Of course, I have been dramatic with the title but there are occasions when small interludes can feel like just that, a great escape. We had days of the most miserable weather; days when we not only had incessant rain but rain accompanied by bitingly cold wind. There were days of being confined to the house and, though one may keep one’s brain occupied, the lack of physical movement and exercise becomes tedious. Cabin fever can set in all too easily. When, eventually, a change in weather, a most welcome dry day, arrives it truly feels like the great escape to finally be able to leave the house.
We are very fortunate to have the gardens of Mount Congreve very close to us, a ten-minute drive, and they are the perfect place for us on a day when we feel that any outing must be grabbed, done on the dash, for fear bad weather returns all too quickly and sends us back to the cabin and further fever. As it turned out, we need not have feared for it was a beautiful day and the gardens looked splendid.
The gardens at Mount Congreve were created by the late Mr. Ambrose Congreve who left the gardens and house to the state in his will. Our local authority, Waterford City and County Council, has begun to take an active part in the management of the estate and there was recently a very welcome press release.
Also, around the garden:
Recently Mr. Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Commmunity Development, announced funding of €3,726,000 for developments at Mount Congreve under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. The press release stated, “The funding of €3,726,000 will ensure Mount Congreve is a world class tourism destination with an enhanced visitor experience. The funding will allow for the redevelopment and restoration of the Mount Congreve Estate and will provide enhanced visitor amenities including repair of the historic greenhouse, improved access to grounds and pathways and provision of family friendly facilities.”
It continues: “This project proposes the following:
- Development of the farmyard to incorporate the following facilities: new café; offices and meeting facilities; craft yard; small playground and retail unit.
- Enhancement of the grounds and existing paths to facilitate improved accessibility and increased visitor numbers, along with a woodland playground.
- Repair of the existing historic greenhouse.
- Provision of controlled access to wetland zone, a unique natural ‘garden’.
- Provision of a waste water treatment facility for 150,000 visitors.
- Provision of new car/coach park for up to 200 cars and 5 coaches.
- Total Proposal Cost is €4,968,000.”
These are all very worthwhile projects which will develop Mount Congreve as a significant visitor attraction. Personally, I would like to see some funding specifically for the development and maintenance of the gardens including the conservation of the plant collection. A proposal to develop an adventure playground in a central location within the gardens appals me. Nonetheless, I am enthusiastic about the developments as I feel they will make a significant contribution locally, provide employment, attract visitors – which will help finance the gardens – and ensure the future of the gardens and my favourite place to go to escape cabin fever.
If you would like to read a little about Mr. Ambrose Congreve: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/finance-obituaries/8536462/Ambrose-Congreve.html