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|Photography: Maria Vlahos||
The History of the House & Gardens
Mount Usher was once a working mill. It was first a tuck mill and later a corn mill.
The mill used the Killiskey river, a tributary of the River Vartry, to turn its wheel.
Where the main house is today, there was a small cottage with less than an acre in
front of it which was used to grow potatoes.
The gardens came into being in a romantic way. Edward Walpole Senior, a Dublin
businessman, was very fond of walking in the Wicklow hills. He often stayed at
Hunter's Hotel, Newrathbridge, which is still, as it was then, a comfortable hotel.
He seems to have met with the owner of the mill, Sam Sutton, and become friendly with him. At all events Walpole
began to stay at the miller's house rather than the hotel. When Sutton's lease expired, Walpole took it over in 1868.
Thus began an association which was to last over 100 years. In 1980, the property was bought by the current owner, Madelaine Jay.
In the early days of the garden, the Walpoles were fortunate in having a great deal of expert help and advice.
Yet the garden is not a manicured showpiece and it is not a botanical warehouse. It is a collection of felicitous
natural plantings according to Robinson's principles and must be approached with that in mind.