The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, marked the 25th anniversary of Ardgillan Castle and Walled Garden opening to the public by planting a tree in a ceremony this morning (Saturday, May 6)
President Higgins planted a native Irish Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) close to the Castle and the Walled Garden and not far from the Irish Oak Tree which was planted by President Mary Robinson in 1992 to mark the official opening of the facility to the public.
The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Darragh Butler, the Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, elected members of Fingal County Council, members of the Oireachtas, members of the Ardgillan Board and other specially invited guests including members of the Taylour family for whom Ardgillan is their ancestral home.
To mark his visit, the Mayor presented President Higgins with a specially-commissioned bowl made from a beech tree grown on the Ardgillan estate while 10-year-old Lucy Maher presented him with a bouquet of Ardgillan flowers.
“We were delighted when President Higgins accepted our invitation to visit Ardgillan Castle and Demesne and mark the 25th anniversary by planting a tree which will have a special significance for future generations who visit,” said the Mayor.
The President was given a tour of the house by Fingal County Architect Fionnuala May and Ardgillan Castle Manager Tom Reilly and also a tour of the Walled Garden by Fingal County Council’s Senior Parks Superintendent Kevin Halpenny and Head Gardener Dominica McKevitt. He was also introduced to members of the house and gardening staff.
Built in 1738, Ardgillan Castle and Demesne has been in public ownership since 1982 and Fingal County Council has been responsible for it since its formation in 1994. As well as being one of the county’s prime tourist destinations, its open spaces, walks and playground are also enjoyed daily by the local community
The Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, said: “The President’s visit is an important acknowledgement of the great work done by the staff based at Ardgillan and we greatly appreciate him taking the time to visit.”