National Parks & Gardens in Ireland

Avondale House & Forest Park

Avondale House & Forest Park

Avondale House, Avondale, County Wicklow, Ireland is the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891) one of the greatest political leaders of Irish history. It is set in a magnificent Avondale Forest Park of over 2 km² with tree trails and walks ranging in duration from one to five hours. The river Avonmore flows through the park. It is a Georgian house, designed by James Wyatt and built in 1777. It is notable for its fine plasterwork and still contains many original pieces of furniture. The American Room is dedicated to Admiral Charles Stewart (1778-1869), Parnell's American grandfather who commanded the USS Constitution (now moored in Boston Harbor) during the War of 1812.  The State purchased Avondale in 1904 and it was here that the first silvicultural ex...read more

Bantry House & Gardens

Bantry House & Gardens

Bantry House (originally called 'Blackrock') was constructed in about 1700 on the South side of Bantry Bay. In 1750, Councillor Richard White bought Blackrock from Samuel Hutchinson and changed the name to Seafield. The Whites had settled on Whiddy Island across the Bay in the late 17th century, after having originally been merchants in Limerick. The family prospered and considerable purchases of land were made in the area surrounding the house. By the 1780s, Bantry House comprised some 80,000 acres (320 km²) (though much of this would not be arable). The house has been open to tourism since 1946. The gardens of Bantry House were developed by the second Earl of Bantry and his wife Mary. Inspiration was taken from their travels across Europe. The gardens contain seven terrace...read more

Birr Castle Gardens

Birr Castle Gardens

Birr Castle Gardens have a rich history attached to them. They were originally landscaped around the lake in the 18th century by Sir William Parsons, and over the generations of the Parsons family the Demesne has increased in beauty and interest. It now has plant material collected and subscribed for by 3 generations of the Earls of Rosse, as well as some of the most famous plant hunters past and present. It was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) after its discovery in China in 1945. The garden comes alive in spring with spring flowering bulbs and a vast Magnolia collection. Tranquil Waterfalls, Lake and Rivers Water are a prominent feature of the Demesne. Wherever you walk you are always close to water. Cross over the enchanting...read more

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park (Irish: Páirc Naisiúnta Chonamara) is one of six National Parks in Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and local government. It is located in the west of Ireland within County Galway. Connemara National Park was founded and opened to the public in 1980. It features 29.57 square kilometres of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. The entrance is situated on the Clifden side of Letterfrack. There are many remnants of human civilization within the park. There is a 19th century graveyard as well as 4,000 year old megalithic court tombs. Much of the land was once part of the Kylemore Abbey estate. Western blanket bog and heathland are the most common vegetation of Conn...read more

Corkagh Park

Corkagh Park

Corkagh Park is located near the Naas road stretching towards Clondalkin, in County Dublin. Opened to the public in 1986, it consists of 120 hectares and was formerly part of Corkagh Demense.  The landscape of the park is typical of estate parkland in appearance, with large open expanses of grassland.  Panoramic views through the Park's flat to gently undulating scenery lead the eye to the foothills of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains.  The landscape is also part of the flood plain of the River Camac, which flows through the park in an easterly direction on its way to the River Liffey.  It fed a number of mills in the area which are now in ruins.  The adjacent lands contain the ruins of mills which were used for making gunpowder, oil and various other products, and...read more

Garnish Island

Garnish Island

Ilnacullin, or sometimes Illaunacullin known locally as Garnish Island is a very tranquil yet popular tourist attraction in Ireland, located in the small harbour of Glengarriff, Beara Peninsula County Cork which forms part of Bantry Bay. Ilnacullin is the name used by the National Parks and Monuments Service to differentiate it from Garinish Island in Co Kerry. The island of Ilnacullin extends to 15 hectares and is renowned for its gardens which flourish in the mild humid micro-climate of Glengarriff harbour assisted by a mainly pine shelter belt. Structures include a clock tower, Grecian Temple, Martello Tower, and an Italian Temple. Although noted for the "Italian" gardens, there is a strong Japanese influence running throughout the design. This is particularly evident at the Grecian Tem...read more

Glenveagh National Park & Castle

Glenveagh National Park & Castle

Glenveagh (Gleann Bheatha, "glen of life", in Irish) — covering 110 square kilometres of hillside above Glenveagh Castle on the shore of Lough Veagh (Loch Ghleann Bheatha), some 20 km from Gweedore in County Donegal, Ireland — forms the heart of the Glenveagh National Park (Páirc Naisiúnta Gleann Bheatha), the largest in Ireland. The network of mainly informal gardens displays a multitude of exotic and delicate plants from as far afield as Chile, Madeira and Tasmania, all sheltered by windbreaks of pine trees and ornamental rhododendrons. The gardens and castle were presented to the Irish nation in 1981 by Henry P. McIlhenny of Philadelphia who had purchased the estate in 1937. The park now has the largest herd of red deer in Ireland and golden eagle, fo...read more

Huntington Castle & Gardens

Huntington Castle & Gardens

These gardens were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Edmonds who built Huntington Castle in 1625. This includes the French limes on the Avenue, the parterre or lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the majority of Yew trees which comprise the Yew Walk. Larger plantings have resulted in Huntington possessing a number of great Irish trees, including varieties of hickory, a cut leaved oak, Siberian crab and buckeye chestnut. A lake at the bottom of the wilderness was built for ornamental purposes but next to it is one of the earliest water turbine houses in Ireland, providing Huntington with its own electricity as early as 1888. Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, is a castle in Clonegal. The structur...read more

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, Oak and Yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks....read more

Lismore Castle & Gardens

Lismore Castle & Gardens

Lismore Castle is located in the town of Lismore, in County Waterford in Ireland. Henry II visited Lismore in 1171 and chose a site for a castle. Raymond le Gros and his Anglo-Normans ransacked the town two years later and Henry’s castle site was built upon by Prince John in 1185. These events marked a decline in influence for monastic Lismore. In 1363, the diocese was united with that of Waterford, although it retained its cathedral until the Reformation.  The castle passed to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1589 and Raleigh sold it to Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, in 1602. He immediately set about fashioning the countryside round Lismore in the English way, with stocked deer parks, fruits orchards, fish ponds and other features of the English Lordly manor estate. In 1753, the castle pass...read more

Lissadell House & Gardens

Lissadell House & Gardens

Lissadell House and Gardens are located 7km north of Sligo Town on the Bundoran Road. Home of the Gore Booth family from 1834 -2003, Lissadell is famous as the childhood home of Countess Constance Markievicz and her poet sister, Eva Gore Booth, and is immortalised in the poetry of William Butler Yeats, who wrote: The light of evening, Lissadell Great windows open to the South Two girls in silk kimonos, both Beautiful, one a gazelle The House and Gardens are situated on the Atlantic coast, and are surrounded by over 400 acres of land, including formal gardens, and wild woodland. Since it was purchased by Edward Walsh and his wife Constance Cassidy in 2003, the House and Gardens have undergone extensive restoration. The House itself has a large collection of paintings and literatur...read more

Lisselan Gardens

Lisselan Gardens

Lisselan Gardens were laid out in Robinsonian style from the early 1850’s. William Bence-Jones chose a site on a promontory above the river for a French chateau style house designed by Lewis Vulliamy. The Bence-Jones family created 30 acres of gardens which take advantage of the natural features and contours provided by the valley and the Argideen River running through it. The gardens are much as they were in their Edwardian hay day containing many spectacular features such as an azalea garden, rockery, Japanese maple, rose wreathed pergola, water garden, and a rhododendron garden. The shrubbery contains mature pines, spruce, holly and more unusual plants including acacia, myrtle, eucalyptus, Robinia and Judas tree. A series of flagstone pathways and rustic bridges add ambience and c...read more

Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park is the northernmost national park in England. It covers an area of more than 1030 kmĀ² between the Scottish Border in the north to just south of Hadrian's Wall. It is one of the least populated and least visited of the National Parks....read more

Mount Stewart House & Gardens

Mount Stewart House & Gardens

Mount Stewart is an 18th-century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland. Situated on the east shore of Strangford Lough, a few miles outside the town of Newtownards and near Greyabbey, it was the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry. 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. Mount Stewart’s glorious, unique and unusual gardens were given to the National Trust in 1955. The garden reflects a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Lady Londonderry.  Within the 80 acre 19th century garden with its lake and specimen trees, a series of intricately designed and brilliantly planted formal g...read more

Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape. Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843....read more

National Stud & Japanese Gardens

National Stud & Japanese Gardens

The Irish National Stud (official name: Colucht Groighe Naisiunta na hÉireann Teo (The Irish National Stud Co. Ltd)) is a horse breeding facility based at Tully, Kildare, County Kildare, Ireland. It was formally established by incorporation on 11 April 1946 under the National Stud Act, 1945 and is owned by the Irish Government. The lands around Tully have been associated with the breeding of horses since about 1300, when it is likely that war horses were bred here for the Knights of Malta. However, the first record of the setting up of a stud farm is in 1900, when the lands were purchased from a local farmer James Fay, by Colonel William Hall-Walker, who later became Lord Wavertree. As 'Willie' Walker approached middle age, he turned his attention to the owning and breeding...read more

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park is one of the largest and most magnificent city parks in Europe. A lively and entertaining exhibition on the history and wildlife of the Phoenix Park is on display in the Visitor Centre. Here visitors can receive information and enjoy a historical interpretation of the park from 3500BC to the present day. There is a special section for children which allows them to explore the wonders of forest life. Temporary exhibitions are also regularly on display in the centre. Adjoining the Visitor Centre is the fully restored Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house that probably dates before the 17th century. The castle had been incorporated into an 18th century mansion and was 'rediscovered' when this building was demolished due to dry rot. ...read more

Powerscourt House & Gardens

Powerscourt House & Gardens

Powerscourt Estate is located near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland, is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens, today occupying 19 hectares (47 acres). The house, originally a 13th century castle, was extensively altered during the 18th century by German architect Richard Cassels, starting in 1731 and finishing in 1741. A fire in 1974 left the house lying as a shell until it was renovated in 1996. The estate is today owned and run by the Slazenger family. It is a popular tourist attraction, and includes a golf course, an Avoca Handweavers restaurant, and a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The original owner of the 13th century castle was a man by the name of la Poer, which was eventually anglicised to Power. The castle's position was of strategic militar...read more

Salthill Gardens

Salthill Gardens

Salthill Garden is located less than 200m of the sea, just outside Mountcharles, County Donegal. This contemporary garden whispers stories of walled gardens past, but today stands independently of trends and restorative themes. Since 1985, four walls, gravel paths, a greenhouse and continual green lawn have been gradually transformed to the present individually styled garden. The evolution continues season by season, always featuring a good selection of perennials, vegetables and shrubs. Now vegetables are grown traditional Donegal style in 12 foot wide ridges around the walls, with the decorative plants in the centre. Planting is designed to give a season long display - starting with daffodils and other spring bulbs, and running through hard working plants like thalictrums, hardy geranium...read more

Snowdon National Park

Snowdon National Park

Situated on the west coast of Britain covering 823 square miles of diverse landscapes, Snowdonia National Park is a living working area, home to over 26,000 people. As well as being the largest National Park in Wales, Snowdonia boasts the highest mountain in England and Wales, and the largest natural lake in Wales, as well as a wealth of picturesque . Snowdonia is an area steeped in culture and local history, where more than half its population speak Welsh....read more

The Ewe Sculpture Garden

The Ewe Sculpture Garden

The Ewe Sculpture Garden & Gallery is must see for anyone intrested in art, nature or just a totally unique experience.The perfect destination for a memorable day out. Set along a spectacualr waterfall it is a journey like no other. Slowly explore the mandering pathways and hidden corners. Take the Evolution Walk through the Valley of Eden, weave your past humourous sculptures, and discover a surprise at every turn. The Ewe is a unique combination of nature and art and Ireland's only interactive sculpture garden. Such creative havens can be found in only a few places in Europe. For ten years Sheena Wood and her writer husband, Kurt, ran the successful Ewe Art Centre on the Mizen peninsula. After two years of building work the Glengarriff sculpture garden reopened in 2006 as ...read more

Vandeleur Walled Gardens

Vandeleur Walled Gardens

Beautifully constructed old stone walls contain this sheltered walled garden, once the garden of Kilrush House, home to the Vandeleur landlords. Set among four hundred and twenty acres of native woodland, this forgotten garden hadn't been cultivated for many years until restoration work began in 1997. Replanting the borders that line the wall began in spring 2000. It has now been redesigned for the 21st Century around the old path system and specialises in many unusual and tender plants that thrive in the area's uniquely western latitude microclimate. There are a variety of areas for the visitors pleasure including unusual water features, a tree collection, horizontal maze and the summer house. In 2005, the garden was further enhanced with a series of attractive visitor informat...read more

Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow Mountains

The Wicklow Mountains are a range of mountains in the southeast of Ireland. They run in a north-south direction from south County Dublin across County Wicklow and into County Wexford. Lugnaquilla is the highest peak in the range at 925 m (3035 ft), Mullaghcleevaun at 847 m (2,780 ft) is the second highest, while the summit of Kippure is the highest point in County Dublin, at 757 m (2,484 ft). The River Slaney has its source southwest of Lugnaquilla and then flows south along the western slopes of the mountains for some 72 km (45 mi) before entering the St George's Channel at Wexford. The Turlough Hill power station is the only pumped storage hydroelectricity scheme in Ireland; it is located on the Wicklow Gap midway between Hollywood and Glendalough. The whole area is much freque...read more