97 MILES/ 149 KM
Wicklow is known as Ireland’s Garden County. In Kildare, you’ll find a garden dedicated to St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners. Little wonder this touring route blossoms.
You’ll find formal gardens surrounding stately homes, like those at Powerscourt House, where cascading terraces and Italianate formations were the work of Daniel Robertson. Robertson, said to have suffered from gout, directed operations from a wheelbarrow, fortified by a bottle of sherry. When the sherry was finished, work ceased for the day!
The Robinsonian gardens at Mount Usher strike a contrasting note to this elegant estate. Here, you’ll find rusty-red Japanese maple, Himalayan magnolia and a dainty Wedding Cake Tree amongst other exotic highlights appearing to grow naturally along the River Vartry’s banks.
Or take the Irish National Stud. Yes, the primary business here is bloodstock. But there are delicately manicured Japanese Gardens here too, created by the Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida. A century old, they are amongst the finest of their kind in Europe.
Fittingly, you’ll also find a garden dedicated to Saint Fiachra, patron saint of gardeners at the National Stud. Lakes, rocks and monastic beehive huts here echo the wild Irish landscape that unfolds as you drive from the Curragh Plains to the eastern seaboard.
Isn’t it time you took some gardening leave?