Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland

Cumann Ríoga Gairneoireach na hÉireann

RHSI, Laurelmere, Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

The Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland has awarded its gold Medal of Honour to Seamus O'Brien, Head Gardener at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh.

Seamus O'Brien is one of Ireland's most outstanding present-day plantsmen, and is widely known throughout the island, and in the U.K. His interest started at an early age, coming from a County Wicklow farming family, receiving his formal training at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. He holds an International Diploma in Botanic Gardens Management from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Seamus is a corresponding member of the Royal Horticultural Society's Woody Plant Committee. He contributes to numerous publications, including Curtis's Botanical Magazine, and the International Dendrology Society's Year Book, as well as the Irish Garden Plant Society's newsletter. It is as an author that O'Brien has reached an international audience. Published in 2018, his magnificent in the ‘Footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker, a Sikkim adventure’ retraces Hooker's 1847 expedition to Sikkim, when he would discover botanical treasures previously unknown in the West. O'Brien's first-hand account, based on his own travels to Sikkim, traces the discoveries which were supplied as seedlings to Kilmacurragh, many of which still grow there.
He is also the author of in the ‘Footsteps of Augustine Henry, and his Chinese plant collectors’, published in 2011. Again, based on his own travels to that country. Many of Henry's introductions are to be found growing today at Kilmacurragh. Seamus O'Brien is known by a wide circle, for his passionate interest in the history of the Acton family, former owners of Kilmacurragh and in the estate where they assembled one of the greatest plant collections in these islands, the restoration of which he is overseeing.

****Check out forthcoming events and the benefits of RHSI membership. For the most current information follow us on social media (links above) and subscribe to the email newsletter. Follow the work at the walled garden in Russborough on Instagram. The volunteers continue to work there on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Become a Member

Special Christmas Gift Membership Offer Give a gift they will enjoy all year long! One year’s RHSI Membership For just €45 This offer is only available as a gift to new members Offer is available until January 31st, 2019. Free days out at Partner Gardens, priority booking and discounted tickets to events, great Journal, and free gardening advice.

RHSI Garden Russborough

The RHSI walled garden in Russborough, Co Wicklow will be closed over Christmas and New Year from 15th December to 9th January when the volunteers will be back at work.


RHSI members have received the programme of 2019 events with the December issue of the RHSI Journal, together with booking details for tours. There will be events of interest to gardeners, both active and aspiriational. Keep up to date by subscribing to our email newsletter.



Forthcoming Events



Patthana Garden through the Seasons

Saturday 02 February, 2019

Day Tour to Altamont Garden, Co Carlow

Saturday 09 February, 2019

Airfield Estate Gardens

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Bellefield House

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Garden

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Colclough Walled Garden

Coolaught Walled Garden

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glebe Gardens

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

June Blake’s Garden, Blessington

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Killruddery House and Gardens

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park Gardens

Old Deanery Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Strokestown Park Gardens

Terra Nova Gardens

The Bay Garden

The Dower House

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden