Please mention Family Fun when booking!
Discover Adventure and fun at Castlecomer Discovery Park!
Castlecomer Discovery Park is an 80-acre activity park featuring a wide range of exhilarating activities for all ages, from the fun and challenging tree-top walk high amongst the sycamore trees to archery and zip lines.
Set on 80 acres of mixed woodland in the former gardens and stable yards of the Wandesforde Estate, it is located in the south-east of Ireland 20 km north of the city of Kilkenny and 24 km from Carlow town, and only 90 minutes from Dublin on the Motorway.
Picnic tables are located in the parkland by the river’s edge close to the car park and children’s playground and there are also a number of more secluded picnic spots located along the woodland walks.
Open all year round the Discovery Park is an ideal location for a family day out with plenty of activities to enjoy both indoor and outdoor experiences.
Castlecomer Discovery Park Attractions
There are many attractions for all the family to enjoy.
- Digital Scavenger Hunt
- Ireland’s longest Zip line (suitable 12 upwards)
- Octagon High Ropes Course (suitable 12 upwards)
- Tree Top Walk (suitable 7 upwards)
- Climbing Wall (suitable 7 upwards)
- Archery (suitable 8 upwards)
- Boating (suitable 4 upwards)
- Junior Low Ropes Adventure Course (suitable 3 – 7)
- Elf Village (Free)
- Canopy Café at the Elf Village (seasonal opening)
- Team Building (groups 20 +)
- 3 permanent orienteering trails
- The Coal Mining Exhibition
- 80 acres woodland
- 6kms walking trails
- Animal sanctuary
- Adventure Playground
- Picnic Areas
- Jarrow Café
- Craft Yard
Family Outdoor Activities At The Castlecomer Discovery Park
Digital Scavenger Hunt
Ireland’s first Digital Scavenger Hunt experience at an outdoor attraction!
This digital scavenger hunt will lead you and your family on a tour of the park in a new and immersive experience. Help the forest elves and fairies get back their treasure, stolen by a mysterious man, learn about the park’s rich coal mining history and natural environment, and find many hidden spots and treasures throughout the park alongsidethe magical forest creatures such as elves, fairies, and trolls.
Castlecomer Discovery Park elf Fionn will give you quirky clues in form of riddles, puzzles, quizzes, or photo an video challenges for you and your family to solve. Collect gold coins along the way for each solved clue and rank against your family, friends, or other park visitors!
All you need is one mobile device (e.g. smartphone or tablet) per family or group. Get an access code for FREE with any booked activity, scan the code, and you are ready to go!
The Castlecomer Discovery Park Zipline
Have you taken the Castlecomer Challenge
Have you taken a ride down Ireland’s longest zip wire? This year why not put that on your “fun things to do list”
Castlecomer Discovery Park is home to the longest zipline in Ireland! It is 300 metres long and 35 metres over ground at its highest point. Visitors zip over our stunning woodland, two lakes and 17th century hand-restored bridge.
The exhilarating zipline is accompanied by the Octagon High Ropes Course. Set on an octagonal frame over two levels, this presents a series of challenges in the form of nets, ropes, wooden bridges etc. The Octagon is more challenging than the existing Tree-Top Adventure Walk Course.
It is particularly suited to groups and for team-building exercises. Contact us to make a large group booking (056-4440707).
- Zipline only is €15 per person (1 turn) or €20 per person (2 turns).
- Advanced High Ropes Course only is €15 per person.
- Bundle of Zipline and Advanced High Ropes Course is €25 per person.
Please note:Restrictions apply. Zipline and Octagon High Ropes Course participants must be age 12+, minimum height 1.3m and maximum 120kg weight. You should arrive in Visitor Centre at least 30 minutes before allocated time to register. The start of the course is approx. 15 min. walk from the Visitor Centre.
Tree Top Walk
Try completing our Tree Top Adventure Walk. This activity is one of the most popular attractions kids and families. Walk high above the tree tops, ten metres above the ground, this 140 metre long course gives a birds eye view of the park to those brave enough to take the walk. It is perfect for a family adventure, team building, or school trip.
Cost: €12.50 per person
Family Fun Tip:- Minimum height and age restrictions apply. Age 7+
The outdoor climbing wall has various levels of difficulty for all to enjoy.
Cost: €6 per person (combination packages available)
Minimum age, height and weight restrictions must apply: You must be 7+ years, 1.2 metres in height; maximum weight 120kg/19 stone.
Boating Activities For All The Family
Visitors to Castlecomer Discovery Park can enjoy our boating activities on the larger of the 2 picturesque lakes, in stunning natural woodland setting. The lakes are surrounded by a variety of magnificent trees, and you can admire the backdrop of the beautiful recently restored 17th century stone bridge.
The introduction of boating activities gives you the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Discovery Park woodland. So whether you’re after a faced paced or leisurely cruise around the lake you can still fit in some exercise while having fun on the pedal boats and Canadian canoes.
Cost: €15 per boat
Things to note:
- MAX 4 persons per paddle boat (min. age 4 years. Under 16’s must be accompanied by adult)
- MAX 3 persons per canoe (min. age 4 years. Under 16’s must be accompanied by adult)
- Change of clothes recommended, suitable footwear required (no flip-flops)
Family Fun Tip:- Misconduct will result in removal from the lake, no jumping into the water.
Archery at Castlecomer Discovery Park
Visitors to Castlecomer Discovery Park can enjoy our latest attraction located just beyond the elf and fairy village.
Their trained instructors will give you a crash course in how to unleash your inner Robin Hood. Feel at one with nature in the woodland archery range.
Cost: €5 pp
Things to note:
- Book in advance online to avoid disappointment.
- Suitable for age 8 years upwards
Junior Woodland Adventure Course
The Junior Woodland Adventure Course was specifically designed to encourage small children to become more active and adventurous in a woodland environment.
Made of natural materials, traditional rope and Larch wood, it is a series of low-risk challenges where children balance and steer their way through the course. It is situated 2 feet from the mulch covered surface.
Things to note:
- Suitable for 3-8 year-olds, and helmets are provided.
- First come first served basis, tickets at reception or at the course
Castlecomer Discovery Park Elf Village
FREE to enjoy everyday, this enchanting woodland area is a magical experience for all the family!
The Elf & Fairy village has a small yellow sweet shop, cute café, an underground bunker, and an amazing Head Quarters for the fairy folk!
It’s full of colourful hand-carved toadstool mushrooms where children can meander through the woodland paths. Visitors, of all ages, can enjoy the woodland village which is FREE and is a short 7-10 minute walk from reception.
Next to the village is the stunning new hexagonal shaped ‘Bluebell Playhouse. Handcrafted, the playhouse has a number of rustic benches for children to read some of the books from the ‘woodland’ library.
The hexagonally shaped playhouse and surrounding hut village is a space where children can roam free of charge and play to their heart’s content. The pretty Bluebell colour paint was generously provided by McDonnell paints while the design and construction was completed by local master carpenter Len Brophy.
As you wander through the enchanting fairy village, why not stop for coffee in the Canopy Café! Open during the high season and holidays, the woodland café has light lunch, gorgeous freshly ground coffee, tea, ice cream all served in a covered picnic area nestled in the woodlands.
The Beautiful Woodland of Castlecomer Discovery Park
Outdoors soak up the beautiful nature and wildlife of the 80 acres of mature woodland, which has over 6 km of walking pathways which are accredited national looped walks.
Children can enjoy viewing the rare animals that reside in the former walled garden as well as having great fun in the charming Timber Tumbles playground which includes a mini zip-wire and climbing wall, designed especially to reflect the natural beauty of the park.
Relax in the beautifully restored stable yard which boasts a wealth of local craftspeople who produce, display and sell their inspiring crafts or enjoy some refreshments in the wonderful family friendly Jarrow Café.
Picnic tables are located in the parkland by the river’s edge close to the car park and children’s playground and there are also a number of more secluded picnic spots located along the woodland walks
The Park Orienteering Trails
They have three permanent courses vary in distance; 1km short, 2km medium and 3km long, each course has a number of codes secured to wooden posts throughout the 80 acres of natural woodland.
laminate maps can be purchased for €4, participants are shown the answer sheets at the reception desk of the visitor centre on return. This is a self-directed activity, and can be done 7 days per week from 9.30am – 5pm.
Family Fun Tip:- Suitable outdoor clothing and footwear are advised.
Team Building Activities At The Castlecomer Discovery Park
Harness your inner Bear Grylls and learn how you might survive in the wilderness. The Discovery Park trained bush craft instructors will challenge you with tasks such as raft building. How would you fare getting off a desert island?
Your team are required to make a water worthy vessel, but using only limited supplies and no instructions! Teamwork, communication, and a positive attitude are key to staying afloat.
What is Raft Building?
You are given the raw materials to make a water worthy vessel, can you work as a team to use those materials to stay afloat? Our instructors are on hand to assist, but your goal is to work as a team and harness the groups problem solving abilities. Your team will feel invigorated once your challenge is completed and you set sail!
What is Catapult Building?
You might remember the little version of these you created as a child; our catapults are larger versions worked by a lever and ropes for hurling large stones or other missiles. Once more you are given the basic materials and its your teams combined know how that will get you firing on all cylinders!
With so many activities to choose from Castlecomer Discovery Park is the perfect location for a team-building day out. They cater for groups of all sizes with discounts available for groups with 30+ participants.
Groups must be pre-booked in advance.
Complementing the zipline, high ropes, boating and orienteering activities, they also offer a range of exciting and fun team-building games. These include a peg-pole traverse course, giant skis, Tower of Hanoi and other games requiring problem-solving, communication and coordination.
If you are part of a corporate group, sports club, large group of friends, language schools, scouts group etc. call them to tailor the perfect team-building day out! It’s one you won’t forget!
Call to create the perfect package: 056-4440707 or email [email protected]
Things to note:
- The Team Challenges activity is available to groups only (20+ participants)
- Must be pre-booked in advance
The Coal Mining Museum at Castlecomer Discovery Park
Visit the Coal Mining Museum and discover a world where prehistoric amphibians swim and walk through enormous swamp forests, where giant insects fly through the treetops and giant millipedes crawl through ferns and mosses. Discover the coal formed from those forests and the skeletons of those early amphibians preserved for 300 million years. Discover the men who worked the coal seams and those who brought the fossils to light.
First through the use of life-sized reconstructions of prehistoric animals and plants, video clips, fossils, rock specimens and information panels, prehistoric life in the coal swamps of the Carboniferous Period is brought to life. Then life sized and scale models of the mines, displays of mining artefact’s, information panels and video interviews with ex-miners and the families of those associated with the mines bring to life more than 300 years of coal mining history.
All of this and more is to be discovered in the Coal mining Museum – ‘Footprints in Coal’ which focuses on two distinct but interlinked eras of Castlecomer’s History – the formation of coal during the Carboniferous period about 300 million years ago and the coal mining industry that came much later.
Opening Times At Castlecomer Discovery Park
Visitor Centre and Coal Mining Exhibition
Visitor Centre opens 7 days per week
- Weekdays: 9.30am-5pm
- Weekends: 10am-5pm (May-August) and 10.30am-4pm (September-April).
Last admission to the Coal Mining Exhibition starts 1 hour before closing time.
Outdoor Activities are available to book online and have Seasonal opening hours which vary throughout the year.
- Daily 11am – 3pm during school midterm & Easter holiday breaks.
- Daily 11am – 3pm for July & August
- Weekends only during off peak times (from March 17th 2018)
See the Castlecomer Discovery Park website and social media pages for latest updates.
Group bookings are welcome for all activities throughout the year (Pre-booking essential).
Booking Online:- You can book on line here through our booking link directly to the Castlecomer Discovery Park Activities
Admission To Castlecomer Discovery Park
Entry to the park is free with a nominal charge of €2 for all day car parking.
Seasonal Activities At Castlecomer Discovery Park
As well as the ongoing family trails in the Castlecomer Discovery Park , they also organise specific seasonal events for families usually based around the woodlands.
To Find Out More About Santa At Castlecomer Discovery Park
The also run Easter Egg hunts and special Halloween trails and events
To Find Out More About Easter At Castlecomer Discovery Park
To Find Out More About Halloween At Castlecomer Discovery Park
History of Wandesforde Estate
The Wandesforde family came from Yorkshire in England and were granted lands in Castlecomer in 1636. Over one hundred years later, Anne Wandesforde married John Butler, heir to the Butlers of Ormonde and she became the Countess of Ormonde. Her older sons, William and James became the 18th and 19th Earls of Ormonde and the youngest son, Charles inherited the estate at Castlecomer. Charles Wandesforde took a great interest in the mining and worked to improve conditions and assist his tenants and workers.
The original Castlecomer House was built in 1638 and was destroyed during the Battle of Castlecomer during the Rebellion of 1798. Lady Anne rebuilt a larger house in 1802 but this eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1975. No trace of the house, which actually was sited on the other side of the Dublin/Kilkenny road remains today.
Like many large landowners at the time, the Wandesforde family spent time improving their grounds to create an idealised landscape. One major part of this was the construction of two artificial lakes, which would have been used for fishing and boating. In 2004, the lakes were re-instated as part of the restoration and clearance of the woodlands, and are now used for rainbow trout angling. A replica of the Wandesforde family boathouse has also been constructed on the original site on the lower lake.
The Design Yard is located in what was the farmyard and stables of the Wandesforde family in the 1700’s. The buildings have been converted and are now used by a host of artists and craftspeople. Craft Shops include pottery and ceramics, jewellery, stone carving, painting, antiques, furniture restoration and Mitzy Kilkenny.
Located inside the visitor centre, the gift shop stocks a wide range of inexpensive gifts, toys and souvenirs for all the family with an emphasis on education and the outdoors. It also plays host to the delightful Jarrow Café.
Directions To Castlecomer Discovery Park
From the centre of Castlecomer town take the N78 towards Dublin, go over the bridge and after 200m you will see the main iron gates for Castlecomer Discovery Park on your left.
Coming from the Athy or Carlow direction, Castlecomer Discovery Park is on the right hand side just before you enter Castlecomer town. There is parking on site for cars and buses. Just follow the signs as you come in through the main gates.