The east pier was used by the British Army to build the Martello Tower and the adjacent fortification around 1805 (works probably until around 1815, men living there for approximately ten years). Like the East Garden (which is probably completely overgrown) it is closed to the public. There are plans though for it to be repaired so the works on the ‘Gardner’s Cottage’ (Violet and Roland Bryce’s home from the early 20ies till 1953 and Murdo Mackenzie’s and Maggie Sullivan’s home till 1999) can be done by this entrance to the island. On this old postcard (probably taken around 1905 by Robert French for the ‘Lawrence Collection’) you can clearly see that Garinish Island wasn’t a ‘bare rock’ as often stated. A widow and her four sons lived in the cottage at the East Pier, they had cattle (seen on the headers left sepia photograph) and grew (probably) their got their livelihood from those fields below the tower. All of that part of the Garinish Island is unaccessible for the public (what a shame, so much space for the many tourists visiting the island).
From there you had lovely views towards Reenmeen, Dromgarriff and Hollyhill – on this old postcard you can see Glengarriff Castle. How the pier looks these days can be seen here.
Did you know the Martello Tower on the highest spot of Garinish Island offers premier panoramic views of Glengarriff, the harbour and the Caha Mountains? Always worth a climb.
After an extremely strong winter: Many leptospermums didn’t survive the strong frosts but a few are starting to bloom. The struggling acacia (mimosa) at the steps to the temple died and the whole corner was cleared.
The rhododendrons are gorgeous!
Sooooo soft, those leaves of Rhodendendron yakushimanum are like velvet!
Even a fading rhododendron can be of immense beauty when it builds up a carpet of blooms.
The exhibition in the Casita isn’t illuminated anymore (and the wisteria seems quite week after the low temperatures). The ancient sarcophagus and good old leo (the one who lost his face) dissapeared, maybe for restauration?
Well done, the slippery and narrow steps inside the Martello Tower got a light! (thanks to the Minister!) And the exhibition of ancient artefacts from the Bryce/Peto collection in the Casita looks great (only the description was placed too far from the respective artefacts).
According to Harold Peto’s plans the lower floor of the Martello Tower was to become the ‘garden room’, the first floor (which you still can access through the steps) was to become the music room (right he was, fabulous acoustics!) and the wall around the nowadays 360-degree-viewing-roof was to be extended and provided with a roof. A view through a balcony straight to the temple across the Happy Valley should have made ‘Mrs. Bryce’s room’ a real exquisite hideaway. Her and Annan Bryce’s bedrooms were planned to be left- and righthand to the music room.