Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow
Altamont Gardens off the Bunclody Road in Tullow, Carlow is a must visit for garden and nature lovers alike.
We first visited the gardens in February 2016 as part of Snowdrop Week. This event usually takes place each year around the second week in February. Needless to say we fell in love at first sight.
The photos in this article are from that day. In fact this article first appeared on The Life of Stuff in March 2016. But as time has passed and we’ve revisited Altamont Gardens over the years I’ve updated the original article and included some images from The Life of Stuff Instagram account too.
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Introducing Altamont Gardens
You are welcomed to the gardens by a beautiful old manor house, that although is in need of some repair easily jigs your imagination to transport you back to how majestic it once was. We chose a fabulous day to visit as you will see from my photos below. Blue skies and sunshine, but also that lovely crisp bite in the air that February brings with it.
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For over 50 years the gardens were in the care and cared for by Corona North (what an amazing name). She did a brilliant job creating what some believe to be ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’ (Carlow tourism) and when she sadly passed away in 1999 she handed the gardens to the state, who are thankfully keeping her legacy alive.
What to Expect at the Gardens
Open all year round with free entrance (guided tours are €3 per adult), Altamont Gardens which is over 40 acres in size, is made up of manicured and natural gardens, new and mature trees, a lake, garden and river walks. As well as flowers, plants and lots of country wildlife.
There is a Garden Shop ‘Plant Sales’ on site with a wide and varied selection of flowers, plants and trees. And a seasonal café that sells scrumptious homemade soup, drinks and treats. If you decide to bring your own picnic, there are outdoor picnic tables, toilets and lots of parking. And if like us in the recent past, you have the need for a pram, most of the gardens are child, pram and wheelchair friendly.
Old stone walls and sign posts lead the way to the Walled Garden and Plant Sales.
Even the Garden Shop ‘Plant Sales’ is picturesque and photo worthy. Visiting in spring only entices one to look forward to returning for supplies for your own garden. And to see what Summer has to offer.
The Café is part of the ‘Forge’ family, a restaurant not too far from Altamont Gardens.
There is seating somewhat indoors, with blankets offered to cover your legs if you need to cuddle up. On this day we chose to sit outdoors as it was such a gorgeous day.
My goodness the soup was delicious. Vegetable with almond flakes and soda bread croutons. Nom!
Of course we found lots of snowdrops throughout the gardens. They are such pretty and strong little things. Winter weather doesn’t frighten them off easily. Oh and I’m happy to report that I returned home to find a little family of them at the bottom of my own garden, so the plan for coming years is to grow more.
Perfect for Nature Lovers
The back of the beautiful manor house. What’s that perched on the windowsill?
Our new friend Mr Peacock made an appearance. We had hoped he’d fan his feathers but he just looked our way and then posed his elegant self for a close-up.
We love the way the gardens have signs to tell you the names of the different tree and plant species. Especially helpful when you’re trying to educate yourself along with your inquisitive littles.
The lake on this day in February was half-frozen but it didn’t deter the ducks who happily swam about.
Still reflections of the different shades of green are inspiring.
Garden, Lake & River Walks
We didn’t take the River Slaney Walk the day we visited but now that we are pram free it’s definitely on the cards for when we return. There are hundreds of steps to this walk so not suitable for a pram or wheelchair, but I’ve been advised it’s worth the effort.
The main path and walkways through the gardens and around the lake are full of wonder. And especially lovely when they create imaginative tree tunnels like this one.
What a view! I actually pictured myself as Lady of the Manor before I took this photograph. The only thing I was missing was an iced drink and a parasol.
Old pillared garden gates and ancient trees, you can’t get better than that.
We took a walk up to this pillared getaway because we were told you can see three counties from this spot. The grassy path could have taken us much further but we decided we’d leave that adventure for our next visit. What a view though! Blue skies, green fields, woodlands and snow capped mountains. The refreshing feeling your body needs and your soul seeks.
For more information on Altamont Gardens visit carlowtourism.com
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