Thursday, March 20, 2014

Carlow Garden Trail

With Spring in the air, now is the time to hit the Carlow Garden Trail, a collection of 18 different gardening attractions including great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and smaller gardens which are maturing beautifully with time. Award winning garden centers and forest parks compliment the joy of a visit here. The Garden Trail ranges from small to very large gardens, garden centers and forest parks; and from old to new, so there is something to stimulate both the novice and the experienced gardener.

Visitors have the opportunity to follow Ireland's first ever dedicated gardening trail which features identifiable road signs linking all 18 attractions. The trail can be driven in a day if so desired but naturally visitors are encouraged to relax and enjoy the remarkable beauty of these gardens, garden centers and forest parks at a more leisurely pace! the trail can be joined at any gardening attrcation and driven in either direction while large map boards are located in the grounds of each participating center providing further information. Visit for more details on the trail and each gardening attraction. Please check with each gardening attraction regarding opening times and admission rates.

Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow t: 059- 9159444
Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres (16 hectares). Altamont is a great experience at any time of year starting in spring with the wonderful snowdrop collection, one of the largest in Ireland and moving on to daffodils and other spring bulbs. Rhododendrons, azaleas and later on the rose collection is in full bloom in mid-summer, followed by contrasting autumnal colours and the beautiful silhouettes of the mighty trees in mid-winter.

Altamont Plant Sales - The Walled Garden @ Altamont, Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow t: 087-9822135
An unmissable highlight of a visit to Altamont Gardens is the Walled Garden situated within the grounds of the estate and run privately by gardener and nursery man Robert Miller. The area consists primarily of the Corona North Commemorative Border planted to honour the late Corona and Altamont Plant Sales and Nursery. Always renowned for its extensive range of herbaceous perennials, Altamont Plant Sales can boast of having one of the largest collections of old shrub roses available for sale to the gardening public year round.

Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre & Arboretum Inspirational Gardens, Kilkenny Road (N9), Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow t: 059-9721558
Commitment to excellent customer service, quality products, unbeatable choice and value for money has earned the Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven the coveted title of Bord Bia Garden Centre of the Year and Best Customer Service Award on numerous occasions. Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven is far more than a place for the gardening enthusiast. Spacious and well laid out, the centre guides visitors through elegant displays of garden furnishings, pot plants, outdoor plants, an extensive gift section, hand crafted furniture and lots more.

Helping visitors to create their own dreams, the Arboretum Inspirational Gardens allows people to see that gardening can be enjoyed in any busy lifestyle. The concept behind this design was to create a garden that is easy to care for, demands low maintenance and delivers endless enjoyment. The gardens feature a children’s maze which is a maximum height of 1 metre while families can also pay a visit to the fun mud hut or visit the friendly koi who live in the pond.


Ashlawn Garden Centre, Donore, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow t: 059-9721175
Conveniently situated close to the town of Bagenalstown in an open country setting,  Ashlawn Garden Centre is a family-run business where excellent service and advice is on hand in a friendly and informative manner. Ashlawn Garden Centre offers a wide range of healthy trees, shrubs, roses and perennials at outstandingly good value while the new 3,000 square feet shop stocks a large selection of sprays, sprayers, terracotta and glazed pots, tools, pet accessories,  fountains, lights and bird baths, seasonal bulbs and seeds.

Delta Sensory Gardens and Garden Centre, Strawhall Estate, Carlow t: 059-9143527
Delta Sensory Gardens consist of a series of interconnecting gardens of a multi-sensory nature covering 2.5 acres (1 hectare). The gardens offer something for every season from thousands of daffodils and tulips in spring to the abundant double flowering gorse in summer and the rustic colour of the many trees and beech hedges in autumn and into winter. The amazing water features will take your breath away, with splashing fountains, cascading waterfalls and the kugal, one ton of pink marble floating on a cushion of water.

Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens and Pleasure Grounds, Duckett’s Grove, Carlow
t: Carlow Tourist Office 059-9131554

Duckett’s Grove, the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth-century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 20,000 acre estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country. The revival of two old walled gardens has been completed by Carlow County Council, the old paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. Stylistically the new planting schemes echo the past yet reflect changing fashions, utilising plants and planting patterns that may have evolved over time.


Hardymount Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow. t: 059-9151769
One of the largest Spanish chestnuts in the country greets you on arrival to 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of lawns and shrubs surrounded by magnificent beech and oak trees. A wonderful walled garden behind the house contains many unusual plants and flowers in the herbaceous border. The grass paths take you past the pond with lilies and fish to espaliered apple trees, a pergola clothed with wisteria and underplanted with hollyhocks and foxgloves and on to a vegetable garden.  A summer house at the end of the garden in a sheltered corner provides a quiet area for rest and relaxation.

Herb Gardens at Kilgraney House, Borris Road, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow t: 059-9775283
This gardening attraction features an enclosed kitchen garden consisting of gravel paths and eleven raised timber beds of varying sizes grouped to form a modern rectangular ‘’potager’’. Next to the kitchen garden is the tea walk, a short gravel path lined on one side with plants suitable for infusions and herbal teas. The medicinal garden, set in a granite courtyard, consists of nine raised beds in Irish oak timber.  In a lower courtyard is an aromatic garden planted with herbs for fragrance and also for their usefulness in cosmetic preparations. A medieval monastic herb garden and a circular cosmic garden also form part of the attraction.


Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal, Co. Carlow t: 053-9377160
These gardens were mainly laid out in the seventeenth-century and include 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 Yew Tree Walk. 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.

Leighlinbridge: The Garden Village, t: Mary Meaney, Secretary, Leighlinbridge Improvement Group 086-6027751
Leighlinbridge enjoys a range of gardens, built and designed by the local community to commemorate various aspects of village life over the years. These include the Millennium Garden, seven small individual gardens, each with its own theme represented by trees, shrubs and Carlow stone. The Vivaldi Garden is based on Vivaldi’s musical concerto The Four  Seasons while the Garden of Remembrance commemorates important occasions in the history of the village. The Sculpture Garden is dedicated to three of Leighlinbridge’s most famous sons – Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran, John Tyndall, the mountaineer and scientist and Captain Myles Keogh, second in command to General Custer.

Morgan’s Garden Centre, Green Road, Carlow t: 059-9143092
Morgan’s Garden Centre was established in 1988 on the outskirts of Carlow Town. It has since become known as a retailer of plants of the highest standard including many Irish varieties and plants grown and nurtured on site. They carry a range of garden accessories and gardening solution products to deal with your growing pains!

Oak Park Forest Park, outskirts of Carlow town t: Carlow Tourist Office, College Street, Carlow 059-9131554
Ideal for leisurely strolls and walks, a visit here is a relaxing and pleasurable experience and a must for any visitor to Co. Carlow. Colour coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent accessible surfaces and easy gradients make this an enjoyable experience for young and old alike. The park is a mature, mixed species woodland of over 120 acres with a predominance of beech, oak, scots pine, silver fir, larch and sycamore. Boasting a rich diversity of wildlife, the lakes and their surrounds provide a habitat for swans and ducks, while the islands shelter many wild and game birds.

Rathvilly Garden Centre, Rathvilly (on N81), Co. Carlow  t: 059-9161594/087-8344582
Rathvilly Garden Centre is a family-run business offering a comprehensive range of home grown bedding plants and shrubs for the gardening enthusiast. This country garden centre is set on 5 acres (2 hectares) with a 1 acre (.5 hectare) amenity garden with picnic and children’s play area.  A large covered plant area also includes a fine gift shop while the garden centre features a range of bulbs, seeds, garden tools and a large selection of trees, shrubs, container pots, fruit trees, patio slabs, outdoor pots, moss peat, trellis and fencing.

Rathwood, Rath, Tullow, Co. Carlow t: 059-9156285
Rathwood is a multi-award winning family owned centre with a fashionable gift and garden shop, elite furniture and interiors shop, a bright, busy restaurant with home baking and a Mediterranean style garden centre and courtyard. It is simply a treasure chest of interesting and unusual ideas, displayed in room-by-room style to help you create the home and garden of your dreams. 


Rath Wood Forest Walks, Rath, Tullow, Co. Carlow t: 059-9156285
The Forest Walks, extending over 4 kilometres, have been carefully planned to include a short leisurely wheelchair accessible walk to the pond and a longer looped “Molloy Walk”. This working forest is a valuable and rewarding educational tool, given the vast ecological resources of flora, wildlife and tree species contained within its 185 acre (75 hectares) boundaries. Expect to see deer, rabbits, mink, foxes, pheasants and dragonflies among others. The forest contains a great variety of tree species including beech, oak, sitka spruce, norway spruce, birch, douglas fir and alder.

Whether visiting Ireland in Spring, Summer or Fall follow the Carlow Garden Trail for enchanting gardens, spectacular vistas and historic houses. Start planning your Ireland vacation with Celtic Tours World Vacations

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