BY JACKIE KEOGH
IN association with the Harold Barry Trust, and now celebrating its 21st year, the West Cork Garden Trail has welcomed thousands of visitors to some of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland.
With 14 of West Cork’s finest gardens on display, the event is on a grand scale, but it is the intimate experiences, the private visits, and the memorable attendance by gardener Diarmuid Gavin at the launch party at Bantry House last Sunday that lies at the heart of its appeal.
True gardening enthusiasts – who treat the annual garden trail like a festival of nature’s finery – are inspired to recreate some of what they see in the gardens that stretch from Bandon to Castletownbere in their own garden, so, in that respect, the West Cork Garden Trail has been justifiably credited with promoting better gardening in West Cork since it was first introduced in 1994.
The initiative is supported by Fáilte Ireland and it is widely promoted online, particularly through its captivating website www.westcorkgardentrail.com, and is responsible for attracting, and engaging, countless tourists at the height of the tourist season.
Some of the featured gardens are open all year round; some are open from May to October; but there are some which are only open for a limited period, so it is advisable to get a copy of the beautifully illustrated and informative brochure so as not to miss out on any of these attractions.