Hi Everyone. I hope you all had a good week. With the month of May now in full swing, gardens really start to come alive. With it’s warm and wet climate, Ireland is a gardeners paradise and there’s a wealth of Irish gardens to visit if you’re planning a trip this summer. Of course it’s impossible to give a definitive list as there are so many to choose from. No matter what county you find yourself in, you’re sure to find a public garden to while away an afternoon. The following is a list of my personal favorites. So let’s get started!
Lulu’s Top 8 Irish Gardens
1. Powerscourt Gardens
So we must start in county Wicklow, after all it is known as the Garden of Ireland! If you only have time to see just one garden on your Irish trip then make it Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry. The stunning gardens here were first designed in 1731 and cover over 47 acres. They were also voted no. 3 in National Geographic’s top 10 gardens in the world. I love the Italian Gardens where you get the best views of the Sugarloaf Mountain. There’s also a Japanese Garden, a statuary and even a pet cemetery! And your visit won’t be complete without a visit to Ireland’s highest waterfall.
2. Mount Usher Gardens
Staying in the Garden of Ireland, we’ll take a short drive south to Ashford and the gorgeous Mount Usher Gardens. These gardens were first laid out in 1868 by the Walpole family and are one of the finest examples in Ireland of a “Robinsonian” garden. William Robinson (1838-1935) was an Irish gardener and writer whose ideas popularised a wilder and more natural form of planting leading to the herbaceous border and the classic English cottage garden. Situated on the River Vartry, Mount Usher Gardens are hopelessly romantic with many winding paths covering an area of 22 acres while boasting some 5000 plant species.
3. Delta Sensory Gardens
Next we’ll hop over the border to neighboring county Carlow. The Delta Sensory Gardens have been voted the number one attraction in county Carlow and for very good reason. 16 interconnected gardens offer a feast for all the senses and a wealth of stunning sculptural water features. No matter what the season, there’s always a stunning display to enjoy so whether it’s the spring show of daffodils and tulips or the breathtaking colors of autumn, a visit here is truly unforgettable.
4. Garnish Island Gardens
Time to head to other side of the country and one of the most enchanting of Irish gardens. Garnish Island Gardens were designed by Harold Peto for Annan Bryce and his wife Violet who bought Garnish Island in 1910. Many exotic plants flourish here due to the micro climate in this part of Ireland. Here you’ll find a Martello tower which commands amazing views across the bay as well as a Grecian Temple and an Italian Casita (tea house).
5. Heywood Gardens
Next stop county Laois in the heart of the Irish Midlands. Heywood boasts one of the finest walled gardens in Ireland. Located near the village of Ballinakill, Heywood House was built by Frederick Trench in 1773. Inspired by his Grand European Tour he decided to embark on a lavish landscaping of the area between his house and the village. Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll completed the current gardens in 1912 under the instruction of the then owner, Colonel Hutchenson Poe.
6. Japanese Gardens Kildare
The Japanese Gardens at The National Stud in county Kildare are among the finest of their kind in the world and are considered the best in Europe. Colonel William Hall Walker bought the Tully Estate in 1900. The Colonel had visited Japan and shared the enthusiasm for all things Japanese that was spreading throughout Europe at that time. The swampy conditions at Tully as well as natural springs were the perfect site for a Japanese garden. Plants, bonsai, stone lanterns and a tea house were all shipped from Japan to give a truly authentic feel to this most magical of Irish gardens.
7. The National Botanic Gardens
Heading over the border now to Ireland’s capital. The National Botanical Gardens are just 3 kilometers from Dublin city center. This oasis of peace and calm in Ireland’s busiest city covers over 40 acres. It boasts stunning herbaceous borders, a rose garden, an arboretum and a rock garden. The glasshouses have been beautifully restored and are particularly impressive.
8. Mount Stewart
We’re nearly at the end of our journey and our last stop takes us up north to county Down. The stunning gardens at Mount Stewart have been voted as one of the top 10 in the world. Among the many themed gardens in the estate is the stunning Shamrock garden, inspired by Irish mythology. The house itself stands on the banks of the scenic and picturesque Strangford Lough. This magnificent 19th century mansion has been beautifully restored and is well worth the tour for the impressive collections on show.
Well that’s all from me for this week. Do join me next week to continue the journey!
Thanks for dropping by,
Slán go fóill!