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Humans of Kildare – Ray from Lullymore

Tell us about Lullymore Heritage Park

It’s a day-visitor attraction in West Kildare, just between the villages of Rathangan and Allenwood. We attract domestic visitors from all over Ireland and international visitors also. Our international visitors mainly visit to learn about our peatlands with the Bog of Allen. We’re a very family friendly attraction, so that’s a big part of what we do also.

 

One of our founding principles was that we wanted an affordable, educational, fun place for families to go – that’s been at the core of everything we do here since we started. You simply pay admission when you come in and then everything’s included. You don’t have to pay extra for the train trip or the mini-golf and I think families appreciate this and that’s why we get a lot of return visits. We’ve a café on site also plus an outdoor play area, so lots for families.

 

What can people expect when they visit Lullymore Heritage Park?

We give people freedom to explore the place. We’ve got 60 acres of walks – some of them through woodland, lots of it through a peatland biodiversity boardwalk that’s all made with recyclable plastics. All these walks have intermittent stops along the way such as an emigration cottage that talks about local people that emigrated and a Neolithic homestead that talks about people in ancient times that settled in Lullymore. Then all along the boardwalk we’ve signage making it an educational walk too. Then on the leisure side we’ve a pet farm, train trips and an indoor leisure area that was closed during Covid that we hope to have open again soon. So lots of activities too.

 

Whether you’re interested in walking, culture, history, the environment, or just having a bit of fun with the family, it’s all there.

 

Tell us something about Lullymore Heritage Park that people might not know.

We’ve got lots of little hidden secrets. I think a lot of people mightn’t know that back in 2010 we got a piece of bare peat – 46 acres from Bord na Móna. It was like a black desert – literally no life on it at all. Then when we blocked the drains, the amount of biodiversity that’s come back into it is phenomenal. There’s a huge amount of insect life. We’ve got pine martin, red squirrel, lapwing – lots of different animals. We’ve even got giant dragonflies, lizards and frogs! At the moment heather is blooming. It’s amazing in a short amount of time how much nature has healed itself. People mightn’t realise how quick things have changed.

 

What’s your favourite thing to do in Kildare on your day off?

I’m living beside bogs and I’m working in bogs, so what I do more anything is go for walks. I do walk in a peatland area between Rathangan and Monasterevin. So that would be my main leisure activity. The family keeps me busy also! Sometimes I walk with them… sometimes it’s just me and the dog. But I found during lockdown, going for walks through the bog and along the canal was brilliant for clearing your head. I’m sure people living around The Curragh found it was a great place to go walking during Covid. When the Blueway opens up it’s going to be a great boost for tourism.

 

Where is your favourite place to go for a bite to eat in Kildare?

I love the tapas in Las Radas in Naas. Hartes in Kildare Town is a real treat too. Then locally, in Rathangan, I go to Darchini which is an Indian restaurant. Ma’s Kitchen also is another one of my favourites. They’re all top spots – can’t go wrong.

 

What’s your favourite song?

Oh, wow… that’s a good one. I think from growing up, has to be probably Bowie. So, I’d say Sound and Vision.

 

And finally, what’s your favourite movie?

Jeez, that’s a good one also. Going back to the ones that really affected me growing up, it’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s the one that blew me away as a kid.

 

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