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Avondale House & Forest Park
Reviewed June 3, 2013

Isn't it wonderful when you've heard of a place and then you go and visit and it surpasses every expectation you ever had. that is exactly what happened today when we visited Avondale House. I expected it to be full of history and the life of Parnell but it was more than that the river walk was magical, the gardens spacious and unspoiled. the restaurant v good value for money, the tour of the house very informative. We spent over five hours there but we could have stayed longer, walked more and return again tomorrow. Our daughter loved the freedom of cycling the grounds and the walk. it was a fantastic day and most enjoyable and suitable for everyone in the family.

2  Thank regan3_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 - 44 of 50 reviews

Reviewed April 24, 2013

We visited this attraction for the first time and did the house tour first, which was brilliant! Our guide was very knowledgeable, answering all the questions put to him. He was very kind and helpful. Can't praise him enough. We then went for a tea and cake in the cafe and were disappointed with the standard of service here, staff, while polite, were not welcoming and it was half hour before closing - you could tell by the reception you got - pity. Grounds were lovely to walk in. We will be back!

2  Thank tighoriain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

My family have been visiting this location for almost 35 years and it is always a treat. This is the ancestral home of Charles Stewat Parnell who with Michael Davitt founded the irish Land league an event of major signifacance in irish history.
The house is full of unique artifacts associated with Parnell (small entrance fee applies),....woth a visit. Rather nice inexpensive cafe at the back.
Car parking is €5 and the very vast grounds are full of wonderful walks, a playground. Lots of wonderful rare trees and spectacular views.
Bring a picnic as there is a lovely picnic area.
Great place for a family with wonderful fresh air and plenty of variety.
Take a trip and you will love it!!

4  Thank TomMonaghan_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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!

1  Thank Johanna V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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!

5  Thank ErinAshworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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