Recently I visited the world famous, amazing Japanese Gardens at The Irish National Stud & Gardens located in Tully, County Kildare.
The Gardens are now of international renown and are acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe.
The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens were created between 1906 and 1910. They were devised by Colonel William Hall-Walker (later Lord Wavertree), a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family. And the gardens were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Their aim was, through trees, plants, flowers, lawns, rocks and water, to symbolise the ‘Life of Man’.
As you enter to The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens, there is the Garden of Meditation, designed by John Colleran and reinterpreted by Yvonne O’Conor in 2018. Garden of Meditation emphasizes the simplicity of Zen thinking and invites the viewer towards meditation through contemplation.
‘You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day … unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour’.Zen proverb
Second part of the Japanese Gardens is called Minoru Island, which opened in 2020, is named after the son of Tessa Eida, Japanese master horticulturist and creator of the Japanese Gardens. There is a beautiful and colorful real size horse figure in Minoru Island, also named Minoru.
In 2019, Minoru, was created by Irish contemporary artist Lisa Kavanagh and gifted to the Irish National Stud by Kerry Group. Minoru was inspired by the rich heritage of Japanese kimono fabrics and includes symbolic floral, asanoha and other sacred geometric Japanese pattern. The horse is named after the son of Tessa Eida, Japanese master horticulturist and creator of the gardens. Twenty one individual horses were created by various artists for a fundrasing initiative known as “Under stARTers order”. An auction took place in aid of two most deserving charities, Irish Injured Jockeys and Sensacional Kids. It almost raised 200,000 euro.
Third part of the Japanese Gardens is called ‘Life of Man’ and each of section of theese gardens is numbered and representing a stage in life. The visitors ener the garden through the Gate of Oblivion, the next is Cave of Birth, Tunnel of Ignorance, Hill of Learning, the Path of Adventure, the Island of Joy and Wonder, the Engagement Bridge, the Marriage Bridge, the Honeymoon Path, the hill of Ambiotion, the Tea House, the Well of Wisdom, the most beautiful structure like the red Bridge of Life, the Chair of Old Age, The Hill of Mourning and The Gateway of Eternity.
It took forty labourers four years to lay out the garden at a cost of £38,000.
Japanese Gardens have chartered from Japan stone lanterns, plants, bonsai, a Tea House and a miniature village carved out of lava from Fujiyama.
The gardens are full of stunning rare and exotic scrubs, plants, flowers and trees. In the springtime there are blooming the beautiful Star magnolia, Crown imperial, Camellia japonica, Japanese maple, Japanese flowering cherry, Darwin’s barberry and many more.
Theese an early 20th Century Japanese Gardens at Tully are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting. It was trully an unique experience to visit theese gardens. You can see and feel a slice of Japan right here in Kildare.
The Japanese Gardens are open Monday to Sunday (including Bank Holidays) 10.00am to 18.00pm. from February until November.
The entry ticket price for Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens is: Adults, €11.00 ; Children (Under 16), €6.00 ; Children (Under 3), Free ; Seniors, €9.00 ; Students, €9.00. (includes entry to the Japanese Gardens, the Horse Museum, St. Fiachra’s Garden and a tour of the Stud). Free Car Parking.
For more information visit: irishnationalstud.ie
Location of The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens:
Below my photos taken in April 2022.