One place I had wanted to visit for quite some time was Lough Boora Parklands, a lovely restored wetlands and bog recreation area in the midlands. This is a post-production site in the flat Irish midlands, where the machines have stopped and nature is regaining control. The week before last, myself and the family went along. I highly recommend it.

Lough Boora is based on a project to restore cutaway boglands, previously exploited by Bord na Móna. The parklands have water channels throughout, supplemented by man-made lakes. On the day we were there, the site boasted Geese, Ducks, Lapwings, Mute Swans, Grey Heron and more. Lough Boora is home to Ireland’s impressive achievement in saving its almost vanished Grey Partridge, while Hen Harriers are often spotted there.

Lough Boora

Water channel at Lough Boora Parklands

But much more than that, it’s simply great fun for the kids. Get kids on a railway track (where there are no trains to worry about !) and watch them walk much further than might otherwise be the case. They love the large scale, wonderful and bizarre sculptures, which utilise the old Bord na Móna equipment (including a turf train) to great effect. The place boasts 50 km of walking and cycling trails – that’s impressive. Children love it (did I mention that already ?) and will happily spend hours running around.

Lough Boora Parkland, Offaly

Juvenile Mute Swan

It is fabulous to see how nature is taking over this place once again. Look at the blocked drainage channels becoming recolonised and the alder and willow trees popping up all over. Lough Boora may be a candidate to become Ireland’s first inland National Park.

Visit Lough Boora Parklands

The Park is located west of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on the R357 towards Shannonbridge. Go there, it’s truly wonderful. We’ll be back.

Visit the official website.