Places to visit: Further Afield A to Z

Powerscourt House and Garden

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Powerscourt House and Gardens showcases one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland. The complex includes a charming walled garden, striking terraces, fine statuary, varied trees, lovely walks, and scenic surroundings.

There are an Italian garden, a Japanese garden, and a pets’ cemetery. The waterfall is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft). The once spectacular house (Richard Castle, 1741) was restored after a disastrous fire; however, it is now far from its original glory. Tara’s Palace (a museum for children) is located inside the House.

Gardens open daily 9.30 am–5.30 pm (winter closing at dusk), closed 25-26 Dec.
Ballroom/Garden Rooms Sun 9.30 am-1.30 pm; May-Sept Mon 9.30 am-1.30 pm.
Avoca Terrace Café daily 9.30 am–5.00 pm.
Waterfall Jan/Feb/Nov/Dec 10.30 am-4.00 pm; Mar/ Apr/Sept/Oct 10.30 am-5.30 pm; May/Jun/July/Aug 9.30 am-7.00 pm. Closed 2 weeks before Xmas.

www.powerscourt.com

Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Tel: 01 204 6000.

Gardens – Adults €10.50 (March-October); €7.50 (November-February); concessions.
Waterfall Adults €6; concessions.

Russborough House

Russborough House *****

Russborough House is a stunning Palladian mansion designed in 1741 by Richard Cassels. It is one  of the most beautiful houses in Ireland. It was purchased by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit in 1952 to house their impressive art collection. The mansion and its world class art collection were left to the Irish State in 1978.

Attractions available include a top class house tour, a very detailed exhibition (in the main house basement) covering the life and times of the Beits, a 20,000 sq ft maze, an 18th Century walled garden, a children’s playground, a gift shop, and a café. One can also visit the work of a range of artisans.

Don’t miss out on the compact Beit cinema, the music room and an opportunity to enjoy some of Alfred Beit’s extensive photograph collection in the separate 3D auditorium. There are also extensive walks in a beautifully landscaped setting.

Opening Times
The parkland at Russborough is open seven days a week from 2nd January to 23rd December, 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Guided Tours
January-February: house closed
March, November, December: 1.00 pm & 2.00 pm (Mon-Fri) | 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm (on the hour Sat-Sun & Bank Holiday Mon)
April, October: 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm (Mon-Fri, on the hour) | 10.00 am – 5.00 pm (Sat-Sun & Bank Holiday Mon, on the hour)
May-September: 10.00 pm – 5.00 pm (on the hour)

National Bird of Prey Centre – this new attraction opened officially in July 2016. Located in the Parklands area, you can view hawks, falcons, eagles and owls from around the world, along with the recently re-introduced red kite, golden eagle and white tailed sea eagle. Please call 045-857755 for details of flying displays. Open 7 days a week during the summer months from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm; phone to clarify other opening times. Adults €8; concessions. See the Centre’s website – www.nationalbirdofpreycentre.ie

Parkland – Russborough sits on over 200 acres of beautiful parkland, scattered with historical landmarks such as an 18th Century ice house, a hippodrome, a Japanese bridge, and a lime kiln.

The 18th century walled garden is a partnership between Russborough and the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland. In March and April the walled garden is open on Wed and Sat from 10.30 am- 3.30 pm. From June to August the garden is open Sun, Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri from 2.00 pm- 5.00 pm; and on Wed & Sat from 10.30 am – 3.30 pm.

Sheepdog Demonstrations – Michael Crowe, a local farmer, hosts sheepdog demonstrations at Russborough. Visitors can see working border collies in action. The beautiful views and scenery at Russborough create the perfect backdrop. Come and learn a little about the Wicklow cheviot and many other breeds of sheep, being managed by expertly trained sheepdogs. Available for group bookings only.

www.russborough.ie

Russborough, Blessington, Co Wicklow.

Tel: 045 865 239.

Adults – House tour and exhibition €12.
Concessions for students, children, seniors. Maze €3. Car parking fee €2.

Skypark Carlingford Adventure

Skypark Carlingford Adventure

Skypark Carlingford Adventure is Ireland’s new zip line adventure park “where you can swing, scream, jump, climb and release your inner Tarzan.”

In Ireland’s biggest zip line park, challenge yourself on zip lines, rock climbing towers, suspension bridges, Tarzan swings, tightropes, rope bridges, cargo nets, base jumps and tree houses.

There are four levels of difficulty – Moderate (Blue), Difficult (Yellow), Very Difficult (Red), and Extremely Difficult (Black). There are many stops on the course to enable you to hop off at any time.

Opening Times:
July & August, Mid-Terms & Easter  – open daily 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
February to June & September to November – open Sat & Sun 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
December & January – open Sat & Sun 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm

Pre-booking is essential.

www.skypark.ie

Dundalk Road, Moneymore, Co Louth

Tel: 042-9373100

Prices – Children age 9-17 €29; Children aged 5-8 €12. Adults €35. Prices may fluctuate depending on the day and time of the year.

Slane Castle

Slane Castle

Slane Castle is an impressive historic building, the work of famous architects James Gandon, James Wyatt & Francis Johnston. The parklands were laid out by Capability Brown. King George IV stayed here in 1821. U2 recorded “The Unforgettable Fire” here in 1984. Slane has been in the same family’s hands since 1701. It was lovingly restored after a devastating fire in 1991 and became a famed venue for open air rock concerts.

Guided tours:
Jan to March – Mon to Friday 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, Sat to Sun 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, 3.15 pm
April to June – 7 days a week 12.15 pm, 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, 3.15 p, 4.15 pm
July to September – 11.15 am, 12.15 pm, 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, 3.15 pm,  4.15 pm
October to December – Mon to Friday 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, Sat to Sun 1.15 pm, 2.15 pm, 3.15 pm
Book on the website before travelling (tour dates can be cancelled due to weddings or other events).

www.slanecastle.ie

Slane, Co. Meath.

Tel: 041 982 0643.

Adults €12; concessions.

Tayto Park

Tayto Park

Tayto Park offers the visitor a factory tour to see how Ireland’s favourite crisps are made. You can also see Ireland’s first herd of American Bison, Amur Tigers, Corsac Foxes and Eurasian Lynxes. Get a flavour of the life and culture of Native Americans. And try a range of adventure activities.

Attractions in the “Eagle Sky Adventure Zone” include the Cú Chulainn coaster (Ireland’s first rollercoaster and Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster with an inversion), the rotator, the air race, a 5D Cinema, the extreme climbing wall, the sky walk, the Tayto twister and the zip line extreme.

Attractions in the “Eagle’s Nest” zone include the steam train express, the honey pot bears, Mr Tayto’s pony rail, the shot tower, the Crispy Creek Mining Company and the super hero training wall. New to this zone (since June 2017) is the Viking Voyage. With 1.7 million litres of water, a Viking village, 5 replica Viking ships and 20 life size Vikings, the Viking Voyage ride is a unique addition to Tayto Park. The project involved Viking experts from Sweden and also theming contractors who have worked in major worldwide theme parks and film sets including Disneyland and Game of Thrones. The construction team used Viking building methods from 1,000 years ago to create wattle fencing, Viking ships, currachs and thatch.

Other general attractions include Ice Valley, Dinosaurs Alive and the Vortex Tunnel.

Ice Valley – Travel back in time to the last Ice Age and view magnificent megafauna and a spectacular display of animatronic ice age animals. Meet the Mammoth, the Cave Bear, the Sabre-Toothed Cat, Giant Irish Deer and much more.

Dinosaurs Alive – Immerse yourself in the Mesozoic era with this tail-thrashing, roaring and clawing animatronic exhibition featuring the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus and more.

Vortex Tunnel – Get ready for a virtual, mystifying, turning, tilting, crazy experience like no other.

Apart from the overall admission price, there are additional charges for each “ride”. You can purchase an all-day multi-ride wristband which gives you unlimited access to all rides. Realistically, each person entering the Park will pay €36.50 during peak times (the admission fee plus the cost of a wristband).

“Peak” means July & August. “Off Peak” means April 6th – June 30th inclusive and the September- October Mid Term Break.

There is no crisp factory production on Sundays and Bank Holidays and production is limited on Saturdays.

Opening Times
(Closed for the months of January, February, March)
April: Sat 6th & Sun 7th 10 am- 6 pm; open daily Sat 13th – Sun 28th 10 am – 6 pm
May to June: 7 days a week 10 am- 6 pm (Closed Sat 29th & Sun 30th)
July to August: 7 days a week 9.30 am – 7 pm
September: Sat & Sun 10 am- 6 pm
October: Sat & Sun 10 am- 5 pm
October Mid-Term:  Daily Monday 28th- Friday 1st 10 am-5 pm
November: Friday 1st- Sunday 3rd 10 am – 5 pm (Otherwise, open Sat & Sun 10 am- 4 pm)
December: Fridays 12 pm- 4 pm (Otherwise Sat & Sun 10 am- 4 pm)
Also open daily Monday 16th- Monday 23rd 10 am- 4 pm
Closed December Tuesday 24th until April 2020

www.taytopark.ie

Tayto Park, Kilbrew, Ashbourne, Co.Meath

Tel: 01 835 1999.

Entry Only: €15.50 off peak; €18 peak
Entry & Unlimited Attractions: €31.50 off peak; €36.50 peak
There are discounts for booking online.

Trim Castle

Trim Castle ***

Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare (Strongbow). Construction of the massive three storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun around 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall and moat.

Guided tours only. Not suitable for visitors with disabilities. Very busy during the summer months (booking advisable).

Opening Hours:
November to January: daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
February to March 16th: daily 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
March 17th to September 30th: daily 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
October: daily 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Usually closed the weekend before Christmas and the weekend before New Year’s Day.

www.heritageireland.ie

Trim, Co. Meath.

Tel: 046 943 8619

Adults €5; concessions. Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month.

In addition to the tours of the Castle listed above, guided tours of the grounds only are available on weekdays from November to February. These free tours are provided by members of the Trim Living History community group (phone 046-943 7227).

Wicklow Gaol

Wicklow Gaol

Wicklow Gaol is a recreation of 18th Century prison life. Construction of the prison started in 1702. Prisoners were “transported” to distant UK colonies from 1789-1856, including over 600 men involved in the 1798 Rebellion. At the height of the Great Famine, the number of prisoners swelled to 780. The gaol closed in 1924.

Part-guided tours.

Open daily February-November 10.30 am-4.30 pm. Open daily December-January 11.00 am – 3.30 pm.
The gaol is usually closed over the Christmas period (Dec 16-Jan 7 inclusive). Also closed on Good Friday.

Spooky night tours are also available (advance booking required – adults only). Take an eerie night tour of Ireland’s most haunted building. Mingle with the ghosts, enter the solitude and board the transportation ship. You need to check the Wicklow Gaol website to confirm that the ghost tour is actually running, as there is no strict schedule as such. Ghost tours tend to be on the last Friday of the month from March-November, starting at 7.00 pm & leaving every 15 minutes; the last tour is at 8.30 pm sharp.

www.wicklowshistoricgaol.com

Kilmantin Hill, Wicklow Town, Co. Wicklow.

Tel: 0404 61599.

Adults €9.50; concessions.
Night Tour €15 (which sometimes includes a complimentary glass of wine).

Mount Usher Gardens

Wicklow Gardens

Apart from Avondale House & Forest Park, Hunting Brook Gardens, Killruddery House & Gardens, Kilmacurragh Arboretum, Mount Usher Gardens, and Powerscourt House and Gardens, which are all given individual entries within this website, you may be interested in a number of lesser known Wicklow gardens which are described in detail on www.visitwicklow.ie.

These locations include:

Festina Lente Gardens – visitwicklow.ie
Hunter’s Gardens – visitwicklow.ie
June Blake’s Garden – visitwicklow.ie
Shekina Sculpture Garden – www.shekinasculpturegarden.com