Founder of Lafcadio Hearn Gardens commended by Japan's Foreign Minister

A delegation from the Japanese Embassy, lead by Japan’s Ambassador to Ireland, has formally conveyed the Commendation of their Foreign Minister to Agnes Aylward. Agnes is founder of the Lafcadio Hearn gardens Tramore, and chairperson of its board.

His Excellency, Mitsuru Kitano was joined for the occasion by the Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Kelly, Minister of State, Mary Butler, CEO of Waterford City and County Manager, Michael Walsh along with members of the Oireachtas, local councillors, representatives of the Gardai, community groups and local businesses.

Other guests on the day were senior Japanese business leaders from enterprises currently based in Dublin.

Bronze plaque unveiled

As a recognition to Agnes for her role in advancing IrelandΒ  / Japan cultural relations through the development of the gardens, the Ambassador also unveiled a bronze plaque. The plaque, set in a dressed granite boulder, marked the visit of Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, at the location where she planted a Japanese cherry tree in July 2017.

A packed event at the Lafcadio Hearn Gardens Tramore


Guests arriving at the event were welcomed by children from the local Educate Together School, waving Japanese flags, and were serenaded by local violinist Cathy Desmond.

Opening proceedings, Mayor Joe Kelly spoke of the enormous achievement Agnes had undertaken in leading the development of these very unique gardens in the heart of the bustling town of Tramore. He pointed out that in a very short time the gardens had become a leading tourist attraction which was now bringing in thousands of additional visitors every year. The Mayor also noted that the development of the gardens had led to the deepening of a mutual understanding between Ireland and Japan.

Ambassador Kitano said

On 20 August, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced that Ms Agnes Aylward had been awarded with the Commendation of the Foreign Minister of Japan. This decision was made in recognition of Ms Aylward's outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Ireland. I am delighted about this wonderful decision because I know first-hand of her dedication and contribution.


Following receipt of her commendation Agnes Aylward, thanked the Embassy for allowing the ceremony to take place in Tramore. She said it gave her the opportunity to include all those who were involved in the gardens to be part of this prestigious award. She spoke about the huge level of human capital invested in the gardens and acknowledged the ongoing support given by Waterford Council.

To read more good news about another visitor attraction, House of Waterford Crystal, click here.