The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Celebrating the Irish Country House Garden


Posted by IGS

From 23rd September to late November, the IGS is hosting Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens. Click here to learn more.

Tourin, County Waterford

Andrea Jameson (Stepping through the Gate, Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens)

The present house at Tourin was built in 1840 to replace an earlier residence, incorporated into a 16th century tower house, closer to the river Blackwater. The walled garden here is approached along a gravelled broad walk, to one side of which the Victorian rock garden has recently been restored. The walk, lined with rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias, eventually reaches the entrance to the old walled garden. This lies adjacent to the old tower house and probably dates from the late 18th century. Running to several acres, it is still in active use, even though some of the original features have been lost over time. A brick-faced wall, for example, was once lined with greenhouses. Today their place has been taken by a deep bed which contains over 100 specimens of Bearded Iris that add dazzling colour here each May and June.

In the summer months, Tourin’s walled garden is replete with cutting plants such as Sweet Pea, Salvias, Agapanthus, Phlox, annual Cosmos, Sweet William and others. At a point close to the centre of the west wall, a seated bower is annually smothered in scented climbing roses. But the garden also produces generous quantities of fruit and vegetables every year. One substantial section is given over to apple trees, while plums can be found in abundance along one side of a walk. Meanwhile, the surviving greenhouse is filled with tomato and similar plants. A fenced-in area offers accommodation to a number of chickens who provide fresh eggs for Tourin’s owners. The walled garden at Tourin offers an excellent example of how such a facility can be adapted to changing times, while still remaining faithful to its original purpose.

Robert O’Byrne