Heidi Trautmann

685 - The Gardens of Irini in Bellapais - 25th anniversary on 18 September 2014

By Heidi Trautmann


Deirdre Guthrie, the owner of the Gardens of Irini is an icon, one of the very few and last icons of the old Cyprus. Sometimes you see her walk through the city of Girne, a blonde, slender and tall figure in her especially designed beautiful wraps, sometimes with a big hat.

In 1952 her parents created the Gardens of Irini, with a house and studio, high up in the old village of Bellapais, next to the house of famous writer Lawrence Durrell.

Her parents were medical doctors and moved around the Near East before they settled in Cyprus. Her mother was an artist, and it will be her pictures Deirdre will show on the occasion of this very special day.

25 years ago she started to receive guests in her garden and her receptions and custom made dinners have become famous and have been mentioned in many English newspapers and magazines.

I have known Deirdre for many years; as a young woman she was a flamenco dancer and toured the world. Her son has a restaurant in New York which I visited once in 2005, a charming place.

On 18 September Deirdre Guthrie has opened the gates of the Gardens of Irini to her friends from noon until 6 pm to celebrate with her a quarter of a century of Cypriot/English culture. I walk around the romantic garden and see the art work of her mother and photographic art of her very good friend, the artist and graphic designer Hikmet Ulu├žam and photographs done by the recently deceased friend Colin Mulcahy, who was also a resident of Bellapais. Friends and all those who have gone alongside her in one way or the other, they all raise their glasses and talk of the past. I recognise many faces of people who have lived here a good part of their life.

The Gardens of Irini have seen many people with their own history come and go over the years, time stands still here. An enchanted place where you may encounter ghosts of the past touching your hand and knocking your glass over as I have seen it happening while I was there.

My best wishes to Deirdre Guthrie and her enchanted Gardens of Irini, may they continue to establish connection to the past of the island for a long time to come.

The place when it is empty
The place when it is empty

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