The 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.
The 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.
The new exhibition of stone artefacts at the Casita is well worth seeing.
Inside and outside the walls of the Kitchen Garden there are many beautiful climbers mostly unnoticed by the rushing visitors. The back of the clocktower displays lovely pink blooms of Abelia.
We counted the annual rings of the fallen huge pine which made place for the OPW Garinish Island Centenary Garden between the lawn and the walled garden: 86! So it was planted around 1924. The tree had a remarkable oval shape.
This is the spot, where the OPW Garinish Island 100 Centenary Garden is going to be opened. This will be OPWs contribution to Garinish´s 100th birthday celebrations as a garden island. OPW is the Office of Public Works. It maintains the garden for the people of Ireland.
Don’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.
Funny to see the bare garden on this photograph from 1913. The Casita isn’t surrounded by camellias and rhododendrons and the Happy Valley looks like a motorway!!! Can you recognize the Eccles in the right back corner?