The Glengarriff Nature Reserve is home to over 300 hectares of oak woodland and is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year. Each season shows a different aspect of the woods and it is equally as beautiful to visit in the first flush of spring as it is during the colourful palette of autumn. There are several clearly marked walks in the woods so there is a trail for every age, ability and fitness level. Depending on how much time you have and what your energy levels are, it is always rewarding to combine a few of the loops into a longer tailor-made walk.
The Esknamucky Trail
The Esknamucky Trail, which is a loop walk of just under 3km, is the most rugged of the trails as it winds its way up steeply through the woods.
Also known as the High Walk, there are many steps along the trail as the path threads up towards the top of the climb.
There are several scenic viewing points along the way which give panoramic views over the forest and to the mountains beyond.
The Esknamucky Trail is often combined with the shorter, but gorgeous, Waterfall Walk.
The Ewe Experience, which is Ireland’s only interactive and interpretive sculpture garden, is a must-visit for adults and kids.
Aside from begin the most interactive and stimulating art gallery in Ireland, The Ewe Experience also boasts the best location as it is situated outdoors in a woodland clearing on a river bank complete with cascading waterfall and woodland trails. The gallery is owned and lovingly created by a duet of talent in the form of writer Kurt Lyndorff and artist Sheena Wood. Using all sorts of interesting materials ranging from textiles, mosaics, ceramics, steel, copper, concrete wood, glass and mixed media, Sheena takes her inspiration from the many animals and birds that inhabit the river and woodland around her home.
As The Ewe Experience is nestled within a 280 acre nature reserve which extends right up to the Kerry border on the Esk Mountain, it is a haven for animals such as wild deer, foxes, badgers stoats and mink. The river is alive with otters, brown trout and frogs whilst all around songbirds, dragonflies and butterflies abound. Upon arrival, you will be given a list of interesting things to find and to look for in the garden where there is literally a surprise in every crevice. There is a section where children can participate in interactive art by using an array of natural material such as sticks, stone and feathers to compile interesting features of their own. In another section, an interactive game of noughts and crosses can be had just beyond the enormous snail with its mirror mosaic trail.
The Ewe gallery certainly deserves a standing ovation when it comes to instilling an appreciation of art in its many and varied forms to children and certainly breaks the mould of thinking that art is restricted to a coloured or framed page. Before leaving, make sure you have a got at partaking in the edible art section. Here, children can design their own ice-cream by adding an assortment of different toppings and making it look as delicious and individual as possible. There are picnic benches and and outdoor seating area overlooking a lovely stretch of the river. Here you will discover that the longer you sit – the more you see!
For more information and opening times visit the Ewe Garden website.