At Dromoland Castle
Observe the linear water feature as you walk through the first walled garden.
The red brick walled garden is divided into three sections, the walls of the first (originally referred to as ‘The ornamental Walled garden’) and second (originally referred to as ‘The Nursery’) walled gardens are thought to date from the time of Queen Anne (1702 -1714) and the orchard section is thought to be Elizabethan (1558 – 1603).
Rainfall is recorded in the walled garden every morning and quantities are submitted to the Met office every month for the last 80 years.
The Italian Renaissance garden was inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, and intended for the pleasure of the view of the garden and the landscape beyond, for contemplation, and for the enjoyment of the sights, sounds and smells of the garden itself. The style is particularly exhibited here by the long water feature at the entrance to the garden from the castle side and the symmetrical nature of the garden, which became a stronger feature of the style in the late renaissance.
The Dromoland garden was redesigned in the early 20th century so if there were any other indications of the renaissance period they have been removed. Over time various things within the garden have changed but the original walls remain with some repairs over the years.
Historically gardens in Britain and Ireland were enclosed by high walls for horticultural reasons rather than for defense, with protection from animal or human intruders being a secondary reason. In temperate climates the essential function of the walls surrounding a walled garden is to shelter the garden from wind and frost, though they may also serve a decorative purpose. The shelter provided by enclosing walls can raise the ambient temperature within a garden by several degrees, creating a microclimate that permits plants to be grown that would not survive in the unmodified local climate.
Here at Dromoland the walls are constructed from red brick, source unknown, which absorb and retain heat from the sun and then slowly release it, raising the temperature against the wall. The first of Dromoland's three adjacent walled gardens, it is now a gloriously colourful, atmospheric and immaculately maintained place, its numerous flowerbeds filled with vividly colourful shrubs, perennials, grasses and roses (including the Lady Ethel Rose) as well as seasonal displays of bedding plants. Low brick walls, stone ornaments and formal clipped yew hedges give structure and a sense of permanence. Today it simply gives us a more beautiful and luxuriant garden to enjoy.