Speech at the Opening of the New Tea Room at Kilmacurragh Gardens
Kilmacurragh Gardens, Kilbride Co. Wicklow, Monday, 18th May 2015
Tá áthas orm a bheith anseo inniu chun an seomra tae nua seo i nGairdíní Kilmacurragh a oscailt. Is mian liom mo bhuíochas a chur in iúl don Aire Simon Harris, do Chomhaltaí an Oireachtais agus d'ionadaithe pobail eile don chuireadh a thug siad dom agus libhse ar fad as an fíorchaoin fáilte sin.
[I am delighted to be here today to open the new tea room in Kilmacurragh Gardens. I would like to thank Minister Simon Harris for his invitation and all of you for that generous welcome, and members of the Oireachtas and other public representatives]
A site like Kilmacurragh has a powerful spirit of place and this is what we need to preserve; not just the house and garden, important though they are, but also the remembrance of the history held within those spaces, including the lives and experiences of those who lived and worked here.
The story of Kilmacurragh gardens is, indeed, a rich and remarkable one, encompassing place, history, architecture, nature and human endeavours. It is a story whose opening chapters begin in early medieval Ireland and one which has, across the centuries, been peopled by many Irish women and Irish men, who have played their own role in the evolution of this place, leaving their enduring mark on a unique part of our Irish landscape.
Today, from what was once a desolate ruin, has risen a renewed and re-energised public space, a place of rebirth and regeneration that reminds us of what can be achieved and flourish when we nurture potential, growth and development.
We remain deeply grateful to the OPW for preserving this important part of our national heritage, and for the work and vision that has been invested into the reclamation of this space and the rediscovery of botanical treasures and champion trees, rooted in the history and legacy of this beautiful place and planted and cared for by generations of the Acton family to whom the estate belonged.
I am delighted to hear that Carol Acton has generously bequeathed her family's papers to the National Botanic Gardens, giving us a comprehensive archive of the recent history of the estate, and I thank her for that generous act.
I am also delighted that the Acton name will remain associated with Kilmacurragh through the naming of this tearoom - Caifé Acton.
Tá súil agam gur cuimhneachán fadmharthanacha, rathúil a bheidh ann don chlann a bhunaigh an áit ar leith seo, áit chomhchoiteann a bhainfidh an uile duine a thagann ar cuairt anseo chuig Gairdíní Kilmacurragh taitneamh as.
[It will, I hope, be a long and successful memorial to the family who created this special place, and a space of communal enjoyment for all those who come here to visit the important legacy that is the Kilmacurragh Gardens.]
Thank you very much.