One of Ireland's Government-protected Forest Parks, Dún a Rí (pronounced Doon A Ree) lies in a tranquil glen near the town of Kingscourt, County Cavan. Also known as Dún Na Rí or Dún An Rí, the name loosely means "the King's Fort".
- Situated on the banks of the River Cabra, this 565 acre Park boasts many pleasant and diverse geological formations
- An artificial lake in the park, called Lady's Lake, once took the water that passed through the old flax mill at Cabra
Flora and Fauna
- The main tree species in the forest are Norway spruce and oak, which are managed commercially by Coillte, the state's forestry agency
- Hazel, holly and elderberry are also strongly developed, while herb-robert, foxglove, ferns, bluebells and snowdrops are also found in the undergrowth
- Among the animals that inhabit the woods are squirrels (both red and grey), stoats, rabbits, Irish hares and pigmy shrews
- Mink are plentiful along the Cabra's banks, where otters too can sometimes be seen
Dun na Ri in Irish Mythology
The area is steeped in history and legend. One ancient tale mentions that the Irish warrior Cuchulain camped here at night, while battling single-handedly against the Connaught army of Queen Medbh by day, in his defence of the province of Ulster.
The Park offers four planned walks, ranging from about 1.5-2km in length, each with its own points of interest, identified by signposts. Points of interest include:
- The old ice house
- The wishing well (or Holy Well, called Tobar na Splinne in Gaelic)
- Cromwell's Bridge
- The remains of Fleming's Castle
- Cabra Cottage (former residence of the Pratt family, who once owned the estate)
- The flax mill
- The Lady's Lake
- Sarah's Well
Each of the walks begins at Sarah's Bridge, which was built in 1801.
Waterfall at Dun a Ri. Image: Gerard Lovett