Kilmacurragh in bloom / Kilmacurragh en fleurs

Kilmacurragh, National Botanic Gardens, botanic gardens, Avoca Paintng School, Rod Coyne, Avoca Gallery, rhododendrons, art, nature, spring, April

Just living is not enough… One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

Hans Christian Andersen

There was little sunshine in Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, Co Wicklow, last Saturday, but the abundance of flowers and sense of freedom more than made up for it.

This was the week my mum and two nieces from France came to stay with us. While Brian observed tadpoles and played hide-and-seek with the six children, my mum and I slowly walked around the gardens in full bloom, marvelling at the size and beauty of Kilmacurragh’s famous rhododendrons.

Kilmacurragh’s rhododendrons

The towering rhododendrons altaclarense, which line the stunning Broad Walk, over a carpet of fallen crimson blossoms;
The lush rhododendrons fortunie, which form walls of pink flowers and arch over the pathways;
The lower growing Cunningham’s whites, which look like they are covered in fresh snow;
And so many more, of all shapes and sizes, all awash with dazzling colours, all stunningly beautiful.

The giant rhododendrons, with their large, twisting branches close to the ground, are perfect for climbing. Something the acorns and their cousins did as part of their hide-and-seek game.

Jedi showed his cousin P, 13 years old, the best hiding and climbing spots around the gardens. Mermaid picked a handful of ‘sticky backs’ (or cleavers), in the hope of making sticky back water, but they wilted before the end of the walk. Pebbles explored the gardens at his own pace, lost in an imaginary world. Hide-and-seek ‘world champion’ Squirrel often disappeared under thick foliage, only to be found hanging on to a branch. 

On the Broad Walk, Wicklow artist Rod Coyne hosted a painting class for a few students of the Avoca Painting School. My niece M, nearly 10 years old, looked at the scarlet petals covering the Broad Walk, and said the place ‘looks like a wedding’.

Soon we were back on the car park. A bold chaffinch looked on, searching for crumbs, while we had cake and ice-cream at the Acton Café, at the end of this blooming wonderful outing.


De juste vivre ne suffit pas… On a aussi besoin de soleil, de liberté et d’une petite fleur.

Hans Christian Andersen

Il n’y avait guère de soleil au jardin botanique de Kilmacurragh, Co Wicklow, mais la profusion de fleurs et la sensation de liberté ont largement compensé.

C’était pendant la semaine que ma mère et mes deux nièces ont passée chez nous. Pendant que Brian observait des tétards et jouait à cache-cache avec les six enfants, Mamie et moi avons lentement parcouru les jardins en pleine floraison, émerveillées par la taille et la beauté des célèbres rhododendrons de Kilmacurragh.

Les imposants rhododendrons altaclarense, qui longent la superbe Grande Allée (Broad Walk) et la recouvrent d’un tapis de pétales pourpres ;
Les luxuriants rhododendrons fortunie, qui forment des murs de fleurs et se courbent au-dessus des sentiers ;
Les plus petits Cunningham’s White, qui semblent couverts de neige fraîche ;
Et tant d’autres, de toutes formes et tailles, tous éclatants de couleurs, tous d’une beauté saisissante.

Les rhododendrons géants, avec leurs grosses branches torses près du sol, se prêtent à l’escalade. Ce que les graines de chêne et leurs cousines n’ont pas manqué de faire au fil de leur partie de cache-cache.

Jedi a montré à P, 13 ans, les meilleurs cachettes des jardins. Sirène a cueilli une poignée de gratterons, dans l’espoir d’en faire de l’eau parfumée, mais ils étaient fanés avant la fin de la balade. Caillou a exploré les jardins à son propre rythme, perdu dans son monde imaginaire. Ecureuil, le “champion” de cache-cache, disparaissait souvent sous le feuillage luxuriant, pour réapparaître suspendu à une branche à plusieurs mètres du sol. 

Sur la Grande Allée, l’artiste local Rod Coyne donnait un cours de peinture en plein air à quelques-uns de ses étudiants. Ma nièce M, presque 10 ans, a longuement regardé l’allée jonchée de pétales écarlates : “On dirait un mariage…”

Nous avons bientôt rejoint le parking. Un pinson audacieux nous observait, en quête de miettes à picorer, pendant nous dégustions glaces et gâteaux à la terrasse de l’Acton Café, au terme de cette sortie des plus fleuries.

Related / Similaire  Solstice walk in Kilmacurragh / Balade du solstice à Kilmacurragh

Kilmacurragh, National Botanic Gardens, botanic gardens, Avoca Paintng School, Rod Coyne, Avoca Gallery, rhododendrons, art, nature, spring, April


Visitor information

Kilmacurragh logoKilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens
Co. Wicklow
Tel. +353 404 48844
Open all year round 9am-6pm (mid-February-27th October), 9am-4.30pm (late October-mid-February); closed on Christmas Day.
Admission free. Suitable for pushchairs. Dogs allowed on a lead only.
Free guided tours at 12pm and 3pm every Sunday in March and twice daily from April until mid-October. Booking recommended.
Remarkable trees and rhododendrons at Kilmacurragh – free guided walk every day at 3pm throughout April. Booking recommended.

Acton Café
Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Getting there

Travelling southbound on the M11 (Wexford), take Exit 18 for Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Following the brown signs with a white flower, go through two roundabouts to reach the L1113. Follow this road for 5km to the entrance of the gardens, on the left-hand side.
Travelling northbound on the M11 (Dublin), take Exit 18 for Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. At the roundabout, take the first exit to the L1113. Follow this road for 5km to the entrance of the gardens, on the left-hand side.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of them, I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site.


Infos pratiques

Kilmacurragh logoKilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens
Co. Wicklow
Tel. +353 404 48844
Ouvert toute l’année 9h-18h (mi-février au 27 octobre), 9h-16h30 (fin octobre à mi-février) ; fermé le jour de Noël.
Entrée libre. Accessible aux poussettes. Chiens en laisse autorisés.
Visites guidées gratuites à midi et 15h tous les dimanches de mars puis tous les jours d’avril à octobre. Réservation recommandée.
Remarkable trees and rhododendrons at Kilmacurragh – promenade guidée gratuite tous les jours à 15h en avril. Réservation recommandée.

Acton Café
Ouvert lundi-vendredi 9h-17h ; samedi-dimanche 10h-17h.

S’y rendre

Circulant en direction du sud sur la M11 (Wexford), prenez la sortie 18 pour Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Suivant les panneaux marrons marqués d’une fleur blanche, traversez deux ronds-points pour emprunter la route L1113. Continuez pendant 5 km jusqu’à l’entrée de l’arboretum sur la gauche.

Circulant en direction du nord (Dublin) sur la M11, prenez la sortie 18 pour Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Au rond-point, prenez la première sortie pour la route L1113. Continuez pendant 5 km jusqu’à l’entrée de l’arboretum sur la gauche.



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14 Responses to “Kilmacurragh in bloom / Kilmacurragh en fleurs

  • It really does look like a wedding; so beautiful with all the petals on the ground.


  • Such gorgeous gardens – I love rhododendrons, they’re my favourite. Beautiful photos #CountrKids

    • These gardens are magical, one of our favourite places in Wicklow. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  • Oh my word, this looks incredible! I’m going to temporarily forgive the rhododendron for being a worryingly invasive species because this really is stunning, particularly the photo of the “painting on the path”. Love the photos of the acorns playing amongst the trunks and branches too. #CountryKids

    • Thank you Jonny! Most of these rhododendrons were planted in Kilmacurragh by the estate’s owners some 150 years ago, i.e. long before they became an issue. My mum couldn’t believe their size – in France where I’m from, rhododendrons don’t do well, and never grow higher than 50cm!

  • The gardens look so beautiful, I’d love to spend a few hours exploring there!

    • Kilmacurragh is a magical place at any time of year, and one of those hidden gems that lots of people don’t know about. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • What a beautiful place to be able to relax and explore as a family, it’s great that the extended family all had a wonderful time. It sounds like Kilmacurragh is your family’s happy place, you all seem to have your favourite parts mapped out to make your days as fun as they can be! it’s great that there’s so much to see and do there and the kids appear to love exploring the grounds.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids

  • How lovely that you got to spend time with your family and in such a beautiful
    Place. The pink carpet of blossom was stunning as were those huge rhododendrons! Wow!!! Thank you for linking up to #PointShoot

  • Your photos are stunning, and I love the petals on the floor…we would have been heading home pockets full of them as mine can never resist fallen petals ! #countrykidsfun

  • I love a gorgeous garden and this one looks fabulous we love going exploring this time of year too. #countrykids

  • The garden’s are so gorgeous. Would love to visit one day. Beautiful photos. #pointshoot

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