Parklands

Variety of Visitor Attractions in Blessington, Co. Wicklow

Parklands Walks

You can explore Russborough's beautiful demense on foot with one of our walking routes, in the heart of the beautiful Wicklow countryside. 


Choose from the 2km wildlife trail, which passes through our wildlife habitat, the 2km woodland and rhododendron trail, or combine them for a longer, more satisfying walk. There are information boards along both routes full of interesting facts about Russborough and its flora and fauna. These easy walking routes take in breathtaking scenery, secluded spots, and the best views of the stunning Palladian mansion. 


Whilst you’re out and about, keep an eye out for some of the wonderful wildlife that call Russborough home. You may come across swans, foxes, badgers, hares and rabbits as you explore. Dogs are welcome at Russborough, where they will always find a bowl of water in the courtyard, but must be kept on lead. 


The Maze

The 2000 metre beech hedge maze is a fascinating feature at Russborough. A statue of Cupid stands proudly on a column at the centre of the maze to help you find your way. Very popular with children, the maze is open every day of the week March-November. Harry Potter fans can combine a trip to the maze with an owl handling session in the National Bird of Prey Centre for an authentic Goblet of Fire experience.


Maze Tips

On a guided tour of the house, there is a beautiful view of the maze from the bathroom window upstairs. If you fancy attempting the Russborough House & Parklands maze, make sure that you obtain a token and map at reception and also bring your mobile phone with you just in case you lose your way.


"After taking what seemed like every single wrong turn, we finally got to the middle of the Russborough House Maze. Even without John wielding the cutters, it was still difficult. Getting out was easier, but we had so much fun and some laughs.'


Maze tokens are available from reception as part of an Outdoor Family Ticket or sold separately.

Children’s Playground Playground

Voted one of the top playgrounds in the country by the Irish Times, children aged 2-12 will find lots of adventure in our play area with its mix of fun and challenging equipment including wooden framed swings, a sandpit, slides and spider web climbing frame.


There's plenty of seating in the picnic area for the grown-ups to relax and the café and toilets are just a stone's throw away.

There is no charge to use the playground and if you feel like losing yourself pick up a token for the maze at Reception.

Please note that for health and safety reasons, we cannot allow your four-legged family members into the playground.


Woodland Fairy Trail

Lady's Island at Russborough is an enchanted land that is home to a growing number of magical fairy folk. Some of the fairies have lived in their beautifully quaint homes for more than 270 years. With many of our long term resident fairies completing home improvements over the Winter, Lady's Island has become a very fashionable fairy address and many clever fairies have made the move to Russborough.  


On the island you can meet  Faylinn and his fairy friends while you search for fairy doors among the trees. Pick up a brochure at Reception to learn all about the fairies' forays, learn the fairy language, and enjoy fairy games. You can also discover more about fairy flowers, fauna, and the natural materials that the fairies use for their clothing and jewellery.


Fairy Trail brochures are available from Reception as part of an Outdoor Family Ticket, or sold separately.


Home Improvements and other fairy building projects are kindly supported by Nature's Sculptures Ireland.

Audio Trail 

This season we have launched an audio trail around the 2km parkland walk to the front and back of the house, taking in the beautiful scenery and historic features. While enjoying Russborough's exceptional architecture and demense you will be brought to fifteen locations where you'll listen to fascinating stories of the people & events that helped shape the house and estate since the mid-18th century.


To ensure that we keep our littlest visitors entertained there is also a shorter children’s audio tour with a quick quiz question at each stop to keep children engaged.


Podcatchers are available from reception as part of an Outdoor Family Ticket or sold separately. 

Tree Trail

Russborough has launched a new tree trail, suitable for families & school groups, giving details of ten wonderful trees including ancient beech, horse chestnut, Douglas-fir & yew.


Explore ancient trees at Russborough, dating as far back as the  first phase of planting in the 1740s. Beneath the impressive Wellingtonia, succesive owners buried their most beloved horses and erected a plaque to commemorate them. The trail also features trees planted by President Mary McAleese and by President Michael D. Higgins. Some of these extraordinary trees are inhabited by fairies too, do come visit us and explore this fantastic tree trail.


The Tree Trail guide is available from reception as part of an Outdoor Family Ticket or sold separately.



Walled Garden

Russborough’s 18th century walled garden is currently being restored by volunteers from the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland (RHSI). This hive of activity can be visited during the following times:

March-April
Wed & Sat: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
June-August
Sun, Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Wed & Sat 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The impressive restoration work includes reinstating the garden paths to their original layout and dimensions along with repairs to the surrounding brick and stone walls using traditional techniques, replanting of the hornbeam hedge, and restoring the curvilinear glasshouse. The once overgrown vegetable garden is again an area of productivity and work is being carried out to restore the Pleasure Garden.

Groups can pre-book a garden tour along with their house tour on 045 865239

The Bird of Prey Centre

The National Bird of Prey Centre is an outdoor educational centre where eagles, owls, hawks and falcons from around the world can be seen on display. 


The centre opened on the grounds of Russborough House and Parklands in May 2016 and is home to over forty different Birds of Prey including the recently re introduced golden eagle, white tailed sea eagle and red kite. During your visit to the centre you will be given an expert guided tour about all of the birds on display, followed by a handling session with some of our hand reared owls. 


Admission:  

Adults: €8.00
Children: €6.00
Family (2 adults & up to 4 children): €25.00
Student & Senior Citizen: €7.00

National Bird Of Prey Centre

Artisans of Russborough

The Artisans of Russborough were formed in 2009 and are a group of resident artists working from within the grounds of Russborough House. 


All accomplished in their fields, you can visit the artists in their studios located in Russborough's East and West Wing Courtyards. Among these award winning artists and craftspeople you'll find beautiful handmade products by a Ceramicist, Sculptural Blacksmiths, Candle Maker, Bog Oak Sculptor, Cruthú: West Wicklow arts group, and a Stonemason. 


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Sheepdog Demonstrations

Fun, interactive sheepdog demonstrations are available for group bookings.


County Wicklow is famous for its sheep, so it is no surprise that sheepdog herding is a large part of country life here. You are able to witness the skill and intelligence of the border collies in action as they follow the command of a whistle in varied pitches to herd the sheep around the fields of Russborough.

Our host, renowned sheepdog handler Michael Crowe, will keep you entertained while giving you a snapshot of real Irish rural life. Russborough sheepdog demos are ideal for international guests, especially those from a farming background, as well as local families on a fun day out.

“Michael brings his working dogs to Russborough, along with some of his sheep, for guests to see what they can do. His dogs are incredible and Michael is such a nice man. He even brought along a new lamb for the children to see and hold.”

Review on TripAdvisor™, 2014


The Blessington Greenway

The Greenway is a 6.5km trail (the round trip equals 13km) along the shores of the Blessington Lakes and through forest and natural woodland. It starts at Russelltown Bay, across the road from Russborough, and finished at the Avon Ri activity centre at the southern end of Blessington. There is space for parking at both locations. It is hoped that the Greenway will stretch right around the Blessington Lakes with a distance of about 35km in the future.

Grade: Easy

Distance: 6.5 km

Estimated Time: 1.5 Hours

Total Height Climbed: 0

Terrain Underfoot: Forest Roads, Boardwalk, and Tarmac Footpath

Suitable for: Anyone with Reasonable Fitness


The Starting Point

The Greenway can be accessed from the N81 at either end by car, or alternatively by the number 65 bus in Dublin to Blessington or Russborough. The GPS for the start point is: 53.161703, -6.533786.

Contact us in Blessington, Co. Wicklow for more information about visitor attractions.