A temperate climate and abundant rainfall combine to give Irish gardeners conditions that are the envy of horticulturalists worldwide. Across the island, you will discover lush gems of greenery and blooms that bear testimony to the dedication of their green-fingered creators. Below you will find details of just some of the beautiful gardens Ireland has in abundance.
Ballyhoura, Castletownroche, Cork
This 12-hectare Robinsonian Garden was set by the Annesley family some three centuries ago and features magnificent rhododendrons and azaleas and a peaceful atmosphere.
Kilfane Glen And Waterfall
Kilfane, Thomastown , Kilkenny
A romantic woodland garden dating from 1790, Kilfane Glen was designed to display Nature in all her awe-inspiring beauty. Winding paths, clifftops, a cascading stream, a hermit’s grotto, a waterfall and a tiny cottage work their magic on every visitor. Originally part of the demesne of Kilfane House, these planted woods served the visiting gentry as a beauty spot for outings and open-air tea parties. Today’s visitor can enjoy the same pleasures. Adjoining forest and open spaces are laid out in gravelled walks, connecting different planting areas with works of modern art. From the bluebell “Heaven” in May to the summer moon garden to the autumnal fall, this is a garden for all seasons.
Shortalstown is an 85-year-old, two-acre garden with a very wide variety of unusual plants, trees, shrubs, herbaceous, and alpine plants. Featured on the BBC programme “Greenfingers” in 1995, it was the Leinster prizewinner in the Shamrock Garden Competition 1999. It also offers plant sales.
Kells Bay Gardens
Kells Bay, Caherciveen, Kerry
Work first began on Kells Gardens in 1847 and new additions are still being made today. It is a plant enthuasist’s paradise, displaying mature plants including Yuccas, Asioniums, Aeoniums, Agaves, and Puya. The gardens are home to the largest palm tree in Ireland (Jubaea chilensis). This 11-tonne palm tree was imported from Chile and replanted in the gardens in 2007. Among the magnificent gardens’other attractions are the Primeval Forest, Bamboo Glade, Walled Garden, Cliff Walk, and River Walk.
Dhu Varren Garden
Killarney Road, Milltown, Kerry
Dhu Varren Garden contains all the elements of a botanical garden within its 2.5 acres. Two large landscaped glasshouses provide both subtropical and arid plant displays. Outdoors, landscaped palm and succulent gardens with rock features have been created. Subtropical beds, alpines, fernery, water gardens, herb garden, a yucca avenue, and more create variety. The water gardens in particular are a wildlife haven for birds and insects. An arboretum of choice trees, shrubs, and bamboos provides contrast. The centre-piece of a Japanese garden is a koi carp pond with bridge and tea house. Raised decks with seating provide panoramic views of both the garden and the landscape beyond.
Lismore Castle Gardens
The historic gardens at Lismore Castle are divided into two very different sections. The Upper Garden is a perfect example of the 17th-century walled garden first constructed here by Richard Boyle, the 1st Earl of Cork, in about 1605. The outer walls and terraces remai,n and the plantings have changed to match the tastes of those living within the Castle.
Strangford, Downpatrick, Down
In the midst of a beautiful 700-acre estate on the shores of Strangford Lough, seven miles east of Downpatrick, stands Castle Ward – an 18th-century “architectural wonder.”
The house is stunningly situated, surrounded by woods, farmland, landscaped gardens and lakes, including the Temple Water, which is overlooked by a pedimented temple.
The Celtic Plantarium
Dundrum, South Tipperary
The main features of the Celtic Plantarium are its 60,000 plants. These include more than 2,500 species of trees, plants, and shrubs; miles of paths and walkways; a waterfall, fresh water lakes, many with decorative fish. Celtic themed items include a crannog, dolmen, fairy fort and a reconstructed cairn.