Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Gardens & Plants Ireland

stone scissors

These gardens are fun! I think a giant has just taken a break from hedge trimming & left behind his clippers.

Even in Winter there’s a lovely oasis in Carlow.

Delta Sensory Gardens are a real surprise, hidden away in the back of an business estate just outside of Carlow town.

Delta Sensory Gardens are two and a half acres of varied interlinking gardens; water, roses, sculpture, woodland, natural, formal, musical and more!

Wonderfully creative, a visit here will have you oohing & ahhing over the features as well as the plants. You can see some of these in my photos. Even on a grey Winter afternoon it was attractive. I can’t wait to go back in spring & summer!

The Delta Gardens also hold events such as their lovely Christmas wonderland & craft fair, as well as being a lovely wedding photograph venue!

If you’re in the area & feel stressed, I reckon watching the beautiful big goldfish swim in the fish pond and listing to the water flow from the many unusual water features would be a gentle way to relax & enjoy.

The sleeping lady's head Delta sensory gardens ireland

The sleeping lady’s head under a blanket of leaves

Yep, it’s a gem; with a small garden centre & coffee shop, Delta Sensory Gardens does just what their website says: combine the attractions of a tourist facility with the sensory gardens also providing a therapeutic focus and benefit for people of all abilities.

Have a look at the following photos – kids especially love the giant sleeping lady and the other hidden surprises throughout in the gardens. Go explore!

PS: the water features are really cool- don’t miss the GIANT spinning stone ball!


I’ve a map near the end of the post to help you find your way there.

The Delta Sensory Gardens website is here.


peas in a pod sculptures delta sensory gardens ireland

The stone sculptures are made by a local sculptor. LOVE these pea pods. And yes, you ARE meant to touch 🙂

Insect hotel

Any insect would be happy in this lovely rustic insect hotel!

Amazing water feature carlow Ireand

This water feature in the rose garden is amazing. It’s a circle, yet the water flows along it no bother! On the inside it is a solar calendar. And look- roses still blooming at end November.


Delta Gardens Ireland water feature

Just one of the Delta Gardens’ water features

Pond & waterfall delta centre gardens

The pond is home to lots of colourful goldfish- big and small.

beautiful birch bark

Beautiful birch bark!


Indoor water musicfeature, delta Sensory Gardens

Don’t miss the indoor dancing water feature!

Rustic wood sculpure in the woods

Boo! This rustic sculpture is hidden in the trees!

Many of these are my Instagram photos for #IGTravelThursday. Would you like to join in? Just instagram some of your travel photos (can be local travel!) & hashtag them #IGtravelthursday. Check out the other interesting photos on that hashtag stream, as well. If you are a blogger, you can also do a post centered around your Instagram travel photos For all the ins & outs on joining in, see Skimbaco. Happy Thursday! 

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In Graiguenamanagh there are several special, hidden, places. One is the Dark Walk, part of the old gardens of Brandondale House. Near the beginning of the Dark Walk is the remains of this Secret Garden, now totally over grown.

The old Secret Garden in Graiguenamanagh, IrelandAt the end of the Dark Walk, (which is a very dark tunnel of old rhododendron bushes,) you come out into a clearing in a lovely old beech wood, filled with wildflowers in the springtime. The Folly sits at the end, looking down over the river Barrow.
The Folly at the end of the Dark Walk; most of the wildflowers are only starting to come out now (3rd of March)
wild primroses in the beech wood

Gorse blossom (left) smells of coconut, and you can make cordial or wine from it-mmm! Celadines (above) are great for early foraging bees, and can grow in quite shady places. The Beech Wood is a fantastic place to just relax, listen to the songbirds which fill the trees, and snap a few photos like I did. But there are dangers. In fact, in the video below, I’ll show you!

Buts all’s well that ends well, and after all that,
 we got home & got scrubbed, and had a good nap, dreaming of secret gardens now filled with wildflowers.
Pinenut and Petal

If gardens are your thing, especially gardens in the grounds of beautiful, old, renovated  Georgian Irish houses, then Kilgraney House Herb Gardens situated between Bagenalstown (Muine Bheag) and Borris in County Carlow, Ireland is the place to head for.
It’s hard to believe that the interconnected herb gardens have only been there for six years – their colours, textures and perfumes fill the beds and air as you amble around. I was told that the end of May/beginning of June is the time of year to really see them in all their glory- which must be a sight to behold as they were pretty impressive in August!
Starting with the medicinal garden (individual beds sown with herbs suitable for different ailments), pebbled pathways lined with granite take you through to the monastic herb cloister, the cosmic herb circle (where each star sign is depicted by it’s own herbs), the aromatic herb & rose garden (located next to the very tempting spar) and the herbal tea walk. There’s also an orchard (bulging with fruit in August), beautiful old trees scattered around the grounds and a kitchen garden where fruit and veg are grown for use in the restaurant kitchens. No chemicals are used in the gardens and the owners of Kilgraney House take on most of the work themselves, carefully researching their planting schemes and always on the look out for new ideas.
If you’re a guest at this very tempting romantic getaway then you’re free to wander around whenever suits you. If not the gardens (only) are open from May to September, Thursdays to Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2.00pm until 5.00pm (current fee €3.00, (groups by prior arrangement). Refreshments are available and herbs are for sale too.  I really can’t recommend a trip out to Kilgraney House herb gardens enough – an inspirational place to spend an afternoon!
 Kilgraney takes its name from the Irish ‘cill greine’ which means ‘sunny hill’ or ‘sunny wood’, and it is located in the beautiful Barrow valley, about half way between Kilkenny City & Carlow town. So whether you’re just looking to enjoy a simple afternoon in the gardens, or perhaps a special weekend getaway in the House itself, this spot in the sunny southeast is worth a look!
**Kilgraney House Herb Gardens were visited ,enjoyed, & written about by Dee, who writes GreensideUpVeg** 
OutsideInItreland     WhereToStayInIreland

 Bloom In the Park is Ireland’s biggest garden festival. We missed it this year, but here are some blooms from our garden in Graignamanagh.
Centaura (perennial cornflower) ‘Amethyst in Snow’ & happy bee!
yellow arum lily
Ok, this is not in garden- wild iris by the river Barrow
Flora & fauna by the river Barrow
Astrantia- I  forget the variety
Rose ‘Ferdinand Pritchard’- lovely scent, too!
a  David Austin rose- have lost the names of this & the next. One may be Sweet Juilette, & the other Heritage? Both smell gorgeous
There are many lovely gardens you can visit in the southeast of Ireland, & Trail Kilkenny is in the process putting together a garden trail. One of my favorite smaller gardens near to us is Coolaught in Co. Wexford- they’ve a great little garden centre full of plants for plantaholics who are looking for something different. They are a friendly family business on a family farm- go visit them!