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If there is a garden not listed, or you have additional details of a garden already listed that you think should be included in this Republic of Ireland regional digest of gardens and arboretums please We will respond quickly and direct you to our Upload Area where you can submit a photo of the garden and descriptive text. Gardens need not be large but should be 'memorable', 'outstanding' or of 'significant importance'. If a garden does not have web site, a brief description would be appreciated.
Altamont Gardens Tullow, Co. Carlow.
Photo © Tomomi McElwee © 2000
Known 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.
A 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 Leinster.
Annes Grove Castletownroche, Co. Cork.
Photo © 2007 Annes Grove Gardens
A 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 from seed.
Rhododendrons 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.
Ashbourne House Gardens Glounthaune, Co. Cork.
The 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.
Richard 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).
Ballinlough Castle Gardens Clonmellon, Navan, Co. Westmeath.
Photo © Ballinlough Castle
A 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 Restoration Programme.
Ballintubbert Garden Stradbally, Co. Laoish.
Photo © Ballintubbert Garden
The Garden, Ballintubbert - former home of poet C. Day Lewis and actors John Hurt and Sebastian Shaw now open to the public.
The Garden, Ballintubbert, in Co. Laois is truly a garden in the making.† Having been lovingly restored over the past ten years, it is a continuous on-going work of art.† †The stunning new garden attraction was opened to the public in July 2012 and is now one of Irelandís largest public Gardens, it was originally home to poet C. Day Lewis (father of Daniel Day Lewis and poet laureate) who was born in the house in 1904 and the actors John Hurt and Sebastian Shaw, who played the role of Anekin Skywalker in Star Wars.
The settlement at Ballintubbert dates back to 1540 with the new garden boasting 14 acres of beautiful landscape arranged almost symmetrically around a Georgian House, in the middle of a divine valley.† Perfect for family day trips, gardening enthusiasts, people interested in history and the arts, as well as tourists to Ireland, The Garden, Ballintubbert, offers opportunities for peaceful walks in a formal Irish garden.†† The Garden is also available to hire as an exclusive event and wedding venue and there are a series of events taking place on the grounds throughout the year, including a Halloween Fest, Sculpture Festival etc - for an updated list see www.ballintubbert.com
The owners, Fergus and Orna Hoban, have been making The Garden for over ten years now, having restored and significantly expanded it in the Arts and Crafts tradition. Important features include the Lutyens Garden and Robinson Meadows, named after the famous garden designers Edwin Lutyens and William Robinson; the Victorian Secret Garden, the Beech Wood and the Lyttle Orchard.
Guests can explore the gardens or avail of a guided tour at the weekends - prior booking is essential at www.ballintubbert.com The garden is open seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm from May 1st to October 31st yearly, with season tickets and memberships available with unlimited access during opening hours and invitations to events.† The Schoolhouse on the grounds offers teas, coffees, refreshments and lunch.† There are no parking charges.† Entrance is £10.00 for adults and £3.00 for children with free entry for toddlers up to two years old.
Ballynacourty Askeaton, Ballysteen Co. Limerick.
Photo © www.castlesireland.com
Twenty 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 delights.
Ballyvolane House Castlelyons, Fermoy, Co. Cork.
Photo © Ballyvolane House 2007
A uniquely warm atmosphere pervades throughout the gardens and grounds of Ballyvolane, created largely by the mixture of mature deciduous trees, formal, semi-formal, walled and woodland gardens, not to mention the wide variety of wildlife that thrive therein.
The gardens were originally laid out when the house was built in the early 18th century by the Pyne Family. The planting of the trees on the Estate was undertaken by Thomas Pennefeather, a cousin of the Pynes, who came to stay for a fortnight and remained there for forty years in the position of agent. He planted most of the mature deciduous trees in the gardens and surrounding parkland, nurturing them in their formative years and ensuring their lasting presence for the centuries to come.
The gardens are open to the public during the summer and in early June the bluebell-carpeted woodlands are at their most spectacular.
Birr Castle Demesne Birr, Co. Offaly.
Photo © Birr Castle Archives
The gardens of Birr Castle Demesne are set in a large sprawling landscape with collections of some of the largest and rarest tree species found in Ireland and the world. Water is a prominent feature of the Demesne. Wherever you walk in the demesne you are always close to the water, be it the calming tranquillity of the lake in the centre of the Park with its lagoons and vistas or the surging power of the Camcor River which joins the Little Brosna River, not to mention the Waterfall and Gravity Fed Fountain in the Victorian Fernery.
The gardens are a mix of styles with the formal gardens laid out in the 17th century with the clipped formality of the hornbeam Cloisters, yew and box. The tallest box hedges in the world can be found here along with herbaceous borders, rose garden, Glasshouse and our Delphinium Border. Looking out through the elaborate iron gates of the formal gardens you get a glimpse of another world filled with mighty beach and oak, rare and exotic trees collected from around the world and the vast expanse of the lake.
Much of the plant collection is laid out geographically with collections from Chile, Mexico, South Africa and expansive material collected from China and the Himalayas where the present Lord and Lady Rosse have collected the most. The majority of the collection has been grown from wild seed collected by the Parsons family over the generations. The Gardens of Birr Castle Demesne have a rich history attached to them. The Demesne was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) after its discovery in China in 1945 and has material collected by some of the most famous plant hunters past and present. The garden comes alive in spring with spring flowering bulbs and a vast magnolia collection. The garden has the largest number of Champion Trees in Ireland at 43 specimens as well as the largest known Populus canesens (Grey Poplar) in the world.
Burtown House and Gardens Athy, Co. Kildare.
Photo © Burtown House & Gardens
Burtown House, an early Georgian villa, is surrounded by lush flower, vegetable and woodland gardens with beautiful park and farmland walks.
"It is rare to find one of these houses still in the possession of the descendants of the family that built it. Burtown is one of these treasures, passed down through the generations and still very much a family home." The Knight of Glin and James Peill - The Irish Country House.
Once the centre of a 2000 acre estate and built for the Quaker Robert Power about 1710; Burtown is close to the village of Ballitore, one of Irelandís most prominent Quaker strongholds. Isabel Shackleton (married to the present owner's great grandfather and first cousin to the explorer Ernest Shackleton) is responsible for some of the original layout of the garden, but over the last 20 years it has been greatly enlarged and reclaimed by the present owner, artist Lesley Fennell and her son photographer James Fennell. The gardens come to life in February with a spectacular show of winter aconites and snowdrops, followed by many varieties of daffodils, hellebores and trillium.
The 12 acres of gardens are made up of several areas, including large herbaceous borders, shrubberies, a rock garden, a yew walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden, a walled organic kitchen garden and a large woodland garden surroundedon all sides by water, as well as sculpture walks through mature parkland.
Bookings for garden groups and private parties are possible all year round, as well as tours of this original historic quaker house and its gardens.
Butterstream Garden Trim, Co. Meath.
Photo © Jim Reynolds
The garden is now unfortunately closed (May, 2004) and there are no plans to re-open in the near future.
Described 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.
Creagh Gardens Skibbereen, Co. Cork.
A garden for the romantic; quiet and peaceful, of woodlands sloping down to a sea-estuary with interesting and varied wild life. Over 19 acres 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 FŃS scheme.
Dereen Gardens (V) Lauragh, Kallarney, Co. Kerry.
The 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.
Dereen 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.
Dillon Garden 45 Sandford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin.
Photo © www.dillongarden.com
The 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.
Dunloe Castle Gardens Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
The 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.
Many 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.
Fernhill Gardens Sandyford, Co. Dublin.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
The 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.
Fota Arboretum Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.
Photo © Fota Trust Company
Fota 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.
Fota 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.
Glenveagh Castle Gardens Glenveagh National Park, Churchill, Letterkenny Co. Donegal.
Photo © 2008 National Parks & Wildlife Service
The 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.
The 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 shuttle bus.
Heywood Garden Ballinakill, Co. Laois.
Photo © 2007 Laois County Council
Considered 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.
Ilnacullin 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.
Killruddery Southern Cross, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Photo © Killruddery Estate Enterprises Ltd 2012
The Gardens at Killruddery are the oldest in Ireland still surviving in their original 17th century unique style together with 18th and 19th century additions. Laid 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.
Kilmacurragh Arboretum Kilbride, Co. Wicklow
Photo © www.botanicgardens.ie
The arboretum at Kilmacurragh, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow, has been managed by the National Botanic Gardens since 1996. It is particularly famous for its conifers and calcifuges and was planted during the 19th Century by Thomas Acton in association with the curators of the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin. During the early part of the twentieth century the estate passed from the hands of the Acton family and fell into a state of neglect. In 1970 the property was taken over by the land commission. A 58 acre portion comprising the house, arboretum, walled garden and entrance drive-way was handed over to the Forest and Wildlife Service. Coillte still manages the walled gardens and some 20 acres of seed orchards as part of its forest tree genetics programme.
Thomas Acton and his sister Janet began planting the arboretum in 1850. It is said he had a rule of thumb to plant three of every tree or shrub: one to be planted where others told him it would definitely survive, one where he thought it would thrive, and one where he was informed it would definitely not survive.
Kilmokea Great Island, Campile, Co. Wexford.
Photo © www.kilmokea.com
Kilkmokea is situated on the joint estuary of the Nore and the Barrow. The gardens, which cover some 7 acres, 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.
Knockrose Garden The Scalp, Kilternan, Dublin.
Photo © www.knockrose.com
Knockrose is a deeply spiritual place, in one family for generations. Trish and Tom's cottage-style garden is richly planted with a diverse selection of trees, shrubs, plants and vegetables accessed by meandering paths leading to different 'rooms'. There are many secluded seating areas and we encourage visitors to spend quiet time here.
Lakemount Garden Barnavara Hill, Glanmire, Co. Cork.
Photo © www.lakemountgarden.com
Nestled in the hills high above Cork, with distant views of the river Lee, Lakemount seems to blend into it's verdant landscape. In this beautiful corner of Ireland, Brian Cross has created, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, one of Ireland's "flagship gardens".
The garden was started in the early 1950ís by Mrs. Peggy Cross, who laid out the basic form by planting hedges to buffet the land from the relentless Atlantic winds. The garden is south-facing and slopes gently away from the house, supporting the cultivation of a multitude of plants from all four corners of the world. Since these early plantings, the garden has evolved into a wonderful oasis of calm. Recently, Brian's wife Rose has created a charming cottage-style area in this constantly-evolving garden.
Unlike most gardens, Lakemount can be described as a garden for all seasons. Careful selection of plants and shrubs provides all-year-round spectacle. No matter what the month, there are always plants of interest and exciting planting compositions within the gardensí borders.
Lodge Park Walled Garden Straffan, Co. Kildare.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
The 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.
Mount Congreve Gardens Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford.
Photo © www.mountcongreve.com
The gardens at Mount Congreve consist of around seventy acres of intensively planted woodland garden and a four acre wall garden. Mr. Ambrose Congreve was inspired by Lionel de Rothschild's exceptional garden at Exbury in Hampshire, England. It was here that his interest in gardening was nurtured and he became infected with Lionel de Rothschild's passion and enthusiam for plants such as, Rhododendrons, Magnolias, Camellias and indeed many other flora from every continent in the world.
One of Mr. Congreve's garden philosophies is that when one plants anything, whether it involves five or fifty plants, they should be planted together and not dotted singularly around the garden. The fruition of this particular philosophy can be seen during the spring and early summer months, when the gardens are awash with breathtaking sweeps of Azaleas, Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendron. Mr. Congreve also believes that every garden should have surprises and good vantage points where the garden and surrounging landscape can be viewed to compliment each other. With this in mind, the garden has exceptional vistas overlooking bends in the neighbouring river Suir, particularly in March and April when framed by flowering trees of the Asiatic Magnolia campbellii and Magnolia sprengeri. Other surprises include a Chinese pagoda in the centre of an old quarry that is spectacular viewed from above, and a classical temple surrounded by Rhododendron, while an artificial waterfall cascades over natural rock into three small pools edged with water margin plants.
Mount Juliet Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
Sublime 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 manicata.
Mount Usher Gardens Ashford, Co. Wicklow.
Photo © Maria Vlahos
Mount Usher was once a working mill. It was first a tuck mill and later a corn mill. The mill used the Killiskey river, a tributary of the River Vartry, to turn its wheel. Where the main house is today, there was a small cottage with less than an acre in front of it which was used to grow potatoes
These 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. National Collections of Eucryphia and Nothofagus.
A 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.
National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin, Dublin.
The 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.
Notable 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.
National Garden Exhibition Centre Kilquade, Co. Wicklow.
Photo © www.gardenexhibition.ie
There 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 experienced gardener.
Powerscourt Enniskerry, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Photo © www.powerscourt.ie
One 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.
Primrose Hill Lucan, Co. Dublin.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
This 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.
The gardens are flanked with fields with a developing arboretum and there is a very pretty driveway with mature trees leading to the house. There have been four generations of keen gardeners in the family and some of the plants at Primrose Hill have been in the family for over 100 years.
Ram House Gardens Coolgreany, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
The 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.
A 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 by appointment.
Talbot Botanic Gardens Malahide Castle, Malahide, Co. Dublin.
Photo © www.castlesgardensireland.com
The 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.
Genera 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 Programme.
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