Houses and Gardens of Ireland's Ancient East

Cinematic – that's the only word to describe the sweeping Victorian estates, craggy mountain peaks and blooming, colourful gardens that make up Ireland's Ancient East on Dublin and Kildare Village's doorstep.

Among the legends and century old tales of Ireland’s Ancient East you will find Kildare Village, home to 100 of the world’s favourite brands offering up to 60% off the recommended retail price.

As well as being easily accessible from Dublin, Kildare Village is perfectly located for exploring the many beautiful houses and gardens dotted around the region. Here are our top recommendations to explore in Ireland’s Ancient East.

01

Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens, Co. Kildare

Long renowned as Ireland's premier stud farm, the National Stud boasts a legacy that spans the globe. Come in springtime and watch as the foals leap and play in the fields or simply visit to enjoy the tranquillity of the stud. While you are at the Stud, don’t miss the century-old Japanese gardens next door, with falling cherry blossoms and blooming water lilies gliding across mirror-like ponds.

The Irish National Stud belongs to the people of Ireland but prides itself on being enjoyed and appreciated by visitors from all parts of the globe. Nowhere better symbolises all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry, than the stud – a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty that is home to some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world.

02

Altamont House & Gardens, Co. Carlow

Take a visit to the wonderfully atmospheric Altamont Gardens, and you’ll see for yourself why they were previously described as “the most romantic gardens in Ireland”. In this unique County Carlow location, you'll find blooming rhododendrons, emerald-green meadows and a rose garden of rare beauty.

A beautiful mix of orderly and wild, the gardens perfectly reflect the Robinsonian style beloved of the Victorians, and behind the blooms, is a unique history. Just after the Great Famine, it took 100 men with horses and carts more than two years to dig out the space for what is now a serene, waterlily-strewn lake.

03

Emo Court, Co. Laois

Designed by acclaimed architect James Gandon in 1790, the vast neoclassical Emo Court in County Laois is filled with fascinating history. Surrounded by gardens that were first laid out in the eighteenth century, the estate is a joy to explore. Wander around the formal lawns and visit the lake where you will spot majestic sequoias and rare flora framed by woodland walks. And in the distance, the gently rolling Slieve Blooms mountains form a scenic backdrop.

04

Borris House, Co. Carlow

Borris House is home to the McMorrough Kavanaghs, former High Kings of Leinster. Rebuilt in the early eighteenth century, the house features a beautiful Stapleton ceiling, antiques, artwork and many examples of the legendary Borris Lace. Guests can take a guided tour to immerse themselves in the world of Big Houses.

Explore the hidden delights in the nooks and crannies of the Borris Demesne, framed against the backdrop of Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountain. When your wandering is finished, grab a coffee and a snack on Main Street in the adjoining town of Borris.

05

Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow

Most people who visit Powerscourt gasp in delight when they see the full majesty of the estate open up before them. This eighteenth century mansion was designed to capture the splendour of a Renaissance villa. Voted as one of the top three gardens in the world by National Geographic, the gardens burst with sprays of wildflowers and trees, and secreted areas, such as the Japanese Garden. This heavenly site is a very special experience right in the Wicklow countryside.

06

Castletown House, Co. Kildare

One of the most extraordinary houses in Ireland, Castletown House is approached along a beautiful tree-lined avenue and sits just outside the pretty little town of Celbridge in County Kildare.

Castletown House and Gardens is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian-style estate. It was built between 1722 and 1729 for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. Visit Castletown House to explore the beautiful eighteenth-century parklands, with river walks, a temple and the remains of a bathing house.

07

Burtown House, Co. Kildare

Burtown House is a historic Quaker house in County Kildare and is surrounded by a wealth of farmland walks and beautiful flower gardens. Along with the flower gardens you will find vegetable patches, parklands and woodland walks, Burtown House also boasts a series of secret gardens, ideal for a wander with the whole family. After exploring, head into the Scandi-style Green Barn for a tasty brunch or lunch with a glass of homemade elderflower prosecco.

08

The K Club, Co. Kildare

The world-renowned K Club is more than just a hotel. It is an elegant nineteenth century Georgian mansion estate, set amid 550 acres of pristine parkland on a mile-long private stretch of the River Liffey. Have lunch or afternoon tea overlooking the beautifully landscaped gardens. Along with their famous golf courses, the K Club offers a number of exciting country pursuits available including kayaking, horse riding, clay-pigeon and air-rifle shooting, falconry, fishing, tennis and much more.

09

Mount Usher Gardens, Co. Wicklow

For a peaceful break from the outside world, stroll through the 22 acres of Mount Usher Gardens. It’s no surprise that BBC gardener Monty Don called this Edenic beauty one of his favourite gardens in the world.

Laid out over two sides of the River Vartry, you will find a delightful mix of natural and relaxed formal planting. Mount Usher’s style was Influenced by the nineteenth-century gardener William Robinson, known as a champion of the “wild garden”. The gardens feature native and tropical plants, shrubs and trees. Afterwards, contemplate nature in all its glory with an alfresco lunch at the Garden Café.

10

Killruddery House and Gardens, Co. Wicklow

You may recognise Killruddery House and Gardens as a location in films and television shows including Camelot, Becoming Jane and The Tudors. Home to the Brabazon family since 1618, the gardens have a romantic atmosphere as they mx French aesthetic with the rugged Irish landscape. After you’ve strolled the gardens, taking in their magnetic beauty, there are lots more options of things to do. Killruddery keeps the buzz going right through the summer with a Saturday Farm Market, tea room, festivals, classes and tours.