Ireland: The Irish Rover13th Jun 2024
Just like the Van Morrison song, this Irish Rover is wrapped up in glory – the glory of some of Ireland’s finest gardens. A rich feast of horticultural excellence awaits, with memorable and beguiling gardens, enthusiastic and skilful owners and an ever-changing backdrop of lush green hills, fertile fields and glittering seascapes. Our north to south journey is packed full of gems yet relaxed and unhurried, taking in the very best that the Emerald Isle has to offer.
We begin in Northern Ireland at the dazzling and idiosyncratic garden of Mount Stewart, truly one of the great gardens of the world. We also visit romantic Rowallane and atmospheric Castle Ward.
We move on to Dublin where we meet June Blake, a passionate plantswoman who grows a unique mix of bamboos, ornamental grasses and perennials, and her brother Jimi Blake at Hunting Brook, with its fusion of prairie and tropical planting. We also visit Russborough, which features both a woodland and a walled garden which has recently been restored; Malahide, one of the oldest and most historic castles in Ireland, with its own splendid botanic garden and Powerscourt, one of Ireland’s most famous gardens with magnificent vistas over the surrounding countryside.
Continuing south we call in at Mount Usher, a wild and informal garden with some rare and exceptional trees, and Mount Congreve, home to one of the largest collections of plants in the world, on our way to the lively and cultured city of Cork. From here we tour Ilnacullin, with its magical setting on an island bathed in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and the fabulous Blarney Castle & Gardens, home to the famous stone which bestows eloquence on all who kiss it.
Our tour manager is popular garden designer, writer & broadcaster Trevor Edwards, who has clearly kissed the Blarney Stone more than once…
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What to Expect
- Huge collection of plants at Mount Congreve
- Exploring the extensive and enchanting gardens of Mount Stewart
- Rowallane’s mysterious approach and mixed borders
- The historic island gardens of Ilnacullin
- Historic castle and botanic garden at Malahide
|London Gatwick Airport TIMES ARE AS A GUIDE ONLY
** Please note that all timings are approximate and subject to change. Final timings and pick-up points will be confirmed with your joining instructions approximately 10 days prior to departure. **
Day by Day Itinerary
We depart from London Gatwick airport on our flight to Belfast (flights from other regional airports may also be available at a supplement – please contact us for details). Upon arrival we will join our coach and transfer to our first visit, Mount Stewart, the dazzling and idiosyncratic gardens which bask in the micro-climate of low rainfall and humid coastal air that exists here. The Italian Garden south of the house is in the form of a giant parterre, edged in startling golden thuja or smouldering purple berberis and filled with plantings of carmine, yellow and scarlet on one side, with cooler blue, lavender and grey on the other. Elsewhere, there is a Spanish garden with huge eucalyptuses looming in the woods behind, and an exuberant and formal sunken garden surrounded by a fine pergola planted with clematis, honeysuckle and roses. The entrance façade of the house overlooks an entirely different landscape, a scene of serenity with noble trees leading gently uphill to a lake. East of the lake are blood-red and orange rhododendrons and the banks of the lake are planted with long drifts of arum lily. This is one of the most attractive and stimulating gardens, where traditional features are carried off with exuberance and panache, and we have allowed plenty of time here to take everything in.
Following our visit, we continue to our hotel, the comfortable Dunadry Hotel, County Antrim, where we will enjoy dinner in the evening.