This website has been compiled from fans and for fans of the people who undertook remarkable efforts to build up one of the most precious assets of Ireland. The family who lived on the island before the Bryce’s bought it in 1910 is represented by their cows shown on the photograph above left. They were the widow Mary Sullivan (75 y.) with her four sons aged between 32 and 46 (in 1911). The Census 1901 states: Sullivan Mary (65), Florance (36), Pat (34), Michael (32) and Tim (22).
The next picture shows Annan and Violet Bryce with their four children in September 1909 just less than a year before they signed the contract to buy Garinish Island. The builder (probably at one of the walls of the Italian Garden) represents all the local builders who did enormous efforts especially between 1912 and 1914 to erect the wonderful buildings we still can enjoy today and which inspired many writers, poets and painters.
Margaret (Maggie) Sullivan (1908-1999), once the house maid of Violet Bryce, and Murdo Mackenzie (1896-1983) – the head gardener for more than half a century – are to be seen on the right. They looked perfectly after the buildings and after the gardens, they loved and tended the place, they lived on the fruits and vegetables they grew in the kitchen garden (walled garden) until their very old age. Without their efforts the island wouldn’t look as we know it today.
© of the photograph ‘Maggie and Murdo’: OPW, Dublin