Driving on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, I came across Tintern Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey founded by William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke in c1200. The Abbey was occupied from the 16th Century up to recently by the Colclough Family. Miss Marie Colclough, who lived in the Abbey until the 1960’s, died as recently as 1983.
To the rear of the Abbey, set on 2.5 acres, is the c200 year old beautifully restored Georgian walled garden. Built by the Colclough family in the 19th Century, the impressive stone wall, approximately a metre thick, is lined on the inside by brick, made on the site from estuarine mud drawn from the Bannow Estuary and fired in the grounds of Tintern.
“mammy, mammy, look, a secret garden”. Familiar words from children entering through the garden gate for the first time.
As you enter this “secret garden”, the entrance being on the higher slopes of the garden, you are immediately struck by the size and the beauty of the walls and the enclosed garden. The gardens are in two lots separated by a brick wall, the ornamental garden that provided the house with flowers all year round and the kitchen garden that provided vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. The garden has been completely restored to its former beauty over the last couple of years.