Irish houses and gardens

As is standard across most of Europe there were plenty of grand old houses with accompanying gardens to explore in Ireland.

Kylemore Abbey
Built in 1860s with Manchester cotton money, now a Benedictine convent, Kylemore Abbey is a beautifully situated and designed house in Connemara, west of Galway.

The abbey has one of the most impressive Victorian walled gardens I’ve visited, which at it’s peak in the late 1800s had 40 full time gardeners. Understandable when you see the scale of the gardens, and the remains of it’s 21 greenhouses for growing bananas, peaches, melons, nectarines, and palm trees.

Muckross House
A Victorian mansion built in Elizabethan style, Muckross House has free grounds to wander around, enjoying the setting on Lough Leane in Killarney National Park. I rather liked their greenhouse.

National Botanic Gardens
Home to the best greenhouses I saw in Ireland, wonderful Victorian beauties filled with cacti, palms, succulents, carnivorous plants and more. Free entry and next to the huge and fascinating Glasnevin cemetery a few kms from the city centre.

Powerscourt
One of the grandest Palladian mansions in Ireland built in the early 18th century, Powerscourt is home to world renowned gardens developed in the mid 19th century. The rain didn’t help but they were enjoyable if not as spectacular as expected.

Belvedere House
Built in the 1740s Belvedere House was built as a hunting lodge so is on a more modest scale than usual. There’s not much to see inside but the gardens are pleasant, and it has an interesting history. Robert Rochfort, the first Earl of Belvedere, falsely accused his wife of adultery with his brother, imprisoning her in a nearby house for 31 years, and sending his brother to a debtors prison. When his older brother built a larger mansion up the road Robert had one of the largest follies in the country built, specifically to block the view.

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