Set in the former grounds of the Wandesforde Estate, Castlecomer Discovery Park comprises 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes. This relatively ‘young’ park opened to the public in 2007 with the launch of the Coal Mining Museum to promote awareness of the coal mining heritage. Along with the beautiful oak timbered visitor centre and award winning cafe, a number of design craft studios are located in the former stable yard where many of Ireland’s leading jewellers and ceramicists make and sell their work.
This beautiful park continues to evolve and is actively developing a range of recreational, cultural and educational amenities and activities for visitors of all ages. This includes a Tree Top Adventure Walk, Leap of Faith & Climbing Wall; new woodland orienteering trails (1, 2, 3km); fly & bait fishing lakes; and an extensive education programme for both primary and secondary schools.
The growing appeal of the park is evident in the fact it has been nominated twice as ‘One of the Three Best Family Attractions in Leinster’ (Primary Times Readers 2012/2013)
The Castlecomer Discovery Park is a social/community enterprise and operates on a Non Profit basis. It is less than 20km from Kilkenny city on the N78, 80 mins from Dublin city. A nominal parking fee of €2 exists for full day parking. See www.discoverypark.ie
- Tree Top Adventure Walk - Discover your inner climber by completing the Tree Top Adventure. Walking high above the trees, ten metres above the ground, this 140 metre long course gives a bird's eye view of the park to those brave enough to venture up! (pre-booking is essential)
- Climbing Wall and Leap of Faith - Reach new heights by challenging yourself on our great outdoor climbing wall with several different levels for all to enjoy. Experience our daring 'Leap of Faith' - climb the 7 metre pole, balance on the platform and take a 'leap of faith' aiming for the target before being assisted back to ground level. (pre-booking is essential)
- Woodland Play Area - Incorporating the Elf & Fairy Hut Village, the new play-area includes a hexagonal-shaped, hand-crafted log playhouse and Junior Woodland Adventure course. The low-risk adventure course encourages children to become more active and adventurous in a woodland environment. The larch wood and traditional rope course is suitable for 3-8 year olds. €5 introductory offer for two turns. The playhouse and surrounding areas is the perfect space for children to roam (free of charge) and play to their hearts content. The new Woodland Play-area is open on weekends only during June (11.30am-4.30pm, weather permitting) then daily during July & August.
- Coal Mining Exhibtion - The Coal Mining Museum comprises a 45 minute tour through Castlecomer's coal mining past. The exhibition is an interactive multi-media display that takes the visitor on a journey through time. Starting with the formation of the coal 300 million years ago, it brings the visitor through more than 300 years of coal mining history to the closure of the mines in 1969.
- Woodland Trails - With over 80 acres of woodland and lakeside to explore Castlecomer Discovery Park is the perfect place to experience nature, get fit and enjoy the great outdoors.
- Fishing - The grounds of Castlecomer Discovery Park are centred around two rainbow trout fishing lakes. The lower lake is reserved for fly fishing and the upper lake for bait fishing.
There’s scenic picnic areas dotted around the park along with 3 permanent orienteering trails in the woods, 1km, 2km, and 3km in distance.
Multi-activity family friendly Park
It offers great value activities for all ages, varying from the Tree Top Walk Activities, with its 10 metre high walkway through the Sycamore trees to the 8 metre high Leap of Faith and the Climbing Wall so there’s excitement and challenge for all the family (from 7 years). There’s a charming (free) Timber Tumbles playground with a mini zip wire and climbing wall for smaller children. Family members from 4 years upward can enjoy a spot of boating, with Canadian canoes and pedal boats for hire, or try your hand at catching a Rainbow trout on the picturesque lakes within the woodland (rods for hire). You can even relax and unwind further in the estate yard with some Yoga, healing and meditation.
DPSM accredited Education Centre
(Discovery primary Maths & Science centre)
It offers a range of educational and recreational programmes suitable for Primary, Secondary and VEC schools. All are designed to cover topics within Geography, Science/Ecology, Maths, History, CSPE, LCVP and Transition Year. Learning takes place in our 80 acre woodland, education rooms and coal mining museum.
Home to Kilkenny’s finest Craft Makers
Many of the makers are graduates from the Crafts Council of Ireland training courses and range from, from potters, jewellers, stone masons, painters, and interior designers. Visit their beautiful stone workshops based in the former stable yard to see how they design and craft their beautiful work. Chances are you’ll find a novel and beautiful gift, or try your hand on the throwing wheel and make your own piece. You may even leave inspired to return for a ceramics or mosaic workshop!
Choose from handmade pottery, up-cycled furniture and accessories, quirky and precious jewellery from the resident goldsmiths & jewellers and a wide range of other beautiful, covetable items.
- Playground - Come play in our charming timber tumbles playground, mini zip wire and climbing wall.
- Jarrow Café - relax with a coffee, snack or light lunch at the award winning 'Bridgestone' café.
- Boating - Visitors to Castlecomer Discovery Park can enjoy NEW water based activities on 1 of our 2 picturesque lakes, as part of the ongoing development of the park! Located in our stunning natural woodland setting and surrounded by a variety of magnificent trees the introduction of paddle boats and Canadian canoes has been going down a treat with visiting families and friends. Visitors now have another way to soak up the atmosphere at the park: they can sit back and relax while taking in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding woodland, and admire the backdrop of the beautifully recently restored 17th ct stone bridge. This hugely enjoyable experience is an ideal family activity for parents and children - and even an opportunity to allow them in the driving seat! So whether it's a fast-paced or leisurely cruise around the lake you're looking for, there's plenty of room for everybody at Castlecomer Discovery Park, because after all we are 'Yours to enjoy'.
This beautiful park continues to evolve and is actively developing a range of exciting recreational, cultural and educational activities for visitors of all ages. We look forward to welcoming you to the park!
- Check website for any changes to prices.
- €2 Parking Charge per car per day (towards the upkeep of the Park).
Boating (for 2014):
- Boating open from 12 - 4pm on weekends
- Paddle boats & Canadian Canoes
- €10/30 mins per paddle boat (sits up to 5)
- €10/30 mins per canoe (sits 3 people)
- Fishing will continue on one lake only.
- Booking is required for boating activities, Terms & Conditions apply
Footprints In Coal:
- €7 Adult
- €6 Student/OAP
- €5 Child
- €20 (2 Adults and 2 Children) each additional child €2
- Child U-4 FREE
Tree Top Walk:
- €12.50 per person, with a 10% discount for two adults and two children.
Climbing Wall and Leap of Faith:
All three Adventure Activities:
- €15 per rod for four hours fishing.
Click on the link for more information on opening times: http://www.discoverypark.ie/contact/
NEW in 2015 - Woodland Play Area at Castlecomer Discovery Park!
As part of the ongoing restoration of Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny the team is thrilled with the addition of a spectacular new woodland play area!
Its location under the Sycamore, Ash and Yew trees creates a stunning canopy and is a natural suntrap making the experience all the more enjoyable for visitors to the park. Additional seating has also been provided to cater for visitors who just want to bask in the glory of the new developments while enjoying one of the woodland trail walks.
The enchanting Elf & Fairy village has a small yellow sweet shop, cute café, an underground bunker, and an amazing Head Quarters for the fairy folk! It’s full of colourful hand-carved toadstool mushrooms where children can meander through the woodland paths. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the village from 8.30am to 8.30pm as it’s located on the Arboretum woodland trails, is only a 5 – 7 minute walk from the reception and is FREE.
Next to the village is the stunning NEW hexagonal shaped ‘Bluebell Playhouse’. Handcrafted, the playhouse has forum seating where children can enjoy reading nursery rhymes and fairy tales from the ‘woodland’ library. Plans are in place for the installation of a spectacular wooden xylophone along with other creative surprises. The ‘Bluebell Playhouse’ will be open daily from 9.30am to 5pm and is FREE.
The exciting NEW Junior Woodland Adventure Course was designed to encourage small children become more active and adventurous in a woodland environment. Made of natural materials, traditional rope and Larch wood, it’s a series of low-risk challenges where children balance and steer their way through the course and between the Sycamore trees. The course is constructed 2 feet from the mulch covered surface, suitable for 3-8 year olds, and helmets are provided. “The concept is to have parents or older sisters and brothers help youngsters through the course so they become confident enough to do it independently … it’s about having a low risk play activity and woodland environment where our junior visitors can get excited about playing outdoors and using their imagination so it encourages curiosity and wonder” commented manager Liz Nolan.
There’s a €5 introductory offer for two turns on the course, booking is on a first come first served basis, tickets at reception or at course, weekends only 11.30 – 4.30pm (weather permitting), July & August full opening.
For update on development of the ‘Bluebell Playhouse’ follow the park on Facebook and Twitter. See all outdoor activities on www.discoverypark.ie P: 056 4440707