padraig colum and garinish island

garnish island glengarriffThe author Padraig Colum (1881-1972) knew W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and Æ, and he was a lifelong friend of James Joyce. In „Cross Roads in Ireland“ he wrote (1930):

It was the happy thought of a lady living here to make one of the islets off Glengarriff, Garinish, into a garden. This happy thought has been realized in a way that recalls Edgar Allan Poe’s ‚Landor’s Cottage’. Mrs. Annan Bryce has now spent many years collecting and cultivating flowers, trees, and plants that can grow here – and many subtropical species can grow here. And she has made her island-garden part of the landscape: one looks down a vista of ilexes to the Kerry Mountains. One walks down an avenue of blooming Mediterranean shrubs to the water of this Irish bay. One sees fantastic orchids close to rocks on which the native heather has been left to flourish. Garinish has been made into a garden of gardens. And it is not merely an enchanting botanic display. There is a home amids this profusion of trees and plants and flowers – the friendly home of Mrs. Annan Bryce. Painters and writers have been made welcome here. Here is the lovely little house in which Bernhard Shaw worked at ‚Saint Joan’.

First editions of Colum’s work were presented to US president Barack Obama by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the occasion of his visit to Dublin, Ireland on 23 May 2011. The sepia view is from a postcard probably from the thirties: this is how Padraig Colum might have seen the island.

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