History of the estate
National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh|
Last updated: September 19, 2011
Located in east County Wicklow, Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens is the centrepiece of an 18th century
estate that once covered over 5000 acres (2000 ha). Seat of the Acton family for three centuries,
it is now an outpost of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. The milder climate, higher rainfall
and deeper, acidic soils of this historic Wicklow garden, provide a counterpoint to the collections
at Glasnevin. The association of Kilmacurragh with the National Botanic Gardens began in 1854, when
Thomas Acton inherited the estate and greatly benefited from the advice and support of Dr. David
Moore and his son Sir Frederick Moore, Curators of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in Dublin.
In 1996, a 52 acre (21 ha) portion of the old demesne comprising the house, arboretum, entrance drive and woodlands officially became part of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. By then the house was in ruins due to a series of disastrous fires in and the following ten years were spent rescuing valuable trees from a crippling tangle of cherry laurel, sycamore and Rhododendron ponticum.