Ellen Hutchins Festival 2020

The 2020 Festival will run from Saturday 15th August to Sunday 23rd August with a programme of workshops, exhibitions, walks, talks, boat trips and other events linked to botany, botanical art, landscape and letter writing. The programme will be available here in April or May 2020.

The 2019 Festival (17th to 25th August) was a great success, and it’s full programme is listed in the table below or you can download a handy printable copy of the programme here.

Event Dates, Times & Locations
Ellen Hutchins Festival EventsEvent DetailsFurther Information 
17th-25th August

Bantry to Adrigole
Ellen Hutchins Festival (full details of all events below)
17th-25th 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.
17th-25th August

Snave Beach, Ballylickey
Lichen Micro-trail: Self-GuidedA new micro-trail for kids at Snave beach, Ballylickey. Enjoy trying to find different shaped and coloured lichens at low tide (see suitable times here. . Trail leaflets: Bantry Tourist Office or Manning’s Emporium Ballylickey.
For more information on lichens visit the Learn to Love Lichens page at https://www.ellenhutchins.com/lichens/ There are downloadable guides, videos and links to resources.
17th-24th August (except Sunday and Monday) 9:30am-5:30pm

Bantry Library
Exhibition: Putting Pen to Paper

Archives: Drawings & Letters
An exhibition on letter writing materials and the postal system in the early-1800s. Learn about quill pens, oak gall ink, wove paper, cross-hatching, seals and stamps.The exhibition will be in the foyer. On the table in the reference section will be folders of material that allow you to appreciate the life of a remarkable young woman and her study of botany.
Sat 17th August

Forest & Flock, Bantry
Children's Indoor Nature Art

Free event. Booking required: Indoor nature-art
A practical and enjoyable workshop session for six to 12-year-olds, with Cara Tremayne, using pressed and dried flowers, muslin and leather to make bookmarks that last.Cara has been collecting beautiful flowers and preparing them for this rather special workshop in the stylish setting of the Forest and Flock Irish Craft and Design shop.
Sat 17th August 10am-4:30pm

Two Green Shoots, Glengarriff.
Lichen Crafts (adults only)

From €35
Booking required:Lichen Craft Booking
Two Green Shoots are celebrating the incredible world of lichens with a day of lichen-themed crafts & feasting. Choose from two workshops or join them for the full experience with the day deal.Morning Workshop (10am-12noon): Lichen Lampshades. €45pp. Afternoon Workshop (2-4,30pm): Lichen Dyeing. €35pp. Lichen Day Deal (10am-4.30pm). €95pp. Make a day of it and treat yourself to our morning & afternoon lichen workshops. Also included is a freshly prepared, home-grown lunch and entry to The Garden of Re-Imagination for walks and relaxing. Please note, due to the technical nature of the crafts, these workshop are suitable for adults only.
Sat 17th August 2pm-3pm

Bantry Book Shop
Ellen Hutchins: The Book & The TrailMadeline Hutchins talks about the recently published book on Ellen and answers questions. Audio guides will be given for the self-guided trail.Published in July, the first book on Ellen describes the life and botanical studies of a remarkable young woman, living at Ballylickey near Bantry over 200 years ago. Much of her story is known from letters written by her to botanists and her brothers. Hear extracts from the letters and how Ellen put Bantry on the map for botany. Option of visiting Garryvurcha graveyard.
Sun 18th August 1pm-4:15pm

Whiddy Island

Whiddy Island Seaweed Event

Free, no booking required.
An exciting chance to discover the seaweeds along Whiddy Island's shore with Dr Susan Steele (SFPA) and try preserving seaweed specimens 1800s style.Learn about the impressive and fascinating array of seashore life of Bantry Bay from the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Dr Susan Steele. No dogs allowed. Ferries leave Bantry's Main Pier at 1pm, returning at 4:15pm €6.50 return.
Mon 19th August 2pm-4pm

Snave Beach, Ballylickey
Lichen Micro-Nature Trail: Drop-in.

Free event, no booking required.
The Ellen Hutchins team will be on hand with trail leaflets and hand lenses to help find a fascinating array of different shaped and coloured lichens.Free event aimed at children. No dogs please.
Mon 19th August 4pm-5pm

Mannings Emporium, Ballylickey.
Nature Art DemonstrationA chance to get up close, watch and talk with artist Sue van Coppenhagen as she paints one of her beautiful nature art pictures, inspired by the wonderful County Cork.Sue’s delicate yet vibrant watercolours reflect a very immediate and enthusiastic response to her surroundings, and are sought after by collectors both in Ireland and further afield.
Tues 20th August

West Cork Sailing & Powerboat Centre, Adrigole Pier
Wildlife Kayak Tour

€15pp (wetsuits €3)

Advance booking required: text Niall 083-1156672
Kayak around Adrigole Harbour with local marine expert, Niall McAllister (Wild Atlantic Wildlife). See seals, seaweeds and other marine life. As you paddle, Niall will explain the biology and ecology of the seals, seaweeds & other marine life in Adrigole Harbour. Wetsuits available or it may be warm enough to paddle in togs or shorts. Bring old shoes or boots. Buoyancy aids provided. Must be able to swim.
Tues 20th August

West Cork Sailing & Powerboating Centre, Adrigole Pier.
Seaweed Foraging and Tasting

Advance booking required:Seaweed Foraging Booking
Explore the shore and find out which seaweeds are edible with aquatic biologist Frances Gallagher. Followed by a cooking demo & tasting session.Frances Gallagher has a wide-ranging knowledge of seaweeds, especially in relation to their nutritional and medicinal values. She also has an interesting insight into Ellen's era and the lives of other people on the shore at that time, who would have been collecting seaweeds for food & fertiliser rather than for scientific study.
Tues 20th August 10am-4pm

Bantry House
Workshop: Atmospheric Nature Watercolours

To book email:
One-day workshop with renowned watercolour artist, Sue van Coppenhagen, painting flowers & leaves in watercolour, with atmospheric background effects. Paints & paper supplied.Suitable for beginners as well as more experienced painters, Sue will show you watercolour techniques for creating paintings of flowers that look as if they are growing in the wild, and/or leaves that look as if they’re being tumbled by the wind. Textural techniques will include working with masking fluid, clingfilm, salt, and metal leaf. Detailed drawing will not be required.
Weds 21st August

Bantry House Gardens
Wild Child Day: Outdoor Nature Art (for 5-12 year olds).

Free event, no booking required.
Join in fun sessions led by experienced facilitators. Activities will include leaf painting & printing, flower pounding, clay prints, flower bookmarks, woven willow mobiles and more. The facilitators are Cara Tremayne, local horticulturist & nature arts facilitator; Sue van Coppenhagen, botanical artist & qualified teacher; Etaoin Melville, local visual artist who enjoys working with natural materials; & Ciara Strange, local basket maker & horticulturalist.
Weds 21st August

Bantry House Loggia
Botanical Art DemonstrationAward-winning botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, will be demonstrating her exquisite art skills live and talking about botanical art.Shevaun Doherty has won Gold and Best in Show at Bloom last year with a watercolour on vellum of a lichen. Shevaun paints every day, and exhibits internationally. Drop in to see her at work, chatting about it, and sharing tips and advice. See a portfolio of Shevaun’s work and cards to buy.
Thurs 22nd August

Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay Boat Trip and Maritime History

€15pp Advance booking required: Boat Trip Booking
A tour of Bantry Bay with Bantry Bay Boat Hire. Join a small flotilla of motor boats and learn about the maritime history of the bay with local guide Paul O’Donoghue.Weather permitting, this trip will be a special tour around the bay. Just 15 places are available so this will be an exclusive experience. Self-driven trips are also available all week via Bantry Bay Boat Hire. Note: there is the option of disembarking on Whiddy Island if you wish to join the afternoon’s Nature Walk.
Thurs 22nd August

Whiddy Island
Guided Nature Walk on Whiddy Island

Free event, no booking required.
Join Clare Heardman (NPWS), for a 3km loop walk and learn about Whiddy Island’s wildflowers, following in the footsteps of Ireland’s first female botanist 200 years ago.The terrain is fairly gentle but walking boots are advisable. Sorry, no dogs allowed. Ferry leaves Bantry’s Main Pier at 11:30am and returns at 15:45pm. €6.50 return
Thurs 22nd - Friday 23rd August

Bantry House
Two-day Botanical Art Workshop: Colours of Summer Flowers.

€100/person To book contact 087 1656948. Shevaun.doherty@gmail.com

Learn the watercolour techniques needed to paint the vibrant Colours of Summer Flowers in this two-day Botanical Art Workshop at Bantry House with Shevaun Doherty.Learn how to match petal colours accurately, colour mixing and how to use layers of paint to capture delicate nuances of light and shadow. Bantry House is the perfect place to spend two days under Shevaun’s guidance. Materials included. Limited Class Numbers. Booking essential.
Friday 23rd August

SeaView House Hotel, Ballylickey
Plant Hunting in Ballylickey:
three parallel hunts to find Ellen's garden plants, wildflowers and cryptogams.

Free events, booking required:Hunting for Cryptogams
Hunting for Garden Plants
Hunting for Native Plants
Native Plants: Native Plants
Garden Plants: Garden Plants
Cryptogams: Cryptogams
Follow the expert guides, including Howard Fox, Botanist, National Botanic Gardens/OPW; Maria Cullen, Irish Geomycologist; Astrid Wingler, Professor of Plant Biology at UCC; and Clare Heardman, Conservation Ranger NPWS, and see what you can find! Full details available via the links on the left.
Friday 23rd August

Manning's Emporium, Ballylickey.
Seaweed Tasting Experience

Free event, no booking required.
Wild Atlantic Seaweed Discovery & Tasting Experience with WASi Seaweeds, who will set up their stall at Mannings with free seaweed tasting samples & products for sale.Drop in for a chance to try new flavours and have your questions answered about seaweed and seaweed recipes. The lunch menu at Mannings features a seaweed special, so stay and make a meal of it. Did you know that seaweed is far more nutrient dense than any land vegetable and is an excellent source of micronutrients? Find out more from Claire and Eli of WASi, as you sample their delicious seaweed pesto.
Friday 23rd August

SeaView House Hotel, Ballylickey
Living History: Letter Writing 1809

Free event, booking required: Letter Writing
Learn writing practices of 1809, write with a quill pen and hear about Ellen’s correspondence; with Carrie O’Flynn, re-enactor and Madeline Hutchins, researcher.In the period setting of the hotel, using accurately-researched clothing and museum-quality reproduction items, re-enactor Carrie will introduce participants to letter-writing practices of the early 1800s. Learn about postage systems, stationery and etiquette before trying your hand at writing using period-appropriate quills and paper.
Saturday 24th August

Future Forests, Kealkil
Ellen Hutchins’ Story in 10 ObjectsDiscover 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.Find out about Ellen's finds from Bantry Bay. Peer through the type of microscope Ellen used, and compare this with a modern hand lens. See Ellen’s catalogue of the 1000+ plants species she found. Handle one of her letters, see an original drawing, and appreciate a lichen up close.
Saturday 24th August

Future Forests, Kealkil
Botanical Art DemonstrationAward-winning botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, will be demonstrating her exquisite art skills live and talking about botanical art.Shevaun Doherty won Best in Show at Bloom last year with a watercolour on vellum of a lichen. Shevaun paints every day, and exhibits internationally. Drop in and see her at work, chatting about it and sharing tips and advice. See a portfolio of Shevaun’s work and cards to buy.
Saturday 24th August

Future Forests, Kealkil
Garden Plants: Past and Present

Free event, no booking required.
Walking talks around the plant centre with some of the Future Forests team. Explaining heritage plants v modern varieties, and gardening with wild plants.Walking talk led by Future Forests staff who will share their ideas about choices for present-day gardens, heritage plants compared to modern varieties, and why the differences matter. Learn about growing wild plants.
Saturday 24th August

Future Forests, Kealkil
Botanical Art for Beginners Class

€30/person To book contact 087 1656948. Shevaun.doherty@gmail.com
New to watercolour and love plants? This fun and friendly class shows you how to capture the colours, shapes and textures of the natural world. Materials included.No experience necessary. Take your first step into Botanical art with this introductory class, in the very special setting of the wonderful wooden building at Future Forests. Shevaun’s tuition is excellent and her classes are always popular.
Saturday 24th August

Two Green Shoots, Glengarriff
Seaweed Six Ways: Kids Foodie Fun!

€20 per child
Booking: Seaweed Foodie Fun Booking
Discover six delicious ways to enjoy some of the seaweeds found in Bantry Bay. Children will get the chance to make seaweed breads, scones, a seaweed dip, seaweed crisps, seaweed jelly and sweeties.This workshop is suitable for children aged 5-12 years old. Please note, children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times.
Sunday 25th August

Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve
Guided Lichen Walk

Meeting place is Fisherman's Path layby, 1km from Glengarriff Village, just before the main entrance to the Nature Reserve.

Free event, no booking required.
explore the wonderful world of woodland lichens with Paul Whelan (author of Lichens of Ireland). Hand lenses will be available for participants to see lichens up close.The walk will help you look at lichens, one of the longest living organisms on the planet, and understand them. With over 1,100 species in Ireland, you will attain an insight into how they live and the important role they play in nature.
No dogs please.
Dates to be announced
Check here for latest information: Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths Facebook

Snave Pier, Ballylickey
Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths

€35 for one person
€50 for two people in a barrel
Pop-up hot seaweed baths in whiskey barrels on Snave Pier, with locally sourced seaweed. Check out the Wild Atlantic Seaweed Bath website for full details about the company: Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths

Here are a selection of photos from the 2018 Festival events. Scroll down for links to other years’ Festival reviews.

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:

2018 Festival Review

2017 Festival Review

2016 Festival Review

2015 Festival Review