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The gardens at Ashford Castle were largely created by the Guinness family who owned Ashford Castle for around 100 years, more specifically, Lady Ardilaun who was responsible for laying out the existing structure of Terraces and Walks which so define the gardens at Ashford today.
This was in the 1890s and photographs from that period give a very interesting perspective on the original layout. The first proper restoration of the gardens was carried out in the 1990s, 100 years after their creation; based on the original plans laid out by Lady Ardilaun.
Since Ashford Castle was lovingly restored by the Tollman family and the Red Carnation Team, a programme was set in motion to restore and develop the gardens.
An extensive tree care operation was carried out as well as careful repair of the many garden monuments, and the Sunken Garden and adjacent section of the Terraced Walk were totally replanted.
The great formal Main Parterre, the beautiful Walled Garden full of perennial borders, fruit and vegetables, and the long Terraced Walk and Broad Walk create vistas across the gardens. The great woods with some exceptional trees are perfect to wander through and enjoy the wildlife and natural environment.
The Tollman Garden, formerly known as the Sunken Garden, is one of several formal gardens arranged along the main terrace walk in the grounds of Ashford Castle. These gardens, laid out by the Guinness family in the nineteenth century, are amongst the finest of the many beautiful country house gardens to be found in Ireland.
In 1996 a circular pond, measuring eleven metres in diameter, was constructed in the centre of the rectangular lawn that was then known as the Sunken Garden, so called because of the high planted banks that surrounded it. The garden was approached down steps from the Velvet Garden to the east, and from a tunnel leading from the Walled Garden on the west, and also down steps from the Terrace Walk on the north side. It consisted only of a rectangular walkway leading around the lawn with no paths leading to the central pond.