Lough Key Forest Park

Roscommon is home to Lough Key Forest Park, set in a dramatic landscape where visitors can enjoy forest nature walks and fishing, and observe the free-roaming herds of deer. This 19th century parkland was designed by the famous landscape architect John Sutherland, who was commissioned by the King family to create a ‘natural-looking’ Landscape Park. It is important for the conservation of Roscommon’s rich natural environment and the wide range of habitats, from native woodlands to the bog garden and the lake itself, encourages biodiversity and supports an abundance of wildlife.

Aside from the deer that roam the parkland, there are many other mammals that have found an ideal habitat at Lough Key Forest Park.

Fox, hare, rabbit, stoat and the threatened Red Squirrel can all be found here, while the nocturnal bat, otter and badger are also present.

A wide variety of birds inhabit the long stretches of Lough Key lakeshore itself, for example heron, swan, Mallard Duck and Tufted Duck. Pheasant, moorhen, jay and the colourful kingfisher are other birds that can be seen in the skies elsewhere through the parkland.

The landscape is dominated by forest and woodland where both conifer and broadleaf trees are well established. The population of conifers is characterised by Norway Spruce, Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar and Scots Pine. Examples of broadleaf trees growing in the parkland include oak, ash, lime, sycamore and beech. The woodland floor is also species-rich with heavy scented Wild Garlic, Wood Anemone, Wood Sorrel, primrose and iris.

Lough Key itself is dotted with 32 islands, coincidentally the number of counties in Ireland.

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