Garnish Island, County Cork

Garnish Island, County Cork

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Ilnacullin, or sometimes Illaunacullin (derives from Oileán an Chulinn in Irish meaning “island of holly”) known locally as Garnish Island (properly Garinish Island or Garinis in Irish), is a very tranquil yet popular tourist attraction in Ireland, located in the small harbor of Glengarriff, County Cork which forms part of Bantry Bay. Ilnacullin is the name used by the National Parks and Monuments Service to differentiate it from Garinish Island in Co Kerry. The gardens are visited by thousands of people each year from all over the world and have been the subject of gardening programs on television.

Visit Garnish Island and discover its famous gardens which flourish in the mild humid micro-climate of Glengarriff harbour assisted by a mainly Pine shelter belt. 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 the Caha Mountains) 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 Chilean myrtle which can be seen in the glade known as "Happy Valley".

How to get there?

You can access the island by one of several ferry services from the town of Glengarriff. These ferries take you to the island and generally include a tour of the nearby seal colony. The cost of the ferry trip does not include the admission charge to the island. The scenery is spectacular as you get a panoramic view of Glengarriff, the Beara Peninsula and Sheep's Head while enjoying the amazingly calm seas in the sheltered harbor.

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