Set in the former grounds of the Wandesforde Estate, Castlecomer Discovery Park comprises 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes and began as a community project to rejuvenate the town of Castlecomer following the closure of the coal mines in 1969.
The park is a social/community enterprise and acts on a Non-Profit basis. It was set up to promote rural tourism, and what has been achieved by the community and voluntary efforts is astonishing and any financial surpluses generated are reinvested into the Park.
This relatively ‘young’ park opened to the public in 2007 with the launch of the Coal Mining Exhibition, Visitor Centre and Design Craft studios which are located in the former stable yard. The Park continues to evolve and is actively developing a range of exciting recreational, cultural and educational activities for visitors of all ages.
With the help of the Dormant Accounts Fund, Casltcomer Discovery Park installed a Zipline and an Advanced High Ropes Course in 2016. These additional facilities has helped establish Castlecomer Discovery Park as a “whole day” attraction. Development of these facilities was carried out with the aim of targeting a new wider audience (teenagers/adults and especially groups-markets of sports clubs, secondary schools, scouts, etc) and as a result has enabled the facility to open up a new revenue generating stream. Resulting media coverage of the zipline and advanced ropes course has enhanced Castlecomer Discovery Park as a quality outdoor recreational facility in Kilkenny and the Leinster region and has provided the catalyst for further activities.
The Park has grown from strength to strength since it first opened, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Over 117,000 visited in 2015. In 2015, Castlecomer Discovery Park won the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Culture/Heritage Tourism. It is also listed as ‘One of the Three Best Family Attractions in Leinster’ 2012, 2013, and is also among the top 5 attractions listed in Kilkenny on Trip Advisor.