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.
Guided tours available.
Open Easter to May: Tuesday to Sunday & Bank Holidays 11.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Open June to August: Every day 10.00 am – 5.00 pm.
Open September & October: Tuesday to Sunday & Bank Holidays 11.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Closed: November to Easter.
The House itself is closed until 2021. A major redevelopment project is under way consisting of interactive education technologies, new walkway trails including subterranean pathways and tunnels, and an elevated timber lattice walkway 460 metres long to be erected overlooking the forest canopy and Avonmore River valley. The plans also include a state-of-the-art visitor centre, a restaurant and a café.
Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.
Tel: 0404 46111.
Adults €7; concessions.