Curragh Chase Forest Park, Kilcornan, Co. Limerick

Trip Start Mar 22, 2010
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Trip End May 20, 2010


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Flag of Ireland  , County Limerick,
Thursday, March 11, 2010

Today's excursion was to Curragh Chase, one of the eleven national forest parks run by Coilte. 

Curragh Chase was originally part of the DeVeer estate and included a mansion house, outbuildings and gardens. The most famous member of the DeVeer family was of course the poet Aubrey DeVeer. Interestingly enough the original family name was Hunt but Aubrey's father, also Aubrey had the surname changed. 

Unfortunately the family home was destroyed in a fire in 1941 and only the shell survived. The windows have been concreted over and the basement filled. The land was acquired by the state in the late 50's and has since become a popular attraction, with walking/cycling trails, a campsite, playground and other facilities.  

You can find info on the park here - http://www.coillteoutdoors.ie/?id=53&rec_site=109
 
There are four major trails. Two shorter ones are close to the house, the lake trail is exactly what it's name suggests - a trail around a lake! The arboretum trail is a leisurely stroll around the more formal garden area of the park, where the DeVeer family planted a selection of trees from the world, and many have grown into beautiful giants. 

The mixture of lake, meadow and forest means the walks never get dull. We warmed up with the lake trail which is flat and an easy stroll - usually there are lots of families with small children, buggies and dogs on this trail, but being a weekday morning meant it was very quiet.

Directly across from the house there is a hill with cross memorial to the DeVeer, originally the Hunt family. We had a race up the steep steps which the girls won, though slightly breathless! So we had to chill and take a break by sitting on the cross, which has been heavily graffitied.

We then went ahead and walked a mixture of the Glenisca and Curragh walks - these are the newer gravel paths, which have been well signposted and offer more diverse and at times challenging walks through the woods along a stream which connects Glenisca to the lake near the house.

Our two doggies did at one point attempt to have a swim with an angry swan...which hissed them back out of the water. That was funny! Also the guys went for a roll down the steep hill infront of the house, and yes, it still was as much fun now as it was as children!
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