Surrounded by a 700-acre estate of mature wooded grounds and walks and one of Connemara's oldest landscaped gardens, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel has style, luxury and character, and is a place where the focus is always on doing things as well as possible.
Originally designed and executed by Rachel Lamb of Rachel Lamb Garden Design and The Garden Supply Company Ltd. with the assistance of Cian Cunniffe and his team, since 2017 Cian has been head gardener at Ballynahinch, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the planting, design and maintenance of the impressive gardens and grounds.
One of Cian’s main projects has been the on-going redevelopment and redesign of the walled gardens on site, involving the complete rebuilding of the original garden walls by local stone wall builders. These warm stone walls mean that there can be a wide variety of fruits, herbs and vegetables grown on site throughout the year, to be used in the Owenmore Restaurant, the Fisherman’s Pub and Ranji Room at Ballynahinch, helping to showcase the bountiful larder of Connemara in an edible tribute to this beautiful part of the world.
Along with espalier-grown apple and pear trees, there is a wealth of vegetables and fruits grown for the kitchens of Ballynahinch, from various lettuces to cabbage, radishes, peas, beans, beetroot, pumpkins, squashes, chicory, sweetcorn, strawberries, raspberries, figs, mulberries, rhubarb and gooseberries.
Within the walled garden each area has its own points of interest, with the greenhouse surrounded by the edible garden, the pleached pyramidal trees underplanted with herbaceous beds, a living archway tunnel with rose bushes, a roof-trained pergola area and a mixed tree area planted with green manures which are bee and butterfly friendly.
In the walled gardens, extensive drainage work has been undertaken, along with the building of a brand new greenhouse and potting sheds, a new office, the laying and surfacing of an extensive network of paths and kerbing, water and electrical ducting, and the building of a handsome new water feature.
During the redevelopment of the walled garden at Ballynahinch the ground has been made as fertile as possible by incorporating mushroom compost and seaweed and also by sowing the garden in a variety of green manures which, when cut back and rotovated, add a huge amount of organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
Throughout Ballynahinch Castle’s 700 gorgeous acres of woodlands, rivers and walks, with a backdrop of the magnificent Twelve Bens, there are new and mature trees throughout from maples to lime trees, magnolias to weeping willows. For the more informed and engaged gardeners there are more unusual varieties to spot too, including the wedding cake tree (cornus controversa 'variegata'), beehive hornbeam and liquidambar trees.
There are flowers and plants added to the planting displays adding height and texture, colour and scent, including phlox, lavender, catmint, dahlias, lillies, astilbes, verbenas, geraniums, salvias and a selection of roses.