Heywood Gardens : Formal and Romantic


Just before my Ireland trip I read the book “Gardens of a Golden Afternoon : The Story of a Partnership, Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll; by Jane Brown.  Amongst all the house and garden descriptions od collaborations was one combination in Ireland which I knew to be very near my route through Co. Laois. The house no longer exists but Heywood Gardens survived and at the time of Jane writing was under the care of the Salesian Fathers’ Missionary College. Today the Office Public Works maintains the gardens which are now in the grounds of a school.

the school

The School

original house

heywood house

Heywood House

In 1773 Frederick Trench built the house on rolling countryside above the village of Ballinakill and established a Romantic Landscape in the immediate estate. By the early 20th century the house and grounds had passed to a Colonel Hutcheson Pöe a distant descendant of Trench. In 1906 Pöe commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to design a new series of gardens which are now the focal point of the estate.

House occupants

Completed in 1912, the property consists of gardens, lakes, woodland and architectural features. It was transferred to State ownership in November 1993 from the Salesian Fathers who had taken care of it since 1941. The formal Gardens form the centre-piece of the property and were designed by the famous architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) and probably landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). It is one of four Gardens in this country designed by him, the others being in the War Memorial Park, Lambay Island and Howth Castle. The Gardens are composed of four elements linked by a terrace that ran along the front of the house which now no longer exists. An extensive re-planting programme is currently underway.” [Heritage Ireland]

Garden sign

The four elements (as defined by me!) : A Pleached Walk

Pleached walk

Pleached Lime Trees

An Italian Garden

Italian garden

The Italian Garden with Oval Pool

Described in the book “This Italian garden is a walled oval, with tiers of retaining walls and borders, and a perfect pool guarded by stone turtles in the centre. What may not be appreciated on the ground, but can be seen from the plan, is the subtle change of shapes from the outer walls of the garden to achieve the perfect oval for the central pool.”

turtle guard

Turtle Guard


A Yew Walk

lutyens benches

In the Hidden Gardens of the Yew Walk with Lutyens designed Benches

And a Lawn with Pergola beside


The House stood on the grassy bank before it was demolished



lake view

With Lake View

In addition to the Lutyens/Jekyll collaboration much of the older Romantic Landscape and Pleasure Garden of follies and lakes and trees and seats. You have to walk through much of this in order to reach the formal garden. And after visiting the Lutyens Garden (as it is called) I took a turn around the lake.

There’s a Grotto :


The Grotto surrounded by dense woodland


The Obelisk serves as a memorial and milestone


sham castle

A Sham Castle Built as a Ruin and never intended to be completed

gothic ruin

And Gothic Ruin – Apparently an Authentic Medieval Window from Nearby Aghaboe Abbey


A Gothic Orangery Where Family and Friends may have taken tea under the orange trees


The Lake

This was a perfect stop-off along my route. There are no refreshments to be had and I only noticed a group of 4 other adults inspecting the formal garden and a young couple with a baby picnicking on the Lawn. But then I had already eaten well at the Gallic Kitchen in nearby Abbeyleix.


6 comments on “Heywood Gardens : Formal and Romantic

  1. sherry says:

    What a fabulous excursion! Swooning with envy. I have that book and practically had it memorized at one time. Years ago, I visited another Lutyens garden also detached from its house. It was thrilling and memorable,

    • I think there are quite a few about. The book was difficult to track down but Leeds City Library came up trumps in the end. I hadn’t realised it would be so impressive and glad I allowed plenty of time to visit.

  2. Fran says:

    Certainly a garden with a bit of everything added!

  3. […] which would seem to assure (if anything can) that Goddards will survive.” p.177  From ‘Gardens of a Golden Afternoon: the story of a partnership: Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll’ by Jane […]

  4. […] for two weeks enjoying stays in favourite places : Lyme Regis, Ashburton and now Chagford.  One of Sir Edwin Lutyens‘s masterpieces Castle Drogo is just a few miles away from our cottage and I decided to […]

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