PICTURES: Snowdrop Week becomes month-long event at Altamont Gardens in Carlow

It kick starts a whole range of snowdrop related activities

Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett


Carlow Carlow Carlow

Altamount Gardens

The OPW, in association with the Carlow Garden Trail and Carlow Tourism, has announced an extension of snowdrop celebrations in Altamont Gardens in February, 2019. 

In place of the usual Snowdrop Week, the public are welcome to Altamont Gardens to enjoy Snowdrop Month.

This new venture is in response to the great success of Snowdrop Week in recent years. 

Guided tours of the extensive collection of snowdrops in the main garden will be facilitated by Head Gardener, Paul Cutler every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm throughout February. 

This unique collection, first started by Corona North, is now amongst the largest in Ireland with over 100 named varieties.

The tour is reasonably priced at €3 per person, and the gardens are open from 9am – 4.30pm for general viewing.

Robert Miller of Altamont Plant Sales will lead a tour of the snowdrop collection around the Walled Garden each Saturday at 2pm. This tour is free of charge. 

The café in the Walled Garden is also open for hot drinks and homemade cakes throughout the month.

To commemorate 20 years since the passing of the highly regarded Corona North, the former owner of Altamont Gardens, an evening of talks will be held on February 1, 2019 in Mount Wolseley Hotel, Tullow. 

The evening will feature talks by Paul Cutler, Head Gardener at Altamont who worked closely with Mrs North and Assumpta Broomfield, the much-admired Irish gardener and galantophile and a close friend of Mrs North.

Admission fee is €10 and free to those attending the Snowdrop Gala. Pre-booking is required by contacting Robert Miller at T: 087-9822135

The annual Snowdrop Gala, organised by Robert Miller of Altamont Plant Sales and Hester Forde of Coosheen Gardens, takes place on Saturday February 2 at Mount Wolseley Hotel, Tullow. 

This event exhibits the best in snowdrops and early flowering Spring plants, with talks by leading experts in horticulture and gives the gardening world the opportunity to emerge from Winter hibernation. 

Speakers this year are Ian Christie, of Christies Nursery in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and Ian Young of the Scottish Rock Garden Club and both talks are sure to entertain and enlighten. 

After lunch, there will be a guided tour of Altamont Gardens by Paul Cutler.

A highly anticipated sale of snowdrops and other Spring plants from Avon Bulbs, Christies Specialist Nursery, Ashwood, Harvingtons and Coosheen Plants are available from Altamont Plant Sales.

Pre-booking for the Snowdrop Gala is essential at T: 087-9822135 or T: 086-8654972.

At €70 the snowdrop gala is fantastic value for money and includes lectures, lunch, guided tour, exclusive admission to the bulb sale, afternoon tea and cake in the Walled Garden Café and the Corona North Commemorative Talk on February 1.

Other snowdrop events that feature throughout the month of February on the Carlow Garden Trail include:

The gardens at Burtown House near Athy will open every Wednesday – Sunday and feature an extensive collection of snowdrops, aconites, hellebores and early bulbs.

A painting workshop with botanical artist Shevaun Doherty takes place on February 8th and 9th  - Shevaun is well known as one of Ireland’s most famed botanical artists and winner of Best in Show at Bloom in the Phoenix Park 2018 for a fabulous drawing of a golden eye lichen.

Walk and talk garden tours will take place on February 16th. Hearty brunches and lunches using produce from the organic kitchen garden served at The Green Barn Restaurant – booking recommended. T: 059 862 3865 w:

Enjoy the spectacular early Spring bulbs and carpet of snowdrops at Shankill Castle, Paulstown, Kilkenny from February 1-28 with the opportunity to avail of a castle tour delivered by one of the Cope family. 

Adults €5, castle tour and walk €10. Group, family tickets and concessions available 12-6p.m. 

Afterwards relax in the Coach House Café, featured on RTÉ’s At Your Service, for great home baking featuring lunches and a selection of a cakes and tea/coffee T:059-9726145

An original 17th century garden, with charming woodland walks featuring snowdrops and Spring plantings, are available every weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Huntington Garden, Clonegal, Co. Carlow. Tours of the castle are also available. Normal charges apply. T: 053-937 7160 w: