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Garinish Island

Garinish Island is a horticulturalists haven; Officially known as Ilnacullen, the island is one of the most spectacular gardens in Ireland. Protected from the harsh climate and warmed by the Gulf Stream, a world of discovery awaits visitors.

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay and only a short drive from Bantry Town , in Southwest Ireland, Garinish is a small island of 15 hectares (37 acres) known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of great beauty.

The gardens owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto (one of the great Edwardian garden designer’s who is particularly famous for his work in England and the South of France.) The island is accessed by a short ferry ride which can be booked locally in Glengarriff.

On the island, apart from beautiful plant life, structures include a clock tower, Grecian Temple, Martello Tower, and an Italian Temple. Although noted for the “Italian” gardens, there is a strong Japanese influence running throughout the design. This is particularly evident at the Grecian Temple which frames the Sugarloaf Mountain in a manner which is highly suggestive of Mount Fuji in Japan. The Italian Tea House or “Casita” seems close in style to a Japanese tea house while potted dwarf trees resemble bonsai. The planting of South American and Oriental trees and shrubs is a delight – such as the fine example of Chilian Myrtle which can be seen in the glade known as “Happy Valley”.

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