THE former home of many famous faces, Ballintubbert has been restored and developed into one of the largest public gardens in the country.
The new garden was offically opened last Sunday by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The opening was also attended by Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman of Fáilte Ireland, Peter Carey, Laois County Manager and Anne Goodwin of Laois Partnership. Proprietors of the garden Fergus and Orna Hoban, and head gardener Andrew Farrelly were also present on the day to celebrate the many years of hard work which has culminated in 14 acres of landscaping. Former residents of the house include the poet Cecil Day Lewis (father of Daniel Day Lewis and poet laureate) who was born there in 1904, as well as actors John Hurt and Sebastian Shaw, who played the role of the Emperor in Star Wars.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan said that the tourism sector is a major contributor to the economy and that places like Ballintubbert showcase the best that Ireland has to offer.
“The gardens here are very impressive and I am sure they will attract interest from gardening enthusiasts, people interested in history and the arts, as well as tourists to Ireland” he said.
The settlement at Ballintubbert dates back to 1540 and the new garden boasts 14 acres of beautiful landscape. Owners Fergus and Orna have been making The Garden for over ten years now, having restored and significantly expanded the historic garden in the arts and crafts tradition. Important features include the Canal, the Lutyens Garden and Robinson Meadows, named after the famous garden designers Edwin Lutyens and William Robinson; the Victorian Secret Garden, the Beech Wood and the Lyttle Orchard.
Fergus Hoban said of the project, “We moved to Ballintubbert in 1999 with an ambition to make a great Irish garden that would be open to the public. With 14 acres arranged almost symmetrically around the house, in the middle of this divine valley, Ballintubbert was the opportunity.
“Working with many great designers, we have imagined, crafted and re-crafted and we are still doing that in most areas of the garden today. Ballintubbert is truly a garden in the making,” he said
The Garden is open to all, seven days a week from 10am to 6pm, with guided tours at the weekends. For more information or to book a tour, visit www.ballintubbert.com.