16 May 2022

Welcome the first signs of Spring this month with Carlow's Snowdrop events

Welcome the first signs of Spring this month with Carlow's Snowdrop events

The snowdrops arrival is celebrated throughout some of County Carlow’s fantastic gardens by a dedicated series of events during February

The delicate white and green blooms of the snowdrop peeping through the cold winter ground heralds the start of the gardening year. Their arrival is celebrated throughout some of County Carlow’s fantastic gardens by a dedicated series of events during February.

Altamont Gardens

The very popular Snowdrop Month at Altamont Gardens runs from February 1 – 28 and is a great opportunity to view this unique collection, first started by Corona North, former owner of the gardens.

Having been further developed by the OPW over the last twenty years the collection is now amongst the largest in Ireland, with over 150 named varieties. Guided tours will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout February. The gardens are open daily for general viewing from 9 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Advance booking of tours is required.

Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow. R93 N882
T: 046–942386 E:


Opening times: 9 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. daily.

How to find us: From Dublin/Waterford exit the M9 at junction 5 for N80 Rosslare. Continue along the N80 through the village of Ballon and the N80/N81 junction. Turn left at the next cross road junction signed Altamont Gardens. From Carlow Town follow the N80 through Ballon and continue as above.

Snowdrop Gala at Ballykealey House

No Galanthophile can afford to miss the Snowdrop Gala at Ballykealey House on Saturday February 5 with lectures by German and UK speakers Anne C. Repnow  “Old and New Favourites” and Tom Coward from Gravetye Manor “Gravetye Manor, The Plants and Gardening in William Robinson’s Wild Garden”.

Following lunch the afternoon includes a guided tour of the snowdrop collection in Altamont Gardens and a Specialist Plants Sale in Altamont Plant Sales. The sale features rare and unusual bulbs and other spring flowering perennials from specialist nurseries and gardens including Avon Bulbs via Altamont Plant Sales, Coosheen Plants, Gortkelly Nusery and Fields of Bloom.

At €90 the snowdrop gala is fantastic value for money and includes lectures, lunch, guided tour, exclusive admission to the Specialist Plants Sale and afternoon tea in the Walled Garden Café.

Pre-booking is essential by contacting Hester Forde T: 086-8654972 or Robert Miller T: 087-9822135

For special accommodation offers contact Ballykealey House, Ballykealey, Ballon, Co. Carlow T: 059-9159288 E: W: 

Huntington Castle

Snowdrop fun for all the family is on offer each weekend during Snowdrop Month at Huntington Castle, situated in the picturesque village of Clonegal – a five-minute drive from Altamont Gardens.

These historic 17th century gardens feature a variety of snowdrops and crocuses to be enjoyed in this unique setting. Huntington Castle was recently listed in the top six gardens to visit in Ireland’s Ancient East.

The gardens and tearooms will be open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. while guided tours of the castle are at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Children’s adventure playground also open. Normal charges apply.

Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal, Co. Carlow T: 053-9377160 E: W:

How to find us: The entrance gates to Huntington Castle are located in the centre of Clonegal Village. 

Opening times: Each weekend 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Admission: Gardens – adults €6, U12 €3. Usual concessions. House and gardens – adults €10, children €5. Family and group discounts available. For up-to-date details of house tours visit

Shankill Castle & Gardens

This February, enjoy the spectacular carpet of snowdrops, hellebores and other early spring bulbs at Shankill Castle, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny.

Take in the first signs of spring on the garden and woodland walks, and stroll around the Victorian walled garden. There is something for the whole family to enjoy, with a visit to the Secret Fairy Woods, and a stop at the Coach House Café to enjoy a garden-to-plate experience with produce from the organic farm and local suppliers, and freshly baked treats made from scratch.

Seasonal organic vegetables and produce from the walled garden is also on sale at the Coach House Café.

Shankill Castle and Gardens, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny. R95 T8X7
T: 086–3971748 E: W:

How to find us: In the village of Paulstown on the Carlow-Kilkenny border. From Carlow Town head 20km south towards Waterford/Kilkenny, taking exit 7 off the M9 motorway.

Opening times: Saturdays and Sundays in February (and the full snowdrop season), 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets and details: Garden entry: adults €5, children (4 and over) €3, OAPs/students €4

Please purchase tickets and collect a map at the Coach House Café. Tickets are also available to book online at T: 086-3971748.

Castle tours currently unavailable. Group visits are available by prior arrangement. Facilities: car parking, toilets

Burtown House & Gardens

The gardens at Burtown House near Athy will open every Wednesday – Sunday during the month of February featuring an extensive collection of snowdrops, aconites, hellebores and early bulbs. Hearty brunches and lunches using produce from the organic kitchen garden will be served at The Green Barn Restaurant with dinner on Saturday nights – booking recommended. 

T: 059-862 3865 W:

Burtown House and Gardens, Athy, Co. Kildare. R14 KF63
T: 059–8623865 E: W:

How to find us: From Dublin/Waterford take exit 3 on M9 motorway and follow signs for Athy. Take the second left turn and Burtown House is on the left, well signposted.

Admission: Gardens – adults €8, children €4, under 8 free. House tours – see website for details. Adults €10

For further information log onto or contact Carlow Tourism on 059-9130411 E:

Special accommodation offers available throughout the month of February are available at

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