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A lark in the park in Castlecomer (Day Trip No. 1)

A lark in the park in Castlecomer (Day Trip No. 1)

Castlecomer Discovery Park, a really great discovery right on our doorstep, where the staff are so helpful and friendly. You can go wild on the zip wire or just relax and enjoy the wildlife and nature in this wonderful woodland setting which is also a favourite of  the little people…

It’s not always possible to get away for a week or even a weekend so here at Vanhalla we have decided to incorporate another string in our bow and to occasionally take a look at potential day trips.

One spot that is just down the road is Castlecomer Discovery Park which is a real eye-opener for a day out. We’ve enjoyed it in all seasons as the park, trails and woodland take on a different personality right across the year.
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It’s great for kids and those who are young at heart and while there are lots of activity options laid on and refreshments available in the cafés, you can spend as little as €5 on your parking and still have a great day out and pack a picnic.

The car park is spacious and is camper friendly with no headroom restrictions. Castlecomer Discovery Park was a great discovery for us right on our doorstep. It is a community led, not-for-profit enterprise based around 80 acres of natural woodland on the former Wandesforde Estate and the areas proud coal-mining tradition, which shut down in 1969.

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The Park itself is up and running about ten years but is always improving and evolving with new ventures and adventures unfolding all the time and it currently offers 16 onsite activities. Many of them free-of-charge such as the riverside picnic areas, treks and trails and excellent playground.

There are also some superb craft studios to browse and choose from, a tree top walk and 300m zip line across the forest canopy and lake. There are also climbing walls, walking trails, fishing lakes and a coal mining exhibition.

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Wildlife enthusiasts have plenty to look out for here and I have even managed to spot the elusive kingfisher flashing beneath the bridge across the lake. There are pigs and deer grazing lazily together in a paddock to delight children and a giant redwood tree to hug and measure yourself against before you head for a stroll down into the forest to bring the little people to meet the little people in the fairy village.

The last day out I finally got to tackle my fear of heights and took on the zip line. It was such a thrill I did it twice!

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The cost of our trip to Castlecomer Discovery Park was parking €5; ice creams €6; coffees & cakes €11.80; children’s obstacle course €5; canoeing on the lake €15 (for 30 minutes); zip wire €30 for two goes (although there are concessions and discounts for groups and pre-booked multiple runs). So our total for the day was €72.80.

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Castlecomer Discovery Park, a really great discovery right on our doorstep, where all the staff are so helpful and friendly.
(Our only quibble, the loos at the Canopy Café are not up to scratch and require better attention).
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About The Author

John Whelan

John Whelan is a vastly experienced midlands based journalist and editor who has contributed extensively to the country's leading national and regional titles, as well as broadcast outlets. He runs the media services company, Communicate Ireland www.communicateireland.ie. John is a keen camping and campervan enthusiast with an interest in music, culture, heritage and outdoor pursuits. He has written for the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and the Woman's Way on these topics. He is also an author, and his latest book, The Last Beekeeper, reflects his love of nature, the landscape and our shared responsibility to protect the environment. The Last Beekeeper is available to preview and purchase at www.thelastbeekeeper.ie. Safe travels...

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