On the way to Kilkenny and Clonmel is a lovely place that makes the perfect day out! Bring the kids, bring your colleagues, you’re in for a treat!
Castlecomer Discovery Park is in a huge natural woodland over an old mine and you can still see tributes to the coal miners that spent hours underground; in fact there’s a brilliant exhibition that documents their work and lives you should definitely check out.
The JJ Kavanagh & Sons bus leaves you almost right outside the park and on a lovely summer day, it is packed with activity! You can see people in safety gear making their way up trees, people in wetsuits making their way into the woods and there’s a number of craft stores bustling with activity.
I’d heard so much about the tree top walk and so on arrival, the first thing I did after checking in, was get straight down to get my harness on! I made my way across climbing walls and leaps of faith (more on that later) and climbed up the ‘entrance tree’. The course takes about fifteen minutes if you’re particularly good; mind you I was feeling cocky and took over twenty minutes to complete it! It’s a lot of fun and there are times when you feel you are going to crash to the surface below (which is obviously impossible because of the harness)
After the course, I went straight onto the leap of faith, which is exactly what it claims to be! You climb straight up a twenty foot tree trunk and take a leap onto a trapeze bar… Sound easy? Not quite, the pole is shaky and the bar is just out of reach! All the while, the funniest guy holding the bungee cord has you scared out of your wits but laughing hard anyway!
Moving on from the leap of faith, there’s a climbing wall with three levels of difficulty. I went for the toughest first (obviously) and scaled it with absolutely no difficulty… I’m thinking of a career in mountaineering don’t you know? It was tough taking off the harness because I really wanted to do it all again! A glance at my watch showed I’d already been at the tree top walk for over an hour; time does fly when you’re having fun!
A mazy walk through the woods, past an elf village, a mini agility course for young kids and what looks like a very authentic looking Santa’s grotto (that obviously comes into its own in the winter) and the woods open up into a massive lake with the sounds of laughter and splashing floating loftily in the air… There are families on the lake paddling and rowing along having fun and there are others just taking walks along the beautiful, sun drenched path.
The walk back is past a beautiful fishing lake that is much more quiet and serene, the air is lazier and it’s a great place to take a breather. There’s an enclosure with deer and potbelly pigs just before the main square and a little area where families can watch and stroke them from. I had a quick meal in the restaurant and a look in the beautiful craft stores. There really is something for everyone too; there’s handmade pottery and children’s clothes and my personal favourite was a proper vintage store with the most beautiful chocolate coloured dog taking a nap outside!
Castlecomer Discovery Park is a very friendly place; the entire team is all smiles and jokes and helpful tips. I’d recommend the park for anything from birthday parties to team building activities for all ages or sizes; there is an onus on outdoor play and it is refreshing to see kids being themselves and not stuck in electronic devices! A great day out!
You can experience all of what Castlecomer has to offer from as little as €10 return?