Ellen Hutchins Festival 2018

The Festival ran from 18th to 26th August around Bantry Bay. It will be back in 2019. To see what was included this year, d
ownload a .pdf of the festival programme HERE

Event Dates, Times & Locations
Ellen Hutchins Festival EventsEvent DetailsFurther Information 
18th-26th August
Bantry to Adrigole
Ellen Hutchins Heritage TrailExplore Bantry Bay’s shores, woods & mountains by following a self-guided trail telling the story of Ireland’s 1st female botanist. Leaflets: Bantry Tourist Office or Library. Audio guide: Abarta HeritageThis heritage trail follows in Ellen's footsteps visiting many of the places she hunted for plants, as well as her birth & burial sites. At most of the trail stops there are options to explore further by following local walking routes.
18th-26th August
Mini Art Trail: Seaweed DrawingsPrints of Ellen’s beautiful, detailed and accurate watercolour drawings of seaweeds (1808 to 1812) displayed in shop windows of Bantry form this mini art trail, along with enlargements of some of the prints on display in Manning's Emporium, Ballylickey. Art trail map available from Bantry Tourist Office.Over 200 years ago, Ellen carefully selected seaweeds from Bantry Bay, and spent days drawing of them, at her home in Ballylickey. See the drawings to appreciate the skill and patience that Ellen brought to her botanical art and the beauty of Bantry Bay's seaweeds.
Sunday 19th August
Glengarriff Woods
Lichen workshop: Anatomy & Ecology of Ireland's Lichens with Paul Whelan.
€30/person BOOKING:

National Biodiversity Data Centre

A day long lichen workshop in conjunction with the National Biodiversity Data CentreOne group of organisms Ellen Hutchins had a special affinity for was lichens, several of which were some of her rarest finds. The workshop will help you look at lichens, one of the longest living organisms on the planet, and understand how nature has put them together. With over 1,100 species in Ireland, you will attain an insight into how they reproduce, how they live on rocks and trees and the important role they play in an ecosystem.
Sunday 19th August
Glengarriff Woods
Guided Walk: Mosses & Liverworts

Free event
An engaging and informative introduction to the intriguing world of our smallest plants with Dr Joanne Denyer (Irish Conservation Officer, British Bryological Society).

Note: Sorry, no dogs allowed
The beautiful old oak woodlands of Glengarriff, provide the setting for this guided walk. Joanne makes the world of tiny plants accessible to all and hand lenses will be provided so participants will be able to see the true beauty & intricacies of the mosses & liverworts up close.
Sunday 19th August
Bantry Bay
Boat Trip and Seaweed Tasting.

A free boat trip to see where Ireland’s first female botanist studied seaweeds followed by seaweed tasting.

Event sponsored by Zenith Energy and new local company Wild Atlantic Seaweeds (WASi).
This boat trip will take the passengers around the beautiful inner bay, seeing the land and shores that Ellen explored, as well as the places where she lived. The guided tour will be followed by an exciting chance to taste seaweeds.

Sunday 19th August
Glengarriff Park Hotel
Illustrated Talk: Flora of West Cork

Free event
An illustrated talk about the unique wild flowers of West Cork and a glimpse into the life of Ireland’s first female botanist by Clare Heardman (NPWS & BSBI).Due to its position on the extreme edge of Europe, West Cork has a unique climate resulting in a flora which includes some plants found in very few other places in the world. Ellen Hutchins was amongst the first to start documenting the botany of the area. Now, over 200 years later botanists are refinding some of Ellen's discoveries.

Recurved Sandwort © Clare Heardman

Monday 20th August
Glengarriff Woods
Bryophyte Workshop: Bryophytes as Indicators of Annex I Habitats (Old Oak Woodland) with Dr Joanne Denyer
€50/person BOOKING National Biodiversity Data Centre
A day long bryophyte workshop in conjunction with the National Biodiversity Data CentreThis workshop will introduce participants to the use of bryophytes in the identification and ecological assessment of the Annex I habitat ‘Old sessile oak woods. There will be an indoor session in the morning, where participants will be introduced to key field identification features of bryophytes and use of bryophytes in ecological assessment. In the afternoon participants will practice bryophyte identification in Glengarriff Woods.
Tuesday 21st August
Bantry Bay
Boat trip
An exclusive tour of inner Bantry Bay with Bantry Bay Boat Hire. Join a small flotilla of motor boats exploring the ecology & history of the bay. Weather permitting, this trip will be a special tour around the bay in the company of Ellen’s great great grand niece and a local ecologist. Just 15 places available so this will be an exclusive experience. Self-driven trips are also available all week via Bantry Bay Boat Hire
Wednesday 22nd August
10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
Bantry House Gardens
Two nature-art events for children (5-12 years old)

Creative nature activities for children such as creating flower impressions on cloth, making wooden identification discs & scavenger hunt. Free but advance booking essential (booking opens 1st August). Suitable for 5-12 year old.Taking place in the beautiful gardens of Bantry House, this creative session led by Cara Tremayne was a hugely popular event last year so book early to avoid disappointment. Note: In the case of bad weather, the event will take place indoors.
Wednesday 22nd August
The Loggia, Bantry House
Ellen Hutchins' Story in 10 Objects

Free event
Discover the story of Ireland’s First Female Botanist (1785-1815) through a drawing, her letters, books, and the type of microscope and writing materials she used.The story of a remarkable young woman who showed great skill and determination in her study of seaweeds and other non flowering plants. Peer through the type of microscope Ellen used, and compare this with a modern hand lens. Handle one of her letters, see an original drawing, and appreciate a lichen up close.
Wednesday 22nd August
Manning Emporium, Ballylickey
Live Botanical Art Demonstration

Free event
Award-winning botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, will be demonstrating her exquisite art skills live and talking about botanical art.

Seaweed themed nibbles and wines will be available to purchase at Manning's café.
Shevaun Doherty has won Gold and Best in Show at Bloom for the last two years, this year with a watercolour on vellum of a lichen. She has contributed to the Ellen Hutchins Festival every year. Drop in and see her at work, and chatting about it, sharing tips and advice.
Thursday 23rd August
Guided Walk: Coorycommane Loop

Free event
Walk in the footsteps of Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist, with local Conservation Ranger, Clare Heardman, on this 5km loop walk overlooking Bantry Bay. Meet: Coomhola Bridge.

The terrain is rugged and boggy in places so wear walking boots. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Lunches available afterwards in Manning's Emporium, Ballylickey.
. In good weather this loop walk provides spectacular views over Bantry Bay and Ballylickey to the south and to Co Cork’s highest mountain inland. Along the trail there are lots of interesting wildflowers to see.
Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th August
Bantry House Tearooms
Two-day Botanical Art Workshop: Fabulous Fruits in Watercolour
€100/person To book contact 087 1656948. Shevaun.doherty@gmail.com
Two-day botanical art workshop with Shevaun Doherty. Inspired by the rich colours and voluptuous shapes of fruit. For anyone wishing to improve their watercolour skills.

The venue is the bright and beautiful Bantry House Tearooms.

The price of €100 includes materials.
Shevaun’s workshops have been a popular feature of Ellen Hutchins Festivals in previous years.The workshop will focus on the techniques required to create realistic form in watercolour. Learn how to use layers of translucent colour to capture the nuances of light, shadow and surface texture in paint.
Friday 24th August
Snave Beach, nr Ballylickey
Guided Micro-nature Trail

Free event BOOKING OPENS 1st August: Book micro-trail event via Eventbrite
An introduction to the lichens and tiny plants on the rocks and trees on the shore of Bantry Bay. With leading Irish botanists Howard Fox (NBG/OPW) and Maria Cullen.

Dress appropriately for the weather. Sorry, no dogs allowed.
Join Howard and Maria on the rocks at Snave. Hand lens and plenty of guidance will be provided to enable even absolute beginners to appreciate the hidden world of lichens and other cryptogams (spore producing plants). See their beauty and understand the science of these tiny but complex organisms.
Friday 24th August
Seaview House, Ballylickey
Living History: Letter Writing 1808

Learn letter writing practices of 1808, write with a quill pen and hear about Ellen’s correspondence; with Carrie O’Flynn, re-enactor and Anne Secord, researcher.

Afternoon teas (€25pp) can be ordered for 4pm. To book, please phone or email Seaview House Hotel +353 (0)27-50073 info@seaviewhousehotel.com
In the period setting of the hotel, Carrie will introduce participants to letter-writing practices of 1808. Learn about postage systems, stationery and etiquette before trying your hand at writing using period-appropriate quills and paper. See letters of Ellen’s, and hear from Anne about Ellen’s intense 7 year correspondence with botanist, Dawson Turner.
Saturday 25th August
Future Forests, Kealkil


Ceolchoirm Rúnda (Secret Concert) in conjunction with West Cork Music & the Masters of Tradition Festival.
Free event but booking required.

If you want to find out who is performing, you’ll just have to come along! This concert is a collaboration between Masters of Tradition and the Ellen Hutchins Festival.
2018 Masters of Tradition’s Secret Concerts take place in unusual venues in the Bantry area. Admission to these concerts is free but booking is required.
For other concerts & events taking place in the Masters of Tradition Festival see Masters of Tradition

Future Forests, Kealkil

Saturday 25th August
Future Forests, Kealkil
Plants Under the Microscope

Free event
A drop-in session for all ages. Use microscopes, stereoscopes and hand lenses, with expert guidance from leading Irish botanists Howard Fox (NBG/OPW) and Maria Cullen.This session is a wonderful way to get closer to nature, in the magical setting of Future Forests. Appreciate the beauty of plants and understand them better, helped by the botanists and their specialist equipment.
Saturday 25th August
Future Forests, Kealkil
Botanical Art for Beginners Class

€30/person. To book contact 0871656948 shevaun.doherty@gmail.com ellenhutchins
New to watercolour and love plants? Take your first steps into Botanical Art with Shevaun Doherty in this fun and friendly introductory class held in a magical building.

The price of €30 includes materials. Placed limited.
Learn how to capture the colours, shapes and textures of the natural world the easy way. Award-winning botanical artist Shevaun Doherty won Gold and Best in Show this year and last year at Bloom. She is an excellent teacher and her workshops have proved very popular in previous Festivals. The wooden building at Future Forests in the perfect setting for this class.
Sunday 26th August
11:30am-1:30pm (ferry at 11am)
Whiddy Island
Whiddy Island Seaweed Event

Free event (except for ferry price).
An exciting chance to discover the seaweeds along Whiddy Island's shore with Dr Susan Steele (SFPA) and try identifying & preserving seaweed specimens 1800s style.

Ferries leave Bantry's Main Pier at 11am, returning at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. €6.50 return.Whiddy Ferry
Learn about the impressive and fascinating array of seashore life of Bantry Bay from the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Dr Susan Steele. This is an annual Ellen Hutchins Festival event and is always amongst the most popular.

Lunches, including fresh seafood options, are available in the Bank House on Whiddy.

No dogs allowed.
Sunday 26th August
Whiddy Island
Living History: Ellen and Seaweeds

Free event (except for ferry price)
Q&A on why and how Ellen collected seaweed in the early 1800s with Anne Secord, researcher on history of science and Carrie O’Flynn, re-enactor (in costume).

Ferries leave Bantry's Main Pier at 11am, 1pm and 2pm, returning at 4:15pm and 5:45pm. €6.50 return. Whiddy Ferry
Learn why Ellen collected seaweed and prepared specimens, what help she had, and her links to the other botanists puzzling over seaweeds at that time. Compare Ellen’s clothing and equipment with the modern equivalents, and marvel over what she achieved.

Lunches, including fresh seafood options, available in Bank House on Whiddy.

The Festival took place around Bantry, West Cork as part of National Heritage Week, with its theme of Share a Story, Make a Connection. It offered walks and talks, an exhibition trail, and practical workshops featuring botany, botanical art and an exploration of the natural and cultural heritage of the area. Almost all events were free.

Here are a selection of photos from this year’s events.



And a few photos from previous years’ Festivals:


There are now two permanent small displays about Ellen as a legacy from the 2017 Festival. These are in Future Forests in Kealkil and in the Tourist Office in Bantry.

Archive of 2017 Festival 

Whiddy Island seaweed event 2017

The Ellen Hutchins Festival 2017 took place in Bantry, Glengarriff and Ballylickey as part of Heritage Week. The final event of the week was the wonderful Whiddy Island Seaweed Event with a huge attendance.









PDF of the Festival programme is available here and fuller listings are on this page (see below) and on the Heritage Week website (search for Hutchins). The theme of Heritage Week was Nature, which chimed brilliantly with the Ellen Hutchins Festival activities.

Below is the detailed programme, showing the events and exhibitions that took place. The Festival will be back in 2019 with a similar programme of events.

Three exhibitions:

Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, to Saturday 30th September 9:30am to 5:30pm Bantry Library, This was a two part exhibition, Seaweed Specimens and Letters: Drawings and Plant Stories.

On display was an information panel about Ellen and Drawings and Plant Stories with prints of watercolour drawings of seaweeds by Ellen Hutchins alongside photographs of plants named after her and information on plants she found.

The seaweed drawings were shown with the permission of Museums Sheffield.

Dwarf Willow, on summit of Knock Boy






Mondays to Saturdays, closed mid November.  9am to 6pm  Organico Cafe, Bantry, Exhibition

Drawing from Nature  Exhibition of beautiful plant and fruit drawings by contemporary botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, with the highlight being Shevaun’s watercolour drawing of one of Ellen’s specimens from the Herbarium at Trinity College Dublin.
Discover the delights of botanical art – a practice spanning two centuries. See how it captures nature and creates art. Be amazed at the detail, and the time taken to produce one drawing.

This small exhibition linked to the one in Bantry Library. The enlargements of Ellen’s drawings were shown with the permission of Museums Sheffield. Exhibition and associated activities part funded by a Cork County Council arts grant. Free access, no booking needed.


Last day – Thursday 28th September, daily 9:30am to 5:30pm (6pm on Saturdays). The Casita, Garnish Island (Ilnacullin), Glengarriff Harbour

Ellen Hutchins Exhibition: the Young Woman, her Work and her World: an exhibition in the beautiful building in the Italian garden about Ireland’s first female botanist, telling the story of a remarkable young woman in words & pictures. It covered Ellen’s life story, her botanical achievements, her botanical art, and her deep friendship with botanist Dawson Turner through correspondence alone. Free exhibition. (First shown in Bantry Library, August to October 2015.) Normal ferry & entry fees to Garnish Island apply. 

For more information about the OPW-run Garnish Island (Ilnacullin), including entry fees and opening times see: http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-west/ilnacullin-garinishisland/




Saturday 19th August 2017

Introduction to mosses and liverworts in Glengarriff Woods. 10am to 12:30pm  An up-close introduction to our smallest plants with Dr Joanne Denyer (Irish Conservation Officer BBS) and a search for Hutchins’ Hollywort, a species discovered by Ellen.

Dr Joanne Denyer is one of Ireland’s foremost bryologists and won the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s ‘Distinguished Recorder Award’ in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to bryological recording in Ireland. This event may be of interest to older children but is not suitable for young children. Free event, no booking needed. Meet in the main car park, Glengarriff Woods.

Exploring the seaweeds on the Strand, Ardnagashel

Ardnagashel Walk 2pm to 4:30pm at Ardnagashel (Rent an Irish Cottage)  Four activities to enjoy at Ardnagashel, the Hutchins family home where Ellen died in 1815. Expert Irish botanists Howard Fox (National Botanic Gardens/OPW) and Maria Cullen will lead one session on lichens, and another on seaweed. Stereoscopes and compound microscopes will be available for close examination of botanical features.

Another team will lead a walk through the exotic and native trees in the Arboretum planted by Ellen’s brothers and their descendants. Madeline Hutchins will tell the story of Ellen Hutchins and the family at Ardnagashel. Free event, no booking needed. Access given by kind permission of Rent an Irish Cottage.

Botanical Art Demonstration by award winning artist, Shevaun Doherty, at Mannings Emporium, Ballylickey. 5pm to 6pm Free event, no booking needed, but you might like to book a table for Tapas there that evening afterwards. The Ellen Fest Team have already done so! www.manningsemporium.ie Tel: 027 50456

This event is funded by a Cork County Council Arts Grant.

Sunday 20th August 2017

Bantry House Gardens and Stables

Botanists in the Garden, 10:30 to 12:30 and 2pm to 4pm, with stereoscopes, compound microscopes and hand lenses for you to see the amazing world of lichens, mosses and tiny plants in close-up. Drop in sessions with Howard Fox (National Botanic Gardens/OPW) and Maria Cullen, leading Irish Botanists (with special interests in lichens and fungi) and Clare Heardman (National Parks and Wildlife Service) based in Glengarriff Woods. The botanists will explain and show the nature and beauty of some of the smallest plants in the gardens. Access to the gardens is free (for Heritage Week). Free event, no booking needed.

Ellen Hutchins Pop Up Exhibition 2pm-4pm in the Stables, Bantry House. A fascinating selection of letters, books, documents, and photographs that illustrate the story of the remarkable young botanist from Ballylickey. Madeline Hutchins, researcher on Ellen and her great great grand niece, will be on hand to show the Hutchins family collection of books that belonged to Ellen, letters she wrote to her brothers explaining her botanizing, other documents from uncovering Ellen’s story and photos of the Hutchins family at Ballylickey and Ardnagashel. Free event, no booking needed.

50 Shades of Green: Botanical Art Workshop with Shevaun Doherty 10am to 4pm in the Gardens and Stables of Bantry House. Learn how to bring your leaves to life in watercolour. This beginner friendly class will take you through the process of drawing and painting leaves, and teach you how to mix the perfect shade of green in watercolour using a limited palette.

Price €50 Paper and paints supplied. All levels welcome. Booking required: Email shevaun.doherty@gmail.com Some places still available. €10 deposit required. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

One of two linked one-day workshops run by Shevaun Doherty. A few places are available for Sunday’s workshop and Monday’s.

Monday 21st August 2017

Clare Heardman (National Parks and Wildlife Service) will lead the Coorycommane Loop Walk  10am to 12:30pm 5km walk, in the footsteps of Ellen Hutchins. See plants and look out over the stretch of Bantry Bay coast that Ellen lived on and the wild landscapes that she knew so well.

Free event, no booking required. Rough underfoot, walking boots required. NO DOGS Meet Coomhola Bridge (see link for map and more information on this trail): http://www.irishtrails.ie/Trail/Coorycommane-Loop/864/

The Ellen Hutchins Pop Up Exhibition in the Casita on Garnish Island 2pm to 4pm. A special session at the week-long Ellen Hutchins Festival Exhibition (see entry above) with a pop-up expo of letters, books, documents and photos and Hutchins family members on hand to answer questions. Free event, no booking needed. Normal ferry cost to the island and fee for entry to the garden apply. More information on Garnish Island (Ilnacullin) see: http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-west/ilnacullin-garinishisland/

West Cork Coastal Cultures: a talk 8pm to 9:30pm In the Glengarriff Park Hotel, Glengarriff, by researcher Breda Moriarty from the Deep Maps Project, UCC. Exploring human responses to marine resources through literary, historical, archaeological and visual sources, using specific examples from Bantry Bay.

The aim of the Irish Research Council funded Deep Maps Project is to investigate the biological, cultural and historical context of the SW coast of Ireland, 1700-1920. The focus is on the rich maritime environment from Clonakilty to the tip of Beara, as it is shaped by sea and land and as it is imagined within 18th and 19th century cultural artifacts (including folklore, historical writing, literature and visual arts). Breda Moriarty is a full-time research assistant on the Deep Maps Project in UCC. Free event, no booking needed.

Vibrant Flowers: Botanical Art Workshop  with Shevaun Doherty. 10am to 4pm. In the Gardens and Stables of Bantry House. Learn how to capture the vibrant colours of flowers in watercolour. This class will teach you how to mix colours to create an array of lush hues, and simple watercolour techniques used by botanical artists to paint realistic flowers. 

Price €50 Paper and paints supplied. All levels welcome. Booking required: Email shevaun.doherty@gmail.com  €10 deposit required. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday 22nd August 2017

Formal Opening by Sally McKenna of Drawing from Nature Exhibition at Organico Café, Bantry. 5pm to 6pm  Sally McKenna, food publisher, formally opens the exhibition of enlargements of seaweed drawings by Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) and drawings by botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty. (See above). With a chance to meet and chat with Shevaun Doherty and members of the Hutchins family. Shevaun is an award-winning botanical artist based in Dublin. She paints every day, exhibiting both in Ireland and internationally. Exhibition and associated activities part funded by a Cork County Council arts grant. Free event, no booking needed. (Downstairs in the Cafe.)

Formal Opening of Ellen Hutchins: Seaweed Specimens and Letters Exhibition at Bantry Library by Eileen O’Shea, Bantry Development and Tourism. 7:30pm (see entry above for all week) followed by

Talk – Ellen Hutchins: Seaweed Stories  Bantry Library 8pm to 9:30pm  Find out about Ellen’s Trinity links and hear the intriguing stories behind the specimens and letters in an illustrated talk by Madeline Hutchins (researcher on Ellen and her great great grand niece) and Sean Moffatt (scriptwriter for RTE).
Hear the story of how Ellen prescribed botany by her doctor, and how she was  ‘set agoing’ on seaweeds by James Mackay when he visited Ballylickey in 1805, and the support she received from him in letters. How Mackay sent her specimens on to other specialist botanists across the U.K. and how her specimens and letters resurfaced in Trinity’s Herbarium and were exhibited for the first time there before this their home coming. Free event, no booking needed.


Thursday 24th August 2017

Two Children’s Nature Art and Games workshops in Glengarriff Woods10am to 12pm and repeated 2pm to 4pm Children’s arts-based outdoor activities eg creating flower impressions on cloth, making wood flower identification discs and a scavenger hunt. Suitable: 5 to 12-year-olds. Free events, but booking is needed. Contact clare.heardman@ahg.gov.ie or on 087 6781613 FULLY BOOKED

Saturday 26th August 2017

Botanical Art Demonstration, Traditional Music and Pop-up Exhibition at Future Forests, Kealkil. 2pm to 4pm Award-winning botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, will be demonstrating her exquisite art skills live and talking about botanical art. In an exciting collaboration with the Masters of Tradition Festival, well known traditional musicians Mick O’Brien (uilleann pipes) and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh (fiddle) will be playing some tunes.

This is alongside the Ellen Hutchins Pop-Up Exhibition of letters, books and documents. Members of the Hutchins family will be on hand to answer questions. All activities are in the fantastic venue of the Future Forests garden centre. http://futureforests.net/ Free event, no booking needed.

The Art Demonstration is funded by a Cork County Council Arts Grant. The presence of the musicians is courtesy of West Cork Music.

Sunday 27th August 2017

A repeat of the hugely enjoyable Seaweed Event with Dr Susan Steele on Whiddy Island. Seaweeds Exploring the Shore 1:30pm to 4pm. An exciting and educational shoreline exploration, followed by identifying and  preserving seaweeds 1800s style. The event will follow in the footsteps of Ellen Hutchins with the enthusiastic expert Dr Susan Steele taking the group on an exploration of the wonderful diversity of the shore. Everyone will carefully collect a few specimens and bring them indoors to identify. Participants will get a chance to try and preserve their specimen 1800s-style by floating onto paper.

Ferries leave Bantry 11am and 1pm and return from Whiddy 4:15pm & 5:45pm. Cost: €6:50 return. Ferry: www.whiddyferry.com

The Bank House Bar on Whiddy serves food and drink.

Free event, but ferry must be paid for. No booking needed.


Festival Funding for the Ellen Hutchins Festival 2017 has been received from The Heritage Council, Fisheries Local Action Group South, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Cork County Council Amenity Grant and, for the Drawing from Nature Exhibition and associated activities from Cork County Council Arts Grant Scheme. Support has also been provided by Bantry Credit Union, West Cork Music, Office of Public Works & the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin.

Now an annual event

August 2016’s Ellen Hutchins Festival in and around Bantry was as successful as 2015’s award winning Festival, and the decision was made to make the Festival an annual event. This decision was made with the support of the Bantry Development and Tourism Association.









ArchIve of previous years’ Festivals

Date/time Event title  Description
Sunday 21st August 2016


Whiddy Island Seaweed Event

Meet: Bank House, Whiddy Island.


An exploration of the seaweeds on the shores of Whiddy Island with Dr Susan Steele (Sea Fisheries Protection Authority). Susan will lead us in the footsteps of Ellen Hutchins, reimagining the difficulties of collecting, identifying & drawing specimens in the early 1800s.

As the shore is rough, participants must wear walking boots and be reasonably fit.

Note: The ferry leaves Bantry pier at 11am. For all ferry times and prices see: www.whiddyferry.com


Weds 24th & Thursday 25th August



both days

A Two-day Introductory Foray into Lichens, Algae, Fungi & Bryophytes

EH_Howard (3)

This two day foray in the Bantry Bay area with Dr Howard Fox & Maria Cullen will revisit the places that Ellen Hutchins held dearest during her short life.

Event Details: Introduction to cryptogamic botany of the grounds of Ballylickey House where Ellen Hutchins made many records in the early 19th century. The focus will move to Ardnagashel East where Ellen spent her last months, and where some of her family still live and will host our group in the woods there.

Booking required: BOOKED OUT

Thursday 25th August 2016


Ellen Hutchins: the story of her life, her botany and her art – An Illustrated Talk and Panel Discussion

West Lodge Hotel, Bantry

Ellen Hutchins letters (medium) (2)

The remarkable achievements of a young woman botanising round Bantry Bay over 200 years ago. The story of what she did, and the value of her contribution to botany then and now. The panel will include Madeline Hutchins (Ellen’s great great grand niece), Sean Moffatt (scriptwriter, RTE and BBC), Shevaun Doherty (botanical artist) and Howard Fox (Botanist, OPW).

The talk at 8pm will be preceded by a pop-up exhibition which will be available for viewing from 19:30

Sat 20th to Sun 28th August 2016 An Exhibition and Botanical Art Trail

Bantry, Ballylickey, Glengarriff


The life and work of Ellen Hutchins will be illustrated by five exhibition panels and 22 prints of her botanical art displayed in various sites in Bantry, Ballylickey & Glengarriff (trail leaflets available in the Tourist Offices in Bantry & Glengarriff, Bantry Library & Mannings Emporium, Ballylickey and from here).
Friday 26th August 2016 10:30-12:30
Children’s Nature Art Event BOOKED OUT

Bantry House Gardens


Outdoor children’s nature art event in the gardens of Bantry House with Jessica Mason. Activities will include creating flower impressions on cloth, making wood cookie flower identification discs and playing nature games. (An indoor space is available in the Stables if the weather is poor.)

Booking required: BOOKED OUT

Friday 26th August 2016


Pop-up Exhibition

Location: The Stables, Bantry House


Items relating to Ellen, which have been passed down through the Hutchins family, will be on display with their special permission. The items include a fascinating selection of letters, books, documents, photographs and other memorabilia. Members of the Hutchins family and botanists involved in the Festival will be on hand to talk about the items and answer questions.

Note: access to the gardens at Bantry House is free on Friday 26th August.

Friday 26th August 2016


Botanical Art Workshop

Bantry House Stables and Gardens

BOOKING REQUIRED (€50/person) shevaun.doherty@gmail.com

Blechnum gibbum

Shevaun Doherty is an award-winning botanical artist based in Dublin. She will hold a one-day botanical art workshop for aspiring botanical artists and for those who just want to enjoy a day’s sketching, learning about nature and different paint techniques.

Following in the tradition of the intrepid explorers in the field, you will be taken on a short sketching expedition and learn how to sketch plants in their habitat. Back in the studio you will learn how to create a Nature Journal, and how to use studies to develop a full botanical painting. There will be lots of practical advice and encouragement. All levels are welcome. The cost of the workshop is €50 & includes a small field sketching kit.

BOOKING REQUIRED (€50/person) shevaun.doherty@gmail.com

Sat 27th August 2016


Botanical Art Demonstration

Organico Café, Bantry


Shevaun Doherty will be demonstrating her exquisite art skills live. Also at the venue will be members of the Hutchins family with examples of Ellen’s botanical art dating from the early 1800s.

(This will be upstairs in the cafe.)

Sat 27th August 2016


A Walk in Glengarriff Woods


Glengarriff Woods was a favourite place of Ellen’s and she described the woody side of a little waterfall there as “particularly dear to me”. The enthusiastic Dr Padraig Whelan (UCC), who has spent many years supervising students doing projects in the Nature Reserve, will share some of his knowledge with us.

A Summary of the Ellen Hutchins Festival in August 2015

The Ellen Hutchins Festival in the Bantry area, as part of Heritage Week last year, in August 2015 was a great success, attracting large numbers of people to all the events, and winning the Heritage Council’s Hidden Heritage Award.

The 2015 Ellen Hutchins Festival achieved its target of bringing Ellen’s story back to life on the 200th anniversary of her death, and ensuring that it will not be forgotten. It was very fitting that this first ever celebration of Ellen’s life took place in her home territory of Ballylickey, Bantry, Glengarriff and Whiddy Island.

Ballylickey House as seen on the Ballylickey walk

Ballylickey House as seen on the Ballylickey walk

Two plaques were unveiled that will be lasting memorials to Ellen. The plaque at the site of Ellen’s burial in Garryvurcha Churchyard in Bantry, will ensure that her story is included in the Heritage Trails round Bantry for years to come. The other plaque at her birthplace and home, Ballylickey, on the shores of Bantry Bay, honours the place where she undertook her work on the non flowering plants such as seaweeds and lichens that made a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. The plaque is by the house in which Ellen was born and lived, and the river and seashore that she knew so well and loved so dearly.

Plaque at Ballylickey House

Plaque at Ballylickey House

Unveiling the plaque at the Church

Unveiling the plaque at Garryvurcha Church, Bantry

The exhibition of prints of Ellen’s watercolour drawings of seaweeds in Bantry House was a very special ‘homecoming’ as they had all been drawn by Ellen at Ballylickey from specimens collected from the shores of Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island. This was the first time that her drawings had ever been exhibited in the Republic of Ireland. The evening of the opening with a delightful demonstration of botanical art was much appreciated by those who came to see it.

Ellen's Prints on Display at Bantry House

The opening of the art exhibition of Ellen’s seaweed drawings on display at Bantry House

The Bantry Library exhibition about Ellen Hutchins: the Young Woman, her Work and her World, was able to stay in place for three months, until early November, rather than just a fortnight, and there are plans for one or two of the five panels to be displayed in the Bantry Tourist Office next season.

The exhibition at Bantry Library

The exhibition at Bantry Library

The two illustrated talks were extremely well attended and provided fascinating insights into Ellen the young women, and her study of botany. The pop up exhibition, which featured letters and books of Ellen’s and what might have been her magnifying glass, appeared at Bantry House, Bantry Library, Ballylickey House chalets and Mannings Emporium in Ballylickey.


Seaweed and seaweed drawing by Shevaun Doherty at Bantry House

The walks ‘In the footsteps of Ellen Hutchins’, in areas that she frequented for plant collecting, and with botanists as guides, were an opportunity to experience the places through a specialist’s eyes and learn more about the seaweed, or lichens, mosses and liverworts. The botanists were incredibly knowledgeable, and very skilled at imparting that knowledge to others.


Exploring the Myrtle woods at Ardnagashel

Exploring the seaweeds on the Strand, Ardnagashel

Exploring the seaweeds on the Strand, Ardnagashel

Many of those attending events came to more than one, and there was a developing sense of community during the week, as the same faces reappeared and conversations were continued. It started up a mountain on the first Sunday, where one highlight was seeing the tiny dwarf willow on the summit just where Ellen had discovered it, (found this time when one member of the group stood up from sitting on it during lunch). It ended in Glengarriff Woods on the second Sunday, near a spot by the waterfall that Ellen loved, and with a reading from one of her letters describing it. Inbetween there were memorable visits to Whiddy Island, Ballylickey and Ardnagashel, a wonderful boat trip and a terrific children’s event.

Admiring her handiwork at Glengarriff woods

Admiring her handiwork at Glengarriff woods

In Glengarriff Woods, Jessica Mason, Children's Workshop Leader; Lizzy Maskey, Ellen's great great great grandniece and Mountain Leader; Rosemary Mulvey of the Heritage Council; Madeline Hutchins

In Glengarriff Woods, Jessica Mason, Children’s Workshop Leader; Lizzy Maskey, Ellen’s great great great grandniece and Mountain Leader; Rosemary Mulvey of the Heritage Council; Madeline Hutchins

Sitting on the Dwarf Willow at lunch on Knochboy

Sitting on the Dwarf Willow at lunch on the summit of Knockboy

Enjoying the boat trip around the harbour

Enjoying the boat trip around Banrty Bay

There was talk of ‘having started something’ and a number of people left events calling out ‘See you next year, same time, same place!’

These three blogs provide personal accounts of the Festival or parts of it:

Shevaun Doherty: Botanical Sketches

Roaringwater Journal:  Roaringwater Journal

John Crellin:  Floral Images

The Ellen Hutchins Festival in Heritage Week 2015 was presented by Bantry Historical Society, National Parks and Wildlife Service and members of the Hutchins family.

Funding was provided by The Heritage Council, Cork County Council, Bantry Historical Society and National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bantry Bay Port Company, the Bantry and Ballylickey Development and Tourism Associations, and Bantry Charity Shops; and with support from local organisations.

Many thanks to all those who made the Festival possible, and made it as successful as it was. Both those who presented the events, and those behind the scenes and beforehand putting it all together. Those who hosted the exhibitions, talks and events; those in archives, museums and herbaria who gave permission for images to be used; those who commented on and edited text for the exhibition; those who cleaned picture glass, those who framed, mounted and labelled the pictures; those who gave advice on exhibiting, or designed and laid out the exhibitions; those who sourced images for the talks; those who organised the plaques, fixed the plaques to walls or hung pictures; those who sourced chairs and helped park cars; those who provided and sorted power cables and projectors; those who collected plaques or pictures; those who put up posters or made displays possible; those who slid photos into plastic pockets and trimmed card; those who wrote press releases and did interviews; those who applied for funding, filled in forms, wrote emails, and obtained permissions and licences; those who took the photographs and wrote the blogs. A heartfelt thank you to you all.

So many people came to the talk in the library every chair was used!

So many people came to the talk in the library that every chair was used!

Enjoying the walk and the views on Whiddy

Enjoying the walk and the views on Whiddy

Illustrating sea weed

Shevaun Doherty Illustrating seaweed

Why not climb such a magnificent Myrtle?

Why not pause and admire such a magnificent Myrtle tree?


Madeline Hutchins’ talk on Ellen’s Life and Work at Bantry Library

Donal Synot giving his talk on Ellen Hutchins achievements at the Glengarriff Park Hotel

Donal Synnott giving his talk on Ellen Hutchins’ achievements at the Glengarriff Park Hotel

Rory Talks Roots

“Rory Talks Roots” – Botanist, Dr Rory Hodd on the  Knockboy mountain walk

Glengarriff Woods Waterfall

Waterfall in Glengarriff Woods; a favourite spot of Ellen’s

Ouvane River from Ballylickey House where Ellen lived

Ouvane River from Ballylickey House garden where Ellen lived

The Ellen Hutchins Festival Organisers 2015; Madeline Hutchins, great great grandniece and researcher on Ellen; Clare Heardman, National Parks and Wildlife Service; Angela O'Donovan, Bantry Historical Society

The Ellen Hutchins Festival Organisers 2015; Madeline Hutchins, great great grandniece and researcher on Ellen; Clare Heardman, National Parks and Wildlife Service; Angela O’Donovan, Bantry Historical Society.


Programme of events in the first Ellen Hutchins Festival  – National Heritage Week 2015

Celebrating Ellen Hutchins: a festival to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Ireland’s first female botanist, which took place in West Cork, August 2015. The festival ‘followed in the footsteps’ of Ellen, visiting her favourite plant hunting grounds such as Whiddy Island and Glengarriff Woods. There were also talks, an exhibition about Ellen’s life & work, visits to her birthplace, home and burial site, and an exhibition of her artwork.  

The 2015 festival was a great success, and won the Heritage Council’s Hidden Heritage Award. A second Ellen Hutchins Festival is being run in August 2016.


Date/time 2015 Event title (archive of 2015 events) Location/meeting point
Sun 23rd August  10:30-15:00 Knockboy (Cnoc Bui) botanical mountain walk (Dr Rory Hodd with Lizzy Maskey and Charlie McCarthy – booking was required.

archive listing of 2015 event

Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey.  Take away lunch available from here. Knockboy
Monday 24th August 14:00-16:00 Nature walk and willow weaving for children (Jessica Mason) booking was required

archive listing of 2015 event


Main car-park, Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve.Children Glengarriff
Thursday 27th August 18:45-19:15 Unveiling of plaque to commemorate Ellen Hutchins as a Natural History pioneer

archive listing of 2015 event

Garryvurcha Graveyard, Bantry Garryvurcha
Thursday 27th August 20:00-22:00 An illustrated talk about Ellen Hutchins’ life and story (Madeline Hutchins) 

archive listing of 2015 event

Bantry Library Bantry 052
Thurs 20th Aug – Sat 12th Sept  9:30 – 17:30 An exhibition about Ellens life and work

archive listing of 2015 event

Bantry Library (closed Sun & Mon) Ellen Hutchins letters (medium) (2)
Friday 28th August 11:00-12:30 Ellen’s birthplace and home – a walk around Ballylickey (Madeline Hutchins & Eliane Zimmerman) followed by a pop up exhibition

archive listing of 2015 event

Ballylickey – meet at Ouvane Falls. Pop-up exhibition: Mannings Emporium Ballylickey House
Friday 28th August 14:00-17:00 Ardnagashel and the Hutchins Arboretum (Bill Hutchins and Eliane Zimmerman) 

archive listing of 2015 event

Rent an Irish Cottage, Ardnagashel , parking by the stable block.Ardnagashel
Friday 28th August 20:00-22:00 An illustrated talk about Ellen’s botanical achievements (Dr Donal Synnott)

archive lisitng of 2015 event

Park Hotel, Glengarriff Nat-Hist-mus-009
Sat 29th August  11:30-13:00 Boat trip to Whiddy Island via Ardnagshel – booking was required 

archive listing of 2015 event

Bantry Pier Whiddy ferry
Sat 29th August  14:30-16:30 A botanical walk on Whiddy Island (Dr Micheline Sheehy- Skeffington 

archive listing of 2015 event

Bank House, Whiddy. Whiddy Island
Thurs 20th August – Sat 5th Sept         10:00-17:00 daily Exhibition of Ellen’s botanical art

archive listing of 2015 event

Bantry House (Upper Landing) Ellen_seaweed_Twitter
Sat 29th August  18:00-20:00 Official opening of art exhibition and botanical art demonstration by Shevaun Doherty

archive listing of 2015 event

Bantry House (Upper Landing) Shevaun-Doherty-Gold-Medal-2014-crop (2)
Sunday 30th August  11:00-13:00 Seashore walk at Ardnagashel: seaweeds and lichen (Dr Howard Fox and Maria Cullen) 

archive listing of 2015 event

Rent an Irish Cottage, Ardnagashel , parking by the stable blockArdnagasehl shore
Sunday 30th August 15:00-17:00 Woodland walk in Glengarriff Nature Reserve: flora ‘then and now’ (Dr Fionnula O’Neill)

archive listing of 2015 event

Main car-park, Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve Glengarriff waterfall