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Expert: Sophie Piebenga Sophie Piebenga

Hortus: South West Ireland

In this Emerald Isle, the further west one ventures, the more the romantic wonder of the gardens intensifies. Gardens incorporating views of rugged coast lines with overwhelming peace and beauty. Gardens with verdant groves of almost unrecognisable plants that are thriving beyond the dreams that we may hold for the same species in our own patches. We visit the garden of plants-woman Hester Forde, the lush gardens of Derreen, the Italianate Gardens of Bantry House and Harold Peto’s Ilnacullin, as well a very exclusive garden in Kenmare Bay. Staying one night in the renown Ballymaloe Hotel before pushing further west to Parknasilla Hotel on the shores of Kenmare Bay.

Your Tour Includes

  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Cork
  • 1 night's bed and breakfast in the 4-star Ballymaloe House Hotel, Cork
  • 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4-star Parknasilla Hotel, Kerr
  • 4 evening meals with wine and 3 lunches
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Tour Leader and Hosts
  • Detailed programme and garden notes
Experts
Sophie Piebenga

Sophie Piebenga

Trained with the National Trust and qualified at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Whilst working as head gardener of a private estate, she developed a particular interest in the conservation of historic gardens. This eventually led to a doctoral study at the University of York, researching the work of the early Victorian landscape gardener, William Sawrey Gilpin. She has since worked freelance, mostly in the field of historic landscape conservation. Born in The Netherlands, now based in the Cotswolds, Sophie has lived most of her life in the UK. For the last 25 years, Sophie has regularly led tours for Boxwood to Ireland, France, Spain, The Netherlands and within the UK.

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Itinerary

Overview

Departing London Heathrow at 09:10 your flight arrives at Cork International Airport at 10:45. From here we drive to meet Hester and Patrick Forde at Coosheen Garden, an overflowing ‘plantaholic’s’ haven. After lunch we travel on to view the organic gardens at the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School which supply the school and nearby hotel with a wide range of produce. Ornamental features include a topiary border which leads to an elaborate shell house. An overnight stay at the fabulous Ballymaloe Hotel allows us to explore the hotel garden with its large cut flower borders and its well-stocked shop.

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Overview

Travelling westwards our first stop is Bantry House where Richard White, 2nd Earl of Bantry, laid out a series of formal terraces adorned with statuary. The terraces at the back of the house centre around a pond, surrounded by magnificent wisterias. Hundred steps lead up to the top of the garden, affording far reaching views across Bantry Bay towards County Kerry. After lunch at Bantry House we cross the waters of the bay, past the small islands draped with seals, to Garinish Island to view the Italianate gardens of Ilnacullin laid out by the English garden architect Harold Peto for Annan and Violet Bryce.  We then travel on into County Kerry and Parknasilla Hotel with time to settle into our hotel where we stay for the next three nights dining together each evening.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Italianate gardens of Ilnacullin

Overview

Across Kenmare Bay is Derreen Garden, a luxuriant sub-tropical woodland garden in a dramatic setting with rare plants and good sea views. After a light lunch we visit nearby Dawros Gallery and Garden. This garden was laid out by Dutch artist Charlotte Verbeek who settled here 15 years ago. Guided by the natural surroundings but also influenced by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, our hosts have created a modern garden around their contemporary home.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Derreen Garden

Overview

Glashnacree House is the original Dowerhouse of Parknasilla and now the home of Patrick De Nangle.  About 5 years ago Patrick moved from London with 84 tree ferns and has not looked back since.  Enjoy some free time for lunch in the small, vibrant town of Kenmare with its colourful streets, lined with pubs and shops.  After lunch we are privileged to be able visit a very private garden on an island in Kenmare Bay, a very short boat crossing away, richly planted and with wonderful views out to sea.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Kenmare

Overview

A late start allows time for exploring the magnificent coastline, or the walled garden partly laid down to fruit and vegetables, at Parknasilla.  We then make our way back east, stopping off at The Austen Garden, home of Stephen and Louise Austen. Wonderfully situated in the hills of Co Kerry, Stephen and his wife have shaped a comfortable garden from the bog and rock surrounding an ancient farmhouse, bought nearly twenty years ago.  Return to Cork Airport for our 16:15 departure.

Includes Breakfast


Single Room Supplement from £380.00 (5 days).

Accommodation

You will stay for one night at the Ballymaloe House Hotel and three nights at the Parknasilla Hotel.