Places to Visit - Ballinafagh Lake in Kildare

by - Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Ballinafagh Lake is 2km north of Prosperous in Kildare. It's a stunning location and perfect for a summer picnic and stroll through the woodland area. There's a small car park and it's accessible by foot but was a little bit muddy in places when we were there so I wished I had worn my walking boots! A happy combination of factors made our trip feel like a mini holiday - the sun was shining and my daughter Síomha had received her first vaccine dose and had to come to Kildare with Mara so that she could be brought to vaccination centre. So we got to spend some precious family time which I had sorely missed. And picnics always make me feel happy :)

The first thing we noticed was the glorious burnt umber colour of the bog myrtle, interspersed with the golden gorse. It was a dreamy palette of hues perfect for the sunny day. If you take a few of the tips of the bog myrtle and rub them in your hand you can smell the most delicious sweet herby smell.

Bog Myrtle

We ate our food on a blanket close to the lakeside. There's something really soothing about being beside a lake, the clear, still water invites relaxation and outdoor food always seems to taste extra special for some reason.

Lake Picnic

The lake is really gorgeous, blue and tranquil. According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service site synopsis, the land around the lake is acid grassland, heath and bog. Walking in parts, you could definitely feel that peaty springiness. We also saw lots of butterflies although I didn't manage to get a picture of any. It is a Special Area of Conservation and home to lots of species, including the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and two rare types of snails, as well as birds and plants. As you can see from the picture above, we had a little one with us, so our exploration was led more by where she wanted to go :)

Ballinafagh Lake Prosperous

Ballinafagh Lake Prosperous, Kildare

We came across a wonderful old tree which became a castle for a while, ruled over by a somewhat dictatorial princess. And then it was a bus!

Tree in the woods

After a bit of persuasion and a promise that we would leave a present for the fairies in the woods,we managed to continue on the path in the woods. We heard a cuckoo and saw butterlies and hoverflies dancing through the growth. There are a choice of paths to take and we picked a short one so our walk wasn't too long but it was lovely to hear the sounds of nature and feel the sun on our faces.


Heading home, we passed the ruins of the 19th century Ballinafagh Church. There are also ruins there of a medieval church although little remains. The Church is very striking, not least because it stands out amidst fields of green. It is an elegant building and worth a little stop off after leaving the lake.


Ballinafagh Church

Ruined Ballinafagh Church

So that was our visit to Ballinafagh, it is a wonderful tranquil spot and we will definitely be back.

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