One reason to like Kildare Japanese Garden is that it is never that far from Kildare Shopping Outlet. It might come as a joke and also a relief but after the shopping frenzy, you could always relax and recharge at the peaceful atmosphere of this nature-inspired setting.
The Japanese Garden is part of the Irish National Stud and is included with the entrance fee. The Stud farm attracts a lot of visitors because of its rich history and heritage of producing winning thoroughbreds. Being an open farm, there is also a scheduled guided tour including a visit to the foaling unit, where one can perhaps have a chance to see a future champion.
First plotted more than a hundred years ago, the garden was designed by father and son duo of Tassa Eida and Minoru. The original landscapes and additions throughout the years continue to delight not just landscapers but also gardeners from all over the world. One of the stand-out additions is St Fiachra’s (patron saint of gardening) Garden, a millenial commemorative garden by renowned landscape architect Professor Martin Hallinan.
The lay-out of the garden follows a “discovery” through its meandering trails. Journey through the Cave of Birth, Tunnel of Ignorance and other paths until you reach the Garden of Peace and Contentment. Lovely Japanese structures like the Bridge of Life and Tea House are part of this meditative walk, along with my favorite feature – the pond or the stream.
Walking alone is an immersive experience. You have the beautiful and lively plants, bonus if you come during Spring or Fall, that are a real treat to the eyes. There’s also textural aesthetics from the rocks to the shapes of the leaves and others elements. The sound of the flowing water and rustling leaves are like prayers that guide you every step of the way.
It is worth noting that this is a kid-friendly place, because there are pockets of play areas inside and also outside the Japanese Garden. Two places the kids would enjoy are the the big playground and the Fairy Trail. Please be mindful though that the stepping stones and some narrow climbing stones may sometimes be slippery so just be careful about that.
Even though it took us at least three hours to drive from Cobh to Kildare, I like to conclude that this is a rewarding experience. The garden is world class and the Stud Farm is brilliant as well and both should be on your next to-go-to list.
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