Ballyin Gardens


Ballyin Lower
Republic of Ireland

Six acres of historic, mature gardens on the north bank of the river Blackwater, just upstream from Lismore Castle, on grounds which slope down to the river and thus provide splendid views of the river itself and the surrounding meadows.

The Gardens date from at least the early 1700’s and are mentioned in Smith’s History of Waterford (published in 1746) as being renowned for the excellent vegetables grown there. The main gardens were probably laid out in the mid-1700’s when the property was occupied by Richard Musgrave who was the agent for the Lismore Estate. Certainly by the early 1800’s, the gardens were well established and were described in Ryder’s History of Waterford (published in 1824) as “a relief to the mind to wander through this charming spot”. At that time, Ballyin was occupied by Dean John Scott, the Dean of Lismore Cathedral, who was probably responsible for many of the North American trees still to be seen in the Gardens, including the Monterey Cypress which has the largest girth of any tree in County Waterford.

The main house was destroyed by fire in 1826 leaving the two wings which were eventually converted into separate houses. For the rest of the century, the gardens were maintained by the Lismore Estate and were open to the public. They were described as “a sight which no visitor to Lismore at that period ever missed”. Among the more notable visitors were King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra who walked the Gardens during their visit to Lismore in 1906.

The Gardens were closed and left derelict during the First World War and the Civil War but were rescued and restored by Lady Gordon who lived at Ballyin from the late 1920’s until her death in 1945.

Over the years, the character of the gardens changed as new varieties of trees and shrubs became available in Ireland. Today, the main features of the gardens are the extensive array of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, many of which are large old specimens; the interesting collection of mature old trees, many of North American origin; but perhaps most important of all, the delightful, peaceful setting of the gardens along side the river Blackwater.

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