Darren's brother and Nationwide TV star, Jason Hassett, with his son, Finn
I got a call one day from my brother, Jason Hassett, asking for some suggestions for adventurous things to do over the summer.
He is just back from a trip overseas with the Irish army, and is eager to make the most of the summer months with his two boys.
Anyway, when he called, the first place that came to mind was the Castlecomer Discovery Park. I sold the idea to him quite easily, it only took one sentence, “It’s got Ireland’s longest and highest zipline.” His response, “When can we do it?”
We arranged a visit and made our way to north Kilkenny on the day England were playing Sweden in the World Cup quarter-final. We got a curry chip from The Munch Box in the town; as we were a little early.
You can also get food in the Park as well, there’s nothing they haven’t thought of to improve the customer experience. The first thing that strikes you about this evolving Castlecomer project is the ease with which you can get there. My brother came from Offaly and we travelled from Carlow. Good roads all the way in.
Once we got there, inevitably, we went for the 300m ziplines over water, 35m at its highest point, reaching speeds of up to 45kmph, and all of that, but we also ended up doing some archery too and the Octagon.
It boasts 18 challenges set on an octagonal frame over two levels (3.5m and 7m off the ground). I did the lower level, I decided not to go and do the upper level due to the likelihood of me fainting.
The Park experience for us can be summed up in one person, staff member Aoife Coady. We took forever to finish the Octagon, it was well passed 5pm, but she stayed with us, supporting us, talking us through the obstacles.
Any time we expressed our regret that we were keeping her and her colleague so late, she shrugged it off and said it’s all about our experience and making sure we have a great time.
She gave us water, she took great care of us, she’s a credit to the entire place. I honestly wouldn’t have done the zipline were it not for her as well.
It’s worth noting too that the Discovery Park isn’t just for adventure lovers. There is a fairy village, there are scavenger hunts, paddle boats, there is something for adults and children of all ages.
Kilkenny is fortunate to have such an excellent, community led park, right on its doorstep. I strongly recommend you go to the Discovery Park at least once over the summer.
The Park is community spirit, hard work and ingenuity at its finest. The Cats certainly got the cream with this first class facility on our doorstep.
Meanwhile, for my brother and I, we are hoping to go back and do some axe throwing at the Park in the next few weeks, it’s a new activity being brought in, in the meantime, we’re off deep sea fishing.