Local Gardens

The gardens of Connemara are well-known for their beauty, variety and uniqueness. Rain, soft sunshine and the warmth of the Gulf Stream combine to make ideal conditions for the creation of magnificent and magical gardens. The general landscape varies greatly throughout the region from the stone walled farmlands to the rolling hills and fresh waters of Lough Corrib to the wild mountains and valleys. Within this landscape lie garden treasures that have been laid out by a variety of local people.

The coastal location means that plants are adapted to a moist maritime climate, but the Gulf Stream ensures that the region does not suffer from the extremes of temperature experienced by many other countries on the same latitude. However, the Atlantic setting can also cause problems; salt and storms can be a challenge to every plant and tree. The soil is acidic and shallow in most places and much needed nutrients must be added to make it fertile. This creates a challenging environment for gardeners, but they ensure that the flora and fauna follow the weather patterns of the region.

Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons, and Heather are common features in gardens in the West of Ireland, as are Azaleas and Camellias - and even the odd palm tree! The gardens of Connemara range in size and style, from formal to wild. Many feature exotic plants which where imported at the turn of the twentieth century and others have concentrated on the discovery and preservation of gardens which are over 300 years old.

As well as visiting some of the major gardens of the region, why not take time to discover some of the smaller gardens of Connemara by visiting the garden of a private home. Meet the owners of these hidden gems who lovingly tend their gardens year round.

Errisbeg House Gardens

Errisbeg garden

Richard Duke de Stacpoole’s three acre rambling and rocky heather garden has many hidden borders, which includes Pampas grasses with two varieties of bamboo. With many different varieties of shrubs and rare plants, these gardens present themselves as a magnificent collaboration of colour and beauty. The gardens also contain natural pools as well as a series of unique statues and sculptures created by contemporary Irish artists.


From Clifden, take the R341 Roundstone Road. Continue on the main road through Ballyconneely. Just before you reach Roundstone, take the road on the left signposted for Errisbeg House.

Open: Year round
Cost: Donations in aid of Barnardnos
Tel: +353 (0) 0868215153
Email: destacpoole@eircom.net
Website: www.errisbeghouse.com
Picture Gallery: Click Here

The Anglers’ Return Gardens

Nestled at the foot of Derradda Hill, overlooking the Ballinahinch River, this 19th century private garden rambles over rocky outcrops and through centurion trees. Best during April and May to walk in the scented Azaleas, Apple blossom, Daffodil and Bluebell wood.


From Galway take the N59 Galway/Clifden Road, turn left on the R341 road to Roundstone for 7kms. The Angler’s Return house is on the left. From Cashel turn right at Riverview Bar, from Roundstone go straight past the bar for 500 metres.

Open: March – October by arrangement
Cost: Voluntary contribution towards arts and music in Connemara.
Tel: +353 (0)95 31091

Ballynahinch Castle Gardens

Ballynahinch Castle is the perfect example of Victorian gardening. Here the meeting of wild woodland and waterways with herbaceous borders, terraced beds and lawns creates a unique blend of refined gardening and natural beauty.

The estate has undertaken a native woodland management program which has seen the removal of invasive Rhododendrons and the planting of over 1000 hard wood trees. This program continues and now nurtures hundreds of native oaks from their own plants. They are also participating in a study with Trinity College Dublin, on the effects of climate change on Irish hardwoods. This is a long-term project that will span for over 30 years.

The 450 acre estate features riverside and lakeside walks in gardens on many levels and set out among the mature trees and shrubs. A walking map is available from the hotel reception.


N59 from Galway to Clifden. After passing through Recess (Sraith Salach), take the second road on the left signposted for Roundstone (R341). Hotel is 3km on the right

Open: Daily March – November
Cost: No Charge
Tel: +353 (0)95 31006
Website: www.ballynahinch-castle.com

Cashel House Hotel Gardens

cashel house garden

Standing at the head of Cashel Bay is a mid century gracious country house owned and run by the McEvilly family as a Grade A hotel. The gardens are informal country house style gardens based on a number of woodland glades. The garden contains a profusion of Roses both old fashioned and modern and many herbaceous plants with naturalised day Lilies, Astilbes and Primulas as well as Gunnera, Camellias, Magnolias, Azaleas, and Rhododendrons.

The walled garden, known as the secret garden, was an orchard where, in 1919 Jack O'Mara felled apple trees and used the walled garden as an area in which to plant many rare trees and shrubs which he collected from all over the world. Many of these trees are the largest specimens in Ireland. Cashel House also runs gardening courses throughout the year of 1-3 days in duration. A map of the gardens is available at reception.


South off the N59 Clifden/Galway road. 2km west of Recess.

Open: Year round from mid February. Guided tours available by arrangement
Cost: €6 Adults; €3 Children and concession
Tel: +353 (0)95 31001
Website: www.cashel-house-hotel.com
Photo Gallery: Click Here