CELT document E700002-001

Journey to Connaught, April 1709

Samuel Molyneux

Edited by Aquilla Smith

Journey to Connaught, April 1709

1. Art. XII. Journey to Connaught. — April, 1709.


[By Dr. Thomas Molyneux 1.]

Tuesday, April 5th — Parted from Dublin about 10 in ye morning; came to Kilcock, 12 mile, in ye county of Kildare, about 2 a clock; a pretty good market town. The roads, it being dry weather, were very good; the lands generally meadowe; some corn, with very ill enclosures, and no hedges. We pass'd by Chapellizod, Palmerstown, Lucan, Leixlip, Manooth, Cartown 2, Dolenstown 3, and Rodenstown.


Wednesday, 6th— Left Killcock. Came to Beggarsbridge 4, in ye  p.162 county of Westmeath, 17 mile in 8 hours. A good inn, but no town; the roads bad enough; the lands generally corn or sheep-walks, with some black cattle. As we went farther from Dublin no enclosures or trees to be seen, but little scrubs in ye bogs here and there. We pass'd by Clancurry 5, where is a fair Dane-mount, the Blackwater, Royall Oak6, Clonard on ye Boyne, another fair Dane-mount, Kinigad, a pretty new built town, handsom market-house, Lowtown 7, Gaulstown 8, Castleloss 9 . [On the road I observ'd now and then near a poor cabin yarn a drying as is frequent in ye North, and I am told ye wife makes up the rent sometimes in this country and in Connaght by making their 20 or 30 yards of cloath in a year, besides supplying ye necessary linnen for their own family, this manufacture is not so much improv'd here  p.163 as to make any cloath for sale further than immediate necesssity constrains them.]


Thursday, 7th— Left Beggarsbridge about 9 in ye morning. Came to Moat after one thro' mighty bad coach roads. The country very hilly: hardly any corn or enclosures, but sheepwalk, bogg, and scrubby. We pass'd thro' Tyrrell's-pass, Ballygore 10, and other sad towns. The Moat is a pretty little clean-built town, of a different air from the generality of the Irish villages in this part of Ireland: this may be somewhat owing to the gravelly soyl on which it stands, which has afforded also materials to the Danes for raising a mount here, a very high and regularr one, all of gravell. In this town are 10 or 12 familys of Quakers, who, with many others, dispers'd, as I hear, in ye adjacent country, have here a meeting house. Here came in soon after us Staples from ye Colledge, who was going to Archbishop of Tuams.


Friday, 8th— Left Moat with Staples in ye coach about 9 a clock. Came in 3 hours, thro' indifferent coach roads, wild sheepwalks, and scrubby hills and bogs, to Athlone, which is a handsome large town, scituated on ye noble river ye Shannon. Here we saw ye miserable ruins of ye castle, which was some years ago blown up 11, ye magazine of powder there kept taking fire by accident. Here are a horse and foot barrack, and some good brass and iron ordinance. This town is famous for ye manufacture of felts, which are here sold from 2 to 4 shillings price.

Crossing ye Shannon you enter into Connaught. Here I travell'd from Athlone 4 or 5 mile in ye coach with Staples, and about 2 more  p.164 rid to Killeglan 12, in 3 hours. Ye miles are here very long, as they generally encrease in bad country and distant parts from Dublin; ye soyl is very rocky and stony; much bog, with sheepwalk & scrubs. I observ'd scarce any corn or enclosures but old ruin'd ones of stones heap'd along in rows, which way of enclosing land, by being so frequently met with in many parts of Ireland, seems once to have been much in use, and indeed I wonder is not so still in these stony parts. In all this journey I think I observ'd many more beggars everywhere than is usual on a road, all owing, as I believe, to the present hard times of war.

At Killeglan we stay'd 8 days 13, and met little observable. There are here to be dug out of the hill on which the house stands stones almost globular, some liker an egg, some oblate sphæroids, from ye size of a nutmeg to twice the bigness of one's head. There are other stones in ye same hill, and on ye land adjoyning, which when broke, in ye body of 'em are found inclos'd cockle shells of all sizes, some petryfy'd, some yet perfect fryable shells. In one of these stones, when we broke it, we found 8 or 10 whole small cockles, and a long cilindricall figur'd stone of ye bigness and length of one's little finger, of a substance different from ye cockles, as well as from ye body of ye stone itself; of all these stones I have by me. Round hereabout are also but few curiositys of antiquity, some old chappells and crosses, but not one very  p.165 ancient that I saw: the one whose figure bespoke it the most ancient is here represented; its date, I think, makes it not 200 year old. The Danes indeed have left here some monuments of antiquity which I have not met with elsewhere, and these are forts, not cast up with earth and trenches as usuall, but wholly compos'd of stones heap'd round in a circle of the common compass. Tho' they are now old and ruin'd, and allmost defac'd, they still have the appearance of Danish forts, and are so call'd and generally reputed in ye country, tho' indeed I do not find their common mounts or forts so frequent in these parts to conclude they ever had here so good footing as in ye N. E. parts of Ireland, which lay more opportune for their invasions and setlement. They have here a sort of ropes made of ye roots of firr trees 14, here frequently dug out of the boggs: these they beat like hemp, and then twist them into roaps; they are pretty flexible, and I am told, more lasting, especially in damp places, than any other cords: they are made in Athlone, and are much us'd for cording beds in damp clay floors, where they last for ever, whereas till they made these roaps they were us'd to change their hemp cords every day.

Walking here in ye fields, I met with an odd stone all spotted white at one end, ye spots continuing in white streaks down the side of the stone. Breaking it, we found in ye body of ye stone answering to each white spot a long tract or round vein of a more flinty substance than ye rest of ye stone. Of this stone I have some pieces by me, ye spotts and  p.166 round flinty veins within, when broke accross, appearing in rays from ye center to ye circumference.

They tell here an odd story, and gave me ye jaw of a young lamb with perfect large teeth in't. They say it was so yean'd, as large near and wooly as one of a twelvemonth old, but dead, and ye flesh corrupted. Along with it was yean'd another lamb of ye ordinary size, rather less. The yoe that brought them is alive, and, as they say, was big from ye season before, and they therefore think the first lamb lay in her womb so long.


Sunday, 17th— I left Killeglan at 8 ½ in ye afternoon, in order to go to Gallway. We came in 2 hours, thro' good roads and an open country; nothing of enclosures, but some scrubs and boggs, a great deall of stony ground, with some sheepwalks, to Ballynasloe15, which is a very pretty scituated village on ye river Suck 16, which divides ye county of Roscommon from ye county of Gallway. Here is a Danes-mount 17, with a large trench round it: 'tis so flat one might allmost take it for a fort: this, with one more, were the only mounts I saw on all ye road between Killeglan and Gallway, tho' their forts were all along mighty frequent. From this village we reach'd in 2 hours more to Killconell, thro' a better country, the land it self better, and not near so stony. We pass'd by Garbelly 18 and some other pretty scituated  p.167 seats, besides a number of Danes-forts, in one of which, on ye lands of Dungongon 19, belonging to my uncle Usher, we were told there was a vault under-ground: we went to it, and enter'd it at one end by a hole accidentally discover'd at (a). The first vault, which run north and south, was, from (a) to (b), 26 f. ½ long, 5 ½ broad, 5 ½ high; the next vault, from (d) to (e), every way the same dimensions, as was the 3rd also, from (g) to (h), only 6 f. longer. The walls that made ye sides of these vaults were stones, layd without lime or water (sic) flat on one another from ye ground: the covering was large flagstones, which were so large as to reach from side to side. In ye vault (d) (e), ye flat stones that made ye walls advanc'd and hung over one another, so as to make a kind of arch, and came so near at the height of 5 ½ that the covering flagstones at the top were not nere so broad as in ye other vaults: at (b) there seems to have been a partition of stones, which is now thrown down, as also another at (g); the little place (b), (c), (d) has its floor of one broad flag, and rais'd so that you ascend about 2 or 3 f. at (b), (a), (d), descend as much at (d), thro' a narrow passage of about 2 f. square left for that purpose there: at (e) you ascend again by alike narrow passage into another little apartment as before; from thence you descend on ye rubbish of a ruin'd partition, as it seems to have been, at (g), into ye last and inward vault, whose end, (h), was stopp'd, as (a), with stones, but is now broke open up to the air, and, as we judg'd, was nearly the center of the mount. They seem not to have been pav'd, unless by a few stones thrown loose here and there on ye earth. Having view'd this curiosity, we went to take up with sad lodging at the poor  p.168 village of Kilconnel, where was miserable accommodation of all things but good wine from Gallway.


Monday, 19th—  20At Killconnell we saw the famous old Abby of Franciscans, where was little of antiquity or remarkable. Their churchyard is surrounded by a wall of dead men's sckulls and bones 21, pil'd very orderly, with their faces outwards, clear round against the wall to the length of 88 foot, about 4 high, and 5 f. 4 in. broad, so that there may be possibly here to the number of 50000 sckulls: within they shew you Lord Gallway's and other great men's heads kill'd at Aghrim. This Abby was in repair, and inhabited by Fryers, in K. James' time, so that some of the woodwork, the wainscot, and ordinary painting yet remains; nay I am told 2 of ye Fryers are yet alive, and live, tho' blind with age, on ye charity of the neighbouring papists, in a poor cabin, in a very small island, which they shew'd me, not ½ mile from Killconell, in a bog: they employ one to begg for them 22, and by that means subsist near their old habitation.

Having gotton out of this miserable village, we rid 4 hours thro' a fine champain country; no enclosures, generally good land, yet pretty good roads. We pass'd thro Killtollogh 23, and came to ye ancient Burrow of Athenree24: it is all wall'd, and makes, with its old round  p.169 towers on ye walls and other old buildings within, a very venerable appearance and pretty prospect, it being built on green fields, and not a house without the walls: it seems to have been of old a well inhabited and thriving town, on account of ye large pav'd streets and many ruin'd houses which remain; it has nothing now but cabins in it, and those so few they have room for all ye gardens too within ye walls, which I am told enclose more than Dublin walls, and at least 33 acres. Here we met Sr T. Montgomery25, who seeing us gaping strangers, invited us in to look at his improvements, which are pretty and whimsicall enough: part of his house is ye wing of an old Abby repair'd, which makes an odd and convenient house. He has lately set up here a napping and a tucking mill, and designs a weaving manufactory, the inhabitants of the town being, as he tells me, allmost all weavers and cottoners.

As you go out of town to Gallway you meet with a pretty new improvement of Mr. Shaw's. From hence you travell thro' a barren gravelly soyl to Gallway in 4 hours. As you draw near Gallway the country grows extreamly stony, and in many places one may observe naturall cawseys of stones, which, tho' not so regularly form'd as ye Gyants' Cawsey in ye county of Antrim, are yet so like one another, all consisting of stones full of fissures and cracks, and lying in great layers or strata one over another, the fissures paralell to the horison, that one that sees 'em can't but rank 'em among regular form'd stones,  p.170 which a description or even a draught of 'em could scarce be exact enough to make one think. There are many of these cawseys on each hand the road: one only I observ'd in which ye rimae or cracks of ye stone directed upwards. All along, as we travell'd thro' ye county of Gallway, I observ'd a very great number of heaps of stones rais'd into a Pyramid 26, some with lime, generally without, along the road, in memory, as I am told of burialls that have pass'd that way. Their enclosures of land are here odd enough, being walls of single stones, so pil'd up without mortar that as you pass by you may see thro', and they stand so ticklish, the beasts, that know the way of them, will not come near 'em for fear of throwing 'em down on themselves, so that they serve as well as stronger. I observ'd on ye road many figur'd stones here and there, like ye one describ'd page 7th [vide p. 165], and in ye pavement of a street in Athenree a stone consisting of pillars, with appearance of joynts, like ye Gyants' Cawsey, of all numbers of sides as that too; nay, indeed, the generality of ye stones that ly at the sides of the way between Athenree and Gallway have something very different from common stones in their figure, which is much more scraggy than usuall, and full of holes: their surfaces are very smooth and their colour black, so that in every thing they look like stones to be seen on the sea shore, much excavated and beaten by ye waves. This resemblance of these stones, with the aforemention'd cawseys, the like of which are often seen also among rocks at the sea shore, with the universall stonyness of ye country, has sometimes almost tempted me to think this place was once ye bottom of ye sea: however, 'tis certain ye stones here are not like those of other countrys.



Tuesday, 20th— The weather being not very fair, I stay'd at home, and writ to Dublin.


Wednesday, 21 st.— I went to vizit old Flaherty27, who lives, very old, in a miserable condition at Park, some 3 hours west of Gallway, in Hiar or West-Connaught. I expected to have seen here some old Irish manuscripts, but his ill fortune has stripp'd him of these as well as his other goods, so that he has nothing now left but some few of his own writing, and a few old rummish books of history printed. In my life I never saw so strangely stony and wild a country. I did not see all this way 3 living creatures, not one house or ditch, not one bit of corn, nor even, I might say, a bit of land, for stones: in short nothing appear'd but stones and sea, nor could I conceive an inhabited country so destitute of all signs of people and art as this is. Yet here, I hear, live multitudes of barbarous uncivilized Irish after their old fashions, who are here one and all in ye defence of any of their own or even other rogues that fly to them, against the laws of Ireland, so that here is the assylum, here are committed the most barbarous murders after shipracks, and all manner of roguerys protected, that the Sheriffs of this county scar[c]e dare appear on ye west side of Gallway bridge, which, tho' Ireland is now generally esteem'd wholly civilized, may well be call'd the end of the English pale, which distinction should still have place as long as the inhabitants live with us in so open a state of nature. 28


Having got back again safe thro' this barbarous country to Gallway, I din'd with some of ye officers who were here quarter'd. After dinner they walk'd me round ye town and citadell: the fortifications are in better order, and seem to have more of present strength, there being a good number of brass and iron ordinance mounted and fitt for use, than any town I saw in Ulster; and indeed, Dublin excepted, this is the best town taken alltogether I have seen in Ireland. The houses are all built of stone, of course kind of marble 29, all like one another, like castles for their arch'd doors and strong walls, windows, and floors, and seem to have all been built much about the same time, after the modell, as I hear, of some town in Flanders. The inhabitants are most Roman Catholicks, and the trade is wholly in their hands, and indeed in all Connaught, as you go farther from Dublin, you may see the remains of Popery, yet less and less extinct than in  p.173 ye other parts of Ireland. Here are 2 nunnerys, who, keeping somewhat private, are conniv'd at by ye Governour and Mayor. At ye Gates I observ'd ye sentinells have gotten a use of taking 2 turfs from every horse that comes in with turf, allso, I hear, with herrings, (and, I believe, with other things) which is much more than ye toll due to ye Mayor: this greivance the officers told me they think themselves excus'd from redressing till ye civill power thinks itself so injur'd as to complain, which, it seems, they don't yet. They have here 2 mass houses for one church, which is indeed a pretty modell'd one, but with little ornaments; one tomb is in it of very good and well polish'd black marble well streak'd with white, I believe from the Isles of Bofin 30, where I am told there is a good quarry of such. We saw here ye Town-house, which is built on piazzas, but has nothing remarkable, and is not yet finish'd, ye Barracks, one in ye citadell, the other new built at another end of the town, both for foot: they hold about a regiment. Having view'd the town, I was directed where I might have a map of it 31, which I bought, and seems pretty exact: 'twas done at Brussells by a fryer who was born and bred in this town, and, they tell you, had been at Brussells 8 years when he made it.


Thursday, 22nd— Walk'd about the town and view'd it further. The inhabitants, I find, are all what they call English Irish, i. e. familys that came over at or soon after the Conquest, and were here settled in this strong town as a Colony against the naturall Irish of these parts, and whose posterity still live here, and with their old religion enjoy also their old possessions 32.


Friday, 23rd— Went in a boat down a branch of Gallway river  p.174 call'd Powley Hurly, to see the place where it enters and runs under ground, which it does for 3 miles. It enters about a mile from town, among ye rocks and stones all along the side of a hill, in one place of which there is a naturall cave in ye rock, at the inward part of which, about some 6 or 8 yards in, you meet part of ye river running. The inside of this cave is all cover'd with a thick coat, of a substance much resembling chalk in colour and insipidness to tast: it swims when it falls on ye water, and seems somewhat oyly when rub'd in one's hand. We also were to see 2 Danes-forts which have caves in 'em as the one before describ'd, and I am told they are very frequently found in ye forts of this country.


Saturday, 24th— Left Gallway about 5 in ye morning, and came, thro' a fine open champain country, to Loughree in 4½ h. hard riding. Loughree is a pretty scituated wall'd town, by ye side of a fine Lough. Here are ye ruins of a fine seat of ye old Earl of Clanrickards. All ye country between Gallway and this place is full of old castles, built, as I suppose, about the time Gallway was, that is, about the time of ye first plantation of Ireland by ye English after ye Conquest. On ye road I saw an odd monument or pillar of hewn stone, of ye annext figure, without lime or mortar. From Loughree we came in 4 hours more to Balynasloe, thro' ye famous village of Aghrim, where yet are seen ye ruins of ye old castle, and a few dead men's sckulls scatter'd in ye fields, ye remains  p.175 of ye battle 33 there fought in ye troubles. This is still a fine open country, and in some places improv'd. 2 hours more brought us home again to Killeglan. At Killeglan we stay'd again [6] days, and met with nothing more remarkable but what we had seen before. We gather'd some more of ye sphaericall stones mention'd page ye [165.].


Wednesday, ye 28th— We were invited to see an old altar that stands on ye lands of Mucklon 34 in ye county of Gallway, as ye proprietor of ye land and ye Irish have been pleas'd to call it. It is compos'd of severall rude unhewn flat stones, one of 12 or 14 foot square, and about 2 foot thick, being layd flat on some others of 8 or 9 foot high, of which there might have been some 15 or 20 supporting ye large one at top clear round, set edgewise on ye ground, so as to leave a hollow within, and make a sort of box of rude stones. It seems to me to have been a Danish burying place of ye same nature with one in a Danes-mount at Knowth, in which was found a rude stone urn 35, which I have by me: 'tis now almost so ruin'd that one cannot readily find out its ancient position and figure, ye stones that made ye wall to support ye upper one on 2 sides being entirely ruin'd, broken and carry'd away by ye owner of ye land for building; nay, one of ye corners of ye upper stone is knock'd off, and ye whole, by losing its support, is fallen at one corner to the ground, so that there is but one side left by which one can judge of its true scituation, and even there ye supporting  p.176 stones are plainly struck out of their former posture; but I am assur'd there are some living that remember it formerly standing as I judg'd it to have stood from what yet remains; nay, ye gentleman that shew'd it us, on whose estate it stands, told me it was much as I have describ'd it in his memory, before he broke ye stones for building. This artificiall curiosity is surrounded by as great ones of nature: it stands in ye middle of a naturall cawsey of vast stones, some 20 or 30 foot square, all of one height, about 2 f. from ye earth: between ye stones one may let down a cord 15 or 20 f. down, tho' they are not at 3 inches distances from one another; their surfaces are not plain, but pretty smooth, with great inaequalitys, protuberances, and excavations. There are 3 or 4 of these Cawseys here, which are much of a sort with those at Gallway, describ'd page ye 14th [vide p. 169]. Ye loose stones that lye here about, of which there are a great number confus'dly thrown about ye monument, are every one of them figur'd stones of ye kind describ'd page 7th [vide p. 165]: I gathered up 3 or 4 of them, and brought them away, and might have taken cart loads. One stone I met here, but not of this kind, with shells in't as those at Killeglan; even ye large stones of ye Cawsey themselves have some of them some parts of them of this kind of stone; nay, 2 or 3 we observ'd of about 10 or 12 f. bigness entirely of this composition of flinty veins, as the spots on their surfaces shew'd. Here grow also in ye clefts of ye rocks many herbs, rare, as I am told, and sought for far and near for medicinall uses, so that perhaps a skillfull botanist might find somewhat to employ his curiosity in this place, as well as the Antiquary or other naturalist.


Friday, 30th— Left Killeglan to return to Dublin. Pass'd thro' Brideswell 36, where is a well and chappell dedicated to St. Bridget,  p.177 built by an Earl of Antrim, as also a Poor house here, where some poor people are yet maintain'd by ye alms of Roman Catholicks, [thence to] Athlone, and from thence to Moat, thro' a well improv'd, well planted country, with trees and orchards, good houses, and, as I hear, English inhabitants.


Sat: May ye 1st— Left Moat. Came to Lowtown. Here Coz. Dopping gave me a very odd figur'd stone. 'Tis of a yellowish brown colour, and, as he tells me, excellent limestone. In ye surface of ye stone are severall cilindricall protuberances, of ye bigness and colour of caterpillars, having exactly black streaks and dents across them as they have, yet perfect stone; they lye, most, flat along ye surface, half bury'd, not all directed one way, but scatter'd, some one way, some another; and some run in into ye body of ye stone, and stand out a little; these have a hollow in their center, or else a different substance of stone from ye other parts, like ye pith of a tree. We walk'd about, and in ye ditches here observ'd severall of this figur'd stone, but none so perfect as that he gave me.


Monday, 3rd— Left Lowtown, and came to Dublin.

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Title (uniform): Journey to Connaught, April 1709

Author: Samuel Molyneux

Editor: Aquilla Smith

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Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: University College, Cork

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2. Second draft.

Extent: 7970 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland —http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2013

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E700002-001

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Manuscript Source

  • Dublin, Trinity College Library, I .iv. 12. Aquilla Smith notes: 'at the beginning of the little volume there are a few pages which appear to have been the original notes of the 'Journey,' as it is now printed, from a fair copy made by the author.' Aquilla Smith ascribes the text to Dr Thomas Molyneux; however it has been pointed out by Hoppen that it was his nephew Samuel Molyneux (who grew up in Thomas's charge after the death of his father) who visited O'Flaherty. There are also letters between O'Flaherty and Samuel Molyneux, published in 2013 by Richard Sharpe. We are grateful to Christopher Woods for bringing this text to our attention.

Further reading

  1. Gerard Boate, Ireland's Naturall History (London 1652. Reprinted as 'Gerard Boate's natural history of Ireland', edited, with an introduction, by Thomas E. Jordan, New York 2006). [Available on CELT.]
  2. Roderic O'Flaherty, A chorographical description of West or h-Iar Connaught, written A.D. 1684; ed. J. Hardiman (Dublin 1846).
  3. Thomas Dinely, Observations on a Tour through the Kingdom of Ireland in 1681 (Dublin 1858, reprinted in Kilkenny Archaeological Society's Journal, Second Series, 4 (1856–57) 143–46, 170–88; 5 (1858–59) 22–32, 55–56; 7 (1862–63) 38–52, 103–109, 320–38; 8 (1864–66) 40–48, 268–90; 425–46; 9 (1867) 73–91, 176–204).
  4. Roderic O'Flaherty, Ogygia seu, Rerum Hibernicarum chronologia: Ex pervetustis monumentis fideliter inter se collatis eruta, atque e sacris ac prophanis literis primarum orbis gentium tam genealogicis, quam chronologicis sufflaminata praesidiis. (...) (London 1685). (An English translation by the Reverend James Hely was published in Dublin 1793).
  5. James Ware, The antiquities and history of Ireland (Dublin 1705).
  6. Thomas [recte Samuel?] Molyneux, 'Journey to the North', Robert M. Young (ed), Historical notices of old Belfast and its vicinity (Belfast 1895) 152–160. [See also editor's notes pp 265–66]. [Available on CELT.]
  7. Thomas Molyneux, A Discourse concerning the Danish Mounts, Forts, and Towers in Ireland (Dublin 1725).
  8. William Petty, A geographical description of the kingdom of Ireland, newly corrected & improv'd by actual observations. Containing one general map of the whole kingdom with 4 provincial and 32 county maps, (…) The whole being laid down from the best maps vizt. Sr. Wm. Petty's, Mr. Pratt's, &c. with a description of each county collected from the best accounts extant (London 1728).
  9. Sir Henry Piers, 'A Chorographical description of the County of Westmeath, written A.D. 1682 by Sir Henry Piers, of Tristernaght, Baronet,' in: Charles Vallancy, Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, vol. 1. (Dublin: Thomas Ewing) 1770.
  10. Thomas Wright, Louthiana: or, an introduction to the antiquities of Ireland: In upwards of ninety views and plans: representing, with proper explanations, the principal ruins, curiosities, and antient dwellings, in the county of Louth. Divided into three books. Taken upon the spot by Thomas Wright (…) Engraved by Paul Foudrinier (London 1758).
  11. John Mitchell, The present state of Great Britain and North America, with regard to agriculture, population, trade, and manufactures, impartially considered (…) (London: printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1767).
  12. George Faulkner (ed)., The works of D. Jonathan Swift, 20 vols. (Dublin 1738–1772).
  13. Thomas Park (ed.), Nugæ Antiquæ: Being a Miscellaneous Collection of Original Papers, in Prose and Verse; Written during the Reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, Elizabeth, and King James, selected by Henry Harington, 2 vols. (London 1804).
  14. Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Journal of a Tour in Ireland, AD 1806 (Dublin and London 1807).
  15. Capel Molyneux, An account of the family and descendants of Sir Thomas Molyneux, ed. T. Phillips (Evesham 1820).
  16. Isaac Weld, A Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon (Dublin 1832) [This survey is available online at http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/digital-book-collection/digital-books-by-county/roscommon/roscommon-statistical-survey/].
  17. Caesar Otway, A Tour in Connaught (Dublin 1839).
  18. John O'Donovan (ed.), The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, commonly called O'Kelly's Country (Dublin 1843). [Irish version available online at CELT.]
  19. James Grace of Kilkenny, Annales Hiberniae, ed. Richard Butler. (Dublin 1842.) [Also known as Grace's Annals; available online at CELT.]
  20. Reverend Mervyn Archdall, Monasticum Hibernicum; or an History of the Abbies, Priories, and other Religious Houses in Ireland, 2 volumes (London 1786).
  21. Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (London 1837) (available online at ttp://www.libraryireland.com/topog/index.php).
  22. K. T. Hoppen, The common scientist in the seventeenth century: a study of the Dublin Philosophical Society, 1683–1708 (1970) 272.
  23. A. M. Fraser, 'The Molyneux family', Dublin Historical Record, 16/1 (1960–61) 9–15.
  24. K. T. Hoppen and Pádraic de Brún, 'Samuel Molyneux's tour of Kerry, 1709' Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society 3 (1970) 59–80.
  25. An entry on the physician and natural Sir Thomas Molyneux (1661–1733) in the Oxford DNB (http://www.oxforddnb.com) mentions K. T. Hoppen's article which ascribes authorship of the travel diary to Thomas's nephew Samuel (1689–1728).
  26. Anne Saunders, The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux, 1712–13 (London 2011).
  27. Bernadette Cunningham and Raymond Gillespie, 'The circulation of manuscripts in Ireland, 1625–1725', in: James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (eds), Irish and English: essays on the Irish linguistic and cultural frontier, 1600–1900 (Dublin 2012).
  28. Richard Sharpe, Roderick O'Flaherty's Letters to William Molyneux, Edward Lhwyd, and Samuel Molyneux, 1696–1709 (Dublin 2013).

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Journey to Connaught, April 1709’ (1846). In: The Miscellany of the Irish Archaeological Society‍ 1. Ed. by Aquilla Smith, pp. 161–178.

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  editor 	 = {Aquilla Smith},
  title 	 = {Journey to Connaught, April 1709},
  journal 	 = {The Miscellany of the Irish Archaeological Society},
  number 	 = {1},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Archaeological Society},
  date 	 = {1846},
  pages 	 = {161–178}


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Creation: By Samuel Molyneux (1689–1728) 5 April to 3 May 1709

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Keywords: travel; description; prose; 18c; manners and customs; archaeology; Connaught; Leinster; Roderic O'Flaherty

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  1. The manuscript from which this article is printed is in the handwriting of Dr. Thomas Molyneux, and is preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, Class I., Tab. iv., No. 12. At the beginning of the little volume there are a few pages which appear to have been the original notes of the "Journey," as it is now printed, from the fair copy made by the Author. Dr. Thomas Molyneux was the younger brother of the celebrated William Molyneux, and grandson of Daniel Molyneux, who was appointed Ulster King of Arms, by patent bearing date 28th of June, 1597. He was born in Dublin, and educated in Trinity College; some time afterwards he visited Leyden and Paris, and on his return home he became a Fellow of the Royal Society in England, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians in Ireland; and, in 1711, he was elected Regius Professor of Physic in the University; in 1718 he became Physician-General of the Army in Ireland, and Physician to the State in 1725; on the 4th July, 1730, he was created a baronet, and died on the 19th of October, 1733. Sir Thomas Williams Molyneux, of Castle Dillon, county Armagh, is the present representative of the family. 🢀

  2. Cartown.— The seat of the Duke of Leinster. 🢀

  3. Dolenstown. — Dolanstown in the parish of Rodanstown, and barony of Upper Deece, in the county of Meath.— See Ordnance Map of Meath, Sheet 49. In Lewis's Topographical Dictionary, Rodanstown is called Raddanstown, or Balroddan, in which parish is Dollandstown. 🢀

  4. Beggarsbridge.— Now called Rochfortbridge. It is traditionally stated that this place derived its former name from the circumstance of a beggar having died here in whose pockets was found money suffcient to build the bridge, which crosses a small stream at the eastern extremity of the village. 🢀

  5. Clancurry.— Cloncurry moat, i. e. the “fair Dane-mount,” is marked on the Ordnance Map of Kildare, Sheet 4. It appears that our Author, during his "Journey to Connaught," collected some of the materials for A Discourse concerning the Danish Mounts, Forts, and Towers in Ireland, which he published at Dublin in 1725. It was reprinted in 1755, as Part III. of Boate's Natural History of Ireland. See note 19, p. 167. 🢀

  6. Royall Oak — Now Innfield, on the road from Kilcock to Clonard. 🢀

  7. Lowtown— Near Kinnegad, in Westmeath. It was the seat of the Doppings, to whom our Author was related.—See Journey. Sat: May ye 1st., p. 167. 🢀

  8. Gaulstown— Formerly the seat of George Rochfort, Esq., the intimate friend of Swift. — See his Letter from “Gallstown, near Kinnegad, July 5, 1721,” addressed to Vanessa, and another of September 14, 1721, to the Rev. Mr. Worrall, who was a foundling, and called Melchisedek by Swift, because Melchisedek is said to have had neither father nor mother. Swift's Works, Faulkner's Edit., 1772, vol. xvi. pp. 231 and 239, and vol. xv. p, 158, note. See also a Poem by Swift, descriptive of a visit to his friend Mr. Rochfort, in 1723.— Ibid., vol. ii. p. 161. Gaulstown is now the seat of Lord Kilmaine, about midway between Kinnegad and Tyrrell's-pass. 🢀

  9. Castleloss— Castlelost, a parish in the barony of Fartullagh, in the county of Westmeath. The words within the brackets are in the original draft of the Journey, after the word Castleloss. 🢀

  10. Ballygore— Or Ballinagore, a village about three miles N. W. of Tyrrell's-pass. 🢀

  11. Blown up.— “On the 27th of October, 1697, the Magazine of Athlone fired by lightening, blew up the Castle, and divers houses, and fourteen persons were killed.”— Ware's Gesta Hibernorum. Dublin, fol. 1705. A true narrative of this disaster is given in Dr. Strean's Survey of St. Peter's parish, in Mason's Statistical Survey, vol. iii. p. 50 ; and in Weld's Statistical History of Co. Roscommon, p. 531. 🢀

  12. Killeglan. — Is situated a few miles north of the road from Athlone to Ballinasloe, and at about equal distance from each town. 🢀

  13. Stay'd 8 days. — From the original draft of the “Journey,” we learn that our Author's stay at Killeglan was prolonged, in consequence of “foul weather,” from the 11th to the 16th of April, during which time he wrote several letters to his friends. He alludes, at p. 165, to "some monuments of antiquity, which have the appearance of Danish forts." This evinces singular indecision on the subject, after his curious and decisive letter to his brother, dated 2nd June, 1684, wherein he correctly questions “whether the Danes' mounts be rightly called, or whether they be the works of the Danes.”— See Dublin University Magazine, Oct. 1841, p. 483. 🢀

  14. Ropes made of the roots of fir trees, are still used by the peasantry in many parts of the country for cording bedsteads, and for lines for drying linen. 🢀

  15. Ballynasloe.— On the 26th of February, 1716, Ballinasloe, with its fairs and markets and other lands, were sold by William Spenser (grandson of the celebrated poet Edmund Spenser), and his son Nathaniel, to Frederick Trench.— See Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy, vol. i. p. 319. London 1831. 🢀

  16. Suck. — For an account of this river, see Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, printed for the Irish Archaeological Society, p. 84; and Weld's Statistical Survey of Roscommon, p. 97. 🢀

  17. Dane's-mount.— This is one of the ancient numerous remains of the Pagan Irish, erroneously attributed to the Danes by Dr. Molyneux. It is remarkable how generally this error has since spread throughout Ireland. 🢀

  18. Garbelly. — Garbally Park, now the noble seat of the Earl of Clancarty. 🢀

  19. Dungongon.— This vault or cave is described in our Author's Discourse concerning the Danish Mounts, p. 209, but its locality is not mentioned. 🢀

  20. Monday, 19th— This and all the subsequent dates are one day in advance. 🢀

  21. Sckulls and bones.— In a memorandum on one of the fly leaves is given the following measurements of “The wall of heads round the churchyard: 33 canes long— 1 ½ high— 2 broad— my cane is 2 f : 8 inches long,” which correspond exactly with the dimensions given in the text. 🢀

  22. To begg for them. — Sir Henry Piers, in his Description of the County of West-Meath, gives a curious account of an Anchorite who lived at Foure, and had proctors to beg for him through the country. See Vallancey's Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. i. p. 64. 🢀

  23. Killtollogh. — A poor village, near which is Kiltullagh House, the seat of J. D'Arcey, Esq. 🢀

  24. Athenree. — For the ancient murage charter granted to this town by Edward II. in 1310; see O'Flaherty's History of West Connaught, printed for the Irish Archaeological Society, note w, p. 265; see also Grace's Annals, p. 73. 🢀

  25. Sir T. Montgomery.— July 23rd, 1707, a petition was presented to the House of Commons in behalf of Robert Shaw, Esq., and others, complaining of the undue practises of Sir Thomas Montgomery in the Borough of Athenry. His election to the place of Portrieve of Athenry was subsequently declared void, and he was ordered to deliver the ensigns of magistracy to John Ormsby, Esq., the legal Portrieve of Athenry.— Index to the Journal of the House of Commons of Ireland, Petitions, No. 831. 🢀

  26. Pyramid— These “Pyramids” may still be seen, with many more since erected, not “in memory of burials,” but to clear the fields of stones. They have been mistaken by Dr. Molyneux for the ancient Irish leacht, or pile of stones in memory of the dead; generally raised on the spot where some sudden or accidental death occurred. This ancient practice is still observed. 🢀

  27. Old Flaherty.— Roderick O Flaherty, the learned Author of the Ogygia and History of West Connaught, edited by James Hardiman, Esq., for the Irish Archaeological Society. Here we incidentally discover the state of misery to which this venerable man was reduced in his old age, after the confiscation of his ancient and ample inheritance. For a biographical notice of this learned individual, see the genealogical and historical Account of the O Flahertys, compiled from original documents, in Appendix II. to History of West Connaught, p. 362. 🢀

  28. State of nature— O'Flaherty, in his History of West Connaught, p. 16, says “The inhabitants are so observant of law, that now for above thirty years of peace, there was not one body executed out of the whole territories for any transgression; and scarce any brought to the bar for misdemeanour.”
    The description given by Dr. Molyneux may be contrasted with the following, from the pen of a distinguished Englishman, Sir John Harrington, the translator of Ariosto, who visited this part of Ireland more than a century before Molyneux: “They (the Iryshrie) (do appeare in the upper sorte) very kinde and hospitable to all new comers, as I did well experience in this countrie, even so much as (if my owne lands were here) I woude hazard my dwellinge with them for life. I was often well entertained, and in some sorte got ill will for speakinge in praise of their civil usage among our owne commanders, whom I often tolde that tho' I was sente oute to fighte with some, there did appear no reason for my not eatinge with others. I was well usede, and therefore am in dutie bounde to speake welle of the Irishrie.”— Notes and Remembrances, by Sir John Harrington, A. D. 1599; published in his Nugae Antiquae. Edited by Thomas Park, 8vo. London, 176. 🢀

  29. Kind of marble.— It is a literal fact that most of the old edifices here were built of marble, as their ruins testify, Hence the ancient poet sung of this town:
    — “ex duro est marmore quaeque domus.” 🢀

  30. Isles of Bofin.— Rather from the vicinity of the town, which abounds with the finest black marble. 🢀

  31. Map of it.— A copy of this rare and curious map is preserved in the MS. Library of Trinity College, Dublin. See also Hardiman's History of Galway, p. 24. 🢀

  32. Old possessions.— They did not enjoy them without interruption; for, in A. D. 1708, the year before our traveller's visit, Richard Wall, the mayor, by order of the Privy Council, “turned all the Popish inhabitants out of the town and garrison, committed all the Popish priests to the goal, removed the market outside the walls, and gave orders to prevent mass being said in town.”— Orig. Return to the Council, 19th March 170⅞🢀

  33. Battle.— Fought on the 12th of July, 1691, between the forces of William III. and the Irish army of James II. 🢀

  34. Mucklon.— Mucklin, a village on the west side of the river Suck, about six miles N. E. of Ahascragh, in the county of Galway. 🢀

  35. Stone Urn— This urn, which was found at Knowth, in the county of Meath, is described, and the description accompanied with two engravings, in Dr. Molyneux's Discourse concerning the Danish Mounts, &c., appended to Boate's Natural History of Ireland. Dublin, 4to., 1755, p. 200; see also Harris's Ware, vol. ii. p. 146. A stone urn, bearing a close resemblance to it, is in the collection of the Royal Irish Academy. 🢀

  36. Brideswell.— A village about seven miles W. N. W. of Athlone, in the county of Roscommon. This place derives its name from a copious spring of very pure water, dedicated to St. Bride, close to which is an ancient building, formerly a chapel, from which a doorway leads to the well, now converted into a bath. Over the doorway there is a coat of arms, and an inscription, from which it appears that this bath was “built by the Right Honourable Sir Randal Mac Donnell, first Earl of Antrim, 1625.”— See Weld's Statistical History of Roscommon, p. 515. 🢀


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