Delta Sensory Gardens, Carlow

It was several years ago that someone recommended that I take a trip to Carlow to see the sensory garden there. In the years that followed I never even went to Carlow, even though it is not that far away. I went round it, but never gave the gardens a second thought. So, now I am in phase two of my life in Ireland and I had a free (dry) Saturday (not a common occurrence) I combined a trip to DIY stores and the Delta Sensory Gardens.

I have to say that they are not that easy to find, situated at the end of a road through an industrial estate. Once you get onto the estate there are loads of signs but not many in Carlow itself – besides, I never trust signs since it seems to be a fun hobby to turn them round the wrong way! Anyway, the garden was found.

Created in 2007, it is basically a series of small gardens, set either side of a central axis (below). It is an extension of the charity that was established in 1990 as a centre for adults with disabilities. This is all very worthy and the garden is great for children.  But what did I think?

Well, it is so good I have been twice – in a month – the second time to take other people. Gardens like this can be a bit soulless, designed and run by committee and all too often lots of money are thrown at the design and build but the upkeep lets it down. Not here! I really, genuinely love the place. Now it is not a plantsman’s garden, which is usually a big part of what attracts me.

But from the moment you step in to pay, past a small selection of plants for sale, you feel welcome. The cafe is small but friendly and good value and the toilets are spotless.

Then there is the thistle fountain (which I would call a dandelion fountain) that is bound to impress and a series of gardens, all with their charms with lots of interesting garden art.

Everything is really well kept.

And the highlight, for me at least, is the Iris O’Brien Health and Wellness garden at the far end, a study in formal contemporary design and controlled planting that would not be out of place at a top flower show.

This is a lovely place to visit, peaceful when it is quiet, enchanting at all times and a good coffee stop and place to stretch your legs if you are passing by north Carlow.

See the site below for opening times. Entry is 5 euro (4 for concessions)

For more information:






6 Comments on “Delta Sensory Gardens, Carlow”

  1. Jane Radford
    August 29, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    What a beautiful place Geoff. We never knew about it when we lived there and every time we drove through Carlow we always said the high street looked like the setting for High Noon!

    • thebikinggardener
      August 29, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      It did take a while to find and we did drive through the town. I think I need to give the town a second look since I was just in a panic trying not to get lost!

  2. sueturner31
    August 29, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    These look absolutely beautiful…. Sue

  3. nigel64
    September 3, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    Thank you Geoff for showing us such a beautiful garden, full of whimsy, and yes appealing to the senses on many levels. If I ever get to Ireland Carlow will be uppermost. Nigel
    My wife exploringcolour told me about your site.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 3, 2017 at 10:02 am #

      Thank you. There are lots of wonderful gardens to see here, large and small – there are lots of older posts under ‘gardens’ that will show a sample of these, but I have a lot more to see myself.

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