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3 Mighty Walks To Try At Avondale Forest Park In Wicklow (Birthplace Of Irish Forestry)

3 Mighty Walks To Try At Avondale Forest Park In Wicklow (Birthplace Of Irish Forestry)

Nestled in a charming forest park in Ireland’s Garden County, Avondale House and Forest Park is one of the most overlooked places to visit Wicklow.

Visitors here can admire the beauty of an 18th century Georgian House, see amazing period furniture and explore nearly 220 hectares of land packed with picturesque walking trails.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from things to do at Avondale House and Forest Park to what to see nearby.

Some quick need-to-knows about Avondale House And Forest Park

Avondale park

Photo via Google Maps

Although a visit to Avondale House and Forest Park is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You will find Avondale House And Forest Park in Avondale in Wicklow. Situated in a charming forest park and located within walking distance from the lovely town of Rathdrum, this estate on the west bank of the River Avonmore is just an hour’s drive away from Dublin.

2. A Speedy History

Steeped in history, Avondale House was built in the 18th century for Samuel Hayes, a barrister who planted thousands of trees on the estate. When Samuel passed away in 1795, the house designed by James Wyatt was given to the Parnell Family.

One of the greatest political leaders of Ireland, Charles Stewart Parnell was born inside this house in the 19th century. Today, Avondale House and Forest Park is a museum dedicated to Charles Stewart Parnell and a picturesque 500-acre forest park with many marked hiking trails and trees from all over the world.

3. Car park opening hours

There’s space for 400 cars at Avondale and the car park opens from 07:00 – 21:00, from April to September, and from 08:00 – 17:00, from October to March. 

Avondale Forest Park walks

The three Avondale Forest Park walks are up there as some of my favourite walks in Wicklow for good reason.

Each trail varies in length and difficulty level and treats those that tackle them to magnificent sights and smells.

1. The River Walk

Avondale house tour

Photo by Fraija (Shutterstock)

With some seriously steep climbs and descents, the River Walk is without a doubt one of the most difficult hikes in Avondale Forest Park.

It is also the longest walk on this list, so make sure to put on some strong and comfy footwear if you are planning to go on this wonderful hike.

You will be passing a bunch of tree species including pines, cedars, beech, oak, and maple. The walk goes along the river, under two railway bridges, and past the deer pen. The river views on this hike are simply spectacular.

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Length: 5.2 km
  • Time: 2.5 hours

2. The Tree Trail

avondale forest wicklow

Photo via Coillte

A looped trail that you can hike in either direction, the Tree Trail is a moderate walk that allows you to discover a variety of trees from all across the world including the famous Eucalyptus trees.

Following a part of the Great Ride, the walk takes you down to the Avonmore River which means that you’ll have to climb back up. Since this is a pet-friendly trail, you can even bring your dog along to join the fun!

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Length: 2 km
  • Time: 60 minutes

3. The Railway Walk

Avondale walks

Photo via Coillte

The Railway walk is a moderate linear walk that takes you all the way from the Rathdrum railway station to the Avondale House. You will be passing through the woods where you can admire the beauty of a variety of trees.

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Length: 2 km
  • Time: 60 minutes each way

Avondale Forest House History and Tour


Let’s get back to the history of the Avondale House. After Parnell passed away in 1891, a butcher from Phibsboro in Dublin decided to purchase the estate.

The woodlands were not in a good condition and when the estate was sold to the government back in 1904; most of the woodlands were renewed.

The house itself served as a forestry school before it was turned into a museum. Nowadays, Avondale House is open to the public.

Visitors can take part in guided tours which last for about an hour or so and include an audiovisual presentation that offers an insight into Parnell and Avondale Forest Park.

In addition to the museum, guests will find other facilities on-site including a book shop, restaurant, large car park, a kid’s play area, and picnic areas.

Things to do near Avondale Forest Park

One of the beauties of Avondale Forest Park is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Avondale Park (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. The Wicklow Mountains National Park

lough tay walk wicklow

Photo by Lukas Fendek/

Covering an area of 20,000 hectares, Wicklow Mountains National Park is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway in County Wicklow. Travellers can wander along picturesque trails, get super close to a variety of wildlife and birds, and admire the beauty of rare orchids. This national park is extremely popular among Dubliners who wish to enjoy nature and escape the urban buzz.

2. Walks, walks and more walks

things to do in wicklow

Photos via Shutterstock

County Wicklow is nicknamed “the Garden of Ireland” for a reason. Home to many picturesque trails, it’s a hiker’s paradise. Here are some walks to try:

3. Glendalough

things to see near Avondale park

Photo by Stefano_Valeri (Shutterstock)

If you are exploring County Wicklow, make sure to check out one of the most famous landmarks in the Emerald Isle, Glendalough. Nestled in a picturesque valley with 2 lakes, this monastic site features a fabulous 30-meter high round tower and a few churches. See our Glendalough Walks guide for things to do.

4. Beaches galore

brittas bay beach

Photo by Conall Hart (Shutterstock)

You’ll find some brilliant beaches in Wicklow, from the popular Greystones Beach and Brittas Bay to the slightly hidden Silver Strand in Wicklow.

FAQs about Avondale Park

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what walks are there in Avondale Park to what there is to do nearby.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Are there many walks in Avondale Forest Park?

Yes! You’ve the Rive Walk (5.2km/2.5 hours), the Tree Trail (2km/1 hour) and the Railway Walk (2km/1 hour).

What are the opening hours for Avondale Park?

There’s space for 400 cars at Avondale and the car park opens from 07:00 – 21:00, from April to September, and from 08:00 – 17:00, from October to March. 

Is Avondale House worth visiting?

Yes – especially if you’re looking for things to do when it’s raining. The house is home to a wealth of history and the guides are informative.

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Pam Beacom

Monday 20th of September 2021

Do you have to keep all dogs on a lead on all walks in Avondale?

Keith O'Hara

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Hey Pam. So, they say 'Dogs Allowed Under effective control' which, from what I can tell from the various tourism sites, means that you need to have them on a lead. I could be wrong, but it looks like that's the case!

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