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Truly a heavenly garden with everything from herbaceous borders to a bluebell wood.

Co Carlow
website Contact Altamont
Tel: +353 59 915 9444

Please mention when enquiring.


Opening Months: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
Opening Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Opening Hours: Daily: 9am. to 7.30pm.
Admission Charge: Free (except for pre-booked guided tours adults €2.75, OAP €2)
  • Appointment Only
  • Admission Charge

There are places that have a special indefinable magic about them and Altamont is abundantly one of them. It could be attributed to the glorious setting, with views from the appealing 300 year old house across an ornamental lake to woods with Lugnaquilla mountain in the distance. It could be beguiling features like a Sunset Field temple and One Hundred Steps climbing through a bluebell wood. And it could be something to do with the benign spirit of Corona North who gave the garden in trust to the Nation.

There are many pleasures to be discovered: the cloistered hush of a Nuns’ Walk through an aisle of beech trees carpeted with daffodils and cyclamen and the view framed by topiary peacocks and old roses of the lake reflecting clouds of rhododendron blooms. There is the irresistible invitation to follow the circular route round the lake, through the arboretum, swamp garden and on to the natural garden of an ice age glen leading to the River Slaney and back through the Sunset Field.

The history of the garden stretches back to the 1720s when the house was built by the St George family. Later the lake was dug out in the 1860s to give Famine relief work. In the 1920s Fielding Lecky Watson came to Altamont; he subscribed to plant hunting expeditions and the azaleas and rhododendrons around the lake were grown by him from seed. His daughter Corona North, an enthu-siastic and knowledgeable plantswoman, continued to plant develop the garden adding features like the Sunset Temple. On her death the garden, just as she had planned, was taken in charge by the heritage section of the Office of Public Works and, in commemoration, a spectacular double herbaceous border was created with plants donated by her many friends.

Today the border - stretching in graduated colour combinations, to a circular pond and gazebo - is the glory of the walled garden. The colour combinations move through blues yellows and mauves, with campanula, thalictrum, delphinium, nepeta and helianthus, and then on to red pinks and plums with dahlias, penstemons and cosmos.

Fans of the garden will find much as it was: the pond in front of the house with beds of dwarf conifers patrolled by silky hens and the spectacular displays of cornus bracts and the handkerchief tree by the lake. Happily the garden continues to develop, some of the gardeners had worked with Mrs North and knew her hopes for the garden. The mixed border on one side of the lawn has new herbaceous planting as she would have wished, there is a new shady walk, where some of the 40 different varieties of snow-drop are to be found, and an area for carefully labelled shade loving plants like hellebore varieties.

And, to round off the experience, many of the unusual plants grown in the garden have been propagated for sale. Make sure to bring walking shoes and leave room in the car for plant purchases.

Best time of year to visit: May

Gardens Strengths

Rare plant collection

Rare Plants worth mentioning

Taxodium distchium

Groups & Tours

  • Groups Accepted
  • Groups Need Appointments
  • Accept Only Groups
  • Guided Tours

Minimum Group Size:


Tour Days:

Tour Times

By appointment only (groups)



Carlow Garden Trail


Carlow Garden Festival (August) & Wicklow Garden Festival (May-Oct)


Snowdrop week February each year

Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
Altamont Gardens - Tullow County Carlow Ireland
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Signposted on N80 and N81;9 km. from Tullow, 22 km. from Carlow town on the Bunclody road

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