The good news is that the kettle is on the hob again at The Tea Room Conservatory in Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum.
The brilliant woodlands retreat and centre of leisure was re-officially opened by county council chair, Councillor Fidelis Doherty.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Tea Room had been closed to the public since 2018.
A negative became a positive as the Parks Department of Kilkenny County Council undertook a number of significant enhancements works on this much-loved structure.
The original construction was designed by Richard Turner, famous ironmaster responsible for the glasshouses in the Botanic Gardens, Dublin and Kew Gardens in London.
The construction was completed in 1856 and was described at the time as one of Turner’s finest designs.
But the original structure was sadly demolished in the 1950s and what you enjoy today is an exact recreation of the original design which was fabricated by the talented Power Foundry in New Ross in 2004.
Since that time, it has remained a must see for visitors to the gardens and is a much photographed location, while also offering the public the opportunity to sit within the beautiful masterpiece to enjoy summer refreshments.
GARDENS AND ARBORETUM LOVINGLY RESTORED
Fidelis Doherty said Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum were among the real natural and cultural jewels in the county.
She said that since the Gardens and Arboretum were taken over by Kilkenny County Council in 1999 they had been lovingly restored.
“The importance of having such a wonderful amenity available to the public, in terms of the benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing, had really come into focus since the onset of Covid-19,” Ms Doherty added.
Council Engineer, Frank Stafford outlined some of the improvement works.
The latter included sealing of curved glass roof, painting ironwork and commissioning of a fantastic vibrant internal mural capturing Woodstock House in its heyday.
Other works included the installation of a Victorian-style tiled floor, lighting and planting along with a stone patio area for outdoor dining.”
Earlier works included enhancements to the main entrance, upgrades and an extension to the playground, the creation of a woodland walk in the gardens, new information plaques at some of the more prominent and champion trees and a Pergola seating area.
“Going out further beyond the gardens into Woodstock Estate, with Coillte’s agreement, by the end of this year the Council will have also restored over 6kms of Victorian pathways under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme,” Mr Stafford added.
Councillor Michael Doyle, Chair Municipal District of Callan/Thomastown acknowledged the great work of the Inisitioge Tidy Towns Group over many years.