Cream teas and garden tours at Lismore Castle’s Devonshire Day

Denis Nevin serves Devonshire Day tea. Picture: Patrick Browne

The annual tradition of taking Devonshire cream tea in one of the country’s most renowned castles resumes in the month ahead when guests will have a chance to enjoy afternoon tea and tour award-winning gardens.

This year’s Devonshire Day takes place at Lismore Castle on Sunday, March 25, surrounded by the landmark’s spring gardens.

The event has become a perennial at the castle, with guests served Devonshire cream tea in the Pugin Room under the guidance of the duke of Devonshire’s butler, Denis Nevin, and also given a guided tour of the gardens by the head gardener.

The fundraiser is organised by the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing committee. The festival, in its 15th year, takes place in Lismore from March 13 to 17. The use of the castle and gardens for the fundraiser is by permission of the owner of Lismore Castle, the duke of Devonshire.

Tea and tours take place on March 25 at 11.30am, 12.40pm, 1.50pm, 3pm and 4.10pm and entrance is by ticket only, available from the Immrama office and Lismore Heritage Centre at €25 each. The Lower Garden at Lismore Castle was formerly known as the Pleasure Grounds and a number of camellia, rhododendron, and magnolias can be found here.

There has been extensive planting over the last number of years and the gardens are being constantly refined and improved.

The walls surrounding the garden date from the early 18th century and have been planted with roses such as Francis E, Lester, Bobbie James, and Rambling Rector among others.

The Lower Garden also boasts sculptures by well-known artists Eilis O’Connell, Anthony Gormley and Marzia Colonna.

The Upper Garden is one of the few Jacobean gardens to survive in anything like its original form. The first Earl of Cork, helped by his gardener, built a high surrounding wall and a raised terrace, terminated at either end by turrets.

The Central Walk, which is between the herbaceous borders, is backed by yew hedges and was laid in dramatic alignment on the Pain spire of the Anglican Cathedral. The hedges provide a suitable background for the herbaceous borders.


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