Garnish Island - A magical island garden
Garnish Island, or Ilnacullin, is a tiny island with a big reputation.
Stashed away in Glengarriff harbour, it is home to a series of gardens showcasing an incredible richness of plant form and colour. Changing with the seasons, it is flush with rhododendrons and azaleas in May and June, climbing plants and herbaceous perennials in midsummer, and awash with autumnal hues, particularly on the magnificent heather bank, in the months of September and October.
How is it so? Over 100 years ago then-owner Anna Bryce joined forces with the Edwardian garden designer Harold Peto. Noticing that the Gulf Stream and the island’s sheltered position blessed it with an almost subtropical climate, they began cultivating ornamental plants from all over the world.
Garinish was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and is today managed by the Office of Public Works. It remains a magical island garden, a sanctuary beloved of horticulturalists and casual visitors alike – not to mention the seals that regularly pitch up on its southern shore rocks.
Garnish Island West Cork
Garnish Island - A magical island garden Garnish Island, or Ilnacullin, is a tiny island with a big reputation. Stashed away in Glengarriff harbour, it is home to a series of gardens showcasing an incredible.... [read more]
Location: Glengarriff Harbour in Bantry Bay. By road, Glengariff is roughly 91km (1hr 40 mins) from Cork and 17km (20 mins) from Bantry.
Size: 15 hectares. Garinish is a short visit of a couple of hours.
Ilnacullin means the ‘island of holly’.
Facilities: Coffee shop, toilets.
Top 3 Activities: Garden trails, birdwatching, marine life.
Getting there: Ferries depart Glengariff daily from March to October. Sailings take 15 minutes. Contact Glengarriff and Garinish Boat Services (353 27 63116; www.harbourqueenferry.com) or the Blue Pool Ferry ( 353 27 63333; www.bluepoolferry.com). Garinish Island is open from March to October, and there is an island admission charge separate to that charged by ferry boats.
Getting around: Garinish is best explored on foot. There are a range of self-guided short walks.
Find out more:
Heritage Ireland (+353 27 63040; heritageireland.ie), www.discoverireland.ie./islands