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.

centenary garden

Garinish Island GlengarriffThe Minister of State at the Dept. of Finance Dr. Martin Mansergh has officially opened The Centenary Garden and the exhibition of restored stone artifacts yesterday. He has returned to Garinish Island after 40 years and found the Italianate Garden well maintained. Mansergh stated the OPW invested half a Million Euro on Garinish in this Centenary year.

Garinish Island Glengarriff The new exhibition of stone artefacts at the Casita is well worth seeing.

Garinish Island Glengarriff

spring curtains at the casita

Garinish Island GlengarriffDon’t the curtains of wisteria around the casita look gorgeous? The renovation of the roof was thoroughly done around the huge plants in the eighties. It was really worth letting it grow. Unfortunately the glorious Clianthus puniceus (Kakabeak, Parrot’s Bill or Lobster Claw, pic below) with it’s deep red didn’t survive the chilly winter. It had decorated the ballustrade below the wisteria.

Garinish Island Glengarriff

lomatia ferruginea

Garinish Island GlengarriffOne of the most beautiful trees in Garinish is the rare Lomatia ferruginea Tree – though it is really hard to find (not far from the Casita at the huge Cedrus deodara). The member from the beautiful family of Protaceae comes from Chile (with the native name Fuinque or Palmilla), where it can become 30 ft tall, the interesting leaves are fern-like.

the former tennis courts

Garinish Island GlengarriffThe enchanted place with the benches under two huge magnolia treees, at the southwest entrance to the walled garden, used to be the sand tennis court of the Bryces. It was the very first structure built by the Bryces, long before any building was started. Outside the hedge around it – today it is the lawn area below the casita – there were two more tennis courts and a croquet place. In former times it was the bog providing fuel for the inhabitants of the island. It was drained around Easter of 1911 and the first games were played in August 1911.