If you are ever able to visit Ireland, add these two spectacular gardens to your itinerary.
The Boyne Valley, with its beautiful river and incredible history, is just 40 minutes north of Dublin. This area is home to an ancient history of human occupation dating back at least 6,000 years. Here you can find attractions such as Newgrange, an incredible burial mound created 1,000 years before the Egyptian Pyramids. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful castles and estates in all of Ireland.
Beaulieu House is an 800-year-old mansion and one of the first unfortified houses in Ireland. It is a rare survivor of the artisan mannerist style of architecture and has been home to the Tichborne family for 11 generations.
The walled garden here is over four acres of history that remains true to the original design and plantings from the day. The garden is one that carries original documentation explaining how Sir Henry collected and grew what must have been unusual fruits for the 1720s, such as figs and nectarines, flax and hops.
The garden is open between June and September each year and is an absolute must-experience as you travel through Ireland.
See Beaulieu House and Garden on The Garden Gurus here.
Altamont Gardens is located not far from the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford, best known for its crystal. The garden here has real history, having been started back in the 17th century and receiving an upgrade in 2000. Its 16 hectares is today a sight to behold – as grand as its earlier vision was ever imagined.
Widely respected as a jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont Gardens is an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens and riverside walks. The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, natives in the avenues and woodland areas, as well as exotic specimens collected from across the globe.
When the last owner, Corona North, died in 1999, the gardens were left to the State at her request. She had lovingly cared for the gardens for over 50 years. Ongoing restoration and maintenance continues under the stewardship of the Office of Public Works, recognising the significant value the garden brings the community and visitors.
If anyone said gardeners were not romantic, this is conclusive proof that’s not true. Altamont Gardens is considered home to Irelands most romantic gardens, with wonderful fragrance, formality at times, and a wild wistfulness in the broader design style (described as a Robinsonian garden style). A profusion of roses, old-fashioned and modern, and numerous herbaceous plants scent the air almost year-round.
The 2.5-acre lake is a centerpiece to the garden but wasn’t here before the house and gardens were built, but dug out after the Irish Potato Famine. Research predicts it took 100 men with horses and carts two years to complete, at a cost in 1848 of £12,000; a not inconsiderable sum at that time, being about equivalent to $1.5m Euros in comparison to today’s value.
The landscape of the region is truly spectacular and the garden has stunning views across the valleys to the Wicklow Mountains and Mount Leinster. You have to make sure you take a walk through the arboretum, bog garden and Ice Age glen with its canopy of ancient oaks that lead down to the River Slaney.
Along the river walk you can see salmon and trout rising in the pristine clean waters, and perhaps even an otter. Throughout the garden an abundance of birds and butterflies will greet you. This is an exceptionally healthy environment for flora, fauna and the visitor, and an example of what someone can create with a bit of planning, lots of vision and plenty of time and patience.
See Altamont Gardens on The Garden Gurus here.
About the Author – Trevor Cochrane
Trevor is a born-and-bred proud West Australian who grew up on a dairy farm in Mundijong, just outside of Perth, WA. He launched the media company Guru Productions in 2002 that has since produced over 750 episodes of television telecast on Channel 9 nationally and is now seen in over 100 countries across the globe in 14 different languages. In the years since creating The Garden Gurus he has filmed and produced over 50 hours of international travel shows, food and wine programs, local WA food program Our State on a Plate and the Destination WA travel series. All Guru Productions projects appear on Channel 9 and WIN Television, as well as nationally on the popular digital TV channel 9 Life. Trevor’s passion for gardening has seen him write four books and regular columns for the The Sunday Times and The West Australian Newspaper.