This tour starts in the ruined gothic mansion of Duckett’s Grove before travelling to Delta Sensory Gardens in Carlow Town, where a feast for the senses awaits. From there continue to the award-winning Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven and Inspirational Gardens followed by a trip to Leighlinbridge – the Garden Village, where community spirit shines brightly in this perfectly presented place on the banks of the River Barrow.

Begin your day in Duckett’s Grove Historic House and Walled Gardens. Once a grand mansion, it is now one of the most photographed ruins in the country.

And it’s not hard to see why; it’s magnificent towers and turrets make for an impressive silhouette.

Once the centre of a vast estate, Duckett’s Grove was home to the Duckett family in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1933, the interior of the mansion was sadly destroyed by a fire. What remains is a stunning Gothic exterior and two beautiful interconnecting walled gardens. In recent years the gardens have undergone an exciting restoration that make them well worth visiting.

The Upper Walled Garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses, a great range of hardy and tender perennials and choice flowering shrubs. The Lower Walled Garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a wide variety of fruits, including figs, a mulberry, red currants, blackcurrants, pears, plums and Irish historical varieties of apples. Duckett’s Grove is open daily from 8.30 a.m. – 8.30 p.m. from April to October and from 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. from November to March and admission is free.


Free Guided Tours

Discover the home and gardens of the Duckett family, by taking a guided tour of the ruins, walled gardens and pleasure grounds. Led by Daniel Mc Daid, a guided tour here is a captivating and educational experience. Daniel’s passion and in-depth knowledge bring the history of Duckett’s Grove alive, making it an enthralling adventure for visitors of all ages. His ability to convey the essence of the Duckett family legacy is truly captivating.

FREE guided tours of Duckett’s Grove are available at 12.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. each Friday – Sunday (and to groups outside of those times by prior appointment). To book a guided tour visit Duckett’s Grove Historic House and Walled Gardens Tickets. Departure from the reception point opposite the Lazy River Café in the courtyard.  

You can also pick up a free audio guide at the reception point within the courtyard to hear the stories and meet some of the characters who lived and worked here for 250 years before the disastrous fire of 1933 destroyed Duckett’s Grove. Hear from William Duckett, his wife Maria, her daughter Olive O’Grady, as well as Mr Mitchell the steward and Mr O’Brien the head gardener, and discover what life was like for the gentry and those they employed to work at Duckett’s Grove. Available in six languages – Irish, English, German, Italian and Spanish, the audio guides are free of charge.


Craft Makers

In the courtyard of Duckett’s Grove is Nic Angels Candles who individually hand – craft marble, fragrance-free, Irish-made dinner candles creating unique patterns on each. They hand paint glass candle holders to accompany their candles. Their attractive craft unit at Duckett’s Grove features a selection of gift ideas from other crafters. Bespoke service available. For more information visit Facebook

Opening Times: February – November Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 4 p.m. May and June Friday – Sunday 12 noon to 4 p.m. July and August Thursday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The Lazy River Café at Duckett’s Grove

Enjoy gorgeous food in one of the original outbuildings within the Duckett’s Grove courtyard. The Lazy River Café specialises in delicious and reasonably priced cuisine. Traditional baking includes home-made muffins, desserts, breakfasts, wraps and dinners served in a relaxed, welcoming setting. Try some of their homemade breads, scones, tarts and cakes.  

Opening Times: January – March Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Group bookings available by prior appointment. Seven days per week from March onwards. 


Woodland Playground

From there a short journey takes you into Carlow Town and Delta Sensory Gardens. Delta is an oasis of peace and tranquility, with sixteen interconnecting gardens set on 2.5 acres. From the Waterfall Garden to the Rose Gardens and Willow Garden there’s something for the whole family to discover at every turn. Consistently voted the number one thing to do in Carlow by Trip Advisor, the gardens have so much to offer during every season of the year. Stroll and admire each the gardens, touch, feel and smell the beautiful array of flowers, plants, and trees; enjoy the unique sculptures and the many wonderous water features throughout the gardens including the famous Kugal, one tonne of pink marble floating on a cushion of water. A visit here is always a rewarding, uplifting, inspirational and repeatable experience. Before you go, refuel with tasty treats from the delightfully colourful and spacious Café Thyme and perhaps pick up some plants to bring home from the garden centre or something pretty from the local “Arts & Gifts” selection.

Opening times: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weekends and public holidays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed from Christmas to early New Year only.

A day out in Carlow's Delta Sensory Garden

Arboretum Inspirational Gardens and Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven

Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven is an award-winning garden centre boasting a huge range of plants and trees, including some rare and specimen plants, as well as an extraordinary range of succulents and houseplants. A large covered plant area makes choosing plants a pleasure at any time of the year.

arboretum home and garden cafe – rachel’s garden cafe – carlow tourism

Take some time out to relax over some delicious food in the award-winning Rachel’s Garden Café – where all food is made on site, using local where possible. Children will enjoy exploring the excellent children’s playground and a maze adjacent to the Inspirational Gardens, where parents can keep an watchful eye on children as they relax over tea and treats on the terrace immediately adjacent.


Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Bank Holidays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.


A short five minute drive takes you to Leighlinbridge – the Garden Village, where the local community has built and designed four beautiful gardens to commemorate various aspects of village life over the years. Both the village, a regular winner in Tidy Towns,  and the gardens are well worth a visit.

boat in river leighlinbridge – james fennell – do not use without prior permission

The Leighlinbridge district is rich in history, favoured with fertile land and enhanced by the River Barrow which meanders slowly through the village. The foundation for its beauty lies directly with the residents who demonstrate a sense of pride and work tirelessly to preserve and enhance this unique area.

This pride is evident by a range of four gardens, designed and built by the local community which commemorate various aspects of village life over the years. The Millennium Garden consists of seven small individual gardens, each with its own theme represented by trees, shrubs and stones. Using materials indigenous to the local area, the garden tells the story of life through a series of themes. The Vivaldi Garden is based on Vivaldi’s musical concerto The Four Seasons and comprises four formal gardens, each depicting a season of the year.

The Garden of Remembrance bordering the River Barrow as one enters the village from Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven, commemorates important occasions in the history of the village including the visit of the Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulrooney, a World War 1 Memorial and the Entente Florale Gold Medal Award. The most recent addition to the Garden of Remembrance is a public art sculpture built in 2020 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Victorian scientist John Tyndall, who was born in the village. The Sculpture Garden is dedicated to three of Leighlinbridge’s most famous sons – Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran – Australia’s first Cardinal, John Tyndall, the mountaineer and scientist and Captain Myles Keogh, second in command to General Custer.

Further south there are lots of other attractions including Kilgraney House and Herb Gardens and Borris House.

The Millennium Garden in the village of Leighlinbridge
The Millennium Garden in the village of Leighlinbridge