In Ireland, visiting a castle is not a big deal. It’s almost like everyone here has a castle or a medieval ruin in their back garden. And most of those castles come from the times of the Anglo-Norman invasions. In very few words, the invaders had to protect against the Irish rebels so they build castles and fortresses and so left a great heritage to modern Ireland. Well, it’s the least they could do.
Now, many of the castles that are still standing are privately owned but nevertheless, opened for the public to visit. Such a castle is Tullynally castle, in Castlepollard, County Westmeath, with its lovely gardens and Tearooms.
“The present owner of Tullynally, Thomas Pakenham inherited the estate in 1961 at the death of his uncle, the 6th Earl of Longford. Thomas, after producing three large history books (The Year of Liberty, The Boer War and The Scramble for Africa – all still in print) turned to writing about trees – starting with Meetings with Remarkable Trees in 1993 – and has become a passionate gardener. In recent years, he has brought back seeds from plant hunting trips to China, Tibet, and Sikkim in Northern India. Most of his planting has been in the Forest Walk, in the gardens of the castle. His most recently planting has been a collection of rare magnolias at the far end of the Upper Lake.”
Besides the magnolias and rare trees, in the wonderfully kept Tullynally gardens, there are also apple trees that stretch along the walls, greenhouses with weird looking flowers, llamas running in their own private yard, lakes and bridges and charming wooden houses.
And after a lovely stroll on the Forest walk and the Lake walk, you can visit as well the inside of the castle and have tea or a glass of wine, in the Tearooms.
But I will tell you more about all of this, in pictures: