« With so many Irish gardens closing their gates, or limiting their opening hours in recent years, it’s heartening to see a new one throwing itself open to the public. While this garden is new, the house at its centre, Ballintubbert, is old – 1780 – and historic. Originally a rectory, the estate near Athy has been at various times the home of poet C Day-Lewis and actor Sebastian Shaw.
The present owners, Fergus and Orna Hoban, have worked with the cream of Irish garden consultants, including Jim Reynolds, Arthur Shackleton, Daphne Levinge Shackleton and Sandro Cafolla, to make an ambitious and flamboyant space which salutes both the arts and crafts and the baroque eras. The garden opens tomorrow officially and will open daily (10am-6pm) until October 31st. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and stay all day. Adults: €10, children €3 (children under 2 free). See ballintubbert.com.
Co Laois is also the home of Jim Reynold’s garden at Ballyfin, and do be sure to look out for Fruitlawn Garden, Arthur Shackleton's private garden, set across one and a half acres situated outside Abbeyleix which is open to groups upon appointment from May to October. Also Tanguy and Isabel de Toulgoët, who give organic gardening and French cookery courses at their one-acre holding near Durrow.