By Catherine Mackey, Naas Community Library
Now’s the time to make a plan to #KeepWell in the months ahead and especially after all those ham and turkey Christmas sandwiches. Remember there are many things that you can do that make a big difference to how you feel. Keeping active helps to protect both our physical and mental health. Regular exercise such as walking will help us to relax, sleep well and feel better. Exercise helps to reduce stress and boosts our energy levels.
If you want to get some fresh air and exercise, there are some spectacular walks in Kildare to explore. These walks are right on our doorstep.
County Kildare has some of the most beautiful trails in the country, featuring ancient relics and archaeological sites on route. Explore some of these walks for some outdoor activity and exercise.
Killinthomas Woods is a five-minute drive from Rathangan Village with 10km of space to explore. The walk through the woods starts at the carpark and you can choose to take a short stroll or a long walk. This beautiful space has a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The Barrow Way
The River Barrow is one of Ireland’s most historical rivers. It is a 200-year-old towpath with flora and fauna spread along its banks. You’ll also see the lovely locks and the stunning old lock-keeper’s cottages. There is an audio guide available, that has stories and information on ancient history of Leinster.
This is a 2.5km walk that starts at the courthouse by the River Barrow in Athy. The walk will take you along the river, up the Barrow Path, past St Michael’s Church of Ireland, under the Horse Bridge and Railway Bridge and along the Canal Path. This walk is ideal for just getting out to enjoy the outdoors.
Donadea Forest Park
Donadea Forest Park is located about a 30-minute drive from Kildare Town. This beautiful park has three separate walking trails. The trails range from 1km to 6km. Follow the Lake Walk if you want to take a short walk. It loops around a lake and takes about 30 minutes. The Nature Trail leads through some of the beautiful architecture of the estate and is just under 2km. The Aylmer Walk is a 6km Slí na Sláinte trail which will bring you around the whole park.
Castletown House and its beautiful parklands are steeped in history. This extraordinary place is a fantastic way to discover the great outdoors. The park is free to enter, and it is open all year-round. Here you will get to explore stunning trails, river walks and beautiful lakes and you will see plenty of native flora and fauna.
The Royal Canal Way
This is a beautiful scenic linear walk. You can walk as far and for as long as you want and then you can easily take public transport back to where you started. Along the way you can admire some examples of late-eighteenth century industrial archaeology including the Ryewater Aquaduct which takes the canal high over the Rye river.
The Kildare Monastic Trail
The Kildare Monastic Trail is nestled in Ireland’s Ancient East and is at the heart of Christianity origins in Ireland. This beautiful 92km trail stretches from Castledermot to Oughterard near Straffan. Along the way you will see the ruins of ancient monasteries, relic round towers and weathered high crosses. You can download a free audio guide to help you explore the ancient monastic history of Ireland.
Check out Kildare Libraries Facebook page to keep up to date with ideas, activities and classes taking place online to help to promote well-being and positive mental health.