A new fully-accessible suspended treetop walkway and observation tower opened June 21, 2022, in Rathdrum, Ireland—about an hour south of Dublin—as part of the new “Beyond the Trees” development within Avondale Forest Park. The roughly $19 million installation was built by Erlebnis Akademie AG (EAK), a German company with 11 other similar treetop-walk attractions in Europe and one opening this month in Quebec.
The walkway is about a mile long and starts at ground level before the forest floor gradually slopes away up to 73 feet below. Along the way are learning and activity stations with information about the native trees, plants, birds, and animals, as well as historical facts about Avondale, which the attraction’s website calls “the birthplace of Irish forestry.”
The tower stands nearly 125 feet tall. Its wheelchair-accessible ramp spirals around the circumference to the top. For an extra charge, guests have the option to ride the 295-foot-long twisting tunnel slide back down to the bottom.
Other elements of Beyond the Trees aim to accommodate and engage visitors with disabilities, including a sensory garden designed to stimulate all five senses through a variety of plants and materials, which is especially welcoming for those with sensory-processing challenges, such as autism and dementia. Wheelchairs are available for loan.
A children’s playground, café, and exhibition space are also part of the new development.
Orla Carroll, product development director of Fáilte Ireland—Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority and a partner in developing Beyond the Trees—told The Irish Times that the attraction created 60 full- and part-time jobs. Visitation is expected to reach 200,000-250,000 in its first full year.