On the north bank of the river Boyne, lies an historic house with one of the earliest examples of a walled garden in Ireland, said to have been laid out in the 1720s by Dutch artist Willem van der Hagen, father of the Irish school of landscape painting.
One’s first impression of the façade is bemusement; this Dutch style, steep roofed with dormer windows and rendered façade with brick-edged windows, is quite unusual in Ireland, predating the ubiquitous Irish Georgian country houses. It was constructed in the 1660s during the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne, with further improvements made in the early 18th century.
The interior rooms are splendid and testament to the taste, style and wealth of Sir Henry Tichbourne, who was given this land, confiscated by Cromwell from the Plunkett family, relatives of St Oliver Plunkett . The House has remained in the hands of the Tichbourne family ever since, often passing through the female line.
A flock of geese wander through the simple grounds surrounding the house, which sweep down to the banks of the Boyne. In keeping with traditions of the era, the walled garden is a little distance from the house.
One enters through an arched doorway, with the first glimpse of the spectacularly long herbaceous borders.
Over the lovely old wall, one can catch a glimpse of the family Church.
Martagon lilies, poppies, salvias, Japanese anemones … there is much to keep the interest of the plant spotter in these terraced herbaceous borders, then past box-edged beds to a rustic summer house.
This is a very labour intensive garden, designed when labour was plentiful, but there is still much to charm the visitor, as the terraces fall away to the potager, fruit trees and beyond, the river Boyne.
The House remains a family home and is open to the public at certain times in the summer. B & B is available in the House.
More details here.