It’s a couple of weeks into January and the excitement of Christmas might seem like a distant memory. But fear not! There is a different type of excitement in the air with the imminent arrival of Spring. One of the first signs is the peeping through of little green snowdrop shoots – and we have it on very good authority that because of our mild Christmas this year’s display is pretty spectacular. These brave and cheerful plants are making an appearance in Irish gardens. So it’s no surprise that they have their very own event dedicated just to them. All over the country, stately homes and gardens are celebrating the arrival of the snowdrops. Below are just a few of our favourite events, but check out www.inspireme.ie for even more snowdrop walks close to you.
Bellefield House, Shinrone Co Offaly
First to throw open its doors is the beautiful Bellefield House in Shinrone, Co. Offaly. From Jan 22nd to 10th Feb the magnificent gardens will open from 11 to 4.30 each day. You can view Angela Jupe’s world-famous snowdrop collection. There are over 300 varieties on display including white, yellow and green specimens. The entry fee is just €5. So be sure to put this on your list of day trips over the coming weeks.
Woodville Walled Garden, Co Galway
In Kilchreest, Co Galway, the beautiful Woodville Walled Garden will be opening its doors on February 1st. All are welcome to view the famous snowdrop collection and to marvel at the array of other winter flowering plants and shrubs. And if you get your timing right, you can have a guided tour at 2pm each Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Expert head gardener Marie will be able to reveal the secrets of how such a wonderful garden is established and maintained. And on Saturday 9th Feb the 8th Annual Snowdrop Event will be taking place with guest speaker, the internationally renowned Maurice Parkinson of Ballyrobert Gardens in Co Antrim. His talk entitled “Making the best of Snowdrops in the Garden” will be followed by a guided tour of the Woodville gardens by Marie.
Shankill Castle, Co Kilkenny
In Shankill Castle in Co Kilkenny the spectacular Spring bulbs are on display throughout the month of February. The Castle grounds are covered in a carpet of snowdrops so this is an opportunity not to be missed. For €10 you can have a tour of the castle and gardens. And afterwards why not relax in the Coach House Café for a tasty treat.
Burtown House – Athy, Co Kildare
February is also Snowdrop Month at Burtown House Athy. See the stunning gardens come to life. Walk amongst the snowdrops on the magnificent sweeping avenue under the old horse chestnut tree. With crocuses and other early spring bulbs throughout the woodland park this is the perfect opportunity to keep those New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise in gorgeous surrounding
Altamont Gardens, Co. Carlow
The ever popular Altamont Gardens in Tullow, Co Carlow will also be hosting Snowdrop walks from Feb 1st to 28th. This is always a highlight of the early Spring calendar, and a great opportunity to see one of the largest collections of snowdrops in Ireland. At last count there were over 100 named varieties behind the walls. Admission to the garden €3 which includes a guided tour each day at 2pm with head gardener Paul Cutler.
These are just a few of the snowdrop events taking place around the country. All details were correct at time of publication but please check with individual organisers before you travel.