IMG_4262wAs part of our cruise, Victoria Traval had included a visit to Mount Usher Gardens.

We were met on the coach by Josephine who gave us an excellent commentary as we drove south towards Mount Usher. Not only did she point out all the points of interest but gave us a potted history of Dublin from the invasions of the Vikings to the struggle for independence, and the growth of recent years.

We passed through a variety of scenery, granite mountains, wooded glens and deep valleys.

Mount Usher Gardens are in the county of Wicklow and were voted “Most Romantic Gardens in the Republic of Ireland” in 2010. They are laid out along the banks of the river Vartry in the Robinsonian style. It was once a working mill, first a tuck mill and later a corn mill, which used a tributary of the Vartry to turn its wheel.

We were greeted in the tea room where we were offered tea and scones.

We started on the tour with one of the very well informed gardeners, who seemed to know every tree and shrub, but after a while decided that we would rather meander around and drink in the beauty of the place. There is a wonderful vista around every bend. Beautiful combinations of colour and form all blending together. The plants and trees have been gathered from all corners of the earth, trees with coloured bark and many coloured leaves.

The river is used to great effect to reflect the plants and also provide a home for a wealth of wild life such as the dragonflies which skimmed over the water.

 Killinskey River in Mount Usher  gardens

Killinskey River in Mount Usher gardens

Riverside walk

Riverside walk

Weir on River Killinsky

Weir on River Killinsky


The planting looks quite natural and blends in with the surrounding countryside. There are also semi-formal parts like the croquet lawn and the herbacious borders which are a blaze of colours.

semi formal borders

semi formal borders

I wished I was a more talented painter and could capture some of this beauty, but thankfully JW took lots of photographs for me.

We said goodbye to Matt at the gardens (he was staying on for a day longer as Tony Russell was taking over from this point.)

We had a pleasant journey back and Josephine entertained us with her anecdotes about some of the “rich and famous” who lived in or visited Dublin. We arrived back in time for a late lunch and then just had time to buy last minute souvenirs  from the quayside shop and then it was off on the next leg of our journey as we sailed northwards past the Isle of Man towards the Hebrides.