GARINISH Island in Glengarriff is one of just seven OPW parks to get awarded the Green Flag Award for 2017.
The stunning island, one of West Cork's most popular tourist attractions, joins other award-winners St Stephen's Green Park, Castletown Demesne, Derrynane Historic Park, Grangegorman Military Cemetery, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens and the Phoenix Park.Â
They were presented with their flags at a special ceremony in Malahide Castle in Dublin last week.
Maurice Buckley, chairman of the OPW (Office of Public Works) said the Office places great importance on the sustainable management and conservation of the State's heritage sites, and the scheme is a âwonderful way of recognising and celebrating these high standards'.
The Green Flag Awards, administered by An Taisce in the Republic of Ireland, recognise and encourage the provision of good quality parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. Â
The awards are marked on eight criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
The Green Flag Award Scheme supports best practice management of parks and green spaces across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Located in a sheltered harbour in Bantry Bay, Ilnacullin, also known as âGarinish Island' (Gar Inish meaning âthe near island') is a small island Â of just 15 hectares which is known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world. Â
The gardens of Ilnacullin (island of the holly) owe their existence to the creative partnership of John Annan Bryce and Harold Ainsworth Peto over a century ago.
Bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953 and managed by the OPW, Garinish is a designed historic garden of international significance, with a world-renowned plant collection and unique architectural heritage. Â
Much of the plant collection post-dates the original creation of the gardens in Garinish and can be attributed to Murdo McKenzie and Roland Bryce.
The property is a destination for local, national and international visitors.Â
Â In excess of 65,000 people visit Garinish Island annually and enjoy its gardens and also Bryce House, which was fully restored and opened to the public in 2015. The gardens are extensive, incorporating a range of features like annual bedding, herbaceous borders, heather banks, hedging, shrubberies, tree plantations, bog garden, fern garden, ponds, glades, lawn and walled gardens.