Over the last year I’ve seen lots of photos of Dromana House and it’s gardens, but haven’t had the time to visit. So I was delighted to finally get to see this wonderful place today when I attended a talk on growing and foraging for herbs.
Thanks to Google Maps, Ally and I had an ‘interesting’ drive from Clonmel to Newcastle, over the Vee, and around Cappoquin before finally reaching our destination.
This beautiful gate, alone, made the journey worthwhile.
This is Dromana Gate, and it’s history is quite enchanting, if not a little unfathomable.
Aside from the questionable origination of the gate, one has to wonder what on earth’s name a 160 year old woman was doing up a cherry tree. She was obviously one very agile lady.
The road from the gate stretches on for a fair distance before reaching the turn off for Dromana House. Google Maps was spot on (apart from the pronunciation).
There’s a fine size car park (I’ve said this in my best Tipp accent) that faces part of the garden, at the rear of the house.
This is the stunning view that greeted us as we drove into the carpark.
Below is the herb garden where the talk, by Áine Marie Reilly, started. I really like the layout of the circular herb patches. I might have to steal this idea.
Herbs grown included lavender, lovage, sage, thyme, chamomile. The list was endless. Within other sections of the garden there were peppermint, lemon balm, fennel and lots more.
Áine Marie Reilly was a fountain of knowledge when it came to the properties, healing qualities and methods of growing the various herbs. Some I was familiar with, and others were new to me.
Some notes that I took on the herbs while I was wrestling with my camera in the breeze (it was quite windy):-
Peppermint has a cooling and anaesthetic effect – good for pain, itching, bites and swollen joints
Lemon balm uplifts the mood and is also great for viral infections
Fennel relaxes the digestive system. It also helps increase the flow of breast milk and is good for colic.
Lavender is calming and is handy for people who don’t sleep deeply. (I can vouch for this.)
Thyme is an antiseptic and good for infections, especially lungs (coughs) and kidneys (urinary tract infections).
Chamomile is good for inflammation (chamomile teabags on inflamed eyes is supposed to work wonders). It’s also good for stomach ulcers and leg ulcers.
Rosemary increases the circulation to hands, feet, and also the head. It helps with concentration. (I need a good dose of this stuff.)
Those were just a few of the herbs that Áine spoke about.
As we progressed through the gardens I was fascinated by the display of colour throughout. I especially loved the rhodo….rhododendro…rhododenrens….you know the ones I mean…
I think I’ve planted a rhododendron at every house I’ve ever lived. None of them ever did very well, until we moved to the house we’re in now. We planted a rhododendron last year and it has the most amazing pink blooms on it now, even if it is still quite small. I’m sure those at Dromana must have been planted a lot longer though. Some of them are magnificent and cover a huge area.
The little pathways through the grounds are fabulous and I’m looking forward to going back and taking more photos when I’ve more time.
After the tour of the garden we were taken into the old kitchen part of the house, where there was tea waiting for us, and the most delicious vol au vents with wild garlic flowers garnishing them, followed by both rosemary and lavender biscuits – a really nice touch.
Then Áine demonstrated how to make some of the herbal remedies, making it look so easy that I think I’ll give it a go myself….if all my herbs don’t pass away before I get around to it.
Dromana House is definitely worth a visit, and certainly worth another visit or two in this case. It has an amazing 600 years of history behind it – a history that is visible in the structure of the building that incorporates an original castle, and the furnishings and paintings within.
Thank you so much to the owners of Dromana House for their hospitality today, to Bill Flynn for showing me around the house, and, of course, well done to Áine Marie Reilly for her enlightening talk and demonstration.
Dromana House and Gardens is open to visitors during April, May and June and offers guided tours.
All other times are by appointment.
Visit the Facebook page at:- Dromana House