Merlin Park Woods in Galway City is one of the largest and most diverse urban woodlands in Ireland, with over 80 hectares of native and exotic trees, wildflowers, birds and mammals. 

Merlin Park Woods was originally part of the estate of the Blake family, who owned the land since the 17th century. The woods were named after their ancestral home in England, which was said to be the birthplace of the legendary wizard Merlin. The Blakes donated the woods to the city of Galway in 1946, and since then they have been managed by the Galway City Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

One of the main attractions of Merlin Park Woods is the diversity of trees that grow there. You can find native species such as oak, ash, birch, holly and hazel, as well as exotic ones such as beech, sycamore, chestnut, lime and cedar. Some of the trees are over 200 years old and have impressive girths and heights. You can also spot some rare and endangered trees, such as the black poplar and the wild service tree.

The woods are also home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. In spring and summer, you can admire the colourful display of wildflowers, such as bluebells, primroses, wood anemones and orchids. You can also hear and see many birds, such as robins, blackbirds, wrens, tits, finches and woodpeckers. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some mammals, such as foxes, badgers, squirrels and bats.

There are several trails that you can follow to explore Merlin Park Woods. The main one is the Loop Trail, which is about 3 km long and takes you around the perimeter of the woods. Along the way you can encounter some historical features, such as the ruins of Merlin Castle.

Another trail that you can take is the Nature Trail, which is about 1.5 km long and takes you through the heart of the woods. This trail is more suitable for those who want to learn more about the ecology and biodiversity of Merlin Park Woods. Along the way, you can find information boards that explain the different types of trees, plants and animals that live there.

Merlin Park Woods is open to the public all year round and admission is free. You can access it by car or by bus from Galway city centre. There is a car park and large playground for kids at the main entrance on Doughiska Road. There are also benches dotted throughout the park where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. If you are looking for a guided tour or an educational workshop, you can contact the Friends of Merlin Woods group, who are volunteers who help to conserve and promote Merlin Park Woods.

Merlin Park Woods is a wonderful place to visit if you want to experience nature in an urban setting. It offers a peaceful and beautiful environment where you can walk, cycle, jog or simply sit and appreciate its charms.


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Merlin Park Woodland



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