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kilkenny Castle Rose Garden & Park

On Monday the 26th October 2009 I went to visit Kilkenny Castle Rose Park & Gardens. I went under the recommendation of my good friend Pat Fitzgerald.

As I walked up towards the castle I was bemused at the amount of brand spanking smooth polished granite that adorned such a vast are[n]a, complete with mirror polished steel against this ancient backdrop of the beautiful castle…. who on Gods earth decided on this…? such a shame. And to those who did this… you should be ashamed.

That out of my system. It was the gardens I went to see.Admission is free. The grounds are very well maintained.The sight of new tree planting schemes is to be applauded and admired. I really do love this park… The hills of grass so high in parts that one couldn’t see over the far side. The wooded areas were left with stacks of wood [brilliant for wildlife]underneath the canopy of wooded leaf areas. The leaves adorned some of the footpaths but not all. There are so many options when walking here… the poem ‘the road less travelled’ really does come to mind. The walkway by the waters edge is superb, so romantic, such a break from the norm…

It really is so very well done.  The grounds staff deserve a standing ovation. I could have stayed here all day….

The bad bit…. the rose garden was closed off. I attempted to sneak in under the advice of two local ladies…. but I got caught and was chucked out 😉 So this now becomes a review of Kilkenny Castle Park…

Go there and visit. Take your time. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Watch out for the such beautiful secluded seating areas. Take your time and enjoy. This is up there with the best of them.

More images of kilkenny castle gardens can be viewed here

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rothe house and gardens, kilkenny

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I had given the Rothe House and gardens a mention before and I had noted it was on my to do list. And I did go. Sunday 25th October 2009.

I wanted to go on the Sunday morning/ afternoon, but unusual for me to assume different, on Sunday it only opens between 3-5pm. I also really [no offence] only wished to visit the gardens.

Their website describes it as an ‘early 17th century Irish urban garden’. But it was the front of one of their brochures that caught my eye….

Rothe Garden Kikenny. Your chance to ‘own’ a piece of a medieval garden

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I was very intrigued… I’ve visited, researched and been awarded for the design and build of a 17th Century Garden… so this was going to be some treat… ?

The South East Ireland gardens guide tells me that it is only €2 to see the gardens and €5 to see the house and gardens. I went to pay in. I was told €5 multiplied by two. I paid. Money [the amount of that is]  aside, if I had known in advace the ‘price structure’ I would have only paid in to see the gardens.

The question then is to the gardens themselves. Are they 17th century….? Are they medieval…? Honestly, not in my opinion. Or shall I rephrase yes there are fruit trees planted and yes there are vegetables growing. Was I impressed to the standard of…? Not really, being honest.

I am not trying to be disrespectful here. I’m not trying to knock the Rothe House trust who I must admit have done amazing work on the house and the displays within the building. It really does deserve applause and admiration. The work on the [re]construction of building internally and externally is superb.

But with regard to the gardens, if I was simply told that there are some gardens attached and it is €2 in to see them…. would I pay it and would I have any complaints…? Not one.

There are positives. I admire the fact that the brail signs are there; that one can have a tree planted in their or a loved ones name. That visitors were simply sitting and enjoying each others company is also a truly wonderful sight; it is very serene and there really are some nice pieces within… That said, the overall design leaves a lot to be considered. [Although] possibly a factor of funding, the gardens are also young and for them to mature and come into their own will take time. On a side note I should also add that the gardens are particularly well maintained.

The point of this weblog is not to be bold in my writing. But whether the entry is €2 or €200 the question is how honest in my appraisal should I be and more importantly would I recommend for you to visit the gardens…. ? Not really.

UPDATE: 15th Dec ’09 The Rothe House responds

there are more photographs here

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Autumn Colour…

Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree, how beautiful would this country look….

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I really do love this time of year.

Last week I was walking down Griffith Avenue and being honest it almost brought me back to my childhood days of not that long ago…
I used to love the leaves on the ground and absolutely hated it when people swept them all up and made the place look tidy. When I saw the piles I was one of those ‘little terrors’ who kicked them all over the place and most likely got an ear clipping for it 😆
Sidetracking slightly, Jane Powers who does the Irish Times garden column, this weekend wrote about the beauty of autumn colour. A great read. Bulaidh bós Jane.
You see, landscaping, well more the trends [?] took a turn for the worst in my opinion over the last few years. Trees, if not all then most definitely the larger members of the family were not allowed. They became surplus to requirement. Some, quarantined them in the high maintenance category. So much so that I find it hard to find [for example] a ‘conker tree’ in North County Dublin…. which is why I went to Griffith Avenue 😉 [I also visited my older brother who lives just off and had some home made chocalate pie and real coffee….]
But its not until, maybe, one sees a tree in its finest splendour through a season that one thinks…. well maybe I would like one of those. And with that in mind tree planting season is almost upon us…. Now is the time to decide that you would like.
Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree how beautiful this country would look. If you don’t plant one…buy one for somebody you like to brighten their day up… then go and admire their one… or rake some leaves up and allow the kids to kick them all over the place…. 😆
As a by the way…. autumn colour is brought about by a build up in sugars from warm temperatures during the day and then a cold night where the sugars are held in the leaf.
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An Apple…. A Day… ?

Some of my apples are starting to fall [not too far be-dum 😉 ] from the trees. And when that starts happening it literally is apple season.

If you don’t have an apple tree… then maybe now is the time to think about planting one… or some, as they [most] will need a partner for pollination. The beauty about apple trees is that there is literally, all things going according to plan, nothing left to do once planted except to wait for the fruit to grow.

To make life very easy for you…

Apple Day is Sunday 27th September in Sonairte Ecology Centre [a little favourite spot of mine] in Laytown, Co. Meath.

According to Sylvia Thompson of The Irish Times

Visitors can take tours of the fruit orchards, learn about planting an orchard and buy native Irish apple trees. Children can also enter apple peeling competitions, apple quizzes or bob for apples

I popped on over to the Sonairte website however… and personally I’m really looking forward to this one 😉

Apple Archery: William Tell, an expert marksman, famously shot an apple off his son’s head – come along and test your own archery skills (no humans involved!)

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coultry park, dublin

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I wouldn’t guess too many know about this park. In fact I’d say very few. I never knew about it up until recently. But I’m glad I did take the time to visit it.

Located in between the new and old Ballymun…. the stark contrast is to be admired. In fact it is to be applauded. Because what I saw was the fact that for the first time in my life a park was built before a building development was finished. The park still has a bit, on the peripherals to go, but its really good. I like it!

What was much more admirable was the little plaques at the base of so many trees. They acknowledged a group or an organisation who donated money and paid for that tree to go into the park.

This is important. Because now a new park is about the people. It tells a story. It has a reason and a meaning, personal to those who will frequent it.

Ballymun regeneration, the people who live there and Dublin City Council for so many reasons will have got this park spot on when it’s fully complete in so many ways.

I’m gonna give this park 3/5 – only because it’s got a bit of finshing to go. That said I would strongly recommend you go here. Visit it. Take your time. Sit on a grass mound and let life pass you by.

What I found most unusual about this place when I went there…. There was about 12 teenagers sitting around talking and 3 kids with their parents in the playground. Not an inch of litter to be seen. Some people associate parks with an older age group… Nice to see re-generation getting a double meaning. 😉

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