Victorian Walled Garden

The Victorian walled garden of Festina Lente date back to the 1780’s when they were part of Old Connaught House, an eighteenth-century home to the Conyngham-Plunkets.

Festina Lente found its home at Old Connaught Avenue in 1996. Funding from EU Horizon and The Heritage Council assisted our founder Mary Brophy’s ambitions to support those most at risk from social and economic exclusion by creating a safe and beautiful space for them to work and learn within.

Our gardens are home to 89 allotments (read more about allotments here), two terrapin pools, a sensory trail and a garden shop where you can buy a coffee and relax in this gorgeous space.

Entry to the gardens is free. Donations are more than welcome. All donations received help us to fund the charity’s ongoing work in assisting people achieve their personal best through horses, horticulture and community.

The Ornamental Garden has a rose terrace from where you can view the wonderful central fountain, the formal flower beds, statues and borders. We have plenty of seating for you to sit and enjoy the beautiful Victorian walled garden.

A pathway leads to the two tranquil ponds are home to our terrapins. The pools are surrounded by a lavender border and it is protected on all sides by yew trees.

The pool garden is a designated sanctuary for terrapins and of great interest to garden visitors, especially children. All of the terrapins have been given up by their owners who have found themselves unable to care for a reptile that has outgrown their domestic homes.

Festina Lente Sensory Trail is located in the Ornamental Garden taking in the old shrub border on the south wall and glass house border on the north wall. Funded by the Diplomatic Community and an International Charity Bazaar, it was officially opened by Mrs. Chilcott, wife of the British Ambassador in October 2014.

The sensory trail was designed and planted by Award Winning Garden Designer Oliver Shurmann from Mount Venus Nursery and Festina Lente horticulturists. The plants and trees were specially chosen for this damp soil and shady border giving all year-round colour in the garden. 

The path then brings you to the allotments where up to 2021 a fabulous herbaceous border divided the rows of allotments which are rented on an annual basis.  Part of this stunning herbaceous border can now be found in The People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire. This section of the garden was historically the kitchen garden for Old Connaught House so the design has been kept to the original plans. 

One feature that children love in this section is the Fairy Wishing Tree, children are more than welcome to leave a special wish message for the fairies. The allotment area is also home to the Garden Centre Shop and Outdoor Cafe.