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Escape Dublin city on a day trip to Wicklow on a guided food and drink trail to a country estate, a winery, a brewery and a distillery. Meet the Makers Wicklow, is a new tour experience which brings you into the heart of four small Wicklow food & drink businesses.

The tour has Dublin city centre pick up points and hotel pick up points.

Dates available –  Oct 13th, Oct 19th, Oct 26th, Nov 2nd, Nov 9th, Nov 16th, Nov 23rd , Nov 30th

For further details and to book click here


Mon 28th October to Fri 1st November 2019
10am-2pm each day

Open to ages 4yrs (school going) to 10yrs


Join Me & The Moon our children’s creative partners to explore the wondrous wilderness, construct new fantasies and imagine a new world of mystical creatures. This Halloween camp will be set in our amazing studio, The Horse Stables, in the heart of Killruddery House and Gardens. They will also go beyond the studio to research their surroundings in the great outdoors. Children will draw inspiration from their natural surroundings such as the live farmyard animals, astounding trees, flowers and vegetable gardens. The camp will cover a wide variety of media, including painting, print, collage and clay workshops.


A deposit of €40 secures your place at camp. Full prices as follows;
Killruddery members: €135
Non members: €120

T-shirt included for all camp attendees. 10% discount for second and subsequent siblings. Deposit required to secure place in camp. Balance is payable on first day of camp. Killruddery members are kindly requested to show member ID on payment. Please note deposit is non-refundable unless we are given at least two weeks’ notice of cancellation to fill the vacant spot. Parents/guardians will receive a text message the week before camp with information on how to pay the balance, what to pack for camp and directions on where to go.

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Artist in Residence at Killruddery

Joanna Kidney is beginning a 3 month artist in residency at Killruddery, during her time here Joanna will develop her current project Pendulum for her upcoming Solo Exhibitions in the LAB Gallery, Dublin and List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia, USA. Pendulum is a body of drawings, paintings and 3 dimensional work. It explores an abstract visual vocabulary which consolidates the organic and geometric qualities of her work. This project was gratefully supported by Wicklow County Council.

Joanna will be concentrating on the painting element of her project during her residency. She works with encaustic paint an ancient, immediate and tactile painting process using molten pigmented beeswax. These paintings explore a distilled language of marks and lines in conversation with the tactile and luminous qualities of the paint.

‘I am so grateful for the opportunity and support to be Artist in Residence at Killruddery- to concentrate on my work surrounded by such a hive of inspiration and nature’.

Joanna Kidney was born in Dublin and currently lives in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Through drawing, painting and installation, her work explores ideas of temporality and the interrelationship between all living matter. Seeking to make some sense of life, it reflects on how complex and vulnerable our lives are within the infinite universe.

Solo Exhibitions include: List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia (upcoming), The LAB, Dublin (upcoming), Wexford Arts Centre (2018), West Cork Arts Centre, Uillinn (2018), Galway Arts Centre (2016), Mermaid Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow (2015), RHA Atrium, Dublin (2013) and The Drawing Project, Co. Dublin (2012). She has exhibited widely in group shows in Ireland, France, Germany and the USA.

She is the recipient of Arts Council and Wicklow County Council funding, an RHA Studio Award, a Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship and a DIT Award of Excellence. Residencies include: Swarthmore College Artist in Residence, Philadelphia (upcoming); Kilruddery House and Gardens Artist in Residence, Co. Wicklow; Brigham Young University Artist in Residence, Utah; Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo; The LFTT Library @ The Guesthouse, Cork with the artists collective The Tellurometer Project. She is a founding member of Outpost Studios, Bray, Co. Wicklow (2014); a member of the artists collective The Tellurometer Project (with Helen G. Blake, Joanne Boyle, Raine Hozier Byrne, Rachel Fallon, Laura Kelly and Susan Montgomery) and a featured artist on The Drawing Suite. Her work is included in the collections of AIB, The Central Bank, OPW, UCD and Dept of Environment, Northern Ireland.

Instagram: @joanna_kidney and  #joannakidney

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Killruddery: Listening to the Archive
Joseph Young is our current Artist-In-Residence and will be focusing his time on a project that takes the archives, architecture and grounds of Killruddery as its starting point to uncover unheard and forgotten stories of Anglo-Irish social histories. Joseph will seek to creatively inhabit the historic Meath family archives, identifying key texts, sounds and images to produce a parallel, contemporary sonic archive using 3D audio techniques.This is part of a practice based IRC EPS PHD, at the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland at UCD, and SMARTlab supervised by Professor Lizbeth Goodman and funded and supported by the Irish Research Council and the Artist in Residence programme at Killruddery.


To mark World Listening Day 2019 Joseph has recorded a performance of Dean Rosenthal’s Stones/Water/Time/Breath by the fountain at Killruddery available to listen to here

Joseph is an artist living and working in Brighton (UK) and Berlin. A specialist in binaura l recording techniques, his sound diptych The Missing Paintings is held in the permanent collection of Towner Art Gallery (UK). A digital edition of Young’s sound and performance installation The Ballad of Skinny Lattes and Vintage Clothing was acquired by the Estorick Collection London, where a 10-year retrospective of his Neo Futurist Collective artist group, Make Futurism Great Again was held in 2018. Recent exhibitions and commissions include A field in England, Leicester De Montfort University (2018), Handmade/Automation, British Ceramics Biennial (2017), Singing the Castle to life, Lewes Castle (2017), In A Shetland Landscape, Shetland Museum & Archives (2016), What is the sound of protest? Errant Bodies Berlin (2015), Revolution #10, House of Commons (2015), The Garden Manifesto, Seoul Museum of Art (2014), Orchestra of Ringtones, Jerwood Hastings (2013), Listening Ears, Tate Britain (2012), ReAwakening of A City, Wall St. NYC (2008).

He is also an activist for visual artists’ rights, both as a member of a-n’s Artists Council and as the founder of @artsforeu. A regular speaker at international conferences on artists’ livelihoods, he was an invited panelist for the Goethe Institute’s 2018-19 online debate, “How political should artists be today?”.

Artist website:


Killruddery Farm shop is now open daily from 9am -6pm

Stocked with a bounty of fresh Walled Garden produce,  Killruddery orchard eggs, freshly baked bread from the Bakers Table , Lady Meath’s Marmalade, Killruddery jams and chutneys, Killruddery lamb, Rings farm organic chickens, Blackditch Farm free-range bacon, sausages and pudding, Wicklow Farmhouse cheeses, artisan crackers, books, fresh herbs, our own Walled Garden flowers and more!

Almost mid June, and the garden is fairing ok, and looking reasonable, though our work list seems to grow by the day. At this time of year, it’s always a huge challenge to get round everything we need to focus on, as well as absorb and navigate the usual things like events, staff holidays, the vagaries of our summer weather and of course the seemingly inevitable (and mounting) machinery break downs.

Maintenance is in full swing at this time – there’s a huge amount of weekly work, just to stand still really, other work, maybe needing attention every second week has to be crammed in some place, and it’s really a juggling act trying to get around everything. Between mowing (a little over 20 acres of grass) – much of it mowed twice weekly, weed control (losing the battle here, in places at least), maintaining edges and paths, pest control, hedges, watering and general plant care (all essential regardless of other demands), it can be a tough time of year. The maintenance side of things must be the priority during this period and any time for additional tasks is a welcome bonus.

On a more plant positive note – the weather has been pretty benign so far this summer – no particularly high temperatures yet, and it definitely feels like we’ve had a pretty decent amount of rain – I got a surly seeming text yesterday along the lines of ‘pouring rain, well… at least you’ll be happy…’ and they were right I suppose – I hope never again to see the conditions (and more so the impact on the garden) we experienced last summer, and statistically speaking, there’s little chance I will, but we do live in strange, changing and challenging times.

One area where I’m really seeing the benefit of the reasonable rainfall levels of recent weeks is where we’ve carried out remedial work on some of our old hedges, especially around the angles – visitors can look at the areas we’ve lowered and see the level of healthy re growth and new shoots for themselves. If a very hot dry summer followed work of this kind – which should be completed in winter time, recovery and regeneration would not be strong, and on some occasions – with very old and in some cases fragile specimens as is the situation here , their survival may be threatened.

Our under restoration for years at this stage Irish Yew are really gaining from our weather so far. I cut them pretty hard this year, somewhat more than I would have been planning, though you really never know until you are in front of the plant and working on it, but the regrowth and re shooting is really strong. That lovely lime green fresh foliage is easily visible on the trees – onwards and upwards for those. I felt it noticeable that they didn’t put on a particularly impressive amount of growth last year, I certainly don’t recall seeing the kind of growth currently visible. Our grass also is maintaining the kind of green that was all too absent over the course of last year. Combined with our continued use of seaweed concentrate as a lawn feed, and generally strong growth,our many acres of lawn are looking something approaching how they should – we just have to keep up the maintenance…

On the subject of lawn mowing, some of the keener eyed among our regular visitors may have noticed a bit of a change in some of our mowing regimes. Killruddery is of course first and foremost a formal garden and as such, we aim for a high standard of neat, mowing, complete where possible, with stripes in the lawns. The stripes are produced when the roller on the rear of the mower, following cutting, flattens the grass in a particular direction and has generally been dictated by the position of key features of the garden – ponds, rock, house etc. The mowing in alternate directions causes the grass to flatten at opposite angles, showing as dark or light stripes. Over time, when a mowing regime is unchanged – ie the areas where machinery travels/ the route taken when mowing, you will get what we call ‘tramlines’ and to a degree, the grass will grow in such a way as to try and avoid being cut. In part late last year, and much more extensively this year, we’ve changed entirely our mowing systems. I maintain that we tweak and alter work practices a little every year, but its fair to say that this was a bigger change than most, especially as it concerns an area of such labour intensiveness and indeed pressure at times. We are now mowing almost all areas at 45 degree angles, alternating the direction of cut with each mow. It certainly requires a little more concentration and thought…in fact, to use some modern parlance, it requires a certain level of ‘mindfulness’… The results have been outstanding – a much more consistent, smoother, more uniform cut – it’s something we should have done a long time ago.

The optimum time for the majority of seed sowing has now more or less passed, though I’ll keep at it for now, when the opportunity presents. This year, pretty much as always, I have a mixed bag of results – a few very interesting outcomes, some blanks, and lots ‘pending’. Seed sowing is immensely satisfying, particularly where usually difficult subjects are concerned, but even in the case of things that you would anticipate easy, high rates of germination. It’s definitely the case though, that the real excitement comes from things that you have little expectation of success with. There’s usually a few surprises along the way.

Planting around the garden has mostly been confined to the car park area – probably the last large amount of planting to take place here, and happened a little later than I would have preferred. I delayed things for a variety of reasons, including a hope that with certain material, I might see a bit more in terms of root production. Alas, it didn’t really happen, and the delay means things are slightly behind here – though it’ll soon catch up, and that we’ll have to watch that little bit more closely for watering if we have a prolonged warm, dry spell. This last area is a little like the area planted last year (as you approach the ticket office) in that it’s open, exposed and tends to get sun. It’s very early days for this planting, though I’d have to say it looks puny enough compared with the adjacent area,which really took off. It’s likely the case that as always, there will be a few failures, a few replacements, and some changes along the way.

So, all in all, busy times here in Killruddery. Soon, school holidays will be in full swing, and many of our regulars will I hope enjoy some long, lazy and fun days in Killruddery. There’s various exciting events planned, the ever popular Farmers market continues each Saturday. In the garden, our list, like the weeds and grass continues to grow…it seems at times to have a life all of it’s own…a guy could certainly get a little flustered…

Luckily for me, there’s some ‘mindful mowing’ on the schedule this afternoon…

Daragh Farren – June 2019

Spring is an exciting and busy time in Killruddery. Lots of planning underway in the various departments, events for the year ahead being organised and finalised and above all, preparations for our opening for the new season. We were fortunate enough with our Winter weather, experiencing few extremes of any kind, and although cumulatively over the weeks and months we’ve had a fair degree of wind, we’ve had little in the way of especially high or damaging gales. Quite a contrast to the first few months of last year, and frankly, it’s hard to argue with the view that we were due a lucky break.

We’ve had a few really good months in the garden since we closed last Autumn, and in fact probably achieved more than I thought we might. A lot of our Autumn and Winter programme may seem a little mundane to many, but it really is an enormously important time for us. We have all the usual maintenance related tasks to get through – pruning, mulching, re edging, an occasional mow here and there, and the general upkeep tasks that are ever present.

However, as vital as these things are – and they truly are, Autumn and Winter offers us an opportunity to spend some time tending to project type work, or remedial work on various aspects of the garden. Killruddery is of course a beautiful, old heritage garden, packed with history and also populated by a fair number of old plants. Occasional remedial work is fundamental to these kinds of plants and features enduring – an important part of what we do here in the gardens at Killruddery. Over the last few months, we properly began to carry out some of this kind of work on a lot of our hedges – so far we’ve made a start on some of the deciduous specimens in the Angles – (a significant feature of the 17th century design of the garden) by, in a nutshell, reducing their height. This must be carried out with care – each cut matters, and with some delicate plant material within, there is a considerable degree of finesse required. The process went really well, and already I feel I can see a response from what’s been completed so far. We won’t return to this task before December next, and in the meantime will carry out some monitoring and gentle feeding in the area.

The on going saga of the Florence Yews – (the 8 ageing specimens flanking the path from above the ticket office, to the Orangery) is entering year 5. At time of writing, I have completed this years work on 6 of the 8. On examination, I ended up removing quite a bit more material than I would have anticipated – testament to the progress of these specimens moving in an encouraging direction. There’s plenty of new growth on the interior of the plants, and of course more needs to be coaxed, while also removing heavier stems toward the outside of the specimens, all the while trying to as best as possible, retain the general shape of the trees. I’m pleased enough with the overall trajectory. The trees were in appalling condition when the work began, and while the individuals prospects vary, the improvement are huge. 

Maybe more noticeable to regular visitors, will be the work carried out in the Western Wilderness. This is the area of woodland below the long ponds, and is another of the old surviving features of the Baroque design of the garden. The idea, back in the day, was to create a grid pattern or formation with Lime trees. The pattern is very visible in many areas, though there are lots of empty spaces, and lots of very sizeable interlopers that have arrived over the years, decades, centuries… We realised last year, that we’d turned our backs for a little too long here… the area had received very little attention, allowing a colonisation of things like briar, ivy, laurel etc. in areas that had been under slightly better control, and a general accumulation of dead wood and debris. The work completed here is just a drop in the ocean of what we’d like to do, but in the limited window we’ve had, very good progress has been achieved – opening up the area somewhat, some key removals of individual specimens, and about 35 or so young Limes planted to try and begin the task of replacing some of the long gone originals. We hope to spend more time here over the coming year.

One of the things I personally look forward to each year is seed sowing during Spring. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to acquire some interesting seed types each year, due to one or two memberships of associations/ organisations. Just like most people who have an interest in plants, I have a hankering to try unusual subjects. It’s been a slow start this year, but I’m hoping to get into it properly over the next week or two. Again, small adjustments in various practices will likely be implemented – always chasing awinning formula, and always with some exciting results, and no doubt afew disappointments. I’m increasing my use of grit this year, particularly on the surface of seed trays. I’m hoping as a result to slightly reduce watering and weed growth, and have less disruption especially to small seeds during watering. Large seeds will get a sprinkling of grit after sowing, while small ones will be sown onto a gritty surface, and watered in, helping the seeds to ‘settle’. That’s my main seed sowing tweak this year…we’ll see how it goes.

We have some planting to complete soon – mostly around the car park, but also a few pockets around the garden. Most of the material we’ll use is in the nursery already, but in a few cases I’d like to see a little more root growth before we plant, but I think it will go ahead shortly. We also lost some small areas of planting last Summer, nothing major, but various replacements will be required here and there.

It’s also my intention that we’ll continue our increased use of seaweed as a lawn feed this year. We upped it last year, despite the lengthy period where grass growth stopped, and I feel it was really beneficial. Feeding, mowing, weed control and maintenance in general will ramp up over the next very short while – work that’s so important to the presentation of the garden for our daily visitors, and the many events over the season.

There have been other successes too and other works will hopefully go ahead, and in fact, looking around the garden, it’s hard to imagine it’s the same place that was burnt, bronzed and desiccated during much of last Summer. As always we’ll alter and adjust some of our practices, continually seeking better outcomes and an efficient use of time.

Some things are always a feature of this time of year, regardless of how well or otherwise the preceding few months have gone, something universal for anyone interested in plants and gardens – hope, optimism, expectation, even excitement – not bad components to your work day by any measure.

Daragh Farren

Head Gardener