Long gone are the days when laughing children and happy adults were enjoying summer days at the bathing box near the East Pier on Garinish Island. On the right photograph from 1912 later owner Roland Bryce is sitting on the first step of the wooden ladder, his sister Margery (middle of the ladder) is looking into the camera. She became an actress who mainly performed in London. Recently a nice photograph with her portait was published and is being sold as a notecard (click).
Now the bathing box is a deserted and dark spot reminding of times past when the island was loved and tendered by it`s gardeners and owners.
Around some paths though there is a magnificent display of colours.
Even when the sky is grey the azaleas can be admired from far away. Some are highly fragrant and attract amazed visitors like hungry bees…
The seals basking on many rocks along the boat trip to Garinish Island are among the main attractions for children visiting the area. In the early years of tourism the boatmen were wondering why French kids were always swearing at the sight of the funny mammals as they constantly yelled f**ck, f**ck! Well, the French word for seal is phoque and it really sounds like the f-word. Their scientic name is Phoca vitullina. You can distinguish them from similar seals occuring in the Southwest of Ireland by looking at their nostrils, they are v-shaped. An adult can attain a length of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft) and a mass of 132 kilograms (290 lb). Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years).
The iris at the stepping stones (Happy Valley) is of extreme beauty.
So is – of course – the clematis.
A nice place to rest near the Magnolia delavayi. It is native to southern China, occurring in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan at 1,500-2,800 m altitude. It usually flowers around July and August. This is the place where the gravel tennis court from as early as 1911 was. The Bryces adored to play tennis, they invited many of their gueststo have a game and later they even raised money by offering the game to and charging from visitors.
The wrought iron gates in the walls of the formerly called kitchen garden (Walled Garden) came from Spain: Being from the 17th century – already 100 years ago they were antiquities.
One of the most beautiful natural perfumes emerges from the magnolia-like blooms of the quite frost-tender Michelia tree. The very new scientific name is Magnolia doltsopa. The scent reminds of grated lemon peel with vanilla and a hint of clove. The tree in the Southern part of the Walled Garden suffered a lot during the last two winters, its top looks battered. But it is still carrying some flowers (the normal blooming period would be very early spring). It is native to the Eastern Himalayan region and the Meghalaya subtropical forests in India, it varies in form from bushy to narrow and upright, and can grow to a height of 30 metres (98 ft) tall.
do you happen to see any shape on that rock?
It is almost July and the leptospermums (manuka trees) are still blooming. After the cold winter we are having a rather dark but very dry summer. The pond is quite empty and extremely brownish.
Some people mistake Hoheria glabrata for jasmin. It blooms in the Walled Garden.
Nearby the dahlias below another Hoheria are still tiny. Some of their huge flowers will be the glorious reward for the very last visitors at the end of October.
Not only on Garinish Island the bottlebrushes (different species of Callistemon) are enchanting the visitors, they bloom all around Glengarriff. In continental Northern Europe this lovely shrub can only be grown in containers which have to move indoors for the winter time.
Good News for Garinish Island: The Casita will be opened this year for a few weeks, the old gardener´s cottage will be launched as a museum-cafeteria-art exhibition within two years, the Centenary Garden is on the way and the clock tower is receiving a face-lift.
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.