2021 Award Winners BEST GARDENS & GARDEN STAYS 2021


BEST GARDENS & GARDEN STAYS 2021


BEST GARDENS & GARDEN STAYS 2021

VISITOR ATTRACTION: Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden Connemara Co Galway

Always immaculate, even during a pandemic, and with many unique and endearing features that other tourist attractions would sell their souls for, this dramatically located Benedictine Abbey offers a surprising range of things to see - and, despite the numbers of visitors who normally pour out of tour buses in high season, there has always been a satisfying emphasis on quality and sense of place. A short distance from the main visitor centre, the nuns run a farm and the restored Victorian Walled Garden, which is now Ireland’s premier Heritage Garden, specialising in Victorian plant varieties. It supplies the ingredients for the many jams and preserves that are made by the Benedictine community to use in their cafés and sell in the shop, and Head Chef John O’Toole (whose mother ran a charming B&B nearby for many years) ensures that all of the good food served is made freshly on the premises. Inspired by Victorian and traditional style baking and cooking, the kitchens use the nuns' recipes and proudly showcase their own produce and other locally sourced ingredients. The sense of calm and orderly beauty at Kylemore Abbey is always restorative, and never more so than in these traumatic times.

COUNTRY HOUSE & HERITAGE GARDENS: Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens Campile Co Wexford

Mark and Emma Hewlett’s peaceful Georgian country house is set in seven acres of Heritage Gardens where the Three Sister rivers, the Suir, the Barrow and the Nore meet, and they are members of the Wexford Garden Trail. Offering pet friendly ‘boutique B&B’, it’s very much a family home rather than a hotel, with elegantly furnished rooms in the main house, also newer rooms and self-catering suites in an adjoining coach house, which allow for greater independence – and, as well as light daytime food in the conservatory café, dinner in the Peacock Dining Room is normally available by reservation. An organic ‘potager design’ vegetable garden supplies the kitchens and Mark and Emma have invested in quality outdoor furniture, so guests can eat al fresco in style as well as safety. The gardens are fascinating, with much to interest everyone, whether you are on a tour, a serious horticulturist, a keen historian or just having a family day out (the Fairy Village will delight little people). A thoughtful recent addition is a peaceful Memory Garden, designed as a place of solace and reflection, and also a new Shinrin-yoku Forest Bathing offering. A place to relax and to reconnect with nature.

HISTORIC GARDEN STAY & DINE: Burtown House & Garden Athy Co Kildare

On the Carlow-Kildare border, just 10 minutes' drive west of Athy, Burtown House is an early Georgian villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, parkland walks and farmland. It is one of only two houses in Co Kildare to have remained in the original family and has connections to the Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Latterly it was home to the late Wendy Walsh, one of Ireland’s finest botanical artists and a wonderful gardener. Her favourite specimens are established here in the gardens that her daughter Lesley, also a highly regarded painter, and her son James Fennell, the photographer (best known for the famous Vanishing Ireland series, with words by his historian friend Turtle Bunbury of nearby Lisnavagh), have extended and improved. Burtown is a member of the Carlow Garden Trail and a must-visit when planning a trip to the Kildare/Carlow area - and it is also a wonderful place to stay, with a range of characterful and very comfortable self catering options (house, apartment, studio...) on the property. And, of course, Burtown is also home to The Green Barn Restaurant & Shop, which overlooks the walled kitchen gardens and outdoor garden rooms, and Jo’s Pantry which stocks goodies like homemade pestos, hummus and dips, all made to recipes that Joanna has perfected over the years.

BOUTIQUE HOTEL & GARDENS: Marlfield House Gorey Co Wexford

Once the residence of the Earls of Courtown, this famous Blue Book property outside Gorey was opened as a luxury hotel in 1978 by Mary and the late Ray Bowe. Their daughters, Margaret and Laura, now continue the family tradition of outstanding hospitality - and, while they treasure the traditional qualities of Marlfield House, they have broadened its appeal. Beautiful grounds include a fine kitchen garden and, since 2015, the lovely café-restaurant, The Duck, has charmed visitors and local diners alike with its informal style and doors opening onto a terrace beside the immaculately maintained fruit and vegetable beds, which are awash with roses as well as garden produce all summer. Accommodation options have also widened to include Duck Lodge, a contemporary 2-bedroom self-catering cottage, and, most recently, the luxurious waterside Pond Suites in the gardens opened during the pandemic, all of which has made a visit to Marlfield even more irresistible. And - as well as their own extensive gardens and woodland - other gardens in the general area that are open to the public include Ram House, Mount Usher, Powerscourt, Altamont and Kilmokea.
 


Kylemore over the lake
100%
5 votes

Kylemore Abbey, Mitchell's Café & Garden House

Letterfrack, Co. Galway
Baking/Bakery / Café / Preserves / Restaurant
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Providing you are tolerant of tour buses and high season crowds, this dramatically located Benedictine Abbey offers a surprising range of things to see: a brief stroll from the abbey along the wooded shore leads to the Gothic church, for example, which ...
95%
18 votes

Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens

Campile, Co. Wexford
Café / Country House
2 euro Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Mark and Emma Hewlett’s peaceful and relaxing late Georgian country house is set in seven acres of Heritage Gardens, including formal walled gardens. The house is elegantly and comfortably furnished, with a drawing room overlooking the Italian ...
IMG_8539 (1).jpg
92%
47 votes

Marlfield House and The Duck Cafe-Restaurant

Gorey, Co. Wexford
Country House / Restaurant
For Cooking & Service Well Above Average Deluxe Accommodation Has Good Hotel Guide Url Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Often quoted as ‘the luxury country house hotel par excellence’, this impressive house outside Gorey was once the residence of the Earls of Courtown, and is now an elegant oasis of unashamed luxury offering outstanding hospitality and servi ...
100%
7 votes

Burtown House, Green Barn and Gardens

Athy, Co. Kildare
Café / Speciality Store
A selection of establishments outside the standard categories that should enhance the discerning travellers experience of Ireland Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Just 10 minutes' drive west of Athy, Burtown House is an early Georgian villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, parkland walks and farmland .  It is one of only two houses in Co Kildare to have remained in the original family, and an extraordinari ...


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