The Regional Park Ballincollig is located on the South bank of the River Lee and much of it lies on the river’s floodplain. Gunpowder was manufactured there from the 18th century to the start of the 20th Century. From here, it was transported to Cork City and the Port of Cork for supply to the British Armed Forces worldwide. The Regional Park itself comprises of the now defunct Gunpowder Mills complex, most of the original buildings and the network of sluices and canals installed in the grounds.
The location of the Park on a floodplain on the banks of the River Lee and its internal watercourses mean that wet woodlands and wet habitats are a feature of the park and form an important part of its natural character. Just as the River Lee was integral to the operation of the Gunpowder Mills, today the river is as important to the surrounding flora and fauna and indeed to park users. The Park and its surrounds form part of the Lee Valley and constitute a flyway and migration route for birds, bats, other mammals and a relatively unspoilt habitat for a variety of plants, trees and insects. Other natural habitats throughout the park include, woodland, scrub and marginal grassland and the natural appearance of these systems change markedly throughout the year.
For many park users it is the natural character of the park that forms their attraction to it. In an increasingly urbanised setting, the Park is a means of escape to the ‘countryside’ without having to travel far. Walkers, joggers, orienteering groups, and dog walkers are frequent visitors here and are drawn by nothing more that the natural landscape of the park.
Admission is free.