Kilmacurragh Gardens in Co Wicklow are a treat to walk around. If you can, April is a great time to visit, with Rhododendron Week usually the first week of the month. This year, 2022, Rhododendron Week at Kilmacurragh Gardens is from April 2-10.

Did you know that Kilmacurragh Gardens is part of the OPW’s National Botanic Gardens, with its big sister in Glasnevin!

We’ve been lucky enough to walk through this riot of colour two years running. Located on the grounds of an 18th Century country estate, you can walk amongst trees planted 200 years ago. The yew walk dates from a pilgrims’ route from the original abbey at Kilmacurragh to nearby Glendalough.

Heritage garden

kilmacurragh gardens

The Actons laid out the Broad Walk in the 1750s. It consists of alternating yew trees and rhododendrons

This is a heritage garden, ranging from old oaks to young monkey puzzle trees. Herbaceous borders, wildflower meadows, snowdrops and crocuses in season – what’s not to love?

The 52 acres of gardens and estate have an interesting history, from the late 1600s and right up through Famine times. The Acton family’s 300-year-old Queen Anne-style house is well derelict now. This is a huge pity considering their rich history and contribution to our natural heritage. The five-bay mansion was built by Sir Thomas Acton and designed by renowned architect Sir William Robinson.

Rich history of exploration

The Actons and subsequent families lived in an era of botanical exploration. The gardens were used to experiment with trees and rhododendrons, brought back from trips abroad. This is an example of Ireland’s Ancient East – thousands of years of history unfold before you. For instance, a hermitage was built here in the seventh century, surviving until the early 16th Century. To find out more, book a free guided tour. These take place at 12 noon and 3pm every day from mid-March to mid-October.

There are no long 5km walks here! But, you can have a mindful dawdle, surrounded by nature, listening to birdsong. Indeed, this would be a tribute to those whose curiosity lays before you a colourful panorama, centuries later.

Interesting fact:

Thomas Acton’s son, William Acton (1711-1779), married Jane Parsons of Birr Castle in 1736. She went on to have thousands of trees planted in the demesne of Kilmacurragh.

Rhododendron Week occurs each April

Facilities: Wheelchair accessible (mostly), coffee shop, public toilets, space for picnics on grass, guided tours, parking

Email [email protected] or call 0404 48844 to book a tour.

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