Nestled in the rolling Connaught countryside, roughly 40 kilometres from Galway is Coole Park. It’s a handy halfway point for us on our drives down to Limerick, but we’ve only recently started to take advantage of it’s startling beauty.
Coole Park is a nature reserve of approximately 1,000 acres, located a few miles west of Gort, County Galway, Ireland. The park was formerly the estate of the Gregory family and was built in the late 18th century.
In 1880, Robert’s great-grandson, William Henry Gregory married Isabella Augusta Persse, who became Lady Gregory. The walled garden contains an autograph tree, a copper beech that is engraved with initials of many of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival who were personal friends of Lady Gregory including William Butler Yeats, Edward Martyn, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Seán O’Casey. There’s a helpful ‘key’ to decipher which autograph belongs to whom. I loved the history of the place and it was so peaceful.
The park offers picnic benches, walks and there’s even a lake though we’ve yet to brave it for a dip. The minis love it here, in particular the expansive space they have to play in, in full view from the picnic tables. That ticks another vital family enjoyment box- getting to enjoy a cuppa while the little ones play fully supervised. So while they giggled and jostled their way through another game of hide and seek, we drank in the surroundings over a flask of freshly brewed coffee.
The day we went was a typical Irish summer’s day with a mixture of showers and sun. There are sheltered picnic tables, which is great for keeping dry! The trees also provide shade and shelter. Coole Park is a wonderful natural resource that is great for a family day out and best of all, it’s free!