If you have not visited the Demesne in Newcastle West recently, now is the perfect time to take a stroll through this magnificent parkland, open to the public since the mid-20th century. There you will find something to bring enjoyment to all ages.

An incredible array of daffodils will raise your spirits as you make your way along the main footpath whether you enter from the town or Cullenagh side.

The newest sporting facility is the Bocce Court located in Chartres de Bretagne Park, across from the children’s playground. The court will provide an open-air training ground for the local Special Olympics Bocce team and can also be used by the Arra Active Retirement Club.

The playground was creat-ed with the cooperation of the Newcastle West Community and County Council and comprises a number of fun equipment in safe surroundings.

Further sports facilities include the GAA grounds, tennis courts, and soccer pitches used on a continu-ous basis along with the coursing field. These sporting groups have played a major role in keeping the Demesne as a vibrant community faci-lity.

Don’t forget to read the maps and information signs sited throughout the Demesne. They provide a wealth of detail about the park, including history, flora, fauna, environment and architectural features.

Do take time to stop and look at the HaHa fence located just before you enter the first set of kissing gates. This is a prime example of an estate gar-den feature first developed in the 18th century.

Walkers can take a more physical approach to your visit by availing of a range of exercise Equipment, installed at the end of 2011. You will find these dotted along the main pathway.

In the fields beyond the Cullenagh Mór Bridge you will see some of the 28,000 trees planted early this century with the assistance of Coillte.

During your walk, make sure you visit the Wet Meadow and Fox Cover that are vital areas for flora and fauna as well as holding a special place in the history of leisure activities for many generations of children in the town.

Near the water tower and St. David’s Cemetery, you will have a tremendous view of the countryside and hills surrounding the town.

The Demesne, formerly part of the Courtenay Estate was deeded to the town and is held in trust by Limerick County Council. Without a doubt Jimmy Condon, the Council’s Area Senior Engineer has made the park a particular labour of love and sourced funding from a wide range of public sources to enhance this amenity.

In 1987, the Arra Develop-ment Company was estab-lished as a Fás scheme and began the creation of many more footpaths throughout the park. They have worked together with the Council, the Demesne Committee and Newcastle West Tidy Towns Committee to enhance the Demesne’s facilities and environment.

County Council and Arra Development crews continue to maintain and augment the park’s facilities. At present a number of fruit trees are being planted just beyond the Bocce Court and the raised bed will become home to a wildflower garden in the future.

Since 1987, many enhance-ments have been added to the Demesne, such as the footpaths that help make the parkland so accessible, benches to allow comfort to rest and take in the lovely surroundings, park-ing areas, it is hard to list them all.

The support of numerous public and voluntary bodies as well as private individuals has been invaluable in making the Demesne ever more wonderful. It would be impossible to name them all here but you will find many of their names on the information signs.

Newcastle West is truly blessed to have the Demesne on its doorstep and we urge you to make the most of this oasis of calm and beauty, side by side with a safe place for healthy leisure activity.