Kildare is filled with abundant scenic beauty and within every 5kms there is a woodland trail or nature walk to be discovered. Getting outdoors and exercising in this fresh and crisp autumnal weather is great for the heart and mind as exercising, as well as keeping you fit, releases endorphins which will help people stay positive. Why not go for a lunch time walk or bring the kids on a local adventure in the green fields and wooded natural landscapes dotted around Kildare. Pack a picnic, wrap up warm and discover the natural treasures Kildare has in store for you.
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Just a short distance outside of Rathangan Village lies one of Ireland’s best kept secret for nature! Killinthomas Wood in County Kildare is like something straight from a fairytale and one of the most stunning woodlands in all of Ireland! The 200 acre amenity area is a mixed hardwood conifer forest with very diverse flora and fauna. There are about 10 km of signposted walks in the wood for all those hiking lovers, and these give access to a wide variety of ecosystems.
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Located just over 30-minutes outside of Kildare Town lies the Donadea Forest Park. With three separate walking trails, all ranging from 1km to 6km, there is something to suit all ages here. For a short afternoon stroll, follow the Lake Walk, which loops around waterlily-filled lake and takes no more than half an hour. The Nature Trail is just under 2km, which winds its way through some of the dramatic architecture of the estate. For more ambitious walkers, the Aylmer Walk is a 6km Slí na Slainte trail which brings walkers all around the park.
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Enjoy a weekend stroll along the banks of one of Ireland’s most historical rivers, the River Barrow. With something of interest at every turn on this 200-year-old towpath, this river is the perfect companion for anyone walking or cycling along the Barrow Way. Experience the flora and fauna dotted along its banks, the lovely locks and stunning old lock-keepers cottages.
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A similar route to the Barrow Way, this scenic linear walk, The Royal Canal Greenway is great for those who want to grab a take away coffee and just keep walking. Walking as far as you like, you can then easily hop on public transport to take you back to your starting point. There are a number of significant examples of late-eighteenth century industrial archaeology to admire along the way, including the Ryewater Aquaduct which takes the canal high over the Rye river, and which took six years to build.
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Nestled in Ireland’s Ancient East is the County Kildare Monastic Trail, the heart of Christianity origins in Ireland. This beautiful trail combines both the best of Ireland’s nature as well as its unique ancient history. Stretching from Castledermot to Oughterard near Straffan, this 92km trail will lead you to atmospheric ruins of age-old monasteries, relic round towers and time-worn rustic high crosses. A free audio guide can be downloaded to help you delve deeper into the ancient monastic history of Ireland.
Spanning 370 sq. miles into counties Meath, Offaly, Kildare, Laois and Westmeath, the Bog of Allen is a raised bog which has been described as a much a part of Irish natural history as the Book of Kells. Bog butter, coins, the great Irish Elk and an ancient dug out canoe are just some of the fascinating things that have been recovered in a preserved state from the bog.
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Pollardstown Fen, near Newbridge is an area of alkaline peatland that stands over 220 hectares and obtains its nutrients from calcium rich spring water. Mostly under the ownership of the state, it is of international importance and contains a number of rare vegetation types, along with an uninterrupted pollen record of the changes in its composition of vegetation going back to the last ice age.
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Possibly the oldest and most extensive tract of semi-natural grassland in Europe and the site of the film ‘Braveheart’, the Curragh Plains is a popular walking spot for locals and visitors alike. With a 5,000 acre stretch of walkways from Kildare Town to Newbridge, the Curragh offers expansive walkways to explore and while you are ambling through the lush grasslands, visitors can stop off at the Military Museum located in the Curragh.
Follow in the footsteps of Arthur Guinness taking in historic sites linked to Ireland’s most famous brewers – the Guinness family. Explore the town of Celbridge where Arthur spent his childhood, Leixlip, the site of his first brewery, Ardclough interpretive centre and exhibition ‘From Malt to Vault’, and Oughterard Graveyard, his final resting place. Don’t forget to ass in a trip to Castletown House and Parklands while along the way!