Some of our favourite days out locally include going to The Forge for lunch and Altamont Gardens for a run around. The Forge is a restaurant located on the main road between Ballon and Bunclody and serves up really good home cooked hearty food. W loves the vegetable soup so has that as a main course with two rolls and K always goes for the beef with a yorkshire pudding. They now have a cafe at the nearby Altamont Gardens so sometimes we have our dessert there!
Altamont Gardens really is a jewel in the crown. It’s free to look around and it’s very easy to spend two or three hours there by the time you stroll around the main gardens and then take the longer walk down to the river and back up the 100 steps. The house is locked up and it’s a shame it hasn’t been renovated – would make a fabulous venue for a tea rooms or for civil wedding ceremonies. There’s a plant sales there too, fabulously deep herbaceous borders and the cafe by The Forge.
There’s a bridge at one point and we always play a game whereby one of us pretends to be the troll and grab each of the others who are the billy goats. On our first time there this summer, there were people around and the kids didn’t want to play it. Brian and I glanced at each other with a little regret that the kids were growing up but on the way back, it was quiet and to our delight, they insisted on playing it again!
Altamont is now open all year round (except for Xmas Day) – I really recommend you visit it if you are visiting Co. Carlow. ?If you are looking for another gardens and tea rooms to visit in Carlow, I recommend The Tea Rooms at Ducketts Grove. Madeleine is a great friend of mine and makes the best hot chocolates and cheese cakes around. They have great activities planned for Hallow’een too so do check them out, this one is in collaboration with Wildways Adventures and is on 27th October. ?It’s a great location for such activities as it is a ruined gothic castle.