After our look at the great woodland walk in Donadea Forest Park last week, this week we will focus on another family-friendly woodland stroll.
The walks around the Coillte-managed Moore Abbey Woods in Monasterevin are some of Kildare’s hidden treasures.
Unlike other, better-publicised woodland trails in the county, the woods are practically unknown outside of the town.
The woods (also known as Hill Wood) are on lands adjacent to the magnificent Moore Abbey, and a stroll through the woods offers glimpses of the beautiful stately home.
Moore Abbey was was built in 1607 and was modernised in 1846. It was the seat of the Earls of Drogheda from the 18th century onwards. Tenor Count John McCormack the famous Irish tenor, rented the house for nine years in 1936. The Abbey now belongs to the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary and is a centre for people with intellectual disabilities.
The entrance to the three woodland trails on the approx. 250 acre broadleaf plantation is located in the small carpark on Kill Hill on the Athy Road. Each of the three trails is mapped and graded on a sign in the car-park, and everyone from a leisurely stroller to a cross-country runner should find something to suit their ability.
The hilly Bluebell walk provides amazing viewing of the wood’s carpet of bluebells from around late April to early May, when the forest floor comes alive in a haze of blue.
The longest Green trail follows the perimeter of the wood, swooping down to provide views of Moore Abbey before winding across to the M7 motorway.
The red route leads up the beautiful stand of trees in the middle of the wood.
The wood is well furnished with benches for an occasional rest and picnic tables at which to feed the kids.
A quirky feature of a walk through the woods is coming across stands featuring poetry verses placed at strategic locations throughout the wood, which provide the perfect pick-me-up for the tired walker.
Monasterevin, of course, has connections with poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and his work features on these stands erected by the local historical society, as does that of William Butler Yeats.
- The ‘Kildare’s Hidden Gems’ column, in association with Kildare Failte’s Into Kildare campaign, appears each week in the Leinster Leader... plus check out each issue for a discount voucher for a Kildare attraction