Ardgillan castle gardens, photo courtesy of Donal Jennings

Text and images courtesy of Maeve Bell

Last Saturday, approximately 50 IGPS members gathered at Ardgillan Castle and Gardens for the first AGM to be held in person since 2020, due to Covid-19.

The attendees heard a positive report from Chairman Mary Forrest, who covered a wide range of activities which had occurred throughout the year, including a number of new developments which are taking place regarding the conservation of Irish heritage plants.

The only noted downside at the AGM, is the absence of activities in the Munster region and Mary Forrest appealed for volunteers to come together to organise events in this region.

At the end of the meeting, Mary Forrest presented a number of Irish plants to Kevin Halpenny, Senior Parks Superintendent with Fingal County Council, and Dominica McKevitt, head gardener at Ardgillan, to help build up their Irish collection.  The plants included Libertia x butlerii ‘Amazing Grace’ and Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ which was Rose of the Year in 2022 and bred by Colin Dickson of Dicksons Roses in Northern Ireland.

The full list is as follows:


Irish Heritage Plants for the Irish Garden in the Walled Garden

Presented by the Irish Garden Plant Society on the occasion of their AGM held at Ardgillan Castle 20th May 2023:

Agapanthus ‘Patent Blue’

Bergenia ‘Ballawley’

Bergenia purpurascens ‘Irish Crimson’

Croscosmia ’Rowallane Yellow’

Delphinium ‘Weeshy’s Blue’

Erica x stuartii ‘Mysterious Colleen’

Escallonia ‘Alice’

Hebe ‘Amy’

Hebe ‘Headfortii’

Hypericum augustinii

Iris lazica ‘Turkish Blue’

Jasminum officinale ‘Crimson Bud’

Libertia x butleri ‘Amazing Grace’

Philadelphus ‘Rose Syringa’

Rosa ‘Narrow Water’

Rose ‘It’s a wonderful life’ Dickson’s of Newtownards,  Rose of the Year 2022


Chairperson Mary Forrest presenting Libertia x butlerii ‘Amazing Grace to Kevin Halpenny, Senior Parks Superintendent with Fingal County Council


Billy McCone presenting Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life to Kevin Halpenny. From left to right: Anne James (founder member of the IGPS and former Senior Parks Superintendent with Fingal County Council), Dominica McKevitt (head gardener at Ardgillan Castle and Gardens), Kevin Halpenny (Senior Parks Superintendent with Fingal County Council), and Billy McCone (Northern representative on the National Committee)
Chairperson Mary Forrest and National Honorary Secretary Áine-Máire Ní Mhurchú