For the student of garden follies, Tollymore is a rare treat.
A barn dressed up to look like a church, stone cones atop gate piers and gothic-style gate arches all show the influence of that highly individualistic designer, Thomas Wright of Durham (1711-1786), who was a friend of Lord Clanbrassil, owner of Tollymore at that time. A walk along the Shimna river is marked by many curiosities, natural and artificial – rocky outcrops, bridges, grottos and caves. Elsewhere in the park the tree lover can examine experimental forest plots – some of exotic trees such as monkey puzzle and eucalyptus – or admire the tall giant redwoods and Monterey pines.
Oak wood from Tollymore was the preferred material for the interiors of the White Star liners including the ‘Titanic’ which was built in Belfast. Seek out the original tree of the slow-growing spruce, Picea abies ‘Clanbrassiliana’ which originated nearby in about 1750 and is the oldest tree in any arboretum in Ireland. A magnificent avenue of Deodar cedars is a striking feature of the entrance to this romantic forest park in the foothills of the Mourne mountains. Open all year from 10am until sunset. Touring Caravan Park. Entrance charge.
Tel: (028) 4372 2428
There are few park lands in existence which could surpass the beauty of Kilbroney Park.
Here mountain, stream, sea-lough and valley conjure up a scenic wonderland. The 97 acres which form KilbroneyPark lie close to the shore of Carlingford Lough in the shadow of the forest-clad Slieve Martin. As a backdrop to Kilbroney Park stands the impressive 4,000 acre Rostrevor Forest rising sharply from 30m to 500m above sea level.