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Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens


A recent garden with parterre, potager, herbaceous borders maze and shell house.

Near Midleton
Co Cork
website Contact Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens
Tel: +353 21 464 6785

Please mention when enquiring.

Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens

Opening Months: April, May, June, July, August, September
Opening Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Opening Hours:
Admission Charge: €6 per adult/€3 for OAP's/Children/€15 family ticket
  • Appointment Only
  • Admission Charge

The gardens at Ballymaloe are delicious - traditional with an original twist, just like Darina Allen’s recipes. The first garden was made in the 1980s and, inspired by a the great French garden at Villandry, is laid out with a parterre of flower shaped beds filled with herbs and set in gravel surrounded by ancient beech hedges, the sole survivors of an earlier 19th century garden.

A myrtle in honour of Myrtle Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe tradition, has pride of place in the centre of the garden. At the far end of the garden is a pond and a temple ingeniously made with the pillars of a demolished house.

The garden has kept on growing one new area at a time, expanding to a potager planted with brilliant rows of vegetables planted in a pattern of squares and diamonds between herringbone brick paths. Edible flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums are used in salads or for garnishes in the restaurant, while leggy sunflowers and artichokes add to the colourful profusion.

The octagonal Shell House - which is based on the similar 18th century follies, its interior richly decorated with cockle, mussel, scallops and oyster shells by Charlotte Kerr Wilson - became a wonderful excuse for a another garden: thus deep, double herbaceous borders filled with shades of blue, gold and silver with delphiniums, hemerocallis, crocosmia and artemesia now lead to the shell house.

Nearby a yew maze in Celtic swirls, designed by Peter Lamb and Lesley Beck, is maturing. A fruit garden, designed by Jim Reynolds with gravel walks where the trees are underplanted with spring bulbs, links the cookery school to the rest of the garden compartments. And of course there is always a new scheme: an Irish apple meadow, an arboretum and a rose garden are all part of the evolving scheme of things Darina Allen.

Best time of year to visit: April, May, June, July, August

Gardens Strengths


Groups & Tours

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

Tour Days:

Tour Times

Tours are by appointment








Other Facilities

Cookery School and Organic Farm

Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens - Herbacious Border
Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens - Herbacious Border
Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens - Herb Garden
Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens - Old Victorian Garden
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Map markers

You are here
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N25 to Castlemartyr, follow signpost for Ladysbridge/Shanagarry. In Shanagarry, turn right at the church (sign posted) for cookery school - located 1/4 mile up that road on the right.

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