places i visited

West Cork Secret, Kilbrittain

peter donegan, finbarr omahony, west cork secret

Pictured above: Finbarr O’Mahoney of West Cork Secret and Peter Donegan.

They say:

The West Cork Secret is a magical hideaway, loved by all who discover it. It couples the serenity of beautifully landscaped gardens with the shrieks of excitement from the obstacle course. The perfect place for a family outing…..

I say:

If you get a chance to go there, do so. And if you can make it happen, try to get a group together so that you can stay and camp there. The grounds are stunning, extremely well thought out and is to this day a work in progress – Finbarr is constantly trying to add something – set within 35 acres and surrounded by the finest views. Daytime was nothing but the sounds of young and old enjoying all it has to offer and if I could live forever in one piece of Ireland’s landscape, this pretty much has all that I could ever want.

The video and images below explain it much better…..

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The Formal Gardens at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin

formal gardens, royal hospital kilmainham

In my time I have spent 6 plus years researching, designing and building 17th Century Gardens and 18th Century that I have won awards for the design and build of. The signatured papers sit framed upon my office walls as a fine reminder, alongside just some of the other gardens I have made.

And though I know I say it often enough, I am honoured that what I love doing is also what I do as my work; if I might call it that. A little like, or the opposite of, an anatidaephobiac running very fast away from a trip to Disneyland, I just can’t seem to help myself when it comes to the great outdoors. On a more serious note, this Sunday past, I was at The Formal Gardens at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin; which is also home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. I visit both regularly.

Further images below of both The Formal Gardens at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

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The Apple Farm, Tipperary

peter donegan, con traas

Pictured above Peter Donegan with Con Traas of The Apple Farm.

Located between Clonmel and Cahir just off the N24 lies The Apple Farm of Tipperary, is a 60 plus variety 35 acre apple orchard that also grows some plums, pears and other soft fruits.

A little drive down the avenue however and you will find yourself parked outside The Apple Farm Shop that only sells it own on site made produce, made solely from its very on site grown produce. This shed as a by the way also doubles up as the booking office for The Apple Camping and Caravan Park that Con’s parents set up in 1982.

Last week I took some time away from horticulture [?] and decided to spend 4 nights camping there. And without question and by a very long country mile The Apple Farm is one the top spots I have ever had the honour to pay money to and stay in.

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Blarney Castle and Gardens, Cork

peter donegan, adam whitbourn, paul osullivan,

Pictured above Peter Donegan [Donegan Landscaping] with Adam Whitbourn [Head Gardener] and Paul O’Sullivan [Media and Advertising Manager] at Blarney Castle and Gardens.

I had met Adam Whitbourn some time ago at Clare Garden Festival where I was speaking earlier this year and whilst our paths had crossed since, last week I decided to make the journey to Cork and was honoured that Paul and Adam, two real gents I should add, both made themselves available to personally guide me through the estate.

We met up last Thursday. I was on my holidays. In Tipperary. Camping. In Con Traas’s Apple Farm. Because where else did you expect this horticulturist to go on vocation vacation. I’ll get to that later…

My passion for plants aside, something really very good has happened at Blarney Castle and Gardens and a day spent there is something that I can not recommend highly enough. The grounds are quite easily nothing short of stunning, majestic, genius, quite brilliant and a fine example of just how it should be done.

In the disclaimer department, I didn’t have to pay through the gate. That was as it usually is with me and gardens, just a quick phone call.

For you who maybe haven’t visited since your school trip when you were 12 years old or, to you who are thinking of coming from abroad, you should go. You will thank me for it. And when you do, the following and the images below might just make your time there that little bit sweeter. Read more

Trees: Phoenix Park, Dublin

phoenix park trees (5)

Measuring 707 hectares, Páirc an Fhionnuisce better known as The Phoenix Park is Europes largest walled park and to even attempt to cover it with just a wee handful of  photographs simply would not be possible.

And though it has been some time since I noted a park on this landscaping blog, I was there of recent with family having cake and goofing around with a frisbee by my favourite spot at present just by The Visitor Centre where the so very well kept walled garden, the café and the play ground resides. Read more