Around Ireland

When Bob and I visited Ireland, it was an unforgettable trip. Everything was super lush and beautiful in early September. We started our tour south of Dublin, then turned north to Northern Ireland and the Devil’s causeway, then over to Kylemore Abbey, and south to Galway and then onto Bantry Bay. We crossed along the south before flying back out of Dublin 9 days later. The people were warm and kind, the food was delicious (especially the cheese!) and the gardens and scenery was wonderful. Wish I could go back…


When the house on the Powerscourt property was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the grounds were also rebuilt and remodeled. The desire was to create a wider landscape, and boy was that accomplished! There are hundreds of trees and flowers. There are many gardens within the property, including an Italian garden, a Japanese garden, A Tower Valley and even a Pet Cemetery! We came here straight from the airport when we landed in Dublin. There’s a cute cafe on the grounds for lunch.

Muckross House

In 1861 Queen Victoria was to visit the Muckross House, so in preparation for the joyous event extensive gardening began in the 1850’s. Later, the family continued this gardening tradition. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape. Everything was so pristine, I love how lush all the grounds were. 

Mt. Usher

Mount Usher Gardens were created by four generations of the Walpole family over a period of 112 years from 1868. The garden comprises of 22 acres with the Vartry River running through it and contain many champion trees of Ireland and the UK, as well as some 4,500 different varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. Edward Walpole, the garden’s founder, passed the property to his three sons.

Mt. Stewart

Mount Stewart is an 18th-century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland. The house and its contents reflect the history of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, who played a leading role in British and Irish social and political life. After the house’s interior, the Marchioness redesigned the gardens in the most lavish way possible. One bed shows the Red Hand of Ulster rendered in red flowers. It’s a rather morbid story about someone associated with this manor, who cut off his hand and tossed it over a ship’s bow to be the first one to touch this land. These gardens were, like most of the gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland were beautifully designed and expertly maintained.

Loughkey Forest

Loughkey Forest in Ireland is a tranquil piece of land and estate. It has many broadleaf and conifer trees growing along the paths, as well as many wildflowers and mammals. The forest looked almost magical, as if something out of a story book.  I love that all over Ireland, you can find full castles and even castles that have been left behind. Its all so beautiful. 

Lough Rynn Estate

Located on an isthmus between the lakes of Lough Rynn and Lough Erril, the Lough Rynn Estate was the home to many wealthy families in Ireland. Opening in 2006 as a hotel, the estate got much more attention for the renovation that had occurred. It’s now used as a wedding venue, and the gardens are well known in this area. We were told we “must go” by a woman we met on a forest stroll, who announced briskly “Off you go” and sent us on our way. We ran into some wayward cows on the road to Lough Rynn.

Lisadell House

The terraced oceanfront walled garden was breathtaking on this property. It was raining, and a long walk through an open field, but it was so amazing!! The house was built between 1830 and 1835, and Lisadell House is a historic house Ireland. Lisadell was the first country house in Ireland to have an independent gas supply piped into the property. This house is interesting and we toured the kitchens and some other rooms. This house is still occupied by a family and is only open a few days a year. We were lucky to be able to see it. It sure wasn’t easy to find!!  The walled garden was amazing. Incredible variety of plants, a stone garden, the caretakers quarters and spectacular views of the water.

Dunmore House

The Dunmore House was my favorite “Secret Garden” in the world. Our innkeeper sent us “across the street” to the most spectacular walled gardens. We walked through them in awe. All the plants were by deep green leaves and shrubbery. The colors of everything just seemed so exaggerated it was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The gardener told us he wasn’t sure of the name of a plant, as he had only been “working these gardens for 60 years”. His uncle before him had worked the gardens previously. The distant manor house must have been spectacular, but this place was unforgettable.