Plan an adventure on the wild side by paying a visit to some of Ireland’s most beautiful and renowned wildlife parks. The animals, birds and interesting stories of wild Ireland are waiting for you. To help you decide where to go, we’ve gathered a number of our favourite wild places to visit.
* Bear in mind, in our current climate, all attractions must be pre-booked before arrival *
Plan an adventure on the wild side
Secret Valley Wildlife – Wexford
Set in the vast countryside of Clonroche, County Wexford along Ireland’s Ancient East, Secret Valley Wildlife is a fully licensed zoo and wildlife park. Not only does Secret Valley house over 200 animals including monkeys, alpacas, skunks and more, the park provides a host of activities including treasure hunts and pony rides. The secret behind this wildlife park seems to be the utmost respect and care provided for the animals. Owner Ann O’Connor has said that educating their visitors is as important as giving an entertaining experience which leads to “a great respect for animals around the world.” Keen animal lovers are given the opportunity to become a keeper for the day (appropriate from age 5), by tagging along with the Secret Valley keepers and caring for the animals.
Fota Wildlife Park – Cork
Set on an incredible 100 acres on Fota Island just outside Cork City, Fota Wildlife Park is one of the largest visitor attractions Ireland has to offer. The park is firmly set in its values of teaching visitors about protecting our planet in an effort to understand the threats the animals of our world are facing. Uniquely designed and set out, the park has an extensive conservation and breeding programme with big plans for the future. With thousands of animals, from flamingos, to bison and kangaroo, Fota Wildlife Park has an incredible array of animals from throughout the entire world. Guaranteed to be an excellent day out, the park offers the added thrill of behind the scenes’ tours, daily talks, and VIP family experiences.
Wild Ireland – Donegal
For a unique and truly wild experience, pay a visit to Wild Ireland, perfectly situated at the tip of the Wild Atlantic Way in County Donegal on the Inishowen peninsula. This wild animal sanctuary is home to brown bears, howling wolves, lynx, and wild boars, along with other animals who have been rescued by the sanctuary after abuse and exploitation from previous owners. Set in a stunning forest, the sanctuary aims to educate its visitors on the mistreatment of animals, and how to conserve our most at risk animals. Along with stepping back into the wild, this amazing spot has been visited by the fairies and is home to a fairy trail, and lots more to create a memorable day out.
Newpark Marsh Park – Kilkenny
Newpark Marsh, just outside Kilkenny city in County Kilkenny is a perfect example of a natural habitat encompassing a large array of birds, and numerous species of plants and trees. As a natural reserve, game, and bird sanctuary, it is an extraordinary case of beautiful plant species and unrestricted wildlife. Set on almost 24 acres, this eco-park is award winning and of valuable scientific importance. With footpaths, football pitches, and games areas, the Newpark Marsh is a priceless reserve for locals and visitors alike.
National Reptile Zoo – Kilkenny
Also located in County Kilkenny, you are guaranteed a unique experience at the National Reptile Zoo. Find yourself in the reptile world under the safe hands of the keepers in Ireland’s only reptile zoo. With over 50 exhibits, an animal encounter zone, the nocturnal realm and much more, this is one of the most intriguing spots to get up close with wild animals you may ordinarily never see. From turtles, to tarantulas and Ireland’s largest snake, a 17ft python, this may be the most daring zoo in Ireland.
Main Photo by Keyang Zheng on Unsplash