memories, friends and flowers

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelRichard Hutchins is not longer among us but his presence is still strong.

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel

He even seems to have best connections to the weather makers above. ūüėČ How else could it happen that after a dull, grey and rainy week the “lights” (outside)¬†suddenly went on? On a bright and sunny afternoon – exactly a month after he deceased – a loving memorial service took place in St. Brendan’s Church in Bantry.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelHis long life was celebrated Рfrom his early childhood in Ardnagashel (1915-1921) to his last weeks near London.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelArdnagashel House was decorated with his favourite flowers (daffodils which are now flowering in the fields and along the roads on the estate), with lots of greenery from his beloved tree ferns, from the giant rhododendron which he admired so much, with huge branches of myrtles (Luma apiculata) which were brought to Ardnagashel by his ancestors and with lovely twigs of a willow podocarp (Podocarpus salignus – the champion tree which stood nearby fell in autumn of 2010). Mike Collard from Future Forests in Kealkil placed vases with beautiful flowers and branches all over the place: catkins, daffodils, cherries, Dacrydium franklinii and Dacrydium cupressinum, Cryptomeria japonica and many more. More than 50 guests got a warm welcome by an amazing fragrance of woods and meadows.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelHundreds of papers, photographs, maps and many more bits and pieces illustrated¬†Richards life and his commitment for nature, walking, cycling, youth hostels, trees and so many other activities. Here¬†(click!) you can read and listen about his outdoor experiences, here are some other fascinating facts, hier k√∂nnen deutsche LeserInnen einiges √ľber ihn nachlesen. He donated his mortal remains to the scientific world, after three years or so his ashes will be brought to the lovely Killeen in Ardnagashel. We are glad and proud having met him and being inspired by his never ending enthusiasm for all things ‘green’. We will try to continue his work in saving the precious arboretum of Ardnagashel which was once established by Ireland’s first women botanist Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) and her brothers Arthur and Samuel Hutchins (Richard’s great-grandfather). It is a national treasure but so far hardly anybody is interested in this asset of valuable historical¬†interest. Hopefully the day will come – before it’s too late as the place is terribly endangered. We thank Richard’s family for their generous sharing of their family treasures.

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celebrities in ardnagashel

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannRecently we learnt that Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004) was in Ardnagashel – as a guest of Ronald and Audrey Kaulback. Another celebrity visitor was ornithologist Sir Peter Markham Scott (1909-1989), the son of the famous explorer. The leading Irish statesman for over half a century¬†√Čamonn de Valera came to see the wonderful house and park. He was a friend to Roland Bryce of Garinish Island – son of the founders. The garden island was bequeathed to him and the Irish people.

Noel Streatfeild¬†(1895-1986) the author of many a children’s book, among them the famous “Ballet Shoes” (recent movie with Emma Watson 2007), was friends with Rachel White, the aunt of the recently deceased heir of Bantry House Egerton Shelswell-White. She had ¬†met Rachel during the war (working for WVS in WW 2) and as Noel considered her favourite place of all to be Ireland they met on her regular annual visits¬†(Angela Bull: Noel Streatfeild, 1984, p. 232).¬†During (at least) one of those visits she also came to see Ardnagashel .

A recent visit from a celebrity took place in June 2006. Sir Thomas Pakenham¬†(photograph), historian, author and arborist came with a delegation of The Irish Tree Society. They were impressed by the remains of the wonderful arboretum of Ardnagashel and hoped that there would come up some funding to save the place… Instead came the recession and the death of two Irish champion trees.