Trails & Walks

The Parkland at Russborough is as elegantly designed as the house itself and was laid out simultaneously during the 1740s to take full advantage of the sublime backdrop of the mountains, river and lakes.

Banner gate

Following original pathways from the eighteenth century, walks to the south and north of the park reveal wonderful views of the house, as well as enabling a full immersion in one of Ireland’s most important and intact designed landscapes.

This mixture of cultural and natural heritage plays as important a role in the effect created for our visitors today as it did in the mid-1700s.

A detailed history of the Parkland can be found here. Read on to discover more about our walking trails. Get a Family All Access Ticket here.

Lake Walk

The trail to the south of the house begins on the path to the side of the Eastern obelisks. It is a gentle walk of just over two kilometres in a U shape to the front of the house. While occasionally uneven or muddy underfoot it is suitable for most levels of walker. The surface is a mixture of gravel and grass, in drier weather it is navigable with pushchairs. There is a gentle incline as you return towards the house.

The path leads walkers past the Walled Garden, following its walls to Lady’s Island and on towards the ornamental lakes. The best views of the house are to be glimpsed through the ancient oak and beech trees, many of which pre-date the house - planted by Joseph Leeson in anticipation of the construction of Richard Castle’s architectural masterpiece.

A number of original eighteenth features can be seen on this walk - the Russborough post office (now sadly a ruin), the ice house and the lime kiln. These can be visited when accompanied by a guide on a pre-booked Parkland tour. Alternatively, for just you can find a recorded tour via the Smartify App.

South walk

Woodland Walk

This path begins at the back of the house and takes the walker through a birch-lined lane which climbs gently to the Rhododendron Garden. In the fields on the left hand side are residual terraces from the original eighteenth century landscape design, a formal ornamental water feature lies at their centre. A viewing point just as the path heads into the densely planted rhododendrons reveals sublime views of the North-facing, garden front of the house with the lakes and mountains beyond.

The Woodland Walk is about half a kilometre and can be walked comfortably in a quarter of an hour, but allow lots of time to explore the magical, mossy woodland of the rhododendron garden. This path is quite natural and uneven, so is best enjoyed with decent footwear, taking reasonable care.

Rhodendrons

Parkland Loop walk

This 4.4 kilometre walk combines the north and south trails of the Lake and Woodland Walks to form a continuous loop of the Russborough Demesne. A path through the tree nursery from the rhododendron garden takes you across the top of the north lawns revealing spectacular views through the eighteenth century plantings of noble oak and beech.

Follow the path as it heads down the hill, exiting near the Birds of Prey centre. A short detour will take you to the tombs of the 6th Earl and Countess of Milltown. Set side by side in a railed enclosure, it pays tribute to their efforts ‘beautifying Russborough, which became the most lovely spot in the world, Milltown’s Paradise’.

To discover more about the original landscape features evident on this walk, why not listen to the recorded tour available via the Smartify App. Learn how Irish landowners of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were guided by the dual principle of utile et dulce, creating aesthetically pleasing and idealised landscapes for retreat and leisure, while ensuring the land was managed in an economically sustainable way. Principles that endure today for the Alfred Beit Foundation is caring for the Russborough parkland.

Demesne Trail

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.

Fairytrail

Tree trail

Explore ancient trees at Russborough, dating as far back as the first phase of planting in the 1740s. Beneath the impressive Wellingtonia, successive 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.

It is suitable for families & school groups, giving details of ten wonderful trees including ancient beech, horse chestnut, Douglas-fir & yew.

Treetrail

Blessington Greenway

The Blessington Greenway starts at the historic town of Blessington and leads south along the shores of lakes and through forest and natural woodland, terminating at the avenue that leads to Russborough.

Commencing at The Avon Activity Centre at the southern end of the town and weaving its way along the shores, the trail crosses an ancient medieval Ringfort and uses the footpath along part of the N81 before turning back into the forest at Burgage Moyle lane. It then crosses the Valleymount Road (R758) and makes its way to Russellstown Bay adjacent to Russborough House.

Along the way you will have the opportunity to appreciate the magnificent scenery and wildlife in the area. At a distance of just 6.5 kilometres, it is a relatively easy walk that can be completed in under 2 hours. The terrain underfoot is a mixture of forest paths, boardwalk and tarmacadam footpath and is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Recent funding from the Department of Transport means that the Blessington Greenway is being developed further into a 46 kilometre loop of the Blessington lakes and in the future will be Ireland’s first official E-Greenway. It will link to the Russborough walks via one of our original eighteenth century features, a stone-built tunnel under the N81.

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