Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens surround the ruins of a 19th century great house in County Carlow and brim with historical varieties of roses, peonies, perennials and flowering shrubs.
There are free guided tours available of Duckett's Grove retracing its centuries of history. Learn about the origins of the Duckett family who first arrived here in 1695, the subsequent expansion of the estate, the building of the gothic mansion and its eventual sad demise. Discover the stories of the family who lived here and the people who worked for them. As the principal seat of one of the most prominent families in Carlow of that time, Duckett's Grove remains an important reminder of a former period, rich in history and deep in tradition.
The tour times between November to March are Thursdays and Fridays at 12:00, 14:00 and 15:00. On Sundays 14:00 and 15:30. Between April and October the tours run on Thursday and Friday at 12:30, 14:30 and 16:00. On Saturdays and Sundays the times are 14:30 and 16:00.
The estate was designed in castellated Gothic revival style by Thomas A Cobden for John Davidson Duckett in the 1820s. The 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, the great house was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre estate that dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years.
The first phase of the revival of two old walled gardens has now been completed, with the ancient paths revealed and beds and borders reinstated. Stylistically, the new planting schemes echo the past but also reflect changing trends, utilising plants and planting patterns that have evolved over time.
The upper walled garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses and a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies. A great variety of hardy and tender perennials adorn the landscape, as do choice flowering shrubs like echium, watsonia, acanthus, jovellana, daphniphyllum, iris, eryngium, beschorneria, euporbia and some ornamental bananas—a true test of the microclimate of the gardens.
The lower walled garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a variety of fruits, such as figs and historical varieties of Irish apples. The borders also feature a variety of shrubs and perennials, all echoing the past history of the gardens of Duckett’s Grove. The restoration of paths and the sunken stone bridge, as well as plantings of oak, lime, hazel, spindle and laurel, all combine to rekindle the spirit of these great Georgian pleasure grounds.
The great house at Duckett’s Grove features numerous towers and turrets of varying shapes—round, square and octagonal. One tall octagonal turret rises from the structure, elaborately ornamented with oriels and niches containing statues. Situated in the townland of Rainstown, between Carlow and Tullow, and comprising several large additional townlands, the Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens are an unmissable destination during any holiday in County Carlow.