Ireland gardens are mainly open in the summertime, although Altamont and Caherbridge open early in February to show off their extensive collections of snowdrops and spring flowering bulbs. Ireland is blessed with a mild, moist climate and zero atmospheric pollution which is paradise for plants and in some cases like at Belfast Castle, Garinish Island, Malahide Castle and Derreen, there exists balmy micro climates that allow tropical species to flourish and thrive in an otherwise unsuitable habitat for tree ferns etc.
Another strange anomaly is the Burren in County Clare, a limestone plateau of approximately 365 square kms which is carpeted with Alpine flowers, including gentians, mountain avens and orchids in early summer that don’t ordinarily grow at low altitudes. The Botanic Gardens in Dublin is open all year round and has had a major revamp with restaurant facilities, an exhibition centre and study hub that runs courses for children and adults.
We visit quite a number of beautiful gardens on my Guided Tours of Ireland's Hidden Gems including Glenveagh Castle and Kylemore Abbey and I include a guided walk through the wild flowers of the Burren as well.
Ireland gardens range from small, immaculately crafted and maintained private gardens to large country estates like Lismore and Tullynally with exquisite parklands, harping back to a time when labour was cheap and their owners were able to travel the world in search of exotic specimens. Or, use them as playgrounds for notorious clubs such as Mount Stewart with its quirky, mythical, animal sculptures. We have fantastic, contemporary examples too, such as the Sky Garden which was designed by the American sculptor, James Turrell at Liss Are and Brigit's Garden at Rosscahill with a seasonal theme inspired by pagan festivals and Celtic origins. The following is a list of my Top 10 favourites but there are many, many more including private ones that open to the public in aid of various charities throughout the summer, so do check locally for details.
These are some of my favourites....
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