The fine entrance gates at the porticoed gated lodge on the Turnpike Road, north of Doneraile town, Co. Cork, mark the formal entrance to a great landscaped estate – 160 hectares of parklands with mature groves of deciduous trees and a number of deer herds. The greater part of the work at Doneraile was undertaken in the early eighteenth century. The fashion in landscape gardening at this period was exemplified, if not largely formed, by the achievements of the English landscape architect, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Capability Brown landscaping is an art of illusion. The immediate impression created is that nature, not man, has shaped the landscape. In the hollows of the landscape, water is the important element, artificially diverted into canals, cascades, and ponds, and spanned by elegant stone bridges. Eighteenth century water gardening is seen to good effect at Doneraile. The main avenue at Doneraile winds for a mile through the park on its way to the Court.
The Pleasure Ground at Doneraile, on the garden side of the house, contains some unusual trees, including redwoods, Chusan palms and a Cork oak. Here also are specimens of cherry, yew, variegated sycamore and plane. The date of the building of the house is uncertain, some architectural historians believe that the basement dates from the late seventeenth century. The 1st Viscount Doneraile may have occupied the house shortly after he got married in 1690. The Park comprises approximately 166 hectares and is an outstanding example of an 18th century landscaped park in the ‘Capability Brown’ style. Mature groves of deciduous trees, several restored water features and a number of deer herds can be viewed along the many pathways within the Park. The pathways are generally accessible for people with special needs. Doneraile Court, the former residence of the St. Leger family, is situated within the Park. It will be opened to the public in the future, following completion of necessary restoration and safety works.