Avondale House in Rathdrum, County Wicklow, was the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), one of the greatest political leaders in Irish history. The forest park that surrounds Avondale House is 214 hectares of magnificent parkland on the west bank of the Avonmore River. Avondale Forest Park has been the home of Irish Forestry since 1904. It was in Avondale that the first silvicultural experimental plots were laid out along the lines of a continental forest garden and today it has an extensive collection of trees and shrubs from around the globe.
The State purchased Avondale in 1904 and today the park has seven way-marked walks and trails. Avondale also hosts a permanent orienteering course. The Park is home to most of our common woodland animals including red squirrel, badger, hedgehog, stoat and fox. Rich bird life exists with over ninety species having been recorded here.
Avondale House was built in 1777 for Samuel Hayes. When he died in 1795 the house passed to the Parnell Family. It was at Avondale that Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history, was born in 1846. The house has been beautifully restored and functions as a museum to Parnell’s memory.
A major redevelopment project was completed in 2023 which included the addition of the Treetop Walk experience. This is a 1.4km wooden walkway that weaves through the forest and includes a viewing tower that climbs 38m above the forest floor. It also houses Ireland’s longest slide. Use of the slide is an optional extra, and due to demand, access cannot be guaranteed.
Opening days and times vary monthly, please consult the website for details.
Generally open 9am – 7pm, 7 days a week, during summer.
Guided tours of the house are available.