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Munster’s Must Visit Gardens

Mount Congreve - County Waterford

The original gardens at Mount Congreve had comprised of a simple terraced garden with woodland of ilexes and sweet chestnuts on the slopes falling down to the river. Ambrose Congreve began planting parts of these in his late teens but it was not until 1955 that he began to make large clearings in the woodlands to create the necessary conditions where his new plants would thrive. With the arrival of Mr. Herman Dool in the early sixties, the two men began the process that would lead to Mount Congreve’s recognition as one of the ‘Great Gardens of the World’. Up to the very last years of his life, Mr Congreve could be found in the gardens dispensing orders and advice relating to his beloved plants.

Bantry House & Gardens - County Cork

The gardens, as we see them today, have gone from creation (by Richard White ,2nd Earl of Bantry), through neglect (from 1930’s-1970’s) to restoration (which began in 1997). Richard White (1800-1865) fully appreciated his good fortune to inherit a title and a fine house in an extraordinary location. He created a garden with seven terraces to complement the bay overlooked by his house, which he enlarged to accommodate the art collection he formed on his travels. The fountain within the parterre surrounded by Wisteria sineis and Wisteria floribunda dominates the southern aspect of the house as do the hundred steps leading up to the woodland. The north terraces, with their 14 round beds, are flanked by statues and pots Richard brought from his travels. Facing East, the statue of Diana the Huntress greets the visitor.

Glenview Gardens - County Cork

This is one for the family, the kids will have great fun visiting the Fairy Fort built right through the birch mound or searching for the fairy houses in the Fairies woods. This 3 acre garden is full of surprises, with each garden style flowing into the next. The front garden contains a sunken white garden, an Italianate canal and a Japanese garden. The boundary wisteria walk opens out into the bog garden and woodland area, from where you can continue to the tea house to enjoy a view of the Mediterranean and tropical gardens. Wander over the birch mound, which is surrounded by the wildflower meadow, into the walled kitchen garden to view the seasonal vegetables. The kids will have great fun visiting the Fairy Fort built right through the birch mound or searching for the fairy houses in the Fairies woods. View the Budgies, Parakeets, Finches, Ducks and Chickens in the Aviary.

Knockpatrick Gardens - County Limerick

Knockpatrick Gardens is a privately owned garden open to visitors. The garden is almost 100 years old and is home to many exotic plants including himalyan blue poppies, magnolias, tree ferns, rhododendrons, azaleas, primula etc. The garden is set into the hillside and is divided into many unique areas. There is a wet area suited to primulas, hostas and bamboos. A dry scree bed is south facing and suits a selection of rock plants. There is also a wild flower bed which offers much colour during the summer months. There are also many mature trees and shrubs throughout the garden.

Glanleam Subtropical Gardens- County Kerry

Set on Valentia Island, County Kerry, Glanleam was built as a linen mill in 1775 and later served as the home of the Knights of Kerry. Sir Peter Fitzgerald, the 19th knight, realised the almost frost-free conditions and laid out 16 hectares of a subtropical garden around Glanleam House. He organised his gardens in a Robinsonian style, inter-planting natural habitats with exotics. This, along with recent extensive additions, has resulted in an enchanted garden, subtropical paradise, rainforest and jungle all at the same time. Glanleam is famous for southern hemisphere and Asian plants, which thrive in the mild climate of Valentia Island.

There are a number of trails on the grounds, plenty for children to explore as well as lambs, chickens, geese and ducks.

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