Avondale Forest Park
Avondale Forest Park is the birthplace of Irish Forestry. The House was built for Samuel Hayes who was responsible for collecting a range of tree species from all over the world and planting them in the Park in the late 1700’s.
The House is an elegant Georgian homestead which was built in 1777 by architect James Wyatt for Samuel Hayes and later became the birth place of Charles Stewart Parnell known as the “Uncrowned King of Ireland”.
The state purchased Avondale in 1904 and its magnificent 505 acre estate is synonymous with the birth of Irish forestry. The fledgling Irish State established experimental plots in Avondale in the early 1900’s along the lines of a continental forest garden with a collection of tree species and shrubs from around the world. The results of these experiments guided tree planting by the state for the subsequent hundred years. It was at Avondale that the early foresters of Ireland were educated and their quarters in the ‘swiss chalet’ building in the park give a glimpse into their student life.
Today, the Forest Park provides a variety of trails and is linked directly into Rathdrum along the Railway Walk – that which Parnell himself took to connect to the train at Rathdrum and onward to the Houses of Parliament in London. The trails meander through open glades and along the vast expanse of the ‘Great Ride and through some majestic stands of Sequoia, Spruce and broadleaves, including some of the worlds greatest tree species.
Avondale Forest Park Is Open All Year Round.
Avondale House & Café Is Closed For The 2017 Season
Things to do
The River Walk: The longest and hardest walk at Avondale with some steep descents and climbs, therefore strong footwear is recommended.
Walking alongside the river you pass under two railway bridges, still used today. There are magnificent river views and further up the hill you can see Lovers Leap
Tree Trail: This is a loop walk: (2 kms , 1 hour, Moderate)
On the Tree Trail you will meet trees from many corners of the world that have taken happily to the Irish Environment. The trail takes you through Eucalyptus trees A grove of trees stand testimony to Augustine Henry (1857-1930) The tree trail guides you through a showcase of tree species found on the estate.
Railway Walk: This is a linear walk: (2 kms, 1 hour each way, Moderate)
This is a linear walk from Rathdrum railway station through the woods to Avondale House, and could have been used by Parnell on his frequent journeys.
For a map of all trails click this link Avondale Forest Park
Leisure cycling trail (1.5kms, 20 mins, Easy) This is a dual purpose (walking and cycling trail) please respect walkers during your cycle.
There are 3 permanent orienteering courses (short, medium and long courses) with downloadable maps and there are also answer sheets for when you complete the course.
There is a children’s playground which is located close to Avondale House.
There are picnic tables located in the car park with barbeque grids.
Don’t miss our hidden gem
The grassy expanse of the 'Great Ride' sweeps through Avondale and opens up incredible vistas of the Vale of Avoca.
Visitors Facilities on site
Picnic tables with barbeque grids.
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)