Annual General Meeting 2017

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May 13, 2017 – May 14, 2017 all-day
The County Arms Hotel
Co. Offaly
Various costs depending on requirements
Ricky Shannon
086 3511281

Annual General Meeting 2017



Online booking will close 8th May  – see bottom of this page.  As an alternative to booking online you can return the booking form in the January newsletter to Ricky Shannon, 48 Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.


The AGM this year will be located in Birr, Co. Offaly, over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of May. This heritage town is wall laid out with the four principal streets opening off Emmet Square with lovely Georgian houses and terraces, notably in Oxmantown Mall and St. John’s Mall. The County Arms Hotel is situated about a ten minute’s easy stroll from the centre of the town. It has been renovated recently and has plenty of car-parking spaces and is surrounded by well-kept gardens. There are inviting nooks in the reception area to sit and renew friendships from previous years. The AGM will be held in The Garden Room on the ground floor.


The Parsons family, of Birr Castle, has been associated with the town since the 17th century and, indeed, for a period the town was known as Parsonstown. The castle, gardens and giant telescope are of international importance. The 3rd Earl of Rosse was an internationally known astronomer while his wife, Mary Wilmer Field, was a pioneer photographer. Her dark room has been preserved and has been relocated to the Science Centre.


Many of the rarest trees in the garden date back to the 1920s. In the 1940s they received seeds of the recently discovered Metasequoia and there is a fine specimen in the gardens from that period. The garden also boasts the tallest box hedges. Michael, 6th Earl of Rosse, and his wife, Anne Messel of Nymans, visited China after their marriage and made contacts which lead to the introduction of many interesting species to the gardens. The 6th Earl was responsible for starting the extensive collection of magnolias and May is the most colourful month in the garden when they and the camellias are in full bloom. Brendan, the present Earl, and his wife, Alison, have continued this tradition for the past thirty years visiting North Pakistan, Mongolia and China in their search for new and interesting material for the garden.

In complete contrast, Lough Boora Discovery Park, a twenty minute drive from Birr, is a wonderfully conserved natural peatland habitat. Originally a peat harvesting site, it has been turned into a spectacular haven for animals, birds and plants. Two local botanists will accompany us on our visit and, for those interested in birds, there is a thatched bird hide. The park is actively involved in reintroducing the Corncrake and the Grey Partridge – so bring your binoculars! Members who feel they would like to cover more ground can hire bikes or bring their own. Much of the old equipment and tools used I harvesting the peat have been used to make many of the fascinating sculptures positioned around the park.

We will also visit two private gardens over the weekend: One, on Oxmanstown Mall, is a small garden recently restored. The designer will be there to explain the renovation. The other garden, a short twenty minute drive away, is an old walled garden, full of interesting plants and treed. There will be plants for sale here.

Please use the online link to make bookings. It is much simpler and easier to administer that the use of posted forms and cheques:   BOOK HERE ON EVENTBRITE