The Irish Sky Garden

The Irish Sky Garden is part of Liss Ard Estate, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

The Liss Ard Estate is only two minutes from Skibbereen town – known as the heart of West Cork. Lios Ard (Irish meaning high fort) is located on the original site of a ring fort, set on 163 acres of tranquil countryside decorated with beautiful woodlands and a private 50-acre glittering lake. Liss Ard Estate and Gardens are open for the summer season from 13th May.

There is a variety of accommodation offered in the Georgian Country House with its contemporary design, the adjacent Garden Mews and the Lake Lodge, and the Victorian Dower House. There are 25 bedrooms which can accommodate up to 50 people. The Estate caters for both social and corporate events.

The Irish Sky Garden at Liss Ard Estate was designed and constructed under the watchful eye and the artist James Turrell. The sky garden – often referred to as the Crater – allows the viewer to admire the ‘celestial vault’ in a unique way. Turrell has managed to turn the Crater into a vast naked-eye observatory. The combination of the simplicity of that the complexity of the construction creates anticipation, wonder and joy for the viewer.

Turrell’s attention to detail ensures that every element of the garden is experienced in the
way he intended. The design of the garden allows the viewer to truly experience the sky at that particular point, either in daylight or at night. Against the delicate green background and the tightly manicured top edge of the Crater, there are no diversions to steal the viewer’s eye; just the Irish sky remains. The artist recommends that the Crater is visited in very small groups – two is the optimum number. The ‘Vault Purchase’ (stone plinth) is designed for two people lying toe to toe, with their necks resting on the ‘Neck Roll’ allowing them to view this breath-taking framing of the Irish Sky.

In addition to the Irish Sky Garden Liss Ard Estate has acres upon acres of gardens and trails to experience and enjoy. The lakeside walk, the waterfall garden, the woodland garden the water garden and arboretum and the wildflower meadow collectively make up the ‘garden rooms’.

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