Mount Congreve Gardens
Mount Congreve speaks of another age, extensive greenhouses with walls of nectarines, a mind bending display of orchids and bromeliads, collections of rare fuchsias and almost extinct varieties of cyclamen, rare Lorraine-series begonias, benches full of thick strappy-leaved clivia and a particularly rare, pure yellow form called Vico. Mount Congreve boasts one of the biggest collections of rhododendrons in the world, certainly the biggest in Europe. Within the 110 acres of garden are dozens of examples of each of over 3,500 varieties of rhododendron, 650 camellias, 300 magnolias and 250 types of Japanese Maple as well as ½ mile of hostas. This is the world's largest plant collection and started by a man who decided at the age of eleven to start planting and has never stopped. Ambrose Congreve continues to develop the estate and his most recent achievement is the bog garden and pinetum. The main body of the garden is woodland and its beauties are the flowering shrubs, incredible runs of magnolias and camellias, rhododendrons, cherry, acer, azara, eucryphia, mycelia, pittosporum and prunus. All these flowering shrubs and trees are overlooked by 18th century and 19th Century plantations of oak and beech. The gardens will eventually be bequeathed to the State.
Carriganore House and estate was purchased by Waterford Institute of Technology and will become its Corporate Headquarters. The 18th Century house was completely renovated in 2002.WIT plans to build a student apartment village providing accommodation for more than 1000 students on part of the 150 acre estate. A number of major campus developments are planned and these will focus on research, development and teaching with excellent recreation, leisure and sporting facilities.
This area is so called because of the luxurious coating of green moss on the banks on either side of the track. The moss was once collected and used to line flower baskets, but is now left to be enjoyed. For years, children told us they had seen fairies in the woods and now fairy houses can clearly be seen among the trees. Make a wish as you pass by.
The practice of burning lime was common in the last century in Ireland. Lime was an important commodity in this area and attesting to this are numerous lime kilns, such as the one on this railway route. The wood for fuel was brought across from Co Kilkenny by boat. The lime produced was used by farmers as a fertiliser and also as a whitewash for thatched cottages. A little blue would be added to enhance the white.
Dan Donovan Tunnel - (Saturday's only)
This 40 metre tunnel was built as part of the Waterford City bypass to facilitate the railway. It is named after the man responsible for laying this narrow gauge track from Kilmeadan to Bilberry.
River Suir Bridge - (Saturday's only)
A Cable Stay Bridge carrying dual carriageway over the River Suir, crossing between Waterford and Kilkenny.
River Suir Bridge Statistics
Wildlife At the Railway Track
Apart from enjoying the ride and the landscape around, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the flora and fauna along the route of the journey.