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Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open
January to December: Daily 10.00 - 17.00; Closed Good Friday and Christmas Week. Contact the park for details of availability of castle tours during the winter months.
March to October: Daily 09.30 - 18.00; Last Bus to Castle 16.45 and from the Castle 17.45; Closed Good Friday
November to February: Daily 09.00 - 17.00; Last bus to Castle 16.00 and from Castle 16.45; Closed over Christmas.
Guided Tours: Access to the Castle by guided tour only. (Videos/cameras not permitted on tour). Max. No: 20
Gardens & Park and Castle, Adult €5; Group & Over 60s €3; Child/Student €2; Family/Season €10.00
Bus prices €3, Concession €2
Guided Walks or Guided Garden Tours: €5.00 Adult; €3.00 Concession.
Parking at Visitor Center, shuttle bus to Castle & Gardens.
Extraordinary landscape setting,
Jardin Potager, Italianate features,
Statues, pots, woodland walks, walled garden,
Letterkenny Ramelton Milford
The centrepiece of Glenveagh National Park is the Castle and surrounding 27-acre Gardens, set above Lough Veagh encircled by high peat-blanketed mountains in the middle of the Donegal highlands. Nowhere in Ireland is the contrast so marked between the wild and rugged landscape and the carefully nurtured gardens. Starting from a long irregular lawn visitors can enjoy in all directions the encircling herbaceous plants backed by colourful shrubs and trees. Corokia cotoneaster (wire netting bush) and Cornus alba Elegantissima (variegated dogwood) are growing beside the stream.
Glenveagh, like a number of other Irish gardens with acid, peaty soils, is notable for its great variety of rhododendrons, both species and hybrids. The fine specimens of the large-leaved species Rhododendron falconeri and R. sinogrande were transplanted from the gardens at Mulroy House in about 1950. Beneath these plants R. maddenii is growing successfully. To the right of the path is Fatsia japonica (castor oil plant), which is usually seen indoors.
Since most rhododendrons and magnolias flower in late spring or early summer great care has been taken to provide Glenveagh with a range of plants that create interest throughout the season. The large palm-like leaves of Dicksonia antarctica (a tree fern), Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm) and the apple-green leaves of Trochodendron aralioides, give striking examples of different foliage types.
Statues, urns and other sculptural works are a feature of Glenveagh. Some are used as part of very formal elements in the garden, others in less formal settings as in the Pleasure Gardens. Many items are Italian, but the statues here are from Bali. Plants in this area include Eucryphia glutinosa, Pseudopanax crassifolius, Acacia melanoxylon and Senecio eleagnifolium along with some small-leaved rhododendrons, R. davidsonianum, R. augustinii and R. cinnabarinum. Looking across the Pleasure Grounds you can see tall specimens of Nothofagus obliqua and N. dombeyi (southern beech) and nearby, two magnolias, M. salicifolia and M. tripetala ('umbrella tree').
This is a paradise for plantsmen and gardeners keen on seeing fine and unusual specimens. Glenveagh has so much on offer that a whole day can be spent taking in the Vistor Centre displays, extensive lakeside and mountain walks, the beautifully furnished Castle and remarkable Gardens.
A hundred years ago the site of Glenveagh Gardens was a barren, boggy hillside, sloping down to the newly built castle on the windswept shore of Lough Veagh. Much of the general layout of the gardens and some of the earlier plantings date from the ownership of Mrs. Adair. That earlier work laid the basis, and more specifically provided valued shelter, for more recent plantings.
The transformation of Glenveagh into one of Ireland's foremost gardens, with a rich variety of rare, delicate and beautiful plants laid out in an artistic manner, is the work of the late Henry McIlhenny. He owned Glenveagh for over 40 years from 1937, and the gardens received a great deal of personal attention from him every year until 1983. His own artistic sense and knowledge of plants were augmented by the expert advice, successively, of Jim Russell and Lanning Roper.
Their plans were carried out by the dedicated staff of the Glenveagh estate, particularly Matt Armour who came here in 1930, and served as head gardener throughout Mr. McIlhenny's years, until he retired officially in 1983. In 1984 the Office of Public Works assumed responsibility for the Castle and gardens, and opened them to the public.