Enjoy a stroll through garden history with award-winning garden designer and author Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall as your guide. The magnificent gardens are still owned and cared for by the family who laid out the formal areas in the 1680s, and have planted many fine specimen trees over the centuries. Explore the parterres, the ancient Yew Walk, “Wilderness” woodland, the kitchen gardens, the Italian Gardens and the recently restored Rose Gardens.
Experience a house tour escorted by a member of the Durdin-Robertson family whose ancestry stretches all the way back to the original owners. The tour features the world famous Temple of the Goddess in the castle dungeons and is a key attraction in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Jane trained as a landscape architect and has more than 35 years experience designing, making and restoring gardens in Britain and abroad. She won two gold medals for her gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, one for a garden evoking the rose garden she designed at Sudeley Castle, and the other to celebrate Gertrude Jekyll’s centenary.
Jane is the author of several books on the history of gardens and garden plants, including The Garden – an English Love Affair and Peonies – the Imperial Flower. She describes her gardening style as traditional. Besides peonies, her greatest passion is for roses, and she tries to sneak the crab apple ‘Evereste’ into all her gardens.
On a completely different subject, Jane has written the best-selling Good Granny Guide which led to several series of light-hearted weekly articles in The Times about family life, The Good Granny Cookbook and several other Granny books.
These gardens were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Esmondes who built Huntington Castle in 1625. They include the French limes on the Avenue, the “parterre” or lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the majority of Yew trees which comprise the Yew Walk. Larger plantings have resulted in Huntington possessing a number of great Irish trees, including four varieties of hickory, a cut leaved oak, Siberian crab and buckeye chestnut.
Explore the kitchen gardens, with the Greenhouse and the recently restored Rose Gardens. Then stroll through the enchanting Italian Gardens and the ruins of the old Abbey before walking through to the ‘Wilderness’ woodland where formal walks and pathways will guide you past shrubs, flora and bamboo to the old turbine house which supplied electricity to Huntington as early as 1888. The bottom of the wilderness is marked by the delightful River Derry which flows as the boundary between County Carlow and Wexford.
Then head back to the castle and experience the fascinating guided tour or simply take a well earned break in the tearooms. There is always something to discover at Huntington with new features every year – current projects include garden restoration and significant planting projects.
‘Set in the Slaney Valley at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains, the Jacobean castle is located just off the main street of the winsome village of Clonegal. Battlements surmount
the fairy-tale fortress, topped with a heraldic Irish flag. This was the view that first grabbed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s attention when he zeroed in on Huntington as a location for his 1975 film Barry Lyndon.’ Turtle Bunberry National Geographic Traveller Magazine 2014.
If you have dreamed of staying in a real castle, Huntington provides fabulous accommodation in a choice of double/twin and single rooms.