Visit Killruddery House and Gardens
If Killruddery House and Gardens seem like they're straight out of a film, that's because they are.
Anyone who has seen My Left Foot, Far and Away or Angela's Ashes may recognise this magnificent Tudor Revival mansion. It’s one of Ireland’s great historic houses and had a leading role in some of TV and film’s biggest hits, not to mention playing its part in the story of Ireland’s Ancient East.
But there’s more to Killruddery than star power. The elegant house is very much a family home, and can be visited on a guided tour. The 800-acre estate is a working farm that produces ingredients for the onsite restaurant, tea room and farm shop, and the gardens are an exquisite example of 17th century formal garden design.
And then there's the setting – located in the shadow of the Wicklow Mountains, Killruddery is nestled into one of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland.
It all started back in the mid-1600s when William Brabazon, the first Earl of Meath, arrived in Ireland as the Vice-Treasurer of King Henry VIII of England. He came into possession of the lands at Killruddery and planted roots that remain to this day.
The Brabazons have weathered fire, war, drownings and the odd scandal, but they’re still here, and today, three generations of the family, the Earl and Countess of Meath, their son and his wife, Lord and Lady Ardee and their children, all live in Killruddery House.
The interiors feature elaborate chimney pieces, stained glass, magnificent stucco work and frequent appearances of the Brabazon family’s hawk and wyvern motifs. Highlights include the library – the only room that remains unchanged from the 17th century, and the Orangery – a domed conservatory that was inspired by the Crystal Palace in London. Rumour has it that the family tiara had to be sold to finance its construction.
The great outdoors
As remarkable as the house is, the gardens at Killruddery more than match it. Designed by a French Huguenot gardener named Bonet in the mid-1600s, they were inspired by the gardens at Versailles and are among the finest examples of classic French style in the world.
The hedge-lined paths and parterre invite you to wander, and two 187-metre reflecting pools, known as the Long Ponds, tempt you to stop and contemplate the clouds above. A natural amphitheatre is said to have inspired the writings of novelist Sir Walter Scott and a walled garden has been extensively renovated and now supplies Killruddery’s restaurant and tea room with fresh produce.
Add in 20 acres of grass, numerous flowering borders and acres of woodland and you get an outdoor playground that seems all the more incredible when you consider it’s just a short drive from Dublin city.
See and do at Killruddery
If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, Killruddery is available for private hire, offering everything from intimate evenings in the formal dining room to extravagant receptions in the splendour of the Orangery.
Maybe your needs are a little more low-key... not to worry. There’s always the option of a quiet lunch in the rustic charm of the Grain Store Café, sampling the home-grown produce created by Head Chef Niall O’Sullivan and his team. Or a quiet coffee in the Tea Room overlooking the gardens. How about a leisurely browse in the farm shop or the weekly farm market? At Killruddery, there truly is something for everyone.
Need to know: Killruddery House and Gardens
Killruddery House and Gardens are open from April to October, with seasonal opening hours from Tuesday to Sunday.
You can book a tour of the house on arrival, unless the house has been hired for a wedding or private event.
There is an entry fee for the gardens and the house tour.
Killruddery runs a programme of events and workshops throughout the season, which you can book online.
Killruddery House and Gardens are easily accessible from Dublin city using public transport.
Avoca Kilmacanoge is a beautiful place to visit while exploring Wicklow, the garden of Ireland. Here, you will find a wonderful retail store and food market, a garden centre and nursery, the self-service Sugar Tree Café, and the stunning table service restaurant, the Fern House.
Airfield Estate, Dundrum, is Dublin's only urban working farm open to the public all year round. It is a perfect family day out. On the estate you will find many attractions including the Overend family home, kitchen, gardens, vintage cars, play areas and farm, where you can collect eggs and see animals being milked and fed.