Fodor's Expert Review Lough Boora Discovery Park

Tullamore Park/Playground
Free Fodor's Choice

This open expanse of once commercial, now exhausted, bog has been restored for a variety of leisure activities, from hiking and cycling to coarse angling and bird-watching (more than 150 species make their home here). When it was first established as a sanctuary in 2001 there were just 11 breeding pairs of gray partridge in the parkland—now there are several hundred of these ground-nesting birds, the last remaining population of them in Ireland. You're unlikely to see them, however, as they spend only one minute of each day in the air. Best of all, Lough Boora is home to one of Ireland's most unique sculpture parks. Along the Sculpture Walk, where golden plovers, lapwings, and starlings may accompany you, 24 large-scale sculptures made from local materials (including glacial stone, water, and willow) have been created by artists influenced by the legacy of the bogs. The result is some of the most creative environmental outdoor artwork anywhere in Ireland. To cite one example, the... READ MORE

This open expanse of once commercial, now exhausted, bog has been restored for a variety of leisure activities, from hiking and cycling to coarse angling and bird-watching (more than 150 species make their home here). When it was first established as a sanctuary in 2001 there were just 11 breeding pairs of gray partridge in the parkland—now there are several hundred of these ground-nesting birds, the last remaining population of them in Ireland. You're unlikely to see them, however, as they spend only one minute of each day in the air. Best of all, Lough Boora is home to one of Ireland's most unique sculpture parks. Along the Sculpture Walk, where golden plovers, lapwings, and starlings may accompany you, 24 large-scale sculptures made from local materials (including glacial stone, water, and willow) have been created by artists influenced by the legacy of the bogs. The result is some of the most creative environmental outdoor artwork anywhere in Ireland. To cite one example, the installation artist Mike Bulfin has turned a rusty old bog train into a cartoonish curve whose image will remain imprinted in your mind long after your visit to this magical place. The most recent sculpture, the Gathering of Stones, features a different type of stone from each of the four provinces in Ireland, creating a ring fort and circular wall. It reflects the Irish diaspora through "emigrant stones" laid out in a cruciform shape embracing people from all corners of the world. A café serves snacks from 10 am to 6 pm. An off-road bike trail runs for 22 km (13 miles). You can choose from five different looped color-coded walks, while guided walking tours run April–September.Bring your binoculars: bird hides are located throughout the park to provide the opportunities to spy on birds such as golden plover and lapwing.

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Park/Playground Historical Free Family Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Boora
Tullamore, Co. Offaly  Ireland

057-934–5978

www.loughboora.com

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free; bike rental €5 per hr, parking €4 full day, Closed weekdays Oct.–Mar.

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