By BRIAN MOORE
THERE was a Mediterranean flavour to Garinish Island this week for the official opening of the newly-restored Bryce House.
With blue skies, warm breezes and bird song, visitors, guests, Minister Michael Ring and members of the Bryce family made their way from the quayside in Glengarriff, passing the resident seals basking in the late summer sun and onto one of the jewels in Bantry Bay – Garinish Island and the Bryce House.
‘I have often been to Garinish Island and I love coming here but now Bryce House is a credit to the OPW who have worked so hard to restore this jewel to its former glory,’ Minister Ring said.
The house was the home of the Bryce family from 1910 until the death of last owner Roland L’Estrange Bryce in 1953, when he gifted the 37 acre island with its world-famous gardens to the Irish people. ‘I have not been here on the island for over ten years and I am delighted with the work that has been done on the house. The restoration is wonderfully done and I can see now why my great grandparents fell in love with this wonderful place,’ Clare Bryce told The Southern Star. Bryce house is now opened to the public until October 20th, which is the end of the visitor season on the island. It will reopen in March 2016.
‘This is a wonderful addition to the Wild Atlantic Way route and I am confident that the visitors to Bryce House and Garinish Island will not be disappointed,’ said the Minister. ‘This has been a great year, with over 600,000 visitors already coming to Glengarriff and Garinish. Indeed it has been the best year ever for the number of visitors to Ireland. We want to ensure we build on this and continue to provide visitors to our country with an experience that they will savour for years to come.’