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Great Gardens of Ireland

  • Ireland
  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • HIGHLIGHTS


itinerary Map

Great Gardens of Ireland

Nine Days

This tailor-made journey takes travellers from Dublin through County Wicklow, the undisputed “garden of Ireland”, and west across the country to Co. Clare where it concludes at a beautiful castle hotel.

Discover stunning public and private gardens; some world-renowned and requiring little introduction, and some considered hidden gems by those in the know – truly exclusive experiences. 

Garden gates will magically open for you with tours led by the owners and gardeners who have created horticultural havens. It is a trip that is sure to indulge the senses whilst delighting, educating and inspiring all outdoors enthusiasts.

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ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS



Day One: Arrival, Ireland

Day Two: Dublin – History & Heritage

Day Three: Gardens of Co. Wicklow – Part I

Day Four: Dublin Delights

Day Five: Gardens of Co. Wicklow – Part II

Day Six: East to West

Day Seven: County Clare

Day Eight: Castle Finale

Day Nine: Departure

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Day One: Arrival, Ireland

Enjoy VIP meet and greet services at Dublin Airport before a chauffeur takes you into the city. Set on Ireland’s east coast, Dublin is an essential stop for any visitor to the Emerald Isle and is regarded as one of the liveliest and most atmospheric cities in Europe.

Your accommodation for five nights is considered the finest hotel in Dublin; its understated listed Georgian exterior gives no indication of the sumptuous, graceful elegance inside. The hotel is privileged to have two period gardens designed by Jim Reynolds, the noted Irish landscape artist. Both gardens re-create the feel of the 18th century, with box hedges, water features, pathways to stroll along and statuary to admire.

If the sun is shining, perhaps enjoy an al fresco lunch or drinks in the gardens. Colourful blooms and fragrant planting surround the canopied tables.

 

Day Two: Dublin - History & Heritage

Two special visits are arranged today.

Begin with a visit to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. Here, step through several themed galleries with a private tour guide who will give you a unique insight into the compelling story of how Irish emigrants and their descendants helped to influence and shape the world.

To follow, a privately reserved in-house guide will take you on a tour of the award-winning GPO Witness History visitor centre. On Easter Monday 1916, a band of rebels stormed the General Post Office building, seizing control and making it their headquarters during the fierce fighting of Easter Week. The Easter Rising set into motion a chain of events which would ultimately lead to the creation of the Irish Republic.

 

 

Day Three: Gardens of Co. Wicklow - Part I

Travel south of Dublin to County Wicklow, the “Garden of Ireland”. Today, two private owner-led guided tours are arranged. Brother and sister Jimi and June Blake are both proud owners of highly acclaimed gardens, situated just minutes from one another.

Begin with a privately guided tour at Hunting Brook Gardens. Created by Jimi Blake, a fresh approach and new ideas have resulted in a captivating contemporary garden. Surrounding his modest timber home are the fiercely colourful and theatrical large-scale planting combinations for which Jimi is renowned.

This afternoon a special visit to June Blake’s Garden is arranged with a privately guided tour from June herself. June’s keen attention to detail and deep appreciation of colour and form is clear for all to see in her refreshingly modern country garden. Spread over three acres, and wrapping around June’s beautiful Victorian cottage, the gardens are a joy to behold, from the intricately planted borders to the flower meadow.

Day Four: Dublin Delights

Enjoy a privately guided tour of the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. Founded in 1795, they are Ireland’s foremost centre of botany and horticulture.

Highlights include the restored glasshouses, in particular the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House which are recipients of the Europa Nostra award for excellence in conservation architecture. The gardens are also home to hundreds of endangered plant species, including six that are already extinct in the wild.

Later, a private visit is arranged to The Dillon Garden created by Helen Dillon, one of Ireland’s best known gardeners. Her garden at her previous home was widely acclaimed; however, she has started anew at this seaside property with resounding success. During your visit, a private gardening masterclass with Helen can also be arranged.

Day Five: Gardens of Co. Wicklow - Part II

Spend another day in Co. Wicklow. Begin at Powerscourt. It is a grand garden without question; a magnificent combination of the aristocratic themes of French and Italian formal gardening. Complete with ornamental lakes, splendid statuary and herbaceous borders, the gardens create a stunning setting for the shell of Sir Richard Castle’s imposing Palladian mansion.

Later, make the short drive to see Powerscourt Waterfall. It is the highest waterfall in Ireland and a truly impressive sight.

Next, a privately guided tour of Mount Usher Gardens is arranged. Dating back to 1860 it is home to a collection of some 5000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants which have been introduced from all parts of the globe. The gardens have been laid out in an informal design inspired by celebrated gardener and journalist William Robinson, who rallied against the formality of Victorian gardens.

 

 

 

Day Six: East to West

In County Kildare, enjoy a privately guided tour of the Irish National Stud which is home to equine royalty and is the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry.

As part of the tour, explore the Stud’s impressive gardens. Comprising of maple, sacred bamboo, magnolia, and bonsai, the Japanese Gardens were laid out by a Japanese father and son team to symbolise the Life of Man, resulting in a serene combination of Eastern and Western cultures.

St. Fiachra’s Garden commemorates St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners. The design intends to pay tribute to the beauty of the Irish landscape and to capture what inspires those involved in Ireland’s monastic movement in the 6th and 7th centuries.

From here, continue further west to your accommodation. It is idyllically situated overlooking the unique Burren landscape and is an oasis of comfort and genuine Irish hospitality. Antiques, modern art, turf fires, candlelight and garden flowers add to the indulgently relaxing atmosphere.

Day Seven: County Clare

By special appointment, explore Caher Bridge Garden with a guided tour. This award-winning garden nestles in the heart of the Burren, based around a restored riverside cottage, and has an established sense of maturity and is full of unusual plants.

Later, a local guide will take you on a walk on the Burren. This karst landscape is full of wonder and other-worldly beauty.

This limestone plateau resembles a lunar landscape and is made up of an extraordinarily rich geological, botanical and archaeological heritage. It is home to 1,100 of the 1,400 plant species known to exist in Ireland. By strange coincidence of geology and climate, the Burren is the only place on earth where Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean flowers grow side-by-side in perfect harmony.

 

Day Eight: The Castle Finale

Travel south to Kilrush, then follow a winding road with an avenue of trees arching over your head to reach an inspiring garden set amongst 420 acres of native woodland. Fine stone walls provide shelter for unusual and tender plants that thrive in the microclimate.

Travel to your final accommodation which is one of the finest hotels in Ireland. The beautiful 16th century castle was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic royalty, the O’Brien clan, who were direct descendants of legendary Irish King Brian Boru.

Set on 450 acres of parkland, the sprawling Estate has much to offer. A guided tour of the gardens with Dromoland Castle’s Head Gardener completes the day. They are based on designs by Andre Le Notre, who also planned the gardens at Versailles, include a formal rose garden and a lily pond dating from 1812. Deer, pheasant and other wildlife roam the grounds surrounding the Castle, creating a natural ambience.

 

Day Nine: Departure

A chauffeur will provide a transfer to Shannon Airport for your departure flight.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

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THINGS TO DO

JAPANESE GARDENS

Are world-renowned; they were laid out by a Japanese father and son team to symbolise the Life of Man. St. Fiachra’s Garden commemorates St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners.

EPIC, THE IRISH EMIGRATION MUSEUM

Step through several themed galleries with a private tour guide who will give you a unique insight into the compelling story of how Irish emigrants and their descendants helped to influence and shape the world. Hear stories of triumph and tragedy, great success and even greater loss. Learn how emigration helped shape the destiny of a nation and leave with a deeper understanding of Irish people and culture. The museum is incredibly interactive, making it fun and engaging for every member of the family. Without question, it will provide a great introduction to the people of Ireland.

 

NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS, DUBLIN

National Botanic Gardens in Dublin were founded in 1795, they are Ireland’s foremost centre of botany and horticulture. Highlights include the restored glasshouses, in particular the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House which are recipients of the Europa Nostra award for excellence in conservation architecture. The gardens are also home to hundreds of endangered plant species, including six that are already extinct in the wild.

MOUNT USHER GARDENS

Mount Usher Gardens dates from 1860.  It is home to a collection of 5,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants which have been introduced from all parts of the globe. It is without a doubt one of Ireland’s prettiest gardens and has been described as a plant-lovers’ paradise.

THE IRISH NATIONAL STUD

The beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry. HM, Queen Elizabeth II took a tour here as recently as 2011. Her fascination is understandable, as the farm and its stock were gifted to the Crown in 1917.

POWERSCOURT HOUSE AND GARDENS

Powerscourt is situated at the foot of Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. It is a ‘Grand Garden’ without question; a magnificent combination of the aristocratic themes of French and Italian formal gardening. It is possibly the finest garden in Ireland and was recently voted Number Three of the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic.

PLACES VISITED

DUBLIN

Dublin is steeped in history, with Viking, medieval and Georgian influences all having left their marks. Since the time of the Vikings, Dublin has been the principal gateway to the Emerald Isle. The medieval city, with its intimate knots of small alleys and broad streets south of the river, was developed in Norman times around St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, and later came to symbolise British rule in Ireland. The 18th century was the “Age of Elegance”, a time of relative prosperity when the Irish gentry set about remodelling the city into one of elegance, replete with graceful terraces, wrought-iron balconies and fanlight doorways. The city became Ireland’s capital with the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1937, and today is regarded as one of the liveliest and most atmospheric in Europe.

THE BURREN

The Burren is truly is a special place full of wonder, beauty and discovery. It is a karst landscape made up of an extraordinarily rich geological, botanical and archaeological heritage with parts of the region classed as a National Park. This limestone plateau resembles a lunar landscape; in the spring and summer months, great colour abounds against the stark landscape. Ruined forts and castles and numerous prehistoric sites dot the landscape; the region has been aptly described as ‘one vast memorial to bygone cultures’.

COUNTY WICKLOW

South of Dublin is County Wicklow, the “Garden of Ireland” home to many of Ireland’s great gardens and Wicklow Mountains National Park.

COUNTY KILDARE

County Kildare is west of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The central Curragh plain is horse-breeding territory. Here, the Irish National Stud farm is known for its Horse Museum and Japanese Gardens. Nearby, Curragh Racecourse holds regular events. Kildare town is home to St. Brigid’s Cathedral, with a 12th-century round tower that offers panoramic views.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

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