Explore our new Natural Play Area

Did you know that Edith, Lady Londonderry wrote a children’s book called The Magic Ink-Pot?

'These are stories about a Magic Ink-Pot, who was a great friend of two children who lived in Ulster at a place called Mount Stewart on Strangford Loch, In County Down. Quite a real place, which is marked on your geography maps. Their names were Mary and Robin Stewart. She was Seven and He was Six. It was just at the time when they
began to do lessons, that the ink-pot visited them’  - extract from The Magic Ink-Pot.

Edith, Lady Londonderry wrote these stories for her children combining ideas from fairy tales and Irish legends. She called it “The Magic Inkpot” after a well-known object in the house.

The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry
The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry
The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry

Lady Londonderry notes in the foreword to the book, that she wrote most of the stories as letters to her daughter while she was away in Spain.She was honoured to return home to find them typewritten. The stories were so enjoyed that she added others with the addition of Celtic legends woven into the narrative.

The wonderful Illustrations were contributed by the famous illustrator and watercolour artist Edmund Brock, and by the Lady Londonderry’s daughter Margaret.

Illustration of Mhairi and Robin from The Magic Inkpot Book
Mhairi and Robin Image from The Magic Inkpot
Illustration of Mhairi and Robin from The Magic Inkpot Book

In the book, the inkpot is transformed into Dagda Mor, the ancient Irish King of the fairies and takes two of the children, Mairi and Robin on exciting and marvellous adventures. Dagda Mor is always there to intervene in times of trouble, but the children are also protected by the Stewart Dragon, magically brought to life from the Londonderry coat of arms.

The Dagda Mor, The green Harper
The Dagda Mor, The green Harper
The Dagda Mor, The green Harper

The natural play area provides an ideal setting in which families can play and learn .  Children develop an affinity with nature and let their imagination run wild with balance beams, stepping logs, traversing beams, tree cave, squirrel run, see-saw / teeter-totter, and sea dragon climbing frame.

The Natural Play Area at Mount Stewart

“It is a sad fact that nearly all “grown-ups” lose the power of “seeing” odd creatures and fairies, and they certainly cannot play the game of “Make-Believe”- the game in which you can make any odd piece of wood or furniture or bits of stuff become anything you want them to. I always feel so sorry for them- they miss so much. “ - extract from The Magic Ink-Pot.

The Natural Play Area at Mount Stewart

Why not create your own Family Story at the Natural Play Area?

Upcoming events

Jazz in the Gardens

Sun 27 May 2018
14:00-16:30
Bring your picnic and settle down on the lawn with your family and friends to enjoy an afternoon of jazz in the beautiful gardens at Mount Stewart.

Car Bazaar

Sat 02 Jun 2018
09:00-12:00
Come along and sell your unwanted items or browse around the many stalls and pick up a few treasures.

BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time Summer Garden Party

Sat 09 Jun 2018
11:00-12:00
BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time comes to Mount Stewart.

Fathers Day Fun

Sun 17 Jun 2018
11:00-16:00
Give dad a day to remember at Mount Stewart.

Creative Gardens: Writing Poetry at Mount Stewart

Wed 18 Jul 2018
18:00-20:00
Join Erin Halliday, award-winning poet and creative writing tutor, author of 'Chrysalis' and 'Pharmakon', for a six-week course writing poetry inspired by the history, family, collection, and grounds of Mount Stewart

Panasonic Roadshow at Mount Stewart

Sat 18 Aug 2018
10:30-16:00
Meet photography experts from Pansonic , try the latest cameras, have a photo portrait taken or join a photo walk at Mount Stewart.