A centuries-old stately home along with one of the country's finest gardens has been bequeathed to the State.
The stunning Altamont House and Gardens, in Co Carlow, was left to the Irish people by its late owner Corona North, the Government said yesterday.
The 96-acre estate outside Tullow includes a mansion dating back to around 1720 and formal and informal gardens reputed to be among the most romantic in Ireland.
Heritage Minister John Gormley said the donation was a wonderful act of generosity by Ms North, who died in 1999.
"It will be a lasting legacy to her memory," Mr Gormley said.