Monthly Archives: July 2019

Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) Botanist of Bantry Bay – the book

The book brings together research by Ellen’s great great grandniece, Madeline Hutchins, and the artistic skills of Bantry-based graphic designer, Jenny Dempsey, to tell the story of the remarkable young woman, Ellen Hutchins of Ballylickey. In just eight years of botanising, Ellen found many new species, became Ireland’s first female botanist and put Bantry Bay on the map for its wonderful diversity of plants. 

The book has lovely illustrations including Ellen’s beautiful watercolours and her carefully spread specimens of seaweeds. There are wonderful photographs of Bantry Bay and its surrounding mountains, an area that Ellen loved dearly and that inspired her work on its plants. There are extracts from Ellen’s letters, with fascinating period details, and showing her love of literature, especially poetry. 

Discover her story; how she experienced ill health for much of her life, had caring responsibilities for her mother and a disabled brother, loved “going among the mountains” and took great “pleasure in plants”. 

The book is being launched on Monday 15th July, 5:45pm, in Bantry Bookshop. Come and hear Madeline Hutchins talk about the book, and hear letter extracts from it read by historical re-enactor, Carrie O’Flynn, who will be in costume of the early 1800s. See some of the original letters that contributed to the book.