It’s hard to believe that it’s twelve months since I last wrote about Carlow Garden Festival. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to share details with you of all the beautiful gardens we’re lucky to have on our doorstep, yet here we are again with another festival about to begin. So whether you’re passing through the second smallest county in Ireland, or better still staying for a few days, the ten-day garden festival held in County Carlow every summer is an opportunity to see the best of Carlow’s gardens up close and personal. All of the following gardens attract celebrities for walks and talks during the garden festival, but most are open throughout the year. Read on for more information.
I’ve written about the Delta Centre before, having visited the twenty interconnecting but quite different sensory gardens for the Christmas light display. Promising to return in the springtime to see the many, different varieties of daffodils growing there, it only needed a meeting of friends with the suggestion of tea and cake in the friendly on-site café to find me there once more.
The daffodils were a bright and cheery splash of yellow throughout…
and it was uplifting to watch the bees begin to emerge and feed upon the various yellow blooms…
possibly as a result of the shelter they’d found in one of several gorgeous bug hotels.
We tried not to get wet as the wind whipped the water around us from the magnificent dandelion clock inspired water feature…
and watched the Koi Carp swimming around the lake and under the bridge towards the sunken boat.
We couldn’t help ourselves and had to stroke several giant sculptures featured in almost all of the gardens.
It was the alpine plants growing in the middle of the waist-high limestone wall that stole the show for me during this springtime visit. If they had been planted in beds on the ground we would have missed their exquisite blooms.
If you have an opportunity to visit the Delta Centre sensory gardens on Saturday, 29th March, Deborah Begley from Terra Nova Gardens, Dromin, Co Limerick will be giving a light-hearted talk. For more information on the talk or for opening hours for the gardens in general, telephone +353(0)599143527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – Admission: adults €5, concessions €4, children free accompanied by an adult.
We usually visit gardens by day but there’s one series of gardens that simply must be seen during the winter darkness and they’re at The Delta Centre in Carlow.
From the 7th to the 22nd December the twenty multi sensory gardens are lit up with sparkling lights, helping to create a magical place that appeals to both young and old alike.
If you wish, you can take a map or follow a trail game that can help you find your way along the pathways that weave their way through the themed gardens. Alternatively just meander around and try not to trip up as your eyes dart from the skeleton trees to tall sculptures that entice you to touch and feel their varied textures, however cold your fingertips might feel on a winter’s night.
Whilst the interconnecting multi sensory gardens will fill you with inspiration during the rest of the year, during the cold December evenings they’ll leave you with a sense of wonder that once experienced, will never be forgotten.
The Delta Centre provides training and multi sensory services to adults with intellectual disabilities and all funds raised there help to support their services. As such there’s a small admission fee to the gardens of €5 for adults, €4 for concessions with children free and they are open until 7.00 pm for the Christmas light show and Craft Fair.
When you’ve finished wandering around outside and can’t wait any longer to warm up, you can pop into the very reasonably priced Christmas craft shop that’s bursting with garlands and decorations before heading into the café for hot drinks and sticky cakes to round off your evening.
I last visited the multi sensory gardens in December 2008 with two young girls aged five and eight – five years later their memories are of fairy like enchantment.
This time around my visit was with two groups of community gardening adults who have informed me that not only did they thoroughly enjoy the experience, they can’t wait to go back for a daylight trip to see the spring daffodil display.
For more information about the Delta Sensory Garden light show, check out their website here and apologies for the photo quality which really don’t do it justice!
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