The Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, Seán Canney T.D. has made a visit to the spectacular Altamont Gardens in County Carlow. The Minister was in Altamont Gardens to meet with Carlow Tourism and he was accompanied on his visit by Patrick O’Donovan T.D., Minister of State for Tourism and Sport. Altamont is part of the Carlow Garden Trail which is actively promoted by the OPW and Carlow Tourism.
Widely regarded as the “jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown”, Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres. The Estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, natives in the avenues and woodland areas, and exotic specimens throughout the gardens. Lawns bisected by sculptured yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees. A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney.
Minister Canney said “Altamont Gardens continues to be a major tourist attraction in the South East attracting over 58,000 visitors in 2016 and it is contributing much to the benefit of the local economy. The house and gardens were gifted to the State by Mrs. Corona North in 1999. However, the house requires a significant amount of structural and development work. I am particularly pleased that Altamont Gardens has been included in a programme of OPW heritage projects which have been submitted for consideration by Fáilte Ireland for capital grant assistance towards the costs of development works”.
The OPW is taking a phased approach to developing Altamont. Work will commence shortly on installing a new roof on the house and upgrading the waste-water treatment system at the property. Future developments will seek to improve the visitor facilities at the house with the provision of toilets and new tearooms.
The Minister concluded, “Carlow County Council has been exceptionally helpful in respect of the overall project objectives for Altamont. It has funded alternative housing for the occupants (caretaker’s family) of the House and has facilitated OPW in taking-over the property. This substantial contribution by the County Council towards the project is something that I would like to formally acknowledge.”