Where subtropical plants flourish at 53.3° North latitude
This website is dedicated to the memories of David Robinson (1928-2004) and Muriel Robinson (1929-2016).
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 the foreseeable future. For further details, please contact
- Updated hosting server. The old one was running on 14 year old hardware!
- Updated web site including scrollable timelines related to Earlscliffe residents, showing births, marriages, deaths and major events in their lives and in their home and working environments. See history of the house for more details.
- As part of these changes, added a scrollable timeline representing the events that were documented in Dr. Ella Webb's 1916 diary plus a map of Dublin city centre from around that time showing the places mentioned in the diary. Check it out.
- Added a new section on a brief history of Howth. This includes a number of maps of the peninsula from 1837 onwards that are overlaid allowing you to switch between them.
We welcome your feedback on either the Robinson Garden at Earlscliffe or on this web site. Please contact ..