Garnish Island


Hunting Brook Gardens

Lismore Castle

The Bay Garden

Bantry House and Gardens

Garnish Island

Mount Usher

Hunting Brook Gardens

The Bay Garden

A Garden Lover’s Tour of Ireland’s Coast & Country – sorry this tour is now fully booked. If you would like to go on the waiting list, please email tours@sisley.co.uk

Sunday 20th – Sunday 27th June 2021 (7 nights)

Tour highlights:

Where the Gulf Stream finds Europe, there is a verdant island, bursting with the most incredible collection of gardens. Our fabulous garden tour features the very best Irish gardens – from the intimate private sanctuaries of Ireland’s best gardeners, to the grand estates of the past and their plant hunting collections. Enjoy the lush green landscapes and meet the best storytellers in the world.

  • Superb hotels, one on the River Lee in the city of Cork and one in the grounds of Powerscourt – overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain
  • A boat trip to the Italianate garden on Garnish Island
  • Private lunch overlooking the gardens of Bantry House 
  • Experience the private gardens of Ireland’s best known gardeners including Helen Dillon, Frances McDonald, June Blake, Hester Forde and Jimi Blake
  • Visit to the famous ‘Robinsonian’ Garden at Mount Usher
  • Attractive scenery through Ireland’s Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Coast
  • Walking tour of the colourful city of Cork and a visit to Kinsale – one of Ireland’s most attractive coastal towns

Photo credits: Discover Ireland – Kinsale, Powerscourt, Bantry House & Gardens, Garnish Island. Other images supplied by Lismore Castle, Hunting Brook Garden, The Bay Garden, Mount Usher or copyright Sisley Garden Tours.

The Bay Garden June Blake's Garden
Sunday 20th June 2021

After our morning pick-up at Dublin Airport, we make our way south-west towards Cork, stopping en-route at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Garden. The world-famous Japanese garden was laid out over 100 years ago and symbolises the ‘Life of Man’. We will take a tour of the stud farm and have time to explore the garden and have some lunch (independent).

We arrive, late afternoon, at our hotel, the wonderfully situated 4-star River Lee Hotel, Cork. Set on a picturesque bend in the river, just a short walk from Cork city centre, the River Lee Hotel is smart, spacious and an oasis of tranquility. Join your tour director and the rest of the group for dinner (included).

Monday 21st June 2021

Today we have a leisurely start and enjoy a walking tour of the vibrant city of Cork. It is a lively cultural hub with an opera house, independent art galleries, museums and theatres. There will be time for lunch (independent) and shopping in Cork.

In the afternoon we visit the small, but densely planted Coosheen Garden, owned by renowned plantswoman, Hester Forde. Situated on the estuary of Cork harbour ‘Coosheen’ houses a unique collection of plants which provide year round interest.

We continue on to the picturesque coastal town of Kinsale. There will be time to explore the narrow, winding streets lined with galleries and gift shops, lively bars and the handsome natural harbour filled with yachts and guarded by a huge 17th-century fortress. We will have dinner (included) in a restaurant overlooking the bay.

Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Today we make an early start and drive to Ireland’s stunning south-western corner to visit Bantry House & Gardens. Here we will meet the owners for a garden tour and enjoy a private lunch in the house. Bantry House dates from the 1730’s has been home to the White family since. The gardens, as we see them today, have gone from creation in the 1800’s, through neglect in the mid-20th century to restoration which began in 1997. The views over Bantry Bay are spectacular.

In the afternoon we go to the coastal village of Glengarriff. From here we take a small boat to Garnish Island, sometimes known as Ilnacullin. The garden island of 37 acres owes its existence to the creative partnership, some eighty years ago, of Annan and Violet Bryce, then owners of the island, and Harold Peto, acclaimed architect and garden designer. Pathways wind around the landscape, leading to a number of fascinating garden buildings, such as the Grecian temple, the clock tower, the casita, and an original Martello Tower.

We return to Cork for dinner in the hotel (included).

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Our first stop of the day is at Lismore Castle, the Irish residence of the Dukes of Devonshire (Chatsworth being their English seat). The historic gardens of Lismore Castle are essentially two distinct gardens. Both are set within the castle walls compromising of 7 acres with spectacular views of the castle and surrounding countryside. Here we have a guided garden tour followed by time to look in the gallery.

En-route to our next garden, we stop at the Farmgate Restaurant for lunch (included). In the afternoon we visit the world-famous Blarney Castle. The gardens here have undergone extensive improvement and expansion in recent years. We will meet one of the gardening team for an introductory talk about the grounds and the gardens then have free time to explore and visit the castle.

We return to Cork where your evening is at leisure to sample Cork’s traditional Irish pubs.

Thursday 24th June 2021

Today we make an early start and en-route to our first garden, we make a short stop at Waterford Crystal. We then visit another of Ireland’s best private gardens, The Bay Garden in Camolin, home of Frances and Iain Macdonald. We will have morning coffee and an introductory talk from Frances with time to explore her lovely garden creation.

In the afternoon we head north to Wicklow and stop at Mount Usher. We will have time for lunch (included) in the delicious Avoca cafe before being taken on a guided tour of the gardens. Mount Usher is one of the finest examples of an authentic ‘Robinsonian’ style garden combining a distinguished collection of trees and shrubs with informal floral planting schemes in a sheltered valley setting. We then check into the 5-star Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow. Your evening is at leisure – dinner independent.

Friday 25th June 2021

This morning is yours to enjoy at leisure in the hotel and make a visit to Powerscourt Gardens (included) at a time to suit you. You can stroll to the gardens from our hotel. Powerscourt Gardens are a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statuary and ornamental lakes with secret hollows, rambling walks, and walled gardens, with over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. Set against the backdrop of the Sugarloaf Mountain, the extensive grounds are over 47 acres in size. The house, which was renovated after a fire in 1996 houses many delightful shops selling local produce and a café.

In the afternoon we visit the charming private gardens of Trudder Grange. Approached by an avenue of 200 year old beech trees Trudder Grange garden has developed over the last 30 years from a stony field into a garden full of shrubs and herbaceous borders, an organic vegetable garden. We continue into Kilmacanoge to the wonderful Avoca nursery, shop and restaurant. We have dinner in the Fern House (included).

Saturday 26th June 2021

For our final day, we traverse the Wicklow Mountains and visit two neighbouring gardens owned by siblings. We begin at the delightful and contemporary June Blake’s Garden – a rare fusion of inspired design and painterly planting. We enjoy a guided tour around the gardens with June, followed by a private lunch (included) in one of the garden buildings.

After lunch, we meet Jimi Blake, and explore his fascinating, exuberant garden at Hunting Brook. This is one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants and surrounding his home, are many examples of colourful and theatrically large-scale planting combinations for which Jimi is well-known. We return to the hotel for our final night dinner (included).

Sunday 27th June 2021

We check-out in the morning and head back towards Dublin Airport. En-route we make a stop at Helen Dillon’s private Dublin Garden. Here we have a morning coffee and explore this small, but delightful garden. We continue into Dublin for a short driving tour of the city, highlighting the key sights and attractions of the capital. We end with a traditional Sunday lunch (included) at a pub in Dublin. We can arrange taxis from here for anyone staying on in Dublin. For those heading home, we will make a drop off at Dublin Airport mid-afternoon. We can advise on departure planning.

Please read our Tour Joining and Departure Arrangements here or to download a printable version of this itinerary, please click here.

The Bay Garden, CamolinGarnish IslandPowerscourt GardenHunting Brook Gardens Lismore CastleBantry House The Bay GardenOverview of KinsaleMount-Usher-GardensHester Forde GardenHunting Brook Gardens Garnish Island

2021 Garden Lovers Ireland

Our Hotels

Our hotels are 4 and 5-star and are selected for their high standards of comfort and service. All rooms are en-suite and offer free wi-fi access.

The River Lee Hotel, Cork (4 nights)

Set on a picturesque bend in the river, just a short walk from Cork’s historic city centre, The River Lee hotel is an oasis of tranquillity. The recently refurbished hotel has a designer vibe with smart, spacious accommodation and impressive leisure facilities. The historic St Finbarr’s Cathedral, pleasant Mardyke river walk, with the Cork Public Museum, and award-winning Lewis Glucksman Gallery are all within strolling distance of the hotel.

River Lee Hotel Cork

Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow (3 nights)  

Set amidst one of the country’s most scenic and historic estates, Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection is a 5-star, 200-room hotel with Palladian-style architecture and luxury amenities. Rooms are comfortably appointed and the spa offers a calm retreat. Views from the hotel are towards Sugarloaf Mountain and you can stroll through the grounds, to Powerscourt Gardens.

Powerscourt Hotel
TOUR PRICES: Prices are per person, based on twin/double room share, with single supplement shown separately. Tours are priced in £GBP.

 Tour cost per person (sharing twin or double room) Single Supplement (for single occupancy of a double room)
£3,950 (GBP) £700 (GBP)

PRICES INCLUDE: Accommodation at 4 and 5-star hotels with en-suite facilities based on twin/double room share; buffet breakfast daily; 5 lunches and 5 dinners; admissions to gardens; deluxe coach travel with professional driver; guided tours as described in an information pack provided at the start of the tour; services of your Sisley tour director throughout; all tour gratuities; arrival transfers are included only if you are joining the tour at Dublin Airport on the first morning of the tour.

PRICES EXCLUDE: Airfares; passport and/or visa fees; beverages; laundry; telephone calls; lunches and dinners (except where included in the itinerary); souvenirs and items of a personal nature.

EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION: You can get an idea of the cost of the tour in your local currency by using a currency converter. Conversion rates are based on institutional or inter-bank daily rates. Retail conversation rates include fees and will generally differ from these rates.

June Blake's Garden Powerscourt Gardens The Bay Garden, Camolin

We are delighted that you have decided to join us. It is straightforward to book places on our tours.

Firstly, please complete our booking form (link below). The booking form will ask you to indicate how you would like to book the tour from the following options: 

  • In $USD by check or credit card with our appointed travel agent in the USA, Worldwide Traveler
  • In your local currency through your own travel agent. The booking form asks for their contact details so that we can contact them to progress your booking
  • In £GBP by credit card via Paypal or by direct bank transfer directly with Sisley Garden Tours

Once we have received your booking form, we will confirm that places are available and ask you (or your preferred travel agent) for a 10% deposit to secure your booking. Tour balance payment is due 90 days prior to the tour.


We very much look forward to welcoming you, but please email tours@sisley.co.uk if you have any queries.

If you would like to book a place on this tour directly with Sisley Garden Tours or through one of our on-territory agents in USA and Canada, please click the Book Now button.
Please contact us if you have any queries about the tour or would like to arrange for us to call you back.
To download a PDF of the tour itinerary to print out or send to friends, please choose the Print Itinerary button.
Read through our Frequently Asked Question section to find out more about our tours, dress code, average day, tips etc.
To assist you in pre and post tour planning, you might wish to read our tour Joining and Departure Arrangements. Click opposite for further details.
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