Festival: starts today

The third annual Ellen Hutchins Festival starts today, Saturday, in Bantry and the surrounding area as part of Heritage Week and includes walks with botanists, talks, exhibitions, children’s events, and a very special seaweed event on Whiddy Island. Today join a walk in Glengarriff Woods with botanist Dr Joanne Denyer giving an introduction to mosses and liverworts, followed by a rare opportunity to explore the Arboretum at Ardnagashel, the Hutchins family home where Ellen died in 1815, in the excellent company of leading Irish botanists, Howard Fox (Glasnevin/OPW) and Maria Cullen looking at lichens and seaweeds, followed by a drop-in demonstration of botanical art by Shevaun Doherty.


Highlights of the week:

  • A rather special homecoming; seaweed specimens that Ellen collected from Bantry Bay over 200 years ago and sent to botanists at Trinity College Dublin are kindly being loaned by the Herbarium there for display in Bantry Library during the Festival. Also on loan are letters Ellen wrote accompanying the specimens and discussing her finds.
  • Shevaun Doherty, botanical artist, and winner of the prestigious Best in Show and a Gold Medal at Bloom this year will have works of hers on show alongside enlargements of Ellen’s detailed drawings of seaweeds with an official opening by food writer Sally McKenna.
  • Watch Shevaun paint whilst listening to two of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, Mick O’Brien (pipes) and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh (fiddle) in one of the most interesting garden centres in the country, Future Forests.
  • Compound microscopes and hand lens will be available enabling you to see the structure and beauty of the smallest of plants, with botanists Howard Fox, (Glasnevin/OPW) and Maria Cullen on hand to explain them to you.
  • Join a magical day out on Whiddy Island with Dr Susan Steele and experience making seaweed specimens the way Ellen would have done it in the early 1800s.

See full programme on the Festival page or download it here.

Events are free except for the Botanical Art Workshop days, the ferry to Whiddy, the ferry to Garnish and entrance to the island. The Botanical Art workshops need booking in advance, the Sunday has a few places, Monday is now fully booked. The children’s events events are free but must be booked in advance. The morning is fully booked, the afternoon has a few spaces.  See full programme on the Festival page.