We drove 50 miles from Wexford for this visit, largely encouraged by the enthusiastic reviews on Tripadvisor. Sadly, our own experience was not quite so positive as some reported here. Yes, it was great to see the variety of trees and shrubs, and it is particularly helpful that many of them are labelled. The vegetable gardens - which were getting a lot of attention from the staff - were luscious. But much of the rest of the formal flower gardens and lawns were looking decidedly dowdy, although to be fair it had been hot and dry for the two weeks prior to our visit. The best was perhaps the show of sweet peas in flower, filling the air with gorgeous scent. OK, it was worth the drive (which in itself was very pleasant) for just that.
A charming young man in the tea room made us two cups of tea - in plastic cups. There was little else by way of refreshments. There were no tables, but we took our cups outside and sat on a shady seat, amused by a blackbird having a field day in a patch of wild strawberries.
We are enthusiastic visitors of art galleries, mainly in London, but also in California, Japan and throughout Europe. But we were not much impressed by what was on show in the gardens (sculptures) and in the gallery - a series of exhibits that looked as though they had come of the drawing board of a civil engineer. We aren't totally ignorant on matters of contemporary art and have been enthusiastic visitors in the past to the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid and the Tate Modern in London.
We shall return, but not to the castle, I think: Lismore is so beautifully situated on the River Suir that it seems worth exploring for its own sake.
My photo is of the sweet peas - as a bit of a change from castle turrets.
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