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Tullynally Castle Gardens

tullynally castle

This [singular] post could never do Tullynally gardens its deserved justice. For that reason and thank God I remembered to bring my microphone, my journey through the wonderland of a garden airs this Friday 17th August on Dublin’s garden radio show and podcast.

Tullynally Gardens without question is one the finest little gems I have ever managed to stumble across. They are big, larger and vast. In context, though the return journey was shorter, it took me over 2.5 hours to walk to the lower lake at the foot of the gardens.

As I walked out of the tea rooms through to the formal lawns I began to think; How many people do you know can say they’ve planted a tree. Go one better and try say that about your Great Grand Parents, going back 400 years and that that tree still exists today, within the family garden, in the family home, that is still within the same family. Pretty special when you think about it.

And it’s not until you read the so very well written Tullynally Tree Trail leaflet, that you get just a taster of how personal the history and stories of this estate are. Being honest and knowing my trees I didn’t read it until I got home. In hindsight, a bit of a shame on my behalf.

The prior to known Packenham Hall gardens comes with an entrance fee of €6 and it is worth every single penny. Trust me, you will thank me for putting your hands in your pockets. I should also note that at the time of my visit the owners were in the process of filling the post of head gardener, just in case you spot the odd hair out of place. Truth be told gale force winds couldn’t put me off going back there again.

As to whether I could take influence from the gardens, from a design replication perspective the answer for me is a firm no. But then me and 17th and 18th Century gardens have history together and replication is not inspiration, though the hints of red throughout did make me think of many other gardens… That said, the feel of the grounds and all of its many varying facets is something extremely special and you simply cannot buy feeling on paper in garden design. For me it either comes from the heart, or it doesn’t. No matter how small a space you may have as yours outside, we all may do very well to take even one part of a leaf from the eons of thought that lies within the estate.

Of note and deserved applause were the visible updates to the gardens. Badly done, that they stood out as newer elements within the estate ? No. All gardens need to be added to [and equally subtracted] and it is here that I really did pay attention. To Thomas Packenhams credit, the new-er, additions by way of the Primula florendae in particular, openings within walkways and some structures were not all or always that obvious, even to my eye.

My recommendations if you go there: pay attention to the opening times as per the website. Go to the very beautiful tea rooms. They are ever so lovely as are Shirley and John who run them. My cake choice took me some time. Take your time. I could have stayed there all day. Take the path less travelled. Be inspired. Read poetry to a loved one. The audio may paint a better picture.

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