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Annes Grove Gardens open to public following extensive restoration works

Annes Grove Gardens. Image via the OPW

Gardens are ready to welcome visitors from Ireland and abroad for the 2022 season

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7 April 2022 | 0

Annes Grove House and Gardens near Castletownroche, Co. Cork is now open to the public, following extensive restoration works, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has announced.

After the donation of the historic estate to the State by the Annesley family in December 2015, the grounds underwent a first phase of extensive restoration works. Now, on the cusp of rare rhododendrons, magnolia and cherry trees bursting into full bloom, the gardens are ready to welcome and charm visitors from Ireland and abroad again for the 2022 season.

Based in the foothills of the Galtees only a short distance downstream on the River Awbeg from the popular Doneraile House and Demesne, the reopened gardens add to the cluster of vibrant outdoor and cultural destinations and giving national and international visitors another incentive to visit the region.

Inspired by his fellow countryman and gardener William Robinson, Richard Arthur Grove Annesley in the early twentieth century embarked on blending a new style of gardening at Annes Grove with the added panache of exotic blooms, grown from seeds collected by the famous plant-hunter Frank Kingdon-Ward on his expeditions to Burma, Yunnan Province, Tibet and Bhutan.

That this garden – as well as other famous Irish gardens at Garinish Island, Kilmacurragh and Fota – have survived, is testament to a labour of love by the families involved and now the OPW, supported back then and now by Glasnevin Directors.

Over the past five years, the OPW has sensitively restored the fragile environments of the Walled and Woodland Gardens for visitors to enjoy, and the restoration of the third, the Riverside Garden, continues. While we are only at the start of beginning to understand the creation of these magical places, the OPW is developing skills to protect and care for them, leading to interpretation and opportunities for visitors to tap into their potential to inspire and delight.

Opening the gardens in the presence of the Annesley family and many invited guests, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan., said: “I wish to thank the Annesley family for their generosity of spirit, ensuring the legacy of previous generations is secured by donating this important historical estate to the State and thereby sharing it with us all. I have no doubt Annes Grove will become a vibrant destination for visitors and will provide significant support to the economic and cultural development in the North Cork region.

Outlining the next phase of works already underway at Annes Grove, Minister O’Donovan added: “Howley Hayes Cooney have been appointed by the OPW to oversee the conservation of the buildings on this estate. The OPW is on track to lodge a planning application in 2022 for the conservation of the main house, ancillary buildings in the farmyard, for car and bus parking and staff facilities. All of these works will contribute to creating a world-class visitor experience at Annes Grove to rival the very best existing sites throughout Ireland.”

The gardens will be accessible by paid guided tour only from 8 April to 22 September. Visitors can look forward to learning more about the history of the estate and Grove Annesley family, of the garden itself and the philosophy behind its design, and also about the workings of the Irish country estate in the past. History and art events will take place throughout the summer months. A coffee van and seating area are located on the Bleach Green by the house, offering visitors the opportunity for picnics and refreshments immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.

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