An Irish Country Estate

Hilton Park enjoys a glorious private setting. The ‘Stately Home’ overlooks its 600 acre park framed by managed woodlands to the focal point of the old hill fort. On the south side the windows all give out over the parterre and the plains of the pleasure grounds to Hilton Lough, with its canal and Lovers’ Walk.

Johnny and Lucy renovated the pleasure grounds and the rose garden in 1994 and replanted the parterre, which had been laid out by Ninian Niven in 1870; he also planned the pleasure grounds and re-routed the southern avenue approach. Niven, the best known landscape gardener of the Victorian period in Ireland also laid out the parterre at the Vice-Regal Lodge, now Aras an Uactarain.

The grounds contain the old Victorian kitchen garden, three squares comprising almost 3 acres bounded by a mixture of red brick wall or water. These were made in the 1870s when Niven cleared away the much older walled garden, which hid the lake from the house. Johnny and Lucy laid out a new herb garden in 1995, which is based on the layout of that older garden.

Hilton is famous for its very tall oaks, planted in 1752 to commemorate the marriage of an ancestor and Anne Cope, who brought acorns from her family home at Loughgall, where similar trees can be seen to this day. Near the lake stand two mighty beeches, one of which was a county champion and the other the national champion in the millennium measuring.

Standing at a topographical cusp, to the west of Hilton lies the great basin of Lough Erne and the valley of the River Finn. To the north the land swells beyond Clones to wild upland moor, bog and forest, with superb views and is intersected by the Ulster Way. Then to east and south the Monaghan and Cavan drumlins rise within about 2 miles. For those who like to paint or photograph landscape the views and cloud effects are dramatic. There is interest aplenty for walkers or cyclists with a plethora of small unfrequented lanes and a choice of flat alluvial land or steep undulations.

This magical estate makes an ideal private venue offering an abundance of interest and no unsympathetic intrusions, whilst also being an ideal centre from which to explore some of Ireland’s lesser known beauties and wildernesses, the counties of Monaghan, Fermanagh and Cavan.