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.

Blackrock Alpine Garden @ Main St. Blackrock - exact details will be forwarded nearer event
May 5 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm


Please register your intention of attending this visit at EVENTBRITE

Our first visit of the season is to an extraordinarliy well planted garden noted for its year round colour. It is the home of an member of the Alpine Garden Society who is generously sharing his garden with us. To the front are two trees of note Cercissiliquastrum and Cornus controversa Variegata with aquilegia and paeonies in abundance.

The back garden leads us along to a sunken garden and summer house using a variety of materials to divide this space into rooms. Without giving away too many spoilers look out for the snowdrop tree (Helesia diptera) and Cornus “Eddie’s White Wonder”. Herbaceous plants include Ranunculus aconitifolius, Deutiza and Myosotidium hortensia. Bring your camera!

This event is free. However a €5 donation to the owner’s chosen charity would be appreciated.

As this is a private garden, the exact location will be forwarded to attendees the weekend prior to the event.

Please register your intention of attending this visit at EVENTBRITE

Annual General Meeting 2018 @ Burrendale Hotel
May 19 – May 20 all-day

Annual General Meeting Weekend 2018


Mourne Mountains photographed by Jenny Constable

Join us for the Society’s AGM weekend and visit an outstanding selection of gardens where the Mountains of Mourne, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sweep down to the sea. South County Down has a rich heritage of horticultural excellence. Castlewellan Arboretum which along with Annes Grove in Co Cork belonged to the Annesley family has been described as “…a world-class gem”. Also world class in their time were the Slieve Donard Nursery in Newcastle and Daisy Hill Nursery in Newry, both sadly defunct but their legacy lives on in the names of some of our most beautiful plants such as Pieris japonica ‘Daisy Hill’ and the outstanding Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Slieve Donard’.

Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Slieve Donard’ photographed by Maeve Bell


Garden visits

Following the meeting which starts at 9.45am, there will be tea/coffee and scones after which we will share cars and drive the few miles to Castlewellan Forest Park; here there will be a guided tour of the Arboretum with its internationally important collection of trees and shrubs including magnolias and rhododendrons which should be in bloom. A light lunch (included in the ticket price) will be followed by a further visit to a nearby well-established private garden.  On Sunday morning we drive through the heart of the Mournes to Ballyedmond Castle on the shores of Carlingford Lough; after light refreshments in the Orangery there will be a choice of guided tours taking in among other things the kitchen garden, the magnolia walk and the newly developed woodland area. We make our own arrangements for lunch in the villages of Rostrevor and Warrenpoint before our final visit is to the garden of two knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardeners on the outskirts of Newry before a cuppa and tray bake (included in the ticket price) to fortify us for the journey home.


NB For the comfort and enjoyment of all concerned, the garden visits will be limited to 100 people.

Castlewellan Arboretum photographed by Jenny Constable



The comfortable 4* Burrendale Hotel Country Club and Spa on the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle – www.burrendale.com telephone +44 28 4372 2599 has agreed an excellent package for our stay:

One night B&B per person sharing (pps)                                £75

One night B&B pps including the AGM dinner                       £85

Two nights B&B pps including the AGM dinner                     £145

Single supplement                                                                  £20 per night.

The hotel is holding rooms for us until 14th February.  Book directly with the hotel mentioning the Irish Garden Plant Society to secure these rates. A deposit of £50 is required. After this date, although the special rate will continue, there is no guarantee of getting a room. If you wish to stay elsewhere, details of how to contact the local Council’s Visitor Information Centre can be found on www.newrymournedown.org.



There are different ticket prices depending on whether you are staying in the Burrendale Hotel or not. Be sure to have secured your accommodation in the Burrendale before making your booking so that you pay the correct amount.


  • The cost of the weekend for members who have booked the package with the Burrendale Hotel inclusive of dinner is £59.
  • If you are staying elsewhere and wish to attend the dinner on Saturday night, the cost of the weekend is £92 (£59 plus £33 for the dinner).
  • Members may bring one guest; guests pay a £10 supplement on the above prices.
  • If you have special dietary requirements, eg vegetarian, gluten-free and so on, please email Barbara Kelso (see below) with details as otherwise we won’t know to inform the hotel.
  • For further enquiries, please contact igps.northern@gmail.com or phone Barbara Kelso +44 7449 484050 or Maeve Bell +44 7713 739482.
  • Please use online booking if at all possible.


Booking will close 30th April.  As an alternative to booking online you can return the booking form in the January newsletter to Barbara Kelso, 25 Farm Lodge Drive, Greenisland, Co. Antrim BT38 8XN.



Jun 10 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Montalto is a well known wedding venue in an extensive estate with a walled garden adjoining the house, a lake, propagating houses, many architectural features, extensive planting, stable yard etc

 The head gardener PETER HARRIS who is a member of the Society will be guiding the visit and describing the future plans for this impressive estate / garden


From Belfast proceed through Ballynahinch then turn right for Spa. After about a mile the gated entrance to the estate is on the right. Follow the long drive towards the house.

Coffee / tea and biscuits included in admission.


Farewell to the Zoo with Stephen Butler. @ Dublin Zoo
Jun 23 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Book you tickets on EVENTBRITE

IGPS member and hertiage plant expert Stephen Butler will retire on the 30 June after 34 years as curator of the gardens at the Zoo. Come along and walk with him as he guides us through his years of work and how he has transformed the Zoo for both visitor and animal.

As Stephen explains, “Over the past 30 years Dublin Zoo has, like many older zoos, undergone a radical change to how animals are kept, completely changing the old style approach that had no sign of interdependence or co-evolution, and had no attempt at creating a natural habitat for the animals. Our inspiration for new developments always comes from the wild, and we try to imitate the natural habitat to stimulate not just the animals, but the zoo visitors as well, immersing them in landscaped surroundings where our design hides buildings and fences, and our planting palette reflects the wild. Many of the plants used will be familiar to gardeners, but maybe we use them differently! There are also challenges selecting plants that the animals will not eat to make their habitat more interesting.”

While the general public may visit a zoo to see and learn about the animals, Dublin Zoo has a deserved reputation as a garden in its own right attracting garden tours and horticulturalists from around the world. It is the home of Libertia Butlerii – named, as you can probebly guess, for Stephen.

The Leinster Committee hope to see as many of you as possible for this visit.

Book your tickets on EVENTBRITE

A visit to CASTLE DOBBS. @ See directions below
Jun 30 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

This castle/garden has a fascinating history and I would recommend a visit to the web site for some background information on the Dobbs family.

The present house of 1730 stands in a splendid position overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Down shore. Features include woodland, parkland and avenue trees with vestiges of a formal garden from an earlier house. There is a landscaped park for the 18th century house with a lake, a bridge and a cascade.

There is a walled garden looks that looks magnificent.

David Ledsham, with whom I’m sure you are all familiar, and a personal friend of the family, will be conducting the visit




From Belfast drive through Carrickfergus and on to Kilroot, turn left into Tongue Loanen and proceed to the entrance to the estate which will be indicated.



A visit to ASHFIELD @ Ashfield
Aug 4 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

A traditional Irish house and estate with stables, an extensive garden and surrounding planting. Fully functioning walled garden serving both the kitchen and the social needs of the family. Respecting its original layout ornamental planting surrounding the house and embracing the existing mature trees and shrubs. Within this and beyond are many Icons relating to Irish History and Mythology giving the garden a fascinating and unique atmosphere!

The remodelling of the garden was completed over several years by two of the society’s expert gardeners.

Mike Snowden, who you may know, among his many achievements, from his time as Head Gardener at Rowallane, focused on the major transformation of the walled garden.

Accomplished garden designer Angela Jupe, was responsible for re-designing other areas of the extensive gardens.

We are very fortunate to have both Mike and Angela as our guides.

NOTE – The visit is limited to 60 (Members only) and must be booked on line through EVENTBRITE(Link not yet active! – It will be activated in early June) 


From the North through Slane over the River Boyne on the N2 continue past the turn off to Newgrange approximately 2 miles turn right on to the L1013 just before Brink Service Station.

From the South N2 to Brink Service Station turn immediately on to L1013

After approximately half a mile Ashfield is on the Left with a gated entrance midway along the estate wall.




Sep 1 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm


A three acre country garden developed over thirty years. Fine specimen trees and shrubs, herbaceous beds and borders, water features, gravel garden and woodland area under-planted with shade loving plants and much, much more



From Armagh City take the Keady Road A29, drive 2.5 miles along and opposite a row of cottages, turn left into Ennislare Road, take the second left on Ennislare Road and house is first on the right.






The Delicious Edibles of our Gardens with Orlaith Murphy @ Northridge House
Sep 4 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Orlaith was one of the first participates in Carraig Dulra’s organic garden complete course in 2006. A keen allotment grower, Orlaith has a level 3 diploma in Horticulture from the RHS. She also has completed courses in Forest Gardening and most recently Geoff Lawtons Permaculture Design Course.

She is currently teaching organic gardening with the VEC in North Dublin and Tallaght and has a passion for cooking sumptuous meals with her home-grown produce. Orlaith will take us on a botanical gastro journey to discover the bounty that  hides in our gardens.

Autumn at Ballymaloe with Susan Turner @ Northridge House
Oct 2 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Susan Turner is Head Gardener at Ballymaloe House as well as Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens. An expert in her field, she has worked extensively in Israel and Germany as well as her native South Africa and brings a wealth of experience to bear on her series of gardening workshops. Susan is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of organic horticulture and has been lecturing since 1995.

This evening’s talk will be on all matters in the autumn at Ballymaloe.




Patthana through the Year with T. J. Maher @ Northridge House
Nov 6 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Patthana Garden is situated in Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow, and is the garden of artist, T. J. Maher. It opened to the public for the first time in 2017 and attracted visitors in great numbers. T. J. is a  painter and his eye for colour and colour combination has made the planting at Patthana Garden perfectly beautiful.

Join T. J. this evening for an overview of the garden through the seasons.