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Prettiest homes and gardens in Northern Ireland

Updated : 2019-09-14 19:52:44

Founded in 1609, Belfast (literally, mouth of the sandy ford) is famous - the Titanic was built here; Samson and Goliath, its two yellow cranes, are still the biggest free-standing cranes anywhere in the world; the city’s Cavehill is believed to have inspired author Jonathan Swift’s sleeping giant in his Gulliver’s Travels novel; John Wood Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire here; and of course, Game of Thrones was partly shot here. But one September week, I spurned the famous for the beautiful to see the prettiest homes and gardens in Northern Ireland.

Founded in 1609, Belfast (literally, mouth of the sandy ford) is famous - the Titanic was built here; Samson and Goliath, its two yellow cranes, are still the biggest free-standing cranes anywhere in the world; the city’s Cavehill is believed to have inspired author Jonathan Swift’s sleeping giant in his Gulliver’s Travels novel; John Wood Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire here; and of course, Game of Thrones was partly shot here. But one September week, I spurned the famous for the beautiful, to see the prettiest homes & gardens in Northern Ireland. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Founded in 1609, Belfast (literally, mouth of the sandy ford) is famous - the Titanic was built here; Samson and Goliath, its two yellow cranes, are still the biggest free-standing cranes anywhere in the world; the city’s Cavehill is believed to have inspired author Jonathan Swift’s sleeping giant in his Gulliver’s Travels novel; John Wood Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire here; and of course, Game of Thrones was partly shot here. But one September week, I spurned the famous for the beautiful, to see the prettiest homes & gardens in Northern Ireland. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Botanic Gardens, Belfast: Established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, the city’s Botanic Garden is famous for its Tropical Ravine that contains some of the oldest seed plants around today; the Palm House; extensive rose garden, long herbaceous borders and rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leafed oak. Designed by Charles Lanyon, the Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse that allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Botanic Gardens, Belfast: Established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, the city’s Botanic Garden is famous for its Tropical Ravine that contains some of the oldest seed plants around today; the Palm House; extensive rose garden, long herbaceous borders and rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leafed oak. Designed by Charles Lanyon, the Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse that allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Hillsborough Castle & Garden: An elegant Big Irish House built by Wills Hill, the 1st Marquess of Downshire, the 100 acre-Castle & Garden is where the royal family of England stays during their visit to Northern Ireland. There’s a Walled Garden, Lost Garden, 150-year old lime trees around a magnificent moss carpet; Yew Tree Walk, and one of the largest rhododendrons in the world. Head Gardener Claire Woods eloquently shares stories of how Prince Charles wanted more symmetry to the magnolias and less gravel on the pathway; shows the spot where royals plant trees; and point to Lady Alice’s Temple where several heads of states have rested their derriere. Do not miss out on the 140-year old pear trees that still bear fruits. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Hillsborough Castle & Garden: An elegant Big Irish House built by Wills Hill, the 1st Marquess of Downshire, the 100 acre-Castle & Garden is where the royal family of England stays during their visit to Northern Ireland. There’s a Walled Garden, Lost Garden, 150-year old lime trees around a magnificent moss carpet; Yew Tree Walk, and one of the largest rhododendrons in the world. Head Gardener Claire Woods eloquently shares stories of how Prince Charles wanted more symmetry to the magnolias and less gravel on the pathway; shows the spot where royals plant trees; and point to Lady Alice’s Temple where several heads of states have rested their derriere. Do not miss out on the 140-year old pear trees that still bear fruits. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Mount Stewart: Listed in the Top 10 Gardens of the World, Mount Stewart has an India connection. Mary Cowan, daughter of Alderman John Cowan of Londonderry, inherited a large fortune from her unmarried and childless brother, Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay (1729-1734). In 1744, a portion of her fortune (roughly £42,000), consisting of East India Company Stock, helped her buy Mount Pleasant demesne, now known as Mount Stewart. The present garden is the creation of Edith, Lady Londonderry, who borrowed heavily from mythology. Do not miss the Vinery that is home to Ireland’s oldest vine. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Mount Stewart: Listed in the Top 10 Gardens of the World, Mount Stewart has an India connection. Mary Cowan, daughter of Alderman John Cowan of Londonderry, inherited a large fortune from her unmarried and childless brother, Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay (1729-1734). In 1744, a portion of her fortune (roughly £42,000), consisting of East India Company Stock, helped her buy Mount Pleasant demesne, now known as Mount Stewart. The present garden is the creation of Edith, Lady Londonderry, who borrowed heavily from mythology. Do not miss the Vinery that is home to Ireland’s oldest vine. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Castle Ward: Castle Ward’s farmyard is the location of Game of Thrones’ Winterfell, where you can find the Whispering Wood, Robb Stark’s Camp, the Baelor battle and when Brienne confronts the Stark men. HBO’s Game of Thrones spent eight weeks at Castle Ward building the set. Originally, an 18th-century eccentric house, it features classical and Strawberry Hill Gothic style, the 332-hectare walled garden has a stunning sunken garden and ancient lime tree walk. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Castle Ward: Castle Ward’s farmyard is the location of Game of Thrones’ Winterfell, where you can find the Whispering Wood, Robb Stark’s Camp, the Baelor battle and when Brienne confronts the Stark men. HBO’s Game of Thrones spent eight weeks at Castle Ward building the set. Originally, an 18th-century eccentric house, it features classical and Strawberry Hill Gothic style, the 332-hectare walled garden has a stunning sunken garden and ancient lime tree walk. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Antrim Garden: One of the rare Anglo-Dutch style of garden landscaping, at the centre of Antrim Garden, sits stone statue of a wolfhound that saved the life of the Lady Massereene from monstrous wolves. The 400-year-old gardens is unlike any other in Northern Ireland with a Large Parterre, Her Ladyship’s Pleasure Garden and Yew Tree Pond. It is also the place to see Horsetail, a prehistoric, pernicious, perennial that flourished during the Devonian period approximately 350 million years ago. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Antrim Garden: One of the rare Anglo-Dutch style of garden landscaping, at the centre of Antrim Garden, sits stone statue of a wolfhound that saved the life of the Lady Massereene from monstrous wolves. The 400-year-old gardens is unlike any other in Northern Ireland with a Large Parterre, Her Ladyship’s Pleasure Garden and Yew Tree Pond. It is also the place to see Horsetail, a prehistoric, pernicious, perennial that flourished during the Devonian period approximately 350 million years ago. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Montalto Estate: Spread over 400 acres and one of the finest private gardens in Northern Ireland, the Montalto Estate has nearly 300 Alpine plant varieties, 30,000 trees were planted in the past 3 years, a woodland trail, a rockery, Lake walk as well as gigantic champion trees. The Battle of Ballynahinch took place in the Montalto Estate. Do not miss out on the Glass wall that stacks some of the 2,400 glass bottles that were found on the estate. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Montalto Estate: Spread over 400 acres and one of the finest private gardens in Northern Ireland, the Montalto Estate has nearly 300 Alpine plant varieties, 30,000 trees were planted in the past 3 years, a woodland trail, a rockery, Lake walk as well as gigantic champion trees. The Battle of Ballynahinch took place in the Montalto Estate. Do not miss out on the Glass wall that stacks some of the 2,400 glass bottles that were found on the estate. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Ballyrobert Gardens: Sitting next to one of the oldest villages in Ireland, Ballyrobert Garden is a glorious example of William Robinson style of gardens, a style that follows the ‘a green-designed to fit the place’ mantra. There’s an old hayshed, lakeside garden, station lawn, traditional bridges, a cobblestone path edging laid out in a Celtic Cross pattern. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
Ballyrobert Gardens: Sitting next to one of the oldest villages in Ireland, Ballyrobert Garden is a glorious example of William Robinson style of gardens, a style that follows the ‘a green-designed to fit the place’ mantra. There’s an old hayshed, lakeside garden, station lawn, traditional bridges, a cobblestone path edging laid out in a Celtic Cross pattern. (Photo credit: Preeti Verma Lal)
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