Ellen Hutchins Festival 2018

The Festival ran from 18th to 26th August 2018 around Bantry Bay. It will be back on 17th to 25th August 2019. To see what was included last year, download a .pdf of the festival programme HERE

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.

We made it into the heritage week highlights – skip to 0.53 to see our Letter Writing Living History Event.

Here are a selection of photos from the 2018 Festival events, scroll down for the table of events for 2018, and links to other years Festival reviews.

2018 Events Listing

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
Bantry
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
10:30am-12:30pm
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
5pm-6pm
Bantry Bay
Boat Trip and Seaweed Tasting.

Free event BOOKING REQUIRED
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
8pm-9:30pm
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
11:00am-12:30pm
Bantry Bay
Boat trip
€10/person ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED Book here
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)
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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
2pm-4pm
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
5pm-6pm
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
10am-12:30pm
Coomhola
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
10am-4pm
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
10am-12pm
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
2pm-4pm
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
12:30-13:30
Future Forests, Kealkil

BOOKED OUT

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
2pm-4pm
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
2:30pm-5:30pm
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
2:30-4pm
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.

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.

Festival Reviews:

2015 Festival Review

2016 Festival Review

2017 Festival Review