One of the oldest tourist destinations in Ireland. Follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth, Thackeray and GB Shaw and discover the magic of this natural treasure where sea, river and ancient forest meet.
The easiest way to get to Glengarriff is by road. Glengarriff is on the ring of Beara and depending on your starting point you will probably either approach it from Bantry (Coming from the Cork side) or from Kenmare (Coming from the Kerry Side).
The most beautiful way to get to Glengarriff is by sea. Glengarriff Harbour is one of the most spectacular natural harbours in West Cork and has very safe anchorage.
Glengarriff is served by the Cork - Castletownbere bus service, which passes through Bantry.
You really need a car to get around the area (although Glengarriff itself is very compact and can easily be walked). There are a number of local taxi and minibus services.
Ferries run regularly from the village with ferries operation from the Main pier and the Blue Pool.
The island was originally a military outpost; and a barracks and Martello Tower were built against the threat of a Napoleonic invasion. The island was purchased from the War Office in 1910 by Annan Bryce, who commissioned English architect Harold Peto to design a house and garden. Thousands of tons of topsoil were imported to the then bare, rocky island and shelter belts were planted, creating a micro-climate in which a number of tender plants thrive. The house was never built, and the Casita and Italian garden remain the centrepiece of the gardens. There are also very fine herbaceous borders.
The gardens are now maintained by the Office of Public Works. Open March to October: Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 16:30 Sundays 13:00 - 17:00. April: Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 18:30 Sundays 13:00 - 18:30. May and September: Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 18:30 Sundays 12:00 - 18:30 June: Monday - Saturday 11:00-18:30 Sundays 11:00-18:30 July and August: Monday - Saturday 09:30 - 18:30 Sundays 11:00 - 18:30. Admission Adult €3.70 Group and Senior Citizen €2.60 Child/Student €1.30 Family €8.70.
Last landing 1 hour before closing. Average Length of Visit: 1-2 hours. Please note that the boats are privately operated and levy a separate charge.
There are regular boat trips to Garinish Island which take you on a tour of the harbour and past a seal colony.
Sea Kayaking is also offered in the bay and is a stunning way to see the islands.
Aran sweaters and shillelaghs (traditional hardwood cudgel associated with Ireland in folklore).