Ireland Tour 2014
Dublin & Belfast
June 21st - 30th, 2014


June 26th
On our way to Belfast we made two wonderful visits …first to the National Garden Exhibition Center for a guided tour…
We were early…so we got out of the coach and wandered around the area, a lovely little church and graveyard was nearby and lots of beds with plant material to look at before the gates opened and we made our way in. This is basically a garden center but what sets it apart are the gardens, around 20 of them, that you can walk through and actually see the plants growing. They were all done by leading designers and present all sorts of ideas for gardeners. Once you have gone through these gardens the garden center is there to visit with all the plants labeled, pots galore and all kinds of garden accessories. We also had lunch here and wow was it good. Service was just so friendly and fantastic too. They even arranged to have sandwiches ready for us before the café really was ready. We just had to wait for the freshly baked bread to arrive! Just a super time here.

Then on to Malahide Castle for our tour of the 12th Century Castle and free time to wander the gardens and gift shop. There is a lovely walled garden here that is just simply huge. It must have been something in its day when both flowers and veggies were grown in these beds…mostly now just flowers and so many wonderful little glasshouses to wander through. In one I found the most gorgeous Passiflora antioquiensis or Red Banana Passionfruit. Totally took my breath away. The little Victorian Glasshouse is not as old as the one with the passifloras in them but very enchanting. The grounds of the Castle are so lovely. I didn’t walk through the whole thing but sure enjoyed what I did see. The trees were huge and so much plant material here to enjoy. I think you could spend a full day here just enjoying the grounds, castle, very large and thoroughly packed gift shop that has not only food products but Avoca products as well.


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