Garden tour suggestions
With such an array of spectacular gardens to explore, be sure to map out your visit so you don’t miss out on the best bits
From the sub-Arctic flowers of County Clare to the wild strawberry trees of Kerry and Cork, the Republic of Ireland is ablaze with colour throughout the four seasons so take a tour and set your senses alight!
- Start with a trip to the Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow, at the foot of the looming Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. These captivating gardens are among the most impressive in Europe, with giant sequoias and dwarf copper chestnuts jostling for space with azaleas, magnolia and rhododendrons. And there’s even a pet cemetery!
- Down the road on the banks of the Vartry River lies Mount Usher at Ashford, with exotic flowers from around the globe, truly spectacular magnolias in spring, trees and shrubs and a beautifully classic rose garden.
- Continue the tour in the smallest county in Ireland, Carlow. The Altamont Gardens near the village of Ballon is a fascinating collection of ornamental gardens and lakeside walks with soaring redwood trees and the atmospheric multi-coloured Chinese dawn redwood.
- Finish off your tour by heading south to the village of Clonegal and the magnificent Huntington Castle. Part of an ancient hallowed site, nearby is a little Neolithic stone, used in pre-Celtic times for healing, and the River Slaney, known as the river of healing. The castle itself is located at what’s known as the Crow's Foot, the confluence of the River Slaney and the River Derry, named after the druid oak.
The North of the island is also overflowing with magnificent gardens and stately homes that are worth a look
- Start with a visit to Mount Stewart. Situated on the tranquil shores of Strangford Lough, this impressive house and award-winning gardens tell a unique story. From the manicured formal terraces to the grandeur of the lake, the gardens overflow with the vibrant colour of the rare plants.
- Next, drop by Rowallane Gardens in Saintfield. An enchanting garden, it was laid out from the mid-1860s by the Reverend John Moore and afterwards by Hugh Armytage Moore, who established connections with botanic gardens throughout the world.
- Further on in the Northeast is Seaforde Gardens and Butterfly House. The centrepiece is the Maze planted in 1975 with hornbeam hedges. The Tropical Butterfly House features a large flight area with hundreds of exotic butterflies.
- Continue the tour to The Argory, which was built on a hill and has wonderful vistas over the gardens and a 320-acre wooded riverside estate.
- Next stop is Castle Coole on the edge of Enniskillen. This location is a rare treat, surrounded by a stunning landscaped park, this majestic 18th century house was created to impress.
- And finally, the tour ends at Florence Court. The mansion is surrounded by a large area of parkland, garden and woodland, with breathtaking views to Benaughlin and the backdrop of the Cuilcagh Mountains.