Garinish Island is home to a garden of rare beauty which garden lovers from all over the world travel to see. It is located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, West Cork.
The gardens of Ilnacullin, as Garinish Island is known, owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953 and was subsequently entrusted to the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. Today management of the island is in the hands of the Office of Public Works.
Because of its sheltered position and the warming oceanic influence of the Gulf Stream, the climate is in some respect almost subtropical and is favourable to the growth of ornamental plants from many parts of the world. Ilnacullin is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, changing continuously with the seasons. The vivid colours of rhododendrons and azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and choice shrubs dominate the midsummer period from June to August.
Access to the island is by small ferry boats and licensed 60 seater water buses. Please note that there is an admission charge to the island. There is limited access for visitors with disabilities.
Look out for the seal colony as you make your way across Glengarriff Harbour.