Take a short boat trip to Garinish Island, set in Bantry Bay. The island has 37 acres of gardens and is renowned for rich plant forms and varying colours, which look attractive in every season. Garnish is world renowned for its gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and it has some stunning specimen plants which are rare in this climate.
The Gardens are the result of the creative partnership of Annan Bryce 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.
Garinish Island 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. Autumn colour, particularly on the magnificent heather bank, is rich during the usually mild early autumn months of September and October.
Because of its sheltered situation 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. Winters are mild, and frosts are light and of short duration.
Even for those who are not particularly interested in gardens, Ilnacullin is an attractive place to visit. There are many attractive views of the scenery of the surrounding district from the island. Ilnacullin and its surrounding waters are quite rich in wildlife, the seals which frequent the rocks on the southern shore being of particular interest to many visitors.