Winter at Farmleigh.

When the sun shines in winter, the spirits are lifted if you can get outside to enjoy it. One of my favourite walks is through Dublin’s Phoenix Park, a city centre park with 707 hectares of mature trees, herds of deer and gaslit lamps. In the north-west corner lies Farmleigh,the Irish State guest house and formerly a residence of the Guinness family.

Sculpture in front of the house and conservatory, Farmleigh.

Sculpture in front of the house and conservatory, Farmleigh.

The mark of a good garden is that it retains good bones in the winter months when the structure is exposed and Farmleigh is blessed with many mature trees, yew hedging, formal and informal ponds, the most lovely Dutch-style sunken garden as well as a formal walled kitchen garden.

The yew-hedged walk, with Melianthus major, leading to the Stone temple in the walled garden.

The yew-hedged walk, with Melianthus major, leading to the Stone temple in the walled garden.

In summer the herbaceous borders are awash with colour, but in winter the walled garden is a lovely sheltered spot to savour the low winter sunlight.

A Lutyens-style bench in front of the Victorian greenhouses

A Lutyens-style bench and olive tree in front of the Victorian greenhouses

Farmleigh

Through the yew hedge to the last of the roses, Rosa Lady Ardilaun

Farmleigh

 

There are intriguing sculptures scattered in this large estate, this enormous copper ball particularly lovely in the setting sun.

Sculptural surprise at Farmleigh

Sculptural surprise at Farmleigh

The eye is led onwards through giant yew spirals, through an ornate gate, to the Edwardian sunken garden with its beautiful fountain of Carrera marble and fun peacock topiary.

Yew spiral topiary, Farmleigh

Topiary at Farmleigh

 

The sunken garden, Farmleigh

There are always lots of activities happening in the old stables area – exhibitions, farmers’ markets, carol singing, as well as a restaurant overlooking the informal pond. It was clear that an event was on the calendar as giant lanterns were being laid out throughout the grounds.

Farmleigh

Sitting by the formal pond

Sitting by the formal pond

The standard of maintenance is very high and it is overseen by Head Gardener Noel Forde, who formerly worked here for the Guinness family. It is the small touches which elevate this garden too – the hedge of hollies, the bank of ferns in a shady corner.

Head Gardener Noel Forde, centre, with Ger and Marcus in front of the old dairy

Head Gardener Noel Forde, centre, with Ger and Marcus in front of the old dairy.

The beautiful stained glass in the marble lined dairy.

The beautiful stained glass in the marble lined dairy.

 Entrance to the gardens, and most events, is free. This is a beautiful garden in the spring and summer months but there is still much to enjoy on a sunny winter’s day and lots of activities in the coming weeks.

Christmas wreath at the poolside restaurant.

Christmas wreath at the pondside restaurant.

To read more about the Christmas markets, storytelling and carol singing :   Farmleigh.

14 thoughts on “Winter at Farmleigh.

    • Thank you Agnes. The dairy, sadly not opened to the public, is stunning – all marble and granite with beautiful stained glass. The house too is lovely – all free to visit .. as long as there are no Presidents or Queens staying.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I could spend hours at a place like this. It really is beautiful and I am sure it looks different every season of the year. I like the wreath with all the food attached.

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