Earlscliffe

This website is dedicated to the memory of David Robinson (1928-2004).

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The Robinson Garden at Earlscliffe is on the Howth peninsula just north of Dublin city at a latitude of 53.3º N. This means that it is further north than Newfoundland and on the same latitude as Manchester in England, Hamburg in Germany, the southern part of the Hudson Bay and Edmonton in Canada and Minsk in Russia. Yet despite being much nearer to the north pole than to the equator, bananas, tree ferns, South African Erica and a range of palms flourish outside without any winter protection.

This is not simply the result of skilled plantsmanship but owes a lot to the unusually favourable microclimate. The garden slopes to the south and benefits by being close to the sea and also from the 180 metre high Hill of Howth on its northern side. With the advantage of the warm current from the Gulf of Mexico almost encircling Howth, it seems that the peninsula can grow a wider range of plants than any other place of similar latitude.

Advantage is taken of the auspicious situation to test the climatic hardiness of plants from all five continents. No plants are protected artificially even in the coldest weather so that realistic information on hardiness can be obtained. 

The Earlscliffe house itself been owned by an variety of people with links to a number of episodes and events in Irish and world history. 


This site is often updated to include both scientific data and information for the general enthusiast. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see in greater detail, please contact .

Please note that the garden is not currently open to the public and there will be no formal garden tours around Earlscliffe in 2016-7. For further details, please contact

What's New?

  • Have found more information on the early owners of Earlscliffe. Plus some extra info on William Martin Murphy provided by his son, Chris!
  • Updated the site to include timelines showing the different owners and related Irish and world events.

Content on this site - please note

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If you are the owner of any copyright material that has inadvertently been included on this site, please contact  who will be happy to remove or amend as necessary.

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Any horticultural or scientific advice is included on this site for information and educational use only and the site owners will not be liable for any damage caused by following any advice given in these pages.  However, we would gladly appreciate your feedback!

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We welcome your feedback on either the Robinson Garden at Earlscliffe or on this web site. Please contact   .

This page was last updated on 05-Apr-2016.