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


June 29th was our last tour day together and first visit was to Mount Stewart Gardens for our guided tour with Neil that was just excellent. There happened to be a fete going on while we were there so lots of people coming in and enjoying the gardens, music and food. Mount Stewart is a grand garden, designed to complement the house so perfectly and with such colour combinations, well it just is awesome. The contrasts of the Berberis (barberry) hedging and plant material was just so wonderful. And just look at the blue of the delphiniums! I also just loved the steps leading to the house, covered in tiny flowers…magical. So many magical moments here really. We had our group photo taken here as well with the Irish Harp Topiary in the background. The grounds are huge with the most beautiful lake to walk around - a spot where the family is buried sits high on the hill overlooking the lake. There are two olive trees planted here, one from seed actually brought back by Lady Londonderry in 1934 from the Mount of Olives. The history of this place is amazing and Lady Londonderry, or Edith, was one unstoppable lady. Her youngest daughter Lady Mairi Bury died in 2009 at Mount Stewart. The National Trust took over the gardens in 1957 and in 1977 she entrusted the house and contents to them as well. Both Edith and Mairi are buried on the grounds in the family burial plot.

Our final visit was to Rowallane Gardens, again a guided tour with Malcolm through not only the Victorian walled garden but the fields beyond. Here it started to rain a bit but we were ready with our umbrellas so continued to enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the place. This garden was started 140 years ago and still to this day appeals to everyone who visits and why not. It has walled gardens packed with plant material including the lovely little Primula ‘Rowallane Rose’ and Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Rowallane’. If you want to venture further afield you will discover so much more on the woodland walk or the home wood, old wood and about 15 other areas of interest. They have a gift shop here as well as a very nice café.

Back to our hotel to get ready for our Farewell Dinner, which again was delicious and enjoyed by all. Then it was fly time the next morning.

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