Delta Sensory Gardens
Delta Sensory Gardens are an oasis of peace and tranquillity 3 minutes from Talbot Hotel Carlow, with sixteen interconnecting gardens set on 2.5 acres close to Carlow Town. The gardens have seen a huge growth in popularity with increasing visitor numbers from the general public, various groups and national and international visitors. The Sensory Gardens are highly acclaimed and have received many awards over the years. The gardens are suitable for visitors of all abilities and age groups with amazing water features that will take your breath away. Advance bookings advisable for groups. The garden centre stocks a range of shrubs, perennials and seasonal plants. Qualified horticulturalists are on hand to give friendly advice or tips on gardening needs. The centre also specialises in filling pots, containers and baskets with colourful seasonal bedding. A small gift shop offering beautiful handcrafted goods that are original and affordable. Delta Centre host many well established very popular events throughout the year at Easter, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. Delta Centre is also offering a hanging basket service; customers can ring in an order for hanging baskets and collect by arrangement.
An Gairdin Beo
An Gairdín Beo is a two-acre community garden in the centre of Carlow Town where people work together and then reap the rewards together. The overall vision of the project is of a space in which diverse people can connect more to nature, to the growing and making of food and to each other. The ethos of the garden is based on an ecological orientation, on valuing diversity, sustainability and indigenous species.
Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven
Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven is a ten-acre site, family-run business, hailed as a complete shopping experience – in addition to the five-star garden centre visitors will find beautiful interior furnishings, quirky gift ideas, Weber barbecues and accessories, ladies’ fashion, Regatta outdoor wear, kitchenware, and the award-winning Rachel’s Garden Café. Edinburgh Woollen Mills and Adman Sheds complement the offering. It’s possible to devote an entire day to visiting Arboretum because in addition to the retail area and the café, there are the Inspirational Gardens to be explored, an excellent children’s playground and a maze adjacent to the restaurant’s outdoor seating area.
Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres (16 hectares). Lawns bisected by sculpted yews, slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees. A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney. “Every visitor says it has a special atmosphere, that’s why so many people come back. Every element you want from a great garden is here, from lovely lawns, floral beds and beautiful woodland going down to the river, to a walled garden and really superb collections, such as the snowdrops, rhododendrons and the fabulous oaks in the Arboretum” – Paul Cutler, head gardener at Altamont Gardens.
St. Mullins Heritage Centre
The former Church of Ireland Church, originally built in 1811, now houses the St. Mullins Heritage Centre, situated beside the famous monastic ruins and cemetery. St. Mullins Heritage Centre offers all aspects of local history including publications, church records, maps, old photographs and artefacts are housed here and provide a fascinating account of the village and rural life over the centuries. St. Mullins Heritage Centre exhibition presents 11 different storylines including Pattern Sunday, St. Moling, 1798, the River Barrow and the flour milling connection. Guided tours by appointment.
Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 20,000 acre (8,093 hectares) estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens and Pleasure Grounds form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country and a castle in Ireland to visit. This part Cobden designed building is structurally intact and accessible to the public. Its precincts have been the subject of at least two international film sets and the site is a continuous mecca for paranormal groups. The revival of two old walled gardens has been completed by Carlow County Council, the old paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. Stylistically the new planting schemes echo the past yet reflect changing fashions, utilising plants and planting patterns that may have evolved over time.
Borris House, the ancestral home of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs, Kings of Leinster, is one of the few Irish estates that can trace its history back to the Royal families of ancient Ireland and the tour covers all aspects of the history of the house, from the original fifteenth-century castle, through its many subsequent changes and alterations, right up to the present day. There are so many things to admire on the tour from the beauty of the Stapleton ceilings to the unique Chapel of St. Moling, as well as a room by room description of the exceptional architecture, antique furniture, porcelain and paintings on display.
A small selection of the Borris Lace can also be viewed. Venue for the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas June 10th – 12th. Facilities include car park, craft store, toilets, film, children’s trails and woodland walks. In the recently restored Granary visitors can watch a film on the history of the McMorrough Kavanaghs and Borris House, walk around the Lace Garden, visit the restored Victorian laundry, and enjoy the Woodland Walk along the Mountain Stream.
Huntington Castles & Gardens
Huntington Castle, voted one of Ireland’s top 20 Hidden Gems by The Guardian is set in over 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. The castle features a fascinating guided tour which explains its 17th century history. The tour also features the world famous Temple of Goddess located in the old castle dungeons. The castle offers a fabulous woodland playground, as well as a charming tearoom and gift shop. The gardens are well worth a visit in their own right and were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Esmondes who built Huntington Castle in 1625. They include the French limes on the avenue as well as the formal lawns to the side of the house, fish ponds on either side of the centre walk and the yew tree walk. Facilities include a children’s adventure playground, coach and car park, guided castle tours, refurbished tea room, gift shop, toilets, woodland walks and rose gardens. Wheelchair access is limited to certain areas of the gardens only.