Lough Key Forest and Activity Park is steeped in history and is comprised of vast woodland and numerous islands.
The park was once called ‘Moylurg’ and the Kings of Moylurg were the McDermotts, with their official residence on ‘The Rock’, now called ‘Castle Island’. Space was limited on this small island and they had another residence on the mainland where the Moylurg Tower stands today.
The McDermotts ruled this area until the 17th century when it was granted to the King family from England under the Cromwellian settlement. The King family spent their time between the town of Boyle (King House) and Moylurg which they renamed ‘Rockingham’.
Rockingham House was designed by the famous architect John Nash in 1809/10, while the landscaper John Sutherland was commissioned to lay out the park. In 1957 the house was destroyed by fire and the state took over the land in the 1950s, the remaining walls of the house were demolished in 1971. A concrete viewing tower called The Moylurg Tower was built on the site of the house in 1973.
Today, it is still possible to see how the landscape has matured. The Great Lawn surrounds the former site of the house on 3 sides. On the fourth side you can look out to Lough Key where there are wonderful vistas to the islands. Most important is Castle Island, which was rebuilt as a folly during the King family’s reign as one of the largest landowning families in Ireland.