While on Achill Island, County Mayo, why not visit Achill Secret Garden? Located right by the Atlantic coast and hidden in a small bay, it is most westerly public garden in Ireland. The gardens belong to Bleanaskill Lodge.
The core part of the 1-hectre garden was established through the planting of Monterey Cypresses, more than 100 years ago; they gave the much-needed shelter to the rest of the terrain. Amongst the many artists that lived on Achill Island around the turn of the last century was the painter Alexander Williams. According to his diary, he introduced a vast range of plants and trees, including the line of still existing rhododendrons, which he planted in 1907.
In the summer of 1997, Willem van Goor and his family emigrated from the Netherlands to occupy the house. At that stage the garden was transformed into a beautiful, romantic shrub garden and the remaining nine Monterey Cypresses in the oldest established part of the garden formed a huge, dark cathedral. Being a working fine artist painter and also an expert gardener, van Goor redesigned the property into what is now Achill Secret Garden. His wife, Doutsje Nauta, developed a vegetable and herb garden and has a full-time job in consolidating the garden.
See the website for further information on the garden and details of special events as well as opening times.
A great time to visit is in spring when the daffodils are in bloom - there are over 3,500 to see.