and the endless enthusiasm of a 7 year old

Where would we spend yesterday afternoon with 7 year old grandson Noah? Siubhan suggested Derreen Gardens in Lauragh.  It is a place of lush sub tropical vegetation, along the shore of Kenmare Bay.  A place of endless twists and turns. Something new around every bend.

As well it should be an ideal place to experience yet another display of Autumn colour.  In these days of endless sunshine, warm, calm and dry we brought a picnic.  And Noah was as enthusiastic as we were.


We decided to use the pergola at the far end of the garden as our base.  Hauling the picnic gear my aching arms suggested a mental note ‘In future only bring the essentials’.

By Derreen House, the home of the descendants of Sir William Petty, surgeon general with Cromwell’s army, who conducted the first comprehensive mapping of this country and in return was granted tens of thousands of acres of land here. Petty’s descendants became the Earls of Lansdowne.


It was surprising how little evidence of Autumn colour there was.  But then dominant trees and shrubs in Derreen Gardens are nearly all evergreen, particularly exotic rhododendrons and tree ferns.

Noah ran ahead to be first to get to our picnic place.


And then unexpected Autumn colour.  The wide margin of seaweed along the seafront surrounding our pergola-base was bright orange.  Everything here suggested a tropical island.  The water was calm, the hills across the way were a soft, hazy blue and the distant trees were seasonably colourful.


The artistically designed pergola was built of good quality wood and stone to mark the millennium.

Our 7 year old was interested in everything.  The huge eucalyptus.  Running to the end of every path.  The shags drying themselves out on off-shore rocks.  Their feathers do not have an oil coating and if they didn’t dry out regularly the saturated feathers would drown them.


Then along the shore of the bay with luxuriant vegetation everywhere.  Turning in from the shore, behind the thick banks of tree and shrub, it was like dense rain forest.  Huge rhododendron. The most prolific self-seeding tree ferns in the country.

Briefly back on the seashore to collect our picnic things that still caused arms to ache in spite of the lighter load.  Now young legs were tiring but determined that ‘I’ll see the house first’ kept him running ahead.

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We drove home via the top of Cnoc a’ tSi/the Hill of the Fairies. From here Derreen and Kilmakillogue looked like the Treasure Island that it is.  And Noah and Siubhan’s jumping for joy expressed how the three of us felt.  All the way home we sang snatches of songs.

Derreen is less than an hour and a half from Gallan Eile.

– Frank Lewis

If you would like to stay at Gallan Eile you can book you place by clicking the button.

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