Ireland for Families

Kilbarry Wood- A Hidden Gem of North Cork

Kilbarry Wood, Fermoy

The weather seems to finally be getting better around here….well maybe not- maybe we are just pretending- either way it’s ‘summer’ in Cork and we are determined to spend it outside.    I’ve got two little adventurers on my hands who love nothing better than exploring any new place.  Thankfully they are still at an age where we can make anything  just about anything an ‘adventure,’ but our recent trip to Kilbarry Wood was an adventure indeed.

The truth is, it had been raining for days and we desperately needed to get out so I hit the Coillte  website for inspiration.

Located about 7km east of Fermoy, Co Cork Kilbarry Wood (near the village of Coolagown) is worth a visit to North Cork.  The wood has two looped walks, both of which offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

We opted for the shorter route-or so I thought-thankfully the kids were enjoying the adventure so much they didn’t even realise when we got lost.

Walk among the fairies at Killbarry Wood

After parking the car and taking note of our surroundings we weren’t walking long until we ventured upon our first surprise fairy door!!  There are dozens of handmade fairy doors dotting the lower portion of the route.  The kids loved running from one door until they found the next one.  Of course in between doors we kept our eyes and ears peeled in hopes to catch a glimpse of an actual fairy.

Killbarry Wood


Between the fairy doors and wildflowers the wood was full of colour in the early summer.  Coincidentally we are learning our colours in this house-  I can tell you there is no better way to cement a child’s learning than  studying the colour of fairy doors.

Along the walk are several lookout points with clear views of the valley below and the mountains beyond.  On a clear afternoon it seemed like we could see for miles.

These vantage points happen to also make excellent lookouts for knights protecting the fairy princesses who life nearby.

At the top of the mountain (or at least I think it was the top- we really did get lost) sits a large, ominous looking reservoir.  The kids’ imaginations ran wild with thoughts of its many many uses for the fairies on the mountain.

I hadn’t come to Kilbarry Wood prepared but next time I will pack a picnic as there are several picnic tables and grassy knolls perfect for a picnic blanket.

The wood is fairly remote but seemingly popular as we crossed paths with several families, people and dogs out walking.  Although the paths are well laid out, it is steep in some areas and unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.  I wouldn’t have wanted to push the buggy around either.   Our walk took us about 2 hours, but that  accounts for time lost due to my excellent navigational skills as well as extensive investigation of each and every fairy door.  Entrance to the carpark and Killbarry Wood are free.

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