Upcoming Events

Members are eligible to attend events in any part of Ireland, so don’t limit your browsing to your own location. The categorisation by geographic region is for administration and organisational purposes only.

Non-members are very welcome at our events though there will be a charge for insurance purposes. Do come along and join us and, perhaps, become a member.

We occasionally list events of other groups in the ‘Other Events’ category, generally for groups we regularly work with. These are not part of the official IGPS programme but may be of interest to members.

The Role of Urban Gardens in Pollinator Conservation @ National Botanic Gardens
Apr 20 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Dr Jane Stout of Trinity College Dublin will explain how bee and hoverfly decline has stimulated widespread concern and actions, public and private, to conserve pollinators. This talk will address the challenges to pollinator conservation in urban areas, discuss current research both in Ireland and elsewhere, and introduce guidelines developed by the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Role of Pollinators

Organised with the Alpine Garden Society & the Irish Garden Plant Society

Annual General Meeting 2017 @ The County Arms Hotel
May 13 – May 14 all-day

Annual General Meeting 2017



Online booking will close 8th May  – see bottom of this page.  As an alternative to booking online you can return the booking form in the January newsletter to Ricky Shannon, 48 Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.


The AGM this year will be located in Birr, Co. Offaly, over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of May. This heritage town is wall laid out with the four principal streets opening off Emmet Square with lovely Georgian houses and terraces, notably in Oxmantown Mall and St. John’s Mall. The County Arms Hotel is situated about a ten minute’s easy stroll from the centre of the town. It has been renovated recently and has plenty of car-parking spaces and is surrounded by well-kept gardens. There are inviting nooks in the reception area to sit and renew friendships from previous years. The AGM will be held in The Garden Room on the ground floor.


The Parsons family, of Birr Castle, has been associated with the town since the 17th century and, indeed, for a period the town was known as Parsonstown. The castle, gardens and giant telescope are of international importance. The 3rd Earl of Rosse was an internationally known astronomer while his wife, Mary Wilmer Field, was a pioneer photographer. Her dark room has been preserved and has been relocated to the Science Centre.


Many of the rarest trees in the garden date back to the 1920s. In the 1940s they received seeds of the recently discovered Metasequoia and there is a fine specimen in the gardens from that period. The garden also boasts the tallest box hedges. Michael, 6th Earl of Rosse, and his wife, Anne Messel of Nymans, visited China after their marriage and made contacts which lead to the introduction of many interesting species to the gardens. The 6th Earl was responsible for starting the extensive collection of magnolias and May is the most colourful month in the garden when they and the camellias are in full bloom. Brendan, the present Earl, and his wife, Alison, have continued this tradition for the past thirty years visiting North Pakistan, Mongolia and China in their search for new and interesting material for the garden.

In complete contrast, Lough Boora Discovery Park, a twenty minute drive from Birr, is a wonderfully conserved natural peatland habitat. Originally a peat harvesting site, it has been turned into a spectacular haven for animals, birds and plants. Two local botanists will accompany us on our visit and, for those interested in birds, there is a thatched bird hide. The park is actively involved in reintroducing the Corncrake and the Grey Partridge – so bring your binoculars! Members who feel they would like to cover more ground can hire bikes or bring their own. Much of the old equipment and tools used I harvesting the peat have been used to make many of the fascinating sculptures positioned around the park.

We will also visit two private gardens over the weekend: One, on Oxmanstown Mall, is a small garden recently restored. The designer will be there to explain the renovation. The other garden, a short twenty minute drive away, is an old walled garden, full of interesting plants and treed. There will be plants for sale here.

Please use the online link to make bookings. It is much simpler and easier to administer that the use of posted forms and cheques:   BOOK HERE ON EVENTBRITE

Tourin House and Lismore Castle @ Tourin House
May 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Our outing will visit two gardens in the Blackwater valley.

We will meet at 11.00 a.m. at Tourin House where we will tour the garden and stay for a light lunch. This will be at a cost of €15 per person, which you can pay on the day.

Tourin, Co. Waterford  is home to the Jameson sisters whose name is synonymous with Irish Whiskey.  The house is situated 5 km from Cappoquin and Lismore and overlooks the River Blackwater.  The Italianate style house dates to 1840 and features a fine double oak staircase.  The garden extends to over 2 hectares and includes a walled garden.  There is a good collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias.  Included in the rare and mature trees is a Champion London Plane Tree   www.tourin-house.ie

After lunch we will continue on to Lismore Castle for 2.30 p.m. The admission charge here is €6.50 per person (a discounted price based on our group being 10 or more).

These gardens contain a fine collection of magnolias, herbaceous borders, camellias and rhododendrons.  There is also a remarkable yew walk and a contemporary sculpture trail.  Set on 7 acres the garden is divided into the Upper Garden which is a complete example of a 17th century walked garden.  Constructed by the 1st Earl of Cork is dates to about 1605.  The Lower Garden dates from the 19th century and was created by the 6th Duke of Devonshire.  It has an informal collection of trees, shrubs and lawns.

Lismore Castle Arts Gallery is located in the west wing of the castle.  There is also a cafe for light snacks and a plant sales area.  www.lismorecastlearts.ie


View to church (3)

A view across the gardens at Lismore Castle

 In fairness to those preparing lunch please let Margaret know if you intend joining us on this outing by Wednesday 17th. 

Castle with Magnolia soulangeana (5)

Lismore Castle – Don’t forget to contact Margaret if you intend joining us for this day out

Garden Visits – Killinchy, County Down @ Killinchy, County Down
May 27 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm


We will visit two gardens on this occasion: 


This young garden on Strangford Lough explores a range of habitats across five acres from saltwater to boulder clay.

At the water’s edge, the artist Katherine Nixon has defined a landmark barn, original stackyard and potager. Further south-west, a courtyard collection of flowering shrubs and perennials, mostly scented and many from the house in south County Dublin where Katherine was born. These provide all-year-round privacy, shelter and a succession of tableaux vivants .

On the other side of the Ballydorn Road, two small chemical-free meadows, copses, a well and turlough support an increasing variety of wildlife including self-sown orchids and James Nixon’s honey bees. There are amazing open views from the top of the drumlin. Elsewhere, everywhere, a fine balance is struck between containment and seeing through to the wider world.

This is a sensual garden at every level. PLEASE DO TOUCH, smell, taste, look and listen..

N.B. Very limited parking on roadside. Suggest leave cars at Public Car Park on main Whiterock Road opposite Daft Eddy’s and double up for last leg to the verge by the field opposite the garden. No parking in lane.

Shelter in barn and conservatory for those who wish to bring a picnic.

Light lunches suggestions,  Daft Eddy’s Café or Restaurant; Mufflers at Balloo; Old Post Office, Lisbane.





The Gass’s moved to this garden just nine years ago, so you need to view it as a young project.

Knox is attempting to divide it up into various areas, but this still requires time to become effective. There is a small ‘woodland’ area, a large lawn bordered by shrubs and trees, herbaceous borders each timed for different seasons, a fruit cage, propagation and a composting area. There are still corners where work is ongoing in this evolving garden.

Knox is looking forward to our visit and anticipates that you will encounter some plants with which you are unfamiliar.




Summer Outing to Tullynally Castle @ Tullynally Castle
Jun 17 @ 12:00 am – 12:00 am

This is simply an advance note to tell members that our summer lunch outing this year will be to Tullynally Castle, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath.

Booking for the event will not open until mid May but the following link will whet your appetite and might encourage you to join us for the day out: TULLYNALLY CASTLE



Photograph “borrowed” from the Tullynally Castle website – see the link above for more images and information.

Summer Lunch at Tullynally Castle @ Tullynally Castle
Jun 17 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Tullynally Castle  Lunch and guided tour of gardens

A light lunch followed by guided tour of the gardens at 2.30 p.m.  Cost includes admission, lunch and guided tour.


The Gardens at Tullynally date back over 350 years.  The Pakenhams settle here in the 17th century and three generations still live here as their family home.  The layout of the gardens and magnificent parkland date mainly from the early 1800s, but the present owners, Thomas and Valerie Pakenham have added many new features. To appreciate this wonderful garden a look at their website www.tullynallycastle.ie is recommended.  You will also find a map indicating how to find the location.

A booking link will be added here after May 15th or you may book by returning booking form to Ricky Shannon, 48 Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.


Garden Visit: Doreen Wilson’s Garden @ Doreen Wilson's Garden
Jul 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm


Although the original house and garden are 35 years old, it was only in the past 10 years, when the owner retired, that much gardening has taken place. Trees and hedges were planted as a shelter belt from the cold frosts that roll down from the Craigantlet Hills and the strong westerlies that blow up from Strangford Lough. Largely a country garden with a wide variety of herbaceous plants, some unusual shrubs including ‘Emmenopterys henryi’ and a productive vegetable garden with a small overflowing greenhouse. There is a pergola planted with wisteria and a walkway with a variety of roses leading to a secret Summer House. A small sheltered pool in a courtyard is surrounded with pots of pelargoniums which should be flowering in July. This is not a designer garden, as more plants are acquired more lawn is surrendered. The garden is managed completely organically and the owner is a fanatical composter. Partially suitable for wheelchairs,

Doreen will provide Coffee, Tea, etc., (not included in entry fee)

Location: From Dundonald take the A20 and turn left onto the Belfast Road (past Old Mill coffee shop). Turn right into Ballyrogan Road and first left into Ballyrogan Park.

Visit to Josh & Mary Wilkinson, Skryne, Co. Meath @ Skryne
Jul 15 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Saturday, 15th July, at 2.30 p.m.  Visit to Josh and Mary Wilkinson at Skryne, Co. Meath.   

**********       NUMBERS LIMITED TO 25.    **********


This has been described by some of our members as one of the most beautiful and tidiest vegetable gardens they have ever seen.

Cornus kousa (7)

Directions from the M50.  Take the N3 for Cavan/Navan – this will shortly become the M3. There is a Toll along this motorway.  Continue for 32 kilometres and take R147 signposted Skryne.  Drive a further 4 kilometres.  Our turn is first on left hand side – L50000 this is a narrow road.  House is on the right side and will be indicated – we will enter by one gateway and exit by the other.

There will be tea/coffee and some tray bakes.  Donation  to Multiple Sclerosis – to Ricky on the day.

Kirsten Walker,  has kindly invited us to her nursery which is nearby in Skryne.  Directions will be given on the day to those participating.   Bookings by E-mail to shannon.ricky2@gmail.com or by texting a message to Ricky at 086 3511281.

There will be no admission charge to the garden but a donation to “Multiple Sclerosis Ireland” has been suggested — talk to Ricky when booking!


Visit to Aughentaine Estate garden @ Aughentaine Estate garden
Jul 22 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Saturday 22nd July 2017 at 12.30 p.m.
Visit to Aughentaine Estate garden,
James and Cora Hamilton Stubber
Aughentaine, Aghintain Road, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone, BT75 0LH
Designed in the mid 1950’s by Percy Crane, and created over the last 50 years by Mrs John Hamilton Stubber, the extensive gardens at Aughentaine cover some 12 acres and are on an elevated site with magnificent views.  They range from formal terraced herbaceous borders to planted parkland, a walled kitchen garden and an attractive woodland glen sheltering a collection of specimen rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and trees.
Please bring a picnic lunch and arrive by 12.30pm.  Cora has very kindly offered to provide a pudding for after the picnic, as well as tea/coffee.  After lunch, there will be a tour of the garden by James Hamilton Stubber and head gardener, Barbara Carleton. There will also be a plant sales table and members are asked to bring along their contributions to add to those provided by the head gardener.
Location / Directions
(NB. Aughentaine is approx. 1 ½ hours drive from east coast Co. Antrim and Co. Down)
Make your way to the M1 and take it westwards towards Dungannon where it becomes the A4. Follow signs for Enniskillen passing through Clogher to Fivemiletown. At the first mini roundabout in Fivemiletown turn right for the B122 to Fintona; after 50 yards turn right again on a sharp left hand bend (also signed B122 to Fintona).
Then go down hill, passing church on right. At the bottom of the hill, on a left hand bend, turn right into Aghingowly Road, passing gates to “Blessingbourne” on right. After approximately 2½ miles turn right at T junction, the gates to Aughentaine will be ½ mile on left after left-hand bend over stone bridge.
Admission: Members free, visitors £5.  All proceeds from the visit will go to the IGPS
Lismacloskey Rectory Garden at Ulster Folk Museum @ Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
Aug 9 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Lismacloskey IGPS Volunteers, 30th Anniversary Garden Day

IGPS and museum volunteers invite you to join them in celebrating their 30th year of tending the Lismacloskey Rectory garden at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, County Down. ( http://nmni.com/uftm )

The Rectory Garden, Lismacloskey (4)

In co-operation with the Folk Museum the volunteers are hosting a garden event day with a variety of activities including flower arranging, lavender bag making, paper flower making, a talk on bee-keeping and a talk on the history of Lismacloskey.  There will also be a plant sale with an opportunity to buy some of the Lismacloskey heritage plants.

Visitors can also explore the 50 restored and authentically furnished rural and town exhibits. Set in over 170 acres of rolling countryside, telling the story of life in 19th and early 20th century Ulster.

Admission (normally £9) is FREE for IGPS members and any of their guests over the age of 50.  NO BOOKING REQUIRED – Please bring your IGPS Membership Card