I feel blessed to live in Malahide with its abundance of natural amenities, one of the most outstanding being Malahide Castle and Gardens. I tend to walk along the coast most days or around Paddy’s Hill if I want a climb. But I always head to the ‘Castle’ when the coast is too raw and windy, so I am pretty familiar with every inch of the trails around the Castle Demesne.
When my own children were young, we spent a lot of time there, particularly when the fabulous playground was built. It has been upgraded several times since and is always busy, particularly at weekends. Now we are back again with our grandchildren.
Under the ownership of Fingal County Council and operated by Shannon Heritage, there is plenty to see and do there. Spread over the 260-acre estate, there are public tennis courts, a par-3 golf course, playing fields for the local soccer and GAA clubs, and the Cricket Club, venue for international matches.
And you can visit the famous Malahide Castle, once owned by the Talbot family and dating back to the 12th century.
The Talbot Botanic Gardens
A walled garden with seven glasshouses, a Victorian conservatory and plants from around the globe (such as Chile and Australia), the Talbot Botanic Gardens are an absolute must-see for any gardening enthusiast. They are, in effect, a showcase for the plant-collecting passion of the final Baron, Lord Milo Talbot (a dedicated botanist apparently) having started life over 200 years ago as a kitchen garden to cultivate fruit and vegetables…and a wonderfully colourful spectacle too.
The Butterfly House
The Cambridge Glasshouse in the Walled Gardens is the only butterfly house in Ireland and has over 20 species of these colourful creatures flying around the tropical plants. A real experience for butterfly experts and novices (like us) alike. Logan was fascinated and not in the least frightened of having one resting on his shoulder.
The Fairy Trail
We visited The Fairy Trail for the first time with our grandsons a few weeks ago. Admittedly it was a lovely sunny day, warm enough for a picnic, but I would recommend it at any time. We spent about an hour and a half following the trail and finding the clues in an interactive booklet. Logan was mesmerised and one-year old Cole wanted to climb everything.
Situated in woodland around the Castle’s West Lawn, the trail is about 1.8km long and features fun sculptures, fairy houses and various hidden gems.
I even found a place to rest.
Cole was looking for dragons to slay below.
While Logan was examining the Fairy Village.
We also came up close and personal with one of the peacocks who was not the least bit perturbed by our intrusion.
You can enjoy Malahide Castle woodlands, walks and playground free of charge. You pay to visit the castle, The Victorian Walled Garden, The Butterfly House and Fairy Trail. But one ticket can be purchased for all. Check for offers online at www.malahidecastleand gardens.ie
I do not think you will be disappointed. Malahide Castle Demesne is beautiful in every season.