Is your thumb 40 shades of green? Or do you love to lounge surrounded by pretty plants? If you love gardens, Ireland has plenty of them open for visitors to come and bask in the beauty.
Once upon a time, the wealthiest people in Ireland lived in elegant mansions in the country surrounded by acres of beauty – Victorian gardens, demesnes, follies and water features. Today, many of these magnificent properties are popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find beautiful gardens to enjoy throughout Ireland, and here are a few favorites.
Mount Stewart, Co. Down – The gardens at Mount Stewart are world-class and absolutely amazing. The house is equally stunning. The property has not always inspired a lot of love from locals, however, as the family that owned it spent vasts fortunes on improving it while giving a relative pittance to famine relief. The family handed the property over to the UK’s National Trust more than 50 years ago, and it has become a popular spot for locals and tourists.
Botanic Gardens, Co. Dublin – If you’re only going to be in Dublin during your visit, don’t despair. You can find an oasis of garden greenery tucked away just outside the city center at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. The only complaint to be is that picnics are not allowed, but sure it’s a great excuse to visit the nearby pub known as The Gravediggers for some refreshment.
Kylemore Abby, Co. Galway – This is more than one garden to admire; this is acres of beauty and wonder vast enough for the management to put on a shuttle bus. The view of the abbey rising from the hillside as you approach is stunning, and the Victorian Walled Garden will soothe your soul. This is a different side of Connemara worth seeing.
Birr Castle, Co. Offaly – Before anyone started building magnificent country homes, we had castles. The Irish midlands are the heart of the country, and Birr Castle is a true gem. Visitors can stroll through formal gardens and wilderness trails. Keep an eye out for rare plants and beautiful birds.
Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow – This exquisite estate by Enniskerry Village makes a nice day trip from Dublin City. Roam the manicured gardens, trek some trails or lounge on the terrace with a cup of tea and enjoy the view of Powercourt’s popular water feature. National Geographic named Powerscourt the number three garden in the world.
Ireland is famous for our rolling green hills dotted with grazing sheep, but that’s not the only green on offer here. Our rainy, mild climate keeps more than grass green, and you can see an array of flowers, shrubbery and trees on your visit here. Touring one of Ireland’s old ‘big houses’ gives an insight into the lives of the most privileged portion of the population before independence as well as some inspiration for your own garden. Artistic visitors are well advised to bring a sketch book and prepare to be inspired as well.