Ireland 2013

Fast Facts

Dates: - Thur 5/16/13 to Sun 5/26/13.


Pricing & Conditions.

Ireland Home.

Join the Friends in Ireland in 2013

In 2011 the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum sponsored a trip to The Gardens of Scotland and we had a grand time. We decided to do another great garden tour, this time to The Gardens of Ireland and we hope you will join us when we visit the Emerald Isle, a gardener's paradise.

We plan to leave on Thursday, May 16, 2013 and return on Sunday, May 26, 2013 and will visit gardens throughout the south of Ireland. We will visit a number of private gardens on the tour, including a tour of garden writer and designer Helen Dillon's garden in Dublin where she will join us for tea.

The full itinerary may be seen by clicking here and we invite you to review it in detail.

The price is $3,595 per person (double occupancy) and you may secure your place with a $500 per person deposit. You can use PayPal to pay the deposit -- see the button on the right. If you use PayPal to pay more than just your own deposit, please be sure to tell us the other party's name in the PayPal notes.

We encourage you to place your deposit quickly to ensure your place.

Full details of the pricing, including what is included and timing of payments and other tour conditions may be found on the Pricing Page

Tour Highlights

We will visit literally 17 gardens in the midst of over 20 sites along the route. We arrive in Shannon and then make a leisurely passage around the south coast and end up in Dublin for several days. Here are a few of the highspots:

Private Gardens

On the Friends trip to Scotland the only thing that our intrepid travelers wanted more of were private gardens so this time we will visit many more of them. In addition to Helen Dillon's frequently written and photographed garden in Dublin (see below) we will visit a private garden by the sea, a small town garden filled with 50 years of plant collecting on display and a self-proclaimed plantaholics garden. Here is just a small preview of what awaits you.

A Garden By The Sea

Mary (the gardener) and Bob (the hole digger and rock mover) Walsh's garden is as close to the sea as you can get without being in a boat. Cois Coain (pronounced Coosh Cuann) was transformed from a gorse and bramble covered wasteland into a garden featured on TV shows in the UK and Ireland. This garden features many rare Southern Hemisphere plants and those that survive wind and salt spray. Perhaps some of our travelers with shore gardens can learn something about how to garden in these often difficult conditions.

Plants From Seed Found All Over the World

In County Wicklow June Blake has gone from jeweler to sheep farmer to gardener. Many of her plants are grown from seed from around the world. The gardens extend over three acres including a sublime woodland of ferns, grasses and bamboos plus large granite outcroppings. A contemporary minimalist courtyard is a stark contrast to exuberant borders. Jane Powers of the IRISH TIMES says of the garden, "There are few gardens in Ireland of which I never get tired.... They're gardens that have layers of interest, in different seasons. At different times of the day and in all kinds of weather."

Cutting Edge Garden

Carmel Duigan is a "plantaholic." If you crave the new, the hard to grow or hard to find plants, you and Carmel are kindred spirits. Her garden is filled with cutting edge plants as well as some old favorites. She has a collection of Pseudopanax -- a small genus of 12 to 20 species of evergreen plants endemic to New Zealand. She is crazy about small flowered clematis some of which will be in bloom during our visit. In contrast to loving small clematis, she also loves large leaves. All of these diverse plants have been combined into a space that has both flair and artistry.

And these are only some of the private gardens we will visit.

Japanese Garden at Powerscourt

Famed for the newly restored castle destroyed by fire in the 1970s, Powerscourt features Italianate designs from the 18th century as well as an exquisite Japanese garden developed early in the 20th century. From their website,

The Grotto

Take your loved one and go to one of the oldest features of Powerscourt gardens, next to the Japanese Garden. This is an elaborate grotto dating from the 1st Viscount's garden in 1740. An air of 18th century romance still pervades here, with its secret pathways and romantic atmosphere. The grotto is made from fossilized sphagnum moss, taken from the banks of the nearby river Dargle. Listen to the sounds of water trickling down the grotto's moss covered walls ­ it is truly refreshing! Before you leave the Japanese garden, toss a coin into the wishing well for good luck!

Helen Dillon's Garden

No garden tour to Ireland would be complete without a trip to the garden of world renowned plantswoman Helen Dillon. Helen is an author, lecturer, garden columnist and the creator of one of the gems of the horticultural world.

A small town garden, where change is a constant element, features perfectly grown plants (if they're not perfect out they go) and contemporary design. The garden was planned from the inside out so that looking at the garden from inside the house is every bit as pleasurable as being in it. Helen has gardened here with her husband, Hal, for forty years and she still doesn't think she's gotten it quite right. A recent addition is over 50 birch trees planted to form a grove. Perhaps, her Alhambra style water feature is the best known aspect of the garden or the masterful way she uses blue flowers or the famous gravel garden or.....why don't you decide for yourself what your favorite part of the garden is.


Not only will be visiting Helen's garden but we have been invited for tea! What an opportunity to learn from a master.

You might want to check out some of Helen's books before the big day:

  • Down to Earth with Helen Dillon
  • Garden Artistry Secrets of Designing and Planting Small Gardens
  • In An Irish Garden

Gardening On a Large Scale - Mt. Congreve Gardens


Ambrose Congreve, who died in 2011 at the age of 104 at the Chelsea Flower Show. was a plantsman his entire life. The garden is most noted for its extensive woodland where Mr. Congreve exhibited his passion for camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias. There are more than 300 Acer cultivars, more than 2000 rhododendrons, and more than 3000 different trees and shrubs in the seventy acres woodland. We will be visiting at the peak bloom.

Mount Congreve is gardening on a very large scale and in late Spring there are seas of blossoms and banks of color ,for here plants are grouped by twenty-five not five and the hills and valleys along the River Suir provide enchanting scents and sights at every turn.

In addition to the woodland there are four acres of walled gardens and greenhouses filled with seasonal flowers and exotics.