The restoration took place between 2005 and 2009 and it involved the following; 

  • Removal of ivy from the garden walls

    View of Walled Garden in 2005

  • Restoration and capping of these walls with lime mortar
  • Reconstruction of the archway with its 1750 keystone
  • Location of the old paths
  • Planting of the beds along the walls and the rose garden
  • Planting of herbaceous borders
  • Restoration of the dovecote

Advice on the restoration of the garden was given by Daphne Shackleton, Daphne had lots of experience in working with this garden type, having worked at Ballindoon, a kitchen garden very similar to Woodville. Her plan for the garden can be seen below;

Woodville Walled Garden plan by Daphne Shackleton

Woodville House is associated with three families, The D’Arcys, The Persses, and The Donohues.

Date Stone:               Francis D’Arcy 1750

The first member of the D’Arcy family to reside at Woodville was Francis D’Arcy 7th son of Hyacinth D’Arcy of Kiltullagh, one of the elite members of the famous Tribes of Galway City.

F.D. 1750 inscribed on the keystone over the archway entrance into the Walled Garden is testimonial to this fact. The estate than came into the hands of his nephew John D’Arcy who married Anne French of Rashanne.  Their son Robert, an affluent member of the D’Arcy family,  held the position of land agent to the estate of the first Marquis of Clanricarde for over 30 years – including the famine period. He does not seem to have been a popular figure in the local area, carrying out his duties with no small amount of vigour. After Robert’s death the estate passed to Francis Nicholas D’Arcy. He lived quietly at Woodville until his death in 1879.

For the next 25 years little is known about Woodville. From the 1901 census we learn that Catherine Kelly was occupying the house and Lord Clanricarde was the landowner.

On the 1st of May 1904 Henry Persse leased Woodville house and farm, which comprised of 460 acres, for a period of 29 years from the Marquise of Clanricarde. Henry Persse was the seventh son of Dudley Persse of Roxborogh, Kilchreest He was born on 14th of October 1855 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He went to India and served in the Indian police for some years, stationed at Madras. Coming into a legacy he returned to Ireland and married Eleanor Ada Beadon in 1888. They had two sons, Lovaine and Dermot, both born in Kilchreest.

Maureen Donohue

The grandparents of the present owners, Pat and Maria Donohue, took over the running of Woodville house and farm, and took a lease out on the farm in 1916 and purchased it outright in 1920. It is from the memories of their oldest daughter. Maureen Donohue, known as Sr. Austin of The Mercy Convent, Loughrea, that it was possible to collect information about what was grown in the walled garden at the time her parents came. Maureen was just 3 years of age and her first memory as a child is of visiting the garden with her father and being given a lovely ripe peach picked from a tree by Harry Persse. There was an abundance of fruit trees of all different varieties at Wooville: peaches, pears, plums, greengage, damsons, cherries, quince, meddlers and apples, Cox’s Orange Pippins, Summers Eves, Brambly Seedlings, Beauty of Bath.
Leading from the steps to the centre of the garden was an arch covered with climbing roses and in front of this were two bamboo trees on either side of the entrance. The central paths were lined with iron railings and box hedging. The garden was planted with poppies, lily of the valley, daffodils, snowdrops, and bluebells. It took four men to maintain the garden at Woodville and the head gardeners name was Tap Mannion and the cook in the house was Mary Lamb. Soft fruits included red and green gooseberries, Tay berries, loganberries, red and white currants and raspberries. There was also a fig tree in the south – east corner of the garden – demonstrating just what a microclimate the walls create.


Likebox Slider Pro for WordPress