JFK Arboretum is committed to the memory of John F Kennedy, President of the United States of America from 1960 to 1963. The Arboretum is located in New Ross, in County Wexford, in the south east of Ireland. This tranquil Arboretum extends to 623 acres and contains a plant collection that is internationally renowned.
It sits on the southern slopes of the Slievecoiltia and has 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all the balmy regions of the world, some are very rare, they are planted in botanical order. There are 200 forest plots separated into the five continents. There are a number of special features to be found here, including an Ericaceous Garden, it is found to the east and contains 500 different rhododendrons, as well as a number of varieties of azaleas and heathers, dwarf conifers, hedges and climbing plants, it is visually stunning when in full bloom. The lake is a focal part of the Arboretum, providing an ideal habitat for waterfowl. The rocky Alpine Garden extends to about an acre and has colourful planting of more than 320 species of dwarf and slow growing conifers. There are lots of signage explaining what is planted here.
There is a steep winding road that takes visitors to the top, standing at 271 metres, from here there are lovely panoramic views, and visitors can gaze out over six different counties on a clear day. There is a memorial stone dedicated to those that fought in the 1798 rebellion, the rebels had a camp here for a period.
The Visitor Centre has a number of permanent and temporary exhibits, an explanatory display, there is also an introductory audio visual show, and you will find the Kennedy memorial and fountain here. There is a small cafe that serves a good selection of refreshments and right beside is a souvenir shop.
There are orienteering routes open to the public, there are four maps available that vary in length and ability, they offer a great way to discover the flora and fauna of Arboretum as you walk around the beautiful surroundings. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear as in involves rough and uneven terrain, tracks and paths.
Young guests will enjoy the play area, tree houses, maize, and miniature railway, that operates in the afternoons during the summer. There is also a pony and trap service in the high season, nature trails and signposted walks.
Guided tours can be taken from April through to September, they last about an hour to an hour and a half. During the year a number of seasonal events take place, in Spring there is National Tree Week and in the Autumn, National Heritage Week and Tree Day.
JFK Arboretum is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle, it provides a beautiful tranquil and contemplative natural environment, with convenient shelters and resting points. It is open all year round.