Table of Contents : 'Kilmacurragh: Sourced in the wild'

Foreword  viii
Acknowledgements  ix
Introduction  1
A dramatic arena
Chapter 1: The new order  9
‘A sister garden’
Some champion trees
The gardens and arboretum—a general profile
A sense of melancholy
Not a mere reliquary
A hospitable garden
The ‘essence of the collection’—the Moore connection
The arboretum and gardens—a preview
Chapter 2: Kilmacurragh—a sacred site  43
A saint’s hermitage—a thirteenth-century church—a graveyard
A sacred burial place—a monastic heritage
Historic monuments
Recent history
A lugubrious undertow
A memorial garden
Chapter 3: The reluctant Cromwellian  53
‘The felons of the Leinster Mountains’
Exploitation of wood resources—the insurrection of 1641
A family dynasty established on confiscated lands:
Cromwellian confiscation and redistribution of lands
Charles, the reluctant Cromwellian
Incontrovertibly Cromwellian
Chapter 4: The seventeenth–eighteenth  century 61
Thomas Acton II (1671–1750) and his wife, Elinor Kempston
Kilmacurragh mansion—its architectural design
‘My new mansion house’
300 years after construction
A stout construction
A significant use of timber
Rebuilding of the coach-house and stables in 1729
A geographical perspective
Marriage to Elinor
‘Clothing’ the interior of the mansion
The Dutch gardeners
Thomas active in local affairs
Passionate about trees—a father’s advice
The Dublin Society
Thomas—an innovator
Hundreds of yew trees
Sheriff of Wicklow
Chapter 5: The eighteenth and early  nineteenth centuries 86
William Acton (1711–79), keeper of the writs of the
Court of Common Pleas, and his wife, Jane Parsons
The Acton woods at Clara
Thomas Acton III (d. 1817), high sheriff for County
Wicklow (1781), and his wife, Sidney Davis
The shaping of a landscape
Agricultural progress in an unequal society
The doomed rebellion of 1798—a Wicklow débâcle
A cruel judicial system
Chapter 6: The great nineteenth-century plant-hunters 99
A heroic generation: plant-hunters represented in Kilmacurragh
William Lobb (1809–64), plant-hunter
The quest for the Chile pines
The ‘messenger of the big tree’
Final years in obscurity
Giving the conifers their freedom
Chapter 7: The nineteenth century 112
Colonel William Acton, high sheriff for County
Wicklow (1820), MP for Wicklow (1841–8), and his wife, Caroline Walker
Wicklow—a county of continuing contrasts
The commercial nurseries
Col. Acton, a man of action
A family tragedy
The dark decade of famine and disease
Col. Acton, ‘the friend of the poor’
The shame of the workhouse
A county of contrasts
The ‘baneful habits of vagrancy’
A caring parent
A protracted illness
Chapter 8: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) 129
The rhododendron collection
Chapter 9: The twentieth century: the glorious years 138
Thomas Acton (1826–1908) and his sister, Janet Acton (1824–1906)
Childhood: a retiring nature
Family archivist
The Grand Tour
The conifers
The William Lobb trees
A welcome distraction
Inspiring and productive friendships
The Hooker connection
A triallist
Thomas’s innovative work practice
‘Household god’
The Banks Medals—‘most outstanding conifers in private ownership’
Agrarian discontent
The achievements of Thomas and Janet
Janet’s Broad Walk
The Double Borders
The will
The obituary
A fitting tribute
Chapter 10: After Thomas 165
The grim toll of World War I—the Acton war heroes
An infant heir
The Queen Anne mansion that can no longer speak for itself
‘A tortuous history’—a chronological account
The Kilmacurragh Park Hotel (1932–42)
The sale of Kilmacurragh
Kilmacurragh—a national arboretum?
‘The rooks’ domain’
Appeals and castigations in national newspapers
The Kilmacurragh Action Group
Decline of the mansion
Imaginative proposals
Bibliography  177
Notes  179