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Seeing Europe with Famous Authors by Francis W. Halsey

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among these ruins, and behold amid the rank grass those tombs of ancient
kings, chiefs, and churchmen, with their sculpture of so singular and
yet superior a style. It is said that there were formerly three hundred
and sixty stone crosses in the Island of Iona, which since the
Reformation have been reduced to two, and the fragments of two others.
The Synod of Argyle is reported to have caused no less than sixty of
them to be thrown into the sea at one time, and fragments of others,
which were knocked in pieces, are to be seen here and there, some of
them now converted into gravestones.

They lie on the margin of the stormy Atlantic; they lie among walls
which, tho they may be loosened for years, seem as tho they never could
decay, for they are of the red granite of which the rocks and islets
around are composed, and defended only by low enclosures piled up of the
same granite, rounded into great pebbles by the washing of the sea. But
perhaps the most striking scene of all was our own company of voyagers
landing amid the huge masses of rock that scatter the strand; forming
into long procession, two and two, and advancing in that order from one
ruin to another.

We chanced to linger behind for a moment; and our eye caught this
procession of upward of seventy persons thus wandering on amid those
time-worn edifices--and here and there a solitary cross lifting its head
above them. It was a picture worthy of a great painter. It looked as tho
the day of pilgrimages was come back again, and that this was a troop of
devotees thronging to this holy shrine. The day of pilgrimages is,
indeed come back again; but they are the pilgrimages of knowledge and an
enlightened curiosity. The day of that science which the saints of Iona
were said to diffuse first in Britain has now risen to a splendid noon;
and not the least of its evidences is that, every few days through every
summer, a company like this descends on this barren strand to behold
what Johnson calls "that illustrious island which was once the luminary
of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians
derived the benefit of knowledge and the blessings of religion." A more
interesting or laudable excursion the power of steam and English money
can not well enable our countrymen to make.



A SUMMER DAY IN DUBLIN [Footnote: From "The Irish Sketch Book."]


Our passage across from the Head [Holyhead] was made in a rain so
pouring and steady, that sea and coast were entirely hidden from us, and
one could see very little beyond the glowing tip of the cigar which
remained alight nobly in spite of the weather. When the gallant
exertions of that fiery spirit were over for ever, and, burning bravely
to the end, it had breathed its last in doing its master service, all
became black and cheerless around; the passengers had dropt off one by
one, preferring to be dry and ill below rather than wet and squeamish
above; even the mate, with his gold-laced cap (who is so astonishingly
like Mr. Charles Dickens, that he might pass for that gentleman)--even
the mate said he would go to his cabin and turn in. So there remained
nothing for it but to do as all the world had done....

A long pier, with a steamer or two at hand, and a few small vessels
lying on either side of the jetty; a town irregularly built, with
showy-looking hotels; a few people straggling on the beach; two or three
ears at the railroad station, which runs along the shore as far as
Dublin; the sea stretching interminably eastward; to the north the Hill
of Howth, lying gray behind the mist; and, directly under his feet, upon
the wet, black, shining, slippery deck, an agreeable reflection of his
own legs, disappearing seemingly in the direction of the cabin from
which he issues; are the sights which a traveler may remark on coming on
deck at Kingstown pier on a wet morning--let us say on an average
morning; for according to the statement of well-informed natives, the
Irish day is more often rainy than otherwise. A hideous obelisk, stuck
upon four fat balls, and surmounted with a crown on a cushion (the
latter were no bad emblems perhaps of the monarch in whose honor they
were raised), commemorates the sacred spot at which George IV. quitted
Ireland: you are landed here from the steamer; and a carman, who is
dawdling in the neighborhood, with a straw in his mouth, comes leisurely
up to ask whether you'll go to Dublin?

Is it natural indolence, or the effect of despair because of the
neighboring railroad, which renders him so indifferent? He does not even
take the straw out of his mouth as he proposes the question, and seems
quite careless as to the answer. He said he would take me to Dublin "in
three quarthers," as soon as we began a parley; as to the fare, he would
not hear of it--he said he would leave it to my honor; he would take me
for nothing. Was it possible to refuse such a genteel offer?

Before that day, so memorable for joy and sorrow, for rapture at
receiving its monarch and tearful grief at losing him, when George IV.
came and left the maritime resort of the citizens of Dublin, it bore a
less genteel name than that which it owns at present, and was called
Dunleary. After that glorious event Dunleary disdained to be Dunleary
any longer, and became Kingstown, henceforward and forever. Numerous
terraces and pleasure-houses have been built in the place--they stretch
row after row along the banks of the sea, and rise one above another on
the hill. The rents of these houses are said to be very high; the Dublin
citizens crowd into them in summer; and a great source of pleasure and
comfort must it be to them to have the fresh sea-breezes and prospects
so near to the metropolis.

The better sort of houses are handsome and spacious; but the fashionable
quarter is yet in an unfinished state, for enterprising architects are
always beginning new roads, rows and terraces; nor are those already
built by any means complete. [Footnote: This was written in 1842.]
Besides the aristocratic part of the town is a commercial one, and
nearer to Dublin stretch lines of low cottages which have not a
Kingstown look at all, but are evidently of the Dunleary period.... The
capabilities of the country, however, are very, very great, and in many
instances have been taken advantage of; for you see, besides the misery,
numerous handsome houses and parks along the road, having fine lawns and
woods, and the sea in our view, at a quarter of an hour's ride from
Dublin. It is the continual appearance of this sort of wealth which
makes the poverty more striking; and thus between the two (for there is
no vacant space of fields between Kingstown and Dublin) the car
reaches the city.

The entrance to the capital is very handsome. There is no bustle and
throng of carriages, as in London; but you pass by numerous rows of neat
houses, fronted with gardens, and adorned with all sorts of gay-looking
creepers. Pretty market-gardens, with trim beds of plants and shining
glass-houses, give the suburbs a riante and cheerful look; and, passing
under the arch of the railway, we are in the city itself. Hence you come
upon several old-fashioned, well-built, airy, stately streets, and
through Fitzwilliam Square, a noble place, the garden of which is full
of flowers and foliage. The leaves are green, and not black as in
similar places in London; the red-brick houses tall and handsome.
Presently the ear stops before an extremely big red house, in that
extremely large square, Stephen's Green, where Mr. O'Connell says there
is one day or other to be a Parliament. There is room enough for that,
or for any other edifice which fancy or patriotism may have a mind to
erect, for part of one of the sides of the square is not yet built, and
you see the fields and the country beyond....

The hotel to which I had been directed is a respectable old edifice,
much frequented by families from the country, and where the solitary
traveler may likewise find society. For he may either use the Shelburne
as a hotel or a boarding-house, in which latter case he is comfortably
accommodated at the very moderate daily charge. For this charge a
copious breakfast is provided for him in the coffee-room, a perpetual
luncheon is likewise there spread, a plentiful dinner is ready at six
o'clock; after which, there is a drawing-room and a rubber of whist,
with tay and coffee and cakes in plenty to satisfy the largest appetite.
The hotel is majestically conducted by clerks and other officers; the
landlord himself does not appear, after the honest comfortable English
fashion, but lives in a private mansion hard by, where his name may be
read inscribed on a brass-plate, like that of any other private

A woman melodiously crying "Dublin Bay herrings" passed just as we came
up to the door, and as that fish is famous throughout Europe, I seized
the earliest opportunity and ordered a broiled one for breakfast. It
merits all its reputation: and in this respect I should think the Bay of
Dublin is far superior to its rival of Naples. Are there any herrings in
Naples Bay? Dolphins there may be; and Mount Vesuvius, to be sure, is
bigger than even the Hill of Howth: but a dolphin is better in a sonnet
than at a breakfast, and what poet is there that, at certain periods of
the day, would hesitate in his choice between the two?

With this famous broiled herring the morning papers are served up; and a
great part of these, too, gives opportunity of reflection to the
newcomer, and shows him how different this country is from his own. Some
hundred years hence, when students want to inform themselves of the
history of the present day, and refer to files of "Times" and
"Chronicle" for the purpose, I think it is possible that they will
consult, not so much those luminous and philosophical leading articles
which call our attention at present both by the majesty of their
eloquence and the largeness of their type, but that they will turn to
those parts of the journals into which information is squeezed into the
smallest possible print, to the advertisements, namely, the law and
police reports, and to the instructive narratives supplied by that
ill-used body of men who transcribe knowledge at the rate of a penny
a line....

The papers being read, it became my duty to discover the town; and a
handsomer town, with fewer people in it, it is impossible to see on a
summer's day. In the whole wide square of Stephen's Green, I think there
were not more than two nursery-maids, to keep company with the statue of
George I., who rides on horseback in the middle of the garden, the horse
having his foot up to trot, as if he wanted to go out of town too. Small
troops of dirty children (too poor and dirty to have lodgings at
Kingstown) were squatting here and there upon the sunshiny steps, the
only clients at the thresholds of the professional gentlemen whose names
figure on brass-plates on the doors. A stand of lazy carmen, a policeman
or two with clinking boot-heels, a couple of moaning beggars leaning
against the rails and calling upon the Lord, and a fellow with a toy and
book stall, where the lives of St. Patrick, Robert Emmet, and Lord
Edward Fitzgerald may be bought for double their value, were all the
population of the Green.... In the courts of the College, scarce the
ghost of a gyp or the shadow of a bed-maker. In spite of the solitude,
the square of the College is a fine sight--a large ground, surrounded by
buildings of various ages and styles, but comfortable, handsome, and in
good repair; a modern row of rooms; a row that has been Elizabethan
once; a hall and senate-house, facing each other, of the style of George
I.; and a noble library, with a range of many windows, and a fine manly
simple facade of cut stone.

The bank and other public buildings of Dublin are justly famous. In the
former may still be seen the room which was the House of Lords formerly,
and where the bank directors now sit, under a clean marble image of
George III. The House of Commons has disappeared, for the accommodation
of clerks and cashiers. The interior is light, splendid, airy, well
furnished, and the outside of the building not less so. The Exchange,
hard by, is an equally magnificent structure; but the genius of commerce
has deserted it, for all its architectural beauty. There was nobody
inside when I entered, but a pert statue of George III. in a Roman toga,
simpering and turning out his toes; and two dirty children playing,
whose hoop-sticks caused great clattering echoes under the vacant
sounding dome.

Walking toward the river, you have on either side of you, at Carlisle
Bridge, a very brilliant and beautiful prospect. The four courts and
their dome to the left, the custom-house and its dome to the right; and
in this direction seaward, a considerable number of vessels are moored,
and the quays are black and busy with the cargoes discharged from ships.
Seamen cheering, herring-women bawling, coal-carts loading--the scene is
animated and lively. Yonder is the famous Corn Exchange; but the Lord
Mayor is attending to his duties in Parliament, and little of note is
going on. I had just passed his lordship's mansion in Dawson Street--a
queer old dirty brick house, with dumpy urns at each extremity, and
looking as if a story of it had been cut off--a rasee house. Close at
hand, and peering over a paling, is a statue of our blest sovereign
George II. How absurd these pompous images look, of defunct majesties,
for whom no breathing soul cares a halfpenny! It is not so with the
effigy of William III., who has done something to merit a statue. At
this minute the Lord Mayor has William's effigy under a canvas, and is
painting him of a bright green picked out with yellow--his lordship's
own livery.

The view along the quays to the four courts has no small resemblance to
a view along the quays at Paris, tho not so lively as are even those
quiet walks. The vessels do not come above-bridge, and the marine
population remains constant about them, and about numerous dirty
liquor-shops, eating-houses, and marine-store establishments, which are
kept for their accommodation along the quay. As far as you can see, the
shining Liffey flows away eastward, hastening (like the rest of the
inhabitants of Dublin) to the sea.

In front of Carlisle Bridge, and not in the least crowded, tho in the
midst of Sackville Street, stands Nelson upon a stone pillar. The post
office is on his right hand (only it is cut off); and on his left,
Gresham's and the Imperial Hotel. Of the latter let me say (from
subsequent experience) that it is ornamented by a cook who could dress a
dinner by the side of M. Borel or M. Soyeld there were more such artists
in this ill-fated country! The street is exceedingly broad and handsome;
the shops at the commencement, rich and spacious; but in Upper Sackville
Street, which closes with the pretty building and gardens of the
Rotunda, the appearance of wealth begins to fade somewhat, and the
houses look as if they had seen better days. Even in this, the great
street of the town, there is scarcely any one, and it is as vacant and
listless as Pall Mall in October.

DUBLIN CASTLE [Footnote: From "Ireland: Its Scenery, Character, Etc."]


The building of Dublin "Castle"--for the residence of the Viceroys
retains the term--was commenced by Meiler FitzHenry, Lord Justice of
Ireland, in 1205; and finished, fifteen years afterward, by Henry de
Loundres, Archbishop of Dublin. The purpose of the structure is declared
by the patent by which King John commanded its erection: "You have given
us to understand that you have not a convenient place wherein our
treasure may be safely deposited; and forasmuch, as well for that use as
for many others, a fortress would be necessary for us at Dublin, we
command you to erect a castle there, in such competent place as you
shall judge most expedient, as well to curb the city as to defend it if
occasion shall so require, and that you make it as strong as you can
with good and durable walls." Accordingly it was occupied as a strong
fortress only, until the reign of Elizabeth, when it became the seat of
the Irish government--the court being held previously at various palaces
in the city or its suburbs; and in the seventeenth century, Terms and
Parliaments were both held within its walls.

The Castle, however, has undergone so many and such various changes from
time to time, as circumstances justified the withdrawal of its defenses,
that the only portion of it which nows bears a character of antiquity is
the Birmingham Tower; and even that has been almost entirely rebuilt,
altho it retains its ancient form. The records of this tower--in modern
times the "State Paper Office"--would afford materials for one of the
most singular and romantic histories ever published. It received its
name, according to Dr. Walsh, not from the De Birminghams, who were
lords justices in 1321 and 1348; but from Sir William Birmingham, who
was imprisioned there in 1331, with his son Walter; "the former was
taken out from thence and executed, the latter was pardoned as to life
because he was in holy orders." It was the ancient keep, or ballium, of
the fortress; and was for a very long period the great state prison, in
which were confined the resolute or obstinate Milesian chiefs, and the
rebellious Anglo-Norman lords. Strong and well guarded as it was,
however, its inmates contrived occasionally to escape from its durance.
Some of the escapes which the historians have recorded are remarkable
and interesting.

The Castle is situated on very high ground, nearly in the center of the
city; the principal entrance is by a handsome gateway. The several
buildings, surrounding two squares, consist of the lord-lieutenant's
state apartments, guardrooms, the offices of the chief secretary, the
apartments of aides-du-camp and officers of the household, the offices
of the treasury, hanaper, register, auditor-general, constabulary, etc.,
etc. The buildings have a dull and heavy character--no effort has been
made at elegance or display--and however well calculated they may seem
for business, the whole have more the aspect of a prison than a court.
There is, indeed, one structure that contributes somewhat to redeem the
somber appearance of "the Castle"--the chapel is a fine Gothic edifice,
richly decorated both within and without. The following description of
the ancient character of "the Castle" is gathered from Dr. Walsh:

"The entrance from the city on the north side was by a drawbridge,
placed between two strong round towers from Castle Street, the westward
of which subsisted till the year 1766. A portcullis, armed with iron,
between these towers, served as a second defense, in case the bridge
should be surprised by an enemy. A high curtain extended from the
western tower to Cork Tower, so called after the great Earl of Cork,
who, in 1624, expended a considerable sum in rebuilding it. The wall was
then continued of equal height until it joined Birmingham Tower, which
was afterward used as a prison for state criminals; it was taken down in
1775, and the present building erected on the site, for preserving part
of the ancient records of the kingdom. From this another high curtain
extended to the Wardrobe Tower, which served as repository for the royal
robe, the cap of maintenance, and the other furniture of state. From,
this tower the wall was carried to the North or Storehouse Tower (now
demolished) near Dame's Gate, and from thence it was continued to the
eastern gateway tower, at the entrance of the castle. This fortress was
originally encompassed with a broad and deep moat, which has long since
been filled up. There were two sally ports in the wall, one toward Sheep
(now Ship) Street, which was closed up in 1663 by the Duke of Ormond,
after the discovery of Jephson and Blood's conspiracy."

The walls by which it was formerly surrounded, and the fortifications
for its defense, have nearly all vanished. Neither is Dublin rich in
remains of antiquity; one of the few that appertain to its ancient
history is a picturesque gateway, but not of a very remote date, called
Marsh's Gate. It stands in Kevin Street, near the cathedral of St.
Patrick, and is the entrance to a large court, now occupied by the horse
police; at one end of which is the Barrack, formerly, we believe, the
Deanery, and Marsh's library.

ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL [Footnote: From "Ireland: Its Scenery,
Character, Etc."]


If few of the public structures of Dublin possess "the beauty of age,"
many of its churches may be classed with the "ancient of days." Chief
among them all is the Cathedral of St. Patrick; interesting, not alone
from its antiquity, but from its association with the several leading
events, and remarkable people, by which and by whom Ireland has been
made "famous." It is situated in a very old part of Dublin, in the midst
of low streets and alleys, the houses being close to the small open yard
by which the venerable structure is encompassed. Its condition, too, is
very wretched; and altho various suggestions have been made, from time
to time, for its repair and renovation, it continues in a state by no
means creditable either to the church or the city. It was built A.D.
1190, by John Comyn, Archbishop of Dublin, by whom it was dedicated to
the patron saint of Ireland; but it is said, the site on which it stands
was formerly occupied by a church erected by the saint himself--A.D.
448. St. Patrick's was collegiate in its first institution, and erected
into a cathedral about the year 1225, by Henry de Loundres, successor to
Archbishop Comyn, "united with the cathedral of the Holy Trinity,
Christ's Church, Dublin, into one spouse, saving unto the latter the
prerogative of honor." The question of precedence between the sees of
Dublin and Armagh was agitated for centuries with the greatest violence,
and both pleaded authority in support of their pretensions; it was at
length determined, in 1552, that each should be entitled to primatial
dignity, and erect his crozier in the diocese of the other: that the
archbishop of Dublin should be titled the "Primate of Ireland;" while
the archbishop of Armagh should be styled, with more precision, "Primate
of all Ireland"--a distinction which continues to the present day.

Above two centuries before this arrangement, however, as the diocese of
Dublin contained two cathedrals--St. Patrick's and Christ Church--an
agreement was made between the chapters of both, that each church should
be called Cathedral and Metropolitan, but that Christ Church should have
precedence, as being the elder church, and that the archbishops should
be buried alternately in the two cathedrals.

The sweeping censure of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, that "in point of good
architecture it has little to notice or commend," is not to be
questioned; ruins--and, in its present state, St. Patrick's approaches
very near to be classed among them--of far greater beauty abound in
Ireland. It is to its associations with the past that the cathedral is
mainly indebted for its interest. The choral music of St. Patrick's is
said to be "almost unrivalled for its combined powers of voice, organ,
and scientific skill."

LIMERICK [Footnote: From "Ireland: Its Scenery, Character, Etc."]


Limerick is distinguished in history as "the city of the violated
treaty;" and the Shannon, on which it stands, has been aptly termed "the
King of Island Rivers." Few of the Irish counties possess so many
attractions for the antiquarian and the lover of the picturesque: and
with one exception, no city of Ireland has contributed so largely to
maintain the honor and glory of the country. The brave defenders of
Limerick and Londonderry have received--the former from the Protestant,
and the latter from the Catholic, historian--the praise that party
spirit failed to weaken; the heroic gallantry, the indomitable
perseverance, and the patient and resolute endurance under suffering, of
both, having deprived political partizans of their asperity--compelling
them, for once at least, to render justice to their opponents; all
having readily subscribed to the opinion that "Derry and Limerick will
ever grace the historic page, as rival companions and monuments of Irish
bravery, generosity, and integrity."

From a very early period Limerick has held rank among the cities of
Ireland, second only to that of the capital; and before its walls were
defeated, first, the Anglo-Norman chivalry; next, the sturdy Ironsides
of Cromwell; and last, the victorious array of William the Third. Like
most of the Irish sea-ports, it was, in the ninth and tenth centuries, a
settlement of the Danes, between whom and the native Irish many
encounters took place, until finally the race of the sea-kings was
expelled from the country.

It is certain that at this early period Limerick was a place of
considerable importance; for some time after, indeed until the conquest
by the English, it was the capital of the province, and the seat of the
kings of Thomond, or North Munster, who were hence called Kings of
Limerick. Upon the arrival of Strongbow, Donnell O'Brien swore fealty to
Henry the Second, but subsequently revolted; and Raymond Le Gros, the
bravest and noblest of all the followers of Strongbow, laid siege to his
city. Limerick was at that time "environed with a foule and deepe ditch
with running water, not to be passed over without boats, but by one
foord only;" the English soldiers were therefore discouraged, and would
have abandoned the attempt to take it, but that "a valiaunt knight,
Meyler Fitz-Henry, having found the foord, wyth a loud voyce cried 'St.
David, companions, let us corageouslie pass this foord.'" For some years
after the city was alternately in the possession of the English and the
Irish; on the death of Strongbow, it was surrendered to the keeping of
its native prince, who swore to govern it for the King of England; but
the British knights had scarcely passed the bridge, when he destroyed it
and set fire to the town.

After again repeatedly changing hands, it was finally settled by the
renowned William de Burgo, ancestor of the present Marquis of
Clanricarde, and remained an appanage to the English crown. At this
period, and for some time after, Limerick, was "next in consequence" to
Dublin. Richard the First, in the ninth year of his reign, granted it a
charter to elect a mayor--an honor which London did not then enjoy, and
which Dublin did not receive until a century later; and King John,
according to Stanihurst, was "so pleased with the agreeableness of the
city, that he caused a very fine castle and bridge to be built there."
The castle has endured for above six centuries; in all the "battles,
sieges, fortunes," that have since occurred, it has been the object most
coveted, perhaps in Ireland, by the contending parties; and it still
frowns, a dark mass, upon the waters of the mighty Shannon. The great
attraction of Limerick--altho by no means the only one--is, however, its
majestic, and beautiful river: "the king of island rivers,"--the
"principallest of all in Ireland," writes the quaint old naturalist, Dr.
Gerrard Boate. It takes its rise among the mountains of Leitrim--strange
to say, the precise spot has not been ascertained--and running for a few
miles as an inconsiderable stream, diffuses itself into a spacious lake,
called Lough Allyn. Issuing thence it pursues its course for several
miles, and forms another small lake, Lough Eike; again spreads itself
out into Lough Ree,--a lake fifteen miles in length and four in breadth;
and thence proceeds as a broad and rapid river, passing by Athlone; then
narrowing again until it reaches Shannon harbor; then widening into
far-famed Lough Derg, eighteen miles long and four broad; then
progressing until it arrives at Killaloe, where it ceases to be
navigable until it waters. Limerick city; from whence it flows in a
broad and majestic volume to the ocean for about sixty miles; running a
distance of upward of 200 miles from its source to its mouth--between
Loop Head and Kerry Head (the space between them being about eight
miles), watering ten counties in its progress, and affording facilities
for commerce and internal intercourse such as are unparalleled in any
other portion of the United Kingdom.

"The spacious Shenan spreading like a sea," thus answers to the
description of Spenser; for a long space its course is so gentle that
ancient writers supposed its name to have been derived from "Seen-awn,"
the slow river; and for many miles, between O'Brien's Bridge and
Limerick, it rolls so rapidly along as almost to be characterized as a
series of cataracts. At the falls of Killaloe, it descends twenty-one
feet in a mile; and above one hundred feet from Killaloe to Limerick....
Its banks too are, nearly all along its course, of surpassing beauty; as
it nears Limerick, the adjacent hills are crowned with villas; and upon
its sides are the ruins of many ancient castles. Castle Connell, a
village about six miles from the city, is perhaps unrivaled in the
kingdom for natural graces; and immediately below it are the Falls of
Doonas where the river rushes over huge mountain-rocks, affording a
passage which the more daring only will make; for the current--narrowed
to a boat's breadth--rushes along with such frightful rapidity, that the
deviation of a few inches would be inevitable destruction.

The immediate environs of Limerick are not picturesque; the city lies in
a spacious plain, the greater portion of which is scarcely above the
level of the water: at short distances, however, there are some of the
most interesting ruins in the kingdom, in the midst of scenery of
surpassing loveliness. Of these, the tourist should first visit
Carrig-o-gunnel, next Adare, and then Castle Connell, the most beautiful
of many beautiful places upon the banks of the noble Shannon.

FROM BELFAST TO DUBLIN [Footnote: From "Letters of a Traveler."]


We left Glasgow on the morning of the 22d, and taking the railway to
Ardrossan were soon at the beach. One of those iron steamers which
navigate the British waters, far inferior to our own in commodious and
comfortable arrangements, but strong and safe, received us on board, and
at ten o'clock we were on our way to Belfast.

The coast of Ayr, with the cliff near the birthplace of Burns, continued
long in sight; we passed near the mountains of Arran, high and bare
steeps swelling out of the sea, which had a look of almost complete
solitude; and at length Ailsa Craig began faintly to show itself, high
above the horizon, through the thick atmosphere.

We passed this lonely rock, about which flocks of sea-birds, the solan
goose, and the gannet, on long white wings with jetty tips, were
continually wheeling, and with a glass we could discern them sitting by
thousands on the shelves of the rock, where they breed. The upper part
of Ailsa, above the cliffs which reach more than half-way to the summit,
appears not to be destitute of soil, for it was tinged with a
faint verdure.

In about nine hours we had crossed the channel, over smooth water, and
were making our way, between green shores almost without a tree, up the
bay, at the bottom of which stands, or rather lies, for its site is low,
the town of Belfast. We had yet enough of daylight left to explore a
part at least of the city. "It looks like Albany," said my companion,
and really the place bears some resemblance to the streets of Albany
which are situated near the river, nor is it without an appearance of
commercial activity.

The people of Belfast, you know, are of Scotch origin, with some
infusion of the original race of Ireland. I heard English spoken with a
Scotch accent, but I was obliged to own that the severity of the Scotch
physiognomy had been softened by the migration and the mingling of
breed.... At an early hour the next day we were in our seats on the
outside of the mail-coach. We passed through a well-cultivated country,
interspersed with towns which had an appearance of activity and thrift.
The dwellings of the cottagers looked more comfortable than those of the
same class in Scotland, and we were struck with the good looks of the
people, men and women, whom we passed in great numbers going to
their work.

At length, having traversed the county of Down, we entered Louth....
Close on the confines of Armagh, perhaps partly within it, we traversed,
near the village of Jonesborough, a valley full of the habitations of
peat-diggers. Its aspect was most remarkable, the barren hills that
inclose it were dark with heath and gorse and with ledges of brown rock,
and their lower declivities, as well as the level of the valley, black
with peat, which had been cut from the ground and laid in rows.

The men were at work with spades cutting it from the soil, and the women
were pressing the water from the portions thus separated, and exposing
it to the air to dry.... It is the property of peat earth to absorb a
large quantity of water, and to part with it slowly. The springs,
therefore, in a region abounding with peat make no brooks; the water
passes into spongy soil and remains there, forming morasses even on the
slopes of the hills.

As we passed out of this black valley we entered a kind of glen, and the
guard, a man in a laced hat and scarlet coat, pointed to the left, and
said, "There is a pretty place." It was a beautiful park along a
hillside, groves and lawns, a broad domain, jealously inclosed by a
thick and high wall, beyond which we had, through the trees, a glimpse
of a stately mansion.

Our guard was a genuine Irishman, strongly resembling the late actor
Power in physiognomy, with the very brogue which Power sometimes gave to
his personages. He was a man of pithy speech, communicative, and
acquainted apparently with everybody of every class, whom we passed on
the road. Besides him we had for fellow-passengers three very
intelligent Irishmen, on their way to Dublin. One of them was a tall,
handsome gentleman, with dark hair and hazel eyes, and a rich
South-Irish brogue. He was fond of his joke, but next to him sat a
graver personage, in spectacles, equally tall, with fair hair and
light-blue eyes, speaking with a decided Scotch accent. By my side was a
square-built, fresh-colored personage, who had traveled in America, and
whose accent was almost English. I thought I could not be mistaken in
supposing them to be samples of the three different races by which
Ireland is peopled.

We now entered a fertile district, meadows heavy with grass, in which
the haymakers were at work, and fields of wheat and barley as fine as I
had ever seen.... One or two green mounds stood close to the road, and
we saw others at a distance.

"They are Danish forts," said the guard.

"Every thing we do not know the history of, we put upon the Danes,"
added the South of Ireland man.

These grassy mounds, which are from ten to twenty feet in height, are
now supposed to have been the burial places of the ancient Celts. The
peasantry can with difficulty be persuaded to open any of them, on
account of a prevalent superstition that it will bring bad luck.

A little before we arrived at Drogheda, I saw a tower to the right,
apparently a hundred feet in height, with a doorway at a great distance
from the ground, and a summit somewhat dilapidated.

"That is one of the round towers of Ireland, concerning which there is
so much discussion," said my English-looking fellow-traveler.

These round towers, as the Dublin antiquarians tell me, were probably
built by the early Christian missionaries from Italy, about the seventh
century, and were used as places of retreat and defense against
the pagans.

Not far from Drogheda, I saw at a distance a quiet-looking valley.

"That," said the English-looking passenger, "is the valley of the Boyne,
and in that spot was fought the famous battle of the Boyne."

"Which the Irish are fighting about yet, in America," added the South of
Ireland man.

They pointed out near the spot, a cluster of trees on an eminence, where
James beheld the defeat of his followers. We crossed the Boyne, entered
Drogheda, dismounted among a crowd of beggars, took our places in the
most elegant railway wagon we had ever seen, and in an hour were set
down in Dublin.... I have seen no loftier nor more spacious dwellings
than those which overlook St. Stephen's Green, a noble park, planted
with trees, under which this showery sky and mild temperature maintain a
verdure all the year, even in mid-winter. About Merrion square, another
park, the houses have scarcely a less stately appearance, and one of
these with a strong broad balcony, from which to address the people in
the street, is inhabited by O'Connell. The park of the University, in
the midst of the city, is of great extent, and the beautiful public
grounds called Phenix Park, have a circumference of eight miles.

THE GIANT'S CAUSEWAY [Footnote: From "Views Afoot." Published by G. P.
Putnam's Sons.]


We passed the Giant's Causeway after dark, and about eleven o'clock
reached the harbor of Port Rush, where, after stumbling up a strange old
street in the dark, we found a little inn, and soon forgot the Irish
coast and everything else.

In the morning, when we arose, it was raining, with little prospect of
fair weather, but having expected nothing better, we set out on foot for
the Causeway. The rain, however, soon came down in torrents, and we were
obliged to take shelter in a cabin by the roadside. The whole house
consisted of one room with bare walls and roof and earthen floor, while
a window of three or four panes supplied the light. A fire of peat was
burning on the hearth, and their breakfast, of potatoes alone, stood on
the table. The occupants received us with rude but genuine hospitality,
giving us the only seats in the room to sit upon; except a rickety
bedstead that stood in one corner and a small table, there was no other
furniture in the house. The man appeared rather intelligent, and, altho
he complained of the hardness of their lot, had no sympathy with
O'Connell or the Repeal movement.

We left this miserable hut as soon as it ceased raining, and, tho there
were many cabins along the road, few were better than this. At length,
after passing the walls of an old church in the midst of older tombs, we
saw the roofless towers of Dunluce Castle on the seashore. It stands on
an isolated rock, rising perpendicularly two hundred feet above the sea,
and connected with the cliffs of the mainland by a narrow arch.

We left the road near Dunluce and walked along the smooth beach to the
cliffs that surround the Causeway. Here we obtained a guide, and
descended to one of the caves which can be entered from the shore.
Opposite the entrance a bare rock called Sea Gull Isle rises out of the
sea like a church-steeple. The roof at first was low, but we shortly
came to a branch that opened on the sea, where the arch was forty-six
feet in height. The breakers dashed far into the cave, and flocks of
sea-birds circled round its mouth. The sound of a gun was like a
deafening peal of thunder, crashing from arch to arch till it rolled out
of the cavern.

On the top of the hill a splendid hotel is erected for visitors to the
Causeway; after passing this we descended to the base of the cliffs,
which are here upward of four hundred feet high, and soon began to find
in the columnar formation of the rocks indications of our approach. The
guide pointed out some columns which appeared to have been melted and
run together, from which Sir Humphrey Davy attributed the formation of
the Causeway to the action of fire. Near this is the Giant's Well, a
spring of the purest water, the bottom formed by three perfect hexagons
and the sides of regular columns. One of us observing that no giant had
ever drunk from it, the old man answered. "Perhaps not, but it was made
by a giant--God Almighty!"

From the well the Causeway commences--a mass of columns from triangular
to octagonal, lying in compact forms and extending into the sea. I was
somewhat disappointed at first, having supposed the Causeway to be of
great height, but I found the Giant's Loom, which is the highest part of
it, to be but about fifty feet from the water. The singular appearance
of the columns and the many strange forms which they assume render it,
nevertheless, an object of the greatest interest. Walking out on the
rocks, we came to the Ladies' Chair, the seat, back sides and foot-stool
being all regularly formed by the broken columns. The guide said that
any lady who would take three drinks from the Giant's Well, then sit in
this chair and think of any gentleman for whom she had a preference,
would be married before a twelvemonth. I asked him if it would answer as
well for gentlemen, for by a wonderful coincidence we had each drank
three times at the well. He said it would, and thought he was confirming
his statement.

A cluster of columns about half-way up the cliff is called the Giant's
Organ from its very striking resemblance to that instrument, and a
single rock worn by the waves into the shape of a rude seat is his
chair. A mile or two farther along the coast two cliffs project from the
range, leaving a vast semicircular space between, which from its
resemblance to the old Roman theaters was appropriated for that purpose
by the giant. Halfway down the crags are two or three pinnacles of rock
called the Chimneys, and the stumps of several others can be seen,
which, it is said, were shot off by a vessel belonging to the Spanish
Armada in mistake for the towers of Dunluce Castle. The vessel was
afterward wrecked in the bay below, which has ever since been called
Spanish Bay, and in calm weather the wreck may be still seen. Many of
the columns of the Causeway have been carried off and sold as pillars
for mantels, and tho a notice is put up threatening any one with the
rigor of the law, depredations are occasionally made.

Returning, we left the road at Dunluce and took a path which led along
the summit of the cliffs. The twilight was gathering and the wind blew
with perfect fury, which, combined with the black and stormy sky, gave
the coast an air of extreme wildness. All at once, as we followed the
winding path, the crags, appeared to open before us, disclosing a
yawning chasm down which a large stream falling in an unbroken sheet was
lost in the gloom below. Witnessed in a calm day, there may perhaps be
nothing striking about it, but coming upon us at once through the gloom
of twilight, with the sea thundering below and a scowling sky above, it
was absolutely startling.

The path at last wound with many a steep and slippery bend down the
almost perpendicular crags to the shore at the foot of a giant isolated
rock having a natural arch through it, eighty feet in height. We
followed the narrow strip of beach, having the bare crags on one side
and a line of foaming breakers on the other. It soon grew dark; a
furious storm came up and swept like a hurricane along the shore. I then
understood what Horne means by "the lengthening javelins of the blast,"
for every drop seemed to strike with the force of an arrow, and our
clothes were soon pierced in every part.

Then we went up among the sand-hills and lost each other in the
darkness, when, after stumbling about among the gullies for half an hour
shouting for my companions, I found the road and heard my call answered;
but it happened to be two Irishmen, who came up and said, "And is it
another gintleman ye're callin' for? We heard some one cryin' and didn't
know but somebody might be kilt."

Finally, about eleven o'clock, we all arrived at the inn dripping with
rain, and before a warm fire concluded the adventures of our day
in Ireland.

CORK [Footnote: From "The Irish Sketch Book."]


One sees in this country many a grand and tall iron gate leading into a
very shabby field covered with thistles; and the simile of the gate will
in some degree apply to this famous city of Cork--which is certainly not
a city of palaces, but of which the outlets are magnificent. That toward
Killarney leads by the Lee, the old Avenue of Mardyke, and the rich
green pastures stretching down to the river; and as you pass by the
portico of the country jail, as fine and as glancing as a palace, you
see the wooded heights on the other side of the fair stream, crowded
with a thousand pretty villas and terraces, presenting every image of
comfort and prosperity.

Along the quays up to St. Patrick's Bridge there is a certain bustle.
Some forty ships may be lying at anchor along the walls of the quay;
and its pavements are covered with goods of various merchandise; here a
cargo of hides; yonder a company of soldiers, their kits, and their
dollies, who are taking leave of the redcoats at the steamer's side.
Then you shall see a fine, squeaking, shrieking drove of pigs embarking
by the same conveyance, and insinuated into the steamer by all sorts of
coaxing, threatening, and wheedling. Seamen are singing and yeehoing on
board; grimy colliers smoking at the liquor-shops along the quay; and as
for the bridge-there is a crowd of idlers on that, you may be sure,
sprawling over the balustrade for ever and ever, with long ragged coats,
steeple-hats, and stumpy doodeens.

At the other extremity of the town, if it be assize time, you will see
some five hundred persons squatting in the Court-house, or buzzing and
talking within; the rest of the respectable quarter of the city is
pretty free from anything like bustle. There is no more life in Patrick
Street than in Russell Square of a sunshiny day; and as for the Mall, it
is as lonely as the chief street of a German Residenz.... That the city
contains much wealth is evidenced by the number of handsome, villas
round about it, where the rich merchants dwell; but the warehouses of
the wealthy provision-merchants make no show to the stranger walking the
streets; and of the retail shops, if some are spacious and handsome,
most look as if too big for the business carried on within. The want of
ready money was quite curious. In three of the principal shops I
purchased articles, and tendered a pound in exchange--not one of them
had silver enough; and as for a five-pound note, which I presented at
one of the topping booksellers, his boy went round to various places in
vain, and finally set forth to the bank, where change was got. In
another small shop I offered half-a-crown to pay for a sixpenny
article--it was all the same.

Half a dozen of the public buildings I saw were spacious and shabby
beyond all cockney belief. Adjoining the Imperial Hotel is a great,
large, handsome, desolate reading-room, which was founded by a body of
Cork merchants and tradesmen, and is the very picture of decay. Not
Palmyra--not the Russell Institution in Great Coram Street--present more
melancholy appearances of faded greatness. Opposite this is another
institution, called the Cork Library, where there are plenty of books
and plenty of kindness to the stranger; but the shabbiness and faded
splendor of the place are quite painful.... I have said something in
praise of the manners of the Cork ladies; in regard of the gentlemen, a
stranger must remark the extraordinary degree of literary taste and
talent among them, and the wit and vivacity of their conversation. The
love for literature seems to an Englishman doubly curious. What,
generally speaking, do a company of grave gentlemen and ladies in Baker
Street know about it? Who ever reads books in the City, or how often
does one hear them talked about at a Club? The Cork citizens are the
most book-loving men I ever met. The town has sent to England a number
of literary men, of reputation too, and is not a little proud of their
fame. Everybody seemed to know what Maginn was doing, and that Father
Prout had a third volume ready, and what was Mr. Croker's last article
in the Quarterly. The clerks and shopmen seemed as much "au fait" as
their employers, and many is the conversation I heard about the merits
of this writer or that--Dickens, Ainsworth, Lover, Lever.

I think, in walking the streets, and looking at the ragged urchins
crowding there, every Englishman must remark that the superiority of
intelligence is here, and not with us. I never saw such a collection of
bright-eyed, wild, clever, eager faces. Mr. Maclise has carried away a
number of them in his memory; and the lovers of his admirable pictures
will find more than one Munster countenance under a helmet in company of
Macbeth, or in a slashed doublet alongside of Prince Hamlet, or in the
very midst of Spain in company with Signor Gil Blas. Gil Blas himself
came from Cork, and not from Oviedo.

I listened to two boys almost in rags: they were lolling over the quay
balustrade, and talking about one of the Ptolemys! and talking very well
too. One of them had been reading in Rollin, and was detailing his
information with a great deal of eloquence and fire. Another day,
walking in the Mardyke, I followed three boys, not half so well drest as
London errand-boys: one was telling the other about Captain Ross's
voyages, and spoke with as much brightness and intelligence as the
best-read gentleman's son in England could do. He was as much of a
gentleman, too, the ragged young student; his manner as good, tho
perhaps more eager and emphatic; his language was extremely rich, too,
and eloquent. Does the reader remember his school-days, when half a
dozen lads in the bedrooms took it by turns to tell stories? How poor
the language generally was, and how exceedingly poor the imagination!
Both of those ragged Irish lads had the making of gentlemen, scholars,
orators, in them.

I have just been strolling up a pretty little height called Grattan's
Hill, that overlooks the town and the river, and where the artist that
comes Corkward may find many subjects for his pencil. There is a kind of
pleasure-ground at the top of this eminence--a broad walk that draggles
up to a ruined wall, with a ruined niche in it, and a battered stone
bench. On the side that shelves down to the water are some beeches, and
opposite them a row of houses from which you see one of the prettiest
prospects possible--the shining river with the craft along the quays,
and the busy city in the distance, the active little steamers puffing
away toward Cove, the farther bank crowned with rich woods, and
pleasant-looking country-houses--perhaps they are tumbling, rickety, and
ruinous, as those houses close by us, but you can't see the ruin
from here.

What a strange air of forlorn gaiety there is about the place!--the sky
itself seems as if it did not know whether to laugh or cry, so full is
it of clouds and sunshine. Little fat, ragged, smiling children are
clambering about the rocks, and sitting on mossy doorsteps, tending
other children yet smaller, fatter, and more dirty. "Stop till I get you
a posy" (pronounced pawawawsee), cries one urchin to another. "Tell me
who is it ye love, Jooly," exclaims another, cuddling a red-faced infant
with a very dirty nose. More of the same race are perched about the
summerhouse, and two wenches with large purple feet are flapping some
carpets in the air. It is a wonder the carpets will bear this kind of
treatment at all, and do not be off at once to mingle with the elements;
I never saw things that hung to life by such a frail thread.

This dismal pleasant place is a suburb of the second city in Ireland,
and one of the most beautiful spots about the town. What a prim,
bustling, active, green-railinged, tea-gardened, gravel-walked place
would it have been in the five-hundredth town in England!--but you see
the people can be quite as happy in the rags and without the paint, and
I hear a great deal more heartiness and affection from these children
than from their fat little brethren across the Channel.

BLARNEY CASTLE [Footnote: From "Ireland: Its Scenery, Character, Etc."]


Few places in Ireland are more familiar to English ears than Blarney;
the notoriety is attributable, first, to the marvelous qualities of its
famous "stone," and next, to the extensive popularity of the song,--

"The groves of Blarney, they are so charming."

When or how the stone obtained its singular reputation, it is difficult
to determine; the exact position among the ruins of the castle is also a
matter of doubt; the peasant-guides humor the visitor according to his
capacity for climbing, and direct, either to the summit or the base, the
attention of him who desires to "greet it with a holy kiss." He who has
been dipt in the Shannon is presumed to have obtained, in abundance, the
gift of that "civil courage" which makes an Irishman at ease and
unconstrained in all places and under all circumstances; and he who has
kissed the Blarney stone is assumed to be endowed with a fluent and
persuasive tongue, altho it may be associated with insincerity; the term
"Blarney" being generally used to characterize words that are meant
neither to be "honest nor true."

It is conjectured that the comparatively modern application of the term
"Blarney" first had existence when the possessor, Lord Clancarty, was a
prisoner to Sir George Carew, by whom he was subjected to several
examinations touching his loyalty, which he was required to prove by
surrendering his strong castle to the soldiers of the Queen; this act he
always endeavored to evade by some plausible excuse, but as invariably
professing his willingness to do so. The particulars are fully detailed
in the "Pacata Hibernia."

It is certain that to no particular stone of the ancient structure is
the marvelous quality exclusively attributed; but in order to make it as
difficult as possible to attain the enviable gift, it had long been the
custom to point out a stone, a few feet below the battlements, which the
very daring only would run the hazard of touching with their lips. The
attempt to do so was, indeed, so dangerous, that a few years ago Mr.
Jeffreys had it removed from the wall and placed on the highest point of
the building; where the visitor may now greet it with little risk. It is
about two feet square, and contains the date 1703, with a portion of the
arms of the Jeffreys family, but the date, at once, negatives its claim
to be considered the true marvel of Blarney. A few days before our visit
a madman made his way to the top of the castle, and after dancing round
it for some hours, his escape from death being almost miraculous, he
flung this stone from the tower; it was broken in the fall, and now, as
the guide stated to us, the "three halves" must receive three distinct
kisses to be in any degree effective.

The stronghold of Blarney was erected about the middle of the fifteenth
century by Cormac Mac Carthy, surnamed "Laider," or the Strong; whose
ancestors had been chieftains in Munster from a period long antecedent
to the English invasion, and whose descendants, as Lords of Muskerry and
Clancarty, retained no inconsiderable portion of their power and estates
until the year 1689, when their immense possessions were confiscated,
and the last earl became an exile, like the monarch whose cause he had
supported. The castle, village, mills, fairs, and customs of Blarney,
with the land and park thereunto belonging, containing 1400 acres, were
"set up by cant" in the year 1702, purchased by Sir Richard Pyne, Lord
Chief Justice, for L3000, and by him disposed of, the following year, to
General Sir James Jeffreys, in whose family the property continues.
Altho the walls of this castle are still strong, many of the outworks
have long since been leveled; the plow has passed over their
foundations, and "the stones of which they were built have been used in
repairing the turnpike-roads."

MUCROSS ABBEY [Footnote: From "Ireland: Its Scenery, Character, Etc."]


The abbey of Mucross adjoins the pretty village of Cloghreen, [in Kerry]
and is in the demesne of Henry Arthur Herbert, Esq., which includes the
whole of the peninsula. The site was chosen with the usual judgment and
taste of "the monks of old," who invariably selected the pleasantest of
all pleasant places. The original name was Irelough--and it appears that
long prior to the erection of this, now ruined structure, a church
existed in the same spot, which was consumed by fire in 1191. The abbey
was built for Franciscan monks, according to Arehdall, in 1440; but the
annals of the Four Masters give its date a century earlier: both,
however, ascribe its foundation to one of the Mac Carthys, princes of
Desmond. It was several times repaired, and once subsequently to the
Reformation, as we learn from the inscription on a stone let into the
north wall of the choir.

The building consists of two principal parts--the convent and the
church. The church is about one hundred feet in length and twenty-four
in breadth; the steeple, which stands between the nave and the chancel,
rests on four high and slender pointed arches. The principal entrance is
by a handsome pointed doorway, luxuriantly overgrown with ivy, through
which is seen the great eastern window. The intermediate space, as
indeed every part of the ruined edifice, is filled with tombs, the
greater number distinguished only by a slight elevation from the mold
around them; but some containing inscriptions to direct the stranger
where especial honor should be paid. A large modern tomb, in the center
of the choir, covers the vault, in which in ancient times were interred
the Mac Carthys Mor, and more recently the O'Donoghue Mor of the Glens,
whose descendants were buried here so late as the year 1833.

Close to this tomb, but on a level with the earth, is the slab which
formerly covered the vault. It is without inscription, but bears the
arms of the Earl of Clancarty. The convent as well as the church is in
very tolerable preservation; and Mr. Herbert has taken especial care, as
far as he can, to balk the consumer, time, of the remnants of his
glorious feast. He has repaired the foundations in some parts and the
parapets in others, and so judiciously that the eye is never annoyed by
the intrusion of the new among the old; the ivy furnishing him with a
ready means for hiding the unhallowed brick and mortar from the sight.
In his "caretaker," too, he has a valuable auxiliary; and a watch is
set, first to discover tokens of decay, then to prevent their spread,
and then to twist and twine the young shoots of the aged trees over and
around them.

The dormitories, the kitchen, the refectory, the cellars, the infirmary,
and other chambers, are still in a state of comparative preservation;
the upper rooms are unroofed; and the coarse grass grows abundantly
among them. The great fireplace of the refectory is curious and
interesting--affording evidence that the good monks were not forgetful
of the duty they owed themselves, or of the bond they had entered into,
to act upon the advice of St. Paul, and be "given to hospitality." This
recess is pointed out as the bed of John Drake--a pilgrim who, about a
century ago, took up his abode in the Abbey, and continued its inmate
during a period of several years. As will be supposed, his singular
choice of residence has given rise to abundant stories, and the mention
of his name to any of the guides or boatmen will at once produce a
volume of the marvelous.

The cloister, which consists of twenty-two arches, ten of them
semicircular and twelve pointed, is the best preserved portion of the
abbey. In the center grows a magnificent yew-tree, which covers, as a
roof, the whole area; its circumference is thirteen feet, and its height
in proportion. It is more than probable that the tree is coeval with the
abbey; that it was planted by the hands of the monks who built the
sacred edifice centuries ago. The yew, it is known, lives to a
prodigious age; and in England, there are many of a date considerably
earlier than that which may be safely assigned to this.

FROM GLENGARIFF TO KILLARNEY [Footnote: From "The Irish Sketch Book."]


The journey from Glengariff to Kenmare is one of astonishing beauty; and
I have seen Killarney since, and am sure that Glengariff loses nothing
by comparison with this most famous of lakes. Rock, wood, and sea
stretch around the traveler--a thousand delightful pictures; the
landscape is at first wild without being fierce, immense woods and
plantations enriching the valleys--beautiful streams to be seen

Here again I was surprized at the great population along the road; for
one saw but few cabins, and there is no village between Glengariff and
Kenmare. But men and women were on banks and in fields; children, as
usual, came trooping up to the car; and the jovial men of the yacht had
great conversations with most of the persons whom we met on the road. A
merrier set of fellows it were hard to meet.

After much mountain-work of ascending and descending (in which latter
operation, and by the side of precipices that make passing cockneys
rather squeamish, the carman drove like mad to the hooping and
screeching of the red rovers), we at length came to Kenmare, of which
all that I know is that it lies prettily in a bay or arm of the sea;
that it is approached by a little hanging-bridge, which seems to be a
wonder in these parts; that it is a miserable little place when you
enter it; and that, finally, a splendid luncheon of all sorts of meat
and excellent cold salmon may sometimes be had for a shilling at the
hotel of the place.... For almost half the way from Kenmare, this wild,
beautiful road commands views of the famous lake and vast blue mountains
about Killarney. Turk, Tomies, and Mangerton were clothed in purple like
kings in mourning; great heavy clouds were gathered round their noble
features bare. The lake lay for some time underneath us, dark and blue,
with dark misty islands in the midst. On the right-hand side of the road
would be a precipice covered with a thousand trees, or a green rocky
flat, with a reedy mere in the midst, and other mountains rising as far
as we could see.... And so it was that we rode by dark old Mangerton,
then presently past Mucross, and then through two miles of avenues of
lime-trees, by numerous lodges and gentlemen's seats, across an old
bridge, where you see the mountains again and the lake, until, by Lord
Kenmare's house, a hideous row of houses informed us that we were in

We rattled up to the Kenmare Arms; and so ended, not without a sigh on
my part, one of the merriest six-hour rides that five yachtsmen, one
cockney, five women and a child, the carman, and a countryman with an
alpeen, ever took in their lives. The town of Killarney was in a violent
state of excitement with a series of horse-races, hurdle-races,
boat-races, and stag-hunts by land and water, which were taking place,
and attracted a vast crowd from all parts of the kingdom. All the inns
were full, and lodgings cost five shillings a day, nay, more in some
places; for tho my landlady, Mrs. Macgillicuddy, charges but that sum, a
leisurely old gentleman whom I never saw in my life before made my
acquaintance by stopping me in the street yesterday, and said he paid a
pound a day for his two bedrooms.... Mrs. Macgillicuddy's house is at
the corner of the two principal streets in Killarney town, and the
drawing-room windows command each a street. A sort of market is held
there, and the place is swarming with blue cloaks and groups of men
talking; here and there is a stall with coarse linens, crockery, a
cheese; and crowds of egg-and milk-women are squatted on the pavement,
with their ragged customers or gossips. Carts, cars, jingles, barouches,
horses, and vehicles of all descriptions rattle presently through the
streets; for the town is crowded with company for the races and other
sports, and all the world is bent to see the stag-hunt on the lake.

The morning had been bright enough, but for fear of accidents we took
our macintoshes, and at about a mile from the town found it necessary to
assume those garments and wear them for the greater part of the day.
Passing by the Victoria, with its beautiful walks, park, and lodge, we
came to a little creek where the boats were moored; and there was the
wonderful lake before us, with its mountains, and islands, and trees.
Unluckily, however, the mountains happened to be invisible; the islands
looked like gray masses in the fog, and all that we could see for some
time was the gray silhouette of the boat ahead of us, in which a
passenger was engaged in a witty conversation with some boat still
farther in the mist.

Drumming and trumpeting was heard at a little distance, and presently we
found ourselves in the midst of a fleet of boats upon the rocky shores
of the beautiful little Innisfallen. Here we landed for a while, and the
weather clearing up, allowed us to see this charming spot. Rocks,
shrubs, and little abrupt rises and falls of ground, covered with the
brightest emerald grass; a beautiful little ruin of a Saxon chapel,
lying gentle, delicate, and plaintive on the shore; some noble trees
round about it, and beyond, presently, the tower of Ross Castle, island
after island appearing in the clearing sunshine, and the huge hills
throwing their misty veils off, and wearing their noble robes of purple.
The boats' crews were grouped about the place, and one large barge
especially had landed some sixty people, being the Temperance band, with
its drums, trumpets, and wives. They were marshaled by a grave old
gentleman with a white waistcoat and queue, a silver medal decorating
one side of his coat, and a brass heart reposing on the other flap. The
horns performed some Irish airs prettily; and, at length, at the
instigation of a fellow who went swaggering about with a pair of
whirling drumsticks, all formed together, and played "Garryowen"--the
active drum of course most dreadfully out of time.

Having strolled about the island for a quarter of an hour, it became
time to take to the boats again, and we were rowed over to the wood
opposite Sullivan's cascade, where the hounds had been laid in in the
morning, and the stag was expected to take water. Fifty or sixty men are
employed on the mountain to drive the stag lakeward, should he be
inclined to break away; and the sport generally ends by the stag, a wild
one, making for the water with the pack swimming afterward; and here he
is taken and disposed of, how I know not. It is rather a parade than a
stag-hunt; but, with all the boats around and the noble view, must be a
fine thing to see.

Some scores more boats were there, darting up and down in the pretty,
busy waters. Here came a Cambridge boat; and where, indeed, will not the
gentlemen of that renowned University be found? Yonder were the dandy
dragoons, stiff, silent, slim, faultlessly appointed, solemnly puffing
cigars. Every now and then a hound would he heard in the wood, whereon
numbers of voices, right and left, would begin to yell in
chorus--Hurroo! Hoop! Yow--yow--yow! in accents the most shrill or the
most melancholious. Meanwhile the sun had had enough of the sport, the
mountains put on their veils again, the islands retreated into the mist,
the word went through the fleet to spread all umbrellas, and ladies took
shares of mackintoshes and disappeared under the flaps of silk cloaks.

The wood comes down to the very edge of the water, and many of the crews
thought fit to land and seek this green shelter. To behold these moist
dandies the natives of the country came eagerly. Strange, savage faces
might be seen peering from out of the trees; long-haired, bare-legged
girls came down the hill, some with green apples and very sickly-looking
plums; some with whisky and goat's milk; a ragged boy had a pair of
stag's-horns to sell: the place swarmed with people. We went up the hill
to see the noble cascade, and when you say that it comes rushing down
over rocks and through tangled woods, alas! one has said all the
dictionary can help you to, and not enough to distinguish this
particular cataract from any other. This seen and admired, we came back
to the harbor where the boats lay, and from which spot the reader might
have seen the following view of the lake--that is, you would see the
lake, if the mist would only clear away.

But this for hours it did not seem inclined to do. We rowed up and down
industriously for a period of time which seemed to me atrociously long.
The bugles of the Erin had long since sounded "Home, sweet home!" and
the greater part of the fleet had dispersed. As for the stag-hunt, all I
saw of it was four dogs that appeared on the shore at different
intervals, and a huntsman in a scarlet coat, who similarly came and
went: once or twice we were gratified by hearing the hounds; but at last
it was agreed that there was no chance for the day, and we rowed off to
Kenmare Cottage--where, on the lovely lawn, or in a cottage adjoining,
the gentry picnic, and where, with a handkerchief full of potatoes, we
made as pleasant a meal as ever I recollect.

What is to be said about Turk Lake? When there, we agreed that it was
more beautiful than the larger lake, of which it is not one-fourth the
size; then, when we came back, we said, "No, the large lake is the most
beautiful." And so, at every point we stopped at, we determined that
that particular spot was the prettiest in the whole lake. The fact is,
and I don't care to own it, they are too handsome. As for a man coming
from his desk in London or Dublin and seeing "the whole lakes in a day,"
he is an ass for his pains; a child doing sums in addition might as well
read the whole multiplication table, and fancy he had it by heart. We
should look at these wonderful things leisurely and thoughtfully; and
even then, blessed is he who understands them.

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