The extensive eighteenth century Mountbellew Walled Garden was once part of the large Bellew estate. The Mountbellew Heritage and Tourism Network want to conserve the large limestone walls that surround the gardens, and to restore some of the original features of the gardens and to establish allotments to help people to discover the heritage of the locality and to provide opportunities for employment and tourism in the region.
The high limestone walls of the garden stand over 7m high and enclose a large area. The gardens are owned by Coillte, and they have granted permission to the group to begin to conserve and manage the extensive gardens.
The Community: Mountbellew Heritage and Tourism Network
Mountbellew Heritage and Tourism Network was founded in 2011 and has more than 25 members. In 2011, the group achieved the restoration of the historic blacksmiths forge (adjacent to the Walled Garden). The forge has become a local museum and exhibition space, with many artefacts that relate to life in the past. Many of the objects have been donated by people in the locality, and include agricultural implements and even a wooden boat that dates to the medieval period.
The group aim to conserve the Walled Garden and to eventually restore it to its original glory. In 2018, with the support of Adopt a Monument, the group received advice from Finola Reid, a leading expert on historic walled gardens, who visit the site and produced a written report with guidance. A more detailed development plan for the site was completed in 2019, which will form the basis for future conservation and restoration works.
Through funding from the Heritage Council-backed Creative Ireland / Adopt A Monument Scheme, Mountbellew Heritage & Tourism Network appointed Digital Heritage Age to provide a Digital Heritage Metric Survey and Community Workshop. This workshop took place in September 2019 and enabled local second level students and community volunteers to learn the skills needed to complete a photogrammetry project on Mountbellew Walled Garden.