Garinish Island, Glengarriff, County Kerry

Garinish Island, also known as ‘Ilnacullin’ or ‘Island of holly’ in Irish, is located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in west Cork. The micro climate in Bantry Bay is caused by the warmer currents of the Gulf Stream and has created a little piece of ‘tropical paradise’ in Ireland. These gardens are known to horticulturists and tree lovers from all over the World owe their existence to the creative partnership, some eighty years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. Access to the island can be made by a short ferry journey from Glengarriff pier or at the Blue Lagoon. This wonderful trip passes ‘Seal Island’ where a permanent colony of 250 harbour seals. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and is now under the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. It also boasts a Martello tower on its southern shores which has been restored by the OPW and is now open to the public.