The growth of interest in gardening in recent years has seen some newer gardens become established and an increased interest in restoring old ones. As a result touring gardens in Ireland is a rewarding experience, for both the casual and the passionate gardener.
Many of Ireland’s best gardens adjoin its castles and in particular its great houses and as a result are in wonderful and often very scenic locations. They were established at a time when people could afford to employ retinues of staff to maintain them. Those days are no more and although some are now in government ownership and managed (generally to a high standard) by various state agencies, other are still in private ownership and can require really heroic dedication to maintain. I only mention this so that when you are asked for payment to enter you pay up cheerfully!
The house that once stood here is now gone, lost to fire in 1951, only the impressive entrance gates hinting at previous grandeur.
Thankfully the gardens survived. Designed by Edward Lutyens, and considered among his best gardens, they are surrounded by an earlier planned parkland.Read More
A 17th century garden little changed in 3 centuries, the gardens at Kilruddery House are of special interest to gardening historians, but you certainly don’t have to be one to enjoy them.
The house has been home to the same family for almost 4 centuries and is only open in May, June and September but it’s worth making an effort to see if you are here at the right time.Read More
If Kildare is the home of the horse in Ireland, this is it’s headquarters. With stallions, mares and foals to see and a museum celebrating the history of the horse in Ireland, its a must for any horse lover.
But a visit to the Irish National stud is not just about horses, there is also two beautiful gardens to see, the Japanese Garden and one which commemorates the patron saint of gardeners.Read More
This vast enclosed park in Dublin houses a Zoo, residences for the president of Ireland and the US ambassador as well as a herd of wild deer.
There are wide open green spaces, secluded glens, grounds for cricket, polo and other sports and a pretty good restaurant in the visitor centre. It’s a wonderful place to explore.Read More
Killykeen is a large forested area beside Lough Oughter in Co Cavan, which as well as good walks has an interesting ruined castle on an Island and a number of ancient megalithic structure, the largest of which is the Gartnanoul Court Tomb.
The park is in the care of Coillte, the Irish Forestry Board, and is also a popular area with anglers and bird watchers. Admission to Killykeen is free.Read More
This small garden is managed and staffed by the residents of Camphill, a movement composed of individuals, many with special needs, who live together in a mutually supportive environment.
Its a low key but lovely place, with an excellent restuarant and a small garden centre, also run by Camphill, alongside.Read More
The history of early Ireland is brought vividly to life here, through reconstructed buildings and re-enactments of the life and work of Irish people in the distant past.
Although there are no original historic structures here, the reconstructions are historically accurate and were made using the methods of the time, so they are a close as it gets.Read More
Tullynally has been home to the Pakenham family for more that 350 years, and still is.
It’s very much a living home but has changed relatively little over the years and its interior gives a wonderful glimpse into how life was lived, both upstairs and downstairs, in Ireland’s great houses.Read More
There are several very different gardens here, including the perfect kitchen garden growing vegetables and herbs for the famous Ballymaloe restuarant in Co Cork.
While adults may enjoy that one and the herb garden most, children will inevitably be drawn to the maze and the nearby magical shell house.Read More
Surprisingly located in suburban Dublin the Dillon garden is packed with unusual plants beautifully planted.
It’s possibly the most beautifully domestic garden in Dunlin, indeed Ireland, and is testimony to the slavish attention to detail of its owner, Helen Dillon. But it never looks laboured – there is the feeling when you are there that it ‘just happened’.Read More
In the ‘Garden of Ireland’, Co Wicklow, Mount Usher is a place of careful but informal planting in keeping with the surrounding countryside.
The relatively recent addition of an Avoca Hand Weavers store and café has made the gardens even more of a destination, and it would be very easy to spend the best part of a day here.Read More
Located in the wonderful Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo is one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions and is a perennial kid’s favourite.
The zoo is involved in many international breeding programmes for endangered species, which means there are always baby animals to see. But despite all the exotic animals on show, a favourite spot for many is the Pets Corner, where domestic animals live.Read More