Doneraile Estate

Doneraile Estate

Top Tourist Attractions

The Doneraile Estate is a 160-hectare landscaped parkland and wildlife estate. The house was built by the St Leger family around 1645 on the site of a ruined castle. Thirteen generations of the St Leger family lived at Doneraile over three centuries. The fine parklands are designed in the naturalistic style of the famous Capability Brown.

Doneraile Court and Wildlife Park comprise one of the most beautiful historical estates in Ireland. Straddling both sides of the Awbeg River, it is a beautiful estate built and landscaped in the 18th century. Located in Doneraile, County Cork, the 166-hectare park is a great place to spend the day touring the former residence of the St Leger Family.
The estate and surrounding village have a strong literary tradition, incorporating figures such as Edmund Spenser, who immortalized the river Awbeg in his poem The Faerie Queene, Elizabeth Bowen, and Canon Sheehan.

Attractions At The Doneraile Estate

Doneraile Court Towers: A magnificent Georgian house set on top of a hill, with a stunning vista overlooking grounds landscaped in the style of the legendary Capability Brown. Doneraile Court was refurbished and now houses several prestigious collections of furnishings and art. One highlight is the impressive seventeenth-century painting by Frans Snyders, Battle of the Birds. The significant features of the Doneraille Court House are:

  1. Front Entrance Exterior: The entrance front has a seven-bay center with a giant pedimented Ionic portico. . On either side of the steps are two heraldic tigers, supporters of the Portarlington coat of arms. These are made of reconstituted stone and date to 1854.
  2. Entrance Hall: The plasterwork on the ceiling of this room depicts rivulets of oak leaves, in keeping with the numerous oak trees on the estate.
  3. Rotunda: The Rotunda or marble salon with its double-height dome and coffered ceiling was built about 1860 by William Calbeck as a display of beauty and taste. It functioned mainly as an anteroom.
  4. Library: The library, which originally had been built as a drawing-room, had been completed during the lifetime of the 3rd Earl of Portarlington.
  5. Dining Room: The dining room has now been restored to its original function and has served as a conference room in the days of Jesuit ownership. The ceiling is particularly handsome with 1830s plasterwork by Lewis Vulliamy for the 2nd Earl of Portarlington.

The other rooms like the Drawing Room, Morning Room, and the Stairwell have their peculiarities and are worth visiting.

Gardens: The Pleasure Grounds, Parterre Gardens, and the remains of the Pinery/Vinery and American Gardens are a must-visit attraction. Spend some time exploring the thoughtfully arranged selection of charming plants and flowers. There is a huge variety of flora to explore and enjoy.

Legacy Literary: The estate and surrounding village have a strong literary tradition, incorporating figures such as Elizabeth Bowen, Canon Sheehan, and Edmund Spenser, who immortalized the River Awbeg in his poem The Faerie Queene. Our excellent cultural program is designed to reflect Doneraile’s literary associations.

A Walk In The Parkland

The Doneraile Park walks are best explored on foot with several trails offering great vistas. A popular walk begins from the top of the car park and heads east providing a beautiful view over the trees, lake, and house. Enjoy the beautiful limestone bridges leading up to Doneraile Court, the magnificent cascades and fishponds, and the many species of trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. There is a path that then leads down to the lake and then along the Awbeg River amongst sheltered trees and colorful flowers.

Doneraile Wildlife

There are Sika deer, red deer, and fallow deer at Doneraile, as well as a herd of protected Kerry cattle that you can see as you stroll through the park. You may be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel or even an otter along the Awbeg River.

On your search for wildlife, don’t forget to look up – the tree boxes are a haven for some species of bat.

Doneraile Children Playground

The children’s playground at Doneraile Park has lots of great features, including a thrilling zip line. Let your little ones burn off their excess energy in this safe but fun-filled space.

Doneraile Tearoom

When you’ve seen what life was like up above, come below stairs for a treat in the nineteenth-century kitchen wing. With a stunning high ceiling, flagstone floor, and historic features, the warm and welcoming Doneraile Court tea rooms are the perfect spot for a snack, a sandwich, or something more substantial to keep you going during your visit. Relax under blue skies in the courtyard or settle down by the stove with a hot drink.

Gifts and Souvenirs

Indulge in a wide variety of scented candles, exquisite jewellery, books, and much more. Pick up a memoir to cherish for a lifetime.

It is a brilliant place for a long or short walk and a visit is nicely rounded off with something to eat from the tea rooms.