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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

At Your Service, 2013. RTE. CASA Garden.

rte at your service, garden 2013

Updated: 27 Dec 2013

pictured above [L-R]: John Brennan, Peter Donegan, Mark O’Loughlin, Amy Cooney, Francis Brennan and Séan Keoghan. Not pictured (and very much missing) Séan and Francis Redmond.

peter donegan garden

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Landscaping: Swords, Co. Dublin

donegan landscaping

It is an absolute wonderful feeling when I…. and yup I’ve said something along these lines many times before I’m sure…. have a picture in my head of how something will turn out horticulturally, of the future. And then you, I in this case, buy a De Lorean get to the future and it looks even better.

Is that a bit like baking a cake ? I dunno. Maybe it’s just that these babies, the trees that is, aren’t really one of them that you find sitting on the shelf at your local garden centre superstore. In context, to say I was over precious about these 35 cm girth absolute stunners, is an understatement.

donegan landscaping

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Caher Bridge Garden, Clare.

caher bridge garden (6)

I was in the beautiful County of Clare for work reasons about 6 weeks ago. And via introduction through the very lovely Maureen of Clare Tourism, one of the double whammy’s of my working stay there was my meeting with Carl Wright and my visit to the absolute wonderland he has created that is Caher Bridge Garden.

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Garden Group Tour: Battle Of The Boyne Site

Date: Sunday 27th June

Time: 11.30 am on location.

Details: Aisling Mc Mahon of the OPW & Site Manager for The Battle of the Boyne site [Drogheda] will give a personal guided tour to the group.

Numbers: limited to 18

Also: [update] this post on the boyne site

New To The Garden Group:

I recommend you read the garden group guide. The two previous trips were to Irelands Eye and the war memorial park. Dena Williams and her family The Garden Group was also featured in the Mail On Sunday recently.

Our Tour will include:

The Walled Garden and Tea Room 2008, this part is the only part that is fully open to the public at the moment. The layout of which is as per the 1808 and later OS maps.

However, by special arrangement, we have permission from the contractors who are currently on site restoring the outer walls, to access their site, subject to certain limits as there are health and safety concerns. We will also see the Octgaon which the group will be able to see pre- restoration.

And… On the day they visit we will also have living history displays taking place for free on the front lawn with people in period costumes firing muskets with gunpowder and doing cavlary displays.

Please Note:

  • There will be no charge for the tour of the gardens.
  • Anyone planning on bringing children should know that they must be supervised by a parent/ guardian at all times.
  • We are not booked into the centre for a tour but can go in afterwards by buying a ticket and self guide. There are also numerous walks throughout the battle site and Oldbridge Estate that are self guiding and there are directional panels at various locations or one can pick up a free map from reception.
  • There is also a Tea Room located in the Walled Garden.
  • See website for further info www.battleoftheboyne.opw.ie

Garden Group-ees

  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: see below. not a problem 😉
  • Other: the train/ nor bus stops here. My suggestion is car pooling from Dublin City or Swords meeting point. Most of you know each other. Most people drive anyway. If you are stuck leave a comment it will be easily solved. 
  • Dress Code: advised to wear suitable footwear as all the walks are on grass, except the Boyne Canal towpath which adjoins the site and is surfaced with gravel.
  • Duration: I conferred Aisling and 2.5 hours should see you well
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call. 
  • Directions: The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre is located on the South bank of the River Boyne, 3km north of Donore Village.  The site is sign-posted from the  M1 (Dublin/Belfast), Exit 9, off N51 (Slane/Drogheda), Not Suitable for Coaches, and off N2 (Slane/Ashbourne). Also see google maps

Contact Me:

Note of thanks: to Nic Reilly for putting me in touch and to Aisling McMahon for taking my call and arranging this for us.

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