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“the birth of irish forestry” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Avondale House & Forest Park

Avondale House & Forest Park
| Rathdrum, Ireland
353 404 46111
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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“the birth of irish forestry”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

myself and my family took advantage of the yearly pass for 30 euro which is the best value we came across in 2012. it not only gets you all year access to avondale but to all of coillte forest parks. For this meagre sum we had walks in deep woodlands, by a river with free parking and a naturel made childrens playground. (all made from wood) we dining in the kitchen cafe before our house tour and were greeted by friendly staff who made kids and parents feel welcome. we then went on a tour of the house with our guide jean(later found out she is the manager) answered all questions with a smile and an abundance of history. in the current climate you wont get better value for money (not only was charles parnell born here but it is the home of irish forestry)

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Beautiful experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

Fairytale like forest, with according stream, which leads to the Meeting of the Waters 6km downstream. There is a big parking (€5). We didn't visit the house, don't know if there is an entrance fee for that. The garden (read forest) is free. There are many marked trails to follow. See pictures. On an info board, one can see the duration and the difficulty of the track. For instance if climbing is involved. We first selected the Exotic Tree Trail, but when we ended up walking on a big lawn (enclosed by the forest) we decided to change our trail to the Riverwalk, which was fantastic. Idyllic. I must admit that the weather was great too. Sunny, nice temperature. Huge trees, murmuring water, small waterfalls, singing birds. For people who have difficulties in walking, better don't take this trail. Sometimes the small path goes steep, although the surface is often made of a kind of gravel, sometimes there is clay too, which can be a little slippery at the steep parts. We had three spots where we needed to improvise a bit, because the rain in the previous day caused a puddle. But we could walk around it. Best to wear good walking shoes and according clothes. My plain white trousers ended up sparkled. We had the impression that we were all alone in the forest, although a few other cars were parked. We walked for one and a half hour and enjoyed every minute!

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Interesting place but lonely, and hard to find”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2011

Avondale House is full of history, as it is a big house from the olden days, and if you are in any way interested in historical houses, Irish history, and Charles Stewart Parnell, it is well worth a visit. It is surrounded by forests and deep woods, which are great to explore for families with children, or adults who enjoy walking and hiking. There is a picnic area, a children's playground, and a gift shop and restaurant, and a tour of the house is available for a fee.

I didn't get to the House on my visit this summer, but would have liked to if I'd had time. The only part of Avondale I explored was its grounds, with its woods and forests. And that brings me onto why my review wasn't four or five star- the isolation of the entire place. I had good memories of Avondale from summer 1991, when I went with my street's summer club, with a whole gang of other children, and all their parents, and were dropped right to the door by the coach, and collected again promptly at the end of the day. Now I was completely alone, and on a rainy day in August, there weren't even many other visitors around, so it was like being in a huge forest all on my own. Not that I even minded that part so much- I liked the isolation, and getting away from it all, but it was the fact that the whole place was so isolated, and hard to get to, and how alone you were if anything went wrong.

After getting the train from Dublin, and being astounded that it even took an hour and a half- I shouldn't have been surprised really, I just wished I had more time- I asked for directions in the tiny village of Rathdrum, to be told that I would have to walk along a lonely country lane for about two miles, before reaching Avondale House. The walk seemed so long and lonely, and it was scary, walking along a country lane on my own- if anyone had attacked me, or tried to snatch me, no one else would have seen. And after coming out of the deep forest at Avondale, I had to make the whole walk back again, only to find, at the deserted, isolated station, with no workers around, that the next train wasn't for over two hours. So there I was stuck in either the station- with not another soul around, and nowhere to shelter, and with a huge deserted building opposite me, like a haunted house (it looked like a druggies' den!), or to be stuck in the village of Rathdrum, which was literally only one street, and didn't even have any restaurants, or anywhere to shelter. I guess some people would say it was my own fault for not checking what time my train back to Dublin was due at, but I couldn't find that information online, and there was no one at either station to ask- Connolly was too busy, and Rathdrum was too quiet! Or rather, there was no one there at all! It wasn't as bad as it could have been, though- at least I only had to wait two hours, and not til midnight, or even the next day! It was a great relief, as you can imagine, when the train eventually showed up, even though it went over to the opposite side of the tracks to catch it- but at least I caught it at all, and wasn't left in the isolated station at Rathdrum all night!

So as you can see, getting to Avondale on your own, and arranging public transport to the remote village of Rathdrum, is not the easiest thing to do. But if you're driving, or on an organised tour (not that there's many available, that go to Avondale!), you can get there directly, and once you go with other people, you know you're safe. I hope my experience doesn't put other people off a great old historical house, and beautiful forest walks, but please be aware that Rathdrum is not the easiest place to get to, and that driving and going in a group is probably best!

PS Please notice that there is no fee to enter the grounds, and walk through the forest, but there is to see the house, and to have a guided tour!

Visited August 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Beauty and education all in one place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2011

I actually was with my sister (aged 40 something) and my Mam (aged 70 something) but there was no family option available that suited. The day we went to Avondale it was raining but that didn't spoil our experience too much. For Eur5 we parked our car, used the public toilets which were in good working order and clean. We then made our way to the house and after a little time knocking and looking in the window we gained entry. The entry fee wasn't exorbitant and it included an interesting audio visual experience before you saw the house. We were given an information sheet and allowed to ramble through the house ourselves which let us view things at our own pace which was nice. After the tour we made our way down into the old kitchens for the Cafe and found a nice area with an adequately varied menu and very friendly staff. While we didn't get to see much of the grounds and forest area this time I remember it well from when I was younger as it was a favourite site of my father and so I can easily recommend this site as the grounds would keep you occupied for quite some time - if the weather co-operated. Worth a look!

Visited July 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Avondale Park and House”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2010

Great place to go on a sunny day with the family. Nice walks and playground for the children. No entrance fee. We had a light snack from the cafe. You can get a tour of the house for a fee. Relaxing and quiet atmosphere. Wouldn't suggest for a rainy day since everything to enjoy is outdoors.

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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