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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: 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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Greenfort Gardens

Oral tradition has it that the first house was built on this site in 1711 by the Babington family. The Bartons expanded and remodelled the house in the early 1800s and the Perry\s, who moved from Bunlin, Milford in 1965, renovated and added to the buildings. The Walled Garden and mature trees date from the early Barton era. A plantation of 15 acres of broadleaf woodland was established in 2003. T…

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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: 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: 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

Founded in 2006, and opening our gates for the first time in the spring of 2007, we are an association of Public and Private Gardens. In 2019 we will have 22 member gardens spread throughout County Donegal from Innishown to Kilcar. Many private gardens proudly collect donations for local charities. Our membership includes long established historic gardens as well as newly made gardens. We are …

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Donegal Garden Trail: St Columbs

Built in the early 19th century for the Church of Ireland Rector, St. Columb’s overlooks the shores of Lough Gartan. The house and grounds were transformed into a haven of artistic beauty by the late Derek Hill who planted many rare and unusual trees and shrubs. Hill was assisted by James Russell of Sunningdale Nurseries “ Russell and myself aimed to accentuate simply the natural formation of …

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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: 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: Noras Rose Garden

A gem of a rose garden on a modern housing development. Featuring a huge range of varieties (Climbers, Hybrid Tea and Floribunda) in every colour and with fragrances that will knock your socks off. Admission: €5 to charity and garden maintenance Directions: From N15 in the centre of Ballybofey turn on to R252 (Glenfin Road) passing Jackson’s Hotel on the right. Blue Cedars is on the left a…

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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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Glenalla House

he country estate garden of Glenalla is a hidden world surrounded by native woods and moorland. Established in the late 18th century with extensive landscaping by the Franklin family since 1913. Beyond the house and walled kitchen garden are the formal elements of the rockery, rose beds, arbour and stone edged lily pond. There are collections of rhododendrons together with summer and autumn flowe…

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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 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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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: Glenalla House

The country estate garden of Glenalla is a hidden world surrounded by native woods and moorland. Established in the late 18th century with extensive landscaping by the Franklin family since 1913. Beyond the house and walled kitchen garden are the formal elements of the rockery, rose beds, arbour and stone edged lily pond. There are collections of rhododendrons together with summer and autumn flow…

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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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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: 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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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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