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Parks & Gardens in Donegal

Activities

Donegal is a County blessed with such a diverse range of public and private parks and gardens. From carefully tended intimate cottage gardens to public parks and woodlands, Donegal has a wealth of peaceful havens for lovers of flowers and trees. Donegal Garden Trail promotes garden visiting as a collective effort in County Donegal, encouraging garden visiting as an educational and leisure activity.

Donegal Garden Trail: Foxrock

A sea-side flower-filled garden, tucked into the hillside, sheltered from N winds, has been developed on a minimal budget respecting the natural flow of the 0.75 acre sloping site. The 30ft high rockery was developed using natural and sometimes steep pathways. It is planted with interesting specimen shrubs, trees, alpines, succulents and perennials. Twisting paths and steps lead down to a natur…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Greenfort

Although May and June are usually the best months with the most colour and variety, there is always something in season: from the snowdrops to the autumn colours and winter-flowering cherry. The house and garden have existed for several centuries. There are many rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, large areas of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells and beautiful walks through young and mature bro…

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Donegal Gardens

This contemporary garden, within 200 yards of the sea, whispers stories of walled gardens of the past. Today it stands independent of trends and restorative themes. The walls have stood for over 100 years and were well maintained. Since 1985 the lawn and cultivated perimeter have been gradually transformed by Elizabeth Temple to the present individually styled garden. The evolution continues se…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Lower Cranny Garden

A private garden romantically set in the former grounds of nearby Drumbeg House and retaining some of the features from the Estate namely a lake and tree lined driveway now a scenic walk connecting the more ornamental section of the garden to a wild flower meadow. Bluebell woods with an insect hotel, a stream, a dam, a birch grove, sweeping perennial beds and a mixed hedge fairy ring all blend to…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Cluain na dTor Seaside Garden

This is Donegal’s tropical garden, inspirational and boldly experimental! This garden also specialises in plants tolerant of seaside conditions. ‘Cluain na dTor’ meaning “meadow of the shrubs” - an apt place-name - shrubs as shelter and as ornamentals populate this garden with surrounding natural wildflower meadows. Twenty years in the making, a wonderfully eclectic mix of individual specimens ar…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Sea View Garden

A secluded and peaceful garden of many parts. Visitors enjoy a warm welcome from the owner and new additions surprise the regular visitor. This is a plant-lovers paradise where modern varieties of shrubs and herbaceous plants rub shoulders with old favourites and where the non-gardener may sit and be charmed by the views across Donegal Bay. Admission: €5 to Fields of Life well-drilling proje…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Dunmore Gardens

A very remarkable traditional walled garden associated with a 1742 country house. Many wonderful gardens are to be found within one large walled area (2 acres), rich collections of ericaceous plants, early 20th century terraced rose beds and a towering Redwood stands sentinel towards the centre with paths radiating from it. Imaginative use of plants over arches, traditional fruit and vegetables…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Backleas

A new garden combined with old natural woodland. The garden is of some historic significance in that the remains of an aqueduct dug during the famine as a relief project to convey water to a corn mill two miles away is still visible. Indeed stone mill wheels, a famine pot and lots of bog oak also feature. The entrance to the house is built with stone in the same manner as an ancient fort on the…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Summy

Close to the coast in scenic west Donegal and surrounding a traditional farmhouse, this garden was established in 1979 in a valley on a rocky hillside surrounded by four acres of native hazel woodland with blackthorn, juniper, burnet rose, ash and oak. Native primroses, bluebells, orchids and varied ferns abound. Emphasis has been placed on the blending of nurture with nature and the provision o…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Cille

First established over 30 years ago in an exposed coastal location overlooking Donegal Bay. The garden falls away from the house in a series of hidden terraces with an extensive range of plants, many unusual species suited to the coastal location. Imaginative use of grasses, rich exotic planting and high quality stone-work all feature. Big pots and containers planted with specimen plants are espe…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Mrs Jessie Mahaffys Garden

Established in 1972 by Mrs Jessie Mahaffy, a relative of William Robinson and a granddaughter of the forester at Lissadell, Co Sligo, Blackrock is a garden constructed completely upon rock. A charming rockery sits above the farmhouse. A grassy corridor winds between a shrubbery and a shady border to a small cottage garden where perennials are interspersed with free-seeding aquilegias, foxgloves …

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Donegal Garden Trail: Ros Ban

A garden to relax in with a Celtic Theme, given over to wildlife friendly activities, but plenty for the garden enthusiast to enjoy. There is a display of medicinal plants and educational posters of native flora and fauna. A well-established Laburnum Arch is just one of many intriguing features. This 1.5 acre garden is of educational interest to children of all ages. You are sure to learn som…

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Salthill Gardens

Salthill House is an intact early 18th Century house overlooking Donegal Bay, complete with the original enclosed yard and walled garden. Since 1985 the one acre kitchen garden has been transformed into a series of lovely mixed flower borders with a wide selection of new and interesting plants.

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Donegal Garden Trail: Rathmullan House

The walled kitchen garden where a broad range of soft fruit, vegetables, salad crops and herbs are cultivated for the award winning hotel kitchens. Adjacent to the Restaurant is a recently made tranquillity garden with a contemporary sculpture by Zara Cunningham-Bell. There is no charge for admission to our gardens and they are open: Easter to October 10am-4pm Daily. Closed November to Easter. …

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Donegal Garden Trail: Glenveagh Castle Gardens

This is the great garden of Donegal, much visited and yet unspoiled since it is reached by shuttle bus 4km from the Visitor Centre. The setting is starkly dramatic – at Glenveagh National Park the bare hulks of Kinnaveagh, Dooish and Staghall mountains rise above the peaty waters of Lough Veagh. The castle is placed with romantic effect at the centre where it is surrounded by its magical woodland …

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Donegal Garden Trail: Salthill Garden

Salthill is well illustrated in “The Irish Garden” (2015) by Jane Powers with photographs by Jonathon Hession. She aptly describes the space “The 0.5 hectare enclosure has that delightful feeling of privacy and mystery that is particular to old walled gardens”. So, come and witness the “great gatherings of herbaceous plants amid mature shrubs and noteworthy trees”. Admission: €5 Adults, €2 …

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Donegal Garden Trail: Castle Grove Country House Hotel & Gardens

Castle Grove is a four star family run Country House set in 200 acres of mature parkland. It is the perfect base to explore Donegals Wild Atlantic Way and other gardens on the Donegal Garden Trail. The house was built in 1695 and boasts a fascinating history, with gardens designed by Lancelot Capability Brown. There is a four acre Walled Garden dating back to the 1800s. Visitors are welcome t…

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Dunmore Gardens

Dunmore Gardens is a beautiful secretive walled garden, which lies just outside the pretty village of Carrigans on the western banks of Lough Foyle in Co. Donegal. The McFarland family have lived at Dunmore for four generations and have opened their doors to many weddings, celebrations and garden parties. They are always open to new visitors looking for an occasion or simply to relax in the sanctu…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Cranny Garden

Set on two acres with amazing views of the Eany river. A mixture of woodland bordering a pond with bluebells in the spring, a fernery in a natural cave, a long mixed border, a wild flower meadow with an abundance of wild orchids. Some whimsical features! Admission: €5 to charity and upkeep of garden Directions: Take N56 Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal Town direction Killybegs. After 8km take l…

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Donegal Garden Trail: Carrablagh House

Carrablagh is an outstanding example of a well established country garden dating back to the mid 19th century. Set on the eastern cliffs of the Fanad peninsula where Lough Swilly meets the North Atlantic Ocean. Surrounding woodlands protect the specimen plantings within. This most intimate, classic Irish Robinsonian garden has a magical atmosphere, sheltering its botanical treasures in a series of…

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