Newry, Mourne and Down District Council hosted members and friends of the International Dendrology Society (IDS) in the Annesley Garden located in Castlewellan Forest Park on 26 April 2022.
The IDS organise tours worldwide visiting arboreta and gardens, including botanical and private collections to see trees growing in their natural habitat. The Council was delighted to host the delegation on their second day of a week-long tour of estates, arboreta and gardens in Northern Ireland and Ireland.
A tour of the Annesley Garden, which contains some of the most significant collection of trees and shrubs on the island of Ireland, was provided by Seamus O’Brien from National Botanic Gardens, Killmacurragh, County Wicklow. Mr O’Brien is the recipient of the Loder Rhododendron Cup from the RHS.
Members from the IDS were also told of the Council’s ambitious restoration plans for the Walled Garden and wider Demesne through the ‘Re-Rooting our past in the Future: Castlewellan Historic Demesne’ project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Council. This includes the restoration of a living arboretum protecting its plant collection and important biodiversity.
The IDS commemorated their visit by presenting the Council with a plaque and ‘Carrierea calycina’, commonly known as a Goat-horn tree, to add to the historic collection in the garden. The IDS expressed their well wishes to Council in their custodianship of Castlewellan for the next 25 years.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason stated, “I am delighted that the IDS chose to visit Castlewellan on their 2022 tour. I look forward to forging strong links with its members during the restoration of the garden and my thanks go to them for their very generous gift of the Goat-horn tree, which I look forward to watching grow and thrive on my visits to this beautiful place.”
In 2018, the IDS presented a plaque to the Forest Service, the landowners of Castlewellan Forest Park, in recognition of Castlewellan’s unique heritage and importance. Castlewellan is the only garden in Ireland to have received a plaque issued by IDS.