The Irish Files: A Visit to Altamont Gardens
Nothing tops nature.
Not the Las Vegas Strip. Not the Manhattan skyline. No man-made object can possibly surpass the splendor of nature’s abundant power and beauty. Borrowing a famous line I once heard somewhere — You think a tall building is impressive? Try making a butterfly from scratch. You can’t.
I was introduced to the magic of gardens by two very special people about five years ago. Marieta and I traveled to London. However, we also spent a week wandering around in the English countryside, in Cornwall. We were the guests of some dear friends — Des Wilson (the poker author) and his lovely wife Jane.
One afternoon, Des and Jane took us out to an traditional English garden, which was more of a huge estate surrounded by thousands of unusual plants and animals. Once there, I couldn’t believe was I was seeing. One doesn’t associate England with being a nature’s paradise. But it was, and still is — at least when it comes to flora and fauna. There are dozens of gardens sprinkled throughout the entire country, all worth visiting, no doubt. Perhaps the best destination of all for greenery is the famous Key Gardens, located in south-central London.
This past week, Marieta and I were in Ireland. We noticed, much like neighboring England, Ireland is absolutely filled with gardens in just about every part of the country. These estates are usually free and open to the public.
Yesterday, we were driving through the south part of the country when we came across an out of the way attraction off a small road called Altamont Gardens. The nearest town is about 4 km away, which is Tullow. It’s not famous. There are few visitors here. It’s quiet and peaceful year around, except for the constant sounds of birds squawking and chirping. There are also lots of swans, geese, and at least one peacock who liked to be around people. We were told this is is one of the smaller garden attractions in Ireland.
Here are several photos I took of the grounds, which covers about ten acres and even includes a lake which is surrounded by a hiking trail. What a beautiful place! An Irish paradise!
Note: Special thanks to everyone at Paddy Power Poker for making this trip possible, including Padraig Parkinson, Patrick Thronton, Clodagh Hansen, and John Buckley.