Until the 1960s, the high walls of the President's Garden reserved the area for the exclusive use of the President and his guests. Today the walls are gone, and the garden is open for the enjoyment of all.
One of the most engaging features of the College campus is the beauty of the cultivated landscape; the neat symmetry of the Quad, the carefully tended President's garden and the tranquillity of the Lower Grounds. But it is the great trees which make a lasting impression. Some of the oldest specimens include the Giant Redwoods, mature oaks and beeches, go back to the College's foundation in the 1840s.
A poignant story, relating to a Common Oak found in the Lower Grounds is told by former head gardener Harry Glavin. Two young officers, on leave during the First World War, had been staying with the President, Bertram Windle. On their return to the front, one of the men was killed in action. When his friend came across his body, which had been lying in the trenches for some time, he discovered a tiny oak tree sprouting from an acorn in his tunic pocket. The surviving officer brought the seedling back to UCC, where Glavin planted it in memory of the fallen solider. It soon became a memorial to both men as the survivor also died in action shortly afterwards.