Ireland recently began to ease lockdown restrictions meaning outdoor attractions and the like could finally reopen – I jumped at the chance to get out of the house with the Mr and so we ended up visiting Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford.
What is Mount Congreve Gardens?
At just over six months pregnant now, I’ve been keen to spend as much time in the fresh outdoors as possible, and Mount Congreve Gardens seemed liked the perfect place to spend an afternoon locally.
Set across 70 acres of beautiful woodland gardens, Mount Congreve Gardens consists of 16km of walking paths which transport you through one of the largest collections of plants in Ireland.
Not only do they boast plants from every continent in their collection, there are many other hidden gems to discover along the way.
Booking Mount Congreve Gardens
Due to the pandemic, in order to visit we had to prebook our tickets online and specify a time slot.
Entry cost €7.00 per adult with the usual concessions in place for seniors, students and children. We booked in for 12.30pm.
Upon arrival we parked up and grabbed a couple of hot drinks from the small café at the entrance. Then we headed to the hut to present our online tickets.
It was an easy process, and we also took the opportunity to grab a park map, which came in so handy given the sheer size of Mount Congreve Gardens.
My Highlights of Mount Congreve Gardens
There are so many beautiful spots and points of interest within the estate, but my personal favourites included:
The Walled Garden
I literally felt transported as I walked through The Walled Garden, as though I’d stepped into Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.
One of the first things we discovered, it’s a stunning little spot and had some benches to take a seat on and have a relaxing moment amongst the impressive scenery.
We stumbled across the Chinese Pagoda completely by surprise as we strolled around and it was a welcome feast for the eyes.
Although viewed from a height (I’m still not sure how you gained access to it from below but I wasn’t willing to go down if I had to come back up again!) it looked stunning and the vibrant colours of the Pagoda against the backdrop of the large evergreens was just gorgeous. It is such a hidden gem, tucked away within these already gorgeous gardens.
The Main House
The Main House was built in the 1750’s by famous Waterford architect John Roberts. Whilst not open to the public, you can walk around the outside.
My absolute favourite part of Mount Congreve Gardens was walking around the Woodland Garden. It truly is a feast for the senses; the smells, the visuals, the sounds – there is nothing like it!
The sheer quantity of different flora and fauna on display is incredible – according to the website, Mount Congreve is home to over 3000 different types of trees and shrubs and 1500 different herbaceous plants, let alone everything else they’ve managed to cultivate within the space.
Tips For Visiting Mount Congreve Gardens
As I mentioned previously, due to Covid you must pre-book your tickets in advance to allow for social distancing.
When we visited, the larger restaurant wasn’t open, so we were limited to just coffees from the smaller café/ hut type thing. There is nothing to stop you bringing your own picnic/ snacks and drinks though and I’d highly recommend bringing water with you – the woodland paths can take you off on a tagent and there are some inclines.
We did end up getting lost, so the map was really helpful for us to find our way back to the main entrance – definitely pick one up at the hut before you go in. The map also has a key at the bottom that details the easiest and hardest walks you can take whilst visiting, ranging from 25 minutes to 2 hours.
We drove and there is ample parking on site – I don’t believe Mount Congreve Gardens are currently accessible by public transport due to its location. It’s also worth noting that despite being a large gardens, dogs are not permitted unless registered as guides – this is to protect the bio diversity of the environment.
There is so much to see and take in at Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford. I’d highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.
Peace & Love