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Wednesday 24 September 2014

A-mazing map at Rathwood

Published 09/07/2013 | 05:24

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MEMBERS of the public are being told to prepare to get lost as a Rathwood in Tullow adds to its latest entertainment attractions with a garden maze. This is no ordinary maze however, as it maps the entire island of Ireland in relative size. The Rathwood Maze of Ireland is set to be a hit with visitors and locals alike and is costing in excess of €100,000 to create.

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Patrick Keogh, owner and director of Rathwood, explains the rationale. 'We had been thinking about the Gathering and how we might attract people to come to Rathwood on their visit home and we just got a bit carried away. I had the idea one day. I have always wanted a maze but I wanted some purpose behind it. Given the year that is in it, it seemed perfect that we created a mini Ireland.'

Rathwood is already a massive attraction to tourists and visitors with a range of activities aimed at providing a fun day. There is a permanent and well fitted out children's playground, the Rathwood train, woods filled with animals including geese and deer, an annual Christmas Village and the Woodlands Falconry with its rare birds of prey. All of these attractions combined have cost the owners nearly €250,000 to erect and maintain.

Patrick enlisted the help of his brother and draughtsman John Keogh to lay out the design of the maze and oversee the planting of the beech hedge.

Hundreds of beech trees have been planted which have come from Derrylee Trees, provided by specialist William Blackley. Currently the young trees are five feet in height but will grow to over ten feet to allow both adults and children to explore and perhaps get lost in the maze.

'The idea is to combine fun and education,' says Patrick. 'It surprised us as the design was laid out. Unless you walk through a proportionate map of Ireland you might not have any idea that Carlow is so small or Cork so vast. Even which counties overlapped with others was an eye opener.'

Rathwood will open the maze in July and August to facilitate the Junior Summer Camps (for children aged between 5 and 11) and then will wait until Spring before opening the maze to the general public. 'The hedges need to fill out and grow some before it becomes a challenge,' explains Patrick. 'We are also planning a spectacular surprise to coincide with the opening in Spring - details will follow.'

Carlow People

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