One of Ireland’s most important historic gardens is to open again after a full restoration that aims to return them to their full glory after decades of neglect.
The Shackleton Gardens, a 1 ½ acre walled garden at Beech Park in Clonsilla, west Dublin, were created 200 years ago by skilled plantsman David Shackleton, a relative of the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. They housed his collection of choice alpines, tender exotics and other rarities which became one of the most important plant collections in Ireland and internationally famous among gardeners and botanists. But following Shackleton’s death, the gardens gradually fell into disrepair and now only about 10% of the original plants survive.
Now Fingal County Council has taken ownership of the garden and matched a grant from Failte Ireland to create a €415,000 fund for restoring and replanting the garden with many of David Shackleton’s discoveries. The work is likely to take two years to complete, with the help of students from the Institute of Technology in Blanchardstown, individual volunteers and participants of Gateway, the local authority work opportunities scheme. The first stage is due to begin later this year, and it’s hoped the gardens will open to the public in spring 2019.