FUN STUFF FOR FAMILIES IN GALWAY

COOLE/GARRYLAND NATURE RESERVE

Coole/Garryland Nature Reserve includes 400 hectares of mixed woodland and wetland. Coole Lough is a Turlough that is considered to be of global importance as it is the centre of a unique karstic wetland system, including underground rivers and disappearing lakes.

The site has also been described as the centre of the Irish Literary Revival at the beginning of the twentieth century, when it was home to Lady Gregory, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. Writers and artists were inspired by the landscape and William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and many others carved initials on the autograph tree which still stands in the walled garden. One of W.B Yeats most famous works, "The Wild Swans of Coole" was inspired by his visits here.

Facilities include coach/car parks, a Visitor Centre and tearooms open from spring to autumn, an audio visual and exhibition and many kilometers of way marked woodland walks. Self-guiding trail maps are available at the Centre to guide visitors along wooded walks, river and lake trails There is access for wheelchair users to the Visitor Centre, the walled garden and some parts of the trails.

The tearooms offer delicious home-baking, lunches and snacks.

Multi-media Exhibition: "Coole Park through the eyes of 'Me and Nu', Granddaughters of Lady Gregory". This charming exhibition gives an impression of what it was like to grow up at Coole in the early 20th century. It contains brief footage of WB Yeats and GB Shaw as well as amusing descriptions and anecdotes of the many famous visitors to Coole. It also contains some personal items belonging to Lady Gregory including one of her fans signed by Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, WB and Jack Yeats among others.

Audio Visual: "Lady Gregory of Coole" is a 30-minute literary history of Coole Park. Seating: 60. Language: English.

Guided walks and family activities are offered during July and August.

www.coolepark.ie

DUNGAIRE CASTLE

Dunguaire Castle has stood proudly on the site of the 7th-century stronghold of Guaire, the King of Connaught, for centuries. This majestic castle bridges 13 centuries of Irish history, from skirmishes, battles and sieges, through to the literary revival of the early 20th century.

Oliver St. John Gogarty surgeon, poet, author and wit, a contemporary and friend of W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, acquired the Castle as a place of quiet retreat in 1924.

Today the Castle provides an insight into the lifestyle of its inhabitants from 1520 to modern times. Dunguaire also hosts evening medieval banquets and entertainment, featuring extracts from literary greats such as Synge, Yeats, Shaw and O’Casey.

www.shannonheritage.com