Gardens

The Gardens

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The Gardens date from the early 1700’s and are located on the north bank of the river Blackwater, just upstream from Lismore Castle.  The seven acres of landscaped grounds slope down to the river and thus provide stunning views of the river itself and the surrounding countryside. The Gardens were part of the Lismore Estate until 1983 and, over the years, have seen many famous visitors including King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra who walked the Gardens during their visit to Lismore in 1906.

The main features of the Gardens are the extensive array of rhododendronds, azaleas and camellias, many of which are large old specimens; the interesting collection of old, mature trees, many of North American origin; but most of all, the beautiful, tranquil setting of the Gardens beside the river Blackwater.

The gardens were once described as “a sight which no visitor to Lismore ever missed”.  Come and see for yourself.

The Gardens Today

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New Features – an extensive collection of old roses, arbutalons and salvias is beige built up in order to extend the flowering season
          – the collection of spring bulbs is being extended to include old species of daffodils through to late flowering narcissus and tulips.

The Castle Wall and Bell Tower – Ballyin is mentioned in Ryder’s History of Waterford as being “one of the thirteen castles built and erected by the Great Earl of Cork.” Given its proximity to Lismore Castle, it could only have been a fortified outpost, but there is a good view from the vegetable garden of the original outside wall of the fortification and the Bell Tower which would have been used to sound the alarm.

The Montery Cypress – situated in the main lawn, this tree has the largest girth of any tree in County Waterford – just less than 9 metres. These trees were introduced into Ireland in the early 1800’s so it must be just short of 200 years old.

The Garden House – as its shape suggests, the house was built using as its base the ruins of what was originally a bandstand. In the late 1800’s when the Gardens were open to the public, the Duke would occasionally arrange for a local band to play in the Gardens on a Sunday afternoon. People would walk up from the town, walk through the Gardens, listen to the music and when ready, ring a bell in the Montery Cypress (known locally as “The Bell Tree”) for a boatman to ferry them across the river so that they could walk through he Castle gardens and so back to town.

The Ladys Walk – Lady Gordon liked to walk into town but did not like walking along the road. A walk was therefore created for her alongside the outside wall of the Garden and a gateway made through the boudary wall at the end of the property. She would then walk through the woods along the property’s original avenue which joins the Ballyduff road just before the Lismore bridge.

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The Killing Hatch – before the weir was destroyed, the only way for the salmon to make their way up river (other than at times of flood) was up the side stream and through the killing hatch. Gates in the hatch forced the salmon into a central holding area from which they could be hauled out with a large gaff. Not the most sporting way of killinga salmon, but very commercial!

The Rhododendron Walk – this is a blaze of colour in May with the evening breeze wafting the scent of the yellow azaleas to meet you. The peaceful setting with its views of the river and the surrounding meadows make this a favourite spot for all visitors.

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There are also the extensive Kitchen and Cutting Gardens which provide an interesting variety of vegetables and flowers for the houses throughout the year.

Ballyin Gardens is a beautiful place for Garden and Flower Clubs to visit.

Entrance to the Garden is €5. Children under 12 Free.

For more see Ballyin Gardens on the 100 Best Gardens 

For more on the Waterford Garden Trail click here 

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Opening Hours

GARDEN OPENING TIMES
Open 15th April to 30th June
Weekdays 12.00 noon to 4.00 pm
Weekends and Bank Holidays 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays
Open daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm during National Heritage Week
Other times, Groups and after June by appointment