Garnish Island among seven Green Flag Awards for OPW National Historic Parks

THE Office of Public Works (OPW) has welcomed the news of seven OPW parks being awarded the Green Flag Award for 2017.

St. Stephen’s Green Park, Castletown Demesne, Derrynane Historic Park, Garinish Island, Grangegorman Military Cemetery, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens and the Phoenix Park were awarded the Green Flag at a ceremony in Malahide Castle today.

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, Ilnacullin / Garinish Island is a small island (15 hectares) known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty.  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 Island (Ilnacullin) is a designed historic garden of international significance, with a world renowned plant collection and unique architectural heritage.  Much of the plant collection post-dates the original creation of the gardens and can be attributed to Murdo McKenzie and Roland Bryce.

The property is a destination for local, national and international visitors.  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 e.g. annual bedding, herbaceous borders, heather banks, hedging, shrubberies, tree plantations, bog garden, fern garden, ponds, glades, lawn and walled gardens.

Maurice Buckley, Chairman, Office of Public Works said “I am delighted that the Office of Public Works has been awarded these flags for such wonderfully diverse parks.  The OPW places great importance on the sustainable management and conservation of the State’s Heritage sites, and the Green Flag scheme is a wonderful 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.  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, and has been running in Ireland since its pilot in 2015.