Kevin “Boxer” Moran T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief today announced that the State, through Waterford City and County Council, is to take over the future management and maintenance of the Mount Congreve Estate at Kilmeaden, County Waterford.
The Minister said, “Mount Congreve is internationally famous for its extensive gardens and collection of shrubs, trees and exotic plants. It is widely recognised as being the home of one of “The great gardens of the World”. I am delighted that the Estate will now transfer to the State, through Waterford City and County Council, and that it will be opened up as a public visitor attraction. This development will have a clear positive benefit to the local community in the long term through the economic spin-off and opportunities from increased tourism revenues generally in the area. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Congreve-appointed trustees, Waterford City and County Council, The Office of the Attorney General, the Chief State Solicitors Office and the Commissioners of Public Works for bringing this transfer to a successful conclusion.”
Mount Congreve House was built in about 1760 by the local architect John Roberts, who subsequently designed and built most of the 18th-century public buildings in Waterford, including both cathedrals. His client was John Congreve of Waterford, whose father the first Ambrose Congreve had played a prominent role in the development of the City until his early death in 1741. The Congreves were in constant residence and the estate passed in direct descent from father to son until the death of the late Mr. Ambrose Congreve in 2011.
The gardens at Mount Congreve consist of around seventy acres of intensively planted woodland garden and a four acre walled garden. They garden collection includes over three thousand different trees and shrubs, more than two thousand rhododendrons, six hundred camellias, three hundred acer cultivars, six hundred conifers, two hundred and fifty climbers, fifteen hundred herbaceous plants and indeed many other floras from every continent in the world.
Minister Moran went on to say, “Capital investment is needed to upgrade the visitor services at Mount Congreve in order to make it attractive to national and international visitors. As part of the agreement today, I am also announcing that my Office will provide an annual grant of €250,000 to Waterford City and County Council for the next seven years. This grant aid will be used to enhance the visitor services at the estate and will include the provision of car parking and welfare facilities for tourists as well as completing urgent health and safety works to the gardens themselves.”