Adventures of Eire continues this time with a stop off at Stradbally in Co Laois to visit the Woodland Railway Station. The boy is train and truck mad so this visit was mainly for him. I’ve avoided town and all the centenary celebrations due to the bump, I just couldn’t be dealing with the crowds but we did enjoy the parade on TV.
The Stradbally Woodland Railway is the oldest established Heritage Railway in Ireland with Steam Trains operating since 1969. The trains are operated by a steam locomotive, however diesel locomotives are also used. Today we got a steam train, we could see the drivers filling up with coal which was pretty cool. The guys were all lovely and attentive, the one guy pictured below was an absolute sweetheart. There was no queue so we got the next ride on the Stradbally Woodland Express. And express it was…
The train is quite small fitting around twenty to thirty people in total. It brings you through a little woodland and the journey is quite short, about ten minutes in total (although you can take as many trips on the train as you wish). There’s not much to be looking at which was a little disappointing, there is so much potential in the little forest in my opinion. A few fairy doors, flowers or little trains or something. The smell of burning coal was really old school but as it was an open train you did get a bang of smoke turning corners.
We were not charged full price, nor was the passengers next to us. Admission is priced at €7 per adult and €3 per kid, we didn’t have to pay for the kids which was lovely. Both kids loved the train but Frankie detested the steam whistle, he had a conipition every time it went off. It was really loud in fairness, Kayla however loved it.
On recommendations from one of my favourite Irish travel bloggers Stone Travel we found a gorgeous playground just after the Steam Museum in Stradbally itself. Of all playgrounds I have visited in my six years parenting this one hidden near the end of the village has been one of my favourites. It’s huge, well kept and has everything a kid needs from a tunnel slide, climbing wall/web, 30 metre cable run, extensive sand and water play area for toddlers, stand up see-saw, roundabout, swings, basket swing, lots of little picnic area’s amongst many other play thingys.
Having drove the hour from Dublin to the Railway Station for Frankie to have a fit (and one ride) every time the steam whistle went off the day would have been an absolute disaster without the visit to this park. Excluding the time when Kayla screamed ‘oh look mammy someone died‘ in her biggest Dublin accent as a funeral car followed by a group of mourners walked by. I’ve never wanted the ground to swallow me up as much in all my life! Anyways the kids were in their element, and they spent the guts of two hours playing. This park is a must!!
If you have kids that are choo-choo mad they will enjoy the train ride but keep in mind it really is only a few minutes long. I don’t think we’ll be rushing back though. Check out on Stradbally Woodland Railways Facebook for more information.