Programme for Forum 2018, 13th and 14th OctoberBack to the grapevine

Mount Stewart and Clandeboye,
Gardens of the Ard Peninsula, Northern Ireland

A Northern Ireland Forum

Visiting Ireland for the first time with the WKGN, our Forum will be held this year on the 13th and 14th October at the Clandeboye Estate and Mount Stewart, with visits to other nearby walled gardens

Our speakers are among the leading authorities on Irish Gardens, their history and restoration. We have the opportunity to hear from:

Neil Porteous
Head Gardener at Mount Stewart, Regional Head of National Trust Gardens in Northern Ireland and plantsman:






Finola Reid

Garden historian and acknowledged expert on the history and restoration of walled gardens in Ireland:

‘SURVIVAL AND REVIVAL OF IRELANDS WALLED GARDENS – a personal selection of the good, bad and ugly’




Terence Reeves-Smyth

Historian and author, on garden and architectural history and archaeology, he is the Senior Inspector in the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, Historic Monuments Unit:





We will also hear short introductions to some of the gardens we will visit during the weekend at Helen’s Bay, Bangor Castle, Ballywalter and Clandeboye itself.

Saturday 13th October

We will meet in The Courtyard ( at Clandeboye to hear our speakers, have lunch and then tour the gardens, before visiting the nearby Walled Kitchen Garden at Helen’s Bay.

Clandeboye Estate is one of the few great, private estates of Northern Ireland that still remain in the ownership of the original family and is currently home to Lindy, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava. The 2000 acre estate includes the largest area of broadleaved woodland in Northern Ireland and the Dufferin Foundation now acts as a focus for environmental projects throughout Northern Ireland.
A series of intimate walled gardens adjoin the courtyard and house, and the main walled gardens sit close to the main house. Helens Tower which sits in the woods on the Estate was immortalised by Tennyson.

Sunday 14th October

We will begin our day with a visit to the restored Bangor Castle Walled Garden. In 2007 North Down Borough Council committed to restore the Garden and open it as a public attraction. The restored Garden holds true to its Victorian ancestry. The gardens were opened in 2009.

Ballywalter is home to Lord and Lady Dunleath. The Estate is private and we are visiting by kind invitation of the family. The walled gardens sit close to the house, which also has a beautifully restored Conservatory, designed as the house itself, by Sir Charles Lanyon

From Ballywalter we will head to Mount Stewart for lunch and tours with Neil Porteous, of the walled gardens and nursery (also in a part of the walled gardens). We will stay at Mount Stewart till the end of the Forum.




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