There’s more to Blarney than just a Castle

On 14th April 2016 a group of Amblers assembled in Blarney Castle Gardens for a very relaxing and extremely informative guided walk of the grounds. Many people admitted that they hadn’t been inside the gates in decades! As the Teddy Bears’ Picnic song goes: they were sure of a big surprise!

Just inside the gate- a beautiful cherry tree. A sign of delights to come.

Group under cherry tree
Assembled Amblers under the Cherry Tree

This walk was organised by Máiréad Twomey, who arranged for Horticulturist Alan and his assistant Rory to guide us around the gardens. It was very interesting to hear about how certain areas have been reclaimed from the overgrowth and returned to a thriving native woodland. There are about 12 Horticulturists, as well as ground staff and volunteers who  work in the grounds.

The park has all the native species of animals and a wide variety of native birds too.

Blarney ducks
Diving ducks

There are 5 km of walking trails throughout the park, and certain areas are dedicated to particular plant types, e.g the Fern Garden, Belgian Beds (azaleas), Himalayan Walk (eastern plants) and the intriguingly named Poison Garden which contains many plants which are of medicinal value.

blarney fern group
Fern Garden path
Blarney fern steps
Fern Garden steps
Waterfall
Fern Garden Waterfall

As well as the horticultural aspect, we visited areas of the garden that were developed in the 19th Century, such as the Rock Close, the Wishing Steps and the Witches’ Kitchen. And then there was the interesting tale of the Seven Sisters and their two fallen brothers, now commemorated by a stone circle.

Witches' kitchen
At the Witches’ Kitchen
waterhang
By the Wishing Steps
Ambling
Ambling along

All agreed that it was a most interesting guided tour, and many people were surprised to discover the beautiful gardens they never knew existed beyond the castle!

Magnolia
Magnificent Magnolia

The azaleas and rhododendrons will be in bloom at the end of April and into May. It would definitely be worth a visit to see the spectacular colours throughout the garden then.

Just click for more information about the Blarney Castle Gardens

After our walk we retired to the Mill restaurant for refreshments, and a long chat!