Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest Park in Northern Ireland when it was established on the June 2 1955. It is located at Bryansford near the town of Newcastle.

The estate was sold to the Ministry of Agriculture by Robert Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden in 1930 and 1941. Covering an area of 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, the forest park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at nearby Newcastle. The forest has several walking trails sign posted by different coloured arrows, the longest being the "long haul trail" at 8 miles long. The river Shimna flows through the park. Tollymore was listed in The Sunday Times top twenty British picnic sites for 2000.


The earliest mention of Tollymore was in records dated 1611 when it was stated that the Maginness family of Upper Iveagh received a grant of 7.5 townlands including the Estate of Tollymore, from James I. This remained in the family until about 1685 when Bryan Maginness died unmarried and his sister Ellen, who had married Captain William Hamiliton of Ayrshire, inherited the land.

The Hamilton family remained owners of Tollymore until 1798 when a similar chain of events took place.

The great grandson of William Hamilton, James died in 1798 without children and Tollymore was transferred to his sister Anne, who married Robert Jocelyn, 1st Earl of Roden.

The Roden family continued in possession of Tollymore throughout the 19th Century, when in 1930 the late Earl sold part of the estate to the Ministry of Agriculture for afforestation purposes. The remainder was sold to the Ministry in 1941.


In 2005 the Earl of Roden published a history of Tollymore, his family's estate, entitled Tollymore: The History of an Irish Demesne.


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