This is the great garden of Donegal, much visited and yet unspoiled since it is reached by shuttle bus 4km from the Visitor Centre. The setting is starkly dramatic – at Glenveagh National Park the bare hulks of Kinnaveagh, Dooish and Staghall mountains rise above the peaty waters of Lough Veagh. The castle is placed with romantic effect at the centre where it is surrounded by its magical woodland gardens.
The original Victorian garden was first laid out for Mrs Adair from 1885. The gardens were further developed by Henry P McIlhenny assisted by Jim Russell and Lanning Roper in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s with extensive new planting and the addition of classical elements that include a Tuscan garden, Italian Terrace and the famous 67 Steps. Tree rhododendrons and magnolias grace the woods with under-plantings of azaleas, hostas, astilbes and rodgersias. The Walled Garden is packed with colour from March to October with fine displays of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown for ornamental effect.
At Glenveagh one has the sense that the true artistic potential of horticulture is realised. Managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service.