The land occupied by the course was originally part of the forest which belonged to the Harewood estate (pre-1940’s). In 1947, it was aquired by the Forestry Commission, and thus the course contains much of the flora and fauna that is found within the boundries of the Forest Park.
The Forestry Commission, later to become Coillte, in 1948 gradually planted commercial conifers over a five-year period. Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, European larch, Japanese larch and Douglas fir were all planted but Scot's pine was the main species. The Forest Park now has one of the largest areas of Scot's pine in the country.
The beech trees are the oldest of the planted heritage, believed to date from the late 1700s.
Some examples of the following exotic trees can also be seen (on the course and within the forest):
- Monterey pine
- Monterey cypress
- Sitka spruce
- Silver fir
- Cedar of Lebanon
- Western red cedar
- Douglas fir
- European larch
Fallow deer and their grazing are a significant part of the ecology of the course. Fallow deer were introduced into Ireland by the Normans (in the 1620’s)and have been part of the forest and course since the beginning.
Many of the stone structures which survive in the forest park and course date from before the mid-1800's. Some stone walls were part of famine relief works. Limestone was fiercely burned with peat or coal in the neat stone structure of the lime-kiln (beside the 6th green) in order to produce powdered lime for agricultural and other purposes.
The open canopy of Scot's pine in the forest encourages an under-storey of native shrubs and grasses. This is mixed with numerous native trees and shrubs such as pedunculate oak, sessile oak, ash, alder, birch and guelder rose. There are open spaces, ponds, streams and the lake-shore. This makes a unique habitat for a wide variety of woodland flora. The fauna include red squirrels and pine martens, foxes, rabbits, hares and several species of bat, as well as a long list of birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
The water feature along the 17th fairway is also stocked with fish.