Ilnacullin (Garinish Island)
Ilnacullin (Garinish Island) information
This horticultural miracle of an island was created in the early 20th century when the island's owner commissioned architect Harold Peto to design a garden on the then-barren outcrop. Topsoil was shipped in, landscaped gardens laid out, and subtropical species planted; camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons provide a seasonal blaze of colour. The 10-minute boat trip to the island departs from the village pier, and passes colonies of basking seals and a nesting site for white-tailed eagles, which were re-introduced to Ireland in 2007.
The centrepiece of the island is a magical Italianate garden ; nearby a cypress avenue leads to a faux-Grecian temple with a stunning view of Sugarloaf Mountain. There are more views from the island's highest point, a 19th-century Martello tower , one of hundreds built around the coast to watch out for a possible Napoleonic invasion.