Burtown House is Opening Early – Special Events This Year!

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The gardens at Burtown House will open earlier than usual this year as more and more people have expressed a wish to see the gardens at this time of year and especially to see the collection of snowdrops and wonderful display of winter aconites.

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Snowdrops and Early Bulbs

There are many varieties of snowdrops and early bulbs to be seen in the garden with the displays of Winter Aconites especially fabulous – simply outstanding and a must see.

Assumpta Broomfield will be giving a Walk and Talk around the garden on February 22nd at 12 noon.
Assumpta is a leading snowdrop expert, with particular knowledge of Irish Snowdrops, many of which are in the garden at Burtown.  She will tell their histories and stories.

The gardens will be open every day from February 14th – March 1st, from 10am – 4pm and we would be delighted to have you visit and enjoy the gardens with us.

The Gallery Cafe and current exhibition will be open every day and we will be serving delicious lunches based on our fresh organic seasonal produce from our walled kitchen garden.

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Admission – €6 per adult, €4 per child, children under 12 free entrance.

There will also be a series of Daffodil Weekends – April 10 – 12th and 17 – 19th when visitors will be able to see many old and new varieties in abundance.

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Until 2012 Burtown House and Gardens has been a private house, and is considered to be one of Ireland’s hidden gems but has recently opened to the public as an historic house with gardens, sculpture park and art gallery
Less than one hour south from Dublin, Burtown House is one of two houses in Kildare that has never been sold.  Built in 1710 by Robert Power, Burtown is the only original house in Ireland that is still lived in by the family that built it, and it retains much of its original interior and exterior.

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Burtown is close to the village of Ballitore, once the Quaker centre of Ireland, and home to the famous Shackleton school.  Present owner James Fennell’s great grandmother was Isabelle Shackleton, 1st cousin to the well known antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.

The gardens at Burtown House cover about ten acres of borders, walled vegetable garden, woodland which is bordered by a stream garden, lawns, yew walk, and much more.  The gardens lead out into parkland, and venerable old trees, as well as many more recently and newly planted specimen trees.  Amongst the long meadow grasses, large sculptures are easily accessed by mown paths.  There is a newly added 20 acre field of wild flowers, that in summer is alive with not only flowers, but bees, butterflies, and many other insects.  There are large populations of garden and farmland birds, and these can be seen and heard on the walkways that have been created around the farmland.

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The present garden has been mainly designed by Lesley Fennell, who has lived at Burtown for the last forty five years.  Today three generations work in the garden, and until last year Lesley’s mother, aged 98, was still active around the flowerbeds.  As one of Ireland’s most respected botanical painters, her love of plants is evident in the interesting and unusual collection growing in the garden, many of which were given to her as botanical specimens for both public and private commissions and publications.

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The year starts with the garden opening in February for wonderful snowdrops, aconites, cyclamen, hellebores, and large numbers of varieties of early bulbs.  In April we have many old and newer varieties of daffodils, tulips, magnolia, anenomes, etc, and the stream garden is bursting with primulas, iris, trilliums, and much more, to be followed by many woodland bluebells, and borders of iris, peonies, old roses, flowering shrubs, and mixed herbacious perrenials.  Having been created by artist (Lesley is also a painter, and her son James a photographer) this is a garden full of colour and interest all year, and offers much to enjoy for all visitors.  The vegetable garden produces a wide selection of fruit and vegetables, which we use in The Gallery Cafe, where Joanna (James’s wife) cooks delicious, fresh and organic food in the friendly and charming atmosphere of the courtyard cafe.  The gallery is hung mostly with paintings relating to the garden, including originals from Wendy Walsh and Lesley Fennell, and the Irish Society Of Botanical Artists, as well as photographs from James Fennell’s many published books.  The exhibition changes with the seasons.

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Now starting it’s fourth year of opening to the public, the garden is included in Shirley Lanigan’s book “The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland”.

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Contact – 05986 – 23148 or james@burtownhouse.ie or Lesley Fennell at 05986 – 23028.

Lesley Fennell, January 2015

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