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Ireland is a vast open air garden and one of the most fertile nations on earth. The mild climate creates an ideal farming environment and the lush countryside will simply dazzle you.
Some of the kosher memorable sights in the country revolve around Ireland's remarkable gardens. There are formal gardens, Victorian gardens, Japanese gardens, and decorative vegetable gardens. The only thing to do, given all the choice, is take the time to take them all in! but if you cannot, here is the IrishCentral guide to ten of the best in the land!
1. The National Botanic Gardens
Located in Dublin, the Botanic Gardens offer free admission or guided tours. The gardens were founded in 1795 by the Royal Dublin Society and taken over by the state in 1878. The gardens feature a rose garden, vegetable garden, an arboretum, and a yew-walk along the River Tolka, herbaceous beds, and various natural habitats. The greenhouses have a multitude of exotic plants. Don't miss this.
2. Iveagh Gardens
Another great garden in Dublin is the Iveagh Gardens, very close to Saint Stephen's Green. This garden has been open to the public only a few years but the estate was built during the 18 Century. There are ivy-clad corners, statues, a grotto, landscape gardens, and even a maze. A Victorian rosarium has recently been rebuilt.
3. Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden
Located in County Clare, offers a newly restored 19 century walled garden set against the beautiful backdrop of Knappogue Castle.
Dating from 1817, this beautiful garden is now restored to its former splendor, featuring climbing roses, grapevines and many clematis varieties. The garden's centerpiece a statue to Bacchus, the Greek God of Wine, reflects the former epicurean philosophy and lifestyle of the mediaeval castle.
The garden also supplies the Castle with fresh herbs for daily use in the preparation of the mediaeval banquet, which take place nightly at seven from April to October. Located near Quin, County Clare, the garden is open viewing for viewing seven days a week.
4. Powerscourt House, Gardens and Waterfall
This garden is located at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. Richard Wingfield, the Viscount of Powerscourt, first created the gardens in the 1740's. Daniel Robertson further developed the gardens from 1843 to 1975. Powerscourt has the highest waterfall in Ireland. It also offers many garden attractions including formal gardens as well as landscaped walks comprised of over 200 varieties of trees, shrubs, flowers and plants. There is also a garden center, shops and a gourmet cafe on the property.
5. Tullynally Castle and Gardens
Located at Castlepollard, County Westmeath Tullynally features over 20 acres of gardens and parkland. The gardens encompass two lakes, a grotto, a Chinese garden and many scenic walking paths.
6. Belvedere House, Gardens and Park
Located on almost 160 acres, Belvedere House, Gardens and Park in County Westmeath features walled gardens, follies, extensive nature trails and ancient ruins. There is also a petting park. The fine manor house, built in 1740, has recently been restored, and is also open to the public.
7. Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens
Situated in County Wexford, Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens consists of two distinct gardens. A formal walled garden surrounds the house and a free flowing woodland garden beyond. It is well known for its wide variety of rare trees and shrubs. Bed and Breakfast accommodations are also available.
8. Butterstream, Trim, County Westmeath
Butterstream is a rather young garden, originally began in 1970 by local man Jim Reynolds. Butterstream is comprised of several interlinking garden rooms each one more beautiful and unique than the last.
9. The Botanic Gardens, Belfast
Located in County Antrim, the Belfast Botanic Gardens were created in1827. The gardens surround a wrought iron and glass greenhouse built in 1839, which is considered the largest greenhouse in the world. Many of the plants are over 100 years old. The Tropical Ravine House displays a range of tropical plants grown in a sunken glen. This place is an unmissable treat.
10. The Victorian Gardens at Kylemore Abbey
Located in Connemara, County Galway a wealthy Englishman built the gardens at Kylemore Abbey for his bride. After her sudden death the property sat vacant for years. During World War II the Benedictine Nuns purchased the estate and helped to turn it into one of the most picturesque settings in Ireland. You can now tour the country house used as an international girl's school and convent or the gardens and long walk ways through the woods.
There is also a beautiful but rather steep climb up the mountain to a statue of Jesus, a smaller version of the world famous Rio de Janeiro one. Once on top of the mountain, the panoramic views cannot be beat.