Overview

Avondale Forest Park is the birthplace of Irish Forestry. Samuel Hayes built Avondale House in the 1770’s and he collected and planted a range of tree species from all over the world. The House moved into the ownership of the Parnell family in the 1800’s and was the birth-place of the great Irish statesman, Charles Stewart Parnell.

The state purchased Avondale in 1904 and its magnificent 505 acre estate is synonymous with the birth of Irish forestry. Here, the tree species which are now commonplace in the Irish forest industry were planted and trialled for the first time in experimental plots. Laid out along the lines of a continental forest garden, these plots laid down from 1904 to 1913 are still visible today along the majestic sweeping lawn known as the ‘Great Ride’. It was at Avondale that the early foresters of Ireland were educated until Kinnitty Castle in Offaly took over as the state forestry school.

Today, the Forest Park provides a variety of trails for walking and family cycling. The Railway Walk links the park directly into Rathdrum – that which Parnell himself took to connect to the train at Rathdrum and onward to the Houses of Parliament in London. The trails are of varying lengths and feature the best the Park has to offer – along the vast expanse of the ‘Great Ride, through majestic stands of Sequoia, Spruce and broadleaves and down along the steep-sided river valley.

Coillte, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and Wicklow County Council are undertaking a significant re-development of Avondale Forest Park during 2019 & 2020. A new visitor destination will take visitors ‘under’ and through the trees, to an incredible viewpoint high over the Avonmore river valley. A new ‘living history’ experience in Avondale House will open the life and times of Parnell to visitors in a highly engaging way. A new restaurant/ café and pavilion with the story of Irish Forestry will demonstrate how Coillte are at the cutting edge of technology in managing Irelands forest estate. In advance of the re-development, Avondale House and Café will not be open to the public during 2018, but the wider Forest Park remains open every day. Please also note that disabled toilets are not available at the Park currently.

Only an hour from Dublin
Avondale is situated 1.5 miles south of Rathdrum on the L2149.


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Things to do

Don’t miss our hidden gem

Visitors Facilities on site

Café

Car-park

Forest Park

Gardens

Heritage Tours

Leisure cycling

Orienteering

Picnic site

Playground

Toilets

Walking trails

Picnic tables with barbeque grids.

Public Toilets.

Car Parking:            400 spaces

Car Park Opens:      7.00am April to September and 8.00pm (October to March)

Car Park Closes:      9.00pm April to September and 5.00pm (October to March)

Note that the House and Café are closed for the 2018 season, prior to re-development

trail map