Local Attractions - Glengarriff, West Cork
No visit to Glengarriff , along the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork would be complete without taking the short ferry trip to Garinish Island to enjoy the beauty of its famous 19th century Italian Gardens. Garinish Island (Ilnacullin, Garnish Island) is a beautiful island garden located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff Bay, it is a small island of 15 hectares known to horticulturists and nature lovers all around the world as a stunningly beautiful island garden. It is carefully laid out in walks that make the most of the gardens, it is a must see attraction for visitors.
Alternatively, you can take a trip to Seal island and watch the carefree antics of these loveable creatures. Seal Island has up to 250 harbour seals in residence in Glengarriff Bay. The seals are used to the Ferry’s and you will see them basking on the rocks, posing cheekily and swimming around in a carefree fashion!
We are spoiled with some great local ferry services in Glengarriff and are happy to help arrange a trip for you during the season from April to October.
Borrow a bicycle from us at Eccles Hotel and explore the beautiful beara region, we can even prepare a picnic for you if required. Take a hike around the nearby Caha mountains or the peaceful nature reserve or try picking up some bushcraft skills with our friends in Outdoors Ireland or join them for an organised sea kayak exploring the bay here in Glengarrifff. Ask at reception for more details on these activties.
The Blue Pool
This magical harbour is hidden in the middle of Glengarriff. Access to the blue pool is in the centre of Glengarriff village. The blue pool is formed where the river meets the sea, its a wonderful stony inlet, which is surrounded by lush vegetation. There are a number of beautiful walks through the woods with views of the harbour that are well worth exploring and the Blue Pool Ferry offers trips out to Garinish Island.
Glengarriff Bamboo Park
The unique exotic garden in one of the most attractive and renowned gardens of Ireland. Situated in the mild climate of Glengarriff in the beautiful West Cork region. Thirty different species of bamboo surrounded by palms and other tropical plants, amidst of romantic paths and breathtaking views.The park is open year round from 9am – 7pm.
The Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is a magnificent example of a mature oak woodland, and lies in the heart of the old Glengarriff valley where the observant visitor can trace relics of older settlements. The forest has been enhanced by complementary new planting which provides an interesting and attractive treescape for visitors to enjoy. There are many paths, with convenient picnic areas, and several viewpoints within easy reach. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Lady Bantry’s Lookout, which gives a panoramic view across the Bay and up to the bulwarks of the Caha Mountains. The forest was once part of the Bantry Desmense but (apart form a small private section) is now owned by the State.
There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra,
Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow;
In deep-valley'd Desmond - a thousand wild fountains
Come down to that lake from their homes in the mountains.
There grows the wild ash, and a time stricken willow
Looks chidingly down on the mirth of the billow;
As, like some gay child, that sad monitor scorning,
It lightly laughs back to the laugh of the morning.
by J.J. Callanan.
Nestled in the beautiful countryside of West Cork, stunning Gougane Barra is the source of the river Lee and a renowned beauty spot. not only a great place to see some of Ireland’s history in St. Finbarr’s Oratory, and what remains of his monastery founded in the 7th century. St Finbarr’s oratory is one of the most photographed churches in West Cork as it is a popular spot for weddings. Further up the valley is the national forest park, Ireland’s first national park. With over 250 hectares of woodland and forests to explore, the stunning area of Gougane Barra is a delight whether you walk or cycle among its renowned beauty.