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:
I HAVE UPDATED THE ALBUCA SPIRALIS PAGE WITH MORE INFORMATION.