Mallow teacher Jenna fills us in about here favourite park - Doneraile Wildlife Park.
Doneraile Wildlife Park in North Cork might be a new find for a lot of people but here in the rebel county we have been aware of it's charms for years!
What's nice about it is the fact it's situated within Doneraile town itself. So if you've driven the 40 mins from cork city you can grab an ice-cream in O'Mahoney's Supermarket and stroll down at your leisure. Parking is free in the park as well so you can always drive down and enjoy your 99 there.
What exactly is Doneraile park I hear you ask?
Basically it's a big park (166 hectares to be exact!) with deer and a Georgian house positioned overlooking it all.
It's honestly super beautiful here and a great place to spend an afternoon.
The landscaping is a mixture of lawns to sit in having a picnic and forestry walks. I have had picnics here with both family and friends and it's always a great day out. My favourite place to position myself for a picnic is actually near the car park. Now bare with me here, it's not for my love of cars. Just next to the carpark is a quite large pond. It's on a slight hill as well so you can see all around you. The large trees to your left, the imposing house in front of you and the pond is always good to dip your feet in on a sunny day. I have heard the gentle hill is good for rolling down as well.
Parents particularly love this spot because the the play park is only 50m from it. The play park is relatively new and I've often walked past it wishing I was 5 again.
If you're more Interested in walks or runs there is plenty here for you too. There are two main loops, a shorter loop around 3/5km depending on the turns you take and a longer loop of around 8 km.
These walks take you along a beautiful stream with trees covering you on all sides. You will travel over small stone bridges and up gentle slopes for great views of the land around you. I enjoy these walks not only for the scenery but for the wildlife. Along the walk you will find another large pond which has beautiful ducks and swans going about their business. The most exciting part for me when I was younger (and even now) was when you stopped to watch the deer across from the pond. We used to stare at them and will the little ones to walk near the fence.
Once you've gotten those steps in, it's always lovely to stop by the tea room in the main house. They have a beautiful courtyard with seats out the front that are exactly what you need after your walk.
Where To Eat
If it's something more substantial you're after, then there's a lovely country house called Springfort Hall that's a 5 minute drive away.It's a family run hotel and the owners take great pride in it.You can choose between bar food and a formal dinner, with most food sourced from local suppliers. The flourless chocolate brownie is to die for!
As much as I would love if the park stayed our little secret, I would also be disappointed if people didn't get to experience it for themselves.
It's open from 9am-8pm on Weekends and 8am-8pm on Weekdays. So get out there and enjoy it as much as we do!