Tullow, Co. Carlow.
as the most romantic garden in Ireland, Altamont is an
enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens located
on a 100 acre estate. Whilst still little known, it ranks
in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred
to as 'the jewel in Ireland's gardening crown' Lawns are
bisected by sculpted yews sloping down to a romantic lake
surrounded by rare trees, rhododendrons and shrubs. A
profusion of roses, old fashioned and modern, and herbaceous
plants scent the air.
fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and
Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks leads to
the majestic River Slaney. Along the River Walk, you may
see salmon and trout rising, perhaps even an otter, and
throughout the garden, an abundance of birds and butterflies.
On your return via the Hill Walk, there are wonderful
views of the Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains and Mount
Grove Castletownroche, Co. Cork.
creeper-covered 18th century house and walled garden form
part of this wild garden, which began in the 1700s and
was mentioned in Arthur Young's tour of Ireland in the
1770s. The later garden was the creation of R.A. Grove
Annsley, grandfather of the present owner. Three areas
of contrast comprise the 30 acres; the walled garden,
the glen, and the riverside garden. The Robinsonian garden
in the glen contains some of the earliest Kingdon Ward
rhododendron introductions to Ireland, many of them grown
and azaleas cover the area much as they would in an Himalayan
setting, perfuming the air and growing amid tall trees.
The river garden leans more to the tropical and contains
such specimens as Primula florindae grow to tremendous
size. Rustic bridges cross the river, constructed by pre
WWI British soldiers stationed at Fermoy barracks. A central
path flanked by herbaceous borders comprises a key feature
of the walled garden. Here scarlet-flowered Tropaeolum
(creeping nasturtium) climbs through yew hedges. A summer
house adds to the quiet look and is complemented by a
pond surrounded by water-loving plants.
House Gardens Glounthaune, Co. Cork.
origins of this 6 acre Robinsonian-style garden dates
back to the turn of the century when Richard Henrik Beamish
laid out the Gardens with a number of distinguishing features
including a bog garden and an unusual arched Irish Yew
walk, which has Cordyline Australis "Cabbage Trees"
from New Zealand interplanted between the Irish Yews.
Beamish also laid out a woodland garden which includes
many unusual trees from all areas of the world, most of
which came through the collectors based at Glasnevin Botanical
Gardens, Dublin and Kew Botanical Gardens, London. Richard
Beamish was a great plantsman and recognised as such by
many articles. He was credited with the name Meconopsis
Beamishii, a beautiful yellow flowering poppy which originated
at Ashbourne in 1906 and flowered till 1914 (New seedlings
have been established from seed procured from the Irish
Garden Plant Society).
Castle Gardens Clonmellon, Co. Meath.
sense of antiquity prevails as one enters the gates of
Ballinlough. Perched on a hill overlooking two lakes,
the 17th century castle is the home of Sir John and Lady
Nugent. The gardens have been under restoration since
1994, and are now open to the public, together with the
lakeside and woodland walks. The walled garden covers
1.2ha, and is divided into four walled sections. On view
are herbaceous borders, grass tennis court, lily pond,
rose garden, a herb and soft fruit garden and a well stocked
orchard. From the walled gardens, a white door leads to
the lakeside walks with the charming water garden and
its rustic summerhouse. The walk around the lake affords
dramatic views of the castle and its demesne. Ballinlough
Castle Gardens have been restored with the assistance
of an ERDF grant through the Great Gardens of Ireland
Ballysteen Co. Limerick.
five years ago Ballynacourty was surrounded by open fields.
Today the gardens extend to approximately 1.6ha. Soil
depth is critical as this is a limestone area with stone
outcrops close to the surface. The garden is designed
as a series of small gardens all interlinked. One garden
has a laburnum walk underplanted with lavender, another
has vegetables (just enough for the house use), another
is full of soft fruit and flowers for picking. Throughout
the garden there are many varieties of shrub roses. May
and June are months when the garden is full of flowering
trees and shrubs, while the other months have many interesting
Castle Demesne Birr, Co. Offaly.
gardens are over 100 acres in extent. There are formal
gardens, designed around a 17th century plan, and the
tallest Box Hedges in the world. Birr has one of the world's
greatest collections of trees and shrubs and is particularly
strong in species of Chinese and Himalayan origin.
Garden Trim, Co. Meath.
garden is now unfortunately closed (May, 2004) and there
are no plans to re-open in the near future.
by House & Garden (July 1990) as the most
imaginative garden in Ireland, Butterstream is a modern
creation having been made single-handed by its owner since
the early 1970s. The garden comprises a series of carefully
integrated compartments which temper drama with understatement.
Hedges of beech, thorn and yew frame different areas focused
on an architectural feature, an urn or a seat, where skilfully
orchestrated plant themes or colour schemes enable a theatrical
build-up with cool refreshing respites and unexpected
surprises. The place offers a plantsman's collection with
herbaceous borders, in strictly controlled colour tones,
which are considered to be among the best in these islands.
Gardens Skibbereen, Co. Cork.
garden for the romantic; quiet and peaceful, of woodlands
sloping down to a sea-estuary with interesting and varied
wild life. Over 8 ha of informal gardens based on a number
of woodland glades and a serpentine mill-pond, amid a
scene reminiscent of the background of a Douanier Rousseau
painting by which it was inspired. Many tender and rare
plants lovingly maintained as the life work of Gwendoline
and Peter Harold-Barry, who purchased Creagh in 1945.
The large walled garden dating from the Regency period,
has been restored as a traditional and organic kitchen
garden, with many varieties of domestic fowl in the orchard.
New areas of interest include a mixed and herbaceous border
and further woodland walks including Tree Ferns and Loderi
Rhododendrons. The gardens have been restored with the
assistance of an ERDF grant through the Great Gardens
of Ireland Restoration Programme FÁS scheme.
Gardens (V) Kallarney, Co. Kerry.
luxuriant woodlands of Derreen Gardens give glimpses of
the sea and the surrounding wild and majestic country.
Mossy paths and lichen-encrusted rocks, tunnels in deep
shade through the rhododendrons, towering eucalyptus and
groves of bamboo all contribute to the making of this
fine sub-tropical garden.
is also famous for its tree ferns, Dicksonia antarctica,
Azaleas, rhododendrons (some rising as high as 60 feet),
and the tender Maddenii and Sinograndes. Time will be
taken for shopping and lunch in Kenmare before traveling
on to tour Muckross House & Gardens in Killarney. This
is a magnificent Victorian Mansion and one of Ireland's
leading stately homes, beautifully situated in Killarney
National Park. The Gardens host many floral exhibitions
from time to time.
Garden 45 Sandford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin.
owners have made tremendous changes to this garden since
they moved there over 25 years ago. Their work is described
so well on their website, no attempt to plagiarise their
own work. Please visit the virtual Dillon Garden. Better
still go there in person.
Gardens Sandyford, Co. Dublin.
giant Wellingtonian redwoods in the broadwalk at Fernhill
form a cathedral-like aisle. Beyond them stretches the
greeness of the Victorian laurel lawn and a magnificent
springtime blaze of colour from rhododendrons and azaleas.
Many of these specimens were introduced from the Himalayas
by the William Hooker expedition. At Fernhill you can
see an increasingly rare example of an enclosed Victorian
vegetable and flower garden. Many of the trees in the
estate date back 200 years and the work of Judge William
Darley, who collected plants from all over the world,
has been continued by the Walker family.
Arboretum Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.
Arboretum is primarily a collection of good trees and
shrubs. The tradition of planting exotic trees and shrubs
started by James Hugh Smith-Barry still continues, extending
the history of tree planting in the Gardens over 150 years.
James Hugh Smith-Barry showed considerable sensitivity
in the initial planting of the Arboretum as the trees
are well spaced, usually as single specimens in a park-like
setting. The generous spacing, allowing the trees to grow
large and enabling the form of individual plants to be
appreciated is one of the features contributing to the
international reputation of the Arboretum.
is also noteworthy for the large number of tender plants
that flourish there, such as tree ferns, Pinus montezumae
and dwarf fan palm (Chamaerops humilis). Several factors
distinguish Fota from other large gardens in Ireland,
the most significant of these factors are: the age of
the Gardens, the availability of good historical records
due, in part, to the fact that the Gardens were managed
with little interruption since their establishment, the
wide spacing of the plants and the number of large trees
that have reached their full stature.
Castle Gardens Glenveagh National Park, Churchill,
Letterkenny Co. Donegal.
gardens, created by Henry Mcllhenny from Philadelphia,
are part of Glenveagh National Park. Wood gardens and
pleasure grounds, Italian and Belgian gardens, terraces
with antique sculpture and terracotta pots, all these
different themes have been skillfully interwoven against
the wild and beautiful Donegal landscape. This, one of
the most celebrated of Irish gardens, contains an important
collection of trees and shrubs, some rare, some tender.
National Park covers 40,000 acres and takes in a beautiful
valley occupied by Lough Veagh and Poisened Glen, a marshy
valley enclosed by dramatic cliffs. The park also protects
the largest herd of red deer in the country. Glenveagh
Castle stands on the southern shores of Lough Veagh and
is reached only by a healthy hike or by the park supplied
Garden Ballinakill, Co. Laois.
the finest Lutyens-designed garden in Ireland, Heywood's
historical interest combines a romantic eighteenth-century
garden with a spectacular hillside setting and gothic
features. Terraces and elliptical beds encircle a pool
and fountain, the whole of which is sheltered by a circular
pierced wall. The garden is divided into four parts, a
sunken garden linked with a formal lawn, an alley of pleached
limes backed by stone walls decorated with niches and
classical urns, a series of herb gardens and a terraced
pergola that overlooks the largest of the ornamental lakes.
In 1941, the Silesian Order purchased the house and estate;
it is now in the hands of the Office of Public Works which
is handling the restoration of the garden.
Dunloe Castle Gardens Beaufort, Killarney,
Dunloe Castle Gardens contain one of the most fascinating
and important collections of trees and shrubs in Ireland.
In fact, there are trees gowing here that are rarely,
if at all found, in Britain or indeed Europe. The most
ancient trees are the two Yews known as Adam and Eve in
the Walled Garden which are between 300 and 350 years
old. Most others however, have been planted this century,
the majority during the 1920's by Howard Harrington, an
American who lived in the old house at Dunloe Castle for
almost twenty years.
of the trees Harrington planted were rare of in other
ways unusual like the Chinese Pond Cypress by the stream
whilst others such as the Monterey pines down the Avenue
served a more mundane role, that of windbreaks. Fortunately,
a great number of these trees not ony survive but continue
in good health and a tour of the more interesting specimens
is an educational experience but also very enjoyable.
Glengariff, Co. Cork.
Perhaps the most magical setting a garden could have is
to be on an island, bathed in warm waters of the gulf
stream, surrounded by scenery of great natural beauty;
such is the situation of Ilnacullin. The Italian garden
designed by Harold Peto, the Martello tower, the clock
tower, a Grecian temple overlooking the sea, flights of
steps and magnificent pedimented gateways: all these superb
architectural features are brilliantly integrated with
a plant collection of worldwide repute. The island is
reached by licensed boats from Glengarriff.
Great Island, Campile, Co. Wexford.
is situated on the joint estuary of the Nore and the Barrow.
The gardens, which cover almost 3 hectares, fall into
two distinct parts. Around the house are the formal walled
gardens and set into the stone wall a heavy wooden door
leads you into the magical world of the lower garden.
Originally started in 1947 these gardens host a wide selection
of rare and tender trees and shrubs. Within the walled
garden its rooms lead from one design feature to the next.
The Italian loggia and pool with its fine stone pillars
looks across to the quarter garden brimming with iris
and roses. The acid soil of the woodland garden provides
the perfect environment for rhododendrons, tender camellias,
eucryphias and magnolias as well as echiums, the giant
borage which is closely associated with Kilmokea, which
is part of the 'Hidden Ireland' taking guests for bed,
breakfast and dinner.
out in the 17th century, by a French gardener called Bonet
who worked at Versailles, Killruddery is regarded as one
of the finest French Classical gardens in Ireland. Among
its important features are romantic parterres, a pair
of long canals in a setting of grass and trees, a high
beech hedge encircling a pool and fountains, a good collection
of statues, many of which are Victorian, and a very fine
mid 19th century conservatory. The sylvan theatre, a small
enclosure surrounded by a bay hedge, is the only known
example of its kind in Ireland.
Park Walled Garden Straffan, Co. Kildare.
restoration of this 18th century walled garden adjoining
Lodge Park, a Palladian house of 1773, started in 1980.
The old brick-faced walls look much as they did when it
was built, and here fruit, flowers and vegetables are
grown for the house. The garden is divided into different
sections but the design is dictated by the long, box-edged
axis path with regularly spaced clipped yew trees. It
comprises a south-facing shrub border, herbaceous border,
different coloured gardens, vegetable area, decorative
salad garden with a walk-way of sweet peas, and a rosarie
which is at its best in June and July. The garden is beside
the Steam Museum.
Juliet Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
18th century parkland along the river Nore is embellished
with mature and stately stands of oak, lime and chestnut,
providing an appropriate setting for the great house which
is now a hotel. The extensive walled gardens, where a
quiet and calm old-world atmosphere lingers still, has
lawns, flowering shrubs and double herbaceous borders
which are approached through a moon gate. From early summer
to late autumn these provide a changing pageant of flowers
and a spectacle of colour. There is a formal rose garden
and near the drive an informal rockery and a water garden
where a range of moisture-loving plants are presided over
by the great umbrellas of the giant Amazonian Gunnera
Botanic Gardens Glasnevin, Dublin.
National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, founded by the Royal
Dublin Society in 1795, is now administered by the Department
of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. The Gardens, 19.5
hectares on the south bank of the Tolka, contain many
attractive features including: an arboretum, rock garden
and burren areas, large pond, extensive herbaceous borders,
student garden and annual display of decorative plants
including a rare example of Victorian carpet bedding.
Glasshouses include: the beautifully restored curvilinear
range designed and built by Richard Turner between 1843
and 1869, large palm house, new alpine house and the complex
for ferns, tropical water plants and succulents.
specimens include: a fine, weeping Atlantic cedar, venerable
Chusan palms and native strawberry trees, and the "Last
Rose of Summer" of the famous ballad. National
Collections of garrya and potentilla fruticosa
are among the 20,000 species and cultivars grown.
Garden Exhibition Centre Kilquade, Co. Wicklow.
are unique displays of 16 permanent gardens ranging from
town house gardens to rose gardens to large water and
woodland gardens. These gardens were designed and built
by some of Ireland's leading designers and landscapers.
The exhibition offers inspiriation to both the new and
Usher Gardens Ashford, Co Wicklow.
lovely gardens, laid out along the banks of the Vartry
River, represent the Robinsonian style, that of informality
and natural design. Trees and shrubs introduced from many
parts of the world are planted in harmony with woodland
and shade loving plants. The Gardens cover 20 acres and
contain approximately 5000 different species of plants
and trees including many rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias,
eucryphia and shrubs.
magnificent vista opens on to a sea of spring-flowering
bulbs spread throughout the meadows. The river with its
weirs and waterfalls is enhanced by attractive suspension
bridges from which spectacular and romantic views can
be enjoyed. Water forms an essential part of the scenery
with cascades and bridges visible from many sections.
Enniskerry, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
of the world's great gardens situated 20 km south of Dublin
in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. The gardens
were begun by Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt,
in the 1740s. The word garden belies the magnitude of
this creation which stretches out over 20 hectares. It
is a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces,
statuary and ornamental lakes with secret hollows, rambling
walks, walled gardens and over 200 variations of trees
and shrubs. The 18th century house, which was gutted by
fire in 1974 has an innovative new use, incorporating
a terrace restaurant overlooking the garden, speciality
shops and an exhibition on the history of the Estate.
New Garden Centre opened in Spring 2000. The gardens have
been restored with the assistance of an ERDF grant through
the Great Gardens of Ireland Restoration Programme.
Hill Lucan, Co. Dublin.
lovely, old-world garden opens for February with the early
spring wide ranging collection of snowdrops, crocus, iris
and hellebores. A visit is a must at this exciting time
of year. The garden opens again in June with a wide ranging
collection of perennials, many rare, some our own hybrids,
of special interest to the plantsperson.
House Gardens Coolgreany, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
private garden created by Lolo and Godfrey Stevens over
the last twenty years around an old garda barracks is
surprisingly mature.The design is an important element
dividing the 0.75 hectares into small intimate garden
"rooms" has allowed for the great variety of
treatment. There are terraces, trellis work and pergolas
smothered in wisteria, clematis, roses and honeysuckle,
immaculate lawns, mixed borders in soft colours, lavish
planting around a little stream, ponds and a delicious
woodland glade. It is a sweetly scented and romantic garden
of great charm.
collection of over 70 varieties of Clematis is held at
Ram House. Open May, June, July and August; Fri, Sat,
Sun & Bank Holidays 14.30-18.00, Other times and groups
Botanic Gardens Malahide, Co. Dublin.
Gardens as they exist today were largely created by Lord
Milo Talbot in the years 1948 to 1973 and cover an area
of over 8 hectares - 6.5 hectares of shrubbery and 1.5
hectares of Walled Gardens. The choice of plants is limited
by the alkalinity of the soil (ph 7) which precludes the
growing of rhododendrons etc. An emphasis has been placed
on the cultivation of plants from the Southern Hemisphere
- many species and varieties collected by Lord Talbot.
which are particularly well represented are Olearia, Azara,
Escallonia, Pittosporum, Syringa, Hypericum, Clematis,
Euphorbia, Nothofagus, Salvia, and Berberis. The collection
continues to be expanded with the addition of new species
and varieties. Seed exchange has been resumed and many
additional species of suspect hardiness have been planted.
Further improvements are being assisted from the ERDF
grant through the Great Gardens of Ireland Restoration