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Name Altamont Gardens
Nearest Town Tullow
Access Road N80/N81
About Situated just outside the town of Tullow in South East Carlow is probably the most romantic garden in Ireland, Altamont is an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens located on a 100 acre estate.
Whilst still little known, it ranks in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred to as ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’Lawns are bisected by sculpted yews sloping down to a romantic lake surrounded by rare trees, rhododendrons and shrubs.
A profusion of roses, old fashioned and modern, and herbaceous plants scent the air.
A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks leads to the majestic River Slaney.
Along the River Walk, you may see salmon and trout rising, perhaps even an otter, and throughout the garden, an abundance of birds and butterflies.
On your return via the Hill Walk, there are wonderful views of the Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains and Mount Leinster.
Originally, Altamont is thought to have been the site of a convent, although there seem to be no existing records to corroborate this.
However, the house as it exists today was evidently built upon the remains of an earlier dwelling dating from at least the 16th century; immensely thick walls, paved granite floors and arrow slit windows in the centre basement of the house testify to this.
There is also evidence of a monastic site on adjoining land – the convent at Altamont is believed to have been its ‘Sister House’.
At this time the estate is thought to have been known as Rose Hill, the name being subsequently changed to Soho and marked thus on a map of 1777.
The estate eventually came to be called Altamont sometime in the late 18th century, through some connection with the Marquis of Sligo.
(Lord) Altamont was a title conferred then on the eldest son.
The remains of a chapel are still to be seen on the Dark Walk, in the form of a windowed end wall.
However, the stained glass herein is believed to date from Victorian times.
Other fragments of the chapel have been incorporated into sections of the house – beneath the library and above the front bedroom window of the south wing.