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Magnificent island garden combining formal and informal elements.

Garinish Island
Co Cork
website Contact Illnacullin
Tel: +353 27 63040

Please mention when enquiring.


Opening Months: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Opening Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Opening Hours: Hours vary - generally open all day Mon-Sat and Sun afternoon/evening
Admission Charge: Adult €3.70; Group and Senior Citizen €2.60; child/student €1.30; Family €8.70
  • Appointment Only
  • Admission Charge

Most great gardens are the acolytes of grand houses, but Illnalcullin is the exception for the garden Peto and planted by Bryce in a garden made possible by dint of rock blasting, boatloads of top soil, a workforce of 100, plus shelter belts of conifers.

Each of the four main areas are as different in mood as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, yet work together as an intricate whole. There is the Italian garden with a classical loggia overlooking a formal pool guarded by venerable bonsai trees. Cypress and clipped yew provide a structural element among a riot of blue clematis growing through the pinks and reds of leptospermum and callistemon.

A broad grass vista between fascinating shrubs and trees runs the full length of the island from the high point of the Martello tower to a Grecian Temple with views across Bantry Bay to the mountains. In between are the choice plants which were introduced from every corner of the globe - embothrium, the Chilean fire bush Dacrydium frankliniifrom Tasmania, cornus and redwoods from North America, rhododendrons R. Macabeanumfrom India and Yakushimanum from Japan. Aptly know as the Happy Valley this area of Robinsonian planting dips down to a valley in the centre of the island where there is a lily pool and bog garden

There is a walled garden, with a splendid double herbaceous border full of traditional plants: asters, campanulas roses and verbascum, and a clock tower in the corner which look for all the world like an Italian campanile.

The central theme is set by the classical pavilion or casita ( little house), its pillars wreathed in wisteria its shady stone interiors offering views over a tranquil green lawn. Much of the planting to be seen in the garden today was carried out by head gardener and plantsman Murdo MacKenzie for Annan’s son Roland Bryce.

In 1935 the Island was donated to the Nation and it is now in the care of the Heritage Division of the Office of Public Works.

Best time of year to visit:

Groups & Tours

  • Groups Accepted
  • Groups Need Appointments
  • Accept Only Groups
  • Guided Tours

Tour Days:



West Cork Garden Trail (last two weeks June)

Other Facilities

Self guiding booklet available

Illnacullen - Garinish Island - Glengarriff County Cork Ireland
Illnacullen - Garinish Island - Glengarriff County Cork Ireland
Illnacullen - Garinish Island - Glengarriff County Cork Ireland
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Take the ferry from Glengariff.

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