This new jewel in Waterford’s crown aims to attract over 86,000 visitors in 2023 – here’s all you need to know …
Mount Congreve Gardens were opened by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin following a €6m investment from the Rural Development Fund, Fáilte Ireland, and Waterford City and County Council.
To celebrate the occasion a special gala dinner event was hosted at the new purpose-built visitor centre which has been created in the existing courtyard and former stables in the Eastern wing of the house.
Special guests included the Mayor of Waterford Cllr John O’Leary, members of the Waterford business community as well as garden designer Diarmuid Gavin.
Following a champagne reception, a plot-to-plate menu featuring ingredients from Mount Congreve’s kitchen gardens. Afterwards guests enjoyed some jazz in the main house along with a selection of Congreve cocktails – shaken not stirred.
Mount Congreve was home to six generations of the Congreve family and its gardens, spanning 70 acres, have been anointed as one of the great gardens of the world. Originally inspired by Lionel de Rothschild’s exceptional garden at Exbury in Hampshire, work began on Mount Congreve Gardens in the 1950s. Ambrose Congreve’s achievements were acknowledged by Queen Elizabeth, who awarded him a CBE, and by Trinity College Dublin, which granted him an honorary doctorate.
Under the redevelopment works a re-invigoration of the gardens has taken place under the vision of Estate Manager, Ray Sinnott and Garden Curator Michael White. Visitors can now explore three different walking routes, with the help of audio guides, which tell the story of Mount Congreve and its botanic collection. Visitors arrive via the foyer from which vantage point they are able to see the very rare “Chinese Room” which features wallpaper, painted by hand, in or near the Chinese port of Canton/Guangzhou, probably in the 1790s – cited as the only existing wallpaper of its kind in the world.
After exploring the gardens, a must-do is enjoying a special Mount Congreve Afternoon Tea which is served in the Old Tack Room. To find out more visit: www.mountcongreve.com.
Click into the gallery below to see all the guests who attended.
Photographer: Patrick Browne.
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