Glenkeen Garden is part of the unspoilt landscape at Roaringwater Bay in West Cork on the south coast of Ireland. Over a twenty-year period, the 30-hectare estate was designed by the founder Ulrike Crespo and her partner W. Michael Satke. After Ulrike Crespo’s death, Glenkeen Garden was transferred to the Crespo Foundation.
Buoyed by the Gulf Stream and long hours of sunshine, the mild climate in Glenkeen Garden enables an exceptional array of plants to thrive there. The estate includes parts of the coastline, some of which slopes gently down to the water in Roaringwater Bay while elsewhere it falls away more sharply, and features a variety of aquatic plants. Both the garden and shoreline are home to a large number of animals: not just birds, foxes and otters but a seal colony too, for example. Not far from Glenkeen Garden are what are known as the “rough lands”, an untouched area also owned by the Crespo Foundation. This land has never been cultivated or farmed and was acquired by Ulrike Crespo so that it could be kept it in its natural state.
Artists such as Peter Kogler, Gunter Damisch, Arie van Selm, David Nash, Gregor Eichinger, Laura Ford and Ulrich Rückriem were invited by Ulrike Crespo and Michael Satke to provide further definition to the garden’s structure with their sculptures. The central grass meadow was designed by Piet Oudolf, who also designed New York’s High Line. Several “stages”, specially designed viewpoints, invite people to linger in the garden and offer very special views of the landscape and beyond.
Nature in Glenkeen Garden provided an endless source of inspiration for Ulrike Crespo’s photographic creation. She did not just simply document its breathtaking variety of flora: experimentation with her own photographic techniques allowed her to create fascinating artistic views of plant life in the garden and in the neighbouring sea.
Living and working spaces
Several buildings are scattered across Glenkeen Garden in which the artists-in-residence can live and work: two guesthouses with bedrooms, working areas and a separate studio. There is also a large greenhouse with fruit and vegetables to which guests can help themselves, as well as several garages and small sheds for garden implements. The grounds are looked after and maintained all year round by a team of gardeners.