griselinia littoralis ‘bantry bay’

Garinish Island GlengarriffGriselinia littoralis was planted for shelter long time ago. Former head gardener Murdo Mackenzie once spotted an unusual variegated leaf among the usually green leaves and used it’s twig to propagate it. This breed is nowadays know as Grisellinia littoralis ‘Bantry Bay’.

The normal griselinias unfortunately spread over the island and destroy one former path after the other. Especially the South going path as a continuation from the way coming from the Casita should be reactivated as there is a lovely garden surrounded by rockery. The weedy griselinias should be cleared on a regular weeding regime: while small they are very easy to pull.

press release garinish 100

Garinish Island GlengarriffThis is the press release Andrew O’Shea sent out to the media these days:
A major event to celebrate the centenary of the development of the garden paradise of Garinish Island is scheduled to begin shortly in Glengarriff. The island was a barren rock outcrop when purchased from the British War Office by Mr. Annan Bryce in 1910 and he immediately embarked on the task of creating it into the world-renowned attraction that it has become. The Bryce family developed and managed the island over the course of the next 40 years and in 1954 Roland Bryce handed over ownership of it to the Irish Nation. Since then it has been in the stewardship of the OPW who have continued to maintain and develop it. Visitor numbers to the island are in the region of 60,000 annually and this figure was achieved even in the difficult season of 2009. Now Glengarriff Tourism and Development together with the OPW and other interests locally are embarking on an ambitious programme of events to highlight this important milestone. Plans are advanced in a number of areas including development of further facilities on the island, a promotional leaflet on the event, street banners and signage, a series of talks on related topics- together with an anniversary exhibition relating to the story of the development of the garden. Further details will appear as available in this publication and events will also be listed on the official website for Glengarriff.

the builders of garinish island

Garinish Island GlengarriffWe are looking for the names of the Irish people, people from Glengarriff, who – between 1910 and 1920 – worked on Garinish Island to build and create the Bryce’s beautiful gardens with their own hands? Can you ask your own grandparents, would they know? After the the peat field (behind Casita) was drained in April 1911 a gravel tennis court was ready by August 1911. The first building action took only place in spring of 1912. Most of the structures were built during the next few months.

Robert Kelly (above), the building contractor, wrote to his niece on 10th December 1910 … I am just starting work on Garnish Island in Glengarriff Harbour for a Mr. Bryce, brother of the English Ambassador to America. He bought the Island from the War Department & is converting a round Tower on it into an Irish residence. I have 12 to 15 men on it at present & hope to have a good many during next Season. I go there two or three times a week in a […?..]. just an hours run from Bantry. So you can imagine I must have quite enough to do & keep things going & find money & pay all with the above number in Garnish Island, 10 to 12 men on Bere Island the Same number now only at the Church here & about 20 in Bantry at different jobs around there with no one to order any material for the different works except myself.

Garinish island Glengarriff


mike garnish lived on garinish before 1910

Garinish Island GlengarriffAccording to oral tradition Garinish Island has been the home of farmer as Mike Garinish. Mike Garinish may have been expelled from the island in the early 20th century. It is said the poor farmer took his life but he might as well have died on a fishing accident much later. According to the Census 1911 papers he and his three brothers as well as their widowed mother still lived on the island in 1911. Mike Garnish’s story is not in any history book. Is it time to honour Mike Garinish and the Irish people who created Garinish Island?

who bought garinish island – he or her?

Garnish Island GlengarriffHas anybody got some information about Violet Bryce, little known wife of then Garinish owner John Annan Bryce? Wrote this abstract today:

“Garinish Island, world famous garden island in Glengarriff harbour, is celebrating 100 years in existence. In 1910 Scottish businessman John Annan Bryce bought the island to turn it into one of the great gardens of Western Europe. Bryce was driven by the idea of building a substantial residence on top of the island – and he was driven by his wife Violet L’Estrange – a woman who sympathised with the ideas of womens liberation and of an independendant Ireland. While Annan Bryce and his genious garden architect Harold Peto have been praised in brochures and travel guides over and over again, very little is known about the highly interesting wife, Violet Bryce. Due to the fact that mainly men have written and interpreted the history of Ireland so far, women were mostly left in the dark of past times. The Centenery Celebrations for Garinish Island would therefore be a great opportunity to honour those, who have not been honoured until this very day.”