After having seen the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin I wanted to visit Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens which is only about an hour’s drive away from Dublin’s city centre.
This year I had managed to choose a beautiful day during the summer to visit Kilmacurragh, with crystal blue skies.
Kilmacurragh offers parking for free, toilet facilities next to the parking lot, with a Café where you can buy tea and coffee, snacks, and lunch-time foods. As you enter the gardens, there is a grass area with beautiful views of the countryside where you can picnic on days with nice weather.
The first known settlement in the area was an abbey which was established in the early 7th century. The abbey was destroyed in the 16th century when King Henry VIII caused the dissolution of monasteries in Ireland.
When Thomas Acton II inherited the estate, in 1697 he tore down the destroyed abbey buildings on the site and used the stone from the abbey to build a mansion. The building had 8 bedrooms and 5 reception rooms facing the view on the East. The mansion still survives today in the gardens but is in a run-down state.
A few generations later, in 1854 a family man of the same name, Thomas Acton extended and improved the existing garden with the collaboration of the curator of the Glasnevin Royal Botanic Gardens – David Moore. During this time there was much interest in botanical and geographic exploration and consequently much intrigue in introducing plants of a wild origin not normally found in the area. Kilmacurragh was also a valuable area for growing plants that had previously not succeeded in Glasnevin.
Today you can walk through the different parts of the garden, marvel at the sheer height of the trees, enjoy the variety of plants and the peace of the garden.