Irish Sky Garden – Skibbereen, Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Irish Sky Garden

Skibbereen, Ireland

This floating garden in the sky is straight out of a fairy tale, but the real thing is nothing short of magical. 


The Irish Sky Garden’s name describes what to expect fairly well, but seeing this patch of nature suspended in the air, juxtaposed against the clear blue sky, is far more whimsical and mesmerizing than visitors expect.

Designed by American James Turrell, this magical knoll is the perfect symbol for the Emerald Isle, and it’s an unparalleled piece of public art. Turrell is famed for his large-scale experimentations with light and space, challenging the viewer to engage with the boundaries and wonder of human perception.

The Sky Garden is set against the natural landscape of the Celtic Liss Ard, or “High Fort,” an ancient structure half reclaimed by nature which lends its own fairytale whimsy to the location. So even though the sky garden is a contemporary piece of art with a strikingly postmodern shape and aesthetic, it is the perfect complement to a place that is already a bridge between two worlds. 

Shaped like a bowl, the structure features a central stone plinth reminiscent of ancient Celtic and Egyptian altars. The altar rises up at an angle, and features two stone footrests on each end to allow the viewer to lie down facing up and out toward the edge of the crater above. All that is visible from this vantage point is the green grass and sky, creating a uniquely serene experience that invokes past rituals and ancient rites. According to Turrell, “the most important thing is that inside turns into outside and the other way around, in the sense that relationships between the Irish landscape and sky changes.”

If you have ever struggled to empty your mind during meditation, a moment alone in the Sky Garden may be the closest you’ll come to achieving optical and aural harmony. 

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