This hidden gem is not a precious stone or jewel but it is equally as precious. It's 'Ardgillan Castle' Gardens and Demesne. It is set in spectacular parklands. Ardgillan Demesne was one of the 22 parks nationally that were awarded 'Green Flag' status in the An Taisce Green Flag awards. A walk around these magical gardens and you understand why it was awarded such status.
The demesne is situated in North County Dublin on an elevated coastline between Balbriggan and Skerries, 32 kilometres north of Dublin City. The park consists of 194 acres of open grassland, walled gardens and mixed woodland. Some of the highlights include a Fountain, Rose Garden, National Potentilla Collection, Ice House. The orchard in the garden contains a collection of 30 old Irish varieties of apples. A special feature is the unique alcove fruit wall which was thought to have been commissioned as a Famine relief project. A wonderful coffee shop. It also includes another happy coffee shop. (which invites dogs to accompany their owners) A coffee for the master/mistress and dog biscuit for a faithful friend and companion.
Walking through the woodlands is a delight, you will see many trees such as the Sycamore, Elder, Beech, Ash, Birch Grove, Elm, Oak, Chestnut, besides many others. An attractive 'Tree Trail Quiz' keeps the young ones entertained. Questions on the Quiz include - What Musical Instrument is made from Sycamore Wood? or What was Evergreen Oak used for in ancient Greece? There is also a wonderful playground for the children.
The Facilities are excellent - Castle Tours, Children's Parties, Art Exhibitions, Conference and Workshop space. Picnic areas and Spectacular Cycle and Walking paths.
Ardgillan Castle also invites 'Civil Wedding Ceremonies'. As the castle overlooks the Irish Sea the view is spectacle.
Ardgillan History - Although referred to as a Castle, the residence at Ardillan is a large county-styled house with castellated embellishments. Originally named 'Prospect House', the central section was built in 1738 by Robert Taylor, with the west and east wings added in the late 1800s. The Taylors first came to Ireland when Robert's grandfather, Thomas Taylor came to Ireland to work with the Irish Commission on a survey and valuation of land confiscated following Cromwell's campaign in Ireland. He worked as the chief examiner on what became known as the 'Down Survey of Ireland' and subsequently set up home in Headfort House in Kells. With the addition of the Ardgillan Property, the Taylors occupied much land and had significant stature in Ireland during this time.
The house was purchased by Dublin County Council in 1981 and is now under the ownership of Fingal County Council. It is a wonderful facility. It is open almost all year and is open to the public as a regional park daily.