Kennedy Arboretum, Co Wexford

John Kennedy Arboretum in Co Wexford dedicated to the memory of the 35th president of the United States was opened in 1968 just a couple of miles from Kennedy ancestral home I recently wrote about in my blog Irish Ancestry.

For those who plan a visit – the map you will get with your ticket looks confusing in the beginning, but as soon as you figure out where you are, you won’t have any problems. To help with that, here is my edited version 🙂 Ignore the Visitor Centre drawing because it is in the wrong place.  Maple Walk takes you to the lake; the other path is for those who don’t mind walking a little longer. There are no boring walks, each of them is amazing in their own way. SHELTER on your map means a roof, and one of them has a toilet block. If you want to drive to the viewing point on Sliabh Coillte ( which I suppose has a free access) don’t take the right turn as my arrow points, but keep driving and take the first left turn, and drive until you reach the summit. I was very restricted in time and didn’t make it to the summit. I have been there before – you have beautiful countryside at your feet, and you can also see the bird’s view of the Arboretum and Kennedy Homestead.

The empty green areas are not empty at all – there are many single trees and other plants. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed being there.

Kennedy Arboretum with Sliabh Coillte in background.

You can also take a ride.

There are some 4500 species and cultivars of trees, shrubs and climbing plants in Arboretum, to compare with less than 30 native tree species. Since I wasn’t commissioned to illustrate the variety and range of this collection, I just enjoyed myself photographing everything I found amusing 🙂 Like those red Fly mushrooms in my opening photograph – Amanita muscaria. In the ancient times people would dry them and mix with milk to kill the flies. Fly mushrooms definitely attract insects, but I am not so sure about the killing part. I think that insects just drowned in milk 🙂

More fungi.

Maple Walk. We have a mild autumn this year, and the leaves haven’t turned yet except for some maple trees.

Maple walk takes you to the lake (I didn’t take any pictures of it).

Raining. I stood under a Beech tree for a minute.

Wild Fuchsia is beautiful throughout the year.

I am walking from one path to another in spite of the drizzle.

I spotted a Quince flower deep in the bush.

Quinces are decorative and have edible fruit.

Green Quince is too hard for birds to eat, but they snack on the seeds.

There is quite a variety of Quince cultivars in the Arboretum.

Hawthorn walk is one of my favorites. Some fruit are as big as a crab apple.

This old Hawthorn tree with the crooked branches could host a Wexford fairy –  I have recently written about another fairy that lives in County Waterford 🙂


I don’t know what these lifeless Cypress trees used to host. Their silver-white trunks glow in the dark, and strong conifer fragrance fills the air.

Western red cedar, or Thuja, might host a dragon 🙂

Beech tree hosts a squirrel.

It is getting dark. I don’t trust the map and walk out of the forest plot to check on the Sliabh Coillte hill. It is a very helpful landmark.

One more hour until the Arboretum will close. Many families and dog walkers are still there, but I have to leave.

I link this post to the lovely blogs I follow  – Derrick Knight  and The garden Impressionists, both sharing beautiful photographs of gorgeous gardens.

Twenty two countries each sent gifts of trees and shrubs that represent their country to the Arboretum. It is a delightful place to visit in any season.

Memorial fountain made of a single block of Wicklow granite, has the words of President Kennedy engraved on it:

‘Ask not what your country can do for you… ask what you can do for your country.’

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. A very lovely walk through the Arboretum! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Inese! The pictures are as always so beautiful! Ah, and did you know that quinces are just perfect for marmelade or so called quince-bread? And those lovely trees, hosting squirrels and potential dragons – lovely! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxx

            1. Oh I love it, Sarah! I will share it with my daughter, I think she will love it too. Thank you so much! Don’t bother translating – I already did it with Google 🙂 A project for next year – they don’t sell quince in supermarkets here, so I will have to find it privately, as I did this year:) Thank you again! xxxxx

              1. You´re very welcome and I´m so glad you like it!! 🙂 It´s really incredibly tasty and I believe totally healthy since there´s so much fruit in it 😉 (just forget about the sugar 😉 ). Oh, great! Yes, Google translator always helps 🙂 I use it all the time when I can´t think of the right word 😉
                It´s funny, they don´t sell quinces around here either in supermarkets, or very seldomly. Best to go to farmer´s markets or finding a lovely tree in the wild 😉 The last option guarantees the most fun anyway 😉 Happy cooking, Inese! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Hi Inese. I’ve missed your posts while my blogging has been on hold, so I thought I’d catch up with a few today. I read your post about the Kennedy homestead a while ago, and this one follows on from it so well.
    This Aboretum looks a wonderful place to visit and I’m sure each season sees beautiful changes in it. I’ll definitely add it to my list of places to visit when we come to Ireland next year. Your autumnal photos are beautiful and I loves seeing all the different tree species – and your speculations regarding which mythical creatures might find a home there. The photo with the fairy image is lovely.
    A very meaningful quote to finish off with, too.

    1. Thank you so much, Millie! My heart went out to my American friends and family, and I just wanted to post something positive.
      I believe the place looks gorgeous in spring, with all the blooming trees. I definitely have to go there next year.

  3. Inese, I like the bareness of trees when they face winter but was sad if these two trees face dying. I am hoping their roots will bring new life in a wetter, more rainy year. Cypress to me is similar to cedar wood in the aromatic way the scent wafts through the air.

    Inese, it was so creative of you to display the spirit of the fairy in the branches!
    I loved the red mushrooms and gray fungi with bright white details. I love the Kennedy Arboretum. I could imagine the wonders around every bend of the walking paths.
    Your health and well being are in my belated prayers, dear friend. ❤ hugs xo

    1. Thank you so much, Robin! It is a beautiful place with a variety of species, so different. 4.5 thousand species in such a small place, it is simply amazing.
      Thank you for your kind words. Have a lovely Sunday! xxxx

      1. I hope your Sunday is wonderful, too! The sheer grand number of species donated of trees and plantings in one place is a tribute to your country, as well as the Kennedy legacy upon the world.
        Your photographs demonstrated how beautiful this arboretum is. I liked the map and the way you explained it, too. 🙂

        1. I have read in TripAdvisor that the map was not good. Indeed, it took me time to establish my position. After that is was easy. Beautiful place to spend a day. xxxx

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