Looking for the ultimate wildlife experience? Be sure to check out our list of the top five best wildlife parks in Ireland below!
Known for its nature and wildlife, it comes as no surprise that Ireland is home to numerous different wildlife parks. Many species native to Ireland have sadly succumbed to extinction over the years.
However, those remaining today have taken refuge in the various wildlife parks, zoos, nature reserves, and animal sanctuaries across the country. All of which were established to preserve local and endangered species living on the island.
Nowadays, Ireland is known to be home to the Irish hare, Irish stoat, red fox, pine marten, red deer, and pygmy shrew alongside ten different types of bat and various species of bird and fish.
While some are easily spotted across the land, others are better found in nature reserves, national parks, and other dedicated conservation centres – many of which both accept and encourage public visitation.
Here is our list of the top five best wildlife parks in Ireland.
5. Doneraile Wildlife Park, Co. Cork – for free flora and fauna
Set on 160 hectares of land, this mid-18th-century landscaped park and wildlife estate in Cork is filled with deciduous trees, water features, and a parterre walled garden.
Along its trails of varying lengths, visitors are sure to cross paths with numerous deer herds, including that of the red deer native to Ireland.
Open seven days a week, this free visitor attraction – which also offers a children’s playground and tea rooms – is arguably one of the best wildlife parks in Ireland.
Address: Turnpike Road, Doneraile, Ireland
4. Stonehall Visitor Farm & Wildlife Park, Co. Limerick – something for everyone
Lying opposite Curraghchase Forest Park, this farm and wildlife park is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Visitors can learn more about their conservation work up close with help from the friendly and educated staff.
In addition to the various nature trails and tours available, the site also offers tea rooms, designated picnic areas, and an indoor play area for children.
Address: Stonehall, Curraghchase, Co. Limerick, Ireland
3. Tayto Park, Co. Meath – home to a wide variety of species
It may come as a surprise to some that, alongside the famous theme park aspect for which it is best known, Tayto Park also boasts a vibrant wildlife section.
From farmyard to avian, exotic to endangered, the site houses a diverse assortment of species.
Alongside learning about the creatures in their care, guests also have the chance to visit the Lemur Woods immersive experience or catch the World of Raptors bird of prey exhibit.
With plenty to see and do, the expansive animal section at Tayto Park ensures it to be one of the best wildlife parks in Ireland.
Address: Tayto Park, Kilbrew, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, A84 EA02, Ireland
2. Wild Ireland, Co. Donegal – the ultimate wildlife experience
Located in an ancient Celtic rainforest on the Inishowen Peninsula, this wildlife sanctuary houses formerly abused and exploited animals, many of which were once famously native to Ireland.
The inhabitants, which include European wolves, wild boars, brown bears, and lynx, live in replicated versions of their natural habitats as a means of active conservation.
The wildlife park also has a fairy trail and park for young visitors. Plus, guests of all ages can partake in the keeper talks or purchase a souvenir from the Wild Ireland Shop.
Address: Wild Ireland, Dundrain, Burnfoot, Co. Donegal, F93KN7X, Ireland
1. Fota Wildlife Park, Co. Cork – one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland
Situated on 100 acres of land, this non-profit organisation and registered conservation charity welcomes just under half a million visitors each year.
With more than 140 different species occupying vast natural spaces (with some even roaming freely!), this site is undeniably one of the best wildlife parks in Ireland.
Facilities on offer include an indoor giraffe viewing area, Tropical House, and Asian Sanctuary. You can also check out the Madagascan Village, and the Savannah and Oasis cafés. There are also various children’s play parks and the Serengeti gift shop.
In addition to this, guests also have the chance to attend a guided tour or sponsor an animal.
Address: Fota Wildlife Park, Fota, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, Ireland
And there you have them: the top five best wildlife parks in Ireland. Let us know which ones you have visited!