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Knockpatrick & Foynes

July 23, 2007

corey says…After leaving Adare, we headed to the Shannon estuary. Our destination was the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. We stopped last year, but arrived too late to get in.

We drove through Askeaton. Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have time to stop in and visit tour guide Anthony Sheehy. Outside of Foynes we saw a sign for Knockpatrick Gardens. We had never heard of it, so we drove up the road a bit to see what it was all about.

We were quite impressed with the approach. The narrow driveway was lined with trees and shrubs and vibrantly colored flowers. We were quite interested.

Halfway up the drive, we could see several people in one part of the garden. “Are they praying?” Liam asked.

“No, they’re painting.” The scene was actually picture-perfect itself (and of course my camera was stashed somewhere in the back of the car at the time).

When we reached the house at the top of the hill, we were greeted by a gentleman who told us a bit about the gardens. We asked him for info and explained that we needed to get the museum, but asked when he’d be open. “Today. Pretty much until dusk.”

Foynes Flying Boat Museum
With that, we grabbed the brochures and headed to the Flying Boat Museum. We enjoyed the stop. It’s wonderfully nostalgic of the World War II era (or “The Emergency” as it was called in neutral Ireland).

We learned all about Ireland’s important role in transatlantic flights…it’s the closest European country to North America…and found out the story behind Irish coffee.

Knockpatrick Gardens
After the museum, we stopped at a petrol station for a 99 (ice cream) before returning to Knockpatrick. As we pulled up the driveway, the last of the artists were pulling out. She had to reverse a few feet up the driveway to let us through. Unfortunately, she struggled a bit with driving in reverse, but it was much easier for her than for us…we’d have to reverse all the way to the road.

Once back at the house, the gentleman was back in the yard and said, “My wife just put on a pot of tea, and she has fresh scones. Would you come in for a bit.” We’ve learned to never refuse such offers, so in we went. The man’s name was Tim and his wife was Helen. She was just wiping down the table from the crumbs left by the group of artists.

We had a wonderful chat. Tim’s father started the gardens years ago, and after retiring, Tim and Helen continued the gardening tradition. After our visit, we were taken on a tour of the gardens…BEAUTIFUL. It’s a great garden because at only three acres, it’s very easy to get around, yet the variety of plants is quite vast. We just loved having Tim and Helen tell us about the different plants and the stories of how they acquired them.

When Liam told them he’d be hoping to get his garden going soon, they immediately took him under their wing. They talked to him about soil and shelter and easy-care plants. Then Tim started pulling and digging specimens for Liam to try planting. By the time we left we had two bags of different plants they thought would do well on the mountain.

It was really a great visit and a wonderful garden. As we walked, we learned how Helen started the Limerick Garden Trail, which includes seven gardens that visitors can tour. You can view a few photos here.

Afterwards, we drove the scenic route along the Shannon to Tarbert. We could have taken the ferry across to Clare, but opted to backtrack and get home and rest. It was a very busy and exciting day.

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