It has been a very long winter and the festive days of Christmas might seem like a distant memory. But hope is on the horizon …. and Spring is very definitely on the way. For many the first sign that the dark winter gloom is coming to an end coincides with the peeping through of the first snowdrop shoots. These brave and cheerful plants are the first to make an appearance in many 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
The beautiful Bellefield House will open at 11am on Saturday 27th January to 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, and is donated to the local SPCA.
Woodville Walled Garden, Co Galway
A hidden treasure in Kilchreest, Co Galway, 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 on 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.
Burtown House – Athy
February is Snowdrop Month at Burtown House Athy. See the stunning gardens come to life. Walk amongst the snowdrops, crocuses and more in the woodland park. And when your walk is finished, then treat yourself to a bite to eat in the Green Bar Restaurant, a renowned organic restaurant serving delicious seasonal food.
On Saturday 3rd February the Snowdrop Gala is taking place in Ballykealy Manor, Co. Carlow. This promises to be an entertaining day dedicated to the first of the Spring flowers. With guest speakers, a guided tour of Altamont Gardens and a specialist plant sale, there will be no excuses not to have your garden in full bloom next Spring.
The ever popular Altamont Gardens will also be hosting Snowdrop week from Feb 12th – 18th. 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 is free and there is a small charge of €3 to have a guided tour each day at 2pm with head gardener Paul Cutler.
And just down the road, the incredible Huntington Castle will be opening its original 17th century garden on Feb 17th-18th. The gardens have been extensively restored recently. Wander the woodland walks and admire the snowdrop and spring bulb plantings.
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