creation of timber and steel gently rises 9m above the woodland floor offering an engaging ‘birds eye’ view of nature as it meanders through the treetops offering panoramic views of the island-studded lake.

The innovative weather independent Boda Borg is a unique Swedish concept containing fun-filled activities, imaginative puzzles and enjoyable tasks but no instructions!  Once you enter the challenging two-storey Boda Borg only teamwork using countless different skills, ingenuity, trial and error will allow you to progress from room to room.

The outdoor Adventure Play Kingdom is an enclosed and stimulating play area for children with towers, slides, climbing frames, roundabouts, swings, puzzles and other innovative play equipment providing hours of entertainment for a variety of ages and abilities.

You can also stay in their Caravan and Camping Park for a few nights and take time to explore the 350 hectare estate from its 19th century parkland with majestic trees, follies, bridges and canals to the numerous walks and trails through the native woodlands, Bog Garden and Coillte forests.

Portumna Forest Park, Galway

portumna forest parkPortumna Forest Park is adjacent to Portumna town, Co. Galway on the northern side of Lough Derg.

Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Barbecue, Walking Trails, Cycling Trails, Viewing Points, Waymarked Trails.

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

Donadea Forest Park is located 8 KM south of Kilcock on R407 to Naas.

Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Orienteering Course, Waymarked Trails, Arboreta/Gardens

Donadea has some lovely woodland walks with lake and ducks, and many historical remains.  Small tea rooms open all year round. Plenty of picnic spots throughout park. There are many historical features including the remains of the castle and walled gardens, St. Peter’s church, an ice house and boat house. The Lime tree avenue planted in the 19th century formed the original entrance to the estate. Another feature of the park is the 9/11 Memorial, a scaled replica of the twin towers carved in limestone. The small lake is brimming with flora and fauna including mallard duck, waterhen, fish and a beautiful display of water lilies in the summer.There is a café open throughout the year.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow

Avondale Forest Park is situated 1.5 miles south of Rathdrum on the L2149.

Amenities include Arboreta/Gardens, Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Orienteering Course, Walking Trails, Viewing Points

avondale wicklow

The park has six way-marked walks and trails:

• River Walk

• Cairn Walk

• Exotic Tree Trail

• Pine Tree Trail

• Centenary Trail

• Slí na Slainte (Path to Health)

There’s also a new Railway Walk – You can walk to Avondale from Rathdrum Railway Station through the forest.

Avondale is home to most of our common woodland animals including red squirrel, badger, hedgehog, stoat and fox.  The rabbit and hare are occasionally visitors.  Rich bird life exists with over ninety species having been recorded here.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Curragh Chase Forest Park, Limerick

curragh chase forest parkCurragh Chase Forest Park is located 22km west of Limerick on the N69 coast road close to Kilcornan and Askeaton. 

Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Barbecue, Boat launch, Orienteering Course, Walking Trails, Cycling Trails, Arboreta/Gardens

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.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Farran Forest Park, Cork

Farran Forest Park is located 20km west of Cork city and just north of the N22 towards Macroom.

Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Orienteering Course, Walking Trails, Viewing Points

farran forest park

Farran Forest Park has ample car parking, toilets, and a playground.  The wildlife enclosure holds a small herd of Red and Fallow deer which can easily be viewed from the waymarked Enclosure Trail that skirts the boundary fence.  Adults and children alike get great enjoyment from being able to observe these beautiful animals.

The duck pond, which was originally a ‘flighting pond’, includes duck species such as; Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, and Shoveler along with Greylag, White Fronted, Barnacle, Snow and Egyptian geese.  An old shooting lodge adjacent to the wildlife enclosure has been converted into a woodland ecology display centre.

The children’s playground, just a short distance from the car park, has an adventure trail to captivate the imagination of the adventurous and energetic children. The challenge here is to get around it without touching the ground.

There are 2 waymarked looped forest trails in the park; the Woodland Loop and the Enclosure Trail.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Guagan Barra Forest Park

guagan barraGuagan Barra Forest Park is located 7 km south west of Ballingeary, off the R584.

Amenities include Picnic Site, Public toilet, Walking Trails, Viewing Points, Waymarked Trails

There are 6 different trails to whet the appetite of the walking enthusiast. These are of varying distances and degrees of difficulty.

Each one has its own story to tell and show off the spectacular panoramas of mountain, valley, stream and lake.

Parking Fee of €5.00 per car for the day (Coins Only 50c, €1 & €2 accepted)

Visit Coillte Outdoors online at and find them on facebook and Twitter

Have you visited a Coillte Forest Park?  Tell us how you got on in the comments below!

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Published On: March 5th, 2013 / Categories: Ireland, Things To Do / Last Updated: March 19th, 2021 / Tags: /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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