Shirley Lanigan’s book, The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland is published by Liberties Press (2011).
I wanted this book for months before I allowed myself to spend €25 to purchase it. Partly my hesitation is that it’s a book that I will want to keep and return to as a reference source and the paper cover really isn’t going to be robust enough to last. But perhaps the publisher’s idea is to keep updating the text since a lot of the references are also going to date. The author talks about what she has seen on her most recent visit and provides website addresses and email contact points for the gardens that are included. Although well illustrated with photographs, the quality of the photographs is mixed and it’s disappointing that some of the photographed plants are not identified in captions. If you want to try and reproduce any of the planting in your own garden, you’re going to need to know a bit about plants already. But, this isn’t a gardener’s guide – it’s a visitors guide and is definitely useful for identifying potential places to visit. It provides fairly detailed information on most well-known and many less well-known Irish gardens. It’s arranged by province and by county within each province making it easy to identify gardens to visit as you travel around Ireland and it provides useful information on opening hours, seasons, and so on. I’ve certainly found one or two — like Derreen in County Kerry — to add to my ‘must see’ list for the coming year. Overall, if you enjoy days out in Ireland and if your budget can stretch to it The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland is worth keeping an eye out for.