Duckett’s Grove: when to visit, history, and things to know

Located in County Carlow is Duckett’s Grove – once the great house of the Duckett family, today a public park with postcard-worthy backdrops of one of Ireland’s most majestic manor ruins.

Duckett’s Grove is a 19th-century great house that sits on a 12,000-acre (49 square-kilometre) estate in County Carlow.

Formerly the home of the Duckett family, this property is brimming with history. Read on to find out all you need to know about a visit to Duckett’s Grove.

History – a fascinating past

The history of Duckett's Grove.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Duckett’s Grove is an impressive great house in County Carlow, which lies today in well-preserved ruins.

While this manor and estate was once the home of the Duckett family, nowadays, it is a public park where visitors can enjoy its landscaped lawns and impressive architecture at ease.

Duckett’s Grove first broke ground circa 1745. The manor was built in Georgian style, but by 1820 it was revisioned in Gothic Revival by architect English architect Thomas Cobden for John Dawson Duckett.

Its structural design was as impressive as the grounds in which it sat, during the height of its glory. Grand statues surrounded the building, and up to eleven gardeners were once employed to maintain its beauty.

The manor itself is a myriad of turrets and towers of varying shapes, sizes, and heights. Against the backdrop of Carlow countryside, it is a real sight.

As the Duckett family’s bloodline in Carlow died out, the property was taken over by agents, then the Irish Land Commission.

By the 1930s, the sale of the land and the property division left it abandoned. The IRA would use it as a base temporarily during the War of Independence.

On 20 April 1933, a mysterious fire would destroy the property. Today, the interior is inaccessible, but it is still a stunning sight to see when visiting Carlow.

When to visit – depending on what you want

When to visit.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

For budding flowers and crisp woodland walks, visit Duckett’s Grove in spring. If the warmth of the sun and the buzz of activity sounds more to your liking, summertime may suit you best.

Perhaps you prefer technicolour trees; then autumn will be your best bet. If frosty foliage sounds more idyllic, wintertime at Duckett’s Grove is bound to impress.

What to see – guided tours on offer daily

What to see at Duckett's Grove.

Should you be keen to learn a little more about Duckett’s Grove, make sure to avail of one of the free guided tours of the estate. Presented in five languages, these take place:

November-March: Thursday & Friday: 12 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm; Sunday 2 pm, 3 pm.

April-October: Thursday & Friday: 12.30 pm, 2.30 pm, 4 pm; Sunday 2.30 pm, 4 pm.

Directions – how to get there

How to get to Duckett's Grove.

Duckett’s Grove is just over an hour drive from Dublin city; Cork is around two and a half hours drive.

From Galway and Belfast, you can expect to reach Duckett’s Grove in under three hours.

Where to eat – delicious food

Grab a bite to eat at Teach Dolmain.
Credit: Facebook / @TeachDolmain

The on-site Coffee Dock offers hot and cold beverages as well as a selection of food – perfect for picnicking on a warm summer’s day.

Alternatively, head back into Carlow for a wide range of eateries. Teach Dolmain is perfect for a spot of pub grub in a warm and cosy setting, or Mimosa Bar de Tapas for those who are keen to try a wealth of flavours in unique surroundings.

Where to stay – cosy accommodation

Woodford Dolmen Hotel is a great place to stay.
Credit: Facebook / @WoodfordDolmenHotelCarlow

The three-star Woodford Dolmen Hotel is an ideal nearby setting to rest your head after a day exploring Duckett’s Grove.

Those who would prefer an added dose of luxury, check into the four-star Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort, just a 14-minute drive from the estate grounds.

Things to know – useful information

Check out the Walled Garden at Duckett's Grove.
Credit: / Humphrey Bolton

Keen horticulturists will be delighted to explore the walled gardens, which boast impressive varieties of shrub roses, as well as Chinese and Japanese peonies. Irish apples also bloom in the ‘Lower Walled Garden’.

Interestingly, Duckett’s Grove was featured in SyFy’s show Destination Truth in 2011. During the four-hour live special, they investigated the site to see if it were haunted by a banshee (a female spirit in Irish folklore who heralds death).

What to bring – come prepared

Make sure to pack a rain jacket.
Credit: / karsten_madsen

Duckett’s Grove is an outdoor experience, so make sure to wear suitable walking shoes and bring a rain jacket in case the clouds roll in.

We always encourage you to check the weather in advance, although scenic sights such as Duckett’s Grove can be just as picturesque in a downpour.

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