Garnish Island - Exotic Gardens in West Cork

View of the Caha Mountains from Garnish Island in Bantry Bay.

Our trip to Glengariff was special. It was the first spin on my own motorbike.  After we came back from our motorbike holiday across Europe, I was hooked. I spent the rest of the summer concentrating on obtaining a licence and doing the training. I only got a couple weeks of biking in before winter arrived. It has been months now since my last spin and I cannot wait for spring and warmer days.

Aran jumpers displayed outside a shop in Glengariff, Co.Cork.

A red brick building covered with ivy in Glengariff, Co.Cork.

Glengariff is a seaside village in the Beara Peninsula in the south-west of Ireland.  Translated from “An Gleann Garbh” in Irish means “The Rugged Glen”. The Glengariff Forest contains some of the oldest oak and birch groves left in Ireland.
The Caha Mountains tower over this small village and the Gulf Stream warms the waters of Bantry Bay. This creates a unique and mild climate where rare plants have an opportunity to grow.

Bantry Bay views from the boat on the way to Garnish Island.

Boat coming in to Glengariff from Garnish Island in Bantry Bay.

I have been wanting to visit Garnish Island for the longest time, as I am an avid plant geek. Garnish Island, also referred to as Ilnacullin or  Illaunacullin means "Island of Holly". This island encompasses 15 hectares of exotic gardens surrounded by lush forestry. There are beautiful architectural structures built across the island. One of those being a Martello Tower which dates back to 1805. The views of Bantry Bay from here are most spectacular. 

View of the clock tower surrounded by greenery on Garnish Island, Co.Cork.

A pathway in the gardens on Garnish Island in Bantry Bay.

Getting to the island is an adventure in itself. A brief boat trip across Bantry Bay with splendid views of the mountains. The rocky outcrops in the Beara Peninsula are home to seals that blend with the environment. It took me a while to realise I was looking at animals and not the surface of rocks. 
This scenic and tranquil part of County Cork has much to offer and I would love to pay it another visit some day. 

View of the Caha Mountains from a boat in Bantry Bay, Co.Cork.

A seal blending with the rock environment in Bantry Bay, Ireland.

Bantry Bay views from Garnish Island, Co.Cork.

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