Ilnacullin Garden29th June 2013 • Places to Visit • Stephanie Donaldson
The island garden of Ilnacullin, designed by Harold Peto has been on my visit wish list for a very long time. To reach it, it’s a ten minute putter in a tiny ferry across the sheltered waters of Bantry Bay to the 37 acre island. The weather was glorious and I was full of anticipation – but I found a garden that is in sad decline – Harold Peto’s wonderful architecture is still in good condition, but much of the planting is over mature, with fine specimen trees crowding one another out to the benefit of none and the annual planting in the Italian Garden was old-fashioned and unimaginative. It’s a garden that needs someone to take it in hand and lavish time and money on it, but I suspect it is beyond the budget of the owners. Would I recommend visiting it – on a lovely day yes, but otherwise probably not.