BallinakillHeywoodWoodland walks

Heywood Ballinakill – A Brief History

Twin Trees Heywood Festival - Heywood Gardens

Heywood Ballinakill

Heywood Gardens were completed in 1912, and consist 50 acres of gardens, lakes, woodland and architectural features. The gardens have a spectacular setting on a hillside looking south-east over a sweep of undulating country which takes in seven counties. A walk lined with lime trees leads to a formal terrace overlooking the surrounding countryside.

The gardens are composed of four elements linked by a terrace that ran along the front of the house, which now no longer exists. In the sunken garden, circular terraces descend to an elongated pool, where small statues of turtles gaze inquisitively at the grand fountain. On the top level a loggia, roofed with red tiles, includes an inscription taken from the writings of Alexander Pope. Highlights include a rose called Natalie Naples and Johnston’s Blue geraniums, to name just a few.

Heywood Garden Tours

Did you know?

Michael Frederick Trench built Heywood House in the 18th Century, with the help of his friend, the well known architect, James Gandon, who is recognised as one of the leading architects of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His better known works include The Custom House, the Four Courts, King's Inns in Dublin and Emo Court in County Laois.

Photograph from Ask About Ireland

An OPW Site

The eighteenth-century romantic landscape consists of gardens, lakes, woodland and architectural features. It was transferred to State ownership in November 1993 from the Salesian Fathers who had taken care of it since 1941. The formal Gardens form the centre-piece of the property and were designed by the famous architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) and probably landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). It is one of four Gardens in this country designed by him, the others being in the War Memorial Park, Lambay Island and Howth Castle. The Gardens are composed of four elements linked by a terrace that ran along the front of the house which now no longer exists. 

Additional information: 

The Heywood experience starts at the car park beside the Gate Lodge, information panels and signage direct you to the Lutyens Garden and the greater romantic landscape.

Public toilets are beside the gate lodge.
Weekend access through turnstile gate only.

There is also limited access for visitors with disabilities.

Location: 7km southeast from Abbeyleix, off R432 to Ballinakill, in the grounds of Heywood Community School

Guided Tour: Garden tour available by prior booking – Monday – Thursday only.

Photography/Video allowed: Yes. Permission required for commercial purposes.

No Drones allowed.

From The Office of Public Works

+353 87 2202686

Heywood Gardens, Ballinakill, Co. Laois

Opening Hours


Open all Year:

October to March: 08.30 to 17.00

April and September: 08.30 to 19.00

May to August: 08:30 to 21.00


Admission to Heywood gardens is free.

Telephone Number: +353 87 2202686 and +353 87 6349153 

Visit takes approximately 1 hour


Car park  – Public Toilets

Restaurant/Tearooms: None


Historical Looped Walks

Ballinakill Lakes