Ard na Sidhe Country House and its magical gardens
Yes, the southwest of Ireland, and in particular Co. Kerry, is ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to fine weather bringing into bloom magnificent May and June flowering shrubs with their vibrant colours and a profusion of rich scents. If you are fond of nature and like garden walks (and who doesn’t!) one of the best places to go is Ard na Sidhe Country House, near Killorglin, Co. Kerry.
Ard na Sidhe only opens from 1 May to 30 September each year so the window of opportunity to enjoy a stay there is short – but oh so sweet. Ard na Sidhe means ‘Hill of the Fairies’ and how appropriate as the gardens are quite magical. They extend to 32 acres so this is more than a garden. It is a place where you can escape to unwind and find serenity without even trying. The gardens literally unfold from one to the next with a sense of mystery enticing you to discover more treats and surprises. An Azalea path leads to a spectacular rock garden. Dozens of varieties of Rhododendrons envelop you as yet another path brings you alongside swaying Bamboos. The gardens eventually lead you to the shores of Caragh Lake where if you are so inclined you could dip your toes in its refreshingly cool waters or perhaps enjoy a row alongside the lake shore in one of the boats.
There are many specimen plants to wonder at and it is clear that this is a tale of two ladies; Lady Edith Gordon who originally conceived the design and layout of the gardens in 1903 and its current owner, Isolde Liebherr, who has painstakingly supervised the gardens’ restoration to its original state of glory.
There are 18 rooms in the main Manor House – highly recommended – with attractive offers on the Ard na Sidhe website.