Greenan Maze, County Wicklow’s Hidden Gem

Greenan Maze County Wicklow

Updated On: May 30, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

County Wicklow has many hidden gems. However, one of the children’s favourites is the Greenan Maze located in Ballianty, a small drive from the village of Greenan in County Wicklow.

The Greenan Maze has many attractions, including museums, nature walks, farm animals, and a cosy tea room.

The maze is a half-acre Celtic Maze that will keep you thinking on your feet. Within the maze is a small pond, and the hedges are seven feet tall, so there is no cheating. Nearby, you can admire the beautiful Wicklow scenery, including the Wicklow mountains.

Greenan Maze County Wicklow
Greenan Maze County Wicklow (Image Source: Greenan Maze Facebook)

Historical Background

The Origins of Greenan Maze

The story of Greenan Maze begins in the late 1980s when Michael and Willi Rolston, driven by a passion for the outdoors and sustainable living, decided to create a unique attraction on their farmland. Inspired by the ancient Celtic tradition of labyrinths, which symbolise spiritual journeys and personal growth, they designed the first maze. Over the years, their vision expanded, transforming Greenan Maze into a multifaceted destination that includes mazes, a farm museum, nature trails, and a wildlife haven.

The Cultural Significance of Mazes in Ireland

Mazes and labyrinths have a long history in Irish culture. They are often associated with mystical and spiritual practices. In ancient times, they were used as meditative tools and ritual sites. The maze design at Greenan reflects this cultural heritage, blending traditional Celtic patterns with modern landscaping techniques. This connection to Ireland’s past adds depth to the visitor experience, making a walk through the maze a journey through history and nature.

Exploring Greenan Maze

The Main Attraction: The Hedge Maze

The hedge maze at Greenan is the primary draw for visitors. Covering over half an acre, this labyrinth is meticulously pruned from over 1,500 yew trees to create dense, towering walls. The maze is designed to be challenging yet enjoyable, with numerous twists, turns, and dead ends that promise excitement and a sense of adventure. As you navigate through the corridors, the rustling leaves and the occasional bird song add to the immersive experience, making you feel like you’ve entered another world.

The Solstice Maze

In addition to the hedge maze, Greenan features the Solstice Maze, a unique creation inspired by the ancient practice of marking the solstices. This maze is designed to align with the summer and winter solstices, creating a fascinating interplay of light and shadow on these special days. Walking through the Solstice Maze is a physical challenge and a reflective experience, encouraging visitors to contemplate the passage of time and the rhythms of nature.

The Farm Museum

A Glimpse into Rural Life

Beyond the mazes, Greenan Maze offers a deep dive into Ireland’s rural heritage through its farm museum. Housed in beautifully restored 19th-century farm buildings, the museum features a collection of artefacts that tell the story of agricultural life in Ireland. From vintage farm machinery to traditional tools and household items, the exhibits provide a window into the daily lives of Irish farmers over the centuries.

Interactive Exhibits and Workshops

The farm museum is not just a static display; it is an interactive experience designed to engage visitors of all ages. Regular workshops and demonstrations allow guests to try their hand at traditional crafts such as butter churning, blacksmithing, and weaving. These activities are particularly popular with children, offering a fun and educational way to learn about Ireland’s agricultural past.

Nature Trails and Wildlife

Greenan Maze Wicklow

Exploring the Wicklow Countryside

Greenan Maze is set amidst the rolling hills and lush meadows of County Wicklow, often called the “Garden of Ireland.” The estate features several nature trails that meander through woodlands, wetlands, and wildflower meadows, allowing visitors to explore the local flora and fauna. Each trail is well-marked and varies in difficulty, making it accessible to walkers of all abilities.

A Haven for Wildlife

The diverse habitats within Greenan Maze provide a sanctuary for various wildlife. Birdwatchers will delight in the numerous species spotted here, from colourful songbirds to majestic birds of prey. The wetlands are home to frogs, newts, and dragonflies, while the meadows are abuzz with bees and butterflies. The estate’s commitment to conservation and sustainable practices ensures that these natural environments are preserved for future generations.

Family-Friendly Activities

Fun for All Ages

Greenan Maze is a family-friendly destination that caters to visitors of all ages. In addition to the mazes and museum, the site offers a range of activities designed to entertain and educate children. The Fairy Tree Walk is a favourite, where young visitors can search for hidden fairy doors and learn about Irish folklore. A playground with traditional wooden equipment also ensures children can burn off some energy while their parents relax in the scenic surroundings.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, Greenan Maze hosts various seasonal events and festivals, adding extra excitement to the visitor experience. These include harvest festivals, Easter egg hunts, and Halloween trails, each designed to celebrate the changing seasons and cultural traditions. These events are an excellent way for families to spend time together and create lasting memories.

Sustainable Tourism and Conservation

Greenan Maze Farm Visit

Commitment to the Environment

Greenan Maze is more than just a tourist attraction; it is a model of sustainable tourism. The Rolston family has implemented various eco-friendly practices to minimise the estate’s environmental impact. These include organic farming methods, renewable energy sources, and habitat conservation projects. Visitors are encouraged to learn about and participate in these initiatives, fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Education and Outreach

Educational programmes are a vital component of Greenan Maze’s mission. The estate regularly hosts school groups and offers guided environmental education and conservation tours. These programmes are designed to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards and teach them the importance of biodiversity and sustainable living.

Practical Information for Visitors

Getting There

Greenan Maze is located in the heart of County Wicklow, approximately 50 kilometres south of Dublin. It is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available on-site. For those relying on public transport, there are regular bus services from Dublin to the nearby town of Rathdrum, where there is a short taxi ride to the maze.

Visitor Facilities

Greenan Maze has a range of facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit. These include a visitor centre with a gift shop and café, offering a selection of local produce and handmade crafts. Picnic areas and restrooms are located throughout the estate. The site is wheelchair accessible, with paths and facilities designed to accommodate visitors with mobility needs.

Greenan Maze Opening Times

Opening times change throughout the year due to the seasons. The Tea Room itself has different opening times.

The Farm is open from 10 am – 6 pm.

  • April: Usually over the Easter Holidays if they fall in April.
  • May: Weekends Only and any bank holiday Mondays.
  • June to August: Every day, including weekends.
  • September: Weekends only

Greenan Tea Room Opening Times

The tea room at the Greenan Farm has different opening times compared to the main farm. They’re as follows.

  • March: St Patrick Weekend: If it falls on a weekend
  • April: Easter Weekend: If Easter falls at the weekend
  • May: Bank holiday Weekends
  • June: Bank holiday Weekends
  • July – August: Seven days a week

All Open dates and times are subject to change year on year. For further information about Greenan Maze Opening Times, visit their website.

Greenan Prices and Bookings

Prices can change year on year. Below are the 2019 prices:

  • Adults – €8.50
  • Children – €8.50
  • Children under 2 – Free
  • Family day ticket €32.00 for 2 ads and 2 extra children €6.50 each.
  • Family day ticket €32.00 for 1 ad and 3 extra children €6.50 each.

A booking beforehand must be arranged if you have a large group of over 15 people. For school tours, contact Greenan directly for special deals.

Conclusion

In the heart of County Wicklow, Greenan Maze offers a unique blend of adventure, education, and natural beauty. It is a place where visitors can lose themselves in the intricate pathways of a maze, step back in time in a charming farm museum, and connect with nature along scenic trails. As a beacon of sustainable tourism and a guardian of Irish heritage, Greenan Maze stands as a testament to the power of thoughtful stewardship and the enduring allure of the Irish countryside. Whether you are a resident or a visitor from afar, Greenan Maze promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for Ireland’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

The Greenan Maze is great for family fun days out. Have you ever been to the farm? Please comment below…

More blogs worth reading include The Best Open Farm in Northern Ireland and Streamvale Open Farm.

Visit ConnollyCove for more information and blogs. We cover all over Ireland and around the world. We’re sure you will find more to enjoy.

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