It’s springtime and a family walk in the woods beckons. If like me, you’re a fan of bluebells, then coming across a carpet of these pretty blue flowers is a real pleasure in springtime. Here are the Best Places to See Bluebells in Ireland this spring:
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Bluebells are a native plant of the Asparagaceae family, its scientific name is Hyacinthoides non-scripta. A carpet of bluebells is one of the prettiest sights of our woodlands, they usually come out from April to May each year. Bees, butterflies and other insects feed on the nectar of bluebell.
Remember with all wildflowers not to pick them but leave them to flourish and for others to enjoy. Here are some of the best places in Ireland to see bluebells:
Derreen Woods, Co. Roscommon
At Derreen Woods near Knockvicar in County Roscommon you’ll find an annual display of bluebells. You might also find at least one fairy fort in the woods too!
Bluebells at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Co. Roscommon
Bluebells along with wild garlic can be found every year at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park. Take a walk to the Fairy Bridge and enjoy the bluebells on the way.
Lissadell Woods, Co. Sligo
Take the public walking track through a wood at Lissadell Estate to see bluebells, intermingled with wild garlic, carpeting the woods with blue and white.
Downhill Demesne, Co. Derry
Bishop’s Gate garden and glen at Downhill is a wonderful place to enjoy the delights of nature – especially during bluebell season. There’s also an outdoor adventure trail at Bishop’s Gate where kids will love exploring the spiders web, see-saw, climbing frame and much more.
Killinthomas Woods, Co. Kildare
One mile just outside Rathangan in Co. Kildare is Killinthomas Woods with signposted walks in the wood. In Spring the woods are carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic. Car parking available.
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
Glendalough is surrounded by semi-natural oak woodland and in the springtime, the oakwood floor is carpeted with a display of bluebells, wood sorrel and wood anemones.
For families with older kids, the Derrybawn Woodland Trail (Orange Route) is an 8km looped walk that climbs up alongside the Poulanass Waterfall before leading you to the upper reaches of Derrybawn Mountain, you’ll find bluebells and other wildflowers on the woodland floor.
Powerscourt Estate, Co. Wicklow
At Powerscourt Estate in Tower Valley you will find the Pepperpot Tower which was modelled on a pepperpot from Lord Powerscourt’s dining table. The valley with its century-old trees has lawns carpeted with delicate bluebells during spring.
The Bluebell Walk at Capponellan Wood, Co. Laois
In Durrow in Co. Laois, visit Capponellan Wood, off the R639, to walk the Bluebell Walk. After parking set off and when you arrive at a fork in the pathway, take the right hand path and follow until you see another trail to the right through the woods, this will take you to the bluebells.
Knockatrina Wood, Co. Laois
Also in Durrow, you’ll find Knockatrina Wood with a 1 mile loop walk over easy terrain around the wood to see beautiful bluebell carpets.
Jenkinstown Wood, Co. Kilkenny
At Jenkinstown Wood near Kilkenny you will find a stand of beech trees with a magnificent carpet of bluebells in late Spring. There is also a deer enclosure next to the car park which is very popular with kids. Check the Antaisce.org website for events such as Bluebell Walks in the spring.
Rinville Park, Co. Galway
At Rinville Park near Oranmore, Co. Galway you’ll find bluebells every spring by the Castle. There’s ample parking and kids will enjoy exploring the park and finding the kids playground located in the old walled garden of the Castle.
Golden Grove Woods, Co. Tipperary
At Golden Grove Woods in Tipperary there’s always a profusion of bluebells that carpet a large area of the woodland in the spring. Access to the woods is at the rear of Dromakeenan School on the Birr Road a mile out of Roscrea town.
Mullaghreelan Wood, Co. Kildare
Mullaghreelan Wood, located south east of Athy, encircles a hill top rath which overlooks Kilkea castle and offers excellent views westward over the rolling landscape of east Laois. It’s an old woodland site and has great display of bluebells when they come out.
Clogrennan Wood, Co. Carlow
Clogrennan Wood near Carlow offers the family a gentle walk on forest roads with magnificent views of Carlow town and the River Barrow. Bluebells and wild garlic come out in spring.
Ballyannan Wood, Co. Cork
Ballyannan Wood located near Midleton in Cork is a beautiful mature mixed woodland with old stone walls and banks, stone gate pillars, ruined cottages and boathouses that are visible as you explore the wood. Its location on the edge of the Owenacurra Estuary means you might even get to see foraging seabirds. The wood is coated in a glorious carpet of bluebells from mid April/May.
The Bluebell Way at Moore Abbey, Co. Kildare
The Bluebell Way (2.5kms, 40mins, easy) at Moore Abbey near Monasterevan is a nice walk through the forest up through the Cypress lined avenue, a great walk in the spring when the bluebells are out in bloom.
Bluebell Loop Mote Park, Co. Roscommon
The Bluebell Loop at Mote Park in Roscommon is an easy 1.5km walk, it’s buggy and wheelchair friendly. As well as the bluebells, you might even spot a red squirrel or indeed the elusive pine marten.
Belleek Woods, Co. Mayo
Belleek Woods near Ballina in Co. Mayo has family friendly walks along the banks of the river Moy with natural forest pathways which are great for little adventures with the children. Bluebells carpet the woods during springtime.
Keep a look out for some woodland animals such as squirrels, badgers, foxes and rabbits.
You will also enjoy visiting the magical Belleek Woods Fairy Trail while you are there.
Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, Co. Clare
At Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, located 8km north of Ennis off the Ennis-Galway road (N18) you’ll find bluebells in spring all accessible from the car park area. These include the more popular Rabbit Island and Castle trails. Both the Mid-Clare Way and the Loop Walk intermingle with the existing trails through the reserve. The trails vary from 1.5 km to 7 km in length
Doneraile Wildlife Park, Co. Cork
At Doneraile Wildlife Park, located 11kms north-east of Mallow you’ll find woodland walks with several restored water features and a number of deer herds can be viewed along the many pathways within the Park. The pathways are generally accessible for people with special needs. There’s also a playground, picnic area and tearooms with car parking.
Bluebells at Castle Caldwell Forest, Co. Cavan
The circular Beech Wood Walk at Castle Caldwell Forest in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark takes about 45 minutes and passes bluebells in the woods before opening up to reveal fine views of Castle Caldwell rising high above the forest floor.
Nugent’s Wood, Co. Down
Nugent’s Wood, at Portaferry by Strangford Lough, is one of the last refuges for the native red squirrel and is also a great place for discovering bluebells.
Huguenot Cemetery Dublin
Although you can’t actually go into the Huguenot Cemetery just off Merrion Square you can peer in through the gates to see bluebells there amongst the graves during springtime.
In case you aren’t familiar with them, the Huguenots were French Protestants who came to Ireland as refugees, having been expelled by King Louis XIV of France in 1685. Approximately 5000 French Huguenots came to live in Ireland. Dublin street names like French, Mercer and D’Olier reflect this heritage while Bank of Ireland was founded by was founded by a Huguenot, David Digges La Touche.
There’s a bluebell walk in Courtmacsherry. Head towards the Courtmacsherry Hotel and pass it. You can park in the cul de sac. “It’s a stunning walk with kids in a magical setting through woods, along a headland over stiles and under trees”, says mum Fiona. Picnic on the beach afterwards or head to the Food Depot Gourmet Food Kitchen or The Lifeboat Inn for something to eat.
Over to you now. Have you other special spots for finding bluebells that you’d like to share with us? Tell us in the comments below.