Having such a beautiful public woodland so close to the town center is a pleasure. Oak Park Forest Park is a stunning natural site just outside Carlow town. So it is a very popular destination for walking and educational visits.
The Park is located in Oak Park estate. It is 3 kilometers north of the town of Carlow. The estate was purchased by Irish MP Henry Bruen in 1775. It remained in the family until 1957, being inhabited by Bruen’s son and grandson, both MPs of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Col. Henry Bruen supplied the oak for the great-framed roof of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow from nearby Oak Park.
120 acres (49 ha) of the site are now operated by the Carlow Tourist Office as Oak Park Forest Park.
Park is free to visit. It features 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) of nature trails.
Besides there are color-coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent accessible surfaces and easy gradients.
Oak Park Forest Park is a mature, mixed-species woodland. With a predominance of beech, oak, scots pine, silver fir, larch, and sycamore. Furthermore boasting a rich diversity of wildlife, the lakes and their surrounds provide a habitat for swans and ducks. While the islands shelter many wild and game birds. Extending over four kilometres the walks include Butlers Wood Loop (700 metres), the Lake Path (800 metres), Fox Covert Track (1,100 metres), and Sally Island Trail (1,700 metres).
Oak Park Forest Park is a winner of the Royal Dublin Society Irish Forestry Award in 2013.
A well-kept spot, and there are educational articles about the forest. There is outdoor exercise equipment, outdoor picnic tables, wheelchair-accessible walkways and toilets, a large car park, a bat sanctuary, and a bird-watching area.
Source: Carlow Tourism
A visit here is a relaxing and pleasurable experience and this is one of the must-visit places in County Carlow. It is beautiful all year round.
Below are photos from my last visit there in January 2021.