The famous Japanese Gardens, located within the lands of the Irish National Stud at Tully, are widely praised as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe. They were created by Scotsman Colonel William Hall-Walker (Later Lord Wavertree) and were developed between 1906 and 1910. The gardens were actually laid down by the Japanese master gardener Tassa Eida and his son Minoru, and were designed to be symbolic of the ‘Life of Man’.
The paths that wind throughout the gardens were laid out in the tradition of the Zen Monks. They recollect the soul’s journey from Oblivion to Eternity and the various choices open to people as they journey through life. Representations of life choices relating to education, marriage, ambitions and lifestyles are depicted, all of which are distinctive characteristics of gardens in Japan at the turn of the 19th century. Tassa Eida imported lanterns from Japan to place along these pathways in order to light the soul’s passage through life.
The Japanese Gardens are an extremely popular place to visit, offering a tranquil area for contemplation and reflection.
St Fiachra’s Garden
To mark the beginning of the new millennium, the Irish National Stud commissioned a new garden to be created in 1999. The garden was designed by landscape architect Professor Martin Hallinan and is dedicated to St Fiachra, the Patron Saint of Gardeners.
Hallinan aimed to capture the same spirituality inspired by the natural environment that lead to the development of the monastic movement during the 6th and 7th centuries. Rock and water form the core of the garden’s character, which is set in natural woodland and lake surrounds. The woodland and lakeside walks allow visitors to experience the full spirit of nature. One feature of particular interest is the principal monastic cell. It is made of Waterford Crystal shaped plants and rocks, and the entire feature is lit by fibre optics.
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