Gates close on Limerick’s much-loved fairy garden

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The Terra Nova fairy garden near Kilmallock.

LOVERS of plants, fairies and fantasy were hugely saddened last week to learn that the lovely Terra Nova garden in Dromin South, Kilmallock has closed.

It was one of Ireland’s best known small, privately-owned gardens and a firm favourite with visitors of all ages.

The half acre, now populated with fairy villages, fantastic plants and magical places, was rescued from being a wet and muddy field 22 years ago by owners Deborah and Martin Begley.

A past winner of  the “Best Garden in Ireland” award, Terra Nova also featured as the second in the list of top Limerick attractions, just behind King John’s Castle on Tripadvisor.

But the onset of a sudden illness suffered by Martin nine weeks ago means that the couple have had to call it a day.

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“We’re devastated but we have no choice really. Martin has a long road to go to recovery and as we were looking after the garden ourselves, we just can’t keep it going,” Deborah told the Limerick Post.

“We know it is a huge disappointment. We had so many messages from people who have visited, we were blown away,” she said.

The couple had been taking bookings from individuals and groups for this year when disaster struck.

The nature of Martin’s illness means he will need chemotherapy and physiotherapy to walk again, and his lowered immune system means he won’t be able to welcome visitors to the garden.

“We can’t make any commitments for the future or take bookings so that is why we decided to say that the garden is closing forever,” Deborah explained.

In a Facebook post announcing the sad news, Deborah said “Martin and I sincerely thank every single person who has visited and supported our garden for the past 22 years. You came here to experience the magic of Terra Nova but you always left behind just enough of your own magic to inspire us and to help us grow. We will carry that with us forever.
“In 1999, with a young garden newly planted by two passionate but inexperienced gardeners. We were totally clueless to the fact that our little garden would one day win ‘Best Garden in Ireland’ and become one of Limerick’s most popular attractions.
However, Deborah said it is “not the end of Terra Nova Fairies”.
“We want to continue helping people create their own magical spaces so our online shop will remain open,”she explained.