Blooming marvellous fare on offer at historic houses in Waterford

At the launch of Waterford Garden Trail in Lismore Castle Gardens. Picture: Mary Brown

Over a dozen historic houses and gardens will open their doors and gates this month to host exhibitions of paintings and photos, poetry readings, lectures, and tours.

The programme for this year’s Waterford Garden Trail shows the efforts owners and gardeners make to reveal their lovingly-tended outdoor spaces.

The jewel in this year’s crown is set to be the seven-acre gardens at Lismore Castle, where head gardener Darren Topps and his team have replanted large sections in the heart of the heritage town and are preparing for a bumper year.

Garden festival spokeswoman Kristin Jameson said that while the weather has been unseasonably wet and cold, the gardens have never looked better.

“We’re delighted to offer something for absolutely everyone this year, be they an established gardener with a keen interest in the history of this stunning region, or someone who wants to pick up a few tips on plants,” said Ms Jameson

She said the trail includes some of the most stunning natural landscape in all of Ireland, featuring everything from historic gardens to a garden centre and smaller garden attractions to a community garden.

“We’re delighted to be facing into another busy season ahead and would encourage groups or individuals to come visit us and see for themselves the diversity of gardens right on our doorstep here in Waterford,” said Ms Jameson.

The 2016 programme starts on April 30 with three events running at different times at three top gardens on the trail. The day opens with a photographic competition and amateur photographer’s workshop at Tourin, the ancestral home of the Jameson whiskey family, with professional garden photographer, Bernard Van Geissen.

That afternoon, Dromana hosts “Grand Designs — Houses, Gardens and Landscapes of the Blackwater Valley”, which will be addressed by David Edwards, senior lecturer at the School of History in UCC, as well as Finola O’Kane Crimmins, senior lecturer at the School of Architecture in UCD.

That evening, Lismore Castle hosts a talk with award-winning garden designer, landscape designer, journalist and TV presenter, Dan Pearson.


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