Top choice in Beara Peninsula

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 now provide a seasonal blaze of colour. Harbour Queen and Blue Pool run 10-minute ferry trips to the island past colonies of basking seals and a nesting site for white-tailed eagles.

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Beara Peninsula attractions

2. Bamboo Park

1.12 MILES

Glengarriff's mild, frost-free climate allows this small 12-hectare park to flourish. It has a variety of exotic plants, including palm trees and tree…

3. Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve

1.61 MILES

The valley of the Glengarriff River, to the northwest of Glengarriff village, was once the private estate of the Earl of Bantry. As such its ancient oak…

4. Ewe Experience

3.02 MILES

More than 20 years in the making, this interactive sculpture garden is imaginative, thought-provoking and humorous, with nature and art working together…

5. Bantry House & Garden

5.32 MILES

With its melancholic air of faded gentility, 18th-century Bantry House makes for an intriguing visit. From the Gobelin tapestries in the drawing room to…

6. Bantry Historical Museum

5.42 MILES

Housed in a shed tucked away behind the fire station, this vast collection of crockery, vintage bottles, ironmongery, old photographs, cutlery, tradesmen…

7. Gleninchaquin Park

6.73 MILES

This working sheep farm offers a whole range of things to do, from waymarked history and geology walks to trout fishing and feeding the lambs (in spring),…

8. Kilravock Garden

8.28 MILES

Travel a world of plants at Kilravock Garden, which has been transformed over two decades from a field of scrag and stone to a feast of exotic plants by…