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Ireland’s Walled Garden Study Day, Russborough

Ireland’s Walled Garden Study Day, Russborough, Friday 2nd September 2016

The Irish Georgian Society, Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland and Wicklow County Council are collaborating to deliver a study day, which will explore and celebrate the history and significance, and the care and conservation of Irish historic country houses’ walled kitchen gardens. Book HERE

Designed to provide a continual supply of fruit, flowers and vegetables, the walled kitchen gardens of Ireland evolved over four centuries to facilitate the requirements of the big house. Few remain in productive use today, but thousands survive in various stages of dilapidation across the country, bearing testament to the changing horticultural demands, technologies and fashions of the past. Invariably ornamental as well as productive, they varied in size, shape and layout, whilst their location was a balance between convenience to the house and the prevailing landscape style of the day. Associated features usually included frame yards, slips, orchards and forcing grounds, together with hot walls (in older gardens), conservative walls, dipping ponds, ranges of different glasshouses (vineries, peach houses, cold frames and pits), boiler and coke houses, extensive ranges of potting sheds, a variety of fruit, vegetable and root stores, tool houses and staff accommodation.

An integral part of the Irish country house demesne, however, being labour intensive to maintain, the fate of the walled garden has been bleak and by the middle of the 20th century the majority became neglected, abandoned and overgrown and many eradicated. Notwithstanding the odds, in the last two decades a number of Ireland’s country houses’ walled kitchen gardens have benefited from considered conservation and restoration. However, underpinning these endeavours to bring the walled gardens back to life must be a commitment to fully understand, research and survey them prior to commencing works, as well as appraising the impact any future adaption will have on their historic fabric and features.

This study day will equip architects, planners, landscape architects and designers, horticulturalists, as well as the historic country house owners, with an understanding of the significance of the historic country house’s walled kitchen garden and the knowledge to recognize historically important features which should be maintained and conserved.

Attendance at the study day is recognised as Continuing Professional Development by the Irish Planning Institute, Irish Landscape Institute and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.

Speakers include: Iain Davies; Dr Edward Diestelkamp; Margaret Gormely; Kevin Halpenny; Belinda Jupp; Klaus Laitenberger; Terence Reeves-Smyth; Finola Reid; Susan Roundtree; and Dr Daphne Shackleton.

The study day will conclude with a guided tour of Russborough’s walled garden with Denise Gill, Chairperson of the RHSI’s Gardens Committee.

Venue: Russborough (The Hippodrome), Blessington, County Wicklow.

Price: €90 or (€80 for IGS & RHSI members) to include lunch/tea & coffee. Book HERE

Image courtesy of RHSI