We had the occasion to visit the beautiful Mount Congreve Gardens last Saturday for an open day which proved a great and welcome success. Around 2000 people attended over the course of the day with a modest parking charge of just €5 per vehicle. All who visited the gardens near Kilmeaden spoke most appreciatively and admiringly of the gardens that have been maintained so magnificently over the years. Mount Congreve ranks among the finest such gardens in Ireland and Britain for that matter and ought to be positively exploited for tourism, which would surely provide an employment boost by so doing. The ongoing wrangle with the State with respect to its takeover of the State seems both unnecessary and counter-productive. Were a similar estate to come into the possession of the UK Government, the National Trust would be swiftly put in charge of it, and a strategy to help make such amenities self-sustaining would be instigated just as swiftly. Why oh why can we not have a similar system in this State? Surely the Office of Public Works and the relevant Government departments should be moving more quickly when it comes to Mount Congreve? Staff and volunteers there have expressed their concerns for the future and would like to see a speedy resolution, as would those who have such a great and long-standing affection for the gardens. The nurseries are doing well, especially after such a great summer, with plants thriving after such good conditions for growth. There is also great potential for having a suitable tea room/eatery in place and one can imagine how such businesses would have fared this summer had they been in place. Local crafts could also prove a great draw (Kilkenny Design provides a suitable template), with the link-up of the narrow gauge railway that runs alongside the estate also another potential draw for tourists.