It’s the time of year again to make the most of everything that West Cork has to offer outdoors. One of the most enjoyable ways of doing this is to take full advantage of the 16 gardens, which make up the West Cork Garden Trail. Twenty years old this year, the trail has as much and more to offer as ever before. From June 14, visitors will be able to explore the many delights of the participating gardens – most of which are open throughout spring and summer.
From the exquisite seclusion of Drishane House near Castletownsend with its multifaceted garden including woods, walled garden and sloping rockery fronting onto a breathtaking sea view…through the delightful and lovingly tended Glebe Gardens, with a café/restaurant listed among the top 100 in Ireland and a landscaped amphitheatre where music is performed regularly throughout summer…to the much-loved Ilnacullen on Garinish Island near Glengariff on the Beara Peninsula — these gardens are among the very best in Ireland.
There are three new gardens on the trail this year: Pip’s View at Ahakista with its ‘series of rooms’ dictated by the natural rocky landscape; Garra Fado also on Beara, which includes a working kitchen garden whose owner Connie Torpey is on hand to offer advice; and the lovely Lag Bridge (re-joining the trail this year) on the causeway to Ringaroga Island near Baltimore owned by Bebhinn and Robert Marten.
One of the positives of the boom times is a legacy of increased interest in gardening. The West Cork Garden Trail is a terrific opportunity for novices and experienced gardeners alike to collect ideas and increase their knowledge of all things gardening-related. Head gardener, Tony at Inish Beg, for instance, is usually on hand to answer questions – ask him too about the Primula Theatre and the beautifully tended kitchen garden.
Sponsored by the Harold Barry Trust and Deelish Garden Centre near Skibbereen, the WCGT gardens are: Bamboo Park- Glengariff; Bantry House – Bantry; Carraig Abhainn – Durrus; Drishane House – Catletownsend; The Ewe – Glengarriff; Garra Fado – Beara; Glebe Gardens – Baltimore; Glenview – Enniskeane; Heron Gallery – Ahakista; Ilnacullen – Garinish Island/Glengarriff; Inish Beg – Baltimore; Lag Bridge – Baltimore; Lisselan – Clonakilty, Pip’s View – Ahakista and Stepaside – Bandon/Clonakilty.
For more information about the West Cork Garden Trail visit the website at www.westcorkgardentrail.com. Brochures are also available at tourist offices throughout West Cork and by request online from firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 089 435 2675.