The Great Gardens of Central Ireland (7 Days, 6 Nights)- Pennywood Tours
Departure Locations & Times
We generally try to depart between 8am and 9am, and exact times will be confirmed in the final timings itinerary which arrives about a week before travel.
We send this close to travel so we can plan for any major traffic issues which sometimes arise due to road works etc.
Leaving from Henry Street Garden Centre
Wednesday 5th June 2024 - 7 days, 6 Nights
Luxury coach transport
Crossing Holyhead to Dublin and return
4* hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
Group leader to smooth the way
Entries to all named venues
Itinerary for Great Gardens of Central Ireland
We’ve had a number of requests for a visit to Ireland and research has revealed a spread of gardens across the island as a whole (including Northern Ireland), so we’ve decided to split the island into Gardens of the North, Central and Southern Ireland. For our first venture we’ll start with the centre.
Journey to the Mountains
We start our trip with the journey to Holyhead on Anglesey but, in addition to our normal stops every 90 minutes or so, we’ll break the day up with a visit to Trentham Gardens to stretch our legs and get the blood flowing.
Trentham Gardens are an interesting fusion of formal Italianate gardens and modern herbaceous and prairie-style plantings. In 2000, the gardens and estate underwent a £120 million redevelopment which included the development of a Garden Centre and retail village, so you’ll have a choice of lunch options and a beautiful garden to see.
We then progress to our lodgings for the night, the 4-star Imperial Hotel in Llandundo. Situated on the Promenade, the hotel is ideally located for a stroll out to enjoy the long spring evening.
Arrival in Ireland
Taking the ferry from Holyhead, we cross to Dublin and on to the Loughcrew Estate, which is made up of 200 acres of picturesque rolling parkland complete with stunning gardens. The heritage gardens provide the perfect day out and include extensive lawns and terraces, a water garden, a magnificent herbaceous border, remains of a medieval motte, St Oliver Plunkett’s family church, 400 year old yew walk and the lime avenue. And don’t forget the Fairy Trail!
From here we head our way to our home for our time in Ireland, the 4-star Killeshin Hotel, Portalaoise, where will have access to their leisure facilities, including a swimming pool, so don’t forget your costume!
Tullynally and Belvedere
After breakfast we leave the hotel and journey to the first of our gardens today, Tullynally.
Here the gardens run to over 12 acres, divided between walled gardens, extensive woodland gardens and two ornamental lakes. Much of the present layout dates from the early 1800s, but the current owners, Thomas and Valerie Pakenham, have gardened here for over 50 years and added many new features.
Start at the Castle Terraces, then on to the Pleasure Ground, Grotto and Flower Garden. In the Kitchen Garden you can visit the llama family and see the Nandi bulls, then follow the path back round to the Upper Lake where you can pause and enjoy the view. At the turning to the Forest Walk, don’t miss the Tibetan Glade, then follow the woodland path past the Chinese Garden to the Lower Lake and Magnolia Grove before making your way back up to the castle for some well-deserved tea and cake, before moving onto garden number two for today, Belvedere.
This house, gardens and park sit in a magnificent 160-acre lakeside estate with fully restored Georgian Villa, Victorian Walled Garden, naturalistic designed 18th century parkland, punctuated with romantic follies including the largest in Ireland: the Jealous Wall.
Belvedere House was designed by the famous architect Richard Castles who designed the majority of the Palladian mansions in Ireland.
The gardens consist of a walled garden and an arboretum, which surrounds the house.
Powerscourt and Mount Usher
Striking out from our hotel we reach Powerscourt Gardens, which stretch over 47 acres and offer visitors a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues and ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks. They were recently voted no 3 in the World’s Top 10 Gardens by National Geographic.
The house has been voted one of the Top Ten Houses and Mansions Worldwide by the Lonely Planet Guide and today offers the warmest of welcomes and some of the best views in Ireland, overlooking the breath-taking Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s a wonderful place to relax and enjoy browsing their splendid range of stores or to indulge in a coffee and dessert in the Avoca Terrace Café.
In the afternoon we move on to visit Mount Usher, one of only three Irish gardens with a top rating from the UK’s The Good Gardens Guide. It’s not simply one of Ireland’s greatest gardens, but is a world-class example of a so-called Robinsonian (Gravetye again) garden, with its relaxed informality and natural layout. Monty Don has described it as one of his favourite gardens anywhere.
The garden covers 22 acres and is home to 32 Champion Trees and over 5,000 varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. As well as a lovely café, there are opportunities to shop at their boutique stores.
Kilmacurragh and Patthana
The National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh lie within an estate developed extensively during the 19th century by Thomas Acton in conjunction with David Moore and his son Sir Frederick Moore, Curators of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin at that time. It was a period of great botanical and geographical exploration with numerous plant species from around the world being introduced to Ireland for the first time.
The different soil and climatic conditions at Kilmacurragh resulted in many of these specimens succeeding there while struggling or failing at Glasnevin. Kilmacurragh is particularly famous for its conifer and rhododendron collections.
Our second garden for the day is Patthana, an award-winning village garden and home to T.J. Maher and Simon Kirby, in Kiltegan, County Wicklow.
The garden comprises a lower cobbled courtyard with its potting shed and a sunken meditation room leading to the main courtyard with a small wildlife pond. Both these areas house an extensive collection of plants from the hardy to the tender and exotic. Circular granite steps lead to the upper terrace garden with its borders of herbaceous perennials, annuals and unusual shrubs and trees.
Return to the UK
Today we return to the UK via the Holyhead ferry and back once more to the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno.
Baddesley Clinton and home
We break up our return journey by visiting Baddesley Clinton, a moated house with gardens near Warwick.
The house has something of a history: the Ferrers, who owned it for 500 years, oversaw the construction of several Priest Holes in the 16th century, said to have been built by St Nicholas Owen, who was known for his masterful skill in this role but was later captured and tortured to death.
Please note, all venues will require walking, possibly with steps and steep slopes, which may be slippery and uneven. You should be prepared to dress appropriately for the weather.