Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow
Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown. Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres. The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, both natives in the avenues and woodland areas, and exotic specimens throughout the gardens. Lawns bisected by sculpted yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees.
A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney. Altamont is a great experience at any time of year starting in spring with the wonderful snowdrop collection, one of the largest in Ireland and moving on to daffodils and other spring bulbs. Rhododendrons, azaleas and later on the rose collection is in full bloom in mid-summer, followed by contrasting autumnal colours and the beautiful silhouettes of the mighty trees in mid-winter.
Delta Garden Centre and Sensory Gardens, Strawhall Industrial Estate. Carlow
DeltaCentre run a very busy garden centre with a wide range of shrubs and plants for sale. They also stock hanging baskets and window boxes and a range of garden accessories which include garden ornaments and fountains.Delta Sensory Gardens are an ambitious new project, consisting of a series of interconnecting gardens of a multi-sensory nature covering 2.5 acres. The first of their kind in Ireland they feature both formal and informal landscapes allowing visitors to meander round at will, watch splashing fountains and waterfalls, enjoy herbs and per¬fumed plants, many in raised beds (suitable for access by wheelchair), watch fish or simply sit around and enjoy flowers and foliage.
Hardymount Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow
One of the largest Spanish chestnuts in the country greets you on arrival to one hectare of lawns and shrubs surrounded by magnificent beech and oak trees. A wonderful walled garden behind the house contains many unusual plants and flowers in the herbaceous border. The grass paths take you past the pond with lilies and fish to espaliered apple trees, a pergola clothed with wisteria and under planted with hollyhocks and foxgloves and on to a vegetable garden. A summer House at the end of the garden in a sheltered corner provides a quiet area for rest and relaxation.
Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal. Co. Carlow
These gardens were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Esmondes who built Huntington Castle in 1625. These include the French limes on the Avenue, the lawns to the side of the house, the fishponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the Yew Tree Walk. Larger plantings have resulted in Huntington possessing a number of Irish Champion trees. The River Derry flows along the bottom of the wilderness, providing a pleasant setting for woodland walks. The guided tour also features a visit to Huntington Castle.
Herb Gardens @ Kilgraney House. Borris Road, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow
Consisting of a series of interconnecting herbal gardens there is a large kitchen garden, a tea walk, a medicinal herb courtyard, a medieval monastic herb garden and a garden of aromatic and fragrant herbs. The kitchen garden consists of gravel paths and eleven raised timber beds of varying sizes grouped to form a modern potager. Next to the kitchen garden is the tea walk, a short gravel path lined on one side with plants suitable for infusions and herbal teas. In the lower courtyard you will find an aromatic garden while in an adjoining courtyard there is a modern interpretation of a medieval monastic herb garden.
Leighlinbridge: The Garden Village, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow
Tel: Mary Meaney, Secretary, Leighlinbridge Improvement Group 086-6027751.
Consisting of the Millennium Garden, Vivaldi and Sculpture Gardens and the Garden of Remembrance this village is a joy to visit at any time of the year.