THE Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), along with fans of fauna, is celebrating the arrival of Spring as gardens get ready to open their gates to the first ever Snowdrop Celebration.
The festival, which takes place throughout February, offers the perfect opportunity to get out into the great outdoors following the long winter months for the chance to enjoy a magical stroll through the mass of snowdrops, blooming in gardens throughout Northern Ireland.
Elaine Groves, Culture & Heritage Officer for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board said, “As winter melts away, NITB are encouraging people to get out into the fresh spring air and enjoy a snowdrop stroll in a number of privately owned gardens and National Trust properties holding special Snowdrop Open Days.
“This is Northern Ireland’s first Snowdrop Celebration and it’s a great way to explore some of the finest gardens in Northern Ireland. For gardening enthusiasts it’s an excellent opportunity to pick up some lovely and even rare varieties of snowdrop and grow them for themselves.
“A white carpet of snowdrops really is one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful natural sights at this time of year, so take the camera and capture the moment.”
Celebrate the arrival of spring and drop by one of the following gardens.
The Argory in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, has self-guided snowdrop walks every Saturday and Sunday in February throughout the wooded riverside estate offering sweeping vistas and scenic walks that the whole family can enjoy.
Springhill House in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry is also offering glorious displays every Sunday afternoon, allowing you to explore the 17th Century ‘Plantation’ home’s walled gardens and parkland.
Take a romantic walk through Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House in Castlerock, Co. Londonderry as it opens its gates on February 15-16 and discover the gothic Bishop’s Gate, the ruins of the 18th Century Downhill House and the spectacular setting of Mussenden Temple.
Visit the historic Benvarden Garden in Dervock, Co. Antrim on February 16, known as one of the finest and best private gardens maintained in Northern Ireland, they will present beautiful white carpets bursting with snowdrops throughout the grounds.
Ballyrobert Cottage Garden and Nursery in Ballyclare, Co. Antrim has one of the largest private collections of snowdrop varieties available for public viewing in Northern Ireland as well as hosting planting demonstrations from February 22-23.
Elaine continued: “The Snowdrop Celebration is a great way for families, friends and loved ones to get out, be active and enjoy the beauty of nature at this exciting time of year as the seasons begin to change, as well as allowing the public to explore some of the finest gardens in Northern Ireland while there is a mass of snowdrop inspired things to see and do.”
For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland