WHATEVER your troubles, gardens can heal, according to actor and West Cork resident Jeremy Irons, who was in the Glebe Gardens in Baltimore last Friday to officially launch the West Cork Garden Trail.
The Hollywood actor said he believes gardens can help our mental health because they calm our frenetic lives, and that young people can shed their angst simply by taking time out in the countryside, or in a garden.
‘Gardens,’ he said, ‘are incredibly important to spend time in and to work in. They say you are never nearer to God than when you are in a garden, and I think that’s true.
‘We all live very bustling lives with great pressure on us from time to time, but when you are in a garden pottering around – sowing a bit, clipping a bit, seeing how things are growing, mulching a bit and digging over – it’s wonderful.’
Jeremy advised people to ‘Go and get lost in a garden.’ But he was, on this occasion, preaching to the converted, because the launch drew gardening enthusiasts from all over West Cork, including representatives of the 15 gardens featured in the Trail.
Initially, Jeremy was almost drowned out by the sound of a sudden shower on the canvas sails drawn across the café’s courtyard, but to laughter and cheers, he described the bad weather as being ‘great for the garden.’
The garden trail – which is now in its 22nd year – is ‘a tremendous initiative’ in terms of promoting the beauty and natural appeal of West Cork, according to Jeremy, who gave a good account of the diversity contained in the featured gardens, as well as their distinctive visitor attractions – like the ‘Pirate Trail’ for children at Inish Beg.
Jeremy, who is at home in West Cork, said: ‘Gardens are always good, even if they are pouring with rain.’ See also westcorkgardentrail.com.