When St Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners, lived in a hermitage in County Kilkenny, his skills attracted so much attention that he fled to France. But his influence lives on, and today St Fiachra’s Garden is one of the highlights of a trip to the Irish National Stud.
Whether you like your gardens walled or wild, Italian or Japanese, there are wonderful examples all over the country. Many of Ireland’s most magnificent gardens were built around our great houses, and no trip to Powerscourt House or Kylemore Abbey is complete without visiting their Victorian gardens.
The gardens of Glenveagh Castle include many unusual specimens while Birr Castle in Offaly is home to some of the rarest tree species in Ireland – not to mention the world’s tallest box hedges!
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the West has many subtropical gardens, but don’t forget our city gardens, like Airfield in Dublin, with its amazing collection of cacti and other exotic plants – and of course, no horticulturalist should miss the National Botanic Gardens.
Many counties have garden trails, or you can create your own, following the seasons (and your nose), from Snowdrop Week at Altamont Gardens to the magnolia in bloom at Belvedere House.