27 January 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Minister Simon Harris, Minister of State at the Office of Public Works today (27 January 2016) marked the donation to the State of the Annes Grove Estate in Castletownroche, Co. Cork (Castletownroche being an area between Mallow and Mitchestown)
The donation was made by the Annesley family who now wish the house and gardens to be taken into the expert care of the Office of Public Works and made available for the enjoyment of the people of Ireland.
The gardens at Annes Grove as we see them today were largely the creation of the late Richard Grove Annesley in the first half of the twentieth century and are an outstanding expression of gardening in the ‘Robinsonian style’ with touches of the more formal ‘cottage garden style’ of Gertrude Jekyll.
Speaking at a ceremony in Dublin Castle today to mark the occasion, Minister Harris stated “I am delighted to accept the keys of Annes Grove today from Patrick Annesley and his family. It is through this generosity of spirit that this unique resource will be made available for the people of Ireland to enjoy” .
The gardens are set in an 18th century ornamental glen and are of international importance, primarily due to their renowned plant collections, which include an outstanding range of Rhododendron species. The rhododendrons were introduced from China and the Himalayas by such famous plant collectors as Kingdom-Ward, Ernest Wilson and Augustine Henry. The gardens also include wild meadows and riverside walks along the banks of the Awbeg as well as an ornamental walled garden, house and adjacent home-farm. Together these elements form a unique designed demesne landscape and an important part of our National Heritage.
“My Office, the OPW, Minister Harris continued will now commence a programme of works to make the gardens safe and to facilitate initial public access to sections of the gardens later this year and it certainly will another ‘star attraction’ for the tourism offering of North Cork “