Tales from the Trails: Fresh from the Garden Trail
This time on Tales from the Trails we are delving into the culinary delights to be found along the Wexford Garden Trail…
Across the county, our members’ gardens are bursting with beauty right now, with July being one of the most abundant months of the year. It’s a fantastic time to plan a day trip to one (or more) of the gardens on the Trail, and certainly no day trip would be complete without a mouth-watering meal or satisfying snack along the way.
Luckily many of the gardens on the trail have their own cafés, restaurants or tea rooms, often serving sumptuous home grown produce. So, ready your taste buds as we explore some of the great dining spots waiting for you this summer. From glorious garden centre cafe fare, to luxurious country cuisine in the grand surrounds of a manor house, there is something to entice every appetite along the Wexford Garden Trail…
For a food, flora and fun filled day out in North Wexford, consider a trip to one of the many garden attractions in the area. From fields of lavender, to the grandeur of a 17th Century country house, you are bound to find both visual and gastric feasts along our trail!.
For a spot of shopping followed by a spot of lunch, Springmount and Cois Na hAbhann Garden, Home and Lifestyle Centre are great options. The Greenhouse Café, at Springmount boasts an extensive menu, including gluten free options, delicious freshly made specialty cakes, an outdoor terrace, and a full children’s menu.
Cois Na hAbhann’s idyllic Bay Tree Restaurant is also a destination in itself. Nestled conveniently between Gorey and Enniscorthy, it is the perfect place to pause and refuel during a shopping trip or to meet up with friends.Their food is packed full of flavour and prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert are served. There are options for everyone, including vegans, vegetarians and children.
Number 1 Family Day Out
Voted Ireland’s Number 1 family day out by the Irish Hospitality Awards, Wells House and Gardens in Ballyedmond will enchant guests of all ages. Presiding over the site is the grand 17th century Victorian House, with its history dating back to the days of Cromwell and the famine. Here visitors can experience a luxurious Afternoon Tea whilst overlooking the peaceful terrace gardens.
Wexford Lavender Farm, near Inch, is Ireland’s only commercial lavender farm. It features four acres of lavender, a gift shop, a children’s playground, a quad barrel train ride, a wooden maze, a video distillery talk, woodland walks, woodland warriors, outdoor snakes and ladders, plant sales and more. It is also home to the spacious and popular Purple Haze Café. The café is housed in a beautiful old stable block where tantalising treats and moreish meals are served up.
Kilmurry Nursery near Gorey, is an award winning second-generation family nursery that grows plants of a high quality. They specialise in herbaceous perennials, grasses and ferns for wholesale and retail sales. The Nursery has an online shop and delivers nationwide. The gardens are currently undergoing extensive works. They are planned to re-open in 2024 to the public as well as garden groups.
Eating Alfresco at The Bay Tree Restaurant
Photo Credit: Cois na hAbhann Garden, Home and Lifestyle Centre
Like Gorey, Enniscorthy is another hub for garden centres, with some of Wexford’s finest home and garden shopping experiences on the town’s doorstep. Foodie delights are also easily found, so read on for a little taster of what to expect.
For a delicious lunch or a snack on the go, the Wildflower Cafe at Beechdale Garden Centre is a great choice if you’re in the Enniscorthy area. Stop by after perusing Beechdale’s great selection of gifts and accessories for the home and garden. Now in its 10th year at Beechdale, the Wildflower Cafe offers freshly baked bread and desserts from their own kitchen. Mouth-watering daily lunch specials made with the finest locally sourced produce also feature.
Popular with both visitors and locals, Kilcannon Garden Centre’s restaurant is another great spot that also uses locally sourced and home-grown produce to create their delectable dishes. Vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs are produced in their on-site nursery and used when in season, ensuring a freshness that is evident in every bite.
New Ross & South Wexford
A fairytale castle, a Cistercian Abbey’s walled wonderland, private and community gardens, a Georgian manor, and a plant collection of presidential proportions await visitors to South Wexford, and there are also some fabulous spots for food along the way.
The well-known Johnstown Castle Estate is a must-see for anyone in the South Wexford area. Visitors will marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the gothic revival castle, nestled amongst tranquil, picturesque grounds teeming with native plants and wildlife.
Just a short drive from Wexford Town, Johnstown Castle is a great choice for a day trip, with extensive grounds and gardens to stroll through, regular tours of the Castle itself and the fascinating Irish Agricultural Museum to explore onsite.
After a busy day of adventure and discovery, the spacious Peacock Cafe is the perfect place to relax and recharge with friends and family. The bright and airy cafe serves a variety of food and drink, including sandwiches, salads, wraps, and delicious tray bakes. The café makes the most of the best seasonal ingredients from the Castle’s own gardens and from many of Wexford’s legendary local food producers.
Step back in time
Kilmokea Manor is a stunning 18th Century Georgian Stone Rectory, set amid seven acres of heritage gardens, on the shores of the River Barrow near New Ross. Kilmokea offers top class guest accommodation and also admits day visitors to the gardens. The extensive gardens encompass topiary, lawns, herbaceous and mixed plantings alongside architectural features and ornaments. There is also a Fruit and Vegetable garden where they grow using organic methods and a large water garden which extends into woodland.
The opulent conservatory at Kilmokea is home to the cafe and dining room. Here guests can enjoy a range of delicious dishes, featuring ingredients that are sourced locally and are organic where possible. Nutritious vegetables and salads are either picked straight from the vegetable garden or are provided by a local organic farmer.
This summer, Kilmokea is offering guided tours of the food garden for groups, including a demonstration of how to grow your own food, followed by a two course organic lunch in the Conservatory, all prepared with produce straight from the garden.
The JFK Arboretum, situated near New Ross, is dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy, whose great-grandfather, Patrick, was born nearby. It covers 252 hectares on the summit and southern slopes of Slieve Coillte and contains 4,500 types of trees and shrubs. Highlights include the lake, which is a haven for waterfowl, the amazing panoramic views from the summit of the hill, the visitor centre and the tea rooms, which are perfect for a little rest, relaxation and refuelling after a day exploring the extensive grounds.
Sweet Treats at Kilmokea
Photo Credit: Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens
Peacock Café, Johnstown Castle
Photo Credit: Johnstown Castle
We hope we’ve managed to entice not only your curiosity but also your taste buds
with this appetiser of the delights to be found on the Wexford Garden Trail.
For more information about each attraction, including opening times and prices,
please see the individual links provided above.
Keep up with the latest news from our members:
Follow @wexfordgardentrail and @wexfordtrails on Facebook and Instagram
Wexford Garden Trail is truly bursting with beauty and flavour this summer.
So, plan your trip now for a taste of Wexford in bloom!