CELT document E810001-001

Narrative of a residence in Ireland during the Summer of 1814, and that of 1815

Anne Plumptre

Narrative of a residence in Ireland during the Summer of 1814, and that of 1815

 p.1

1. COMPRISING THE JOURNEY AND VOYAGE TO DUBLIN AND STAY IN THAT CITY, AND A TOUR ROUND THE COUNTY OF ANTRIM, PART OF THE COUNTY OF DOWN, AND PART OF THE COUNTY OF WICKLOW.

1. Commentary on the Maxim "When we… Second Departure for Ireland. — Warwick…

Commentary on the Maxim "When we are at Rome, we should do as they do at Rome." — Friendly Advice. — Determination to embark at Bristol. — Visit to Bath. — The Hampton Stone Quarries near Bath. — Rejoicings for the Peace. — An Ox roasted whole. — Visit to Bristol. — Result of friendly Advice. — Determination to proceed and embark at Liverpool. — Mineralogical Anecdote. — Birmingham.

When we are at Rome, we should do as they do at Rome. — This is a long-established maxim, founded so much on reason and good sense that it is in every body's mouth, and, though not always followed, is universally extolled. I even went so far, when I was to visit Ireland, as to follow it, in the true Irish style, by anticipation, and did not wait for my arrival in the country to do as they do in Ireland, but commenced my journey with a practical Bull, and went first to Bath and Bristol in order to embark at Liverpool.

The case was this. — In the summer of 1814 I was led from a combination  p.2 of circumstances to be extremely desirous of visiting Dublin and the North of Ireland, and therefore gladly accepted a proposal made me by my friends Mr. and Mrs. C ... ..., who were going to Dublin, to join their party for the journey and voyage. Liverpool was the place they had fixed on for embarkation; and as I had no preference for any place, I readily coincided with their wishes. Before we quitted London, Mr. C ... ... meeting accidentally with an eminent merchant of Bristol, an acquaintance of his, was induced by him to propose an alteration in our plan. This gentleman urged that by embarking at Bristol we should save full half our journey by land, and he assured us that merchant-ships were perpetually passing between Bristol and Dublin, so that we might be almost sure of sailing within a day or two after our arrival at Bristol, and we should find much more comfortable accommodations in a merchant-ship than in the packets. He was going back to Bristol, he said, the next day, and would speak to a friend very much connected with some of the principal ship-owners, who would look out a nice and convenient vessel for us; in short, he had no doubt that by the time of our arrival at Bristol, which could not be sooner than a week, every thing would be settled, and a comfortable passage secured for us.

All this sounded so extremely plausible, that no hesitation was made by any of the party in accepting what appeared so very obliging an offer. As far as I was concerned I rejoiced in the alteration; I had never been either at Bath or Bristol, and thought with pleasure of seeing places so celebrated; I had, besides, at that time, a sister living at Bath, and to spend a few days with her was adding in no small degree to the gratification I expected in my proposed tour. I accordingly set off for Bath on Sunday the 3rd of July, attended by a servant whom I had hired for the excursion, leaving my friends to follow me in the course of a few days.

Though mineralogical researches were not among the primary objects which I now had in view, yet as I had for some time been much interested by acquiring a slight acquaintance with the mineral kingdom, to combine with the other objects of my tour, as much addition as I could obtain to my stock of knowledge on this delightful subject became a leading feature among my remoter pursuits. I had often heard that in the vicinity of Bath many organic remains were to be found, and I was anxious to procure specimens of them.  p.3 The first day of my stay at Bath having been devoted — as all due respect for established custom required — to seeing the lions of the city, that is to say, the rooms, the circus, the crescents, the parades, the principal squares and streets, the pump-room, the baths, the market, &c. &c. not omitting to taste the waters; — the first day having been thus spent, on the second I set off on a mineralizing walk, attended by my faithful squire; who having like myself acquired a little smattering of mineralogical knowledge, was not less eager in the pursuit of aliment to increase and nourish it.

We pursued our course along the side of the Kennet and Avon canal to the village of Hampton about three miles from Bath, where is a very pretty rural church with a tower most picturesquely overgrown with ivy; then crossing the canal, we arrived at the foot of the hill on the summit of which are the Hampton stone quarries, the largest in the neighbourhood of Bath. Here I first became acquainted with what I had afterwards several opportunities of seeing, the mode of conveying the stone from the quarry above, to the canal below, by means of an iron railway down an inclined plane, with machinery which in conveying the loaded cart down makes that draw the empty cart up. To enter upon any description of this machinery were useless; — to those who have never seen any thing of the kind no description could make it understood, and to those who are acquainted with it, description would be superfluous. Indeed, though a very modern invention, it is come so much into use, that probably few persons to whom such a subject would be interesting are unacquainted with the nature of it. Now first presented to my observation, it was impossible not to be struck with the ingenuity displayed in the whole apparatus, and I stood for some time contemplating and admiring it. I was offered a ride up the hill in an empty cart, which I had accepted; but at the moment when I was about to ascend my vehicle, it set off, and then to stop it was impossible. I believe in this as in most cases, perhaps I might say in every case, all was for the best, since, from what I saw, an inference might easily be drawn that the ride would have proved extremely shaking, and once in the vehicle there was no possibility of getting out till the journey's end. I therefore toiled up the hill; and being a very hot day it was indeed toiling, but I was amply repaid for my labours. I procured at the quarry some very beautiful stalactitic incrustations, with several very good specimens of organic remains of different kinds.  p.4 The stone of this quarry is esteemed of a better quality than any other for stone engravings. Another recompense of my toils was afforded by the very fine and extensive view spread before me over the beautiful country around. I had understood the hills about Bath to be bare and naked; but I found them every where well clothed with verdure, and finely interspersed with wood. The city itself is not to be seen from this point. I returned home by a very pleasant path along the slope of the hill, whence there were many fine points of view.

The third day of my stay at Bath, the 6th of July, I was occupied by an object of a very different nature. It happened to be the moment of rejoicing for the peace just concluded, and an ox was to be roasted whole, with another in quarters, and four whole sheep, on Claverton Downs, two miles from the city, to be given away to the populace. Such a spectacle had never before fallen in my way, and novelty seldom fails to awaken curiosity. — A temporary building for the cookery was run up on the Downs, and at twelve o'clock at night the hero of the feast was laid down; the quarters of beef, and the sheep, were not to follow him till six in the morning. At that hour I set off to walk to the spot: the weather was beautiful, and I was gratified by the novelty of the sight, but felt no wish to partake of the regale. Indeed there is nothing very inviting in the appearance of the animals thus cooked. At twelve the meat was distributed to any one who chose to apply for some, bringing a knife and fork to cut off his portion, and a plate to receive it. No beer was given away; but several publicans from the town had erected booths where it was sold, under shelter of which the people sat down to eat their repast. The whole afforded a cheerful and exhilarating spectacle. The rest of the day was devoted to seeing more about the town, and the evening was concluded with a pleasant walk in Sydney Gardens, the Vauxhall of Bath.

The next day, Thursday July 7th, I visited Prior Park, and went on to Coombe Down, where, in a neglected stone quarry, I found again several interesting mineralogical objects, as stalactites, crystallizations, and organic remains. From the Weston quarries I also procured fossil shells of several kinds. In the evening of this day my friends Mr. and Mrs. C ... arrived from London; and on the 8th I took my leave of Bath, accompanying them to Bristol, in the full expectation that here was to be the utmost extent of our land travelling on this side of the Irish Channel.

 p.5

But the very first inquiries made at Bristol were sufficient to convince us that our loquacious merchant was a man of words much rather than of deeds, and that far too easy credit had been given both to his representations and professions; that he was totally deficient in knowledge upon the subject on which he had so readily given his advice, — a disease but too prevalent with mankind in general, — and that his offers of service had about as much sincerity in them as the compliments paid by the parasite of Pennaflor to Gil-Blas, upon the celebrity he had acquired. In the first place he was not himself at Bristol; he was residing at his country-house four miles off; and in order to learn whether he had taken any steps towards the performance of his promises we must have gone thither to seek him. Other information, however, obtained in the town, soon satisfied us that we could gain nothing by pursuing him into his rural retreat, except perhaps the chance of being again misled. Direct communication between Bristol and Dublin, we found from the concomitant testimony of several well-informed persons, was a very rare thing, — we might in all probability wait a month, nay five or six weeks, before any vessel would sail for that port; and supposing a passage at length procured, the voyage was always very tedious; it was very likely to last a week or ten days; while the accommodations for passengers on board merchant vessels were so bad, that it was even perverting the term accommodations to apply it to them.

The only mode of going to Ireland then from Bristol, practicable for us, appeared to be the packet to Cork or to Waterford. To either of these places the passage was three guineas, and there was then a considerable journey by land to arrive at Dublin. On the whole therefore, after spending two days in possessing ourselves of these important truths, in all that time not seeing any thing of our merchant, we at length determined that, all circumstances duly weighed, the best thing we could now do was to follow our original plan of embarking at Liverpool. As the price of the passage from thence is only a guinea, the expense would scarcely be greater than going by the Waterford packet, and the passage much more certain. Thus by listening to our Bristol merchant we were out of pocket just the expense of a journey thither, since we were now about the same distance from Liverpool that we were when in London.

Yet I was not disposed wholly to quarrel with him; for I had been very, much gratified with my visit to Bath, and was perfectly charmed with the Clifton  p.6 rocks; the latter no less than the Bath quarries furnished me many very interesting additions to my mineralogical collection. I have already mentioned that my servant was a zealous mineralogist. At the inn where we were staying he inspired such a taste all around him for his favourite science, that one morning he set off at four o'clock at the head of a party of the waiters and chambermaids, on a mineralizing excursion, and by our breakfast hour I found him returned richly laden with the spoils he had procured. Before I quitted Bristol, all the treasures I had hitherto collected were sent off by the canal to London.

On our route to Liverpool we stopped one day at Birmingham, where among other objects we were much pleased with the sight of Thomasine's showrooms, and surprised at the variety and beauty of his manufactures. His excellent imitations of precious stones more particularly excited our admiration.

 p.7

2. Tedious Voyage to Ireland. — Arrival… New Acquaintance. — Sir William Betham…

Tedious Voyage to Ireland. — Arrival in Dublin Bay. — Obliged to anchor there. — Importunities of the Boatmen to row the Passengers on Shore, and their exorbitant Demands. — The Pier. — The Light-House. — The shelly Bank. — The North and South Bull. — The Bathing-Houses. — The Pigeon-House. — Beautiful Scenery round the Bay. — Arrival in the City of Dublin.

On the 14th of July about eight in the evening we arrived at Liverpool. We had intended stopping a day to look about the town, but found so excellent a packet, the Loftus, about to sail the next morning, that we agreed unanimously it was better to relinquish this intention, and secure a passage on board it. From the state of the weather there appeared every reason to expect a long passage: thus it became of some importance not to lose the opportunity of going in a vessel much more commodious than the generality of packets. We had here a very neat little stern cabin, with stern lights, for the ladies; a thing I never found in any other packet where it has been my lot to be a guest; very little attention is paid in general to the accommodation of female passengers.

On the 15th at nine in the morning we embarked, having joined company for the voyage with two very pleasant officers going to Ireland, who had travelled with us all the way from Birmingham.

That the voyage would be tedious we knew was to be expected, but we were told that thirty-six hours was the longest ever known; and in providing ourselves with sea stores, we did not think of calculating upon a longer term, but made what we thought an ample provision, supposing it to run to the utmost of that extent. The first day however we made very little progress, and at the expiration of twenty-four hours were no further than off Holyhead. About noon the second day we were entirely becalmed for three hours; and the tide setting against us we rather lost than gained way, so that the Welch coast was still in sight as evening closed in. In the night we had rather more wind, and at daybreak  p.8 the Hill of Howth, the north point at the entrance of Dublin Bay, and Bray-head, a conspicuous height a little below the south point, were both in sight. About two o'clock we had advanced as far into the bay as the state of the tide at that time would permit, and were obliged to come to anchor till there should be water sufficient to go over the bar into the harbour: this we were informed would be about six in the evening.

We were immediately beset by a number of boats soliciting to carry us on shore, offering their services at the moderate rate of only five shillings a head. Some wanted to carry us to Dunleary, a small harbour on the bay for fishing-boats; others proposed to carry us to the more general place of landing, the Pigeon-house; but all agreeing in the same exorbitant demand. As however, according to the expectation held out, the ship would get into the harbour at a sufficiently early hour, we were not disposed to make this addition to the price of our passage. Our captain was somewhat importunate with us to go on shore immediately, — impertinently, as we thought, — and this only made us the more determined not to comply. We had just provisions left for a dinner, and were not sorry to contemplate at our leisure the beautiful scene around. Some of the passengers being in a greater hurry began to bargain with the boatmen, but could get no abatement whatever in their demands. After a long altercation between one man in the ship above and another in the boat below, the former having made offers so much beneath the price required as to excite the utmost indignation in the bosom of the latter, he turned to his comrades and said, That fellow would kill a louse, and live upon the fat. The majority of the passengers were however at length obliged to yield, since the sons of Neptune would not; for their stock of provisions not holding out so well as ours, they had no other resource against dining with a certain gentleman, Duke Humphry yclep'd, — one whose table d'hôte is by no means in general request.

In another respect our party, or I must rather here take the whole credit to myself and say, I had been more provident than the rest of the passengers; for I had made a little provision of food for the mind, which they did not seem to have thought of, and had put up some books with my other sea stores: among these was Lady Morgan's excellent novel of O'Donnel. — As I was going to visit a part of Ireland admirably described in this work, the county of  p.9 Antrim, and had besides a letter of introduction to the amiable authoress at Dublin, it received great additional interest from being read as I was crossing the Irish Channel. Now this being a species of food which happily does not diminish by use, my stock served for the whole company on board the ship, and I believe by the conclusion of the voyage there were few of the passengers who had not read O'Donnel.

When six o'clock arrived, a different story was told from what had been given out when the ship came to anchor; we were now informed that the water would not serve for going over the bar before nine. In short we found that, for reasons best known to himself, our captain was determined not to go into the harbour that night: and since against this determination, though a gross and flagrant imposition, no redress could be obtained, we were obliged at length to take a boat, or we must have remained on board till the next morning, without provisions, or, what was still worse, without a dish of tea to console us. Thus much however was gained by holding out so long against the unreasonable demands of the boatmen, that they were now content to carry us to the Pigeon-house for one shilling each instead of five.

Dublin Bay is six Irish miles 1 in breadth at its mouth, measuring from the Hill of Howth, the northernmost point, to Dalkey Island, the most southern, and seven in depth from the entrance to the mouth of the Liffey. The inner part, called the harbour, is divided off by a stupendous stone pier which stretches all together three miles from the shore, beginning at the village of Ringsend upon the bay. The former part from Ringsend to the Pigeon-house was begun in 1748, and finished in less than seven years: the remaining mile and quarter from the Pigeon-house to the Light-house was begun about the year 1760, and was completed in eight years. The Light-house by which it is terminated, and which stands nearly in the centre of the bay, is a circular stone  p.10 building rising eighty feet above the pier, and one hundred above low-water mark. A gallery with an iron balustrade encircles it on the outside about half way up, the ascent to which is by a narrow steep winding stone staircase, also on the outside. From this gallery is the best point for taking a survey over the bay and the fine country round it. In order to obviate the objection to the sandy foundation on which this structure was of necessity to be raised, it is built on empty wool-packs; an idea for which the engineer was indebted to the ingenuity of his wife. The great sand-bank, called the bar, runs from the end of the pier to the north shore of the bay; vessels of any size can cross it only at the flow of the tide: a flag is kept flying upon the top of the Light-house during the time it may be passed, so that a vessel immediately on entering the bay knows the state of the water.

The new part of the pier with the Light-house is constructed of granite from Bullock, a village on the southern shore of the bay about six miles from Dublin. This stone is remarkable for the quantity of mica it contains, which is sometimes to be found in flakes as large as a sixpence. The stone has a soft and crumbly appearance, and is so when first cut from the quarry, — consequently it is very malleable, — but it hardens exceedingly by the operation of the outward air, till it becomes an extremely solid and durable material for building: the vast mixture of mica gives it a very glittering appearance. The heights to the south at the entrance of the bay, extending through a considerable tract, are all of this granite. It is much used for mending the roads, to which its soft and crumbly nature when first taken from the quarry renders it well adapted, and it is ground to pieces before the air has had time sufficient to produce the effect of hardening it.

Carriages can come no further along the pier than to the Pigeon-house; the remainder is only a footway; it is twenty feet in breadth, but has no parapet or defence of any kind, so that in stormy weather it is difficult to stand against the force of the wind. A large sand-bank runs along the side of this pier next the bay, which at low-water is entirely uncovered; and rising in some places to a level with the pier itself, any one may step immediately from the one to the other. A profusion of shells are always deposited here; the large Solens are in such abundance, that one spot is as it were paved with them: there are besides several sorts of the Venus, Ostrea, Donax, and others. But it is remarkable  p.11 that a live shell is very rarely to be found; the greater part are commonly in a state of absolute decay. A large tract of the bay on the north side, at the end towards the city, is at low water entirely uncovered, and displays little better than a vast expanse of mud. There is no doubt that by the aid of embankments it might soon be completely drained; and converted into cultivable land: this tract bears the name of the North Bull. On the south side of the bay, but at some distance from the town, beyond the pier, is another large tract equally uncovered at low-water, which has the name of the South Bull. This is a fine sand, and is a great resort for walkers and riders. In this and various other parts round the bay are a number of small boxes, like sentry boxes, for the use of bathers to dress and undress. For ladies these are extremely inconvenient, since instead of plunging from them immediately into the water, as with English bathing machines, they must walk some way from the sentry box in the bathing dress before the water is reached. I never saw a bathing machine to go into the sea any where in Ireland.

The appellation of the Pigeon-house will perhaps be thought a truly Irish one, since it is applied to a little cluster of houses at the junction between the old pier and the new one. At this place passengers from vessels coming into the harbour land, and here is a custom-house for the examination of goods. A long coach is always waiting against the arrival of the Holyhead packets, to carry passengers to Dublin; and there are besides a number of coaches, jaunting-cars, and jingles, which may be hired by those who do not choose the long coach, so that a ready conveyance into the city may always be depended on. The Pigeon-house was so called from a man by name Pigeon being the first person who kept a public house upon the spot. Here is a quay, alongside of which formerly all the packets were allowed to come; but the Liverpool packets taking passengers at the same price as the Holyhead, though double the distance, had for some time engrossed the custom so much that the owners of the Holyhead packets grew jealous, and in a fit of spleen petitioned against this indulgence being allowed them any longer; and being in the Government service they had interest sufficient to obtain their suit. But this piece of spite falls much more on the passengers than on the ship-owners, against whom it was directed. Their custom is not diminished by it; while the passengers, instead of being able to step  p.12 from the quay to the vessel, are now obliged to be rowed nearly a mile to it. This regulation was made very soon after our arrival at Dublin.

The scenery round the bay is every way extremely beautiful. To the north is the Hill of Howth, with the little islands or rocks of Lambay and Ireland's Eye, the village of Clontarf, and a number of delightful villas scattered about. To the south are the villages of Blackrock, Dunleary, Dalkey, Monkstown, Bullock, and others, running in succession along the shore, with the Wicklow mountains in the back-ground, among which Bray-head and two conical summits called the Sugar-loaves are the most conspicuous; while in the centre, though seen at a distance, lies the city of Dublin itself. Yet when the extent of the bay is considered, it must appear obvious that the bolder features of the landscape alone can be very distinguishable, looking from the centre; that to obtain an accurate idea of the minuter, it would be necessary to coast round it 2.

This bay is often compared with the bay of Naples, and is generally considered as yielding in beauty to that alone. Never having been at Naples, I cannot judge of them by comparison: but beautiful as I think Dublin Bay, I must prefer to it one which I had previously seen, the bay of Toulon, and another which I did not see till afterwards, the bay of Belfast, or, as it is more commonly called, Belfast lough 3. Toulon bay has always appeared to me one of the most enchanting scenes that the imagination can picture to itself, and, from being much less extensive than the bay of Dublin, every object around is distinctly seen from the centre, or even from shore to shore. The same may be said of Belfast lough; the scenery round is equally beautiful with that round Dublin Bay, and the shores approaching so much nearer to each other, though it runs as far inland, every object is seen clearly and distinctly. But the bay of Toulon has one great and decided advantage over any thing in these northern climes, in the brilliancy which the delicious sun of Provence casts over  p.13 all its scenery: this gives landscapes of that country a superiority of which those who have been accustomed only to our atmosphere, loaded as it too commonly is with vapours, can scarcely form an idea.

The drive from the Pigeon-house to Dublin is not calculated to give a stranger a very favourable impression of the new country he is come to visit. Nothing can be more filthy and disgusting than the town of Ringsend at which the pier terminates, nor can much be said for the remainder of the way till the suburbs of the city are passed. To compensate, if he has then any way to go into the city, he must necessarily pass through some of the best parts of it. At the recommendation of our fellow-travellers, the two Irish officers, we went to Levin's hotel in Mary's street on the north side of the river, by which means we saw sufficient to remove the unfavourable impression first made upon us. Here we found comfortable accommodations, very civil attendance, and for a hotel in a large city not unreasonable charges. In ordering supper we desired to have a roasted chicken, begging that it might not be a very small one. "No, no," said the waiter, "I understand: it shan't be a mere sucking chicken." — The next day I was settled very pleasantly in a lodging in Frederick-street South, from which I had a side view into the gardens of Trinity College.

 p.14

3. Origin of the City of Dublin… Route to Cork. — Tallagh. —…

Origin of the City of Dublin and of its Name — Present Extent of the City, — The National Bank — The Custom-House — The Four Courts. — Trinity College — The Library. — The Fagel Library — The Manuscript-Room — The Quin Library. — Curious Work undertaken by Dr. Barret — The College Chapel. — The Examination-Room — Monument to Dr. Baldwin — The Museum — The Moose Deer — The new Botanic Garden.

It is not my intention to carry my readers through a long discussion of the various opinions concerning the original foundation of Dublin. Like all other great cities its origin is involved in much fable and obscurity; and the sources from which the different opinions are derived being accessible to every one, it would rather be impertinence to dilate upon them. The great antiquity claimed by some writers is disputed by others; but the probability seems that the first establishment of any thing that might be called a town, that is, an assemblage of houses with a number of people congregated together into something approaching to a civilized society, is of very remote date. If the Eblana Civitas mentioned by Ptolemy the geographer, who wrote in the second century of the Christian aera, really designate Dublin, as there seems sufficient reason to believe, it must even then have been a place of considerable note, to be mentioned by one who wrote in so distant a part of the world. The first settlers on the spot appear to have been fishermen, who established their huts on the eminence where now stands the castle: and these men being of a tribe called the Eblani, the town was called after them Eblana Civitas, or the city of the Eblani: the transition from thence to the present name of Dublin will appear obvious and easy. Such seems the most probable derivation of the name; though by others it is derived from Dubh-Leana, which in the ancient Irish language signifies the place of the black harbour, the bay of Dublin being anciently called, as they affirm, the black lake.

By the tenth century the settlement had arrived at so much distinction that it is styled in the charter granted by King Edgar in the year 964, called Oswalds  p.15 Laws, the most noble city of Dublin. Still it does not appear that the buildings were of sufficient consequence to give it, according to our modern ideas, any claim to such an appellation, since two centuries after, at the conquest of the island by Henry the Second, he had a palace erected in the form of a long cabin, and the materials employed in its construction were only smooth wattles. Hence it may fairly be presumed that the general architecture of the country had not risen to any thing superior, but that the houses of the then great were humble as the cabins which now shelter, or scarcely shelter, the common classes of the Irish. But however simple and humble was this palace in its exterior, it was fitted up in the interior with so much taste and splendour as to excite general admiration. Here the victor monarch gave a grand Christmas entertainment to several petty princes of the island who had submitted to him; and here he held a parliament in the year 1173, where he granted his first charter to the city of Dublin, holding out strong encouragement for colonizers from England to settle there. The site of this palace is supposed to have been where now runs the south side of Dame-street.

Before the conquest of Ireland by Henry, the Danes were for a considerable period in possession of Dublin; but the precise time either of their obtaining such possession, or of their being expelled from it, is not accurately ascertained. While there, they surrounded it with a wall and some fortifications; but since this wall is not supposed to have been more than an Irish mile in length, the circuit which it inclosed must have been very small. There are now in the very heart of the city some trifling remains of old wall which were evidently once a part of the city walls: but it is to be presumed they are not fragments of those erected by the Danes, since they must have inclosed a circuit of much greater extent.

The first habitations in Dublin were confined to the south side of the Liffey: when establishments were formed on the north side is not certainly ascertained. It is generally supposed to have been first inhabited by the Danes, who being called by the natives Ostmen, that is Eastmen, this part of the city was called, after them, Ostmenstown, whence is derived Oxmanstown, the more modern appellation given to a certain portion of the north side of Dublin.

Since the time when, from the subjugation of Ireland to the English government, Dublin has become better known in this country, it has been in a progressive  p.16 state of improvement; and within the last century its extension and embellishment have been most rapid, so that it has now a just claim to a high rank among the fine cities of Europe. Its form is nearly a square of two miles and a half each way, which makes its circumference extend to ten miles. The eastern part towards the bay is that which contains the principal public buildings, with the best houses, streets, and squares. Before the Reformation there were a great number of monastic institutions, the buildings of which, on the abolition of the religious orders, were consigned to more useful purposes. The first ever erected was in 1146, consequently not long before the English conquest; but the country had then been for several centuries converted to Christianity.

Among the public buildings by which Dublin is now embellished, the first place must indisputably be allotted to the National Bank. This beautiful edifice was originally erected for the meeting of the houses of parliament; and it must be acknowledged that, while they sat there, the representatives of the younger sister country had a much more splendid place of assemblage than those of the elder. The building was begun in the year 1729 under the administration of Lord Carteret, and was ten years in being completed. At the union of the two countries, when the Irish were no longer to have a parliament of their own, and the edifice was rendered nugatory as to its original destination, it was sold to the bank directors, and after various necessary alterations was opened in the year 1808 for the new purpose to which it was destined.

Over this building I was shown very completely, through the obliging attentions of Sir Arthur Clarke, who, being connected with some of the proprietors, procured me entrance to places not commonly shown. In one room is a model of the building on the scale of an eighth of an inch to a foot, which shows it, as it is, almost a little town of itself. A considerable part of the roof constitutes a platform, on which a whole regiment might be stationed if necessary for the defence of the place, while a large armory within would abundantly furnish arms for their equipment. The room where the House of Lords sat remains in its original state; it is ornamented with two well executed pieces of tapestry representing the siege of Londonderry and the battle of the Boyne; they are the production of a Dutch artist. To these decorations has lately been added a very vilely executed statue of King George the Third by Bacon. Why it was  p.17 placed in a room now wholly neglected, and where it is scarcely ever seen, those who placed it there best can tell: perhaps they thought — and if so they thought justly — that this would be more for the credit of the artist. There is certainly no building in London to be compared for architectural beauty with the Bank of Ireland. It is built of Portland stone, as are most of the modern buildings of note in Dublin.

Next to it must be mentioned two other very handsome modern buildings, the Custom-house, and the Four-Courts, as it is called, where the principal courts of law are held. The former stands on the quay, thence called Custom-house Quay, on the north side of the river, and almost at the eastern extremity of the town. It was begun in the year 1781, and finished in 1791. It is said to be no less commodiously arranged in the interior for transacting business, than it is handsome in the exterior. One defect, however, must not pass unnoticed, since it is very striking — that it is placed much too near the river; had it been thrown backwarder, it would have been seen to tenfold advantage. Situated as it now is, no good view of it can be obtained but from the other side of the water; and that, unfortunately, is a dirty disagreeable badly inhabited part of the town, abounding with those minor public-houses which are the great resort of the sailors.

The Four-Courts stands also on the north side of the Liffey, much more to the west, on a part called King's Inn Quay. The same defect which has been noticed at the Custom-house is no less striking here — that it is placed much too near the river; a spacious area before it is wanted for the architecture to be seen to advantage. It is also, unfortunately, no less to be remarked, that while no good view of the building can be obtained but from the other side of the water, that other side is a very dirty disagreeable part of the town. The first stone of this building was laid by the Duke of Rutland when he was Lord Lieutenant, in March 1786, and the courts were opened for the administration of justice in November 1796. The four courts are those of the King's Bench, Chancery, Exchequer, and Common Pleas; but there are many other law offices here.

Trinity College is not less one of the great ornaments of Dublin as a public building, than as a learned institution. Among a great deal of most pleasing and agreeable society to whom I was introduced during my stay in this city,  p.18 must be mentioned Mr. Hamilton Rowan and his family. Upon this gentleman's political character and opinions a diversity of sentiments may be entertained: a man who has taken the warm and decided part in the political world which he has done, will of course be an object of eager admiration among those whose opinions coincide with his own, while those who differ from him will regard him with almost equal reprobation. Of his manners in private life I should think but one opinion can be entertained, — that he is most truly the polished gentleman, a character not very common even in the sphere where most it might be expected to abound. To his and Mrs. Hamilton Rowan's polite attentions I was indebted for seeing the college much more completely than would have been possible without such patronage. At their request Dr. Magee, at present dean of Cork, one of the Fellows of the college, whose name it is almost superfluous to mention as one of high note in the literary world, went over the library with us, and introduced to my notice every thing most deserving the attention of a stranger.

The principal room is a very fine one, two hundred and seventy feet in length by forty in breadth; a length exceeding any other single room for the reception of books in the United Kingdoms. It is fitted up entirely with the dark old Irish oak, which gives it a truly dignified and venerable appearance. A gallery with a balustrade of the same oak runs round it, which is decorated with a profusion of busts. Down one side are those of celebrated characters of antiquity, as Homer, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Euripides, Sophocles, &c. &c. Along the other side are modern characters, as Lord Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, Mr. Locke, Dean Swift, Shakespeare, Milton, Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Delaney, Archbishop Usher, and many others. The latter was a very liberal contributor to the library. This room contains about forty thousand volumes of the best works in all branches of literature. At the upper end it is crossed by a smaller room, the two making together the form of a T, where is now deposited the celebrated Fagel library from Amsterdam. This library was among the spoils brought over to England at the revolution in Holland when the Stadtholderian government was overthrown. It was offered for sale to both the English Universities at the price of fourteen thousand pounds, but the purchase was declined by both as too expensive; it was then proposed to the University of Dublin, and at first declined by them upon the same grounds.  p.19 But very soon after a discovery was made of a large sum of money due to the College, till then unknown to them, and it was agreed to appropriate this sort of deodand to a purchase which had not been declined without great reluctance and regret.

Bonaparte, who was then at the head of the French government, had just about the same time sent over a commission to have the most select works in this collection purchased for the National Library at Paris; but the University of Dublin proposing to take the whole, the bargain was concluded with them for the sum originally proposed. The collection consists of about twenty thousand volumes, among which are a number of very valuable classical and historical works in a great variety of languages. There is a very fine copy of Madame Merian's celebrated drawings of the insects and plants of Surinam. This collection was made by three successive heads of the family of Fagel: the son of the last, whom the necessity of the times compelled to part with it, has visited Dublin since the books were transferred thither. He expressed himself greatly consoled, under the mortification which he could not but feel at seeing this monument of the taste of his forefathers transferred to a foreign country, in reflecting that the collection was preserved entire, and occupied so conspicuous a station in so noble an university.

Before the purchase of this library the apartment which it occupies was appropriated to manuscripts; they are now removed into a room over it. Here I saw some fine specimens of ancient penmanship, among them a beautiful Missal the writing and splendid illuminations of which were all executed by nuns. Another remarkable work is a topographical description of all the provinces in France, in manuscript, in thirty-two volumes folio. In this room is a small collection of very curious books bequeathed to the College by a remarkable character of the name of Quin, and called after him the Quin Library: among them are some of the most choice editions of the Classics, in the most expensive and elegant bindings. I was also shown some curious old Irish manuscripts, which of course were not intelligible to me, and indeed there are very few persons now in existence to whom they are so; but as relics of remote antiquity I could not but regard them with extreme veneration. One of them was a copy of the old Brehon laws.

But among the greatest curiosities in the library is a work executed by Dr.  p.20 Barret, one of the Fellows of the college, a very remarkable character, in whom a passion for books and learning even rises above another very prevailing feature, the love of money. In looking over the manuscripts he discovered one which upon a close inspection he perceived to be written over another of much older date, the former writing having been effaced, though not so effectually but that faint traces of it were discernible. He immediately applied himself to making out as much of the original manuscript as could be deciphered, and succeeded so far as to ascertain it to be a Greek manuscript of St. Matthew's Gospel. He has since had the text printed as far as sufficient remains of the characters can be traced to admit of it, for some are wholly effaced, supplying the blanks with points. In front of the page it is printed in a fac-simile of the original characters, and on the back in those of the modern Greek. The whole has been a work of immense labour, but from the peculiar turn of the Doctor's mind has afforded him no less gratification than toil. This gentleman never stirs beyond the college walls excepting twice in the year to the Bank, which is close by, to receive his half-yearly dividends, an office which he would not on any consideration depute to another; and on an annual visit with the Board to the College Observatory at Dunsink four miles from Dublin. The consequence of this secluded life is excessive simplicity of manners and utter ignorance of the world. He has been forty years Fellow, and for many years his fellowship has produced an income of 2000 l. a year, of which he perhaps scarcely spends twenty pounds, excepting in books; of these he buys a great number, and often very expensive ones. At the same time his penuriousness in other respects is such, that were not his dinner provided free of expense by the College, he would run some hazard of being starved. His memory is astonishing: not long since, in answer to some question which was asked him, he not only ran over a list of all the gentlemen who had been provosts and vice-provosts of the college since its foundation, but gave every circumstance attending the election of each individual. He knows every book that has been brought into the library since he became Fellow.

The college is divided into two courts, the library occupying one entire side of the interior court; a piazza runs underneath it, which affords a sheltered walk in wet weather. This building is of stone, but unfortunately of such a soft and mouldering nature that though not a hundred years old it seems falling  p.21 rapidly to decay. In the first court are the chapel and the theatre, standing opposite to each other, both very handsome buildings; the interior of the chapel, like the library, is fitted up with old Irish oak. The theatre, or examination-room, where the principal college exercises are performed, is eighty feet in length by forty in breadth. On one side is a marble monument to the memory of Dr. Baldwin, formerly provost of the college and a great benefactor to it, leaving it by his will property to the amount of eighty thousand pounds. The monument represents the Doctor expiring, having a scroll in his hand intended as his will, and bending over him is an allegorical figure of Learning in deep affliction at the loss of one of her favourite sons. The monument was executed at Rome by a Mr. Hewetson a native of Ireland, but who deserted his own country for that centre of the arts, Italy. Round the room are whole-length portraits of Queen Elizabeth (the foundress of the college), Archbishop Usher, Archbishop King, Bishop Berkeley, Dean Swift, Mr. Molyneux, Dr. Baldwin, Lord Clare, and the Right Honourable Sir John Foster.

The museum is a good room, and contains a tolerable collection of Irish minerals, with some specimens of the basaltic columns from the Giants' Causeway. Of other natural curiosities the most conspicuous and rare is a stuffed giraffe or camelopard. Among the most interesting objects of art are a model of the Giants' Causeway, as it is called, and the harp of the celebrated Irish patriot king, Brian Boroimhe, or Brian Boru as the name is commonly pronounced. This object is alike interesting from having belonged to so noted a character, and from being an undoubted specimen of the true ancient Irish harp. The model called that of the Giants' Causeway I afterwards ascertained to be, as I then suspected, not of that extraordinary natural phaenomenon itself, but of the promontory of Pleaskin in its vicinity. It is carved in wood, and very well executed.

At the bottom of the staircase leading up to the museum, there are among other objects a curious model, in plaster of Paris, of an ancient Roman galley, and a pair of horns with the skeleton of the head and some other bones of the moose deer. This is the name given to an animal now only known, like the mammoth, by the remains of him occasionally discovered in digging in the earth; in the Irish language he is called vamh-alca, or the wild ox, but the form of the head and the horns are those of the deer not the ox species. These  p.22 remains are generally found at a great depth, in a stratum of marle covered with bog. About forty or fifty years ago a pair of these horns with the skull were dug up in some lands belonging to the see of Dromore, the largest ever discovered, they measured fourteen feet from tip to tip: the bones of a fore leg were also discovered, from which it was conjectured that the animal to which they belonged must have been twenty hands high. The horns at the college museum cannot approach near to this measurement; still they are very large, and the weight of them must be prodigious, while the size of the head seems wholly incompetent to supporting them. No entire skeleton of this animal, any more than of the mammoth, has ever been found. When it existed in Ireland, or when the race disappeared, no tradition pretends to determine, though some people will take upon themselves decidedly to affirm that it disappeared at the deluge: these must forget the command given to Noah, to carry with him into the ark two of every species of living creature, or must charge the patriarch with negligence in obeying the command. That a creature wearing these enormous horns did once exist, the horns themselves attest, and this is all that is known about him: they are seldom found singly, — that is, if one pair are found, it has rarely happened but that by digging near more have been discovered. Sir Edward Bellew is said to have at his seat near Dunleer in the county of Louth, the best preserved pair that have ever been found.

The College park is spacious, and is a great advantage to the young students, to whom it is open. The Fellows have a garden to themselves, which affords such as love retirement a nice secluded walk. But I must observe, that the same attention is not paid as in England to keeping the gardens, lawns, and shrubberies neat, and in nice order: this is more particularly the case in and about the capital; in the remoter parts of the country I found much more attention to this object; indeed in the neighbourhood of Dublin I never saw any thing that could fairly be called a lawn. The grass in the college garden was long and straggling, as if left growing for hay, and the borders were full of weeds. The gravel of the country is besides of a dark hue, unpleasant to the eye, and at the first glance appearing scarcely better than cinder ashes; yet it is fine, binds well, and is firm and pleasant to the foot.

The foundation of the College consists of a provost and twenty-two fellows, seven seniors and fifteen juniors. By an old statute the Fellows were not allowed  p.23 to marry; but this they had for a long time found the means to evade, till in the year 1812, at the suggestion of Dr. Hall the provost, and Chief Justice Downes the vice-chancellor, an order was made by the Government that in future the Fellows should at their election take an oath that, in case of their marrying, notice of the marriage should be given to the provost within fifteen days; the consequence of which is, that the fellowship is immediately vacated. There are a great many livings in the gift of the College, some very valuable ones, as much as 2000l. a year, which must be given to the Fellows. Five royal professorships also belong to this foundation, viz. for divinity, common law, civil law, physic, and Greek; with three medical ones, established by the will of a Sir Patrick Dunn, for the theory and practice of physic, for surgery and midwifery, and for pharmacy and the materia medica. Besides these there are professors of mathematics, astronomy, the Oriental tongues, the Irish language, oratory, history, and natural philosophy: also a great number of scholarships and exhibitions for the encouragement and assistance of the young students. The number of students is generally from six to seven hundred. The former buildings having been found insufficient for the purposes of the College, new ones are now erecting to a considerable extent. The provost's house is detached from the college, but standing close by it. The students wear a black gown and square cap, as at the English universities, but at present only in college; formerly they were obliged to wear them at all times, but that practice has been gradually laid aside.

There is a very fine Observatory belonging to the College, at Dunsink four miles from the city. It contains an astronomical circle eight feet in diameter, the work of Mr. Ramsden, the finest instrument of the kind ever made, with a remarkably fine transit instrument. The present professor of astronomy, Dr. Brinkley, is considered as one of the first mathematicians of the age, and is no less remarkable for the mildness and urbanity of his manners than for his profound learning and deep scientific knowledge. By the assistance of the noble apparatus here, he has been enabled to solve some very important problems in astronomy, which had for a long time been the subject of research among the most distinguished mathematicians all over Europe — A piece of ground just out of Dublin has been recently purchased by the College for a botanic garden; but it was at this time too much in its infancy to be worth seeing.

 p.24

4. Renewal of an old Acquaintance —… Antiquity of the City of Cork.…

Renewal of an old Acquaintance — The Dublin Society — Mr. Prior its Founder — Collection of Minerals — Meteoric Stone — Carthaginian Axes. — The Library — Collection of Casts — Exhibition-Room — Botanic Garden. — Removal of the Society to Leinster-House — The Dublin Institution — The Royal Irish Academy — The Castle — The Exchange — The Commercial Buildings — The Post-Office.

I had not been many days in Dublin when I was most fortunately furnished with an opportunity of renewing an acquaintance from which many years before I had derived great pleasure; this was with Mr. Weld the ingenious author of Travels in America, and of an excellent description of the Lakes of Killarney. We met by chance in the street; and, though nearly twenty years had elapsed since our last meeting, we had no difficulty in recognising each other. Such an encounter was the more fortunate since Mr. Weld was not an inhabitant of Dublin, he was only come from the country for a few days. He very obligingly expressed great pleasure in the interview; and, to prove that these expressions were not empty sounds, anxiously inquired how he could contribute towards doing the honours of his country to a stranger. Finding that I had not been at the Dublin Society, of which he is a very zealous and active member, he insisted upon carrying me thither at the instant; and thither we accordingly went.

This Society, such as it now is, has varied very considerably from its original institution. So long ago as in the year 1731, a number of gentlemen, at the head of whom was Mr. Prior of Rathdowney in the Queen's County, associated themselves together for the purpose of improving the agriculture and husbandry of their country; and this was the first association ever formed, in the British dominions at least, — perhaps it might be said, all the world over, — expressly for such purposes. Mr. Prior afterwards, in the year 1749, when Lord Chesterfield was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, through his interest  p.25 with that nobleman procured a charter of incorporation for the Society, with a grant of 10,000 l. per annum for the better promotion of its views. 4

It has however in the lapse of time, by first enlarging the objects it embraced, at length lost sight of its original and primary one; so that while agricultural societies have in the course of a few years started up almost with the rapidity of mushrooms, throughout the British dominions, — this, the father of them all, is scarcely one any longer: — a new society is formed for agricultural purposes, while the original one is principally devoted to the promotion of the arts and sciences. The stipend granted by the Government is not the less continued to it.

The collection of minerals is esteemed one of the most complete and the most scientifically arranged that any country can boast. The Museum Hibernicum — Regnum Minerale — contains, as its title denotes, the minerals of Ireland alone; and few countries yield a more abundant harvest to the mineralogist: they are very judiciously selected, and admirably arranged. Among them is a piece of the Wicklow gold, and with it a model in brass of the largest piece ever found, weighing twenty-two ounces. But the great collection is the Leskean  p.26 Museum, as it is called, after Mr. Leske by whom it was made. This gentleman was Professor of Natural History at Marpurg in Germany, and was a pupil of the celebrated Werner, according to whose system the minerals are arranged. They consist of between seven and eight thousand specimens, from all parts of the world. At the death of Mr. Leske, his heirs not inheriting his taste, or perhaps wanting the money, the collection was offered to sale, and was purchased by the Dublin Society for twelve hundred guineas.

Among the Irish minerals are specimens of all the different forms assumed by the basaltic columns at the Giants' Causeway; and a meteoric stone which fell in the county of Tipperary, the fall of which is too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. Two men were at work upon the top of a house, when they heard a whizzing noise as if a cannon-ball were passing rapidly over their heads, and in a few instants saw something strike the ground at no great distance. They hastened immediately to the spot, when they perceived that the earth had the appearance of being recently ploughed up; and raking in it with their hands they soon found this stone. It was then so hot that they could scarcely bear to touch it, and retained the same heat for nearly four hours.

A large collection of specimens of different woods forms another very interesting object in this Museum. There is also a piece of wood from a tree, which when cut down was found to have letters carved in it, so far within, as to prove incontestably the truth of Mr. Forsyth's theory, that the bark forms over and over the trunk of the tree in repeated coats. The collection of stuffed birds and other animals is by no means large or very select; there are some remains of the moose deer, but not so good as at the College museum.

Among the relics of antiquity are several heads of axes, which were dug up in the south of Ireland, corresponding exactly with some that have been found in the plain of Cannae and in Egypt, and which are considered as Carthaginian. This seems strongly to corroborate the idea that the Carthaginians, the most adventurous navigators of ancient days, actually traded to Ireland. Here is also a spur found in digging in some remote part of the country, of a size so enormous, and with a rowel so enormous, that it really seems as if it had belonged to a giant. Models of Stone-henge such as it is now, and such as it is supposed to have been when perfect, are among the curiosities shown. With them is a model of a circular erection in some part of Ireland, —  p.27 I do not recollect where, — which seems to have been of the amphitheatre kind An esplanade runs round the top, and within, all round, are steps up to it in the annexed form.

No tradition speaks of this, or throws any light upon the purpose for which it was destined.

The Society has a very good library, particularly in works relative to the arts and sciences; and a collection of casts from some of the most celebrated works of the antique, as the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Gladiator, &c. &c. intended principally for the assistance of students in the beautiful art of sculpture. This collection is always open to any one who shows a taste for the arts and is desirous of improving it, whatever may be his rank and situation in life. I saw some specimens of the works of the pupils very well executed. There is a very complete chemical laboratory, with a theatre for lectures. The board-room, where the meetings of the Society are held, is large and handsomely fitted up: in it are whole-length portraits of Sir John Foster and General Vallancey; the latter is well known for his researches into the antiquities of Ireland.

The Exhibition-room is spacious and handsome. It was originally appropriated solely to exhibiting the works of living artists; but this year for the first time, in imitation of the British Institution in London, the principal noblemen and gentlemen of the country, who had in their possession good pictures by the ancient masters, had lent them to form an exhibition, for the benefit of young students. The pictures were to remain for three months. To students this gallery was open gratis till eleven in the morning: from that time till five in the afternoon it was open for the reception of company; each person paying an English shilling admittance, that is thirteen pence Irish money. There were some very fine pictures: particularly a St. Sebastian by Guercino, a St. Jerome by Spagnoletto, a landscape by Claude Lorraine, and one by Cuyp; from the duke of Leinster's collection: a portrait of Caesar Borgia by Titian, from the  p.28 Earl of Charlemont's; the Martyrdom of St. Stephen by L. Carracci, from Trinity College; a St. Francis by Guido, from Sir T. Newcomen. These I mention as among the most striking, but there were many other very good ones. The principal contributors to the exhibition were, the Duke of Leinster, who sent nineteen pictures; Lady Harriet Daly, eighteen; Dr. Tuke, thirteen; Trinity College, six. These are the largest numbers sent by any contributors but the list of names by whom pictures were sent amounted to twenty-five, and the number of pictures to a hundred and thirteen.

Added to all these things the Society have a most noble botanic garden at Glasnevin, a village just out of Dublin to the north. It is much larger than any other that I have seen either in the British dominions or in France, beyond which my knowledge does not extend; comprising more than sixteen Irish acres of ground, or about twenty-two English acres, and is laid out with great taste and judgement. The conservatories, however, and the collection of exotic plants, are not so good as in the King's garden at Kew. It stands very high; and there is a fine view from the eminence, over the city and bay. Nothing, in short, can be conducted upon a more complete and liberal plan for the promotion of its various objects, than this Society is. The number of members at present is about five hundred: they are elected by ballot; each member, the honorary ones excepted, paying 50l. on admission, which constitutes them members for life. By these deposits, and the grant from Government, the institution is supported. There are no annual subscribers.

The house in which I saw it in 1814 was in Hawkins-street, near the College. Before my second visit to Ireland in the following year, Leinster-house, in Kildare-street, the town-residence of the Duke of Leinster, had been purchased by the Society, and the collections were all removed thither, but not arranged; so that, to my great regret, I could not renew and enlarge my acquaintance with objects so multifarious and well deserving the attention of every one visiting Dublin.

The Dublin Institution in Sackville-street has a very good library, which is open to the proprietors and members from seven in the morning till ten at night, with a second collection of books for circulation among the members, from which each may have two out at a time. There is also a news-room, where are English, Irish, Scotch, and French newspapers. It was originally  p.29 intended to have lectures on different branches of science and literature; but this part of the plan has not yet been accomplished. A lecture-room was built, and a philosophical apparatus purchased; but so much money was expended on the library and these things, that it has been thought prudent to withhold the lectures awhile; with the intention, however, of resuming the idea whenever it shall be found practicable: and as the number of members is rapidly increasing, it is hoped this may be at no very distant period. The Institution was commenced only in 1811, by three hundred subscribers at 50l. each. A subscription of that sum constitutes a proprietor: and these shares are transferable; only that the person to whom the share is to be transferred must be elected by ballot among the proprietors. Besides the three hundred proprietors, there may be members without limit, who pay three guineas entrance, and three guineas a-year; but they must also be elected by ballot. The Institution is managed by a committee of proprietors; but, this excepted, the members share all advantages equally with the proprietors.

The Royal Irish Academy was founded by the late Earl of Charlemont, and was incorporated by charter in the year 1786. Its objects are the advancement of science and polite literature, and the study of antiquities. In each of these departments there is a committee of seven, chosen for carrying on the purposes of the Academy. That for science meets on the first Monday in every month; that for polite literature on the second Monday; that for antiquities on the third; and a meeting of the Academy at large is held on the fourth. The Council, which consists of the three committees, meet from time to time by adjournment. An annual prize of a gold medal worth 50l., or that sum in money, is given by the Academy on a subject which is agreed among themselves. Twelve volumes of the Transactions of this Academy have already been published.

I was favoured by a gentleman, with whom I had the pleasure of passing many very pleasant hours in my second visit to Dublin, Mr. Kernan, a person of very extensive knowledge and science, with a copy of an essay by his sister which had obtained a prize from the Academy. The subject is The Influence of fictitious History on modern Manners. It is a work of great erudition and sound reasoning; and though the modest author, in printing the work, has not affixed her name to it, she has proved that name deserving of a high place among the  p.30 literary characters of her sex. Since I was last at Dublin Mr. Kernan has also distinguished himself so much by a course of chemical lectures, as to have been complimented for them by the Company of Apothecaries in Dublin with a piece of plate bearing an inscription suited to the occasion.

The Castle, as it is called, the seat of government, and town-residence of the Lord-lieutenant, was in former times actually a fortress, flanked with bastions, and having a ditch round it. The latter has long been filled up, and no vestige now remains of a castellated appearance, except one tower used as a repository for keeping the national archives, records, &c. The wall of this building is said to be fourteen feet thick. This loss of the venerable remains of antiquity is not compensated by any beauty of modern architecture. The deputy's residence in this country bears indeed a striking affinity in its outward appearance with that of the principal in London; — neither of them possesses a single one of those features which the idea of a palace immediately presents to the imagination. Dublin Castle is an ugly, shabby, red-brick building; and an uglier material for building was never invented by the ingenuity of man, till the architects of Brighton thought of using the still more hideous black composition of which so many houses in that town are constructed.

The whole range of building is divided into two courts. In the interior court, which is called the Upper Castle-yard, are the state apartments, with the private apartments of the Lord-lieutenant, and those of most of the great officers of state. In the outer court, or Lower Castle-yard, are the treasury, the offices of the board of ordnance, of the quartermaster-general, of the secretary-at-war, and other public offices, with an arsenal, and an armoury containing arms sufficient for eighty thousand men. But the most beautiful part of the castle is the new Gothic chapel, which occupies a conspicuous place in the Lower Castle-yard. It was not completed at the time of my first visit to Dublin, but was so at my second; and though not open promiscuously to all, through the politeness and patronage of Sir William Betham, the herald-at-arms, I was shown all over it. It is in the true Gothic style of the days when that mode of building was arrived at its highest perfection; and is indeed a beautiful specimen of modern taste and industry. The ornaments are copied principally from York cathedral.

The Exchange is a handsome but not large modern building, close to the  p.31 Castle. Of late years it has been found so insufficient for the increasing trade of the country, that a building at least equally spacious, called the Commercial Building, has been erected near it by private subscription, as an auxiliary. It has a neat stone front, without any attempt at ornamental architecture.

The Post-office has at present nothing to boast of as to outward show; but the first stone of a new one in Sackville-street was laid this year by the Lord-lieutenant on the twelfth of August, the centenary of the Hanover accession to the throne of England. The plan is said to be of equal beauty with the other modern buildings of Dublin; and being placed in the widest street of the city, where it will be seen with every advantage, it will be a great additional ornament.

 p.32

5. Saint Patrick's Cathedral — Dr. Marsh's… Doubts about the Route on leaving…

Saint Patrick's Cathedral — Dr. Marsh's Library — Bust and Picture of Dean Swift at the Deanery — Mr. Monk Mason — Cathedral of Christ-Church — Earl Strongbow's Monument — Lord Bowes's — Lord Kildare's. — Mr. Priors — Ruins of the Four-Courts — Ancient Archway — Saint Werburgh's Church — Saint George's Church — Saint Andrew's or the Round Church — Other Places of Worship.

Such are the associations connected with Saint Patrick's cathedral, that no one can visit Dublin without feeling his attention early and eagerly directed towards it. I have mentioned that I had a letter of introduction to Sir Charles and Lady Morgan; to their politeness I was obliged for several other very agreeable acquaintance to whom I was introduced. Among them was that distinguished scholar and zealous antiquarian, Mr. William Monk Mason, with his beautiful and amiable wife. When I talked of going to Saint Patrick's, Mr. Mason, with the same disposition that I every where found to do the honours of the country in the politest manner to a stranger, proposed accompanying me thither the next Sunday, when he would explain all the antiquities, and would speak to the Dean that I might hear the best voices in the choir; — the party was joined by Sir Charles and Lady Morgan. A very fine Cantate Domino and Deus misereatur were performed, with an anthem from the hundred-and-thirty-ninth Psalm, by three voices. The first singer, Mr. Spray, is indeed a very fine one; and the other two, though not perhaps equal to him, were such as would be an ornament to any choir.

Saint Patrick's is a Gothic building of the twelfth century: it is not large, and is very plain, devoid of that profusion of ornament bestowed upon the generality of our Gothic buildings in England, and which renders them so magnificent. Indeed none of the Gothic remains in Ireland are to be compared with those in England. I believe some of the latter are allowed to be the best in existence in any part of the world; I saw none in France equal to them. The  p.33 choir at Saint Patrick's is handsomely fitted up with Irish oak, and has some very good carved work about it. The tower is the handsomest part of the exterior; but it is exceedingly deformed by the addition of a spire so totally defective in taste and workmanship, that it looks like a vast extinguisher: it was added so lately as the year 1750, Dr. Stearne, bishop of Clogher, having left a legacy for the purpose. In the nave of the church stands the monument to Dean Swift, which is an object of almost sacred veneration to the inhabitants; yet has he a more lasting monument than could be formed in brass or marble, in the bosoms of a grateful nation, to whom he was so generous a benefactor, of whose rights he was such a strenuous supporter. Near his monument is one to Stella, and another erected by the Dean to Alexander Magee, a faithful servant of his, who died in the year 1722. Since the monument to the Dean was first erected, a bust of him, esteemed a very good likeness, has been placed over it by Mr. Faulkner, the nephew and heir of George Faulkner, the dean's bookseller and the publisher of his works.

Besides these there is in the nave a monument to Dr. Marsh, formerly archbishop of Dublin, who bequeathed a very valuable library to the use of the public. This library is kept in a room near the cathedral. The Doctor's intention appears to have been that it should be perfectly free to every-body: but this valuable privilege being, as is but too often the case with such institutions, in some instances greatly abused, it has been found necessary to lay certain restrictions upon the use of the books. The library is open every day from eleven to three o'clock, Sundays and holidays excepted, when all graduates and gentlemen are admitted to read; but no one is allowed to take a book down himself, he must apply to the librarian for what he wants. Since this donation, the access to books has become so much more easy by means of reading-societies and other literary establishments, that it is now but little resorted to: not having a fund to add new publications to the present stock, it is become rather more an object to the learned few than to the general mass of readers.

Opposite to Dr. Marsh's monument is one to Dr. Smith, another archbishop of Dublin, who died in 1771; and on one side of the great west door is a very curious old monument again to an archbishop of Dublin, but at a much earlier period, a Dr. Michael Tregury, who died in 1471. The prelate is represented in the full canonical dress of those times, with his crosier, and an  p.34 angel is fastened by rings to his fingers. In the choir, on the south side of the communion-table, is an immense ugly massive monument of painted wood to the family of Boyle, earls of Cork, on which are effigies of different members of the family to the amount of sixteen. On the other side of the communion-table is a monument to the Marshal Duke de Schomberg, who was killed at the memorable battle of the Boyne. It was erected in the time of Dean Swift at the expense of the Chapter. There are many other monuments in different parts of the church, but these are the most distinguished.

The Chapter-room forms the south transept. In it are suspended the banners with the other insignia of the deceased knights of St. Patrick; those of the living knights are suspended in the choir of the church. Near the chapter-room, in a niche in the south wall of the church, is a little basin of water called St. Patrick's well, to which are ascribed so many virtues, that it is very much frequented by the lower classes of the people. The Chapter consists of twenty-six members; the dean, twenty prebendaries, two archdeacons, the chancellor, the chanter, and the treasurer. One of the prebendal stalls, that of Cullen, is annexed to the archbishopric.

Though this edifice has no peculiar beauty of architecture to be displayed, yet as a venerable relic of antiquity, and as being rendered still more venerable by the revered name of Swift now attached to it, so indissolubly that the church cannot be adverted to without the idea of that extraordinary and comprehensive mind presenting itself; — for these reasons it is much to be regretted that it stands in so bad a part of the town, and that there is no good access to it from any quarter. The best is by the west door; but this is never opened except on extraordinary occasions, such as an installation of the knights of St. Patrick, or some other grand ceremonial. Added to this, it is so inclosed round with miserable houses, that it is really difficult to make out where the walls of the church are. This is a fault also to be regretted in some of our most magnificent cathedrals in England. Something has of late been done towards removing the nuisance, for so it must be termed, from Westminster Abbey, honour and praise be to those who have presided at the improvement! but much still remains to be done. St. Patrick's cathedral would make an infinitely more respectable appearance standing in a large area.

After we had looked over the church, the Dean obligingly carried us into the  p.35 Deanery, to see a bust of Dean Swift, and an original full-length picture of him. The bust cannot be supposed a likeness; it is very unlike all other representations of this celebrated character, and bears by no means the stamp of genius the forehead is remarkable for sloping back very rapidly from the eye-brows, in direct opposition to that fine arched forehead which is the distinguishing feature of intellect. The picture, however, makes ample amends: in that countenance may indeed be traced the genius capable of writing those travels, which alone are sufficient to confer immortality on a man, supposing that he had never been otherwise distinguished; — those travels which must ever be ranked among the first of human productions for true philosophical reflection, and for the most refined wit and humour. In saying that we trace in this countenance the mind capable of producing such a work, every thing is said. The frame is a curious piece of carving, having the harp on each side with a variety of other emblems; it is of the fine Irish bog oak: but, O sacrilege! one of the deans had it gilt over, so that the true beauty of the wood, which is almost equal to ebony, is wholly lost. What shall be said of the taste of such a man? This picture, with three dining-tables of very fine mahogany used by the Dean, are left as heir-looms to the Deanery. The house in which this celebrated man resided was some years ago destroyed by fire, but the present Deanery stands on the same site.

Another very high treat was afforded me by Mr. Mason during my stay in Dublin, in looking over his most extensive and valuable library. Ardent almost to enthusiasm in his researches into the antiquities of his country, particularly the ancient literature, he has amassed a very large collection both of printed books and manuscripts relative to them; among them are several manuscripts relating to the Brehon laws. But one great object of his ardour is collecting all the old manuscript pieces of poetry in the Irish language which he can possibly procure. Of these fragments he has already a considerable number, and he is confident that he shall at length prove irrefutably the claims of Ireland to the Ossianic heroes, which Scotland has so long arrogated to herself, since he will be able to produce poems in manuscript to substantiate the Irish claims, while Scotland has only oral tradition to justify hers. Mr. Mason's ardour in pursuing the objects by which he is thus deeply interested has a very able and admirable support, in one of the happiest and most retentive  p.36 of memories: the minute details which are stored in his mind, and which he puts forth in conversation in the most instructive manner, are really astonishing. Besides his rich collections relative to Irish antiquities, he has a number of scarce and valuable books in a great variety of languages both ancient and modern, with books of prints, &c. &c. in short, his library is an inexhaustible source of instruction and entertainment. I saw it in a state of great disorder, as he was but just removed into a new house in Harcourt-street, and half the books were lying scattered about the floor. Mrs. Mason, a most lovely and amiable woman, alike in person and disposition, has a few very fine specimens of old china.

The see of Dublin has two cathedrals attached to it, St. Patrick's and Christ-church. This latter, as the more ancient, ought perhaps to have had precedence, but St. Patrick's has by association a value stamped upon it which almost precludes the possibility of not adverting to it the first. The original foundation of Christ-church is ascribed to the son of one of the Danish kings of Dublin, early in the eleventh century, more than a hundred-and-fifty years before the foundation of St. Patrick's. It was then a college of regular canons dedicated to the blessed Trinity, but was converted into a Chapter at the Reformation. The church was probably in its original state, though built so long prior to St. Patrick's, much its superior as a piece of architecture. About two centuries and a half ago, from the decay of the roof, the south side of the nave fell down, and a mere blank wall has been built up in its place, which gives an air of deformity to the whole building; but the other side of the nave is much handsomer than any part of St. Patrick's: — this accident is commemorated by the following inscription on the new wall.
THE: RIGIHT: HONORABL: T: ERL: OF: SVSSEX: L: LEVTNT: THIS: WAL: FEL: DOWN: IN: AN: 1562 x THE: BILDING: OF: THIS: WAL: WAS: IN: AN: 1570.

The style of the building is for the greater part Gothic; but there is one arch in the south transept of the form generally called in this country Saxon.

Near the wall which fell is a monument to the noted Earl Strongbow, the great agent, in conjunction with Dermod Mac Murrough, then king of Leinster, in the subjugation of Ireland to Henry the Second. On a tablet of marble now not raised more than two feet above the pavement, lie the figures of a  p.37 man in armour with a woman by his side, representing the earl and his wife: above is the following inscription:
THIS: AVNCYENT: MONVMENT: OF: RYCHARD: STRANGBOWE: CALLED: COMES: STRANGVLENSIS: LORD: OF: CHEPSTO: AND: OGNY: THE: FYRST: AND: PRINCYPALL: INVADER OF: IRLAND: 1169: QUI: OBIIT 1177: THE: MONVMENT: WAS: BROCKEN: BY: THE: FALL: OF: THE ROFF: AND: BODYE: OF: CHRISTES: CHVRCHE: IN: AN: 1562: AND: SET: VP: AGAYNE: AT: THE:CHARGYS: OF: THE: RIGHT: HONORABLE: SR: HENIRI: SYDNEY: KNYGHT: OF: THE: NOBLE: ORDER: E: PRESIDENT: OF: WAILES: L: DEPUTY: OF: IRLAND: 1570.

The church was enlarged by Earl Strongbow in conjunction with the then Archbishop of Dublin and others, soon after Dublin surrendered to the English. The Chapter consists of a dean, three prebendaries, a chancellor, and a chanter. The Bishop of Kildare for the time being is dean, and one of the prebendal stalls is appropriated to the Archdeacon of Dublin. Lambert Simnel was crowned king in this church in the year 1468, by the title of Edward the Sixth. It was here that the liturgy was performed for the first time in Ireland in the English tongue, on Easter Sunday 1550.

In the nave is also a handsome monument to Lord Bowes, who served several great law offices in Ireland, under the three kings of the House of Hanover. He attained the highest dignity in his profession, that of Lord Chancellor, in 1757, and the following year was created a baron: he died in 1767. On the north side of the communion-table is a very fine monument to the Earl of Kildare, the nineteenth in succession who had borne that title, and whose son became Duke of Leinster. Another of the ornaments of this church is the monument to Mr. Prior the founder of the Dublin Society. On the top is his bust, below which stand two boys, one pointing to a bas-relief representing Minerva leading the Arts towards Hibernia, while the other holds in his hand a scroll, on which is the following inscription: — This monument was erected to Thomas Prior, esquire, at the charge of several persons who contributed to honour the memory of that worthy patriot, to whom his veracity, actions, and unwearied endeavours in the service of his country, have raised a monument more lasting than marble. — There are several other monuments in the church, but these are the principal.

 p.38

The pavement of the church has been so much raised since its first erection, that the basements of the pillars are now sunk several inches beneath it: the earth has, however, been removed all round the foot of one, to show what they were in their original state. To this cause must it probably be ascribed that the monument to Earl Strongbow appears now so little raised above the pavement; it may reasonably be presumed that it was higher originally; but has, like the pillars, been earthed up. The choir is rather handsome, and is fitted up with Irish oak. In it is a gallery for the Lord-lieutenant, who is obliged to attend service here on Christmas-day and on Easter-Sunday. The same singers perform the service here as at St. Patrick's; in the former at half past ten in the morning, in the latter at three in the afternoon.

This cathedral stands, like St. Patrick's, in a very bad part of the town. On the south side, joined to it, are a number of miserable ruins of the building where formerly the Four-Courts were held, before the erection of the present noble edifice. At the original foundation of the church, the episcopal palace was on this spot; but whether the Four-Courts were formed out of this building, or another was erected upon the same site, is not known. One part of the ruins is still inhabited, but only by the poorest class, and appears likely to fall at any moment. Close by is an archway of perhaps forty or fifty feet in length, which appears evidently to have formed part of a cloister; but it is now so earthed up within, that little more than the vaulted roof remains aboveground. The memory, on seeing it, recurs irresistibly to the stupendous ruins of ancient Egypt, so many of which are described as earthed up in like manner. The woman who showed us about took great pains to impress upon our minds the much greater antiquity of this church than St. Patrick's; the latter she seemed to hold in sovereign contempt, as a thing but of yesterday.
‘Beauties with beauties are in arms,
And scandal pelts each other's charms, ’ (John Gay, the Rat-Catcher and Cats) says the poet; and it should seem that the same is the case with rival churches, or at least they are made to do so by those who exhibit them.

Of the parochial churches, St. Werburgh's is the principal. There the Lord-lieutenant and Court used to attend divine service before the new chapel to the Castle was opened, St. George's is a very neat pretty new-built church,  p.39 near Mountjoy-square, a quarter where within a few years almost a new town has sprung up. The portico and spire are both handsome; over the portico is inscribed:
DOXA EN YPSISTOIS THEOO.

Saint Andrew's, or the Round Church as it is more commonly called, is remarkable for the circular form whence it has its name. Its external appearance is indeed so unlike any of our usually received ideas of a church, that no one, till informed, could possibly conjecture it to be one: besides its singular form, it has no tower or spire, though a foundation is prepared on which hereafter it is purposed to build a spire. The building is brick stuccoed over to have the appearance of stone; over the principal door is a group representing the martyrdom of the patron saint. There are sixteen other parish churches, but none particularly worthy of notice.

Dublin also contains sixteen meeting-houses for protestant dissenters of different persuasions, ten catholic chapels, six friaries, and six nunneries, but no synagogue for the Jews.

 p.40

6. The Lying-in Hospital — The Rotunda… Skibbereen. — A new Addition to…

The Lying-in Hospital — The Rotunda — The Foundling Hospital — The Blue-Coat Hospital — Kilmainham Hospital — Other charitable Institutions — The House of Industry — The Beggars — The Black Cart — Sir Arthur Clarke and his Baths — Singular Talent of Lady Clarke — College of Surgeons — Markets — Potatoes.

The charitable institutions of Dublin are very numerous, and well regulated: none among them is more deserving of particular notice than the Lying-in Hospital. This excellent charity owes its origin to the exertions of Dr. Bartholomew Mosse, once a celebrated surgeon and accoucheur in Dublin. Struck with the unfortunate and comfortless situation of poor women at such a moment, of which, probably, from the nature of his profession he had too often ocular demonstration, in the year 1745 he took a house in George's-street for their reception, and supported it for some time entirely at his own expense. Like many other patriotic undertakings, the utility of which has in the end been universally acknowledged and applauded, a great popular clamour was at first raised against this institution; but at length the benefit derived from it was so palpable, that not only was the voice of opposition silenced, but the popular cry became as warm in its favour as it had once been against it; and the number of patients applying for admission was so great, that the original house was by no means competent to receiving them. Many charitable and well-disposed persons now came forward to aid the Doctor's benevolent purpose; some with benefactions, others with annual subscriptions, till at length he formed the plan of erecting the present Hospital. He took a long lease of the ground on which it stands, and the first stone of the building was laid in 1751, by the then lord-mayor of Dublin; while, the better to secure the probability of supporting his new foundation, he expended a considerable sum of money in laying out a portion of the ground as a garden for public amusement. But in the prosecution of plans so extensive he had soon exhausted his own means, and was obliged to have recourse to raising money on credit, as well as  p.41 to devise other schemes for procuring it. In a lottery he was tolerably successful; but, another scheme entirely failing, in the year 1755 he applied to Parliament for assistance, and obtained a grant of 6000l. The following sessions, on renewing his application, another grant was afforded him of a like sum; and at the same time a vote was passed giving him 2000l. for his own use, as an acknowledgement of his laudable and benevolent exertions. The same year he obtained a charter from King George the Second, incorporating a number of the principal noblemen and gentlemen of Ireland as governors of his new establishment, and appointing him Master for life. On the 8th of December 1757 it was opened for the reception of patients.

To the Hospital has since been attached a building, of a circular form, thence called the Rotunda, where are rooms for public amusements, as balls, concerts, or exhibitions of any kind, with a theatre for public lectures; and from the profits yielded by these different objects, combined with those afforded by the gardens, and collections made at the time of service in the chapel, the Hospital is principally supported. The gardens are open every night during the summer as a promenade, with a band of music and lights, each person paying sixpence at entrance, and they are much frequented even by very good company. About seventy thousand patients have been admitted since the opening of the Hospital, nineteen of whom have had three children at a birth, and one four. The building exhibits in the exterior a happy medium between excessive plainness and idle ornament, and nothing can be neater or more comfortable than the wards for the reception of the poor women. The chapel is very prettily fitted up; and as it is open to the public on Sundays, is much attended. The square in which this Hospital and garden stand is now called Rutland-square, from its having been much improved and embellished under the patronage of the Duke of Rutland when he was Lord Lieutenant. Since the death of Dr. Mosse, a new master of the Hospital is elected every seven years.

The Foundling Hospital is a very extensive institution, established upon a truly noble and liberal principle, — the idea of removing every inducement to the neglect or destruction of infant innocence, which poverty or shame might prompt. But since the best of purposes must unavoidably be liable to perversion, so abuses had crept in here, which rendered it necessary some years since to establish such restraints as might at least very much correct, if not totally  p.42 prevent them. Till that time all children were indiscriminately taken in; nothing was requisite but to deposit the child in a cradle fixed for the purpose at the principal entrance. This facility of admission occasioned children to be sent thither from all parts of the country; nay, they were even brought from England; the importation of them was, as I have been credibly informed, become a regular branch of traffic among the inferior traders between Dublin and Liverpool. By the present regulation, the person must knock at the door and deliver in the child; and though it is received without any questions being asked, yet the bearer being obliged to show him- or herself, has been found a very great check upon the former illicit practices.

The Hospital stands in a very airy situation, on the south side of the river, quite at the western extremity of the town. It was first founded in 1704; and, after various experiments for supporting it, a tax of one shilling in the pound upon the rent of all houses within the city was granted, with some additional duty upon inns, taverns, porter-houses, and the like. The establishment is extremely well conducted, and the children all look perfectly clean, healthy, and happy. The infants are for the most part sent into the country, to the care of nurses provided for the purpose, where they remain till they are six years old; but the nurses are required to present them at the hospital once a year, when they come for their salaries, that the directors may be assured proper care is taken of them.

The Blue-coat Hospital was originally intended for the support of the aged and infirm poor of the city, as well as for the education of children; but the funds proving inadequate to the support of so enlarged a plan, it is now confined to the education of boys. The sons of reduced freemen have the preference before all others, with the exception of about fifty, who being on particular foundations, the persons appointing them are left entirely at liberty in their choice. The children are lodged, fed, clothed, and instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, till they arrive at a proper age to be bound as apprentices. A mathematical-school is supported in the hospital by the corporation of merchants, for instructing a certain number of boys in navigation, who at a proper age are apprenticed to merchants or captains of ships, to be trained to the sea-service. Kilmainham Hospital is a fine institution, standing in a delightful airy situation,  p.43 just without the western end of the town. It is for the reception of invalid soldiers, and will hold four hundred pensioners. A great number of out-pensioners are also supported by it — The land on which this hospital stands formerly belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who, as well as the Knights Templars, had in their days of prosperity possessions in almost every county in Ireland. A stone fountain adjoining the burying-ground of the hospital is dedicated to the first-mentioned knights. Tasso, in his Gierusalemme Liberata, enumerates the Irish as among the nations that followed his hero to the crusade. Fuller, in his Holy Warre, mentions the priory of Kilmainham for hospitalers, and says that the Irish after Henry the Second's conquest of their country soon began to look towards Palestine; "Yea," he adds, "the concert of Christendom could have made no musick in these wars if the Irish harp had been wanting."

St. Stephen's Hospital supports seventy aged persons, decayed housekeepers, tradesmen, and servants, besides being an infirmary for the sick.

Swift's or St. Patrick's Hospital, founded by Dean Swift, is well known as an asylum for unfortunate lunatics and idiots.

The Royal Military Infirmary in the Phoenix Park is for the reception of sick and wounded soldiers.

Mercer's Hospital, founded by Mrs. Mary Mercer, is an infirmary for the sick poor: so also is Meath Hospital, but confined to those belonging to the Earl of Meath's liberty.

There are two Fever Hospitals, one in Cork-street, the other in Saint George's parish; — two Lock Hospitals, in Townsend-street and in Dorset-street; two Magdalen Asylums; — an Asylum for female orphans between five and ten years of age; — an Hospital for blind and gouty men; — and one for persons labouring under incurable diseases, which holds fifty patients.

Near Clontarf is a Charter School, where a hundred-and-twenty boys are lodged, fed, clothed, and educated in the Protestant religion.

Lately have been instituted schools for the education of the children of soldiers and of seamen.

There are, besides, several Dispensaries, with an Institution for promoting Vaccination; and a variety of minor associations for different purposes of benevolence.

 p.44

The Asylum for Instructing the Blind, instituted by the Duke of Richmond, must not be passed over without being particularized.

Nor must the House of Industry. This is a most excellent, extensive, and well regulated establishment for the reception of the poor; — all are admitted who desire it, no recommendation is required; but they must submit to the rules of the house. They are not permitted to live in idleness: they are classed according to their abilities, conditions and deserts, and are employed in a variety of occupations. The children are kept separate from the grown persons; and there is an infirmary for the sick, considerably removed from the receptacles of the healthy. There are also a number of cells for lunatics; — I think about fifty. The people are entirely maintained here; and the works carried on nearly support the establishment: many things manufactured or made in the house are to be purchased there.

With an asylum like this to resort to, it is a shame that such an object as a beggar should be seen in the streets; yet are there swarms; and so wretched and tattered is their appearance, that it is impossible not to recur immediately to the celebrated saying recorded of that arch-wit Foote, "that he used to wonder what the English beggars could do with their cast-off rags, till he went over to Ireland, and then he perceived that they were sent to the Irish beggars." Scarcely can a carriage stop at a shop, or a well-dressed person enter one, but the door is immediately surrounded by a number of these miserable-looking beings, whose clamours and importunities exceed those of the English beggars in equal proportion with the wretchedness of their appearance. A sort of caravan is often sent round the town, known by the cant name of the Black Cart, to take up persons found begging, and carry them to the House of Industry. The moment the beggars spy this vehicle at a distance, away they sculk into some place where they can lie concealed, nor venture forth again till a long time after it has disappeared. Sometimes, however, it will catch them unawares, and they are carried away: but there is nothing they dread so much; — to them working and being well kept, is greater misery than their rags and wretchedness, while indulged in their beloved indolence. The cart is always followed by a great mob of people, particularly children.

It is indeed a truth too striking to be passed over unnoticed, how much worse is the appearance of the lower classes in Ireland than in England!  p.45 That in sending their cast-off rags to Ireland, the English beggars should forget the shoes and stockings, might not excite much astonishment, nor would it perhaps appear a subject of remark; but a stranger, from the southern division of Great Britain at least, — though the same impression might not be made on one from the northern, — must be exceedingly struck at seeing people walking about the streets without shoe or stocking, though not otherwise very poor and wretched in their appearance. This is more especially the case with the women, among whom such a spectacle is the most revolting. I have even seen in the north of Ireland, very well dressed women, in clean white gowns and smart bonnets, walking along the public road without shoes or stockings; they were tied up in a handkerchief and carried in their hands, ready to be put on when they touched on the place of their destination, which perhaps was a fair. I did not observe this among well-dressed women in the south; but the north is half peopled by Scotch families, it is therefore not surprising that Scotch manners should prevail so much more among them. Another peculiarity which I observed in the dress of the women is, that, alike in the heat of summer as in the cold of winter, they walk about in long cloth cloaks; and that not only such as come absolutely under the definition of the poor, but women who rise a step higher in society, as inferior tradespeople and the like.

Though not coming under the description of charitable institutions, yet as an object of great public utility must be mentioned the Baths established within a few years by Sir Arthur Clarke. Too far from the Bay to obtain a supply of sea-water, unless by means of very expensive works, he forms, as a substitute, an artificial sea-water, by dissolving rock-salt in fresh water, which is said to be equally efficacious with the salt element itself. There are both hot and cold baths fitted up with the utmost neatness, and with every accommodation that can be wished by those who are to use them. He has also medicinal baths, made by imitating certain natural springs, the composition of which is well known. This establishment was thought to reflect so much credit on the undertaker, that it obtained him the honour of knighthood, which occasions the wags to give him the appellation of the Knight of the Bath, while on Lady Clarke,?since the publication of Mr. Walter Scott's poem,?has been conferred the title of the Lady of the Lake.  p.46 Sir Arthur is by profession a surgeon, and is of great eminence. His lady was a Miss Owenson, sister to Lady Morgan. She is very musical, and possesses a singular talent, approaching to ventriloquism, of imitating in singing two very different voices, so that it is scarcely possible to suppose they do not proceed from separate performers. The first time that I was entertained with a specimen of this talent, was in a large party at the house of her sister Lady Morgan, a few days after my arrival in Dublin. The company were in two. rooms; and I happened to be engaged earnestly in conversation in the different room from that where the music was, when I heard, as I thought, rather an extraordinary kind of duet, in the form of an eclogue between a man whose voice was become rough from advance in years, and a squeaking little girl. I own this appeared to me rather an odd performance to introduce, since there was nothing in the singing of either party very much to amuse or gratify the company. How was I astonished when I found the whole to be executed by the same person, and that a lady whose natural voice, unlike either of the characters she assumed, is pleasing and melodious! Like the College of Surgeons in London, whose establishment is in the largest square of that large city, Lincoln's-Inn- Fields, the incorporated Surgeons of Dublin have theirs in the largest square of this metropolis, Stephen's Green. The College of Surgeons is a handsome modern building, and one of the great ornaments of the square. It includes a good library, a theatre for lectures, a dissecting-room, and a museum for anatomical curiosities. Dublin possesses men of great talents and eminence in every branch of medical science. There are eleven markets in this city: Ormond market, on Ormond Quay; Castle market, in George's street; Patrick's market, in Patrick-street; Clarendon market, in William-street; Meath market, in Hanbury-lane; and Norfolk market, in Great-Britain-street. These are all general markets, and are plentifully supplied with butchers' meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, &c. &c, at a cheaper rate than in London, particularly the fish, poultry, and eggs. Besides these there is the City market, in Blackhall-row, where little else is sold than mutton, lamb, and pork;?Fleet market, in Townsend-street, which on the contrary is principally a beef-market, and supplies the shipping;?Spitalfields market, chiefly for bacon;?Smithfield, for live cattle, hay and straw;?and lastly  p.47 the Corn market. This is now held near the Great Canal harbour. Potatoes, as the staple article of food throughout Ireland, are of course in profusion in all the markets; they are much cheaper than in London: the yearly consumption in Dublin alone is computed at about thirty-five thousand tons. This vegetable forms no less a constant dish at the tables of the rich, than the poor; the only difference is, that they are served in a more luxurious way, fresh ones being brought in hot two or three times in the course of the dinner; they are always served up with the skins on. Eggs are equally a constant part of an Irish breakfast.

 p.48

7. The River Anna Liffey — The… Lake of Killarney formerly Lough Lene.…

The River Anna Liffey — The Bridges — Carlisle Bridge — Essex Bridge — Sarah Bridge — Richmond Bridge. — Stephens-Green — Embellishments there — Shelburne House. — The Mansion-House — Equestrian Statue of George the First — Merrion-Square — Leinster-House — College-Green — Statue of William the Third — Sackville-Street — Pillar to Lord Nelson — Other Squares and Streets. — Catholic Priest's Funeral. — Jingles, and Jaunting Cars.

Whoever sees the river Liffey, such as it is running through Dublin, must smile at the recollection of Tickel's poem, beginning

  1. Of Leinster fam'd for maidens fair,
    Bright Lucy was the grace;
    Nor e'er did Liffey's limpid stream
    Reflect a fairer face; —
since nothing can be more black, dirty, and in every way the reverse of limpid, than is the complexion of these waters as they traverse the metropolis. Instead of being an ornament to the town, as a river ought to be, it is really rather a revolting sight. From what cause this may proceed I know not; but it should seem that it must be from very great mismanagement of some kind. Are no pains ever bestowed in cleaning it? or do the sewers of the town run into, and thus contaminate it? I know not whether either of these causes may have any share in the evil, but I know that the magistrates of the town would do well to exert their influence in having the cause thoroughly investigated, and proper remedies applied. It is generally expected that a tide river should be sweet and pure; that the constant ebb and flow should keep it free from impurities: — at any rate it should seem as if the cause might with ease be ascertained, and the effect remedied.

When the spot on which Dublin stands was first inhabited, and for a long series of years after, the river seems to have spread into a much wider channel, and the ground on each side was altogether marshy and swampy. It may,  p.49 perhaps, be made a question whether in imbedding the river the channel may not have been too much confined, so that more mud accumulates than the tide can carry away: but still, if this be so, assistance might be given in clearing it by artificial means. It is by a gradual process that the river has been confined within its present limits. Three centuries ago the whole extent of ground from near the back of the College on to Ringsend appears to have been under water at the flow of the tide; to have been in fact much such another tract as what is now termed the North Bull. Even a century later there was a sort of petty harbour, where is now Townsend-street, at which passengers from England used frequently to land. At the latter period, that is two centuries ago, the part where now stands the Custom-house, the two Ormond Quays, and a considerable tract beyond on the north side of the river, was in the same predicament. The making the quays has certainly given a very handsome appearance to the town; but if it has been in any degree the occasion of the evil I have noticed, that much more than counterbalances the advantage. The walls of the quays are built of the same granite, from Bullock, that has been mentioned in speaking of the pier.

The name of this river has been curiously perverted: its original appellation was the Auin Louiffa, that is, in the Irish tongue, the rapid river. It was so called because, having its source in mountainous regions, the waters will sometimes, on occasion of heavy rains, come down with the rapidity of a mountain torrent. The Anna Liffey is the name by which it is now designated in public documents, though in common conversation the former part of the name is usually dropped, and it is called simply the Liffey. Sir John Carr, in his Stranger in Ireland, makes a very odd confusion about the course of this river, since he places its source only four or five miles to the west of Dublin, yet says that it meanders beautifully through the whole county of Kildare. The fact is, that it has its source among the Wicklow mountains, near a celebrated spot which will be noticed in its proper place, Loch Hela, that is, the lake of Hela; or, as by corruption it is now usually pronounced, Luggelaw. From thence it pursues a very winding course before it reaches Dublin; and in two spots, as will be mentioned hereafter, pours down rocks, forming fine cascades. It is only navigable up to the first bridge in Dublin; and at a very short distance beyond the town it becomes quite a small shallow stream, and really limpid.

 p.50

It is crossed in the town by several bridges, three of which are very handsome. The first, (that is the nearest to the mouth of the river,) Carlisle-bridge, has only been built between twenty and thirty years: it forms the communication between two of the widest and best streets in Dublin, Sackville-street to the north, and Westmoreland-street to the south. It is two feet broader between the balustrades than Westminster-bridge, but is very far short of it in length. Essex-bridge, the next, has been built somewhat more than half a century: it is the perfect model in miniature of Westminster-bridge. The other bridges, to the last, quite at the western extremity of the town, are not of any note. The last was begun in the year 1791 , while the Earl of Westmoreland was Lord-lieutenant; and the first stone being laid by his countess, it was called after her Sarah-bridge. It is also called the Rialto of Dublin, since it consists, like that at Venice, of only one elliptical arch. The whole length of the bridge is 256 feet; the span of the arch is 104 feet; the breadth thirty-eight, and the key-stone is twenty-two feet above high-water. It is indeed a beautiful piece of architecture. A new bridge is planned directly opposite the Four-Courts, to be called (after the duke of Richmond) Richmond-bridge: but this is not yet begun; and indeed there seems no great object to be attained in making a more immediate communication with a part of the town occupied only by the poorer class of the community, since there is no probability of much intercourse ever being carried on between them and the highest courts of law.

Both to the north and to the south such vast additions have of late years been made to the city, that they may almost be called new towns. The largest square in Dublin has the appellation of Stephen's Green. It is somewhat singular, that among the Irish, of whom three-fourths may probably, upon a moderate computation, be considered as adhering to the Catholic persuasion, — a religion abounding so much with saints, that not only does it furnish one for every day in the year, but, if any thing occasions one to be degraded from his station in the calendar, there is always another ready to supply his place, — it is rather extraordinary, that, among a people adhering so much to a religion thus abounding with saints, when the names of these saints are applied to a street or a square, they are deprived of their sanctity. Thus instead of Saint Stephen's Green, as might be expected, this square is simply called Stephen's-green: and we hear of Patrick's street, Mary's street, George's street, &c.  p.51 without the Saint being ever prefixed to them. It is even common enough to hear the churches called only Patrick's, George's, Mary's, &c.

The area of Stephen's-green is larger than that of any square in London: it is really a square, and is considered as a quarter of an English mile every way. On my first arrival in Dublin, the centre was a green enclosed round with a live hedge, without which was a ditch; and between that and the road round the square was a row of very fine elms. This was in July 1814. The twelfth of August, the centenary of the Hanover accession to the British throne, was to be celebrated with great rejoicings, one part of which was a display of fire-works on Stephen's-green. Having been absent from Dublin upon a visit into the country, from the sixth to the tenth, at my return I observed a most lamentable and sacrilegious havoc which had been made among these trees; they had been stripped almost naked to the trunks, that the fireworks might be the better seen from the houses. To the credit of some of the inhabitants of the square it must be said, that there were persons who highly disapproved of the sacrilege, and remonstrated against it: but the order came from authority, and disobedience was not to be thought of.

The following year, when I revisited Dublin, not a tree was left standing. A plan was then almost completed for the improvement and embellishment of the square; the first part of which was to deprive it of its greatest embellishment, these fine trees. I could almost call this an Irish way of embellishing. Thus much, however, must be confessed, that, such as they had been made in honour of the former twelfth of August, they had almost ceased to be ornamental. For the rest, the square was certainly exceedingly improved; the hedge was removed, and the ditch filled up; while instead of them the green was to be inclosed with a handsome iron pallisade, and to be laid out with walks and shrubberies after the manner of the squares in London: — still I must think that the trees, such as they were when I first saw them, would have given great additional beauty to the whole. There are many very good houses in this square. On the north side, at the corner of Kildare-street, is Shelburne-house, now a scene of ruins. In its prosperity it was a venerable pile of building; but as an excellent preparatory step to its utter desolation, it had been for some years converted into barracks. Near the Green, in Dawson-street, is the Mansion-house, the residence of the Lord-mayor. The house itself would scarcely attract  p.52 notice; but the eye is irresistibly caught by an equestrian statue of George the First, which stands in the garden, so close to the wall next the street, with the head towards the street, that it appears as if stationed there to furnish His Majesty with all the amusement that could be contrived, in looking over the wall at the passers-by. This statue was originally placed on Essex-bridge: why it was transferred to the very odd situation in which it now stands I do not know. In the middle of Stephen's-green is an equestrian statue in brass of King George the Second. Near Stephen's-green is Merrion-square, a large area about the dimensions, or perhaps even larger than Portman-square in London. It is modern, and handsomely built: the centre is inclosed with an iron palisade, within which shrubs are planted, and beyond them is a gravel walk; the remainder should be a lawn, but when I first saw it the grass had just been cut down for hay. The west side is entirely occupied by the back of Leinster-house and the grounds belonging to it. Here again I must observe that in England such a piece of ground would be a fine velvet lawn; in the present instance it was a field where cows and horses were feeding, to which might have been added donkeys, since in one part there was a right noble grove of thistles.

Leinster-house was, as the name imports, the town-residence of the Duke of Leinster, now the only duke in Ireland. Is it not rather a reflection upon the first nobleman of the country, the only one of so high a rank, that he should alienate the town-residence of his ancestors, transferring to another country the advantages that accrue to tradespeople, mechanics, and others, from having a large fortune spent among them — True, the duke keeps up an establishment at his country-residence in the county of Kildare — But ought not a person of his high distinction to consider it almost as a duty to let the metropolis also be benefited by a part of his fortune being spent there? The front of Leinster-house is in Kildare-street; it is a fine building within a court, which is entered by a very handsome gateway. I have mentioned elsewhere that the premises were purchased by the Dublin Society, where their establishment will undoubtedly be carried on upon a very splendid scale.

Not far from either of the above-mentioned squares, a new one is begun called Fitzwilliam-square; the ground laid out for it is not large, and but a small part is as yet built. These are all on the south side of the river. In  p.53 the same quarter a great many new streets are laid out; some are in considerable forwardness, others still but in embryo.

College Green, though not properly a square, is a handsome area, and comprises within it two of the finest buildings in the city, the College and the Bank. In the middle is an equestrian statue in brass of King William the Third, which was erected by the citizens in memorial of their deliverance from the tyranny of James the Second. It stands upon a marble pedestal, on which is the following inscription:

Gulielmo Tertio,
Magnae Brittanniae, Franciae et Hiberniae
Regi,
Ob Religionem Conservatam,
Restitutas Leges,
Libertatem Assertam,
Cives Dublinienses hanc Statuam posuere.

It was finished in the year 1701; and on the first of July that year, the anniversary of the victory at the Boyne, a commemoration of that event was celebrated with great rejoicings round the statue. Ever since, till within a few years, the first of July and the fourth of November (King William's birthday) were always in like manner celebrated; but latterly, as the memory of that illustrious monarch has grown somewhat out of fashion, less zeal has been shown in doing honour to it. The statue is, however, as I understood, on these days still dressed in an orange mantle, and decorated with orange ribbands, at the expense of the Corporation; but not with love and from the heart as formerly. Different times, different manners.

From this Green runs Westmoreland-street down to Carlisle-bridge, over which is Sackville-street. This is the most spacious street in Dublin, and is a hundred-and-twenty feet wide. I believe there are none wider in London, not even Portland-place: but I judge only by my own eye, for I do not know the width of the latter. Be this as it may, I can safely venture to say that Portland-place in London, Sackville-street in Dublin, and the Canebiere at Marseilles, are the three widest streets I have any where seen, and I should think all nearly of an equal width. A mall formerly ran down the middle of Sackville-street, which within a few years has been removed, and the whole laid open. About the centre stands a lofty fluted column, rising from a square pedestal,  p.54 erected in honour of Lord Nelson, a statue of whom finishes the column. Round the statue is a gallery, to which a winding staircase within, as in the Monument of London, leads up. The whole height of the pillar from the ground to the top of the figure is 144 feet; from the gallery to the top is 30 feet; the figure is thirteen feet high. From the gallery is the best view any where to be obtained over the city and the bay. At the end of this street are seen the Rotunda and the Lying-in Hospital, but in an oblique direction, not exactly as the termination of it. Beyond is Rutland-square, and ascending further Mountjoy-square, with a great number of new streets, like those to the south, some nearly completed, others as yet very straggling and unfinished. The town is well paved, with trottoirs for foot-passengers, and tolerably well lighted.

It was walking down Sackville-street one day with some friends, that we saw a great crowd coming over Carlisle-bridge: we stopped to inquire at a shop what was the occasion of it, when we were informed that it was the funeral of a Catholic priest, going out of town to the place of interment about four miles off: the master of the shop added very civilly, that we might perhaps be incommoded by the crowd if we attempted to proceed on our way, and if we would walk up into his drawing-room we should have a better view of the procession. This obliging offer we thankfully accepted, and indeed it would scarcely have been possible to have crossed the bridge till the crowd was gone by. An immense concourse of people walking two-and-two, wearing white linen scarfs and hatbands, preceded and followed the hearse; after them came a long train of carriages, coaches, and chariots, and last of all an almost equally long train of jaunting-cars and jingles. The priest was a man extremely beloved among his flock, and they had united to do honour to his memory by making this splendid funeral. The persons walking and riding in the procession could scarcely be less than five hundred, and a vast concourse of people besides kept company with them.

It has been mentioned that the philanthropic Mr. Prior, for the promotion of the linen manufactory, procured a regulation that no other material but Irish linen should be used for scarfs and hatbands at funerals; and among the undertakers it is a regulation that each scarf and hatband shall contain linen sufficient to make a shirt and a cravat; so that the quantity used on this occasion must have been far from inconsiderable. Not that the whole company attending  p.55 had them, only those who walked — they were the proper bidden guests; the carriages were filled with persons going unbidden, merely for the sake of doing honour to their pastor; but the walkers must have been from two to three hundred.

Having again mentioned jaunting-cars and jingles, I must no longer omit to say a few words upon these carriages. They were for a long time peculiar to Ireland, though the jaunting-cars are now much introduced into England, particularly the inside ones; for it must be observed there are two species of these cars. Both kinds are two-wheeled open carriages drawn by one horse. The inside cars hold four, or sometimes six are crammed in, sitting sideways, and the driver has a seat in front. The outside cars have a space down the middle for holding packages of any kind, at the extremity of which is a sort of little dickey for the driver, and on each side is a seat for the company, who thus sit back to back with their feet at the outside of the carriage; the wheels are underneath the seats. These vehicles, from the position in which the company sit with regard to each other, are called by the saucy English, Irish vis-à-vis's. Many persons object to them on account of alleged danger of the feet being hurt by other carriages as they pass: for my own part I have travelled many and many a mile in one, and never could find the force of this objection. When first we landed, my friend Mr. C ..., who was with me, turned up his nose, — if I may be allowed the use of so familiar a phrase, but I know of no other equally expressive for such an occasion, — he turned up his nose, and said, I am sure you shall never catch me in such a heathenish kind of vehicle. — But again I say, When we are at Rome, we must do as they do at Rome. — We had not been a week at Dublin before he mounted one with as much complacency as if he had been trained to it all his life.

A jingle is a four-wheeled carriage, with one horse and a body like a sociable, to which is affixed in front a little seat for the driver; — not, however, calculated to hold one of the dimensions of Daniel Lambert: I have seen some so diminutive that I wondered how any driver could contrive to rest upon it at all. These carriages are not in general particularly well hung, so that in going they make a clattering kind of noise, to which they owe their name.

 p.56

8. Mr. Kean, and his first Appearance… The Gap of Dunloh. — The…

Mr. Kean, and his first Appearance on the Dublin Stage — Remarks on the comparative Merit of this Gentleman and Mr. Kemble — The Theatre in Crow-Street — Some Particulars of the Rise and Progress of the Irish Stage — Other Theatres — Government Nights.

When I first reached Dublin I found the town big with expectation of the arrival of that extraordinary meteor which had then recently risen in the theatrical hemisphere, Mr. Kean. With the powerful talents of this gentleman I was already well acquainted. I cannot absolutely say that I had seen and admired them from the first moment of his appearance in London; but I can assume to myself the credit of having early learned to feel and confess the wonderful magic of his genius. Tis true that the voice of Fame had loudly preceded his appearance in the metropolis: — we were told that we were to expect a star of no common brilliance. But we had been so often called upon to admire stars by anticipation, which, when seen, far from shining with the dazzling splendour of a Jupiter, scarcely beamed with even the puny lustre of the remotest planet in our system, — this tune had been played so often, that the notes now passed almost unheeded, or were heeded only to be ridiculed. Thus in the present instance, though I heard the sounds of the well-known trumpet, I was not disposed to be led by them; nor thought of attending the first appearance of the new phenomenon. Nay, if I must confess the truth, I even asked with something like a sneer, of a gentleman who I knew was then to be at the theatre — a person of whose taste and judgement I had a high opinion; " Well, what say you to the blazing comet with which we are all to be so much dazzled?" — "I say," he replied, "by all means go to the theatre the very next time he appears, for I will venture to affirm that you can never have seen such a performer; there has certainly been none in your days in any way to be compared with him."

This satisfied me; — I well knew my gentleman to be a nice critic in theatrical matters, more disposed to being over-fastidious than too easily pleased  p.57 and I felt assured that such commendation would not be bestowed by him but upon merit of a very superior kind. I accordingly attended Mr. Kean's second appearance, and only regretted that my scepticism had deprived me of so much gratification as would have been afforded by seeing him on the first. From that moment I have never missed attending the theatre on his appearance in any new character, and in most that he has performed I have seen him repeatedly and repeatedly; while, far from finding the enchantment created by his talents diminish on repetition, I can truly say that every time I see him it is with increased pleasure.

Thus, notwithstanding the ardour with which I had followed him through his first campaign in London, it was not among the least objects of gratification to which I looked forward in my visit to Dublin, that I was to see him again there. I had besides been so fortunate as to become personally acquainted with him and his excellent and amiable wife, and was happy in the opportunity afforded, by meeting in a new country, of improving and increasing our acquaintance. They arrived a few days after me, and I had soon the pleasure of seeing Mr. Kean make his début upon the Dublin stage in his favourite character of King Richard the Third. I never saw a more crowded house, or an audience among whom expectation might more truly be said to be on the tiptoe.

Mr. Kean's situation was an arduous one. Mr. Kemble had been a frequent performer at Dublin, and was a great favourite there; he was even in some sort a child of that theatre, since it was from thence he came to assume the high station he so long maintained on the London boards. I would by no means wish to depreciate the talents, or detract from the well-earned fame, of any man; but while I always felt that great merit must be allowed Mr. Kemble, I equally felt that there was a something wanting to constitute him a finished performer, and that something appears to me strikingly conspicuous in Mr. Kean. Mr. Kemble's is undoubtedly fine acting; yet it is but acting: it is impossible to lose for a moment the idea that it is Mr. Kemble we see; — we can never be deluded into fancying that we have really before us Hamlet, Othello, Richard: we have only Mr. Kemble's ideas, finely painted 'tis true, of what Shakespeare designed in drawing those characters: — whereas such is the identification thrown by Mr. Kean into whatever he performs, that  p.58 we can scarcely persuade ourselves it is acting. In short, to me it appears that the difference between the two performers may be summed up in few words — Mr. Kemble acts the character, Mr. Kean is the character.

If an anecdote recorded of Mr. Kemble be true, — and I have reason to think that it comes from good authority, — he himself strongly feels the art Mr. Kean possesses in so wonderful a degree of identifying himself with the character assumed — Mr. Kemble, having been present at Mr. Kean's performance of Richard the Third, was asked by one who met him coming out of the theatre when the play was over: "Well, sir, how did you like Mr. Kean?" — to which he replied — "I did not see Mr. Kean at all, I saw only Richard." I relate this because if true, as I believe it to be, it reflects equal honour upon him who said it, and him of whom it was said.

Waving the question, however, of the comparative merits of these two performers, thus much is certain, that their style of acting is almost as opposite the one to the other, as light is to darkness; consequently that where the one had been very greatly the object of admiration, the other had a formidable dike to bear down before he could hope to please. But though art may have her votaries, and the mind may awhile be dazzled with the factitious splendour she can find the means of throwing around her, nature must and will in the end prevail. The illuminated ball-room is grand, shows magnificent in the absence of the sun; but let the bright beams of that resplendent orb once intrude, farewell to the glitter of these artificial aims at splendour! they are vanished, thrown into eclipse in a moment. While numbers at Mr. Kean's first appearance in London bestowed all due admiration on his talents, the rigid votaries of art, half-astonished, half-dismayed, hung back as doubtful whether they could be justified in admiring pure nature alone. At length, however, almost all who were not too proud to recant, felt the force of nature too powerfully not to confess that the actor who follows that unerring guide, and that alone, must bear the palm from him who looks to the meretricious form of art as his polar star.

Not very different was the case at Dublin. That such talents should not make a powerful impression was impossible: yet so different was what the audience now saw, from what they had long been accustomed to admire, that even when strong bursts of applause were irresistibly drawn from them, they seemed, after the moment of enthusiasm had subsided, ready to question their own  p.59 feelings, and half to wish that the applause could he retracted. But ere many nights had passed, the question was fully decided. In Dublin, as in London, some few of those who are determined not to be convinced, — and spirits of that description are of the growth of every country, though I never knew but one man openly profess it: — he, in a warm political dispute, when his antagonist said: "Only hear me, sir, and I will soon convince you," replied, "Sir, I won't be convinced." — Too many I fear there are every where who won't be convinced, though they are afraid to own such a feeling even to themselves: and such made the notable discovery that Mr. Kean never could be as good an actor as Mr. Kemble, because he was not so tall. But all who were ready to yield to conviction, soon felt powerfully that if once they thought they had seen the perfection of acting, they were now assured of it, and his popularity became as great in the metropolis of Ireland as it had been in that of England. Among no description of persons was this conversion more striking, than among the College students. Mr. Kemble had been so much with them the criterion of all that was excellent in his art, that, knowing from the voice of Fame they were now to see something very different, they went exceedingly disposed to censure, but they remained to applaud — they became some of Mr. Kean's most enthusiastic admirers.

I have now at different times and in different places seen this accomplished actor play twenty-two different characters; — twenty in London, and two others at Dublin. Among so many, some must have a decided preference over others, but I think it may truly be said that the most arduous are those in which he most excels. The more strongly the characters are drawn, the higher wrought are the feelings and passions, so much the finer is his representation of them. Richard the Third was generally considered as his masterpiece till he played Sir Giles Overreach; this is now thought to dispute the palm with Richard. For my own part, finely as I think both these characters played, there are others which afford me still higher gratification; not perhaps that the playing is intrinsically superior, but that the characters speak so much more forcibly to the heart and feelings. If I were to select that which of all others appears to me the most surprising effort of genius, I should say it is Othello. I do not indeed conceive it possible for acting to be carried beyond Mr. Kean's performance in the third act, when Iago is working the noble generous nature of  p.60 the Moor into a phrensy of jealousy. Every feature of the countenance, every muscle, every limb display the extremity of agony; — the working of the fingers is agony, the quivering of the lip is agony; not an atom of the whole frame but seems agonized almost beyond what human nature is capable of sustaining: it is scarcely possible to convince oneself that what appears such true nature is but assumed. By some persons it is objected that Mr. Kean wants height for this character: — In the great warrior, they say, in the noble Moor, we expect a tall, majestic, commanding figure. But let the annals of history both ancient and modern be searched, we shall find that a large majority of the most celebrated warriors have been little men: and let the tragedy of Othello be attentively examined, we shall find the author making his hero say,
‘I've known the time when with this little arm
And this good sword, &c.’ (Adapted from Othello 5.2.) every where, besides, carefully impressing upon the reader that there was nothing in Othello's person to charm, but the reverse, — that it was by his mind alone Desdemona was captivated: — we shall find too wherever he is called the noble Moor, that quality applied solely to his disposition, his noble nature, never to his figure. One of Mr. Kean's very striking excellencies in this character is, that all his actions, all his gestures are truly Moorish, differing wholly from his action in other characters. He never throughout gives the idea of an European made up to represent a Moor, as is too palpably the case with most who attempt the character; he appears truly a native of another clime.

If, however, I would give the first place to Othello, there are two other of Mr. Kean's performances which I must rank very, very, little below it, — Hamlet and Richard the Second. If the former be not generally esteemed one of his most successful efforts, I cannot the less think it so. The exquisite, the almost morbid sensibility of the character, — the deep affection, respect, veneration, almost adoration in which he holds his father's memory, increased in proportion to the slights he sees shown to it by others, and the suspicions hovering about his mind, he scarcely knows himself on what founded, that this revered father did not come fairly by his end, — his high-wrought moral feelings insupportably wounded, at the violation of moral principle he is witnessing, and that in one so deeply interesting to him as his own mother, — of these feelings, all resulting  p.61 from the utmost purity of soul, the utmost refinement of manners, I can scarcely conceive it possible for a more finished portrait to be given. It is not however strange that a diversity of opinions should prevail on Mr. Kean's performance of this character, since scarcely any two persons are exactly agreed upon what Shakespeare intended the character of Hamlet to be. Those who take the same view of it that Mr. Kean does, will of course admire his personation of it; while those who view it in a different light, will find many things they do not approve; — the question then remains, which takes the most just view.

Long as the play of Richard the Second had lain upon the shelf, wholly neglected and disregarded, it may almost be called a part of Mr. Kean's own creating, as much as if it had been a new piece. The character of Richard, such as it is described in history, is so perfectly contemptible, that we are altogether astonished to find it possible for the utmost sympathy and compassion towards him to be excited; — yet such is the case. The sublime sadness of the deposed monarch, his pathetic reflections upon his own fallen state, depicted as they are by Mr. Kean, strike to the very soul. Indeed I think the latter half of this play has a just claim to be classed among the most extraordinary proofs of genius he has given. That it has not become as universal a favourite as Richard the Third, can only be accounted for from the former part of the play being heavy and dragging, and that there is too long an interval when the principal character, the soul of the piece, does not appear on the stage.

In the strong passions Mr. Kean is grand, astonishing — in the last scene of Sir Giles Overreach he is almost terrifying: but, in my opinion, the still more beautiful parts of his acting are his exquisite touches of nature and feeling. By these the heart is dissolved; in these the pathetic tones of his voice, than which nothing can be finer, give him every possible support: from want of power he fails in voice sometimes, where long and violent exertion is required; and this gives many people the mistaken idea that his voice is bad. It is not so essentially; it may occasionally be rendered so by circumstances. 5 — — However, this  p.62 is scarcely the proper place to enter upon a critical examination of Mr. Kean's performances; and, with an apology for the digression, I close it.

The Crow-street Theatre is a very shabby-looking building on the outside, and stands in the midst of so many wretched dirty lanes that there is no good access to it any way. Within, it is handsomely fitted up with a profusion of paintings: — on the ceiling is Hibernia protected by Jupiter and crowned by Mars, with Mercury attending; near Hibernia is a figure representing Industry. Round the boxes are paintings, chiefly subjects from the works of Homer and from Telemachus. But paintings of this description are not well suited to decorations for a theatre; the lights are unfavourably disposed for showing them, while by a sort of reaction the dark shades indispensable in them absorbing the light, cast a gloom around which not any power of light can dispel. The Theatre is, besides, not a good one for hearing; it has too many angles, which break the sound of the voice. Notwithstanding that the size of Drury Lane is complained of, as such that it is scarcely possible for any performer to be well seen or heard, yet I must say that I have always heard Mr. Kean better there, from the superior manner of its construction, than in smaller theatres constructed less scientifically: — fine acting will always appear to greater advantage in a large theatre, where there is ample scope to give it entire effect; genius is cramped by not having sufficient space to display itself.

Though at present a great fondness for dramatic representations prevails among the Irish, it does not appear that it was a very early taste in the country; it has arisen within the last two centuries. The annals of the city mention the performance of some plays in the time of Henry the Eighth upon Hoggin Green, now College Green; but nothing is said of the nature of them: and it is likely they were no more than the mysteries or moralities about that period  p.63 much in vogue in England. No tradition is extant of any dramatic entertainments in Dublin from that time till the year 1601, when the play of Gorboduc was performed at the Castle in honour of Queen Elizabeth's birth-day. This play is said to have been a great favourite with Her Majesty; it had been represented before her at Whitehall by the gentlemen of the Inner Temple some time before the sun of Shakespeare rose in the theatrical horizon.

It is worthy of remark, that great as was the passion of the ancient Irish for poetry, there is nothing amid all the fragments remaining of the productions of their bards like an attempt at a dramatic composition. Content to sing the praises of their heroes, they thought not of representing their great deeds by action; though this is indisputably a far more forcible means of exciting the feelings and rousing the soul to emulate the glories celebrated. But dramatic representations seem only to arise out of a considerable advance in civilization we never find them introduced in the early and barbarous ages of any country such at least as depend on dialogue, and have for their object rather a delineation of the passions than the actions of mankind, or giving the actions only as exemplifications of the passions. As far as mere action goes, we certainly do find in the dances of savage nations a sort of pantomimic representations of their battles and other events.

There is no account of any regular theatre established in Dublin earlier than the year 1635. One was then built in Werburgh-street, and the undertaking was carried on by John Ogilby, Esq. historiographer to the king, and master of the revels under the Earl of Stafford, then Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Here were produced two new plays, by natives of the country, The Royal Master, acted in 1638, the author of which was Mr. Shirley, an intimate friend of Mr. Ogilby the manager; and Langartha, written by Henry Burnell, Esq. Neither possessed sufficient merit to be handed down to posterity; I believe the names alone are all that remain of them now extant. Langartha was taken from the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus; it was introduced with a prologue spoken by an Amazon armed with a battle-axe, pleading in this martial array for the candour of the audience, which, if not granted freely, she seemed prepared to seize vi et armis. It is supposed that this was one of the pieces at which the Duke of Buckingham's satire was particularly levelled, in his prologue of Thunder and Lightning to The Rehearsal.

 p.64

In the Great Rebellion, which broke out shortly after, the theatre, which had begun to assume a very flourishing aspect, suffered in common with the rest of the country; it was shut up by order of the Lords Justices, and never more opened. Mr. Ogilby, after experiencing much ill-fortune, went to England, where he remained till the restoration of Charles the Second, when, through the intervention of his friends, he obtained a patent for building a new theatre in Smock-alley, then called Orange-street. Two tragedies, translated from Corneille by Mrs. Catherine Phillips, Pompey the Great and The Horatii, were performed here, both of which were afterwards brought upon the London stage, but not during the life of the translator. She died in 1664.

This theatre was run up in such haste, that before the end of the year in which the patent was dated, 1662, we find it opened. In consequence, it was very slightly constructed, and only nine years after a part fell down during the time of performance. This accident, by which two persons lost their lives, occasioned another cessation of dramatic exhibitions, which was prolonged by the times of trouble that preceded the Revolution. Not till after that great event do we find any notice of their being resumed; but among the public rejoicings by which it was to be celebrated, the representation of a play was resolved on. As the regular actors had been so long dispersed, and could not be hastily re-assembled, a number of gentlemen, most of them persons in office about the Castle, agreed to take it upon themselves, and the tragedy of Othello was fixed on as the performance.

The most remarkable circumstance attending this revival of the drama was, that it was the occasion of first bringing the talents of Wilks before the public. That great performer then appeared only as an amateur; but he gained such applause in his representation of Othello, that he determined to abandon his former pursuits, and devote himself to the stage.

A taste for the drama being thus rekindled, the patent which Mr. Ogilby had enjoyed (he having now been long dead) was obtained by Mr. Ashbury, under whose management the theatre flourished exceedingly for several years. He opened it in 1692 with Othello, the principal character, performed by Wilks. Some other performers, afterwards of great eminence on the London boards, also commenced their career under Mr. Ashbury's management, as Booth and Quin. He was himself respectable as an actor; but his reputation was higher as a critic and instructor.  p.65 Such was the opinion entertained of him in the latter capacity, that he was honoured with having the Princess, afterwards Queen Anne, as his pupil, when she was studying the part of Semandra, in Mithridates King of Pontus, in which she was to perform with persons of the first rank and distinction at the Banqueting-house, Whitehall.

The greatest interruption experienced by Mr. Ashbury during his management was from an accident which happened in 1701. Shadwell's Libertine was to be performed for the first time; and, being a holiday, the house was uncommonly crowded, so that unfortunately the gallery gave way: no lives were lost, but many people were much hurt in crowding to get out. The play being very licentious, improper to have been produced upon the stage, the people, who are commonly much addicted to superstition, — and who at this period, from the troubles through which the British empire had passed during so many years, were more particularly so, — asserted that the accident was a judgement alike upon the manager for suffering such a play to be represented, and upon the audience for going to see it. Some even asserted that the lights burned blue the whole evening; while others observed an extraordinary figure more than once among the dancers, beneath whose disguise the cloven foot was plainly to be discerned; and they were confident that with this foot a little kick had been given to the gallery, which occasioned all the mischief. The effect of these superstitions was, that the theatre remained for some time almost deserted; while the play was so universally reprobated that no attempt was made for twenty years to introduce it again upon the stage; even then so much disapprobation was shown that it was soon laid aside, and no subsequent essay ever made to bring it forward. The only subject of regret in its suppression is, that it was a superstitious, not a moral feeling which occasioned it: thus much may, however, be said, that the very superstition had its origin in a sentiment of morality and religion, shocked at the immoral scenes represented: — it was a great reflection upon the manager ever to suffer the representation of such a piece. Upon the death of Mr. Ashbury in 1720 the management devolved upon Mr. Elrington, who had married his daughter.

The theatre in Smock-alley appears to have reigned without a rival till the year 1727, when a theatrical booth was opened by a foreigner, Madame Violante, for tumbling, rope-dancing, and other performances of a similar description.  p.66 This booth was erected upon a spot which touches on the ground where now stands the Crow-street theatre. The tumblers were much followed at first; but the novelty over, they ceased to please, and our adventuress then converted her booth into a theatre for acting plays and farces. But not finding the company she had collected attractive, she adopted a new idea, and assembled a troop of children, none exceeding ten years of age. The first piece performed by them was the Beggar's Opera, then in the zenith of its popularity in London; and being now for the first time brought forward in Dublin, between the novelty of the performance and the performers, who went through their parts in a manner that excited universal astonishment, the houses were for a considerable time uncommonly crowded. Here the celebrated Mrs. Woffington first made her appearance in a character for which she was afterwards eminently distinguished — Polly.

After a successful career of some years, Madame Violante, beginning to find her reputation, and consequently her profits, on the decline, sold her theatre to three of her young élèves; and they, being joined by some other young performers, kept it open for a short time, not being gainers either on the score of fame or emolument; and had they not been suppressed compulsorily, would probably soon have been obliged to abandon their scheme. The proprietors of the Smock-alley theatre, alarmed at the idea of a rival, could not wait the natural death to which it was hastening, but petitioned the Lord-mayor to issue his anathemas against the performances; and His Lordship obligingly complied, without giving the matter a moment's consideration.

Though these repeated unsuccessful attempts proved incontrovertibly that Dublin was not able to support two theatres, yet the very means taken by Smock-alley to disencumber herself from one rival, was the occasion of raising her up a more powerful one on its ruins. So much were people offended at the interference of the judiciary power in a matter of public amusement, and so warmly had their sense of the indignity been expressed, that some adventurous spirits were encouraged to undertake the building of another theatre, in full confidence that the indignation which had hitherto been unavoidably confined to empty words, would joyfully embrace such an opportunity of making itself felt more forcibly. Rainsford-street was the place fixed on for this new erection. It was indeed liable to objection as a remote and inconvenient spot,  p.67 being quite at the western extremity of the town: but it was chosen because, being in the Earl of Meath's liberty, it was out of the Lord-mayor's jurisdiction, consequently secure from the fate to which the other had fallen a victim. This theatre was opened the latter end of 1732 or beginning of 1733, under the management of a Mr. Husband.

Mr. Elrington did not long enjoy the sovereignty of the Smock-alley theatre, which had devolved to him upon the death of his father-in-law: he died in 1732, being only forty-four years of age. Before his death the theatre, slightly built at first, appeared falling exceedingly to decay; and he had projected the building a new one in Aungier-street. He was even consulting with an architect upon the subject when he was seized with the first symptoms of his last illness, a malignant fever. His intentions being known, at his death a number of noblemen and gentlemen of the first distinction for fortune, talents, and learning, strongly impressed with the importance and utility of a well-conducted theatre, entered into a subscription for prosecuting the plan. A large piece of ground in Longford-street, adjoining to Aungier-street, was purchased; and not the first stone alone but the first four stones were laid with great ceremony in May 1733 by four of the principal subscribers. Under each stone were deposited medals struck for the occasion: a prodigious concourse of people was assembled; and a flourish of drums and trumpets, accompanied with the acclamations of the multitude, announced the laying of each stone. An elegant dinner for the company, with plenty of beer for the workmen and populace, concluded the ceremony.

So great was the expedition with which this building was constructed, under the superintendance of its noble projectors, that it was completely finished in ten months, and was opened with the comedy of The Recruiting Officer in March 1734. Never was public expectation raised higher than on this occasion. The proprietors and conductors were noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank and distinction in the country; they had agreed to take the supreme direction of every thing upon themselves, actuated by no views of private advantage or emolument, but solely by public spirit; for no part of the profit was to be theirs, all was to be devoted to the public service. A committee was to be chosen, who were to meet once a week for regulating the business of the theatre, and settling the pieces to be played the ensuing week. In the choice of the pieces represented they were to be particularly select; none but  p.68 those of the most decided merit and unexceptionable morality were to be admitted, whether of new productions or from among the old stock pieces; — every thing, in short, was to be expected that taste and judgement could direct for the advantage of the theatre; and under omens so auspicious nothing but the most complete success was looked for.

Alas! how often does it happen in worldly affairs, that projects which seem commenced under the most favourable auspices terminate in disappointment while others, over which no sun appears to shed its benignant influence, but dark and lowering clouds prognosticate overwhelming evils, resist the menaced storm, till the clouds dispersing and clearing away, all terminates in prosperity and sunshine! By what extraordinary fatality it happened never could be thoroughly understood; but, flattering as these prospects appeared, not one promise held out was realized. In the first place, sad experience showed that the architect employed in the building was wholly incompetent to the undertaking; for the house was eminently defective in the two most essential points — the audience could neither see nor hear. Another mistake was, that the committee appointed a person to act under them as manager, who was almost unacquainted with theatrical affairs; — a gentleman, Mr. Swan, who might be a very good gentleman, but who showed himself wholly devoid of capacity as manager of a theatre. Mr. Swan was exceedingly fond of the drama, and had been an amateur performer; but it was soon evident that something more than mere love of the drama was requisite to fill with credit to himself, and advantage to the theatre, the arduous office he had undertaken. Even the taste and refinement of the committee began to be called in question, when they were found opening the theatre with a play which involves so little of either as The Recruiting Officer.

Here was for a while an end of the Smock-alley theatre. The rivals in Aungier- and Rainsford-street pursued their careers with unvaried emulation and varied success. The Aungier-street managers got up Henry the Eighth (with the coronation) in a style of splendour never before seen on the Irish stage. The Rainsford-street company answered this by producing The Beggars' Bush of Beaumont and Fletcher, under the title of The Royal Merchant, or Beggars' Bush, in which a mock pageant of the coronation of King Clause threw such complete ridicule on the serious one in Henry the Eighth, that the latter ceased  p.69 to attract. Thus the keen edge of the satire being blunted, King Clause also speedily sunk into oblivion. This was but one among many attempts which have failed to raise this motley production into a standard piece.

Those who had still an interest in the Smock-alley theatre were not deterred by seeing how much their neighbours were engaged in a ruinous concern, from determining once more to tempt fortune. Reinforced by some fresh adventurers, they had the old building pulled down, and a new one which rose from the ruins was opened on the eleventh of December 1735. This theatre is the same that exists at the present day. Thus Dublin, which had shown itself incompetent to maintaining two theatres, was now called upon to support a third. As this was impossible, one at least must fall to the ground; and the Rainsford-street was the first to experience such a fate: — from this time it was never heard of more. Aungier-street and Smock-alley both kept the field for a considerable time, like the two buckets to a well, sometimes the one uppermost, sometimes the other, running races perpetually which could first bring out any piece that had acquired popularity at the London theatres; as other theatres have since been inspired with a noble emulation which can first bring forward the melo-dramatic productions of the Boulevards at Paris. At length the managers of the Smock-alley theatre, finding themselves baffled in almost all their efforts to attain the superiority, had recourse to the introduction of rope-dancers and tumblers; and though such exhibitions were considered by all persons of taste and judgement, by all who felt interest for the honour and credit of the drama, as a profanation of the boards over which the genius of Shakespeare had long presided, yet they pleased the gaping multitude, and so far answered the purpose designed: — while it was thought a reproach to be seen in the boxes, the galleries were almost broken down by the crowds that thronged to them. To the credit of the Aungier-street managers, they abstained here from entering into a competition with their antagonists; to them alone they resigned the glory of mingling the vaulting genius of Shakespeare with the vaulting of those whose genius lay in their heels rather than their heads.

At length, after vainly pursuing this contest for some years, a compromise took place; the two companies united, and for awhile played alternately at the two theatres: in the end Aungier-street was finally closed, and Smock-alley for a long time reigned without a rival. An attempt to raise one was made in 1747  p.70 by opening a little theatre in Capel-street, but its reign was at that period very transient. The time, however, was to arrive when another contest, and a more formidable one than ever, was to be sustained. The first embryo of the Crow-street theatre appeared in 1731, under the form of a music-hall, in which ridottos were given. After being for some years devoted only to purposes of this kind, in 1757 Barry and Woodward, though then in the meridian of their fame in London, chose to abandon the certainty they were enjoying, upon the uncertain speculation of purchasing the music-hall in Crow-street, and building a theatre there — a folly which they had afterwards ample reason to repent. Mr. Sheridan, who had long been proprietor of the Smock-alley theatre, offered to part with it to our adventurers on very moderate terms; an offer which it would have been wise in them to embrace, for then at least they might have hoped to reign with undisputed sovereignty. They chose, however, to prosecute the less prudent plan: their theatre was built, and with the foundation-stone was laid the foundation of their own ruin. It was opened in October 1758.

A long rivalship was then maintained between the two, with varied success; nor till after a thousand vicissitudes, till after ruining not only its founders, but several other proprietors in succession, was Crow-street finally settled in its present pre-eminence. For a time the little theatre in Capel-street, — through the excessive activity of a manager, Mr. Dawson, through the intuitive tact he seemed to possess of discerning at one glance what would suit the public taste, was raised to a distinction far above what, from its diminutive size, it could ever be thought entitled to. Such was the ascendancy it gained, that Barry, the Crow-street proprietor, after running for a considerable time a losing race against it, was glad at length to sell his property to Mr. Dawson; and he, having attained this great object of his ambition, kicked down, without ceremony, the ladder by which he had risen; — Capel-street was abandoned, and once more sunk into obscurity. It still exists as a theatre; so does Smock-alley, and a small theatre in Fishamble-street, — but they are scarcely ever opened. The latter had its origin, like Crow-street, in a music-hall, and in that character was remarkable for Handel's first Oratorio being performed there in 1741; Mrs. Cibber sang several of the songs. There is also a theatre in Peter-street, called The Royal Hibernian Theatre, originally the property of Astley, and intended  p.71 only for equestrian exercises, with the other exhibitions by which they are usually accompanied.

The prices of the Dublin theatre have remained the same for very near a century, perhaps much longer. In bills of that date we find the boxes five-and-fivepence, the pit three-and-threepence, the gallery two-and-twopence; that is, five, three, and two English shillings. These are the present prices, with the difference only that all the boxes are now the same price; the upper ones were then a shilling less.

A certain sum is paid annually by Government to the manager of the Theatre Royal for performing plays on particular nights in the year; such as the King's and Queen's birth-days, the King's accession, and others; when the ladies are complimented with the freedom of the boxes: these are called Government plays. This custom is coeval with the first establishment of a regular theatre. A century back these were the most fashionable nights in the year, constantly attended by the Lord-lieutenant, the Court, and all the ladies of the first fashion and distinction. So indispensable was His Lordship's attendance considered, that once on occasion of celebrating King William's birth-day, when a splendid entertainment was given by the Lord-mayor, an order was sent to the theatre for the play not to begin till the Lord-lieutenant with the nobility and gentry present could leave the Mansion-house. After Woodward and Barry had the theatre, the Government nights, for what reason no one could tell, began to decline in fashion; and they have gradually sunk, till at present no person of fashion would on any account be then seen at the theatre.

 p.72

9. Black-rock, and Sunday Parties to it.… Property of Lord Kenmare and of…

Black-rock, and Sunday Parties to it. — Sir Edward Newenham and his two Daughters — Sea-Point — Villages of Dunleary and Dalkey — Chapel-Isod — Lucan — Leixlip and the Salmon Leap — Excursion to Howth — Battle of Clontarf — Family of Lord Howth — His Castle — The Square Round-Tower — New Pier at Howth — Projected Canal. — The Quarries — The Light-House. — Ireland's Eye. — Island of Lambay — Malahide — Church of Saint Doulach — The Circular Road, — The Grand Canal — The Phoenix Park.

In the neighbourhood of Dublin, as of most large towns, there are a number of places exceedingly frequented by the citizens on parties of pleasure, particularly on Sundays; and which strangers, if they have any ambition to be classed among curious or inquisitive travellers, must not fail to visit. Among these Black-rock holds a high rank. This is a village on the southern shore of the Bay, about three miles from the east end of the city. But those who from the name would expect to see a sublime rock majestically beetling o'er its base upon the sea, would be cruelly disappointed. As at Bognor-rocks, and other places which might be mentioned on the English coast, these rocks are nothing but a few large blocks of stone in the sea, overgrown with weeds, covered at high water, though laid open at the ebb of the tide. Nor is there anything so attractive either in the place itself, or the drive to it, as to account for the predilection with which it is regarded by almost all the inhabitants of Dublin. By the inhabitants I must be understood to mean the good citizens — the tradespeople, mechanics, and others; for Black-rock is not the resort of the quality. During the summer, on a Sunday, the village and the road to it are thronged with people, as if it were a fair. Of course there are abundance of public-houses, where dinner, tea, and above all the beloved whiskey, are flying about in all directions. Such is the passion of the Dublinites for Sunday parties hither, that a woman whose circumstances were indifferent, was once holding forth to a lady, her benefactress, upon the sacrifices she made to support her  p.73 family: — "I do assure you, madam," she said, "I hav'n't so much as been at Black-rock one Sunday this whole year." She seemed to think it the greatest instance of forbearance and self-denial that could be adduced.

In this quarter are several very pretty seats of noblemen and gentlemen; one of which is inhabited, or was so within the last two years, by that venerable patriot Sir Edward Newenham, a name well known and honourably distinguished in the public annals of his country; if still living, it is at a very advanced age. Among the many pleasures which I owe to my travels in different countries, it has not been one of the least, that to them I am indebted for the acquaintance of two daughters of this gentleman's, living however very remote from each other, Madame Folsch of Marseilles, and Mrs. Hughes of Hollywood, near Belfast. The former I have had occasion to mention with grateful recollections in my Travels in France; to the latter I shall have occasion to advert when I speak of the very pleasant time I passed at Belfast.

A much prettier spot than Black-rock is Sea-point, about half a mile further along the Bay, and commanding a beautiful view over it. Here people go in the summer to bathe: there is a handsome lodging-house, and hotel where sometimes balls are given. Both at this place and Black-rock there are a number of bathing-machines, as they are called; that is, the little sentry-boxes already noticed. At the end of Bagot-street in Dublin, from whence goes off the road to Black-rock, is a very large stand of jaunting-cars and jingles, which carry people at fixed prices to certain places in the neighbourhood. To Black-rock the fare is sixpence-halfpenny each person, that is, an English sixpence; on a fine Sunday they are all kept in full employ. These cars and jingles also run to the Pigeon-house, I believe at the same price. Dunleary and Dalkey, — the former a mile beyond Black-rock, the latter three miles further, — are much prettier villages; but being at a greater distance, are not so much frequented.

The western side of the city also furnishes a succession of places coming somewhat under the same description, but not of such general resort. Beyond Chapel-Isod, which is two miles and a half from the Castle, on the banks of the Liffey, for a considerable way is a succession of strawberry-gardens, whither, in the season, parties are made to go and eat strawberries and cream. Mr. Hamilton Rowan was so obliging as to carry me one day, accompanied by Sir Charles and Lady Morgan, a delightful drive in his car along this road. We  p.74 went through the Phoenix Park for a mile and half, along the ridge of a hill looking down upon the Liffey and the meadows through which it meanders, till, quitting the Park at a steep descent called Knock Maroon, we came upon the bank of the river at Chapel-Isod. The chapel, or rather church, is beautifully and picturesquely overgrown with ivy, and the Irish ivy is beyond all comparison finer and more luxuriant in its growth than the English; it is now indeed much cultivated in England. Isod or Isoud, after whom the chapel was named, was the daughter of Anguish, one of the ancient kings of Ireland. She was distinguished par excellence as La Belle Isoud, and is celebrated in the notes to the metrical romance of Sir Tristram, edited by Walter Scott. There was once in the heart of the city an old tower called, after her, Isod's tower, which about a century and half ago was pulled down to clear the ground for some improvements then going forward.

Above the road for some way beyond Chapel-Isod are very high slopes covered with strawberry- plants, which furnish the regales I have mentioned; while at the foot of the road runs the river. Quitting these strawberry-banks, the road, quite on to the village of Lucan, runs through a delightful dell with only the river and road in the bottom, and high wooded slopes on each side; or at intervals the dell somewhat expanding allows space for a small portion of meadow between the wood and the water. This is called the low road to Lucan: the high or turnpike road runs along a height on the different side of the river: it is the great north-west road through the counties of Kildare, Meath, Longford, &c. to Sligo. In many parts of this dell the river is so shallow that a person might walk through it and the water would scarcely be over his ancles; its course is besides very much broken by large masses of stone. At Lucan, in the grounds of Mr. Vesey, there is a medicinal spring resembling the springs at Harrowgate, and many people take lodgings here during the summer for the sake of drinking the waters. A spacious hotel has within a few years been built for the reception of company, and there are several lodging-houses scattered about;, yet there is nothing very pretty in the spot, except the grounds of Mr. Vesey; they run along the bank of the river, and are well wooded.

Leixlip is a mile beyond Lucan. Here the Liffey is joined by another small river called the Rye; and they form together a spreading expanse of water, though still very shallow. About a mile from this place the Royal Canal  p.75 from Dublin to Mullingar, in the county of Westmeath, is carried over the Rye, and the deep valley through which it runs, by an aqueduct eighty-five feet above the river, — twenty-feet higher than that on the Clyde navigation in Scotland, and nearly as high as the Pont-du-Gard, the celebrated Roman aqueduct over the river Gardon in the south of France; — that is eighty French feet above the river, which is equal to eighty-six feet eight inches English and Irish measure. I do not know the height of the nearly as high as the Pont-du-Gard, the celebrated Roman aqueduct over the Pont-y-Caselte in Wales, (an aqueduct of the same kind,) but I believe it is nearly equal to either of the above mentioned. All these, however, are pygmies to the great aqueduct of Alcantara near Lisbon; this, if I am not mistaken, is two-hundred-and-thirty feet high. The aqueduct over the Rye I did not visit; — probably had I been by myself I had not been so near without going thither; but when with company we must bend to them, and the natives have never half the curiosity about the sights of their own country that strangers have.

The village of Leixlip is prettily and picturesquely scattered about at the edge of the basin formed by the confluence of the two rivers. The Liffey about a quarter of a mile from hence enters a charming wild romantic dell, where high slopes covered with wood rise on each side directly above the water. In the midst of this dell the water falls over some rocks, forming a very beautiful though not very high cascade. The scene is altogether of a wild and romantic nature, unlike any thing one expects to see so near a large capital. Several paths are made through the wooded heights, by which the cascade is reached, — an access altogether suited to the wildness and solitude of the whole scene. The rush of water is abundant; though the fall is not high; and the effect is equally fine whether viewed from the edge of the water below or from a small temple above. A broken fragment of a bridge on one side of the fall adds much to the picturesque effect of the whole. This is called a Salmon-leap; but I rather think that those who would expect to see here that singular operation of nature would be entirely disappointed. About the rocks was a profusion of the large St. John's Wort (Hypericum calycinum) now in full flower; it was the first time I had ever seen that beautiful plant growing wild. We returned home by the high road, highly gratified with our excursion, the latter part of which was as new to Sir Charles and Lady Morgan as to myself; — so true is it that it is by means  p.76 of strangers the natives principally become acquainted with the beauties of their own country. 6

Another very pleasant day during my stay in Dublin was spent in a party to Howth, my companions being Mr. and Mrs. C ... and a very intelligent young Prussian with whom we had become acquainted. The road runs for a long way at the edge of the North Bull, and about a mile from the town passes by Marino, a delightful seat of the Earl of Charlemont. In the grounds, and visible from the road, is a beautiful little temple called the Casino, built from a design by Sir William Chambers, after an Italian model. At Raheny, a village about half way, two roads divide off, the one going through the country, the other by the strand. This latter is the most interesting, as it passes through the village of Clontarf, rendered for ever memorable in the annals of Ireland by the battle fought here in the year 1014, between the Irish under their celebrated monarch and patriotic leader Brian Boroimhe, or Boru, and their Danish oppressors; in which, though the Irish monarch and his son both fell victims, a blow never recovered was given to the Danish power. It is not adviseable, however, to take this road at the flow of the tide, since it is at the very edge of the water, and in some places scarcely wide enough for two carriages to pass; at low water there is an ample space of sand, enough for a legion of carriages to go abreast.

The Hill of Howth has been already mentioned as the northern point forming the entrance of the Bay. It is a remarkable peninsula, the perfect rock of Gibraltar in miniature, joined to the main land by an isthmus not more than a quarter of a mile over. It was anciently called Ben-hader, that is The bird's promontory. Tradition says that here once stood an edifice called Dun Criomthan, the palace of Criomthan, who was chief or king of the district, whence in the days of the Roman Agricola he made several successful descents on the coast of Britain. Though now nearly stripped of trees, the hill is said to have been formerly covered with venerable oaks, and to have been a great theatre of Druidical superstition. The only trees remaining are in the demesne of Lord Howth, on the western side of the hill. The Howth family is a very ancient  p.77 one, descended from Sir Armoricus Tristram, who in times long past gained a great victory over the Danes on Saint Laurence's day, whence the family name was changed to Saint Laurence, which it has borne ever since. The house has a sort of castellated appearance, and is considered as the remains of a very large castle built by the same Sir Armoricus. A sword, as I was informed, is preserved in the house as the same which the knight wore in the battle; but I did not go into the house, so did not see it. Near the house, and not far from the road-side, is an odd kind of square building whitened over, which some suppose to have been a part of the ancient castle. When we asked our driver what it was, he very quaintly answered, "Plase your honour, and I suppose 'tis an Irish round tower." 7

The village of Howth does not stand on that side of the promontory towards Dublin Bay, but on the opposite side of the hill facing the north. An immense work has been here undertaken, which had been at this time carried on for eight years, and to all appearance it was likely to continue eight years longer before it would be completed. This was to form an artificial harbour, by means of a mole or pier of stone-work. The stone principally used is from vast quarries made for the purpose in the rock itself; but a great deal has also been brought from Bullock on the other side of the Bay, and some even from the quarries at Runcorn, near Liverpool. The idea in making this harbour, — the ostensible one at least, — was to obviate the inconvenience experienced by vessels, particularly the packets from England, in being so frequently obliged to wait for a long time in the Bay till the tide will serve to go over the bar. Here, the projectors said, there would at all times be a sufficient depth of water to receive them, with effectual shelter from all winds. Some of the men, however, who were at work upon the pier looked wise, shook their heads, and shrugged their shoulders with a significant sneer when we talked with them upon the subject; and the tide being low pointed significantly to the rocky bottom, between which and the surface the space certainly did not appear very considerable: "Oh, by  p.78 Jasus," one said, taking off his hat and bowing respectfully to the water, "and look ye there, I fancy it will answer." In a very different story were the people at work in the quarries when we went up to them. They were eloquent in praise of the undertaking, and the vast benefits which had accrued from it; but it must be owned that their encomiums were confined to dwelling on the number of poor to whom the works had so long furnished bread; they did not in any way enter into the question whether the end proposed would be answered. In fact, ill-natured little birds have whispered that, — since according to the theory of that great master in the art of diplomacy, Sir Robert Walpole, every man has his price, — this job was the price of Lord Howth's concurrence in the Union. It is certain that it has put no inconsiderable sum of money into His Lordship's pocket, not only in the advantages derived from quarrying the stone upon his estate, but that it has so long furnished employment to a very large number of workmen, his tenants, that he has been enabled to raise his rents considerably, without fear of their being unable to support the addition.

Thus much is certain, that it has not been found an easy task to make the works of sufficient strength to resist the waves, which come with prodigious force round the head of the promontory; and 'tis thought that, even if the depth of water within the mole be found to answer, great risk must often be incurred by vessels in attempting to make the harbour. All agree that with a quarter of the expense a much more safe and commodious harbour might have been made on the south side of the Bay between Dalkey Island and the main land, where there is never less than eight fathom of water, and where vessels might always enter with safety and lie in perfect security.

Another scheme has been projected, which some are of opinion would render nugatory all other plans, by removing the impediment that now obstructs the entrance to Dublin harbour, and rendering that accessible at all times. This is to insulate the Hill of Howth, by cutting abroad and deep channel across the isthmus, when, as is affirmed, a current would be created of such force as to carry away the sands by which Dublin Bay is so much choked. Many, however, are of opinion, that this channel might be cut; but in carrying away the sands from the Bay, the probability is they would rest by the way, and the channel in a very short time be entirely filled up again. In fine, the only plan  p.79 against the efficacy of which there does not seem one dissenting voice, is the establishing the harbour at Dalkey Island.

The stone of this hill is a hard limestone very much veined with quartz, and exceedingly impregnated with ferruginous matter, furnishing many crystallizations: some of the siliceous ones are of an acicular figure, small, and exquisitely transparent; they are called here (as I perceived siliceous crystallizations were called wherever found) Irish diamonds. The workmen preserve them carefully, and have always some to sell to the curious in such matters, for which they take care not to ask a price below their value. The quarries are pretty high up the hill, and the stone is brought down by the same kind of machinery as has been noticed at the Hampton quarries near Bath. The rocks are blown up with gunpowder, as the readiest means of separating the masses. One of these explosions took place while we were there; — the sound is grand, but it is not very safe to be near the spot where the explosion takes place; we were careful to keep at a proper distance. Below the quarries is a curious piece of rock insulated at high water, though when the tide is down the narrow channel by which it is separated is laid dry. The lowermost part of this rock appears to be schistose; it is of a deep red colour resulting from the presence of iron, while the uppermost part, of a bluish-gray colour, has much the character of gray wacke slate.

On the highest point of the promontory is a light-house, from which there is as noble a sea-view as can be imagined. This is now no longer used; the rocks shelve off very much below it, and it has been found more eligible to build a new light-house upon a shelf more than half way down. Though not seen to so great a distance as the former, this is conspicuous as far as it is wanted, and is a safer and surer guide. In the village of Howth are the ruins of an abbey, but not affording any interest.

Opposite to Howth are two small islands, Ireland's Eye and Lambay. The former is only three-quarters of a mile from the shore, and is supposed to have been rent from it by the force of the currents, yet here is the very spot chosen for constructing the mole. Are the works of man likely to resist the mighty power of the waters, when the works of the Creator did not? — This little island produces many odoriferous and medicinal herbs. On the east side is a perpendicular mass of rock called The Stags, considered as very dangerous to shipping; — an additional recommendation of the spot chosen for the new harbour, since ships making it must pass almost close to this rock.

 p.80

Lambay, three leagues to the north of Howth, is a much larger island, the resort of a vast number of sea-fowl, and producing abundance of rabbits. It is the property of a Mrs. Usher, a descendant of Archbishop Usher. This family came over to Ireland under the reign of King John, when they obtained a grant of the island of Lambay, which they have retained ever since. At a time when the plague raged in Dublin, Archbishop Usher retired hither with his family; and afterwards in leasing out the island, a clause was inserted in the lease, that if the city should be again visited by the plague, the lease was to be void; so that in case of such a calamity the family have always a safe retreat. There are now upon it the remains of a curious old building, supposed to have been erected at that time as a dwelling-house and fortress. One part is inhabited by some servants of the tenant who hires the property of Mrs. Usher, and they are the only human inhabitants of the island. The form of this building was a polygon, and it has no timber, but is built entirely on arches. There is a well on the island dedicated to the Holy Trinity, which is very much visited on Trinity Sunday. Great quantities of kelp are made here, and plenty of oysters, crabs, and lobsters, are caught.

A bay sweeps from the north side of Howth promontory round for a considerable extent of coast, called Malahide Bay from the town and castle of Malahide standing upon it. This latter, the seat of Mr. Talbot, is situated on a rocky eminence, a sort of peninsula, commanding a fine view of the town and bay. It is a large irregular building round a court, but is thought an object well worth the attention of a traveller, particularly from its bold and commanding situation; as such I always talked of seeing it, but it was one of the few objects which I talked of and did not accomplish. On the beach here, and at Port Marnock near it, abundance of shells are found. The road to Malahide passes through a village called Saint Doulach's, about four miles from Dublin, where is a curious old church, one of the very few remaining in Ireland built between the eighth and eleventh centuries, in a style of architecture to which there is nothing similar in Great Britain, or any of the western parts of Europe. The idea is supposed to have been taken from the Greek and Roman temples, since there is a manifest attempt at columns and pilasters of the ancient Doric order, which support a stone roof. A second stone roof finishes the building, between which and the first there is a considerable space. This style appears to have been a sort of intermediary one between  p.81 the ancient architecture and the Gothic, for these buildings are prior to any of the known Gothic structures. The few churches that remain of such a description are small, none exceeding forty feet in length.

While several of my evenings were passed delightfully in witnessing the extraordinary talents of Mr. Kean, some others were passed very pleasantly in drives to different parts with Mrs. Kean, sometimes in the Phoenix-park, or round the Circular Road, or through some of the pretty villages which abound near Dublin. The Circular-road has its name from nearly encompassing the town. To go from the eastern part, where we were, to the Phoenix-park, which is at the western extremity, this road, though very circuitous, is generally taken to avoid going through some of the worst parts of the city. In pursuing it the Grand Canal is twice crossed. This great work, great both from its magnitude and from the important public object it embraces, affords an inland navigation directly across the island, from Dublin on the eastern coast to the Shannon which pursues its course to the western. The work was begun in 1756; so that it claims a priority over the canal system in England, which has been so much more the subject of public notice, and the theme of public admiration. I beg not to be understood here to mean any reflection upon the canal system; I think it one of great public utility, and claiming the utmost public eulogium: I mean only to observe, what I believe is not generally understood, that Ireland took the lead of Great Britain in it. In the neighbourhood of Dublin trees are planted on each side the canal, with a gravel walk between them and the water: where the trees are well grown up, this makes a very pleasant promenade. Passage-boats for conveying passengers and goods are constantly passing and repassing, and those who have no occasion to travel rapidly speak well of them as a mode of conveyance; but they take two days to go from Dublin to Shannon harbour upon the Shannon, where the canal terminates, a distance of only sixty-three miles. There is an excellent hotel now established at Portobello in Dublin, where the canal boats stop, which is found a great convenience to passengers coming by them.

The Phoenix-park is extensive, but there is nothing strikingly pretty in it. Here the Lord-lieutenant has a summer residence. Near the centre is a Corinthian column with a phoenix rising from the flames on the top. This was erected in 1747 by Lord Chesterfield, who was then Lord-lieutenant.

 p.82

10. Visit to Ravenswell — The Dargle… Division of the City of Limerick.…

Visit to Ravenswell — The Dargle — Mr. Grattans Seat at Tinnahinch. — Lord Powerscourt's Seat at Powerscourt — Unfortunate End of the Duke of Dorset — The Waterfall at Powerscourt — The Hermitage — The Glen of the Downs — Mr. Latouche's House at Belle-Vue — Village of DelgenyBray-Head — Great Sandbank — Mr. Weld Hartstonge — Mr. Henry Mason — Origin of My Pocket-Book.

On the renewal of my acquaintance with Mr. Weld, (as mentioned at the beginning of the fourth chapter,) he very obligingly invited me to visit him at Ravenswell, a house he had lately purchased near Bray, when he would introduce me to his wife and one of his sisters. Thither I accordingly went on the 6th of August, the latter lady, Mrs. Cuthbert, a most delightful woman, the wife of a barrister then absent on the circuit, carrying me over; and here I passed four days most agreeably. I found Mrs. Weld a very sweet and pleasing woman, every way worthy of her husband and his sister.

Ravenswell is but just out of the town of Bray. It stands very pleasantly, not more than a furlong from the sea, the space between being occupied by a little paddock. The house is a very good one, the gardens and grounds very pretty, and the country about abounding with beauty. Here I first learned to understand how much milder the climate of Ireland must be in winter than that of England. In Mr. Weld's gardens the Hydrangea and the Fuchsia coccinea were growing in the open ground, in a much more thriving and luxuriant manner than in the conservatories, where they are always kept in England. Surprised at what I saw, I inquired whether any means were taken to protect them in the winter, and was answered, — None at all, they were not even matted over. I afterwards saw many other instances of these plants thus growing in shrubberies, as healthy and flourishing as if they were natives of the soil. The Hydrangeas were even large spreading shrubs.

The Dargle, the name of which is well known to every body who knows any  p.83 thing about Ireland, is not more than a mile from Ravenswell. It is a spot well deserving all the celebrity it has acquired. At the bottom of a deep glen runs a stream, which having a channel broken with blocks of stone, the water rushing and foaming over them charms alike the eye and the ear. The steep banks on each side are clothed with beautiful woods; the branches in some places meeting and entwining with each other, form lovely green arches over the water. Among the woods wind the most enchanting walks, sometimes carried down to the very edge of the water, sometimes rising to a great height above it. In one place is a vast rock which towers abruptly from the stream to a great elevation; this has the name of the Lovers' Leap; — to how many rocks in the world has the unhappy fate of poor Sappho furnished a name! — About half-way in the glen the stream has a considerable fall down the rocks, at the foot of which it expands to a sort of basin, the woods forming a little amphitheatre round it: in this lovely spot is placed a pretty little mossy hermitage, and in different parts about the woods are several other similar rustic and sequestered bowers.

The name of the Dargle is differently derived. Some will have it to be the Dark-glen, others contend for the Darra-glen; — Darra signifying an oak in the Irish language, and oaks being the trees of which the woods are principally composed. This dell is more than a mile in length. A little way beyond the end of it is Tinnahinch, the beautiful seat of Mr. Grattan. One side of the Dargle is the property of this gentleman; the other belongs to Lord Powerscourt. The latter is the side most frequented. On Mr. Grattan's side, at the summit of the rocks, in a very beautiful spot, is a sweet little rustic cottage built by Mrs. Grattan. Here, while she was in health, parties to dinner or to tea were frequently made by her, the better to furnish her friends with an opportunity of enjoying this delightful retreat. Unfortunately she has fallen into ill health, is become almost a cripple, the parties have ceased, and the cottage has fallen very much to decay. Both the proprietors of the Dargle, with true liberality, with the true spirit of gentlemen, allow the public free access to this demesne, and parties are often made in the summer to dine in the woods, the visitors bringing a cold dinner with them. On Sundays in particular, if the weather be fine, the place is often full of these parties, many of them coming even from Dublin, though a distance of eleven miles. From Lord Powerscourt's side of the Dargle the conical heads of the two mountains called the Sugarloaves  p.84 are seen rising just above the trees on the other side, looking as if directly behind them, though they are in fact at a considerable distance.

Another object of universal admiration in this quarter is Powerscourt, the beautiful seat of Lord Powerscourt. The house is a handsome modern edifice, delightfully situated, commanding a fine prospect every way. The ceiling of the hall by which it is entered is singular and whimsical; it is divided into small square compartments, each square having round it a cornice of shells in stucco. One cannot help immediately thinking of the Ossianic heroes banqueting in their hall of shells. Upstairs there is a handsome saloon and suite of apartments, but upon the whole the house has nothing in it very remarkable. It was while hunting with Lord Powerscourt that the young Duke of Dorset came to his unfortunate end. He took a leap over a low stone fence, not aware that on the other side was a pit; he and his horse fell together, and when taken up he was wholly senseless; he was brought alive to Powerscourt-house, but expired in less than an hour. A messenger was sent off at the moment of the accident to Lord Whitworth and the Duchess, but long before they could reach Powerscourt all was over. Lord Powerscourt was so deeply affected with this catastrophe, that he immediately disposed of his hounds and has never hunted since.

The most remarkable feature of the demesne is the celebrated waterfall. It is not in the grounds immediately surrounding the house, but at some distance from it, I think five miles, in the heart of a mass of wild and romantic mountains. At the foot of a pretty considerable descent, after passing through a gate, a shallow stream running over broken blocks of stone is crossed, and a valley is entered through which this stream winds, still over the same rocky bottom. One side of the stream is occupied by Lord Powerscourt's deer-park, which lies on a considerable but not very steep acclivity and abounds with fine oak-trees. This part is forbidden ground; the other side of the stream is open to every one who chooses to visit the waterfall, and a road runs along the valley quite up to it. But a much more advantageous distant view of the fall is to be obtained on the deer-park side of the river: and desire to have the best possible view of it being a more powerful feeling with our party than fear of wetting our shoes, we made no hesitation to commit a little trespass, trusting that the recording angel would not enrol it in the great book, under the head of heavy sins,  p.85 but only under that of minor peccadilloes: — in this confidence we quitted our car, and sent that on to the fall, while we very successfully, assisted by the fragments of stone, waded through the stream, almost without the forfeiture of wet shoes, and pursued our route along the forbidden side; I believe, like true descendants of Eve, enjoying our walk the more for its being taken in opposition to the imposed taboo.

Indeed the spectacle presented as we advanced along the valley was truly enchanting. Of a different nature from the Dargle, there is some extent of pasture on each side the stream before the slopes begin to rise. At length the valley expands into a beautiful amphitheatre surrounded by the wooded slopes, in the centre of which is the waterfall, rushing profusely down an almost perpendicular rock from a very great height, said to be three hundred feet. Nor do I believe this an exaggerated estimate, including the whole height that the water descends; but the whole cannot be seen looking from the valley below. The stream by which it is fed comes from a small plain above among the heights of the mountains, and after meandering through this plain it falls into a very narrow thickly wooded little dell, where running a short distance it then rushes down the great cascade. At this time I only saw it from the valley: it is possible to climb from thence to the head of the cascade; but the rocks are very steep, the ascent very slippery, and petticoats are ugly troublesome things in climbing, — so we did not attempt the adventure: in an excursion, however, the following year to another part, going over the high grounds at the top of these mountains I was gratified with a sight of it.

After falling a considerable way almost perpendicularly, it comes to a number of broken masses of rock, among which it dashes and bounds till it terminates finally in the little stream below. Another stream coming from a dell which branches off from the principal valley joins the cascade stream at the distance of about a quarter of a mile, when both together form the rivulet we had waded through. It appears very astonishing, nay even incomprehensible, when one stands contemplating an object of this kind, how that body of water constantly rushing down with such astonishing velocity can be supplied, and one almost expects at every moment that the great jug above must be emptied and the pouring out of the water cease. If this be the sensation at the humble fall of Powerscourt, what must be felt at beholding the Falls of Niagara? I  p.86 know not whether it be possible to compute the quantity of water that pours clown here at every minute; but considering the steepness of the descent, and the consequent velocity with which the water rushes, it must be prodigious. The summer had been rather a wet one, so that there was plenty of water, though at a time of year when it often fails. Altogether this is a truly enchanting spot. Another place to which my kind host at Ravenswell carried me was the Hermitage, a beautiful but now deserted spot, the owner, who married a daughter of Mr. Grattan's, having removed to Altidore, a seat lately purchased by him in the neighbourhood. At the Hermitage is a beautiful dell in the style of the Dargle, but not near its length, having high wooded slopes on each side, a streamlet in the bottom, and pretty walks ascending and descending among the woods. The rocks here are a schist coloured by chlorite, and richly veined with quartz. We returned by the Glen of the Downs, another dell of the same kind, through which runs the new mail-coach road from Dublin to Wicklow and Wexford. In this glen the road lies directly at the foot of the slope on one side. Down this slope a few days before an immense mass of stone had rolled from the summit to the bottom, where it was then lying. On its course it swept down every thing that lay in its way, leaving the track by which it descended as distinctly marked as if a road had been cut through the thicket. The other side of the glen is a part of the grounds of Peter Latouche, Esq.; a little lawn, shrubbery, and rivulet course the foot of the slope, and along the slope are beautiful plantations. Just at the mouth of the glen a road turns off to the village of Delgeny; and above this road, at a considerable height, stands Belle Vue, Mr. Latouche's house, in a situation which renders it truly worthy the name it bears. Few people with the means of Mr. and Mrs. Latouche have the same spirit of employing their wealth in diffusing happiness around them. They are alike distinguished for hospitality to their equals and liberality to their dependants. The village of Delgeny, the parish in which Belle Vue stands, is prettily situated upon the slope of a hill; there is a neat new church built by Mr. Latouche, and a school maintained by Mrs. Latouche. The children educated there sing at the church on a Sunday, and people in the neighbourhood come thither very much to hear them.

The road from hence to Bray by the coast is very pretty: the latter part  p.87 skirts along the land side of Bray-head; a stupendous height, rising by degrees almost to a ridge, which runs out into the sea, forming a bold and majestic promontory: it is seen by vessels at a great distance. The rocks here are a very close-grained limestone, of various shades of gray. Bray is a neat little town, standing prettily upon the shore, and having the stream from the Dargle running at its foot. This, after pursuing its course some way over a wide, shallow, pebbly channel, here empties itself into the sea. It is celebrated for fine trout. Off this part of the coast, some way out at sea, is a great sandbank, where a vessel is always moored, as at the Goodwin Sands off the Kentish coast, with lights at night. Some pretty pebbles are occasionally found here, and plenty of weed; but I saw no shells, and no corallines except two small pieces of the sickle. The counties of Dublin and Wicklow are divided by the river; so that while Bray is in the latter county, Ravenswell is in the former.

Mr. Weld has here a very beautiful table of the yew-tree wood, which is occasionally found in the bogs. A striking and remarkable feature of the bogs of Ireland, is the quantity of wood dug up from them at a great depth below the surface. Whole trunks of trees are found, which must have lain there, probably for centuries; but far from having any appearance of decay, the wood acquires additional hardness from being thus submerged. It also becomes of a very dark hue: the oak, in particular, will sometimes be turned nearly as black as ebony, and will bear an equal polish. This and fir are the principal woods dug up, but others are occasionally found, — yew among them. The table I saw at Ravenswell was turned nearly as dark as old mahogany, retaining all the beautiful veining of the wood with the utmost distinctness, and having as fine a polish as could be given to the finest mahogany.

On the road between Dublin and Bray stands a house, now a gentleman's seat, which having been formerly an inn was placed almost at the road-side. In its converted state the front has been turned away from the road, and a wall is run up behind, not many feet from the house, between that and the road, which wall is continued to the end of the grounds, with agate of entrance more than a furlong from the house. An English gentleman was walking by this place in company with an Irish one, while the people were at work making the gate of entrance; when the former said that he had heard much of the  p.88 quaintness of the lower orders among the Irish, but though he had been some time in the country, he had not met with any traits of it. "You shall not be long without one," said the Irish gentleman; and going up to the men at work at the gateway, he said, "What are you doing there, my friends?" — "Plase your honour," answered one with a significant nod of his head towards the house, "making an entrance to that house." "What, to that house yonder?" said the Englishman. "Yes," replied the man, taking off his hat, and bowing respectfully towards the house, "to that very house."

In the hospitable mansion at Ravenswell I met two poets of the country, Mr. Weld Hartstonge, a relation of my hosts, and Mr. Henry Monk Mason — brother to Mr. William Monk Mason, whom I have already had occasion to mention. The former is the author of a poem entitled Marion of Drymnagh, a tale of Erin, written in imitation of the style and manner of Walter Scott, with whom the author is in habits of intimacy. It is founded on a legendary tradition annexed to Drymnagh castle, formerly the seat of the ancient family of Barnewall, viscounts of Kingsland and barons of Trimletston, now the property of the Marquis of Lansdown. The castle is a venerable remnant of antiquity, standing in a romantic spot not more than three miles west of Dublin. The legend on which the poem is founded has its origin in the Crusades; and that prince of crusaders, Richard Coeur de Lion, occupies a conspicuous place in it. From this circumstance the author takes occasion to mention in a note a derivation of the name of Plantagenet, which from its excessive whimsicalness, and to show how some persons will run all lengths after a derivation, deserves notice. It is this: The first Earl of Anjou, who bore the name, having been stung with remorse for some wicked action which he had committed, in atonement of his offence undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Here, as a part of his penance, he caused himself to be plentifully scourged with twigs of the broom-plant (genista), and thence he afterwards assumed the name of Plantagenet (broom-plant), which was ever after borne by his royal successors 8.

 p.89

Mr. Henry Monk Mason has also directed his poetical talents to the legends of his country: his poem refers to St. Kevin, a saint of whom we shall have occasion hereafter to make much more ample mention when we come to speak of the valley of Glendaloch and the remains of the seven churches there. Of these Mr. Mason has treated somewhat at large in the notes to his poem.

It was at the house of a gentleman in this neighbourhood that that excellent piece of humour, My Pocket-Book, had its origin. The good-natured, but perhaps rather superficial traveller, at whom the wit is aimed, was dining at the house of this person with a large party both gentlemen and ladies, when he was observed to draw out his pocket-book very frequently, and take down memoranda of what he heard in conversation; and that, as some of the company thought, rather more of the trivialities and frivolities which passed, than of more important matters, whence real instruction and information might have been derived. This awakened the attention, and rather gave a spur to the satire of some of the gentlemen present, who immediately took advantage of any opportunity presented to throw in an anecdote, no matter whether true or drawn from their own imagination, such as they thought the traveller would minute down; and seeing with delight that the bait took, their assiduities were redoubled. Laughing together afterwards at what had passed, the idea suggested itself of the publication in question. The effect it produced is well known, and was probably much more than they intended; their only idea was to afford a momentary amusement to themselves and to the public: they had no conception that they were to be the means of injuring the traveller's reputation as a writer. Nor, in all probability, would they have been so, but for the folly of the publisher in prosecuting the work: this only, as is invariably the case, occasioned it to be the more sought after, and gave additional poignancy to the satire. In Ireland, particularly, My Pocket-Book acquired so much celebrity, that while I scarcely met with any one who was not well read  p.90 in that, I met with few who were acquainted with the work it ridicules. No tourist could now venture to write down a memorandum in the presence of company: I carefully avoided it, and reserved till evening, when I had retired to my own apartment, the task of taking down my notes and observations upon what I had heard or seen in the day. If any one should choose to make a sketch of me, either with pen or pencil, at this my nocturnal occupation, I resign myself to them freely; they may rest assured that they will not be prosecuted.

 p.91

11. Departure from Dublin. — Swords. —… Desultory Hints and Animadversions respecting the…

Departure from Dublin. — Swords. — Drogheda. — Dundalk Bay. — The Weeping-ash Tree. — Town of Dundalk. — Hilsborough. — Lisburn. — The Valley of the Lagan. — Arrival at Belfast. — Flourishing State of this Town. — Places of Worship. — The New Chapel. — Charitable Institutions. — Literary Societies. — Manufactories. — Belfast Lough. — Dr. Macdonnell. — His Collection of Drawings, Minerals, &c. — Mr. Ryan.

As the principal object of my journey was to visit the North of Ireland, I had not intended staying more than a fortnight at Dublin, but I was detained there nearly a month by the illness of my servant. It was not till the eleventh of August that I could set off on my remoter travels. The country on this side of Dublin is flat, dull, and monotonous; and the weather being unfortunately very wet, it was seen to particular disadvantage. The road runs near the coast, and to a considerable distance has the Hill of Howth, with Lambay and Ireland's Eye, constantly in view. When these are lost, some other little islets lying off the coast succeed, as the Skerries, Racabitt, and Patrick's Island.

At Swords, seven miles from Dublin, are very extensive ruins. Here was originally a monastery, which at the abolition of religious houses was converted into a palace for the Archbishop of Dublin; nothing now remains but walls overgrown with ivy: a round tower stands only fifty feet from the church, so that at a little distance it has the appearance of a turret belonging to it. This tower is between seventy and eighty feet in height. On account of the rain I did not stop to examine it; but I am informed that the upper part for several feet was rebuilt within the last half century; if so, though to appearance one of the most perfect in Ireland, it is not one of the best specimens remaining of these extraordinary structures. At Balruddery, twenty miles from Dublin, upon the very edge of the sea, are the ruins of a church, which have a very picturesque effect.

The town of Drogheda is twenty-four miles from Dublin; it stands on the river Boyne, only five miles from its mouth, and vessels of a considerable size  p.92 come up to it. The approach to this town is rather striking, having the river with the vessels lying in it and the bridge at the bottom, while the town rises in a slope above them. Both the town and river, from association, excite a considerable degree of interest; the town from the remarkable siege it sustained in Oliver Cromwell's time, the river from the still more memorable battle fought on its banks by that illustrious monarch King William the Third. Before the Reformation, Drogheda abounded with monastic institutions; the buildings of many are still standing, though no longer the abodes of religion, as they were called, one excepted, which is now a nunnery. But we read of so many murderers and malefactors of various descriptions taking sanctuary at different times in one or other of these monasteries, that they seem rather to have been harbours for the wicked than receptacles for the pious. The Catholic Primate of Ireland has a house here, which is a conspicuous object in approaching the town. The Boyne is celebrated for the excellence and abundance of the salmon and trout that it yields.

Just beyond Castle Bellingham, which is ten miles from Drogheda, the road comes directly to the edge of Dundalk Bay. This bay is very extensive, but the water is so extremely shallow that no vessel, scarcely even a fishing-boat, can at any time come near the shore. When the tide is down, the extent of sand is so great as immediately to suggest the idea, (like the North Bull in Dublin Bay,) that by industry a vast tract might be rescued entirely from the water, and rendered cultivable land. But sufficient encouragement is not given to Irish industry to induce such speculations. Vast quantities of cockles are gathered in this bay. On the shore are extensive salt-marshes, where a number of sheep and cattle are always feeding; the sheep thrive here particularly well. The marshes and sands abound with sea-fowl, as wild-geese, barnacles, gulls, and many others.

The road continues along the Bay for three miles, when at Lurgan Green it turns to a greater distance from the coast. Between that place and Dundalk my attention was arrested by seeing in a hedge-row, among a number of ash-trees with which it was interspersed, two of the kind now well known in England as the weeping-ash. One of these was of a great height, and was evidently a tree of many years growth; it must have been much, much more ancient than the date when these trees came into general notice in this country; it had, however, been  p.93 stripped of its long branches, and only a few young shoots were now growing from the top. The other was of a considerable size, larger than any I ever saw in England, the parent stock excepted.

It is remarkable that this tree, now to be seen in almost all plantations, was scarcely known till within somewhat more than the last thirty years. At that time the existence of the parent tree, though then of a great age, was known to very few; — chance led to my becoming acquainted with it. It stands in the village of Gamlingay in the county of Cambridgeshire, where a woman, who had been servant in my father's family, went to live with her husband. Seeing this woman occasionally, she talked to us very much of a great curiosity in their village, a weeping-ash tree; and one day when some of the family were at the village she carried us to see it. It was then in a field close by a farm-house, a large forest-tree, the trunk growing to a great height quite straight, without a shoot, and from the head the long branches hung sweeping to the ground, forming a perfect arbour within; it did indeed appear to us a great curiosity. She said that her husband had taken some grafts from it which he had grafted upon common ash stocks, and if the experiment should succeed, she would request my father's acceptance of one. In due time one was brought and presented to him at his living of Wimpole in Cambridgeshire; and the man having been servant in Lord Mardwicke's family, another was presented to His Lordship's steward to be planted in the grounds. These I have good reason to think were the first two known out of Gamlingay.

Since that time the breed has spread very much; but I believe it may with truth be affirmed, that all are descendants in a direct or remote line from the same parent. The dispersion of the family has brought the parent into more notice, and occasioned investigations to ascertain if possible its origin and age; but the oldest people in the place, one man eighty-eight years of age, could only say that he remembered the tree ever since he was a boy, and always a large and well grown one. The last time I saw it was about three years ago. A very neat small house had been built close by it, where lived the curate of the parish, and the tree was enclosed in his garden; he had rescued it from the axe, to which it had been sacrilegiously doomed. It was not in so great beauty as when I first knew it; one side had suffered exceedingly in a hard winter, and so much had died, that on that side the arbour was quite laid open; on the  p.94 other side the branches hung with as fine and majestic a sweep as ever. A remarkable thing is, that if the seeds of this tree are sown they come up common ash trees, the only way of propagating the species is by grafts. The same casualty that first produced this tree must probably have operated to produce those in the hedge-row on the Dundalk road; but no such chance as that I have mentioned ever drew these into the same notice, they seemed to stand here wholly unheeded.

Dundalk is a large town, forty miles from Dublin, having one street running through it to the extent of a mile, from which diverge several smaller ones. The last coronation that took place of a monarch of all Ireland was at Dundalk; it was for a long time a royal residence. There is a good port, and a cambrick manufactory, the principal one in Ireland. The country beyond this place becomes much more hilly and stony, interspersed with some tracts of bog. The road passes a very fine seat of Lord Clermont's, well wooded, but having the air of a deserted and abandoned place.

Newry, fifty miles from Dublin, is a large and very commercial town, standing on a river called the Newry-water, which runs up from Carlingford Bay. A canal goes from this town to Lough Neagh. A singular kind of pitch-stone is found in the neighbourhood, but in one particular spot only. About seven miles from Newry the road passes a small fresh-water lake called Lough Brickland.

Dromore, sixty-six miles from Dublin, is a very ancient city standing on the river Lagan. For many years it had been declining exceedingly, since, though a bishop's see, it was deserted by its shepherd; his residence was fixed at Magheralin, a village at a little distance. But Dr. Beresford when he was bishop built a house in the town, at which he came to reside in 1781, and ever since it has revived, and is now in a tolerably flourishing state. It is ancient as a see, its first foundation dating as far back as the sixth century, but it was refounded by King James the First with extraordinary privileges. Among other marks of his royal favour, he ordered that the bishops should be distinguished as by divine providence Bishops of Dromore; all the other bishops in Ireland, excepting those of Meath and Kildare, are only styled Bishops by divine permission.

Hilsborough is sixty-nine miles from Dublin. This is one of the neatest towns I saw in all Ireland, which it owes principally to the cares, the attentions, and  p.95 the liberality of the first Marquis of Downshire, grandfather to the present marquis. By him a very handsome church was built. The Marquis has a house in the town with a fine library. All the way from Newry nearly to Belfast, the Mourne mountains, some of the highest in Ireland, are seen in the distance raising their towering summits behind, and far above all the lesser hills of the county of Down. Since mail coaches have been established, the roads have been turned in many places to carry them round the bases of the hills instead of going over their summits; following the old maxim, that “the furthest way about is the nearest way home.”

Lisburn, four miles beyond Hilsborough and seventy-three from Dublin, is a very neat town situated on the river Lagan. It has every appearance of a place of much industry and commerce, and has long been celebrated as one of the principal marts of the Irish linen manufactory. Much of its present flourishing state is ascribed to the number of French refugees who settled here at the revocation of the edict of Nantes; and they, coming from the parts where were the best linen manufactories in the French dominions, improved by their knowledge those of the country which afforded them an asylum. — But more of this place and of its manufactures hereafter.

Here the road enters the county of Antrim, and continues along the valley of the Lagan quite to Belfast, where the river joins the Bay of Belfast, or Belfast Lough. This valley and the lough run in a direction from south-west to north-east, and the valley is skirted from a very little way beyond Lisburn by a continued chain of mountains. The country constantly improves, till in the neighbourhood of Belfast it becomes very beautiful, being scattered over with a number of villas, the summer residences of the citizens of Belfast. The town stands exactly at the junction of the river with the bay, or perhaps it should rather be said that the bay from its mouth is constantly contracting itself till at Belfast it is narrowed to the breadth only of a river; when it assumes the name of the Lagan. The same is the case with Carlingford Bay in the county of Down; it narrows up to the river called Newry-water; and such also is the Kenmare river in the county of Kerry, a bay narrowing gradually till it becomes no wider than a river. The Lagan is crossed at Belfast by a very old bridge of twenty-one arches, which, like most old bridges, is very narrow, with the arches  p.96 very small. Three of the arches are in the county of Antrim, the remainder of the bridge is in the county of Down.

Belfast is one of the most opulent towns in Ireland: it is the largest town in the county of Antrim, though not the county town, and is a principal deposit of the linen-trade. It has increased in wealth and size very much within a few years; there are many streets entirely new-built, and nearly at the entrance of the town is a spacious and handsome linen-hall almost new. For its present flourishing state it is much indebted to the late Marquis of Donegal: this family has a large property in the town; many of the new streets are upon ground leased from them. The late Marquis built at his own expense a handsome assembly-room over the Exchange. Large as the town is, it contains only one parish; the church is a neat one, but has nothing in it particularly striking. A very large portion of the inhabitants are not, however, of the church of England. This county and Down, approaching the nearest to Scotland of any part of the island, have been very much colonised by Scotch families, consequently dissenters from the church of England; yet many do not adhere to the religion they brought over with them, but have adopted other persuasions. Unitarianism is more prevalent here than in any part of Ireland; the catholics are not numerous, though they have two chapels. There are eight congregations of protestant dissenters of different descriptions, including a quakers and a methodists meeting.

As the church had become too small for the increased size of the town, a chapel of ease was in considerable forwardness when I was there. It was raised from the spoils of one out of the many houses built by the late Earl of Bristol, and Bishop of Derry. Besides that at Ickworth in the county of Suffolk, he built two in the county of Derry; Down Hill, now the property of Sir Hervey Bruce, and that in question, I think, near Derry. The heir to his estates has thought proper to pull down the latter, and selling the materials, sufficient were purchased by the town of Belfast to build a chapel; among these materials were some fluted Ionic columns, which form a very handsome portico.

The principal charitable institutions at Belfast are, a general infirmary for the sick poor, a fever hospital, a lying-in hospital, an asylum for the blind where, as in similar institutions in other places, they are taught such works as they are  p.97 capable of executing, particularly basket-making; — an asylum for aged men and women and orphan children; the latter are fed, clothed, and educated, till of age to be bound out as apprentices; — a house of industry intended to abolish mendicity, — and indeed in no part of Ireland are so few beggars to be seen; perhaps this is rather to be ascribed to the country hereabouts being in a more Nourishing state than most other parts.

A plan was formed some years ago for establishing an university, principally with a view to the education of protestant dissenters. Not much progress had at this time been made in it, and it seemed probable that the scheme would fall entirely to the ground. There are literary societies for the promotion of philosophy, the medical sciences, and music: — the latter has principally in view the revival of that ancient national instrument, the harp, such as it was in former days, not with any of those modern improvements which entirely deprive the instrument of its true national character. This town is considered as a very literary place, it is a sort of metropolis of the north. Besides the great staple article of manufactory — the linen, there are large manufactories of cotton, sail-cloth, sugar, glass, and earthenware. The streets are well paved with trottoirs, and well lighted. All round the town there are very large bleaching-grounds.

The Bay at the flow of the tide is truly beautiful, scattered over on each side for a short distance from the water with country-seats finely wooded, and high hills rising behind them; the hills on the northern shore are much the highest. When the tide is down, a very large portion of the Bay is but a continued sand or rather mud, with a small channel winding through it up to the town. This channel is marked by posts for the direction of vessels coming up at high water, and the depth is then sufficient to admit vessels of a considerable size. Oysters, muscles, and cockles, abound in the Bay, and the shores at low water are scattered over with the shells; but there are no other shells, and no weed or pebbles worth notice. Further down the Bay, towards Carrickfergus, the shore becomes more pebbly, and some shells are to be found of the genera Buccinum, Venus, and Area.

By the kindness of Mr. Hamilton Rowan, I had a letter of introduction to Dr. Macdonnell, one of the principal physicians in Belfast, and a zealous geologist and mineralogist. To this gentleman I was particularly obliged for a vast deal of  p.98 information which proved of infinite use to me in going round the county of Antrim, and for seeing many very interesting objects in the neighbourhood of Belfast which might otherwise have escaped my notice. In his possession I saw a collection of drawings of all the most remarkable points round the coast of Antrim, taken by an Italian, who went out repeatedly in a boat along the coast for this purpose. I examined them now with very great pleasure, as giving me an excellent idea of what I was going to see: — I saw them with redoubled pleasure at my return to Belfast after having visited the several spots. They are taken with perfect accuracy, exhibiting a series of wonders of which those who have never seen any thing of the kind cannot form an idea. Dr. Macdonnell has a large collection of minerals, with many other objects of curiosity; among them two arrow heads of carved flint, worked in a way which nobody now is able to execute, nor can anybody that sees them imagine with what kind of instrument it could be performed. There are also some axes similar to those that have been mentioned in the Dublin Society Museum, called there Carthaginian axes. The Doctor is, however, not very much disposed to believe them so: he says they are found in such numbers, in districts so very remote from each other, and from any part the Carthaginians are ever supposed to have visited, that they must have been an implement in common use among the natives, though it is difficult to surmise for what purpose. The metal of which they are composed appears a composition of copper and tin.

Among many other topics of conversation with the Doctor, he was very particular in his inquiries about our new theatrical meteor, Mr. Kean; whether I thought his merits really deserving the encomiums bestowed upon him in the newspapers, and the enthusiasm which he seemed to have excited in London. After the opinion I have already given of this great actor, my answer will be readily anticipated. Upon this the Doctor said: "I understand it to be a well ascertained fact that he was playing at Belfast a few years ago almost unnoticed. What a reflection upon a town which pretends to so much taste and literature that we could not discover such talents!"

Breakfasting with Dr. Macdonnell the day that I was to quit Belfast on my progress round the country, I met a great miner, Mr. Ryan, almost inevitably, therefore, a great mineralogist. He had in his possession a piece of wood,  p.99 part of a perfect wheel which had been found at a great depth in a bog; and he mentioned having heard of a boat which had recently been found entire at a great depth in another bog not very far from Portrush, the north-western extremity of the county of Antrim. This he knew only from report, he had not been able positively to ascertain the fact; but he heard it from authority which he had very good reason to credit. He was making inquiries by which he hoped to arrive at the truth, but I never learnt the result of them. He gave me a small piece of uranium which he had obtained from the Gunnis Lake at Calstock in Cornwall, in a vein of quartz four hundred and fifteen feet from the surface of the earth. It is of a brilliant green colour, and has the lustre of what is known by the name of foil.

 p.100

12. The Valley of the Lagan. —… Present State of Ireland. — Mr.…

The Valley of the Lagan. — Divis Mountain. — The Gypsum Quarry. — The Cave-Hill. — Carrickfergus. — Island Magee. — The Town and Bay of Larne. — .The Gobbins. — Reputed Massacre there. — Promontory of Ballygelly. — Cairn-Castle. — Town of Glenarm — Enormous marine Plants. — Garron-Point, and steep Descent there. — Red Bay. — Cushendall. — Civil Attentions of a Scotchman there. — Adventures of the Night. — Cushendun, and its Caves. — Vast Tract of Bog. — Arrival at Ballycastle.

At the valley of the Lagan commences the curious basaltic region which I was now going to explore. It is the first of a range of valleys which intersects at certain distances the eastern coast of the county of Antrim, each having a stream running down to the sea, with stupendous mountains extending along their sides. In most of these the upper stratum of the mountains on both sides is basaltic, resting upon a limestone base: they are only so on the north side of the Lagan valley; on the south side, which is in the county of Down, they assume a wholly different character. Along the north side run in succession the mountains of Colin, Divis, the Cave-Hill, Carnmoney, and Knockagh. They constitute one chain, but these are the principal points. The Cave-Hill has the appearance of being the highest, since it rises abruptly to its extremest point; Divis, on the contrary, which is really the highest, alter rising to a considerable height shelves off, and runs level for some way; then again rises what may almost be termed another mountain. This form is, however, only to be observed at a distance; — looking up from the foot nothing more than the first rising is seen, nor in ascending is the second discernible till the summit of the first is reached. The two divisions include a height of 1400 feet above the level of the Lough; the Cave-Hill is only 1140.

Along the side of a small stream which runs at the foot of Divis is a vast quarry of gypsum. The prevailing rock mass here is schistose; it is crossed by a whin dyke. 9. The gypsum is accompanied by a bed of indurated clay,  p.101 the prevailing tints of which are gray or dull red, and of these the gypsum occasionally partakes. It exhibits a beautiful glimmering lustre, and a splintery fracture; in many places it is fibrous, forming extensive veins, and constituting the variety commonly known as satin-spar. The veins are occasionally as much as two feet in thickness, from which they run along the bed of clay wherein they are formed, shooting out into a variety of ramifications like the roots of a tree, till they are lost at length in a wedgy termination. The stream which runs through the quarry abounds with chalcedonic flints variously coloured with red and gray, having a whitish coating, the result of partial decomposition. In ascending the mountain we come to a stratum of limestone of a moderately clear blueish gray colour and close texture, which is susceptible of a polish not of the highest kind; this stone is called here blue marble. Adjoining is a compound stratum of calcareous and other matter, containing numerous small pebbles, which is distinguished provincially by the appellation of mulatto, it being for the most part nearly white, minutely dotted with black and gray. In the more simple calcareous matter shells and various marine exuviae are by no means rare. I ascended this hill to a height sufficient to gratify my curiosity by procuring on the spot specimens of these several constituent parts, but did not ascend far enough to see the upper region and examine of what that is composed; in figure it is very much rounded. This mountain rises directly above the town of Belfast.

The Cave-Hill is between three and four miles east of the town, along the north shore of the Bay. It is composed of a white limestone, with a summit of basalt, or trap as it is here more commonly called, an appellation derived from the German treppe, a staircase — the form which the basalt assumes in parts where it is not columnar, having often the appearance of vast steps. This mountain as well as Divis is intersected by a whin dyke. I ascended about half way up to a large limestone quarry, but did not reach the basaltic region, which is indeed only accessible by making a very long and toilsome circuit. The chalk is abundantly furnished with beautiful crystallizations of nearly pure carbonate of lime, which present themselves in veins: it abounds also with flints  p.102 in a state of partial decomposition, they are mostly of a brownish-red colour approaching to hornstone. Amygdaloid is a prominent feature in several parts of this hill; its cavities arc chiefly filled with common quartz. The basalt approaches in its general character to the greenstone of the Wernerian school. The caves whence the name of the hill is derived are in a higher region than that to which I ascended. Great doubts are entertained whether they are the work of nature or of art. Dr. Drummond of Belfast, in the notes to his pleasing poem of The Giants' Causeway, is decidedly of opinion that they are the work of art, and his poetic imagination is disposed to render them the ancient habitations of some of the mighty warriors for which the country was celebrated, — some Ossianic hero; or perhaps the country-seat of the great Brian Boroimhe. I saw them not, so can form no opinion about them.

While I was upon this hill I enjoyed the sight of a most beautiful phenomenon, of which I had often heard, but had never before seen it. A very heavy shower of rain came on, and the sun shining at the same time formed a most beautiful rainbow below, which seemed to lie upon the water in the Bay. The colours were particularly bright and vivid; and the breadth appeared double, or even treble that which the rainbow ordinarily appears. Even had I not been protected from the rain by a good plaid cloak, I would most gladly have purchased the gratification I experienced from so enchanting a spectacle at the expense of being wet through. It continued for a full quarter of an hour, so that ample leisure was afforded to contemplate it. A very fine view is presented from hence to the town of Belfast, and a considerable way beyond up the valley of the Lagan eastward, over the Bay to the county of Down, with the majestic Mourne mountains in the distant scene southward; and westward to Carrickfergus and the mouth of the Bay. From the top of the mountain in a clear day may be seen the Isle of Man, with the shores of Galloway and Ayrshire.

This hill I explored in my way from Belfast to Carrickfergus. I had intended setting out early in the morning, but found so much entertainment at Dr. Macdonnell's breakfast-table, that I did not quit the town till twelve at noon. Between this delay and the time I spent upon the hill the day was so far advanced when I reached Carrickfergus, that I had thought of stopping there for the night; but I found the inn such a deplorably dirty disgusting place, that I determined — contrary to my usual practice of never risking being in the  p.103 dark — to go on that night to Larne, and only stop at Carrick to bait the horse.

It is needless to observe, that this town was once a place of very great note, giving name to the bay, which now has its name from Belfast. It stands upon the northern shore of the bay, not very far from its mouth. Here King William landed when he came to the defence of the country against the expelled monarch James the Second, and the foreign forces he brought with him; and the stone on which he first set his foot on landing is still shown as an object of veneration. There are large remains of an old castle, standing on a rock, not a very lofty one, of greenstone; once a very strong fortress: there are still guns mounted, with a small garrison, and stock of ammunition; but as no apprehensions of a siege are now entertained, the provision is not very ample. In the war of 1756 this castle was for two days in possession of the French under the celebrated adventurer Thurot; but it was soon retaken, and the cause amply revenged by the capture of the whole attacking squadron. At the time when I was at Belfast, three vessels belonging to the town had very recently been captured by American privateers. —

The views all along the bay from Belfast to Carrickfergus are very beautiful.

I had for many reasons taken a jaunting-car for this tour, as the most eligible mode of travelling. The road I was now going was not a very frequented one, and ill-suited to a four-wheeled carriage; in some places, indeed, it would have been scarcely passable for one; nor would a two-wheeled carriage, unless of the low construction of a jaunting-car, have been very safe. It had, besides, the recommendation, that, as I very often found occasion to dismount from my vehicle, the better to examine some object which engaged my attention, I should not have found any other so conveniently constructed for the purpose. The greatest inconvenience I experienced was, that I had by this means a driver unacquainted with the country; and as we were now to travel principally through bye-roads, they were not well furnished with direction-posts to guide us on our way. At Carrickfergus my servant had made inquiries concerning the road we were to take to Larne, and we set off accordingly. As I had studied the map of our route very attentively, we had not gone far before I began to suspect that we were not in the right road; we appeared going not sufficiently in a northern direction; and I observed to the servant that I thought we were wrong. He assured me that he had made very particular inquiries, and that we were certainly going the road we were directed. I was still not  p.104 perfectly satisfied; but I suffered the carriage to go on nearly a mile further, when coming to the point of the estuary which separates a remarkable tongue of land, called Island Magee, from the main, between which and Belfast-bay there is only a very narrow isthmus, I saw plainly that we must be wrong; that we were going to the east of the estuary, whereas Larne was on the western shore. I had, therefore, just insisted upon turning about and measuring back our steps till some means of inquiry should present itself, when we spied two women coming towards us. When they came up I inquired whether we were in the right road to Larne. "Oh, by Jasus, no, my lady," they replied, "you are come quite the wrong way; and the clouds of the night will come over you entirely before you can get at all at all to Larne." They then gave us very ample directions for finding the proper road, such that no fears could be entertained of missing our way a second time; but we had to return two full miles in order to get into the road. To the honour of the Irish I must here observe, that in every part of the island through which I have travelled, whenever an occasion occurred in which we were obliged to inquire our way, the utmost anxiety was always shown to set us right, to give such ample directions as could not be misunderstood, and to assure themselves that they were perfectly comprehended; — unlike John Bull, who is far too much disposed to think he is showing great wit and humour under such circumstances by leading a person astray.

Our directors were perfectly right with regard to the clouds of the night; they did indeed overtake us entirely before we got to our destined quarters. One object had, however, been gained by going out of our way, to compensate, in some sort, the travelling for a full hour in the clouds of the night — that we had seen a very fine point of view round the northernmost entrance of Belfast lough. We had just sufficient light to see the view over the Bay of Larne in descending to the shore, and it would indeed have been a great loss to miss it. The descent is here very abrupt; and as the road takes a sudden turn before it comes to the shore, which cannot be seen from the top of the hill, especially as it began to be duskish, we seemed driving down directly into the water.

To make amends for what I had lost in entering Larne in the dark, the next morning I set off very early to walk along the bay, going as far back as Glen Larne, a little village at the distance of about a mile and a half, most beautifully situated on the borders of the bay, and mingled among trees in a  p.105 manner to form a truly picturesque object from a point of the road about half a mile distant. Between this village and the town are considerable salt-works. The whole form of the coast here is very singular. From the bay of Larne runs down, in a southward direction, the estuary or loch which separates Island Magee, as it is called (though it is in reality not an island but a peninsula), from the main land; while from the northern part of the bay a neck of land, in the form of a sickle, called the Peninsula of Curran, runs down into the bay. This has often been likened to the celebrated Sicilian cape, Drepanon: nearly at its extreme point stand considerable ruins of Olderfleet-castle. This point comes within three quarters of a mile of the eastern shore of the bay, forming as it were a smaller bay within the large one. But it is at high water only that it is a bay; at low water it is a tract of mud. I was looking at it, the tide then being down, when a man accosted me with supposing I was a stranger. I replied in the affirmative: he then entered into conversation with me upon different subjects, till at length he adverted to the tract of mud spread before us. "Ah," said he, "what use is it now, neither land nor water — — if it was in England it wou'dn't long be thus." "What do you mean?" I asked. "What an easy thing," he said, "it would be to make an embankment along that narrow part; and all this tract, which is about 1600 acres, might then be thoroughly drained, and soon brought into cultivation: — so it would be in England, but there is no encouragement in Ireland to undertake such a work; the great people here think of nothing but getting their rents, they never think of improving the country." Indeed I thought the man was perfectly right in his idea of the practicability of rendering this now unproductive tract productive; how far he was right as to the rest I do not take upon me to say. For a short distance from the town the road runs along a sort of terrace, with fine meadow-ground sloping down to the very edge of the water, and a row of lofty ash-trees on each side of the road. The town of Larne is very prettily situated at the north-west corner of the bay. It is a much neater town than I expected to have found, according to the reports I had heard of this part of the country; and at the Antrim Arms I had a very clean comfortable sitting-room and bed-chamber, with the best bread I had met with since I had been in Ireland, and the most civil and attentive maid possible to wait. A small stream called the Kilwalter runs into the bay just at the entrance of the town.

 p.106

At the north-east end of Island Magee is a precipice known by the name of The Gobbins, varying from 200 to 230 feet in height. It is said to be a mass of basaltic rock, having a tendency to columnarity. I did not see it. This spot has been made by tradition the theatre of a dreadful massacre committed in 1641 by the Puritan garrison of Carrickfergus, under their leader Munro, upon a number of Catholics inhabiting the peninsula. Three thousand persons, according to some accounts, thirty families, according to others, were precipitated over these rocks; and spots are still shown, called the blood of the unfortunate victims. That a dreadful atrocity was perpetrated by the garrison of Carrickfergus in this place is true; but from depositions made by the relations of the sufferers, which are now extant in Trinity-college at Dublin, it is ascertained that not more than thirty persons, instead of thirty families, fell, and that they were massacred in their own houses, not precipitated over the Gobbins. It is unnecessary to aggravate an outrage in itself sufficiently disgraceful. The circumstance of the massacre is mentioned by Leland the historian, in the third chapter of his fifth book, but he does not mention the precipitation over the rocks.

The Bay of Larne will admit vessels of between four and five hundred tons burthen. This is the only place in the long range of coast between Belfast Lough and Lough Foyle, in the county of Derry, where vessels can find shelter from the tempestuous north winds so prevalent in these seas. The rocks hereabouts are limestone; and in a large quarry near the town ammonites and pentacrinites are to be found in abundance. Gryphites are said also to be common, but I did not see any. To the north-west of the town are to be seen the towering and precipitous cliffs of Agnew's Hill, which are considered as the loftiest summits in the county of Antrim.

Quitting Larne, a hill is soon ascended, whence there is a very fine view over the bay and the hills around it. The bold promontory of Ballygelly soon after appears to the right, and continues frequently in view till near Glenarm. Below the promontory are the ruins of Cairn-castle, situated upon a rock which at high-water is insulated. Here, according to tradition, one of the mighty chieftains of old shut up his daughter, considering her secure against the attempts of a lover, who, as has been very often the case, and probably ever will continue often to be the case, did not find so much favour in the eyes of  p.107 the old gentleman an as in those of the young lady; but, as also most commonly happens in these cases, the ardour of youth was mightier than the vigilance of age; paternal cruelty was baffled, and notwithstanding the massive walls of the castle, and the mighty force of the billows which dashed against their rocky basement, the lover at length succeeded in bearing his mistress away triumphantly in a vessel. To the left of the road here the Salagh braes sweep majestically from north to south in an amphitheatral form; these are limestone mountains topped with basalt, the articulation of the masses being in some places very distinct.

A very high hill is ascended about a mile and half from Glenarm, and descending it again, at a turn of the road, the town appears suddenly in view at the end of a beautiful deep wooded dell which runs by the road side, through which flows a very pretty little stream murmuring down the declivity. The chateau and grounds belonging to the Antrim family form a distinguished feature in this scene; the deer-park runs beautifully along the opposite side of the dell. The town is a shabby one, full of ruined houses, not venerable remnants of antiquity, but buildings, comparatively modern, fallen to decay, giving the melancholy idea of a town in a state of complete decadence. I however found a very decent inn, and got excellent chickens ham and pease for dinner. Indeed in all these small places I found chickens much easier to be obtained than butchers' meat. I had intended attempting to see the castle, where are some curious ancient swords, and part of the vertebrae of a whale; but going first upon the shore of the little bay, my attention was so much arrested by other objects that the time was soon past which I had allotted to stopping here. As if every thing connected with the shores of this extraordinary corner of the globe was of a gigantic nature, I found marine plants of a size so enormous that every thing of the kind, which before I had thought vast, were dwindled into pigmies; — they were besides of a totally different kind from any I had seen before. Part of the principal stem of a leaf which I picked up and carried away with me, but afterwards unfortunately lost, measured nearly four inches in circumference. I was not more fortunate with two immense leaves which I brought away, one measuring above three yards in length; in consequence of being continually moving from place to place, they could not any where be hung up for a length of time sufficient to dry them, and before I got to my journey's end  p.108 they were in a state of entire decay. The shore is very pebbly, without any land. A number of women and children were occupied in gathering up pebbles and making little heaps of them out of reach of the water. I inquired whether they were intended for mending the roads; they said No, they were to be sent to Liverpool for making china. On inquiry afterwards at Liverpool I learnt that this was very true. I found them upon examination, to be both of flint and of amygdaloid. The latter seems to form an essential component part of the hills hereabouts, since abundance was laid upon the roads to mend them.

From hence the road continues close along the shore all the way to Newtown-Glens, as it is now called, formerly known by the name of Cushendall. On quitting the inn at Glenarm I observed a gentleman standing by the door, who made me a very civil bow as I passed, and wished my servant a good journey. This led me to inquire of the latter who he was; when he told me that he was a Scotch gentleman, who had landed two or three days before at Donaghadee, and had come that morning from Belfast; that seeing my vehicle at the door his curiosity was awakened, and that he had made many inquiries about me and my mode of travelling. At some distance from Glenarm in ascending a considerable hill my attention had been attracted by some mineralogical objects, and having descended from my car I was loitering about to examine them. At this moment the same Scotchman passed on horseback, and again saluted me by taking off his hat; he rode on, and when I had satisfied my curiosity I remounted my car and pursued my course.

Till Garron-point, which is about half-way between Glenarm and Newtown-Glens, the mountains do not come to the very edge of the shore, but the road runs upon a sort of terrace at some height above the sea, with a little space of corn-field between that and the water's edge, and the towering basaltic summits rising on the other side. Garron-point, which forms the southern boundary of Red Bay, is one of the most remarkable spots along this eastern coast of Antrim; perhaps it may be called as extraordinary a sport of nature as can any where be seen. Rising from the beach is an enormous mass of rock, which, though in the limestone region, seems to be basaltic; it has exactly the appearance of having glided gently from the mass above, and one end having reached the ground the side has rested against the rocks below, where it remains in the  p.109 maimer of an inclined plane, the other end rising above the rocks against which it rests, leaving a hollow space between that and the mass above just sufficient for the road. Down this hollow is I think the steepest piece of carriage-road I ever saw, unless it be another corresponding with it on the opposite side of the Bay. I did not attempt to go down in the car; in fact we all dismounted, and while the driver led the horse my servant held back the carriage as much as he was able. We were informed that not very long before, two gentlemen in a gig; not having used the same precaution, had narrowly escaped with their lives, from not being able to keep the horse up properly. From this point the road runs along the south side of Red Bay at the foot of the mighty rocks. by which it it bounded, and which are nearly perpendicular masses of basalt. The whole shore is overstrewed with broken fragments of rock, which look like the ruins of nature; sometimes the road is at the very edge of the water, at others it is carried over a steep crag or ledge of rock. On the summit of one of these short but steep ascents is a most remarkable rock, which at a little distance has the appearance of being the colossal statue of a venerable bishop sitting with his canonical three-cornered hat and episcopal wig upon his head, and the full lawn sleeves on his arms. The highest points of this chain are distinguished as Craig Murphy and Sliabh (pronounced Slieve, and meaning a mountain) Barraghad. After coasting the south side of the Bay the chain continues to run along a wild and romantic valley called Glenariff, the scene, according to tradition, of some of the great achievements performed by the hero Oisin or Ossian; and indeed such is the wild appearance of this valley that it seems the proper theatre for feats so wild and romantic.

After having continued for a length of way along this broken rugged road, one is not a little surprised immediately on turning round the south-west corner of the Bay, to find for a short distance a broad strand of fine hard sand, and for about half a mile a deep sandy road. Coming to the northern shore of the Bay the rocky country is renewed; but it is no longer the vast perpendicular masses of basalt, they are exchanged for rocks of a deep red calcareous sandstone. Among them are several natural excavations, looking like the arches of a bridge; in two of them the fishermen have formed themselves habitations, but it must be owned they are very wretched ones. In the smallest, water is continually dropping from the little vaulted roof above into a bason below, so  p.110 that the whole arch is incrusted over with stalactite, from which minute inverted pillars already hang, and will in time no doubt, if not molested, reach to the ground. After remounting a very steep ascent, corresponding with that at Garron-point, the road runs along heights till it descends to the little town of Cushendall or Newtown-Glens. This town, like Glenarm, bursts all on a sudden upon the view at turning an angle of the descent; but its situation is not by any means so beautiful and picturesque as Glenarm: the dell in which it stands has nothing particularly striking in it.

As we approached the town we perceived that it was thronged with people, and on inquiry learnt that it was the time of a fair. We proceeded to the principal inn, if inn a very paltry public-house might be called, where the first object that presented itself was the Scotch gentleman whom we had seen at Glenarm. "Madam," he addressed me, "I am sorry that my efforts to serve you have not been more successful. As I passed you on the road I observed you to be much occupied with some objects which had engaged your attention, and it struck me that it might perhaps be late before you would reach Cushendall: I hastened forwards, in hopes that arriving in good time I might have the satisfaction of securing you a bed, but there is not one to be had at any public-house in the town." I was struck with this very kind piece of attention in an entire stranger, and made proper acknowledgments for it: the intelligence, however, which accompanied it was not pleasant, since it was already quite dusk, and time to think of stopping for the night. In thanking my Scotchman I therefore consulted with him, as I found he was acquainted with the country, what was to be done. He advised if possible to get a private lodging, as he said there was no place nearer than Cushendun, which could not be reached for more than an hour, and there was only one very poor public-house, where perhaps we might not get accommodations; while the place was so small that there was no ressource if we could not. Inquiry for a private lodging was then made; but every bed in the town was engaged, and I began to think that the night must be passed in the street sitting in my car. At length, however, a miserable little parlour, as it was called, was procured through the interest of the landlady of the inn, and thither I went. The question now was, what was to become of our kind and attentive Scotchman, and of my servant and driver, since accommodations for them were no more to be had at the inn than for myself: it was with some difficulty  p.111 that room in a stable had been made for the Scotchman's horse and mine. I requested the Scotchman to sit down with me in my parlour; but it was not without difficulty that two chairs were procured with a table and apparatus for tea; and for a time it appeared as if we must have sat together here for the night, or perhaps have been joined by my servant and driver sitting on the floor, who would otherwise run the risk of being left without a roof to shelter them. However, at length another arrangement was made; a bed and bedding was found for me which were deposited upon the floor, while the Scotchman and the two servants retired to a straw-loft. My Scotchman and I, however, drank tea together and entered into conversation, when I found him a very pleasant intelligent man, well acquainted with the country I was exploring; he indeed pointed out to me two or three objects of interest in my route, which I had not heard of before, and of which but for this whimsical interview I had never known.

At six the next morning, August 17th, we both quitted our lodging-rooms, and wishing each other a more prosperous continuance of our respective journeys, he mounted his horse to proceed directly to Ballycastle, while I ascended my car taking the road to Cushendun, a place I wished to visit on account of some curious caves there. I had indeed been much advised at Belfast, if the weather should be favourable when I reached Cushendun to send my car on to Ballycastle, and taking a boat myself to sail to the little island of Rathlin off the coast opposite to Ballycastle. By pursuing this navigation I should have had an opportunity of seeing some remarkable parts of the coast which could not be seen in going to Ballycastle by land, particularly a bold and fine head called Tor Point. Upon it stand the ruins of an old tower, that of Dunavarre, which according to the traditions of the country was built by giants: at a little distance is a sort of tumulus which has the appellation of Sleacht-na-Barragh, or the Giants' Grave. This tower is believed to be very ancient, and supposed by some antiquarians to have been consecrated to the sun, the worship of which there is very strong reason to believe anciently prevailed in Ireland. Tor Point, however, I could only see at a great distance; — all question of undertaking the aquatic excursion purposed was soon settled on my arriving at Cushendun, since there was no boat to be had. If for a moment I regretted missing a navigation which I had been taught to believe would prove extremely interesting, when I  p.112 afterwards became better acquainted with the sea which I must have traversed, I found ample reason to bless my fortunate stars which had put so decided a negative upon it.

The country between Cushendall and Cushendun exhibits a very different character from that over which I had travelled the day before. The acclivities are much less abrupt; there are no masses of naked rock; the slopes are all well clothed and cultivated: the whole face of the country, for the four miles between these two places, brought very much to my mind the district of Le Forez in France. Cushendun-bay is the termination of one of the numerous little valleys that intersect this coast. A rapid stream runs through the valley, which empties itself into the bay. This stream is remarkable for its waters having the same dark hue that is almost always observable in streams rolling at the bottom of wooded dells, over broken masses of rock: though the same cause does not exist here to produce the effect; for the sides of the stream are neither abrupt nor wooded, and the depth of water at the mouth is considerable, notwithstanding which it has the same dark hue. On one side of this stream the shore is flat and sandy; on the other, but not directly above it, are lofty rocks of breccia, or pudding-stone, consisting of quartzy pebbles embedded in a very hard reddish sandstone cement. Some of these pebbles are extremely large. The caves run for a considerable way within the rocks; but no part of the interior presents any other appearance than the same pudding-stone material. To the eye it would appear as if the pebbles might be easily removed; but when the hand is applied, they are discovered to be so firmly fixed in their rocky bed, that without tools, and very strong tools, it is impossible for them to be wrenched out. Vast masses of the rock occasionally fall; many were lying on the shore: but the pebbles are not loosened by the shock, they still remain firmly fixed. Such of these rocks as are covered at high water were studded all over with small shells-of the nerite tribe. Here again were lying on the shore seaweeds of the same gigantic nature that I had seen at Glenarm. This is an excellent part of the country for game; on which account Lord O'Neale, the proprietor of Shanes Castle, has built a little shooting-box very near the shore, whither in the season he often comes to shoot. I found that I had done very right in not attempting to come on hither the night before; for so many people had come on account of the difficulty of  p.113 finding lodging at Cushendall, that the greatest part had been obliged to sit up in the kitchen all night. The New Travellers Guide in Ireland, published in 1815, gives a list of all the fairs held in the different parts of the country. A traveller would do well to consult this list; and wherever he is going, arrange his journey so that he may not fall in with a fair at any place where he proposes stopping for the night. The mass of fairs all over the country is prodigious.

Quitting the valley which runs down to Cushendun-bay, a very different character of mountain is presented, strewed all over with broken masses, chiefly of micaceous slate. These blocks exhibit great variety in their colouring, from the different matter with which they are impregnated; some, from the presence of oxydated iron, are of a bright red; while mixed with the quartz, with which they are everywhere veined, pyrites is occasionally to be found. With the masses of mica-slate are many of sand stone, both calcareous and siliceous; the latter frequently containing a considerable quantity of ferruginous matter. They appear referable to the primitive class of rocks, and have sometimes a close resemblance to granite. After a long-continued ascent, all among these scattered fragments, and having at length attained a pretty considerable height, an immense extent of boggy country is presented to the view — over a widely-extended horizon nothing but continued bog is to be seen; not any thing like a village or human habitation, all is dreary waste. This continues for three or four miles, in all which distance only one object presented itself that engaged my attention; this was the species of juncus, vulgarly styled the cotton-plant, from its emitting a substance of a cottony nature. It was a plant wholly new to me, and was growing in great abundance. Such is the loose nature of the soil here, that in looking attentively at the road, a gentle undulation is evidently discernible from the motion of the carriage.

About three miles from Ballycastle the face of the country begins somewhat to mend, and some appearance of cultivation is to be seen: the waste is, besides, relieved by the view of the sea on the north shore of Antrim opening, with the noble promontory of Benmore, or Fairhead, and the little island of Rathlin. About half a mile from the town I was again surprised, in a region where I expected to find nothing but rock, with coming upon a short space of  p.114 entire sandy beach, and a very heavy sandy piece of road. The approach to Ballycastle is pretty, the road running for about a quarter of a mile under a verdant archway, formed by two rows of ash-trees which border the road. Here I arrived about two o'clock, most fortunately just as a heavy rain commenced, which continued for the rest of the day, detaining me a close prisoner. It afforded me, however, an excellent opportunity for looking over, arranging, and packing the minerals I had hitherto collected. I found a very comfortable hotel; and had from my window a full view of the noble promontory of Benmore, distant about four miles.

 p.115

13. Ascent of the Mountain Knock-Laid. —… Celebration of the Patron. — The…

Ascent of the Mountain Knock-Laid. — The Limestone Quarries, and Organic Remains. — Plants and Mosses. — Promontory of Benmore, or Fairhead. — Alarming Adventure of a Gentleman and Lady there. — Migration of the Eels. — The Island of Rathlin. — Its turbulent Sea. — Doon-Point, and its Basaltic Pillars. — Ushut. — Burning Kelp. — Visit from Mr. Conolly, Minister of Ballycastle. — The Fata Morgana. — The Collieries.

A striking feature in the scenery, on approaching Ballycastle, is the mountain Knock-Laid, which rises close to the town, towering far above all the other summits by which it is surrounded. This mountain had never been mentioned by any one who had talked to me of the county of Antrim; perhaps, therefore, being a very conspicuous feature, it caught my attention the more earnestly, and having rather a taste for ascending mountains, I began immediately to speculate in my mind upon visiting its utmost height. Upon this subject I held a conference in the course of the afternoon with my landlord at the hotel. He said that the mountain was perfectly accessible, going to a certain point with the car, when I must quit that and walk the rest of the way. Not many people, he said, chose the trouble of going to the top; but if the day happened to be clear, there was a very fine view to the Isle of Man and coast of Scotland, one way; to Lough Neagh, another; and to the mountains in the county of Donegal, another. He offered, at the same time, to accompany me as a guide, since without some one to direct I might not take the best way. All was soon arranged; it remained only to see whether the weather, which had not then a very favourable appearance, would permit the execution of the scheme.

The sun did very good-humouredly shine upon it: to the wet evening succeeded a very fine morning; and after an early breakfast we set off. The track, for road it could not be called, from the foot of the hill to about halfway up, was certainly practicable for a carriage, for mine did get over it with safety; but indeed between the stony parts, which we had sometimes to jumble over, and the deep sloughs through which we had to wade at others, I was  p.116 rather surprised that no accident happened. At a farm-house we quitted the car, leaving it there for protection, and commenced the pedestrian part of the expedition. On this we had not proceeded far before we perceived a man running hastily after us. We stopped till he came up, and then learnt that he was son to the farmer where we had left the car. He had seen us at Cushendun the day before, and had fallen into conversation with my servant; and the moment he saw the car again recognized it: when, finding we were going up the mountain, he very civilly came to offer his assistance in directing us the best way; since he, living as he did upon the spot, was perfectly acquainted with every part of it. Indeed he was of essential service: but for the assistance I received from him and Mr. Fullerton, (the master of the hotel,) I never could have reached the summit. A considerable part of the mountain is so boggy, that it is no easy matter to pick a way over it: not unfrequently my two squires stood half-way up their boots in water, to assist me in jumping from one spot where there was firm footing to another. More than once I was half-disposed to abandon my undertaking; but my guides piqued themselves so much upon conducting me through it, that I persevered, and at length reached the cairn, as it is called, a heap of stones piled up pyramidally, which marks the highest spot on the mountain. It is called cairn-an-truir, or the cairn of the three, but no tradition records who the three were.

I sat myself down upon the stones, and indeed enjoyed a rich reward of my toils in the noble view spread before me: not that it was quite as clear as might have been wished; for Lough Neagh was not visible, nor was the Isle of Man, but I could nevertheless see over an immense extent of country, including some very interesting objects. Benmore, which appeared so magnificent as I saw it from my window at the hotel, here seemed nothing; that is 631 feet above the level of the sea, and we were now at the height of 1500 feet. We could see over the whole island of Rathlin as if it had been in a map, and the wide waste of bog over which we had travelled the day before, while appearing extremely contracted in extent, had at the same time lost half its dreariness. Westward, the whole line of coast with its numerous broken basaltic promontories was to be seen distinctly, as far as the Innishowen mountains in the county of Donegal. But what I most eagerly sought, the Giants' Causeway, was not visible, it was concealed by the two lofty promontories between  p.117 which it runs. The Mull of Cantire and some other parts of the Scotch coast appeared close by. I took two pieces of stone from the cairn, on each of which I engraved my name with the day of the month and year; one I left for the information of any future wanderer who may be seized with a wish of undertaking the same adventure, the other I brought away to preserve as a relic. The head of this mountain is very much rounded, so that it was only by taking a mathematical measurement that the highest point could be determined. In ascending, repeated disappointments are experienced, when in reaching what at a little distance appears the summit, instead of proving so, it is found to be only a shelving of the mountain leading to another and more arduous ascent. On the declivity are two small quarries of limestone remarkably pure and white; the stone abounds with belemnites, but I found no other organic remains. In some of the most boggy parts pieces of quartz were scattered about, remarkably white and transparent, scarcely inferior in beauty to alabaster. I also found a great variety of mosses, one of a description I have never seen elsewhere. Here too the cotton-plant was growing very luxuriantly, and there were abundance of whortle-berries and bilberries; — the former of these are called in the country Fruckogs, the latter Monags.

The weather did not remain wholly favourable, we had two pretty smart showers while we were upon the mountain, so that between the wet from above and that I had to wade through below, I was obliged entirely to new dress myself when I got back to Ballycastle. This done, I once more mounted the car and proceeded to the summit of Benmore. Near the road going thither are some trifling remains of an abbey once of great note in these parts, that of Bona-Marga, but they are so insignificant as to be scarcely deserving of notice. Before the Rock-heads were reached I was again obliged to quit the car, and pursue my way on foot. Two boys ran after us from a cottage which we had just passed, who we found considered themselves as privileged guides; and under their conduct we went round the whole head of the promontory, which I found much more extensive than could have been supposed from seeing it at a distance.

This promontory is better known by the name of Fairhead than of Benmore. It is improperly called by the former name; that really belongs to another head, two miles to the west of Ballycastle, Kenbann, which signifies Whitecliff.  p.118 It is a limestone rock, with the ruins of a castle on the summit. Benmore has the same signification as Penmaur (for so, and not Penmanmaur, ought the rock in Wales to be called), that is, high mountain, a name very properly applied to such an object; whereas Fairhead ill applies to a dark towering mass of basalt. It is indeed awful to look down this precipice: I could not have done it standing, I was obliged to go upon my hands and knees to get near the edge. On a superficial view it might be pronounced that the basalt here is not columnar, but on an accurate survey it is evidently seen to be so. The columns are prisms of four sides; and being closely wedged together, they present a level front which easily deceives. The tallest of these columns measures 233 feet in height; two of the sides measuring thirty-three feet in breadth, the other two thirty-six. It appears to be the highest mass of stone so perfectly characterized at present known in the mineralogical world. The base on which this enormous mass of pillars rests, rises 398 feet above the sea, so that the whole height of the promontory at this point is 631 feet. In one part is a fissure in the basaltic mass, down which a path called the Gray Man's Path, leads to the foot of the precipice; a vast pillar has fallen and rested on the other side, forming an arch over it, but it is fixed so immovably that there is no danger to be apprehended in passing underneath it. From the foot of the basalt the rock slopes down to the sea, and the whole of this part is scattered over with broken fragments, which really appear like the ruins of some structure formed by the hands of giants. The regular prismatic forms of these fragments serve to confirm the columnarity of the mass from which they have fallen. I did not go down the Gray Man's Path, as both the descent and ascent are fatiguing; and having the intention of sailing round the Head the next day, there was no object to be attained by taking a less perfect view of it.

About a twelvemonth before, a gentleman and lady came to visit this promontory, but would not suffer any of the people about to accompany them as guides. They descended the Gray Man's Path; it was then growing dusk: when they had satisfied their curiosity below, and sought the path to reascend, they could not find it: in vain did they wander backwards and forwards, the path was not to be discerned: complete darkness soon came on, and the night was passed by them among this ruined heap of fragments, with the sea roaring at a great  p.119 depth below, they afraid to stir lest a false step might have proved their destruction; — as the climax of the adventure, the lady was considerably advanced in pregnancy. What must have been their sensations at seeing daylight again dawn upon them! — what a blessed deliverer must the glorious sun have been hailed! — It is very unwise to go about places where danger may be incurred, without a proper guide.

The basalt here is not so pure as in many other parts; it is coarse-grained, having sometimes almost the appearance of granite, and occasionally containing augite. I know not what kind of stone constitutes the base of the rocks; probably sandstone, since that occurs both to the east and west of the promontory. Not far from it, on the western side, lie the collieries, but I did not visit them till two days after. Upon the head of the promontory, and near the brow, are two small pools of water, or lochs as they are called, connected together. From that nearest to the edge of the rock a small rill trickles down to the sea, up which the young eels, when not thicker than a small packthread, ascend to the lochs, where they remain and thrive exceedingly. This migration of the little fry, extraordinary as it may appear, up so great a height and so rapid an ascent, is a well established fact. The thing is so notorious and occurs so regularly, that against the time when they may be expected the peasantry lay haybands down along the rill to assist the tender navigators in their course. The same thing occurs at other places along the coast. A variety of heath plants grow on the tops of the rocks, and mingled with them cranberries, though not in great abundance; — they were now just beginning to turn red.

The next day, as I was told by the fishermen (the only mariners of the place) that the weather was remarkably favourable for sailing round the Head and to the island of Rathlin, I engaged a boat and set out on my voyage. Though very desirous of visiting this island, and very glad when I was safe back again that I had been there, yet I believe if I had previously had any idea of the sea I was to navigate, I should entirely have relinquished the idea of venturing upon it. Round the Head the swell of the sea was very powerful, sufficient to give me a sensation of fear, to which I am not subject upon the water; but once round, all was calm again, and the rocks form a most sublime spectacle indeed; a boat can go almost close to their foot. We landed on the other side of the promontory, and walked about for near an hour till the tide would serve  p.120 for going to the island. If I thought the swell round the Head extraordinary and awful, how much more tremendous appeared the monstrous waves by which we were now surrounded for the greater part of the voyage. I was disposed to be very angry with the boatmen for having, as indeed I thought they had, deceived me in the state of the weather, and enticed me out when the sea was so violently agitated. They assured me that what I saw was nothing, that they considered the sea as very quiet, and begged me to notice that there really was no wind, scarcely sufficient to fill the sails. So far was certainly true, the breeze was as light as possible, but the sea notwithstanding rolled in mountains; — of such a swell without wind I could not have formed an idea if I had not seen it. To add to the misery of the thing, we were obliged to tack repeatedly in order to make the island, so that we were thus tossed about for a most tedious length of time. Indeed, I began to think that instead of being off the coast of Ireland I was off that of Sicily, and had fallen into the vortex of Charybdis. To the fishermen who are accustomed to this sea its present state was mere play, and they seemed astonished that anybody could be alarmed; but I, who now saw it for the first time, could almost say that what was play to them was death to me. I do not know that I ever felt so alarmed upon the water, inadequate as our frail bark appeared to stemming such a mighty force: but we did stem it, and I am alive to recount my fears. It should seem that the true cause of this extraordinary effect is yet among the hidden secrets of the deep, for no attempt hitherto made to explain it is by any means satisfactory. To ascribe it to the narrowness of the channel is far from being so, since that is eight miles over 10, and no such effect is seen in many a channel not approaching to that breadth. A great conformity is said to exist between this sea and the straits of Reggio which divide Sicily from Italy. The same occult causes may very probably subsist in both, and, yet undiscovered, will most likely ever remain so.

 p.121

This island is variously named by different writers; — the most common name is Rathlin, it is considered as the Ricina of Ptolemy. By some it is called Raughlin, by others Raghery. Mr. Newenham, who seems not to have informed himself better with regard to its name, than its distance from the Irish coast, calls it Rachlin or Rachree. Its form may be designated as that of a half horse-shoe; its length from one extremity to the other is five miles, in no part does its breadth exceed a mile. It is a very commonly received opinion that it was at a remote period torn from the adjacent coast of Ireland by some violent convulsion of nature, this theory being chiefly drawn from urged analogies between the geological construction of the island and the parallel shores of Antrim. Against this it may be urged, that the character of the basalt which constitutes the upper stratum in the greater part of the island, is very different from that at Benmore: the stone is of a much finer and closer texture; and instead of being divided into vast quadrangular prisms, we have here the regular columnar formation that distinguishes the Giants' Causeway. Doonpoint, which is a small promontory at the east end of the island, and lying directly opposite to Benmore, is composed entirely of these pillars: the great difference between them and those at the Causeway is, that whereas the latter all stand perpendicular, here some are curved, others lie horizontally, others again rest in an inclined position without any curve: the whole promontory bears a strong resemblance to the ribs which form the keel of a vessel standing inverted 11. Nothing is to be seen above the water but the pillars; it is probable that they rest on a base of white limestone, since northward of the promontory appear cliffs of that stone. In going from Ushut-point, where we landed, to Doonpoint, I got from the cliffs which surround a small loch, pure gneiss, and imperfectly-formed red ochre. Near Ushut-point is a considerable range of pillars all lying horizontally. Mr. Hamilton, in his Letters on the County of Antrim, says, that at Church Bay, which lies at the bend of the island, "there is a heterogeneous mass of freestone, coals, iron ore, &c. the same as is to be found on the east side of Ballycastle Bay." I did not go so far into the island, so can say nothing of it. The broken fragments of rock scattered over the  p.122 beach at Doonpoint were many of them studded all over with shells of the nereis tribe, and a profusion of small corallines of the gorgonia genus were adhering to other masses. About Ushut I collected shells of the genera Buccinum, Cerithium, Patella, Venus, Helix, and Nereis. To the north-east of the island, half way between that and the Scotch coast, it is said that a group of basaltic pillars is seen rising just above the sea.

The surface of the island is estimated at two thousand acres, and the number of inhabitants at twelve hundred. Inhospitable as it appears, standing in the midst of such a turbulent and tempestuous sea, the inhabitants are not less attached to their dreary and desolate home than those that dwell under the most auspicious and benignant sun; they would consider being sent to live in Ireland as a painful exile. A small but delicious breed of sheep are fed here, and some barley is grown; but the great support of the island is the quantity of kelp burnt. The export of it is estimated at not less than a hundred tons annually, which is chiefly bought by the linen-bleachers at the price of five guineas the ton; the manufacture of it is carried on principally by the women and children. The sea-weed is cut from the rocks at low water, and spread out in the sun to be dried. At night it is made up into heaps, which are spread out again in the morning; and this process is continued till it is dried sufficiently to be burnt. A hole is then made in the ground and a temporary kiln constructed of loose stones for burning it: in this process the vegetable salt separates from the other matter, which is destroyed by the fire, and coagulates at the bottom of the kiln. This is the state in which it is exported; — the islanders have not yet learnt the art of purifying the alkaline salt from the marine salt with which it is incorporated. The shores are frequented by a vast number of sea-fowl.

A monastery was of old established here by Saint Columba, which was destroyed by the Danes: and barren and inhospitable as the island is, it has often been made the subject and theatre of contention between the Irish and Scotch. A tradition is preserved that at a place called Sloc-na-Calleach, all the old women of the island were once precipitated over the rocks, at the command of a Scotchman of the Campbell clan, by name MacNalreavy. Some people may perhaps think there was no great harm done, since the atrocity fell only upon the old women. During the contest for sovereignty in Scotland between Robert Bruce and John Baliol, the former sought an asylum here in a castle at the  p.123 north-east part of the island, which was thenceforward called after him Bruce Castle; some remains of it are still standing. Spear-heads and ancient swords have occasionally been dug up in a small plain about the centre of the island. From Doonpoint the Scotch coast was seen so plain, that without the assistance of glasses we could distinguish the white foam dashing up against the cliffs. Our mariners, in amusing themselves with my apprehensions of the tremendous sea, said, that the women of Rathlin would row themselves over from thence to Ballycastle, in a much more frail vessel and with much worse weather, without having the least idea of danger, or that they were engaged in an adventurous undertaking: — such is the force of custom.

As I embarked in the morning I observed standing on the shore a lame gentleman having the appearance of a clergyman, who seemed rather occupied with the embarkation; and as I was sitting in the evening after my return home I was surprised by a visit from him. He was, I found, the clergyman of the place, by name Conolly, and having learnt who I was, and that I was travelling to explore the country, he came very politely to offer me his services in anyway that they might be rendered useful, expressing regret that he had not sooner known of my being in the place, so that his offers might have been better timed. I found that he was the author of some pretty little poetic tales founded on the legends of his country, with a copy of which he was so obliging as to present me. With him I had a great deal of conversation on that extraordinary catoptric phenomenon the Fata Morgana, which is occasionally seen on this coast as well as in the Straits of Reggio, to which it is so often compared. He said that he could not boast himself of ever having seen this beautiful delusion, but he had talked with persons of great credibility by whom it had been witnessed. It was in summer evenings, when the clouds appeared remarkably electric; appearances then exactly resembling castles, ruins, tall spires, groves of trees, rocks, and other terrestrial objects seemed to sail rapidly along the surface of the sea from the east to the west, remaining for a length of time sufficient to give assurance that such appearances actually existed, that they were not the mere effect of strong imagination; — at sunset they wholly disappeared. This curious optical delusion seems to bear a strong analogy with one described by Professor Lichtenstein in his Travels in Southern Africa, (see English Translation, page 169.) as seen by him and his party, and which he learnt from some  p.124 of the inhabitants of the country was not exceedingly uncommon in those parts. A long account of the Fata Morgana may be seen in Dr. Rees's Cyclopedia, to which the reader is referred. Various particulars relative to it are also given in the notes to Dr. Drummond's poem of The Giants' Causeway. It is probable that many fables now in general circulation along this coast owe their origin to these actual appearances. In 1748 a book was published by a gentleman residing near the Giants' Causeway, in which a curious detail is given of an enchanted island seen annually floating along the coast of Antrim, of which it is said that a sod thrown on it from the terra-firma would fix it for ever. Attempts have been made at various times to throw this sod, but hitherto all have proved abortive. At Rathlin a belief prevails that a green island rises every seventh year out of the sea between their island and the promontory of Bengore. The inhabitants assert that many of them have distinctly seen it, and that it is crowded with people selling yarn and engaged in various other occupations common to a fair. As I purposed leaving Ballycastle the following day, Mr. Conolly obligingly desired that I would first breakfast with him. He observed that in ascending Knock-Laid, and going over to Rathlin, I had done two things scarcely ever thought of by travellers in those parts.

The next morning I set off at six o'clock to visit the collieries, which lie about two miles east of the town, between that and Benmore: the road lies along the strand at the foot of the cliffs. Within less than half a mile of the collieries we found it completely blocked up by an immense downfall of the cliffs which had happened in the night, between three o'clock, when the road was perfectly clear, and the time that I saw it; — fortunate indeed was it that it did happen in the night when no one was near, since inevitable destruction must have been the fate of any one on the spot. Indeed it was at once an awful and sublime spectacle to contemplate, accompanied with a grateful feeling to Providence that the accident had not happened just at the moment when I was passing beneath. Immense masses of stone had fallen, which could not be removed again but at the expense of vast labour. It was impossible for the car to proceed any further; so quitting that, I was obliged to go on foot round the sort of promontory formed by the ruins, which extended over the rugged stony beach to the very edge of the water; indeed had not the tide been down, it would have been scarcely possible to get round it at all.

 p.125

My wish and intention had been to penetrate into the recesses of the mines; but upon inquiry into the practicability of doing so, I found it expedient to abandon my purpose. When I mentioned the idea to the surveyor who was walking about with me, he stared, and seemed quite astonished that such an one should ever have entered my head. "Madam," said he "I wouldn't for all the coals in the country have you abuse yourself in such a way." The veins of coal lie at some height in the steep rocks which rise above the sea, but the entrances to the shafts are on a terrace raised but little above the beach, so that it is by a dark narrow passage hollowed within the rock and having a very rapid ascent that the veins are reached; the coals are brought down in a sort of small carts constructed on purpose, drawn by men. The rock mass in which they lie is a dull white sandstone; in this stone are numerous impressions of vegetable bodies, the prototypes of which for the most part have never been seen in a recent state; — one of the specimens which I procured has very much the appearance of an Euphorbia. Above the coal in some parts is an imperfectly characterized aluminous mass, containing traces of organic bodies, possibly the detached members of zoophytes, similar to those which have produced the entrochites, trochites, and marine stars. The sandstone, as is very commonly the case in coal districts, contains insulated nodules of iron pyrites; and near the collieries, as is also common in coal districts, mica is almost a principal constituent of the sandstone. This stone also abounds with crystallizations of calcareous matter. The upper part of the coal mines is of a slaty character, and of a very inferior quality for burning; the coal itself is not heavy, and has many characteristics of vegetable origin.

It is a subject of debate among the learned and scientific, at what time these collieries were first known and worked. Some attribute the discovery of them to the Danes, when they had obtained possession of such large portions of the island — that is, previous to its being conquered by the English. Upon this subject I shall beg leave to quote a passage from Mr. Hamilton's Letters on the County of Antrim. "I have already mentioned," he says, "some reasons which might induce the belief that these collieries were wrought at a very remote period of time; but an accidental discovery has lately put that matter beyond doubt, and has laid open a very curious circumstance in the ancient history of this country. About twelve years ago, the workmen in pushing forward a new  p.126 adit 12 towards the coal, unexpectedly broke through the rock into a cavern. The hole which they opened was not large, and two young lads were made to creep in with candles to explore this new region. They accordingly went forward, and entered an extensive labyrinth branching off into numerous apartments, in the mazes and windings of which they were at last completely lost. After many vain attempts to return, their lights were extinguished, and they sat down in utter despair of ever escaping from their dreary dungeon. In the mean time the people without in the drift were alarmed for their safety, fresh hands were employed, a passage was at last made for the workmen, and the two unfortunate adventurers were extricated after a whole night's imprisonment.

"On examining this subterraneous wonder, it was found to be a complete gallery, which had been driven forward many hundred yards to the bed of coal that it branched off into various chambers where the miners had carried on their different works; that pillars were left at proper intervals to support the roof; in short, it was found to be an extensive mine, wrought by a set of people at least as expert in the business as the present generation. Some remains of the tools, and even the baskets used in the works were discovered, but in such a state that on being touched they immediately fell to powder. The antiquity of this work is evident from the circumstance that not the most remote tradition of it remains in the country; but it is still more strongly demonstrated from a natural process which has taken place since its formation, stalactite pillars having been generated reaching from the roof of the pit to the floor; the sides and supports were besides covered with sparry incrustations, which the present workmen do not observe to be deposited in any definite portion of time."

Mr. Hamilton goes on to say that the people of the country attribute this work to the Danes; but he employs many arguments to prove that it must have been anterior to their time, thus referring it to a period of a thousand years back. On this question I am far from pretending even to give an opinion: — that a great degree of civilisation existed at that time in Ireland, more than in most parts of Europe, does certainly appear probable; but to arrive at any certainty upon the  p.127 subject scarcely appears within the scope of probability 13. The surveyor who walked about with me asserted, without any manner of doubt or hesitation, that the mines had been worked by the Danes; and added, that when they found they could no longer keep possession of the country, they determined, before they quitted it, to do all the mischief in their power, among other things to set fire to these coal-mines. This they attempted, but succeeded no further than to burn the stratum above the coals, the fire never penetrated to the coals themselves: and he added, all above the coals is a vein of ashes, the remains of this conflagration. If I would like to have some of the ashes, he said, there was plenty to be had at a spot which he pointed out, high up in the cliff, and he would go and get me some. Without regarding his story as gospel, I was curious to see what the material might be which he thus designated, and I signified my acceptance of the offer. He immediately climbed up the cliff, and soon descended with his waistcoat-pocket filled with pieces of the aluminous mass which has been noticed as above the coal, and which he seemed most seriously to consider as the relic he had described of Danish vengeance. From him I also got a magnificent piece of the stalactite from the old mine.

These collieries are believed capable, if they were properly worked, of furnishing such abundance of coal as, in conjunction with the other mines in different parts of the island, amply to supply it with fuel without having recourse to foreign importation. But the difficulty of conveyance forms at present a fatal barrier against their being made the resource to the country of which they are capable. The tempestuous sea and the want of a harbour preclude all idea of their being transported through that medium. Would it be practicable to make an inland navigation by means of a canal communicating with Lough Neagh, and thence with the whole interior of the island? — I know not; but he would be a true patriot who would use his exertions to ascertain this point, and promote the work should it appear within the bounds of possibility.

After partaking of Mr. Conolly's hospitable breakfast, in a nice neat little cottage pleasantly situated near the edge of the cliff, about twelve o'clock I left Ballycastle and proceeded on my route towards the Causeway.

 p.128

14. The Rock, and curious Rope-Bridge at… Opinions of Travellers on the Beauties…

The Rock, and curious Rope-Bridge at Carrick-a-Rede. — Ballintoy. — Dunseveric Castle. — Walk round the Rock-Heads. — Promontory of Pleaskin, with its beautiful Colonnades. — The Giants' Causeway. — Remarks on its Length and Extent. — Inaccuracy of the Plates generally given of it. — Different Minerals found about it. — Port Noffer. — The Chimney-tops. — Legend respecting the Causeway. — Port Coane, Cave and remarkable Rock there.

On leaving Ballycastle the road for some way diverges considerably from the shore. The first object of particular interest in this route is the remarkable rock called Carrick-a-Rede. The road runs at the distance of a quarter of a mile, nor can a carriage get up to it; but it well repays the trouble of walking over two or three enclosures. It is an entire mass of basalt, separated from the coast by a chasm sixty feet in breadth and eighty-four in depth. Over this is thrown a bridge of a peculiar construction, to facilitate the communication with the rock, which is much frequented at the time of the salmon-fishery. Vast iron rings are morticed into the rocks on each side, to which are fastened two ropes running parallel to each other, connected together with cross bars of rope at equi-distances, in the manner of a ladder, and over these boards are tied; a railing of rope to hold by, runs along one side 14; — a frail species of machinery to all appearance for crossing a chasm of so formidable a depth; yet during the season it is crossed and recrossed fifty times in the day, with perfect unconcern, by men, women, and children, carrying heavy baskets upon their heads: its undulating motion under the feet adds not a little to the feeling of insecurity which the contemplation of it necessarily inspires; and indeed, though generally crossed with safety, dreadful accidents have sometimes happened. I felt no disposition to go over it; yet a boy often or twelve years of age, who had followed us from the road, ran backwards and forwards several times with perfect unconcern.  p.129 The bridge is taken down in winter, when from the turbulence of the sea the fisheries are entirely stopped.

Between Kenbann and Carrick-a-Rede is a remarkable fissure in the rock, which the legends of the country say was made by the great hero Cuchullin with a stroke of his sabre. West of Carrick-a-Rede are the caves of Lirrybann, in limestone cliffs, the roofs incrusted over with stalactite. At Ballintoy is a vein of coal, if coal it may be called, which has more the appearance of burnt or charred wood. This is the only village of any note between Ballycastle and the Giants' Causeway. Near it are the now trifling remains of Dunseveric Castle, standing on a rock of basalt. It was once a place of great extent and great strength; but the rock and the castle have mouldered away together, and remain only a monument of the ravages committed by that universal destroyer, Time. Vestiges of extraordinary manual labour may, however, be traced on an accurate examination, since it is evident that the sides of the rock have been hewn to render it perpendicular with the outward wall of the castle.

At this place I quitted my car; and sending that on to meet me at the Giants' Causeway, took a guide from Ballintoy, who had been recommended to me, to accompany me in a walk along the rock-heads, the only means by which they can be examined. I had thus an excellent sight of the fine promontory of Bengore, the northernmost point of the county of Antrim, of Pleaskin, and all the most remarkable spots of this extraordinary line of coast. Of these Pleaskin is beyond all comparison the most striking. A base of rock, fringed with the white foam constantly dashing against it, rises in a somewhat rapid slope above the sea, to the height of two hundred feet. It is a mixture of red ochre and of the species of basalt called trap, in alternate strata, strewn over with fragments of broken pillars and other masses, variegated with intervals of grass, the fragments being many of them covered with gray lichens. Above this base a row of basaltic pillars, about forty feet high, runs all round the head of the promontory, extending a considerable way on each side. They are ranged with such perfect order and regularity, that it is difficult to conceive the whole to have been an operation of nature; greater symmetry in the formation and order in the arrangement could hardly have been exhibited by the nicest hand of art. Above tins rises again a mass of trap; and then comes  p.130 another colonnade, encircling the promontory with the same regularity, and still more lofty, measuring in height about sixty feet. Above them is another stratum of trap, to the height of about twelve feet; the whole being overtopped with a thin coat of soil bearing a green herbage. The entire height of the promontory is nearly four hundred feet, presenting one of the most striking fronts imaginable, in which the wonderful, the beautiful, and the sublime may fairly be said to contend for pre-eminence. Benmore appears a grand ruin of nature. Pleaskin is one of her most perfect, most highly finished fortresses. If the idea of our Gothic buildings was inspired by the arching foliage of an avenue of trees, surely it must have been something like Pleaskin that inspired the idea of the regular and beautiful Grecian colonnade.

After stopping to contemplate and admire this majestic object till it began to be time to recollect that I had yet some way to walk before I could rejoin my car, and that by the time it could be reached the clouds of the night would be beginning to come on, I proceeded forwards, when I soon perceived three or four men, one after the other, running towards me, as if emulous which should have the start of the other. "Here they come by dozens," said my companion. "Who are they?" I asked. "The guides of the Causeway," he replied: — "I suppose they have seen the car, and heard somebody was coming, and they are all running to try which can get hold of you first." It was even so: these men are like a parcel of hungry eagles, always hovering about, watching for prey, and the moment any is espied, the contest is commenced which can first pounce upon it. I had been warned of this, and had been recommended by my good friend, Dr. Macdonnell, to put myself under the guidance of a man named Currie, far the most intelligent of any among the guides — not loitering about the Causeway like the tribe by whom I was now assailed, but living at the town of Bushmills ready to be employed by any body who may apply to him. I therefore peremptorily rejected the solicitations of the rest, though I was not the less followed by them, and molested with their officious offers of services for the rest of my walk. They said they heard that I was recommended to Currie, but they could any of them show me about as well as he could; — I found, indeed, that he was a great object of jealousy among them.

To those who disregard a little bodily fatigue for the sake of gratifying curiosity, — or I would fain give the feeling a more respectable appellation, since  p.131 it appears to me that a love of such research may be considered as of a superior nature to mere curiosity, — to those in whom this feeling rises above the sensation of bodily fatigue, I would earnestly recommend not omitting the walk I had now taken. Their toils will be well repaid by the opportunity so afforded of minutely examining these bold and majestic features of nature, which must be minutely examined to be justly appreciated. But it is a walk of some toil: the distance is considerable, not less I believe than six miles (Irish miles); and that distance is very much increased by the nature of the ground, constantly up and down; sometimes through high grass, at others through bog; rarely with a smooth, even, and firm footing. I often sat down when there was any point that I more particularly wished to contemplate. By the time, however, that I arrived at the little public-house near the Causeway, where the car was waiting for me, I was too much tired even to go and take a casual glance at this desired object; but set off immediately to Bushmills, distant about two miles, the general lodging-place of visitors to the Causeway. I found Currie waiting at the inn, which seemed to be his stand for way-laying travellers, and engaged his attendance for the next day.

Juliet says, "What's in a name?" and the poet who puts this sentiment in her mouth was deeply read in human nature. Yet a name has very great influence not merely upon the imagination but even upon the judgement. We hear of the Giants' Causeway; we know that the term Giant is applied to a being which the imagination has figured, though of human form, immensely beyond all human stature and size, and we immediately figure to ourselves that every thing referable to these extraordinary imaginary beings must be of a vastness almost beyond all human conception. It is probable that at least three fourths of the visitors to the Causeway approach it impressed with these ideas and to such, disappointment must almost inevitably be the first sensation experienced 15. Had I seen it five years earlier in my life, such had probably been my sensations; but led within that time to direct some part of my attention towards the mineral kingdom, I had imbibed more sobered ideas with regard to this mineralogical phaenomenon; and in one respect only did I find it falling short of  p.132 my expectations as to the mere point of its vastness; — this was in the length that it runs from the foot of the cliffs into the sea; I expected to have found that much greater.

Yet if instead of being presented with a work so enormous that the execution of it seems immeasureably beyond the reach of human powers, we behold an object which in reference merely to its size might easily be supposed the work of mortal hands, its extraordinary construction must awaken feelings of such astonishment and admiration that every other sensation is absorbed in them alone. Let the Volcanists and the Neptunists, the Huttonians and the Wernerians, waste the midnight oil in labouring to establish their respective theories on the cause and origin of an effect so wonderful — all must bow with the deepest the most sacred veneration to the hand that could ignite the volcano, or direct the motion of the heaving billows in its formation.

The reader's attention is particularly requested to the annexed Plate; it is from a drawing taken on the spot by my friend Mr. Hare, surgeon, of Argyll-street; and I think I may safely venture to say that it gives a more accurate representation of the Causeway than any engraving yet before the public. It exhibits some of the most remarkable groups of the basaltic pillars, as they appear in descending from the rock-heads. The central group is provincially called the Giants' Loom; the extremity to the right is a part of the Causeway properly so called. It is a fault but too common among draughtsmen in taking sketches of scenery, if the objects as they actually exist do not form as pretty a landscape as they wish to produce, they add any little embellishments of their own which they think will supply the deficiency. I have had occasion in my Travels in France to advert to this practice in speaking of the Pont-du-Gard, and again I must reprobate it. If a painter only wishes to make a fine landscape, let him give free scope to his imagination — let not a tree, a building, a piece of water, be placed but where it will produce the most picturesque effect; but if he pretends to give a view, let it be the spot such as it really is, without deduction or addition. Sketches of actual scenery should be considered in the light of history, the most essential feature of which is a strict adherence to truth; while pieces of imagination are the novels of the graphic art, in which the artist is at liberty to give the fullest scope to his inventive powers. Whoever sees and studies this plate would afterwards approach the Causeway  p.133 with ideas properly arranged for what he is to see, not embued with expectations widely estranged from the reality. The best engravings hitherto given are undoubtedly the two celebrated ones from drawings made by Mrs. Drury in 1 743, engraved by Vivarés, and published under the patronage of the Earl of Antrim. Yet even in these, truth has in more than one instance been sacrificed too much to picturesque effect. A something more towering than the fact will justify is represented; while no impression is given of the broad surface of pillars, so much spread out in extent, over the angled tops of which not the eye only, but the steps are conducted.

The usual description given of the Causeway is, that it is a mole projecting from the foot of a towering basaltic rock some way into the sea. So far the description is very proper; but care should be taken at the same time to explain that the mole itself is not towering, that it does not in any part rise to a considerable height above the water. The tallest pillars are in the group called the Giants' Loom, and none of them exceed thirty-three feet in height. Mr. Hamilton says that the Causeway runs from the foot of the rock some hundred feet into the sea: this is a very loose and indefinite mode of description. I had heard before I saw it that it projected three-quarters of a mile into the sea; estimating it at the utmost possible extent to which it could be taken, I believe it would be found scarcely to run to a sixth part of that length 16. But the accounts are so extremely varied that one thing only is to be inferred, which is, that no accurate measurement of it has ever yet been taken. My guide, whom in many respects I found very intelligent, seemed wholly at a loss when I questioned him on this subject. Indeed in computing the length of the Causeway, the first thing to be determined is the point from which the measurement is to commence. The whole length from the foot of the rock is commonly comprehended in it; whereas, in fact, the Causeway properly so called commences only at the range of low columns seen in the print to the right: — hence may very much arise the contradiction in the accounts. Something will also depend upon the state of the tide when the measurement is made. The mole  p.134 slopes gradually down till it is lost at the water's edge; but as far as the eye can discern, the same mass of pillars is continued under the water; consequently at a very low ebb the Causeway will have the appearance of much greater length than at high water. Sir R. C. Hoare says, that from the flattened surface of the Causeway it would be entirely overlooked if not pointed out by the guides. This is going much too far; — if the eye fails of discovering the gigantic wonder which the imagination had conceived, it seems wholly impossible that it should not be caught by the actual wonder spread before it. Two smaller moles project from the same mass of rock, the three being each divided from the other by a whin dyke, vast masses of which rise many feet above the water; they are conspicuous features in Mrs. Drury's print of the western side of the Causeway. The three moles together are said to include a mass of 30,000 pillars 17.

I wish I may have succeeded here in endeavouring to give more just ideas than are generally entertained as to the extent and height of this phaenomenon. Though I cannot assent to Sir R. C. Hoare's position, that it would be overlooked if not pointed out to observation, yet I am exceedingly disposed to think that the impression which its wonderful construction would naturally make if the imagination had not been led astray, is extremely weakened by the disappointment experienced in not finding it awfully gigantic. But I must persuade myself that the astonishment and admiration of every contemplative mind will increase in proportion as its construction is more and more minutely examined. It is now sufficiently known that the whole is a mass of naturally-formed pillars of basalt; — upon their nature and origin the opinions of men of science vary exceedingly, nor does my little knowledge suffice to authorize my having any decided opinion of my own. In the following chapter, however, I present my readers with some ideas upon so extraordinary an operation of nature, which will be found both new and ingenious. For the whole chapter I am indebted to my friend Mr. Hare, already mentioned as having favoured me with the drawing of the Causeway. As a man of science, a member of the  p.135 Linnaean and other learned Societies, he is much more competent to write upon the subject than I am; and I flatter myself that my readers will derive far greater satisfaction from the scientific manner in which they will there find it treated, than they would from any thing I could say; I am sure they will derive much more instruction.

A striking and remarkable feature of the whole line of coast even from Benmore to Portrush, the whole northern coast of Antrim, is the number of small bays into which it is broken. This is more particularly the case in the part lying between Bengore-head, and the river Bush, in which division the Giants' Causeway is included. The rock from which that projects is nearly in the centre of one of these bays, which has the name of Port Noffer. The entire mass of rock with which this bay is surrounded is basalt, and in a variety of places clusters of columns appear emerging from the mass, some, small ones, only peeping out from among the green sod which covers a great part of these rocks. Several of these clusters may be observed in the plate, appearing in different parts of the rock above the Causeway. One of them, in the sweep of the bay eastward of the Causeway, has the name of the Giants' Organ, from the similarity found in the arrangement of the group to the pipes of an organ. Round the eastern point of Port Noffer sweeps another small bay, which is terminated by a remarkable rock, having at its point a little cluster of pillars, standing free from the rock and having the appearance of chimneys; from thence the group is called the Chimney-tops: this is one of the features of the scenery to which a stranger's attention is always particularly directed by the guides. Round Port Noffer there is for the most part a small level space between the foot of the rocks and the sea, overgrown with herbage, and strewed all over with loose blocks of stone, — fragments, as they appear, fallen from the rocks above. Many of these are in a state of extreme decomposition, and are readily broken to pieces with a few strokes of the hammer, when they display a variety of beautiful crystallizations. A remarkable rock in this little bay, called the Lion-rock, which is insulated at high water but perfectly accessible when the tide is down, is full of crystallizations. In going over the head of the Causeway, just below the rocks, is a spring of very pure and pleasant-flavoured water, to which is given the name of the Giants' Well; here sits an old woman with a glass,  p.136 who invites people to drink, not without expecting a remuneration. After having well examined the Causeway below, it may be recommended to go to the rock-heads, and take a bird's-eye view over it from above; the trouble is not great, and is amply repaid.

On the nature of the several mineral productions to be found about the Causeway, it may be said, that where the basalt is not formed into columns, the masses possess a considerable variety of texture as well as colour; — in colour, they are to be found from various shades of gray and brown to a dull red. All these varieties are attributable to the iron contained in the mass under various circumstances of chemical influence. The basalt often approaches in its general character to amygdaloid, the cavities being sometimes very considerable, and either coated or filled entirely with various minerals. In the former instance, the interior surfaces have always a crystalline character, which when entire not uncommonly constitutes a hollow sphere, to which the name of geode has been applied: this is principally the case with such as are of a siliceous nature. Zeolite occurs in every known variety; and that which is usually termed fibrous, or mealy zeolite, is particularly deserving of attention from its extreme delicacy and brilliancy of character, resembling the fine down of a thistle. Calcareous spar is exceedingly common, steatite and green earth are occasionally found; chalcedony approaching to opal, and agates, are not rare. The basalt, which is decomposed to such an extreme degree as nearly to have lost the whole of its metallic matter, has much the appearance and the specific gravity of limestone or similar matters which have been submitted to the action of fire. In various parts of this district are also found numerous specimens of wood which has all the appearance of charcoal, excepting that it is rather more glossy. These circumstances have been upon many occasions adduced in support of the idea that basalt is of volcanic origin. At Port-na-Baw, a bay adjoining to that in which is the Giants' Causeway, iron pyrites occurs very much in the basaltic masses, and carbonate of strontites, or strontian, is by no means uncommon. The Statice Armeria was growing in many parts about among the pillars. 18.

 p.137

Since the Causeway has become so strongly the subject of public curiosity, which is little more than a century back, much investigation has been employed in endeavouring to ascertain the precise time and manner of its first coming into notice. It would scarcely be a less curious subject of inquiry to endeavour to trace out the time when the legend to which it owes its name was first brought into circulation, and the name of The Giants Causeway in consequence affixed to it. As it is possible that my work may fall into the hands of some readers to whom the legend is not known, it may not be mal-à-propos to present them with a sketch of it.

Fion Mac Cumhal, or Fin Mac Cool as he is sometimes called, thence by corruption converted into Fingal, was the sovereign of a race of giants inhabiting the interior of Ireland. In his days the Scots had made frequent descents upon the northern coast of Ireland, plundering and ravaging it. Fion at length undertook to avenge the cause of the sufferers, and not only to defend their country, but to carry his giant train across the ocean and repay tenfold the ravages which had been committed. To facilitate his purpose, he conceived the idea of building a bridge or rather causeway across the ocean, and made his followers hew from the mighty rocks along the coast the materials for constructing it. These blocks were hewn in the geometrical figures which compose the pillars of the Causeway, and the mole formed of these masses rose above the ocean till it reached the Scottish coast at the island of Staffa; — here a palace was built for the chief, of the same extraordinary materials. A route thus opened,  p.138 the giant race poured like a torrent upon the devoted country of Albin, as Scotland was then called. Their march is thus described by Dr. Drummond:

  1. Now armed for war along their iron road
    Stern in their ire the giant warriors strode. —
    As files on files advanced in serried might,
    How flash'd their arms' intolerable light;
    Casques, shields and spears, and banners floating gay,
    And mail-clad steeds, and chariots' proud array,
    Bright glancing as the fires which heaven adorn
    When fair Aurora brings the Boreal morn.
    [Giants' Causeway, p. 12.]

The Scotch beheld the progress of this stupendous work with terror and dismay: What could their feeble might avail against a power thus more than mortal! — the only hope was in matching against them powers supernatural as their own. The Druids and Bards were summoned: nine days successively did the altars smoke with human victims sacrificed to Odin; nine days were prayers and supplications addressed to him to assemble all his terrors and baffle the efforts of these mighty invaders. Odin, from the hall of Valhalla where he was quaffing the blood of the victims out of the sculls of redoubted heroes slain in battle, heard their prayers, and arming himself with his thunders, his lightnings, his winds, his hail, his sleet and his darkness, standing in the centre of the mole commanded these engines of his wrath to hurl destruction upon it. The mole sunk accordingly into the bosom of the abyss, and nothing remains of it but the fragments standing on the Irish coast and at Staffa.

From this fabulous legend, — from being the reputed work of giants, not from being in itself gigantic, — the Giants' Causeway derives its name. By this name alone does it appear ever to have been distinguished, it is the name given to it by the earliest writers at present known to us as mentioning it. Now it is worthy of observation that the legend does not bear the stamp of being one of modern date; legends of this nature are much rather the coinage of ancient days; — of those days when all religion being defaced by superstition, the imagination was ever at work to create objects for satisfying this leading propensity, and attributed to supernatural agents, the offspring of their own fancies, every thing either in the physical or moral world which their limited knowledge precluded them from referring to the regular ordinary processes of nature. But such a legend  p.139 having been framed plainly shows the object of it to have then existed, and to have been regarded as one of great astonishment and admiration; had it not been so regarded, the work would never have been ascribed to a race so celebrated as Fin and his gigantic followers. To what period the existence of this great hero may be supposed referable is immaterial; the question is, — when the traditions respecting him first began to obtain general currency. The late Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq. in his laborious research into the history of the ancient bards of his country, thinks that these tales were productions of the eleventh and twelfth centuries; — a time of ignorance and incivilisation very propitious to the growth of fables of such a wild and extravagant nature. From these premises a probable inference may be drawn that the Giants' Causeway has existed such, or nearly such, as it does now for not less than six centuries, — the wonder and admiration of the simple natives round about, however recent may be the period that it has attracted the notice of the traveller and the naturalist. It is remarkable that in the south of France and in Italy the name of Pavé des Géans is given to some of the basaltic masses which there present themselves. It is also evident that Fingal's grotto and the other basalts of the island of Staffa must have been well known in Ireland at the time the legend was framed, though their existence seems to have been entirely unknown in England till Sir Joseph Banks's visit to the western islands of Scotland in 1772. But near as the north of Ireland is to some parts of Scotland, particularly to the most southerly among the western islands, and little as any English person, or indeed Scotchman of science, thought of visiting those islands till within the last half century, it is not surprising that Superstition should have laid her hands upon a spot which spread out its treasures in vain to the eye of philosophy.

The oldest document known to us which pretends to giving any thing like a philosophical account of this wonder of nature is one dated anno 1693, in the form of a letter from Sir Richard Bulkely to Dr. Lister 19. It is a report made by a Cambridge Master-of-Arts, and reflects little credit on the writer; nothing can be more unlike the reality than his description of it. The next account is one dated 1694, by Dr. Samuel Foley, drawn up in a very superior manner to the former 20 About the same period we find it also noticed by Dr. Thomas Molyneux,  p.140 Fellow of the Royal Society and of the College of Physicians 21. From this period we do not find it again noticed in the Philosophical Transactions, till the account given by Dr. Pococke, which was fifty years after. Since that time the visits to it have been numerous, and the accounts various; while the lovers of science have been eagerly occupied in endeavouring to discover the wonderful process of nature by which it is formed.

There are no less than twelve whin dykes in the short space between the mouth of the river Bush west of the Causeway, and Port-na-Spania east. This port sweeps round eastward from the Chimney-tops. After the dispersion of the Spanish Armada, one of the vessels is said to have wandered about till at length it was driven into this port and there wrecked; hence it has its name. Two whin dykes have been already mentioned as separating the different divisions of the Causeway. Another is to be seen at Port-na-Baw, the next port westward of Port Noffer, and divided from it by some, not very high, rocks covered with green sod, called the Stookans. It takes a remarkable form here, a large piece of wall standing detached from the adjacent rocks, and it is composed of horizontal prisms having an axe-like form: about this mass the iron pyrites are principally found. But the most remarkable of the whin dyes is at Port Coane, the next port westward of Port-na-Baw. An engraving of it is annexed: the sketch was taken on the spot by Mr. Hare, who kindly obliged me with the use of it. From this a very accurate idea of its singular appearance may be obtained: seen at a distance it has very much the appearance of a ship with all the sails up. Sir R. C. Hoare, after expressing his disappointment from not finding all the picturesque beauty he expected at the Causeway, goes on to say: — "We afterwards visited a cavern in a little bay to the westward; here the artist will find a grand subject for his pencil, which I was prevented taking by a violent and dangerous fall in getting into the cavern." Port Coane is the bay here alluded to; and this rock, or whin dyke, may fairly be pronounced the subject which he recommends so strongly to the artist's pencil. The cavern of which he speaks could not be introduced in the plate; it lies behind the projecting rock to the right, and is consequently not in sight at the point of view whence the sketch is taken; indeed there is no point from  p.141 which the rock and cavern could both be included, so as to give an adequate idea of the rock. The rocks round this bay, except the whin dyke, are principally composed of globular laminated concretions of basalt, which from their figure and construction are called provincially onion-stones. The dyke exhibits horizontal fissures.

The cave is entered by a lofty arch, on the right side of which large stalactitic incrustations are formed by the constant dripping of water down from the higher regions of the rock. The arch of the cave lowers considerably in proceeding into the interior, and at the back is an opening, not a very large one, and not coming quite down to the ground, through which is another cave crossing the first in the manner of a T. One end of this is open to the sea, which rushes in with great force, the sound being finely reverberated by the echo within the cave. The floor of the cave rises in a regular slope from the sea, so that the majestic rush of the water may be contemplated in the most perfect security. It was no doubt going from one cave to the other that Sir R. C. Hoare got his fall; for the passage is dark, the footing slippery, and, unless directed and assisted by a guide accustomed to it, a false step is very easily made. I had been told that a beautiful little species of patella was to be procured here, and I accordingly inquired for them. The guide said they were not abundant, but the place to find them was plucking the large fuci from the stones to which they adhere, and the creatures were lodged beneath. Several of these plants he plucked off, but only two shells were found. Westward of this cave is one said to be much more worth visiting, that of Runkerry; but it is only accessible by water. The whole depth that it runs within the rocks is not known, since there is a bar of stones at some distance from the entrance, over which no boat can pass.

The visit to Port Coane and its caves concluded a day to which I shall always recur as one of the most interesting I have ever passed. Nor can I persuade myself but that the same would be the feeling of every traveller visiting this extraordinary phenomenon, if he could only divest himself previously of the ideas of immensity which have been unwarrantably attached to it. I cannot, however, finally take my leave of it without a word in favour of my guide Currie. I found him civil, obliging, intelligent; and as he saw me anxious to procure specimens of all the different mineralogical productions, he took every  p.142 possible pains to seek me out the best that were to be had. But the troop of guides by which the Causeway is infested are always upon the look-out to collect every thing they can find worth seizing, which they keep for sale to travellers, taking care not to ask a price for them below their value. One of the guides early in the day offered me a fine specimen undoubtedly of crystallization, for which he modestly asked a guinea; this I had no disposition to give. In the course of the day he gradually lowered his price, till as I was going away he offered it for five shillings; — had it been offered at this price in the first instance, I had perhaps purchased it; but he had made me angry with his aim at extortion, so I left him with his specimen, and retained the five shillings in my pocket. Notwithstanding my peremptory rejection of their services, a whole flock of these cormorants would continue to follow me about the whole day, and then made their impertinent intrusion a pretence for wanting some remuneration at the conclusion. I was pleased to learn from a gentlemen of my acquaintance, who was at the Causeway two years after, that Currie remembered me, and seemed much pleased at seeing one to whom I was known. 22

 p.143

15. On the general Characters of Basalt,… Last Visit to Saint Valeri. —…

On the general Characters of Basalt, with an Attempt to account for its Columnar Structure. — Remarks on Rocks of a similar Nature. — And an Idea of the original Etymology of the word Basalt. (By Thomas Hare, Esq. F.L.S. &c. &c. &c.)

The singular tendency which Basalt evinces to assume a columnar figure is familiar to the commonest observer: and no constituent material of the solid globe has more frequently been an object of geological speculation in recent times; theories of equivalent ingenuity having contended as vehemently for its igneous, as its aqueous arrangement.

Although various parts of Europe and Asia are abundant with examples of Basaltic Columns, yet the island of Staffa and the Giants' Causeway appear to be the most striking and extensive in the known world. It is extraordinary that the former should scarcely have been known before the year 1772, when it was admirably described by Sir Joseph Banks, on his visit to the Scottish Hebrides. The latter had been better known by the previous description of the Bishop of Ossory.

Basaltic Hills are particularly characterized by a sweeping or undulating outline of their upper surfaces, which are usually clothed with rich verdure, while the sides are steep, naked, and in many instances, literally perpendicular. The most rude and massy rocks of this nature generally exhibit somewhat of a prismatic figure; and in numerous instances, Pillars are formed with the most geometrical exactness. These occur upon the lateral surface of hills, or flank their extremities, commonly perpendicular, sometimes obliquely, and sometimes curvilinear. Occasionally they form recesses, or, by uniformity in height, a causeway, of which the upper surface presents the structure of a Mosaic pavement. They are in some instances the partial courses of rivers, in others, the bosom of the main Ocean.

These columns, which, on the average, vary in height, from three or four to fifty and sixty feet, and in diameter from one foot to two, vary also in the  p.144 number and breadth of their lateral plane surfaces, which are from three to eight; but of all others, five and six are the most prevailing. They have also horizontal intersections of uncertain depth, which on examination, are found to result from distinct bodies. In reality, a single column of basalt consists of many prismatic joints, piled one upon another with the utmost nicety. Each lateral edge of the prism terminates in a trihaedral angular process continued from the lateral planes; and the uppermost horizontal surface rises from a narrow margin into a convex surface, while the surface of the base has also a narrow margin, and rises into a concavity; the base of each lateral edge having the solid angles truncated. Thus the convexity of a joint, and the terminating processes of its lateral edges corresponding with precision to the concavity and truncations of that which is placed upon it, a column of basalt exhibits numerous prismatic articulations wedged firmly together. And such, to my apprehension, may be regarded as a genuine crystallization.

The laws of Attraction which naturally influence the geometrical figures of those mineral solids, commonly known as Crystals, appear to be exerted in a similar manner for effecting the prismatic character, for which basalt is so truly remarkable. The demonstrable formation of those bodies in the common processes of chemistry, no less than the natural appearances hereafter to be noticed, seem eminently calculated to shew that basalt owes its characteristic figure to the influence of water. This peculiar property of the mass frequently evinces itself in the process of exsiccation, or remains dormant until acted on by the air of the atmosphere. Contrary, then, to the probable operation of volcanic fires, it would appear that the power of heat, suddenly exerted, would not be likely to effect a figure so symmetrical as the more gradual influence of water; since, admitting the prismatic figure of basalt to be truly the result of crystallization, it will be remembered that crystals are more regular the more slowly they are formed.

It may be observed, that numerous substances, when submitted to heat crystallize with considerable symmetry, if that power be not suddenly withdrawn; but of such, the result is not so generally and so geometrically crystalline as of those which have been acted on by a watery menstruum.

Where basalt does not divide itself precisely after the manner of prismatic columns, or evince a tendency to that figure on a great and general scale, it  p.145 often forms laminated spheroidal bodies, which varying in their diameters, constitute, by aggregation, rocks of considerable magnitude.

The latter circumstance, in addition to the occurrence of basaltic fragments, in which a sphere appears to be enveloped by a polyhedral figure, suggested the hint for an opinion which I have been led to adopt — that a compressible laminated sphere is the primitive figure of each prismatic articulation, composing a column of basalt: and that the lateral plane surfaces, as well as the corresponding concavity and convexity of the horizontal surfaces, the trihedral processes of the lateral edges, and the corresponding truncations of the superimposed joint, result from the assemblage of spheres, under the influence of gravitation, while the component particles are in a yielding state; their laminated structure being a mechanical accommodation to the filling of those interstitial spaces, which must result from an aggregation of spheres.

These ideas may be in some degree elucidated by the annexed Plate, in which the first figure exhibits a basaltic fragment from the vicinity of Belfast, where the sphere is developed by a partial decomposition of the prism; while the group shows the prevailing character of basaltic columns in general, two of the constituent prisms being detached, to show the alternate concavity and convexity of the horizontal surfaces, with the angular processes and truncations of their edges.

My view of this phenomenon is not widely different from that of Monsieur Allau, which having previously appeared in the Journal de Physique, was published, as a translation, in the 23d volume of Nicholson's Journal.

In concluding a paper on the contraction of artificial sandstones by fire, the natural division of basalt is alluded to, without any decided reference to the influence of fire or water; conceiving "that cracks will determine spheres of attraction, round which the particles will agglomerate; and the centres will be so much the more numerous, and the radii less as the attractive force is more considerable."

But according to the idea which has occurred to me, it is the central attraction of individual nuclei, which determines the number and figure of the cracks or fissures; or in other words, that laminated spheres of basalt chemically formed by the attractive power of its constituent particles, are mechanically altered by juxta-position under the same influence.

 p.146

Mr. Gregory Watt by his excellent paper in the Philosophical Transactions appears to have adopted an opinion that a spheroidal figure is concerned in the determination of the basaltic column. But I am not aware that any theory has been suggested similar to that which is here attempted.

Where rocks of basalt, as is well instanced at Port Coane on the coast of Antrim, exhibit simply a spheroidal structure, it appears possible that the phenomenon may have depended upon an imperfect process of crystallization; an inference deducible from the uneven distribution of the constituent particles and, perhaps, also from consideration of the physical qualities of those which are predominant. For example, where alumine prevails, it does not seem impossible that this earth may influence a rapid crystallization. However, it is needless to observe that the characteristic figure of all solids is often either indeterminate, or mutilated, as the disposition of their parts to geometrical arrangement has been opposed or unfavoured by adventitious causes.

Those spheres of basalt, which constitute rock-masses, clearly exhibit numerous concentric laminae, after the manner of a coated bulb: hence, in the north of Ireland, they are vulgarly known as Onion-stones. The laminae are, generally, of a coarse grain, and the globular figure considerably mutilated. In short, it may be said to possess every variety of appearance which different degrees of mechanical compression, exerted on a sphere, can possibly effect and the remark applies equally to the spheroidal basaltes of the southern parts of Europe, and other districts where such minerals prevail.

On the side of Mount Pleaskin or Placekin, near the Giants' Causeway, there is a remarkable appearance of imperfect crystallization, between the two principal ranges of pillars, much resembling the diverging figure of radiated Zeolite. The varieties of zeolite are well known to abound in basaltic regions, particularly the most northern; and that alluded to, impresses the idea of a rapid crystalline process. Intense cold and frost most frequently produce a figure more or less resembling it.

The memorable frost in the beginning of 1814 covered the trees and shrubs of the plantations in London with a beautiful condensation, so exactly resembling tufts of radiated zeolite, that it does not seem unworthy of remark in this place, since I have never observed similar appearances in more open stations; and I am inclined to think the figure was much influenced by  p.147 the confined atmosphere of the metropolis, in addition to the weight of an unusually cold air: for the radii of crystallization in zeolite, as in some instances of frost, appear to have been suddenly arrested, and thus to account, in a considerable degree, for the circular figure with crowns diverging, or radiated zeolite.

On the islands of Staffa and Rathlin curvilinear prisms of basalt present themselves, which so much resemble the ribs of a ship, that every spectator at first sight expresses the same comparison. I think it possible that this appearance may have been effected by a successive arrangement of compressible laminated spheres, after the manner of a string of beads. Near the Cascade of Vestena, in the territory of Verona, where a similar appearance exists, irregular aggregated bodies (some approaching to a sphere, and some to an imperfect prism) rest within the uppermost segment of the circle. The influence of the laminated sphere seems no less applicable to the various degrees of inclination exhibited by basaltic columns in several parts of the world.

I would now take a comparative view of external resemblances between certain widely distributed masses, of which the constituent materials, differing not in chemical properties, but only in individual proportion, admit of their being termed, with propriety, Basaltic Rocks. Such are Green-stone, Grey-wacke, Porphyry-slate, and Schistus or Clay-slate; conceiving that analogies of external character are at all times worthy of consideration in common with those of chemical composition. The variety of basalt named green-stone is probably next to it the most remarkable for evincing a tendency to the columnar figure. The most familiar examples with which I am acquainted, in Great Britain, are afforded by the rock of Stirling-castle, and others near that town; and by some parts of the hill named Arthur's Seat, near Edinburgh. A small chain of rocks at Linton, in the North of Devon, which flanks the border of the Bristol Channel, commonly known as the Valley of Rocks, to my apprehension, affords the best English example of grey-wacke. These rocks evince a strong tendency to the prismatic figure, and appear in blocks upon the summits of the hills, much after the manner of decomposed granite: their edges and angles are, however, generally more acute, and their texture particularly  p.148 firm and compact. The loose fragments which cover the sides of the valley are vulgarly known under the name of Rubble-stone, or Rag-stone. It appears but little different from the well-known Rowley rag-stone of Staffordshire; and this has been seen to divide itself into articulated prisms.

In the Philosophical Transactions for 1783, where Dr. Withering has given an account of the Rowley rag-stone, he seems to consider the prevailing figure rhomboidal. The rhomb is, of course, but a modification of the four-sided prism; and the rag-stone of Staffordshire has, in some instances, been seen in articulated columns of five and six sides, similar to the most genuine basalt.

I am not aware that marine exuviae, or other organized bodies, have been found or described in the grey-wacke of Linton; but, on a specimen, which I struck with difficulty from one of the most indurated blocks, there is distinctly the impression of a bivalve shell, much resembling the genus Cardium. Numerous other fractures were not successful in exposing similar appearances 23.

Of the many varieties of schistus, or clay-slate, some in general appearance, as well as in chemical composition, have so close a resemblance to grey-wacke, that certain mineralogists have distinguished them by that name. The great repository of the metallic treasures of Cornwall has, in many instances, been so named. Certain hills near the Lizard-point, on proceeding from the town of Helstone, have broken and naked summits, remarkably like those of the Valley of Rocks, both in figure and composition, apparently passing into clay-slate, which, in a compact form, constitutes the Lizard-point, and joins a mass of Serpentine. The natural decomposition of certain rocks, near the well-known, slate quarries of Boscastle, are also worthy of notice, as resembling those of the Linton Valley.

There is certainly an analogy of external character, between tabular basalt and that form of clay-slate which is employed for the roofs of houses; and still more, between a form of clay-slate occurring near Taunton in Somersetshire, and that kind of basalt which forms the walls of Whin-dykes; the former  p.149 dividing itself into horizontal prisms, precisely after the manner of the latter. In the many slate quarries which I have visited in various parts of Great Britain, a similar appearance has never met my eye.

In whatever part of the world basalt or any of its varieties have been found, phenomena have also been observable which tend, by their similarity, to establish a general distinctive character. The ranges of columns are often accompanied by strata of an ochreous nature, which probably result from the oxydation of a large proportion of iron in their original mass. Some have the appearance of terra cotta, and abound with vesicated cavities; and some are no other than altered Amygdaloids, the base of which is essentially of a basaltic nature.

These appearances, which are common in Ireland, are described also in Auvergne, by Mons. Desmarest.

In the great basaltic district of the North of Ireland, wherever the columnar figure is not effected, the tufted masses which diversify the surfaces of the heights, show much of the tendency on a reduced scale; and such is equally remarkable on many schistose mountains in North Wales, particularly at Pont y Aberglasslyn, and over the whole surface of Cader Idris.

The basaltes which are abundant in Italy and the South of France exhibit various inclinations and curvatures in the prismatic form, like those of Antrim and the Isle of Staffa. Many of the groups are there termed Pavé des Géans. Like the former, also, they bear a relation to Limestone: and this, in the territory of Verona, is crowded with animal remains. They also frequently exhibit laminated spheres: and it is remarkable that Faujas de St. Fond, who adopts the volcanic theory, does not consider this variety as of igneous arrangement.

It appears, by tradition, that basalt was employed extensively by the Egyptians and other nations of antiquity for the purposes of statuary; and it is not improbable that in those days, when the recondite operations of Nature were less explored by man, superstition was so far credited as to have made the ancient naturalists nearly silent upon the subject of columnar basalt as an unaltered production of Nature. Pliny is, apparently, the first whose mention of it exists. He speaks of it as a hard stone of Ethiopia, of which Strabo had seen pillars and pieces of great dimensions.

 p.150

The circumstance of the celebrated sculpture, which by command of Titus Vespasian was dedicated to Nilus in the Temple of Peace, having been hewn out of a single column of basalt, derives corroboration from the vast dimensions of those pillars which form the grand façade at Benmore, and also the immense prismatic divisions in the rock-mass on the west side of Mount Pleaskin, whence an extraordinary quadrangular pillar separated itself in the winter of 1811, falling on the shore beneath.

It has, not without reason, been supposed that the Lapis Lydius, and Lapis Metallorum, or touchstone of the ancients, was a kind of basalt; for it is sometimes rendered magnetic by the physical qualities of the iron, which is an essential ingredient, and under various degrees of chemical influence, the cause of those numerous shades of black, grey, and yellowish and reddish brown which it exhibits.

Basalt is the Basanos maximus Hibernicus of old times. The Greek básanos is as the Latin probatio; and Pliny, in the 8th chapter of his 33d book, defines básanos "lapis index, seu Lydius et Heraclius, quem coticulam vocant:" and a very common definition of the word is, "lapis quo probatur aurum."

I am, however, inclined to believe that the pillared structure of basalt must have been the object considered for the purposes of its appellation; and that the word basalt, possibly at first basilt, is a mutilated derivative of the Greek basiliké regia domus, and edificium amplum, since a royal residence, or other stately edifice, is rarely destitute of pillars: and besides this, the Latin word , scarcely altered from the Greek basiliké, has, among other definitions, that of a piazza, which in Italian seems to imply a colonnade, or at least a building to the character of which pillars are essential.

It is remarkable that a late writer should have been disposed to adduce "a reason why the basaltic pillars are not produced at this day as they were formerly" since instances are no where wanting of their development before living witnesses. Many facts are well authenticated of basalt, which on the removal of the superficial soil, or on being worked as a common stone-quarry, appeared a shapeless mass, having divided itself, on the free accession of atmospheric air, into prismatic columns, from a height of many feet, to small specimens fitted for the cabinet. The latter is well instanced by Mr. Kirwan in a fragment of that basaltic rock known in Ireland under the name of calp, or  p.151 black quarry-stone, which amongst many others, having been brought to Dublin for use, was observed "to burst," after "it was brought there, into regular pillars; some of an hexagonal, and some of an octagonal form; and some articulated exactly like the pillars of the Giants' Causeway." They were "about six inches long, and one fourth of an inch in diameter." I have further collected, without any extraordinary research, many interesting illustrations, on a small scale, of the omnipresent disposition of basalt to divide itself prismatically.

By due observation it is sufficiently evident that the members of the mineral kingdom experience slow and unceasing revolutions, in concordance with the other admirable provisions of nature. While certain masses are decomposing and becoming fitted for the purposes of vegetation, others are arranging themselves, either by the acervation of materials unfitted for the service of organic life, or by the accession of sand and similar matters from the bosoms of the waters, thereby maintaining those diversities of surface essential to the health of animals at large, and delightful to the sense of man. Basaltic rocks of all others are productive of the richest soils; and they are no less remarkable for the purity and clearness of their waters. But it would seem as hopeless to expect that a mountain like Chimboraco should start up before our eyes, as that we may witness the formation of such piles as the Giants' Causeway, and the Cave of Fingal.

 p.152

16. Dunluce-Castle. — Craig-in-Ullar. — Coleraine. —…

Dunluce-Castle. — Craig-in-Ullar. — Coleraine. — Salmon-Leap and Fishery — Sir Hervey Bruce's Seat at Down-Hill. — Ballymoney and the Races there. — Specimen of Irish Play-Bills. — Divorce between the Car and one of its Wheels. — Conversation over the Fire-side of a Village Public-House. — The Wonders of the Town of Kilcock. — Christian Charity of a Saint. — The Moravian Village at Grace-Hill. — Shanes-Castle. — Antrim. — Return to Belfast.

On the 22d of August I set off early in the morning from Bushmills to proceed on my route. The ruins of Dunluce-Castle are well known as a striking object in these parts: they lie about four miles west of the Giants' Causeway. A part stands on a rock, separated from the coast by a chasm eighty feet wide, much like Carrick-a-Rede: this is supposed to have been the whole of the original structure. The rock on which it stands is an entire mass of basalt, rising 150 feet above the sea; within it is a large cave. The only access to the rock is by a narrow piece of wall over the chasm, just wide enough for a footway, and without any guard on either side. This is generally said to be one wall of a bridge: but some are of opinion that there never was any regular bridge that this is one of two parallel walls which crossed the chasm, serving as supports to boards occasionally thrown over, when any communication with the coast was wanted. The castle is supposed to have been built by MacQuillan, a powerful chieftain, from whose family it came by marriage into that of the Macdonnells, the ancestors of the Antrim family. It has long ceased to be the habitation of any other being than Mave Roe, a Bansheigh, very likely a descendant of some of the Finnian heroes, who built the Causeway. She is a neat little personage, for she sweeps the room she inhabits clean every day. After the murder of the Duke of Buckingham by Felton, his duchess, marrying the Marquis of Antrim, came to live at Dunluce, then the family mansion: but a part of the castle falling in a violent storm, she was so alarmed that she quitted it immediately, vowing never to enter it again: a suite of apartments was accordingly built for  p.153 her on the terra-firma. Such, at least, is the account given of that part of the ruins which stand upon the coast. Its accuracy I very much doubt, since their appearance has much rather that of a no less remote date than the ruins on the rock; — they are in an equally dilapidated state. These ruins are not visible at any distance; they burst on a sudden upon the view when within about a quarter of a mile of them, and really have a very grand appearance. From the midst of a small bay running up at the foot of the rock on which the castle stands, rises a very remarkable mass of rock, almost a cone; the sides being much broken, in one part a sort of figure is formed which has strongly the appearance of a Turk sitting with his turban on his head.

I had originally intended visiting Portrush, and had a letter of introduction to Dr. Richardson, a name well known for his ardent researches into the geology of the country, though thought by most persons of science somewhat wild and fantastic in his theories. But having learnt that he was not in the country, as I could not see the owner of the place I did not go to the place itself. In an old quarry to the left, close by the road-side, about half-way between Bushmills and Coleraine, is a row of basaltic pillars as perfectly characterized as any in these parts. This spot is called Craigahuller, or Craig-in-Ullar, I know not which, for I have seen it spelt and heard it called both ways. Excepting Dunluce-Castle and this colonnade, nothing can be more uninteresting than the drive from Bushmills to Coleraine.

Neither is there much to attract attention in the town of Coleraine itself. The river Bann runs through it; and about a mile from the town is a salmon-leap, but I did not go thither. Salmon indeed abounds all along the northern coast of Ireland, and the best I ever tasted. From Ballycastle hither it was always the first thing proposed, when the question of dinner was brought upon the tapis. As a specimen of the amazing prolific nature of fish, it may be mentioned, that a naturalist had the curiosity once to examine the roe of a salmon caught in the river Bush, and found it to contain eleven thousand eggs. The salmon-leap near Coleraine is the property of Sir George Hill, who lets it at the rent of 1000l. a-year.

From hence I went to Down-hill, the seat of Sir Hervey Bruce. The house, as I have already noticed, was built by the late Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol.  p.154 He has, indeed, fixed on a most extraordinary spot for building a house. It stands upon an eminence directly above the sea; — with a noble sea-view, it is true, and fine bold rocks rising almost perpendicularly above the water; but so miserably exposed to the turbulent north winds blowing along this coast, that one shivers involuntarily at the very idea of stirring without the door of the mansion, excepting during a few weeks in the middle of summer. The hill upon which the house stands is a sort of knoll: all round it is a plantation; very thriving, but so low down that scarcely can any thing of it be seen from the windows. The house stands, as it were, insulated from every other object. There is a good strand here; and a little to the west, at Magilliganpoint, the entrance of Lough Foyle, (which is plainly seen from the top of the rocks,) there is an extent of fine hard sand, sufficient for exercising a regiment of soldiers. On the strand I found shells of the genera Venus, Arca, Solen, Voluta, Buccinum, and Nereis. Near the entrance to the grounds is a very pretty little water-fall. In the house are some good pictures and sculptures, brought from Italy by the former owner of the house; but every thing was now in confusion: Sir Hervey, having pulled down the other house built by the bishop, had transferred a variety of things from thence to Down-hill, and was making great alterations in the house for their reception. Among the pictures are two called original Correggios, but their being really so is very much doubted.

Returning to Coleraine, I proceeded from thence to Ballymoney, which was to be my night-quarters. Here I found that I had fallen unluckily upon the time of the races; and at first there seemed some reason to apprehend a repetition of the night-adventures at Cushendall: however, the landlady of the inn (the Antrim Arms) was extremely civil, and exerting herself to make room for me, an arrangement was at length made, by which I was to have a bed-chamber. As the landlady thought I might be lonely, and want some amusement, she came and announced that there were players in town, for the races, if I would like to go to the theatre, and presented me with a bill of the performances for the evening. As this was the only opportunity which had fallen in my way of seeing an Irish itinerant company, I should most probably have gone, had I not been very much fatigued from a succession of days of pretty considerable exertion. I beg, however, to present my readers  p.155 with a correct copy, verbatim et literatim, of the play-bill, by which they will see that in the art of lengthening out the bills of fare, and setting forth the dishes offered to the best advantage, the Irish itinerarians are not behind-hand with the English ones.

On Tuesday Night,
By particular Desire and under the Patronage of the Stewards of the Races.
Theatre Ballymoney.
BY PERMISSION.
This present Tuesday Evening Augt. 23,
will be Presented the admired
and celebrated Play of
Inkle and Yarico.
Or Love in a Forest. Inkle Mr. Loftus Monro, — Medium Mr. Davison,
Sir Christopher Curry Mr. Heney,
Planter, Mr. Bennett, — Trudge Mr. Heney, Junr.
Yarico Mrs. L. Monro, Wowski Mrs. Heney Junr.
Between the Play and Farce the following
ENTERTAINMENTS,
A Comic Song By Mr. Heney, Junr.
Paddy Whack by Mr. Monro.
A New Ballet Dance called the
Village Ghost,
Or all For
Ballymoney Races.
Old Snap (a Cobler, with a Comic Dance) — Mr. Loftus Monro,
Ben Block, (with an Hornpipe in Character of a Sailor) — Mr. Heney, Junr.
Tom Clueline — Mr. Davison,
Fanny — Mrs. Loftus Monro,
Jenny — Mrs. Heney, Junr.
 p.156 To Conclude with the celebrated Farce of
Love's Masquarade,
Or the Intrigueing Baron.
Fredrick Baron Willinghurst — Mr. L. Monro!
Mr. Friz (a Hair Dresser) — Mr. L. Monro!!
Hannibal Whiskirisky (an old Invalid,) Mr. L. Monro!!!
Barn'by Almutz (an old Trooper) — Mr. L. Monro!!!!
Mrs. Almutz an old Housekeeper) — Mr. L. Monro!!!!!
Baron Piffleberg — — Mr. Heney.
Hair Dresser — — Mr. Bennett.
Hans Mockus (an old Invalid) — Mr. Heney, Junr.
Lady Brumback — — Mrs. Heney, Junr.
Sophia Miss Bennett — Maria — Mrs. L. Monro.
BOXES, 2s. 6d. PIT, 1s. 8d. GALLERY, l0d.
Doors open at 7, begin Precisely at 8 o'Clock — No
admittance on any pretence whatever behind the scenes. —
— A PLAY EVERY EVENING DURING THE RACES —
Henry Loftus Monro, respectfully hopes during his short stay,
by a strict attention to the Comfort and Amusement of the Ladies
and Gentlemen of the Town and it Vicinity, to merit their support.
WEDNESDAY EVENING, THE POINT OF HONOR
AND THE WAGS OF WINDSOR.
Note: Tickets may be had and Places taken of Mr. Monro, at
the Antrim Arms.

I think some hints might even be taken by the cooks of English play-bills from their sister-country: the gradation in the number of points of admiration at the astonishing versatility of Mr. L. Monro's genius appears to me a perfectly novel idea, and one capable of being improved upon exceedingly. For example, in recording the enthusiastic shouts of applause with which a new piece, or a new performer, is always received, and which increases every night of the actor's performing, or of the play being performed, a regular daily increase of admiration-points at the conclusion of the record would, in giving a more elevated idea of the merits celebrated, at the same time have novelty to recommend it; — no trifling consideration in the satiety which begins rather to attend upon reading over a mere ringing of changes upon repeated reiterated shouts of applause, enthusiastic admiration, unbounded raptures, &c. &c. — For the rest there is nothing particular to notice in Ballymoney or the country about it.

 p.157

In the course of my conversation with the Scotchman at Cushendall, he asked whither it was my intention to direct my course after the Giants' Causeway? I said that I proposed returning to Belfast by Coleraine and Antrim. He then earnestly recommended my visiting a Moravian village in my route which I might do without lengthening the way, only by taking a road somewhat more in the interior of the country than the high-road from Coleraine to Antrim. My intended day's journey therefore on quitting Ballymoney was to visit this village, and go on to Antrim for the night. When we were about three miles from Ballymoney, I perceived on a sudden the wheel of the car on the side which I sat going rather oddly, and I was about to bid the driver stop and to desire the servant to get down and examine it, when before I could speak I found myself upon my knees in the road, the wheel flying off behind the carriage, and the driver thrown to some distance the other way, while the horse stopped in a moment, shaking and appearing wholly terrified: the cause of all was, that the linch-pin of the wheel had broke. Happily no one was hurt; my own fall was so very light that I was not even frightened: there was indeed in the manner of it something so approaching to the ludicrous, that I should have been disposed to laugh, had I not been alarmed for the driver, whose fall was of a much more serious nature; but he was a youth light and active, and fortunately received no injury. The great difficulty was, how we were to proceed. We saw, however, two or three cabins by the road side at the distance of not more than a quarter of a mile, and from one of them a large strong nail was procured as a substitute for the broken linch-pin; the people also told us that about two miles further on the road we should come to a smith's forge, where we could get a new one made.

Thither we accordingly proceeded; but it was then discovered that some other part of the iron work was in a state so worn as to be in danger of breaking at every moment, and my servant said he thought it so unsafe that it was better to have the whole repaired, which the smith assured us he could do in two hours or two hours and a half. Nothing then remained, as a heavy shower at this moment came on, but to take refuge in a small public-house close by, and there wait till the son of Vulcan had concluded his operations, or till the rain would allow me to walk about and see whether any thing interesting or amusing was furnished by the spot. I sat myself down in the kitchen of the public-house,  p.158 for parlour there was none, on one side of the fire where was a cauldron of potatoes making ready for the dinner of mine host, his family, the pigs and the fowls. After a little while, when mine host had surveyed me accurately, and I had asked two or three questions which seemed to encourage him to be talkative, he began by supposing that I had been at the Giants' Causeway. I replied in the affirmative.
"A curious place, madam, a very curious place, — quite wonderful!"
"Yes indeed, it is very wonderful."
"Now, madam, I hope you'll excuse my freedom; but do you think it was really made by giants, or that it came of itself?"
"Oh certainly, I think it is a work of nature, not of giants."
"And yet, madam,'tis very odd: — Now do you know there's a place not a great way off from here, a sort of a hill like, and when they dig into it they turn up sometimes such monstrous great bones it would quite surprise you?they never could be common men's bones."
"But where is this place, — couldn't I go and see it?"
"'Tisn't above two or three miles off"; and if it wasn't for the rain I should be quite proud to go and show it to you."

Indeed it was raining very hard; and had it not been so, I should scarcely have ventured to take the walk, not feeling any confidence as to the distance which he stated it to be. From experience I well knew that no dependence was to be placed upon these reputed distances, that the two or three miles might very likely be five or six. Sometimes in inquiring the distance of a place, the answer would be — so many miles and a wee-bit, but I always found the wee-bit was as much as all the rest. I therefore contented myself with hearing all my host had to say upon these great bones, which seemed to occupy his mind very much. When he had descanted upon them sufficiently, he mentioned two or three other places and things which he assured me were quite worth seeing; and at length said, "But there's one place, madam, which above all others you should see, for that is a curious place indeed."
"And where is that?"
"Tis Kilcock, madam."
"What is there so very curious in it?"
"Why now, madam, perhaps you won't believe me, but I can assure you 'tis  p.159 quite true; and it isn't only such poor folks as I that say it, for you might laugh at us, but quite learned people will tell you the same — Now do you know, madam, that no cock ever will crow there; and not only that, but if you was to bring a cock there from ever so far off, even from England, though he crowed ever so well before, he'd never after crow another word."
"Indeed."
"Yes, 'tis quite true I can assure you, madam."
"Well, but what's the reason of it? — for there must be something very extraordinary that occasions it."
"To be sure, madam; and I'll tell you how it is. A great many years ago there was Saint Columbkill; he was quite a great saint, and he came to preach here in Ireland; and so he went about first to one place, then to another, till at last he came to Kilcock. Well, he stopped at an inn for the night, but he made a vow that he'd get up the next morning at cock-crowing and set out again preaching, so he bid the landlady call him when the cock crowed. Well, the cock he crowed quite early, a long time before it was light; so the landlady she went and called the saint; but he never looked that the cock should crow so early, and he didn't much like to get up; but as he had made a vow that he would, why he got up, because he wouldn't break his vow. However, he was so angry with the cock, that as he went out of the town he cursed all the cocks, and prayed that they might never crow there again: — no more they ever have."

This legend he related with the utmost seriousness, and seemed to be impressed with the most perfect conviction both of the effect and its cause. I found in more instances than this that St. Columbkill was a saint in great repute in the country, second only to St. Patrick. His name, properly Columba, has been converted into Columbkill from the island in which he was buried, one of the Hebrides. In consequence of his remains being deposited there, it was called I-Columb-Kill, that is the burying place of Columba; till in process of time the meaning of the addition kill (burying-place) being lost, the whole was considered as the name of the saint.

The job of two hours or two hours and a half lasted four; but for this I was well prepared, so was not much disconcerted by it. The whole delay, however, occasioned by the accident was such that to get to Antrim that night became  p.160 entirely out of the question; the only question was — whither we could go; and I learned with great satisfaction that there was a very comfortable inn at Grace-Hill, the Moravian village: this we reached some little time before dark. The country through which we had travelled the whole day was very dull and barren of interest in any way. Grace-Hill is however a pretty little spot formed by the Moravians in this dreary country. The approach is prepossessing, through an avenue of ash-trees nearly meeting and forming an arch over the road. Two short streets go off at an angle from the road, and run parallel to each other up to a green, round three sides of which is the principal part of the village. In their neat appearance, and the neatness of every thing about them, these people strongly resemble the Quakers. The upper end of the green is occupied by the chapel, a boys school, and the house for the single sisters. They are, as the name imports, a society of unmarried women. Their number was at this time about sixty, and they were of all ages. They live all together, having lodging-rooms in common, full of small beds like the wards of an hospital; they eat their meals together, sit and work together, and have a seat appropriated to them in the chapel. No vow is taken against marriage; but any one marrying quits the society immediately, and establishes herself with her husband in some of the houses of the village. A variety of works are carried on among them; working muslin, making lace, spinning, knitting, plain-work of every kind, fancy pin-cushions, housewives, purses, and the like, child-bed linen, &c. &c. There are manufactories of various kinds carried on in the village; as stuffs, linens, cords, and others. On one side of the green is a large shop for the sale of these articles, where are also sold groceries, earthenware, and a variety of things such as are of general and constant want among them, and they have in the village a baker, a butcher, &c. &c of their own. Many of the things made here, particularly the works of the single sisters, are sent all about the country, even as far as Dublin, for sale. The green is inclosed with a paling, and trees are planted all round: within is a gravel walk for general recreation and relaxation. There are also very good schools both for girls and boys. I attended their evening service at seven o'clock; it consisted principally of singing hymns, in which the whole congregation joined; the minister besides read parts of the Scriptures, the prayers were very short. I found the inn very comfortable, every thing extremely  p.161 neat, and the people very civil and attentive. Indeed I was, as my Scotchman predicted, exceedingly pleased with the whole society, and was very glad he had mentioned it to me.

The worst part of the story was, that either a wrong direction was given us at the inn as to the road we were to take to Randall's-Town, or we misunderstood it; for we got into a most deplorable road indeed, far worse than any I had yet seen, unless that in going to Knock-Laid. At length, however, Randall's-Town was reached in safety; and having breakfasted there, I proceeded to Shanes-Castle, the seat of Lord O'Neale, on the borders of Lough Neagh. This lake is said to be in extent the third in Europe: but the accounts of its size vary exceedingly; by some it is called twenty miles long and fifteen broad, by others fifteen in length and twelve in breadth. The shores are every where flat, presenting no beauty to the eye; and as the distance from one shore to the other is too great for the eye to reach, considering the flatness of the shores, nothing is presented but a vast expanse of water. Petrified wood is occasionally found about the lake, but in very small quantities, and naturalists are extremely divided in their opinions whether this effect is produced by the waters of the lake or by peculiar properties in the soil round about. On the shore I found pebbles of several varieties of basalt, of common quartz, of chalcedony some of them having an opaline tendency, with some few agates; all these were evidently produced from masses of amygdaloid or basalt. There were besides flint pebbles of various colours.

Lord O'Neale's family claims to be one of the oldest in Ireland, they trace their descent from the ancient kings of Ireland. A pedigree had just been made out from the Heralds' Office by Sir William Betham Ulster King at Arms, very finely written on vellum, beautifully illuminated and most splendidly bound, doing all together infinite credit to the several persons concerned in the execution of it. Great alterations were going forward at this time in the house: a fine conservatory was built, to which a grand eating-room was to be joined, the windows commanding an extensive view over the lake. There was a very fine collection of old china arranged in a closet with great taste, which had glass doors opening to the breakfast-room; also some good pictures. By order of the owner, a great deal of venerable old furniture, which had been thrown aside for the more light and frippery decorations of modern days, was now replaced. Alas! since  p.162 this time all has been destroyed by a fatal fire. — What a severe trial, to see the relics of so many years in one moment fall a prey to that all-consuming element! All the appendages to the house, as kitchen-gardens, conservatories, stables, dairy, every thing belonging to a farm, were at a little distance from the house, all in a style worthy of an ancient nobleman; every thing in short displayed a spirit of true nobility. One division of the garden was entirely devoted to rose-trees, of which there were above four hundred different species.

From hence we proceeded to Antrim, which is not more than two miles from Shanes-Castle; and after visiting the Round-Tower about half a mile from the town, arrived in the evening at Belfast. In crossing the mountains between Antrim and Belfast we were enveloped for half an hour in the thickest fog I ever saw; the so much celebrated fogs of London might well hide their diminished heads before it. Happily it cleared away in time to allow of our seeing the fine view presented from these heights over the town and Bay of Belfast and the fertile valley of the Lagan. Seldom have I passed ten days of higher gratification than those in which I made this circuit; I had only to regret that I could not devote more time to it. If any one should think that I have suffered the delight I felt to betray me into being too diffuse in the above relation, and should wish for a more concise account of the same tour, I beg leave to refer him to Sir John Carr's work. Though conciseness is not in general the distinguishing characteristic of his writings, in this instance he seems to have been studious to dismiss his narrative in the fewest words possible. "After a very interesting tour," he says, " in the north, in which I visited Lough Neagh, the marvellous pillars of the Giants' Causeway, the basaltic shores of the county of Antrim, Belfast, and the principal towns in that flourishing part of the country, I returned to Dublin, and prepared to quit a country which delighted and astonished me, &c. &c." — I really do not think it could have been possible for any writer to have expended less time, less thought, and less paper, in going over so many miles of ground.

 p.163

17. Visit to Hollywood near Belfast. —…

Visit to Hollywood near Belfast. — Sail upon the Lough. — Mr. Coulson's Manufactory of Table-Linen at Lisburn. — The Giants' Ring. — Drumbo Steeple. — Final Departure from Belfast. — Newcastle, a great Bathing-place. — Mountain of Slieve Donard. — Kilkeele. — Bay of Carlingford. — Beautiful Scenery of Rostrevor. — The Town of Carlingford and its Antiquities. — Great Limestone Quarry there. — The Obelisk near Drogheda. — Return to Dublin.

On the morning after my entering Belfast I was presented by Dr. Macdonnell to a lady who he said had been very solicitous for my return; and I soon found that she was Mrs. Hughes, the daughter of Sir Edward Newenham, and sister to Madame Folsch of Marseilles, in whose society I had passed so many pleasant hours during my residence in the South of France. Mrs. Hughes had done me the honour of reading and liking my Narrative of my Residence in France; and learning from it how much I was then acquainted with her sister, when she heard I had been and was to be again at Belfast, became anxious to see me, and talk with me about the family. She was living with her only daughter, who is married to Mr. Kennedy, a gentleman of fortune having a very pretty seat at Hollywood on the edge of Belfast Lough, upon the Downshire side, about four miles from the town. Thither she would fain have carried me to stay some days, but I could spare no more time than to spend that day with her and return the next. Though nearly ten years had then elapsed since my quitting France, it was so much longer since she had seen her sister, that she said my intelligence seemed comparatively recent, and it was quite a treat to question me about her.

Mr. Kennedy has a nice little schooner, in which he took me a very pleasant sail about the Lough before dinner. The water was high, the day was particularly fine, and nothing could be more beautiful than the scenery every way. A sort of stone here presents itself very different from any thing I had found on the other side of the bay; — a yellow magnesian-limestone. It abounds much  p.164 with crystallizations. Mrs. Hughes was so obliging as to contribute to my mineralogical collection a piece of beautiful sparry incrustation from the Graysheep's Cave in the county of Tipperary, and some from St. Michael's Cave at Gibraltar.

On the twenty-seventh of August, the last day before my finally quitting Belfast, I went over to Lisburn to see Mr. Coulson's manufactory of damask table linen,

On the morning after my entering Belfast I was presented by Dr. Macdonnell furnishing me with a recommendation, as it is never shown without one. It is, indeed, a most beautiful manufacture, and well worth seeing, though the machinery of the vast looms in which it is wove, is so complicated that it is not at all to be understood by merely looking on at the people as they are working. The linen manufactured here is in no way inferior to the foreign manufactures.

I went to Lisburn by a road on the different side of the river Lagan from that by which I had come to Belfast, and stopped by the way to see two objects very near the road. One was a curious place called the Giants' Ring. It is a very large circle inclosed round with a high bank of earth not wrought up to a point, but having a walk along the top. In the centre of this ring is a Cromlech, consisting of four large masses of stone, not all of equal height, standing perpendicular, with a much larger laid horizontally upon them; but from the height of the supports being unequal, it is not perfectly level like a table, but lies in an inclined position. Upon the bank are the remains of, a round-tower, of which not more than perhaps fifteen feet from the ground remain standing. It is strange, but this spot seems scarcely an object of attention to any one, though it ought in my opinion to be a very interesting one to the researchers into the antiquities of the country. Its existence even is not much known at Belfast, though it is not more than four or five miles from the town. I had heard of it by chance; but when I asked about it of the master of the hotel, he said he knew of no such place, I must have made some mistake. I was perfectly assured, however, that I had made no mistake, that such a thing did exist; and when I asked Dr. Macdonnell about it, he could tell me in what direction it lay, but even he had never seen it, nor was at all aware that there were remains of a round-tower as well as the cromlech. The existence of a round-tower on a spot manifestly a remnant of Druidical superstition, seems strongly to support the idea that these extraordinary structures were connected  p.165 with that ancient religion, and that so many being near churches was owing to the preachers of the new religion choosing to erect their religious edifices on spots already consecrated in the eyes of the multitude, which they would probably always regard with reverence, and it was therefore wise to give that reverence its proper direction. That they were ever erected as belfries, may do very well for an hypothesis to those who have never seen them; I cannot conceive how any body that has, can for a moment subscribe to such an opinion.

The second object which I turned aside to see in my way to Lisburn was part of another round-tower in the church-yard of Drumbo, and called in the country Drumbo steeple. This is a very imperfect one; not more of it remains than perhaps between thirty and forty feet in height. I have not found either of these mentioned any where as among the number of these structures still in existence whether wholly or partially. The Post-Chaise Companion, in general a very excellent guide about the country, does not notice them, nor indeed does it mention the Giants' Ring.

On the 28th of August I finally took my leave of Belfast; — of the civilities I received there I shall ever retain a grateful recollection. Instead of returning to Dublin by the way I had come, I determined on making a little circuit to see the beautiful Bay of Carlingford, and the scenery around it. In this route, no object particularly worthy of notice presented itself on the first day's journey till the ruins of Dundrum-castle. They are boldly situated on a high rock, very near the little bay of the same name. The castle was originally a strong fortress, and belonged to the Knights Templars, after which it was transferred to the Prior of Down, from whose hands it passed early in the sixteenth century into the hands of the crown: after various fates it was dismantled by order of Cromwell, and has ever since been falling more and more to decay.

Newcastle, a small village directly on the sea-shore, and at the foot of Slieve Donard, the loftiest of the Mourne mountains, was the place on which I had fixed for my night quarters. Here again I was in some danger of being obliged to bivouac out in the air upon my car. Not that there was either fair or races to interfere with my having a bed; but poor as the village is, it is the principal sea-bathing place in the county of Down, and during the bathing season it is  p.166 thronged with company on a Sunday from the neighbourhood for many miles round, as if it were the time of a fair. Now it happened unluckily to be Sunday evening, and there was not a corner in any public house, scarcely in any private one, that was not preoccupied. I was assured, however, I might depend upon a bed, since very few would stop for the night; but the bedchambers were all transformed into rooms of entertainment where were parties at tea, or regaling with whiskey punch, and certainly not as silent as the grave; while, perhaps, as the parties were not accustomed to break up early, the bed might not be ready till twelve or one o'clock. I was just about ordering the horses head to be turned, and going for the night to Castle-Willan, a little town about two miles off, when the landlady, not liking to part with a guest, at length dismissed a party who she thought had called for as much as they were likely to call for, and were now therefore occupying the room unprofitably, and possession was given to me.

Slieve Donard is here a majestic object, rising somewhat more than three thousand feet above the level of the sea, which washes its base. The structure of this mountain is singular, being granite with a buttress, as it were, of slate on one side. I cannot give this as the result of my own examination, for I had neither the time nor means to ascertain it; but I was thus informed by Mr. Ryan the miner whom I had seen at Belfast, by whom it had been explored. He also mentioned another curious circumstance respecting the mountainous regions of the county of Down; that on the summit of the slate mountains which rise above the Bay of Carlingford, and which are at some distance from the granite mountains of Mourne, there lies a vast solitary bolder of granite. I found small blocks of granite and schist promiscuously in a little channel down the side of the mountain which was then dry, but which is occasionally a waterfall; and going along the foot of the mountain the next day, from a part of the rock by the road side I got pieces of striated slate.

From Newcastle to Kilkeele, where I breakfasted the next day, a distance of ten miles, the road lies entirely at the base of the Mourne mountains, on a terrace at no great height above the sea. In clear weather the Isle of Man is seen very plain for a considerable way in going along this road: unfortunately it happened to be as foggy a morning as could annoy a traveller, and I could sometimes even scarcely distinguish the sea washing the base of the terrace.  p.167 For awhile I was very much afraid that the beautiful scenery of Rostrevor on the Bay of Carlingford, which I was now approaching, would be wholly lost. By the time, however, that we quitted Kilkeele, where on account of the horse a stop of two hours was made, the fog was beginning to clear away, and before we reached the Bay of Carlingford the sun came out, and the day was delightful.

The road continues to skirt the long range of the Downshire mountains the whole way to Rostrevor on the Bay of Carlingford. Few spots are more beautiful than the little village of Rostrevor, and the scenery about it. After having continued coasting naked and barren mountains for fifteen or sixteen miles, all on a sudden the eye is delighted with the sight of a very high slope wooded all over from the very summit to the water's edge. The road continues still upon a terrace above the water, and goes directly through this wood. At the end of it Rostrevor-quay, as it is called, nearly a mile from the village, opens; it is a row of houses at the foot of the wooded hill, with the bay in front; and here the entrance to the bay and the main sea being entirely shut out from the view, it has all the appearance of lake scenery. After passing the quay the road is again carried amid woods up to the village; one of the prettiest villages, surrounded by some of the prettiest scenery, that can be imagined. Nor is it wholly destitute of grand features; behind the village the mountains rise to a pretty considerable height, and they are also lofty on the other side of the bay. I would earnestly recommend to every body going into the North of Ireland, instead of following the common high road to Belfast, to turn off at Newry and see Rostrevor; he will be amply repaid by the beauty of the spot for going a little out of the way, and perhaps it does not add more than ten or twelve miles to the distance. A better way I think than I came, and certainly a nearer, is to strike directly from Rostrevor into the road to Castle-Willan, not to follow the coast. I found nothing very interesting in this coast road, and it lengthens the way very much.

From Rostrevor I proceeded along the northern shore of the bay to a place called Narrow-Water, where the bay is contracted into a river, and where there is a ferry. Crossing here I went on to the town of Carlingford, which is almost at the entrance of the bay on the south side. This is a very old town, full of ruins of ancient castles and monasteries. One of the castles is called King John's Castle, and is reputed to have been built in the time of that sovereign.  p.168 It stands upon a rock directly above the sea, and some of the walls are eleven feet thick. It seems to have been intended as a defence to this narrow pass, which, like another Thermopylae, has high and abrupt mountains directly above, with an impetuous sea dashing below. There are altogether seven castles, or monasteries, of which ruinated fragments are remaining.

But it was not these remnants of antiquity which attracted me to Carlingford; my principal object was to explore an immense quarry of gray limestone about a quarter of a mile from the town. And, indeed, I found here many very interesting objects of mineralogical research. This quarry lies at the foot of a high mountain, and from various appearances there is sufficient reason to believe that the upper part of the mountain has a tendency to being basaltic; in the quarry itself are two strata, which differ essentially from the limestone, which are not fusible, and are accordingly thrown aside by the workmen; by them this is called greenstone, and it certainly has a strong basaltic tendency. I had been told that the mine was not only intersected horizontally by strata of this stone, but that it was also cut by them vertically; this, however, I could not find to be the case. What confirms the basaltic nature of this stone is, that whereas the limestone abounds with traces, casts, and impressions of numerous shells and zoophytes, we may almost say is crowded with them, no organic remains are ever found in these strata. The limestone also abounds with very brilliant flattened crystallizations of iron pyrites. The zoophytes are of infinitely larger dimensions than common, and exhibit numerous transverse partitions which are covered with a minute crystallization, sometimes of calcareous and sometimes of siliceous matter. The casts of one species of shell, the genus of which does not yet appear to have been determined, but having much the character of a Nautilus, were so extremely abundant, that in the course of the evening while I was sitting at the inn, several parcels of twenty or thirty each were brought by the men and boys offering them for sale. They are mostly covered with minute crystallizations. Amygdaloid is also common here, as is the case in most districts where calcareous and basaltic masses prevail. There is a rock at the mouth of the bay, concerning which I was informed that it is partly granitic partly basaltic, but it is not often accessible on account of the excessive surf about it.

The next day I went on to Drogheda through Dundalk, and from Drogheda  p.169 visited the Obelisk, erected in memorial of the ever-memorable battle of the Boyne about two miles west of Drogheda. It is a hundred and fifty feet in height, and stands on a vast mass of granite rock perhaps twenty feet above the river, at the edge of which it rises. It is generally said that the obelisk rests on the very spot where the Marshal Duke de Schomberg was killed; but considering the mass of rock on which it stands, that cannot be. Indeed it is believed by many that the great conflict was half a mile higher up the river, and that this station was only fixed on for the obelisk on account of the rock, which in adding to its height would at the same time place it out of the reach of being injured by persons coming to see it. On the four sides of the pedestal are inscriptions; but they are at too great a height ever to have been well seen, and they are now very much defaced by time.

The next day, the 31st of August, about one o'clock I re-entered Dublin, collecting by the way from a limestone quarry between Swords and Dublin several very good specimens of organic remains.

 p.170

18. Mr. Kean's Benefit, Anecdote respecting it.…

Mr. Kean's Benefit, Anecdote respecting it. — Excursion in the County of Wicklow. — Rocking-Stones. — Bullock. — The Granite Rocks. — Newrath-Bridge. — Rosanna. — The Devil's Glen. — Glendaloch. — Legend of St. Kevin. — The Seven Churches. — Glen Molaur, Lead-Mines there. — Rathdrum. — Avondale. — Meeting of the Waters. — Copper Mines of Cronebawn. — The beautiful Vale of Avoca. — Wicklow Gold-Mine. — Arklow. — Wicklow. — The Scalp. — Return to Dublin.

When I came over to Ireland my intention was to have directed my course to the South as soon as possible after my return from the North. Subsequent circumstances made me abandon the idea of visiting the south this year, leaving to the casualties which might arise in future, whether it ever would be visited at all; and I determined now to confine my researches to such parts of the county of Wicklow as I could comprehend within four days, and then depart for England.

Contrary to my expectation when I quitted Dublin, I found Mr. Kean still there at my return, and that his benefit was to take place on the very day of my arrival. I mention this circumstance to introduce an anecdote which strongly marks the Irish character. Of course it was presumed by every body, considering how much he had been a favourite with the public, that his benefit would be complimented with an overflowing house. Great applications were made at the boxkeeper's office for places; but the reply given to most people was, that Mr. Kean kept the letting of the boxes in his own hands, that he might oblige his particular friends. This was so far from being the truth, that when Mr. Kean applied himself for a box to oblige a particular friend, he was answered that they were all let. What the boxkeeper's aim could be in making these contradictory answers is not easy to be guessed, unless, by enhancing the difficulty of getting places, to entice people into giving him a bribe to endeavour to accommodate them. The consequence, however, was extremely injurious to Mr. Kean; the public at large were exceedingly offended  p.171 at the idea of his making such an invidious distinction between them and a few private friends; while the private friends who had asked him in vain to procure them places, ascribed his not obtaining them to negligence on his part, that he did not choose to give himself any trouble about it. Thus, instead of an overflowing house as was expected, it was not in fact by any means a full one. Every body present saw this with astonishment, and the question naturally was asked, how could it happen? — The cause, upon inquiry, soon became manifest; and the public indignation was so exceedingly roused against the boxkeeper, that when Mr. Kean was to act a few nights after for the last time, a number of ardent spirits expressing their feelings upon the occasion to him very warmly, asked, de bonne foi, whether he would like that they should make a riot, and pull the theatre down. If Mr. Kean was gratified by this warmth of feeling, and he could not be otherwise, he begged to decline such an expression of it.

On the third of September I set out early in the morning on my circuit about the county of Wicklow. I directed my course along the southern shore of Dublin Bay, hitherto known to me no further than Blackrock, having much in view by taking this coast road to Bray, to see a curiosity concerning which doubts are entertained whether the thing is natural or artificial. This is one of those stones known by the appellation of rocking-stones, a vast mass so poised upon a slender basement as visibly to vibrate with the wind, yet never to fall. Of these stones there are only a few to be seen, scattered in different parts of the country; they are considered by some as remains of Druidical superstition, by others they are believed natural productions. To my great disappointment, I learnt when I arrived at the spot, and inquired for the rocking-stone, that it had been blown up some time before in quarrying stone near it. How much is it to be regretted that the men of taste and science in every country, and such are not rare in Ireland, do not make themselves the guardians of all curiosities in their neighbourhood, whether natural or artificial, and prevent their falling in such a manner by the untutored hands of ignorance! I afterwards learnt that there is a cromlech in a glen near this place, and some remains of a Druidical temple, but it was not till too late to see them. Such remains of this superstition being in the neighbourhood gives reason to suppose that the rocking-stone was also a Druidical work. Nothing tormented me more in Ireland than the  p.172 difficulty I found, wherever I went, of learning what there was worth seeing, and I often missed objects which I could have wished much to examine, from not hearing of them till too late. After I had returned to Dublin from the North, I found that instead of coming from Drogheda by the same route that I had gone, I might have varied it and taken a much prettier road, not above a mile about, through Naul, where are rocks, caves, a glen and a waterfall, to vary the scene, instead of the dull monotony of the high road; but of this road I did not know till the time was past when I could avail myself of the intelligence.

The town of Bullock stands in a most wild country, scarcely producing any thing but the granite-stone used in these parts for such a variety of purposes. In some places there is a little soil and herbage, but the prominent feature every where is stone, and again stone. This is the whole character of the country in going over the heights that form the entrance of Dublin bay to the south. In arriving at their summits, a fine view opens over the beautiful little Bay of Killeny and the fertile country towards Bray. I stopped to breakfast with the hospitable family at Ravenswell, and bid them that disagreeable word Adieu. Here I met Mr. Cuthbert returned from his circuit, and received from him a great deal of information respecting the country, which enabled me to make the most of the short time I could allot to my excursion. I went on that night to Newrath-Bridge, (Newry-Bridge as it is pronounced), about two miles from Wicklow, near which is Rosanna, once the habitation of Mrs. Henry Tighe, not less celebrated for her beauty than for her poem of Psyche. This poem certainly proves that much elegance of mind was combined in this lady with elegance of person: it is not free, however, from a fault, but too common among poets, that in parts it is very obscure. It seems indeed almost an idea with some who enlist under the banners of the Muses, that they are not poetical unless obscure; in my own opinion, be the subject what it may, or whatever may be the diction in which it is clothed, to be clear ought to be the first thing studied, let ornament follow, to whatever extent the taste of the author may lead; yet surely he shows the best taste who restrains himself from a lavish use of it; and perhaps the great fault of modern poets is the hunting too much after it. Psyche is however without doubt a work of great merit. There is nothing very striking either in the house (I mean only as to the exterior, for I did not go into it) or  p.173 in the grounds, at Rosanna; indeed the house may rather be called ugly, built of red-brick, and nearly a square. Were it not for the name of Tighe, now associated with the place, scarcely would the attention of any one be directed towards it.

The next morning it was my intention to go in the first place to Cronroe, the seat of Mr. Eccles, two miles from Newrath-Bridge, where is a very remarkable rock: but unfortunately taking a wrong turn soon after we left the inn, we got quite astray from it, and were not aware of the mistake till the time spent to repair it would have cut too deep into the day, and I was forced to abandon it entirely. I proceeded therefore to the Devil's Glen, the next allotted object of the day. Of the numerous beautiful glens with which the county of Wicklow abounds, this is by far the most so. I thought the Dargle beautiful, I thought the Glen of the Downs beautiful,I thought the Hermitage beautiful, but I found them all thrown into complete eclipse by this paradise of the Prince of Darkness: — how his name ever came to be associated with such a spot is wholly incomprehensible. In what the superior beauty of this dell over all the others enumerated consists, it is difficult to give an idea by describing it: no more can be said, than that it is a dell winding among vast rocks well clothed with wood, with a stream in the bottom tumbling over broken masses of rock, forming a number of petty cascades, till at the end of the dell is a fine cascade pouring down from the heights above perhaps a hundred and fifty feet. Yet such a description can give but a very imperfect idea of the beauty of the spot; — perhaps it may be the forms of the rocks, perhaps the greater breadth and more broken nature of the stream; I know not what it is; — the Devil's Glen is but a wooded dell, and the others are of the same nature, yet there is a charm in this far beyond them all. I was almost tempted, as I wandered through the enchanting scene, to perpetrate some evil deed which would render me fit society only for the gentleman after whom it is named, that I might come and take up my abode there. Towards the upper end of it we came to a cottage, where we stopped to inquire our way to the place at which the car had been directed to meet us. As no carriage can go through the glen, that had been sent by a circuit to the heights that rise above it on the road to Glendaloch, there to wait for us. A woman from the cottage said the way was not easy to find, and as we might very likely miss it, she offered to accompany us. In our walk falling into conversation  p.174 with her, she gave such a detail of the sufferings of herself and her family the preceding winter, the severe one of 1814, that I almost ceased to think the spot a paradise; indeed, suffering as the family did from cold, they would perhaps almost have rejoiced to have found it a Pandaemonium. She said that whenever a heavy fall of snow came, it drifted so much in that confined valley, that sometimes for several days together they could not get out at the cottage door till her husband was able to remove the snow, and then he had to clear a path along the valley in order to get at any other human habitation. If they had not been fortunately provided with a very good winter stock of potatoes and turf, they would have been in great danger of being starved or frozen to death. Her melancholy tale seemed almost an epitome of some of the stories of cottages among the Alps buried for many days, nay some even for weeks, beneath a mass of snow falling from the mountains.

Under the convoy of this good woman we rejoined our car, and proceeded through what may fairly be called an ocean of mountains, to Glendaloch, that is, the Valley of the Lakes. Nothing was to be seen the whole way but a series of undulations resembling nothing so strongly as the sea when the waves are rolling about in mountains. About half a mile from the valley we passed a few houses, when a man darting out from one, set off running full speed after us, and soon coming up with the car, panting for breath, announced himself as the guide about Glendaloch, whither he supposed we were going. Answering in the affirmative, he began to hold forth very eloquently upon the wonders of the place; on which I left him to descant awhile, and then said, "How much do you expect for shewing it?" to which he replied "Only eight-pence a shoe, my lady." I must confess his answer somewhat puzzled me, since I saw no immediate connection between a shoe and the curiosities of Glendaloch, unless that was honest Pat's mode of expressing so much for each person. On asking an explanation, it appeared that besides being guide of the place he was by profession a blacksmith, and mistaking the word shewing for shoeing, he thought I was asking how much he would charge for shoeing the horse.

Most of the writers upon Ireland have remarked, that the greater the distance from the capital the more wretched are the habitations of the peasantry. Indeed my observation leads me to say quite otherwise. I found the peasantry in the North much more decently housed than in any part of Ireland that I saw  p.175 while at the entrance of Glendaloch, about twenty miles from Dublin, were a little cluster of five or six cabins miserable beyond any thing that could possibly be conceived as intended for human habitations; they would have been thought in England almost too wretched for lodging the pigs. It may however be said, that in Ireland the pig is the member of the family whose comfort seems the most attended to; for there is no cabin, however poor, in which a pig is not a constituent member of the little community. A gentleman told me, that once in a walk he took refuge in the cabin of a peasant during a heavy shower, where the family were at dinner; the pig was, as usual, eating potatoes out of the same mess with the rest, making himself in other ways extremely free and sociable. The gentleman not thinking his company so agreeable as it seemed to be thought by the family, said, "I wonder, friend, that you keep the pig here, that you don't make him a separate house." "Nay, plase your honour," said the man, "I don't see why you think that; I don't see but the pig have every convanience here that a pig can want." He seemed to think that the gentleman's anxiety referred entirely to the pig, not to its owners.

Glendaloch is the site of an ancient city, formerly a bishop's see, which under the reign of King John was united with that of Dublin, or rather swallowed up in it, since after this union the name of Glendaloch as a see was wholly lost; the archbishopric remained that of Dublin only, the name of its suffragan was never added: one of the archdeaconries, however, of St. Patrick's cathedral is still called after it. The valley is encompassed with dark and gloomy rocks, throwing a shade around which seems to mark it as a proper theatre of superstition, and such it ever has been, such it is in some sort even at this day. The upper end is occupied by two lakes, whence it has its name. The remotest of these is nearly walled in by the rocks. On one side they rise abruptly, directly above the water; on the other, having a little more slope, its borders may be coasted to the end of the valley. It is closed by an amphitheatre of rocks, down which runs a considerable cascade. Some other streams run down the rocks, but none of any consequence. From this lake the valley gradually expands, and there is a considerable space of meadow between the two lakes. Indeed the first lake is wholly surrounded by meadow, though in some places very swampy. The ancient superstitions had peopled this valley with evil spirits, and its lakes with devouring serpents. When the Christian  p.176 missionaries first began to preach the Gospel, it was expedient to annihilate this superstition; and since there is no means so effectual of eradicating one as by substituting another, it was resolved to produce a saint whose wonder-working hand should destroy these objects, no less those of veneration with the multitude than of terror.

To the saint thus conjured up was given the name of St. Kevin. On the origin of this name antiquarians are divided. According to some, Cevn, Kevn, or Kevin, was the name given of old to one of the mountains, from which it was transferred to the saint who was to hallow the mountain. Dr. Ledwich says that it was a very common practice in those early times, which were in nothing more distinguished than in being prolific of saints, to call a newly-created one after the name of some river, mountain, or other remarkable inanimate production of nature. Whatever might be the origin of his name, the saint, once produced, was a prodigious worker of miracles; in this respect he was scarcely inferior even to St. Patrick or St. Columba. A young man, his relation, who was under his tuition, and was exceedingly beloved by him, was attacked by a dreadful disease, which seemed likely to prove mortal, when the idea seized him that he should be cured by eating an apple, and he earnestly requested his patron to procure him one. Unluckily it was now the month of March; and it should seem that in those days the art of keeping apples through the winter was less understood than it is at present, for not one was to be had. Saint Kevin, therefore, addressed his prayers to Heaven, that its mercy might be extended to the unfortunate youth; when looking around him he observed a willow-tree just by, which had the extraordinary appearance of being full of ripe apples. Overjoyed at the sight, he gathered three and carried them to the young man, who eating them, found immediate relief from his malady, and in a short time was restored to perfect health. The same saint one day in Lent, having put his hand out at the window, raising it up piously towards heaven, a blackbird perched upon it, and in an instant deposited her eggs there. The holy man, in compassion to the bird, neither closed his hand nor drew it in, but remained with it stretched out in the same manner till the young birds were hatched and able to fly, when quitting their asylum he found himself at length released from a situation which certainly was by no means one to be envied. Again: Going up a hill one day in a time of dearth, he met a woman carrying  p.177 a sack, in which were five loaves of bread. He inquired what she had in the sack, to which she answered, "Stones;" — "I pray that they may be so," said the saint: and immediately five stones rolled one after the other out of the sack.

But the greatest of all his miracles was the driving away from the valley the evil spirits by which it was infested, and chaining fast the serpents that inhabited the lakes, to the rocky bottoms beneath. This done, and the place rendered habitable for mankind, a city was built under his auspices, which was in nothing so remarkable as in the number of churches it contained. Such is the fabulous legend of the origin of this city: at what time or by what race it was really built, cannot be ascertained with any certainty; but from the architecture observable in the few remains of it now existing, the probability appears that it may be dated even as far back as the seventh century. They are certainly some of the oldest remains now existing in Ireland. The Irish annals relate that this city was several times ravaged and plundered by the piratical Ostmen, or Danes, while they retained their footing in the island. These depredations, however, it appears to have survived, and to date its decay only from its being annihilated as a bishop's see.

From the confined space in which it stood, in a narrow valley bordered on three sides by rocks and lakes, it could never have been a place of large extent. The only remains now standing are those of the Seven Churches, as they are called, and from which the place is much more generally distinguished as The Seven Churches, than by its proper appellation of Glendaloch. The valley is entered from the east, and near the entrance stands The Ivy Church, so named, very appropriately, from the trifling remains that are standing being entirely overgrown with ivy. The abbey, of which there are also very inconsiderable remains, was according to tradition founded by Saint Kevin in the sixth century: here were many sculptures, ample descriptions of which are to be found in Dr. Ledwich's Antiquities, with an explanation of the supposed emblems intended in them; some of the figures are dragons and other fabulous animals; but the wolf seems the prevailing figure, he is under various forms and variously employed.

The cathedral is the most conspicuous among these vestiges of remote times. The nave is forty-eight feet in length and thirty in breadth; a semicircular arch divides it from the body of the church. Round the east window are some sculptures representing parts of the legend of Saint Kevin: among them is a  p.178 dog devouring a serpent, supposed to be emblematic of the saint's having destroyed the serpents by which the lakes were infested; — but was it quite correct to represent the saint under the form of a dog? — Below a window on the south side of the choir is a tomb with some carving about it, but not having any inscription. It is remarkable that this tomb is of freestone, and so are the sculptures round the window. This is a sort of stone not common in Ireland; there is a fine quarry of it at Rosenallis in the Queen's County, said to be nearly if not altogether equal to the Portland or Bath stone; none is known of at present nearer to Glendaloch, and more than sixty miles was a vast way to have transported it, in the rude days when these fabrics must have been constructed. The building itself is the granite of the country.

Saint Kevin's Kitchen is the name given to the most perfect of these ruins. The outward walls are nearly entire. It had only one window, which was ornamented with an architrave, and this also was of freestone. The area of this church is twenty-three feet in length by fifteen in breadth; the height twenty feet, and the walls measure three feet and a half in thickness. At the east end is a small archway, which leads to an inner chapel ten feet and a half in length and nine feet wide. On the north side of this chapel is a door which goes to another chapel, the same length and nearly eight feet wide. The chapels are of equal height, twelve feet, and have walls three feet in thickness; each has a small window in the centre of the east end. How this building has obtained the name of Saint Kevin's Kitchen, I could not learn. The other churches are Our Lady's Church, Trinity Church, and Teampall na Skelig, that is the Temple of the Desert, called also the Priory of the Rock.

In the cemetery, and near the cathedral, is a stone cross on which are some carvings not ill executed; it measures eleven feet in height, and is cut out of one stone. A round-tower also stands in the cemetery; it is in good preservation, excepting that the conical cap by which all these towers seem to have been terminated is entirely gone. To the Ivy Church, as also to Saint Kevin's Kitchen, are attached round-towers, not incorporated with them as if they had been built at the same time and intended as a part of them; they are evidently detached buildings, either of prior erection to the church and the church added to them, which seems the probability; or, as some are of opinion, subsequently erected in addition to the church, A third object of notice in the cemetery is the  p.179 wreck of an ancient yew-tree, which measures, if I mistake not, thirteen feet in the girth. The trunk is entirely hollow, and within it grows a holly, rising in three stems, each measuring at least two feet in circumference. Close by is a stone, probably once a part of some of the buildings, which has a concavity in it that holds water, and the water that lodges in it is an infallible cure for corns. There are many other stones lying about which seem to have some wondrous virtue in them, since by several there were persons kneeling at their prayers.

In a rock rising above the further lake, at a considerable height above the water, is a cave which is called Saint Kevin's Bed. It is only accessible by a steep and narrow path in the rock, just wide enough for one person, and, being directly above the water, if the least false step be made, destruction is almost inevitable. Such an accident is recorded to have happened a few years ago to a young woman; she slipped, and was precipitated into the lake, nor was ever seen more. I did not attempt going up to it; in fact, I could not learn that it was worth taking the trouble of ascending to such a height, even if there had been no danger. Women visiting it are secured from any danger of dying in childbirth. Between the cathedral and the first lake is a cluster of very large thorns, which are said to have been planted by Saint Kevin. On the 3d of June, the anniversary of this Saint's death, the people from a great way round flock to Glendaloch to celebrate the day. A small stream which runs to the north of the valley is called Saint Kevin's Keeve. Weak sickly children, if dipped in this stream on a Sunday or Thursday morning before sunrise, will gain strength and become healthy and thriving.

The mountains here are a compact variety of schistus approaching in its general character to grey-wacke, abundantly veined with quartz, which is extremely reddened by ferruginous matter, offering to the eye a very beautiful marble-like appearance.

There seems to be some connexion between seven churches and a round-tower, since there are no less than four places in Ireland where we find this combination. In the Bay of Scarriff, on Lough Derg, is a beautiful and fertile island on which are the remains of seven churches and a round-tower seventy feet high, in extremely good preservation. On an island in the Shannon, properly Inis-Catha, but commonly called Scattery, are seven churches and a round-tower. It it said that there were originally eleven churches here but this is  p.180 much doubted, since seven are standing, and if ever there were more, all traces of them are lost. At Kilmacdaugh, in the county of Galway, are seven churches, one, as at Glendaloch, a cathedral, and a round-tower; the latter is one hundred and twelve feet high, and is remarkable for inclining seventeen feet from the perpendicular, which is four more than the celebrated tower at Pisa. There are three other places where are seven churches together, but not accompanied by the round-tower.

From Glendaloch I proceeded over a continuation of wild and desolate mountains to Glen Molaur. This mountain road is one of several military roads made since the rebellion of 1798, over the mountainous parts of the county of Wicklow, to facilitate the passage of troops. I have spoken more than once of the many beautiful wooded dells, or glens, with which this county abounds, I must now speak of one of a very different description. Glen Molaur is a valley through which runs a stream bordered on each side with a narrow space of meadow, above which rise rude and barren rocks; but for the strips of meadow which seem foreign to the spot, it would be a fine scene of wild and savage grandeur. The valley runs on for several miles. A road was a few years ago made through it, and carried over the lofty amphitheatre of hills, by which it is bounded to the west, to form a more ready communication between the eastern and western sides of the county of Wicklow. At the place where the new military road crosses this, barracks have been erected, and they have led to a very good inn being established at a little distance. It was kept now by English people. I inquired what I could have for dinner; the reply was as usual, Chickens. "Let me have one roasted immediately." — "Very well; but it can't be ready for two hours." — "What do you mean? if 'tis alive now, it may be ready in half that time." — "No, 'tis not alive now, but 'tis impossible to get it ready sooner than I said." — "Get me some eggs, then, I won't wait for the chicken." — " They'll take us almost as long to do." — "Well, then the horse shall have a feed of corn, and I'll wait for my dinner till I get to Rathdrum." — "You'll be very late getting there; and we have very good beds here, you'll be very quiet and comfortable." — "Possibly, but I choose to go to Rathdrum to-night." — and away I walked, rather angrily, to visit some lead-mines about half a mile from the inn. These rocks are schistose, in some places exceedingly steep, almost perpendicular, in others less abrupt, everywhere abounding with quartz; large blocks of  p.181 pure quartz were lying in different parts; blocks of mica slate were also scattered about, of a remarkably red colour, doubtless the result of oxyd of iron; their external surfaces were entirely covered with gray lichens. The ore is chiefly found at a considerable height in the rocks, and shafts are made at the foot of the rocks to ascend to them, the same as I had seen at the collieries at Ballycastle. I collected here foliated galena, or sulphuret of lead, having occasionally an earthy character, very good pyramidal crystallizations of quartz, gneiss in a state of decomposition, and quartz in a variety of figures. I also got the ore in its different stages of preparation; it is esteemed of a very good quality. On the other side of the river, nearly opposite the lead-mines, is a waterfall down the side of a very abrupt rock; it was now well supplied, and the water rushed down with great force.

This glen was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the great asylum of Hugh O'Birne, who so long defied the higher powers, and was the scene of a terrible catastrophe to a party of English troops sent against him by Lord Grey. After a toilsome march, as the valley appears then to have been a perfect swamp, O'Birne and his followers, when the enemy were exhausted, poured down upon them from the fastnesses in the rocks among which they were themselves concealed, and the whole invading party were cut to pieces. Several officers of distinction fell; and the loss of the troops was the greater, from their being veterans long trained in these Irish wars, and selected therefore for the service. After stopping about an hour at the mines I returned to the inn, where I found all things prepared for dinner, and was informed the chicken was quite ready if I would please to stop and eat it. Though I was very angry with the people for having endeavoured to impose upon me, and make me stop there for the night, I did condescend so far as to put my anger in my pocket and eat the chicken. This done, I proceeded on to Rathdrum. The entrance to the valley, by which I was now making my exit, is very pretty; the valley expands, the hills gradually slope away, the river assumes a more romantic appearance, being wooded at the sides, and in the midst of the woods is a romantic bridge making a very pretty subject for a sketch; but I am no sketcher myself, and had no one with me to take it; I can only recommend the subject to any one who may pursue the same route, possessing the talent in which I am deficient. Soon after passing this spot the evening came on, and I saw no more of the road to  p.182 Rathdrum: but I have no reason to suppose this was any great loss. At Rathdrum I was again annoyed by finding it the time of a fair for wool, flannels, and woollen cloths, so that I could not get a bed at the inn; but the people of the inn procured me a very comfortable private lodging. At the entrance to the town is a large wool-hall, with a spacious area before it, where the fair was held. I walked up to this place in the morning, and found people thronging in from the country with their manufactures for sale, women as well as men riding on horseback between their bales of cloth or flannel. On one horse were, besides two large bales of cloth, two very well dressed women, who just before they got to the fair alighted, and sitting down by the road side drew on their stockings, having hitherto had only shoes. They then remounted their nag, and rode in high ceremony into the fair. Every thing brought for sale is deposited in the area before the hall, and nothing can be sold till an officer regularly appointed for the purpose goes round and measures the goods, giving a ticket of the number of yards each piece contains, and any one attempting to make more of it is subject to a heavy fine.

About two miles from Rathdrum, on the road to Tullow, there were formerly some of the most extensive iron-works in Ireland. They are now carried on to some extent, but have declined very much from what they once were, owing to the scarcity of wood for fuel. From the same cause many other iron-works in different parts of Ireland have for some years declined, while it is much to be feared there is no great disposition in this country to apply a remedy to the evil, that we may keep in our hands the supplying Ireland with wrought iron of all kinds. There is nothing very pretty either in the town of Rathdrum or its immediate environs, though it stands on the verge of one of the most beautiful parts of the county of Wicklow.

About a mile from Rathdrum I quitted the car to walk through the beautiful grounds of Avondale, formerly the seat of Mr. Hayes, by whom, he having no heirs of his own, it was bequeathed to the late patriotic Sir John Parnell, in whose family it now remains. The river Avonmore, that is the great winding stream, meanders through the grounds, having a shallow channel, tumbling over broken masses of rock. Its sides are sometimes fringed with close thickets of wood, sometimes with fine lawns having majestic forest-trees scattered about; in parts the dell is quite inclosed, having only majestic rocks covered with ivy  p.183 and rock-plants on each side; then again it expands, forming for three miles the most varied and beautiful scenery imaginable. About a mile from the house is a rustic cottage delightfully situated in the midst of woods close by the river, on the opposite side of which the rocks are very line and majestic. But this charming place was now deserted; the house was shut up, and every thing wore the appearance of being neglected, and mourning the desertion of the owner. Yet such are the natural charms of Avondale that no neglect can render it other than a most enchanting spot.

These grounds terminate at The meeting of the waters, a name to which the delightful muse of the Anacreon of Ireland, Mr. Moore, has given a celebrity which can never be lost again among the lovers of harmony of poetry or the beauties of nature. It is a sort of confluence of several beautiful little valleys, through some of which flow clear and limpid streams, and uniting here they form the Avoca. The principal of these streams are the Avonmore and the Avonbeg or little Avon. Mr. Moore attributes a part of the enchantment he found in this scene, and the sweet vale of Avoca, to visiting them in the society of friends whom he loved and cherished. Assuredly the society of friends, if they are friends indeed, adds indescribably to the charm of every spot; we may fairly say that every pleasure is at least doubled by being thus shared: but independent of every auxiliary, the meeting of the waters is truly a scene of enchantment.

From hence to Arklow, a distance of nine miles, is perhaps as beautiful a drive as can be seen in any country round the globe. The road lies entirely along the vale of Avoca, having the river winding through it with the most delightful wooded slopes rising on each side. Such is at least the general character of the vale: in one spot the wooded slopes are changed for high and naked rocks, where lie the copper mines of Cronebawn and Ballymurtagh on opposite sides of the river. To those of Cronebawn I ascended, but the rocks are steep and the ascent toilsome. The shafts are at a great height in the mountain, and go down to a great depth; there are several now no longer worked, the vein of ore having been exhausted, but new veins are continually found. I observed some of these neglected shafts having the mouths so much overgrown with thistles and brambles, that it was not easy to perceive them; and I remarked to the surveyor who was with me, that I thought it very dangerous, since a person might easily slip down one unawares. He said he  p.184 thought the same, and had many times recommended to have planks laid over them. There, however, he added, it was not of so much importance, for very few except their own people ever came near the place, and they were all well aware of them. But he said he knew an instance in another quarter, where the shafts being in a much more frequented part, a gentleman was riding at full speed, and not perceiving a shaft in like manner overgrown, he did not think of checking the horse. Had the animal perceived it, being an excellent leaper, he had probably cleared it; but he slipped in such a way that he threw his rider over to the other side, while he himself fell down and was never heard of more.

These rocks are a schist, and abound with the copper pyrites, which occasionally exhibits a pavonine tarnish. The schist is sometimes of a very deep gray colour, and is then the most rich in metal; sometimes also it has the green cast commonly called verdigris. The ore, when prepared for commerce, is either of a dull red or yellowish gray. The prevailing character of the schist is massive and rather of a granular texture, though sometimes it is considerably laminated, showing a smooth fine even surface. A stream strongly impregnated with vitriol, of great use in preparing the copper, is afterward suffered to run down into the river below, which it really poisons with its deleterious qualities; — this surely ought not to be permitted. I was informed that from the place — where the water is thus contaminated, to where it runs into the sea at Arklow, no fish can live in it, and that the working these mines has totally destroyed a very fine salmon-fishery at Arklow.

From this place the vale continues running in a southerly direction for some way, with the beautiful woods of Ballyarthur, the seat of Mr. Symes, skirting it. Then suddenly it takes a turn to the west, almost in a right angle: at this point there is a view down five different valleys, each, though bearing a general resemblance to the other, having its peculiar and distinct character. Here is a sort of second meeting of the waters, the Avoca being joined by a mountain stream pouring from one of the valleys. A road branching off from this point leads to the celebrated Croaghan mountain, whence came the gold which for a short time almost turned the heads of the whole neighbourhood. The precise time when the precious metal was first gathered never could be authentically ascertained, since those whose fortune it was to make the discovery strenuously endeavoured to conceal it, that the benefit might be reserved to themselves  p.185 alone. From the best information that could be obtained, it appeared that a peasant lad about fourteen years of age angling in the stream which descends from the mountain, perceived some glittering substance among the sand at the bottom of the stream, and dipping for it he brought out a piece of gold. Surmising what it was, he was induced to make further search, and from time to time finding more treasure, he entered upon a traffic with a goldsmith at Boyne, to whom each new prize was carried and sold, the purchaser most likely taking sufficient care that he himself should not be on the losing side of the bargain. At length his frequent visits to the stream grew to be a matter of observation among the neighbours, who, rightly conjecturing that there must be some motive for them, became inquisitive upon the subject, and soon possessed themselves of the important secret. This was in the autumn of 1795.

The discovery was soon blazed abroad, and in an instant all other occupations were laid aside — the spade, the plough, the spinning-wheel, the loom, all, all were forsaken in search of the hidden treasures which there was no doubt the mountain contained within its bosom.

The tumultuous throngs that assembled here soon called forth the attention of the Government: it was judged necessary to subject the whole matter to some control; and a detachment of troops was sent to take possession of the prize in the name of the Crown, and keep off all other visitants. A grant of 1000l. was afterwards made by Government to two gentlemen of the neighbourhood, for the purpose of prosecuting scientifically the researches into the hidden treasures of the mountain. No mine or vein of gold could, however, upon the most diligent examination ever be discovered: the source whence the precious metal is derived still remains a secret; the great deposit must lie at a distance from the surface which baffles all research. Indeed it should seem as if the genius by whom the treasure is guarded (for it must be presumed that it is not without a guardian genius), offended by the intrusions attempted on his privacy, now in anger withholds his bounties, since in the latter years rarely has any gold been found, and, if any, in very small grains indeed. It was during the time when the treasure was open to the public that the greatest harvest was collected. Probably the treasures had been gradually accumulating unobserved; but the secret once revealed, not the slightest deposit can be made which is not immediately observed and secured. Gold to the amount of about 10,000l. was collected during this harvest. It came in  p.186 pieces of various forms and sizes, the largest ever gathered weighing twenty-two ounces avoirdupois weight, while some was in grains scarcely larger than sand. This large piece has already been mentioned in speaking of the Dublin Society, in whose museum a model of it is to be seen. It was found by eight poor labourers, who united together, agreeing to share fortunes in whatever they found. Eighty guineas was the price they received for it. Had my time not been very much limited, curiosity would perhaps have led me to see a spot so celebrated; though in fact I understand there is nothing to see but a naked mountain, with a little stream running down from it, such as may be seen in a hundred other places. But limited as I was in time, my great object was to catch such spots alone as presented something particularly striking.

From the point whence the road to this mountain diverges from the sweet vale of Avoca, this beautiful vale gradually expands, the hills sloping away till on approaching Arklow the country becomes nearly a flat. A new road has lately been made through this part of the valley, at the foot of the hills, instead of going over their summits. It winds through Lord Carysfort's woods, having the beautiful woods of Shelton, the seat of Lord Wicklow, on the other side of the river. At the latter place are some of the finest oaks to be found in Ireland. There is something picturesque in the appearance of the town of Arklow, as approached on this side, standing on a slope above the river, with a ruined castle crowning the eminence, and the long bridge of twenty-one arches over the mouth of the river.

Having stopped here a sufficient time to bait the horse, to eat my own dinner, and to take a walk upon the beach, which affords nothing particularly worthy of remark, I proceeded along the coast to Wicklow. The shore for a length of way here is a flat sand; but in one spot rises a very remarkable sand-hill, the abode of innumerable rabbits. The situation of Wicklow is rather fine, lying on the slope of the promontory known as Wicklow Head, but I saw nothing remarkable in the town as I drove through it. I say drove through it, for that was all I did. I had intended stopping there for the night, and the next morning exploring some limestone caves at the foot of the Head; but though there was no fair here, no races, the town, from what cause I could not understand, was so full that not a bed was to be had either at an inn or in a private house, and I was obliged, though now dusk, to go on two miles further to my old quarters at Newrath-Bridge. Thus I not only lost the sight of my limestone caves, but  p.187 of the celebrated Curragh of Wicklow. This is a vast bank of sand; not absolutely forming the beach, but rising a little way from it, leaving a narrow channel between that and the beach. The sand is so firm, that the races are held here. I was informed that very good pebbles of agate and chalcedony may often be found upon it.

The next day I proceeded towards Boyne, passing through the Scalp, a natural curiosity which I had not yet seen. It is a vast gap in the summit of a mountain separating the county of Wicklow from that of Dublin, and has every appearance of being a rent made by some terrible convulsion of nature. For the two annexed plates of this extraordinary fissure I am indebted to my very good friend Mr. C ... , and they will give a much better idea of it than can be given by any description. The first is taken at the end of the gap on the county of Dublin side, with the sugar-loaf mountains seen at a considerable distance through it; — the second is taken in the centre of the gap, looking in the same direction, and shows the character of the rocks exactly as they appear rising above the road. By these it will be seen, that at bottom the gap is only the breadth of the road, and that the rocks slope away from it, so that at the top they are a considerable distance asunder. The sides of these slopes are strewn all over with immense blocks of the granite of which the mountain is composed. More accurate views of the spot I can safely say could not be taken.

That this extraordinary chasm should ever have been supposed to be produced otherwise than by some powerful operation of nature, or the hand which directs all nature, mighty in all its works, far beyond all efforts of human industry and ingenuity, I should have conceived scarcely possible. Yet the compiler of a work published about two years since, The Travellers Guide through Ireland, suggests a new theory, which I shall give in his own words, making two or three remarks upon it, and then leaving others to form their own opinions upon its probability or improbability. "This chasm," he says, — is imagined to have been caused by some violent convulsion of nature, which has rent the mountain in twain; but no theorist has ventured to conjecture that the breach might have been effected by dint of human labour, this being the only horizontal communication with the rich and enchanting valleys to the southward of this steep and almost perpendicular mountain, over whose transverse summit the formation of a road was impracticable. If Ireland was as much civilized in the remote periods of antiquity as represented in the  p.188 legends of Celtic antiquarians, such an effort of art for the attainment of so important a purpose would exist a noble memorial of sagacity and industry. But whether our progenitors might overlook the advantages derivable from so direct a communication, it is not a violation of probability to suppose that this stupendous operation might be projected by the eagle-eyed sagacity of the Danish conquerors during their sway in Ireland; and a recollection of those immense mounds, the work of their hands, still existing in this island, corroborates this novel conjecture. The wide aperture of this rent at the apex, diagonally narrowing to the bottom, where it is only wide enough for a road, savours more of human art than the majestic grandeur of Nature's operations. Thus might this singularity be explained without the intervening agency of a genie, a giant, or a fairy —
‘Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus.’ (Horace, Ars Poetica) Against this theory is to be objected, that it was not impossible to carry a road over the mountains, since one is carried over, very near the chasm, to the lead-mines. In the next place, if hewn by the hand of man, whence come all those enormous broken masses of stone that cover the sides of the chasm — and in the third place, a road being made through it is a work of very modern date. There are many persons living who remember its being made, and who talk of the vast labour employed in removing the broken masses that lay scattered at the bottom of the hollow, so as to level it for making the road. If the work is not to be ascribed to the great Architect of the universe, it seems more natural to ascribe it, as it is sometimes ascribed, to the opposite agent than to the hand of man. Some will have it that this same agent one morning bit this piece out of the mountain for his breakfast; and it must be owned that it was a breakfast worthy of himself. But this agent is not a very favourite workman in Ireland, and I believe there are not many votaries to this theory. I scarcely ever heard of any great achievements of his: if he did accomplish that in question, he seems to have gone after breakfast contentedly to his glen, and there remained quiet; indeed he had every reason to be satisfied with his birth. The great operators of wonders in Ireland are giants, fairies, and saints.

In the afternoon of this day, the fourth from my departure, I re-entered Dublin, having gone over as much beautiful and grand scenery in the course of my excursion as could well be comprehended in so short a space of time.

 p.189

19. Departure from Ireland. — Passage to…

Departure from Ireland. — Passage to Holyhead. — The Rope-Bridge. — Custom-House Officers. — The Blind Harper. — Bog-Wood in the Isle of Anglesea. — The Mona Passage. — Bangor Ferry. — Tediousness of the Welsh Postillions. — Fall of the Conway. — Lake of Ogwen. — Capel Kerrig. — Glyndyffis. — The beautiful Vale of Corwen. — Castle Dinas Bran. — Harper at Llangollen. — Anecdote respecting the Ladies of Llangollen. — Stay at Gresford. — Lord Grosvenor's House at Eaton. — Return to London.

Three days after my return from rambling about the county of Wicklow, my residence in Ireland was concluded for that year; and I was to bid adieu to a country where I had spent three months which will ever be included among the pleasantest of my life. I should indeed be extremely wanting in gratitude were I not to say, that wherever I went I experienced the most flattering reception, and received the most polite attentions, while at the same time the beauties and wonders presented by nature afforded me the highest gratification.

It was about six in the evening when I embarked at the Pigeon-house, and the next day at twelve I landed at Holyhead. A new scene was now opening upon me. To every part of Wales I was a perfect stranger: but
"The shaggy tops of Mona high"
as they present themselves on approaching Holyhead, offer nothing interesting to the eye; 'tis by the force of imagination alone that they become so. They are naked barren rocks, not sufficiently towering to be sublime, nor combined in any way with other objects so as to be rendered beautiful. The most striking object to me in approaching the coast was the appearance of a rope-bridge, like what I had recently seen at Carrick-a-Rede, and which I had supposed an unique of its kind. Holyhead, or The Head, as I found it almost universally called on both sides of the water, on the western coast of the ancient Mona, or the island of Anglesea, is itself an island, separated from the main partly by a bay or estuary of the sea, which runs a considerable way inland, and then by a narrow  p.190 channel, over which there is a bridge: this island is again terminated by another island, or insulated rock, forming the most westerly point of the coast, and over the chasm which separates the rock is the bridge in question. On the rock stands the light-house. Perhaps the bridge had remained unobserved by me, as the vessel does not pass very near the rock, had it not been pointed out by one of my fellow-passengers, when looking through my glass I found it very distinguishable. He told me at the same time that there was an idea of throwing this aside, and replacing it by an iron bridge: — that was not done, a year after; whether it has been done since, I know not.

I have in my Travels in France had occasion to say a word in favour of those generally reviled beings, Custom-House Officers, and I must be indulged in again pleading their cause here. As far as I have had any concern with them, I never found them other than civil and reasonable. In the present instance my packages were not even opened. The officer inquired what they contained; I answered, My clothes and a few books. He asked whether Irish printed books: I replied, No, books that I had carried over for my amusement in travelling: to which he said, Very well, he would not give me any further trouble, they might be taken away. I observed one of the passengers extremely anxious about a small cask of whiskey which he had on board the packet: whether he might pass as easily at the Custom-house I cannot say. At the hotel I was much pleased with a blind harper playing his sweet Welsh airs. To me these wild unpolished instruments are far more delightful than the harp under all the refinements of modern fashion.

The remarks made on Holyhead and its vicinity will apply nearly to the whole island. Were it not for the associations combined with this ancient theatre of druidical superstition, the country would appear dull, dreary, and barren, till the fine ridge of the Carnarvon mountains begin to show their dark summits, when somewhat more than half way between Holyhead and Bangor-Ferry. In ancient times it is to be supposed that the island was well wooded, since groves of oak appear to have been inseparable from the druidical mysteries; now scarcely is a tree to be seen, at least in such parts of the island as the high road passes through; I cannot answer for any thing further. An account of the Island of Anglesea, published in the year 1775, from a manuscript in the library of Jesus-college, Oxford, intended as a supplement to Rowlands'  p.191 Mona Antiqua Restaurata, mentions the low grounds on the western side of the island as composed of a good brick turf, which furnishes fuel to the inhabitants. "In digging for this turf," the writer says, "they frequently meet with large bodies of trees preserved entire, though several feet under ground; now and then only they are found within a foot of the surface. How preserved so long in this state of humidity is a problem hitherto unresolved, being supposed to have been cut down by the Romans when they invaded the island. The wood, however it has happened, is become hard, and black as ebony; the carpenters of the country split it into laths, it being found very durable, and well suited to such purposes." This describes exactly the bog-wood so much and so deservedly esteemed and admired in Ireland. It were worth investigating whether it is still to be found: if it is, an admirable accession would here be attained to the other valuable productions which within a few years this island is known to contain. Besides the rich treasures of ores which have been found in the northern part, the Mona marbles, now coming somewhat into use, are very beautiful. The green even approaches in beauty to the celebrated verd antique of Italy. Fine specimens of these marbles wrought into furniture may be seen at Mr. Bullock's in Tenterden-street. Yet perhaps found within our own shores, they will never be held in equal estimation with those imported from a distance: — such is the general propensity of mankind to disregard what is easily obtained.

Nothing can form a finer contrast than the naked shores on the Anglesea side of the Mona Passage, and the fine ridge of mountains with the beautiful scenery on the Carnarvon side. The light was just such as to show it in the highest perfection, the day beginning to decline so as to throw a slight shade over the mountains which increased their sublimity, yet not sufficient to prevent any object from being distinguishable. Above them all Snowdon reared its majestic head. By the time that I had crossed the Mona Passage at Bangor-Ferry the day was closed, and here I stopped for the night The situation of the inn is one of the most beautiful imaginable, on a terrace at no great height above the water, at the foot of lofty mountains, with sweet little plantations down to the water side.

My destination now was to pay a short visit to some relations, three sisters, living near Wrexham in Denbighshire, and the question was what route I  p.192 should take. I was very much inclined to pursue the old road from London to Holyhead, over Penman-maur; not that I had any idea, like the poor Welshman in the Spectator, of making a lover's leap of it, hut from a love of any stupendous object. However, after inquiries made at the inn, it appeared to me that I should find the new mail-coach road upon the whole the most interesting, and on that I determined; nothing doubting, calculating by the rate of travelling to which we are accustomed in England, that I should pass the next night, the distance being no more than sixty-five miles, under the roof of my relations. The better to secure this point, I set out early from Bangor-Ferry; but I soon perceived that the rate of travelling in Wales was not to be estimated upon the scale of the eastern parts of our island. The first stage, to Capel-Kerrig, a distance of seventeen miles, was accomplished in exactly four hours, nor could all my rhetoric, though frequently employed, prevail on the driver for one moment to alter the very gentle motion into which he had at first put his cavalry. I could have thought many times in the course of this drive that I was again in the county of Wicklow, so strong a resemblance is there between the scenery of the one and the other. For a long way the road continues through a fine dell, with stupendous rocks of slate on either side, and the river Conway flowing through it. This dell commences at the celebrated slate quarries of Lady Penrhyn, near the city of Bangor, and continues to the great fall of the Conway at Llyn Ogwen. I know not the computed height that the river falls; but including the whole descent, which in several places is interrupted by shelvings of the rocks, I should conceive it not less than three hundred feet. It is indeed a magnificent object. By the side of it the road ascends, being cut out of the slate rock, and guarded on the side of the cascade by a parapet. On arriving at the head of the cascade, a lake is presented to the view occupying the breadth of the dell, which is here considerably expanded, still being bordered with abrupt rocks, though of a less height than in the former part. There is just a sufficient space for the road between the lake and the rocks. It is a spot of as complete solitude as can be imagined. Precisely here did we meet the mail-coach; between such an object and the solitude in which it was seen there did not appear the most remote connexion. Among these mountains are many small tracts of bog exactly similar to the bogs of Ireland; and here, as in them, was growing abundance of the rush called the cotton-plant.

 p.193

Capel-Kerrig is a little cluster of houses, scarcely to be called a village, but in a most romantic situation in a complete dell inclosed with rocks, and behind them towering the majestic Snowdon. There is, however, an exceedingly good inn. If in the former stage I could not by any entreaty prevail on my driver to mend his pace; in the present, to Kernioge, the more I remonstrated the more sluggishly did the son of Jehu, — or perhaps under such circumstances I am wrong to apply that appellation to him, — the more sluggishly did he proceed; and I believe we were nearly as long now going twelve miles, as in the former instance seventeen; the driver constantly asserting that in such a hilly country it was impossible to go faster. I was determined, however, to make the experiment, and therefore positively refused him the accustomed largess, announcing that it should be given to the next driver, in addition to what he might otherwise expect, if he acquitted himself more to my satisfaction. By this means it soon became apparent that it was not the steeds but their riders that had occasion for the spur; and the proper one being applied, the desired effect, spite of the hilly country, was produced. I was very ready to make allowance for the hills, but I had found hill and dale the same. Between Kernioge and Corwen is a most striking spot, Glyndyffis. The road ascends for a considerable height by the side of a deep dell, being cut, as at Llyn Ogwen, in the hard rock, guarded by a parapet till it comes to an angle of the rock where four dells may be said to meet, some being wooded, some bordered by naked rocks, and down one a fine cascade pouring. Indeed there is something at once formidable and sublime in looking down from the height to which the road is carried, on the steep precipice below, or rather confluence of precipices; and notwithstanding the ample guard to the road, it is scarcely possible to divest oneself wholly of an awful feeling that the carriage might be precipitated to the bottom. Seeing this road, one can scarcely afterwards conceive any rock or mountain to exist, over which by skill and industry a road may not be made.

And on turning the lofty angle of the rock, what a lovely scene is opened to the view along the delicious vale of Corwen! Again and again in this day's journey could I have fancied myself in the county of Wicklow, so much similarity is there in the general character of the scenery. The vale of Corwen, though it has not been its fate to be so much celebrated as that of Llangollen, is, in my opinion, its superior in beauty. Through it winds the river Dee, upon  p.194 the bank of which stands the town of Corwen, the vale being continued to a considerable distance beyond the town. The land is fertile in corn and pasture, well interspersed with wood, and every turn presents some fresh assemblage of objects to be admired. Quitting this vale, the eye is immediately attracted by a new object — a remarkable conic hill, with the ruins of Castle Dinas Bran crowning its summit. This hill rises just above the town of Llangollen.

From the solemn funeral pace I had travelled the former part of the day, it was so late before I arrived at Llangollen that I found it impossible to get on to the end of my journey, fifteen miles further, that night; and here, therefore, I was obliged to stop. The name of Llangollen can never be mentioned without the idea of the two hermitesses of the vale being immediately present to the imagination. If curiosity induced a wish in me to visit their retreat, the fear of being intrusive withheld me from making the attempt. I was afterwards told that I need not have been so scrupulous, that they are rather pleased at finding their domain an object of attraction to strangers, only there are some regulations to be observed. One of these gave occasion to a whimsical circumstance; — about the grounds are a number of inscriptions, which no one is allowed to copy. A gentleman visiting the place was apprized of this by the gardener; which, in the true spirit of Gay's fable of the Old Hen and the Cock, only made him the more desirous of possessing himself of some of them. Good manners, however, withheld him from attempting to infringe the rule; but quitting the grounds to take his departure, he observed an inscription on the outside of the gate, and being now without the territories he thought his honour no longer concerned; but that here he might gratify his curiosity: this was the rather excited from the inscription being in Welsh, which he did not understand. He accordingly wrote it down, and submitted it to the first person he met whom he thought likely to understand the language, requesting an explanation. It was in truth the mountain in labour; the inscription meaning nor more nor less than Please to shut the gate; given in Welsh, as being more intelligible than English to the people of the country, whom it principally concerned.

In the inn at Llangollen I was again entertained by a harper, though I did not think him so good a performer as that I had heard at Holyhead. Had I then known an anecdote respecting him which I did not hear till afterwards, I  p.195 should certainly have entered into conversation with him, as a character from whom some amusement might have been derived. He had been once harper to the ladies of Llangollen, but some difference arising between him and them he was discharged from his employment. In speaking of this affair afterwards to a gentleman, he said he intended to be even with them, for he would set up two romantic ladies in opposition to them who should quite put them down. Early the next morning I proceeded on my route, and arrived at the hospitable mansion of my relations at Gresford, by breakfast. The country hereabouts, if not so fine and romantic as some I had passed through, has yet many beauties to offer. The church of Gresford is a fine old Gothic structure, such as is rarely to be seen in a country village, Some of the minute carved work having fallen to decay, it has been replaced by ornaments of cast iron, executed so true to the pattern of the original work, and coloured so well to resemble it, that I should never have been struck with the difference ; though, when pointed out to me, I perceived that it was just distinguishable. The church-yard is full of yew-trees, very fine and flourishing; one, however, infinitely surpassing all the rest, far the largest tree of the kind I ever saw, exceeding considerably in the girth of the trunk the old wreck which has been recorded at Glendaloch. It must be of a very great age, yet it looked perfectly healthy and vigorous, not bearing the least appearance of decay. One of the mornings during my stay here was spent, through the politeness of some friends of my friends, in going to see Lord Grosvenor's house at Eaton, about seven miles off. There is certainly much to admire in it, yet could I riot give it unqualified admiration. The Gothic style of building, unmixed and uncorrupted, can never be modelled so as wholly to harmonize with the modern ideas of a house; and wherever the attempt therefore is made to introduce it, in order to adapt it in any sort to the present taste, incongruities are suffered to thrust themselves in, which assort ill with the general character of the architecture. Instead therefore of the true Gothic window, we have here the Gothic mullions it is true, but occupied by fine sash panes of glass, which seem wholly foreign to them, and are any thing but Gothic. What struck me besides, as in bad taste, were the pillars and other ornaments of painted wood in various parts, and under various forms, about the house. There is something very petty, very inconsistent with Gothic grandeur, in such kind of ornaments; nothing but  p.196 stone appears suited to this style of building, or something that would look so like stone as to be scarcely distinguishable from it, as for instance the cast iron ornaments mentioned just above,- coloured exactly to resemble the stone. Of ornaments of this kind I shall soon have occasion again to speak. I thought this pettiness particularly striking in the hall, where even more of grandeur is expected than in any other part. This hall wants only stone pillars to be very magnificent; it is handsomely paved with different British marbles. In the gravel walks about the grounds I picked up several pebbles which had so much the appearance of coming from the sea-shore that I inquired whether this was the case or not: I was answered that it was not, that the gravel came from a pit belonging to Lord Grosvenor seven miles from the sea; no doubt, however, the sea was there in former times. They are principally of calcareous breccia, clayslate, and silex. After passing four days at Gresford most agreeably, among a very pleasant society, I proceeded to London through Shrewsbury and Oxford, highly pleased and gratified with my whole excursion.

2. COMPRISING A SECOND VISIT TO DUBLIN. — A TOUR ROUND OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTY OF WICKLOW, AND A TOUR TO KILKENNY, CORK, THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY, LIMERICK, CASHEL, ETC. ETC.

20. Commentary on the Maxim "When we… Second Departure for Ireland. — Warwick…

Second Departure for Ireland. — Warwick and its Castle. — Liverpool. — Remarks on the rapid Rise of that Town. — Its present Prosperity. — The Athenaeum. — The Lyceum. — The Botanic Garden. — Charitable Institutions. — The New Gothic Church at Everton. — The Theatre. — Disappointments in the Packet sailing. — Determination to go to Holyhead. — Passage-Boat up the Mersey. — The Blind Harper. — Conway Ferry. — Penman-Maur. — Holyhead. — Beautiful Setting-Sun. — Sea-Sickness.

Far from being satisfied with what I had already seen of Ireland, my first visit only inspired in me an eager wish to become still more acquainted with the country and its inhabitants; and as the summer of 1815 approached, my thoughts were again directed towards it. Some doubts, however, unavoidably arose whether my wishes could be gratified or not; but the question was at length resolved in the affirmative; and having fixed upon Liverpool again as my place of embarkation, I did not, as before, take the route of Bath and Bristol, but went first to Warwick. Here I stopped a day and half with a very pleasant family to whom I was recommended, during that time seeing the noble castle, probably one of the most magnificent structures of the kind that the kingdom can boast; the beautiful seat of Mr. Greathead, at Guy's Cliff, about a mile from  p.197 Warwick; and making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon.

From Warwick I proceeded by Birmingham to Liverpool; and now accomplished the idea which had been abandoned the preceding year, — that of stopping awhile to see the town. Though I had never been there, excepting the one night previous to my embarkation the year before, it so happened that from various circumstances I had many acquaintance among the inhabitants, and I was most hospitably received by a son of the gentleman at whose house I had been entertained during my stay at Warwick. I had not purposed staying more than two days; but not finding a packet in equal readiness as the year before, my stay was extended to double that time. On inquiring about packets upon my arrival, I was informed that the Duke of Richmond was expected in from Dublin that day, and would sail again the day after her arrival. Of all the subjects of research which may occupy the human mind, none can be so curious, none can involve such deep interest, as to trace the rise and the downfall of states and of towns. To follow them from the original nothing, whence they spring up, through the gradual progression by which they rise to consequence, to wealth, to grandeur, till arrived at the highest apex allotted them in the great Book of Fate, they gradually, since nothing in this world can be stationary, decline and fade away, till at length they sink again to their original nothing. To those who see Liverpool such as it now is, it is not a little curious to reflect that not till the year 1699 was it a parish of itself, it was but a Hamlet, with a Chapel of Ease, to the parish of Walton. The population of the town was at that time computed at about five thousand souls. In 1710, the number of vessels belonging to it was estimated at not more than eighty-four, averaging only about seventy tons burthen each; the trade, however, was then in so increasing a state, that it was thought necessary to construct a dock, and this was the first constructed.

At present Liverpool contains sixteen churches, with twenty-four other places of worship, including those for Protestant sectaries of various persuasions, for Catholics and for Jews; the population of the town is estimated at a hundred thousand, and her quantity of shipping is computed at a twelfth part of the whole employed by Great Britain. What an extraordinary change in the space of very little more than a century!  p.199 Would that in admiring this astonishing advance in wealth and prosperity, there were no alloy to throw a cloud over the contemplation! — but it must ever remain a painful reflection, that so much of this prosperity was acquired by that dreadful reproach to humanity the African slave-trade. Eternal praise and honour to the exertions of those unwearied philanthropists whose zeal was not to be shaken by opposition, who were not to be deterred by ill success on one occasion from recurring again and again to the charge, till importunity at length obtained what had been denied by justice; — eternal honour to these men! Liverpool is now no longer sullied with such a stain; in common with the rest of the nation, she is freed from it; while in being thus freed she has learnt that even greater wealth and prosperity may be derived from sources untainted with the blood and groans of her fellow-creatures. Let us hope that such of her merchants as had their hands thus soiled, now awakened to a sense of their guilt, look back upon the disgraceful period with shame and remorse, and join to bless those by whom their career was arrested, ere remorse was too late. Nor must it be supposed that there ever was a moment when all Liverpool was to be charged as sharing in this guilt; — if many, far, far too many were involved in it, yet many also, I believe I may say a majority of the inhabitants, even when the impious traffic was carried to its highest extent, not only preserved themselves free from contamination, but regarding it with the utmost detestation united strenuously in the efforts to accomplish its suppression. High on this list stand the revered names of Roscoe and of Rathbone.

The first coup-d'oeil of the town speaks it at once a place of modern growth, nothing like a vestige of antiquity meets the eye. The records of the town mention an ancient castle, but of that not a trace remains; on the site of it stands the principal church of the town, St. George's. Whole streets, consisting of entirely new houses, simple and neat, built without any attempt at grandeur or display of architecture, speak a great equality of condition among the inhabitants; nor do we any where see, as is the case in so many towns, one particular quarter which seems set apart as the receptacle of poverty, filth, and misery. The greatest objection I had to make to the town was, that the houses are mostly of red-brick, a material for building of which I have already in the course of this work expressed my extreme dislike. Some of the public buildings are very handsome, for instance the Town-Hall and Exchange.  p.200 The Docks it is needless to mention; every one knows that they are some of the finest to be seen not only in Great Britain, but in any part of the world.

With the increased wealth of the town great taste for literature has arisen; there are two excellent literary societies, the Athenaeum, and the Lyceum. At the former a news-room below is well supplied with London and country newspapers, reviews, magazines, and other periodical publications. Above is a handsome library containing above eight thousand volumes, some of them rare and valuable books. To this there are five hundred subscribers paying an annual subscription of two guineas and a half each, which furnishes an ample fund for the support of the institution. Books cannot be taken out of the library; but the rooms are open the whole day to the subscribers, and any subscriber may introduce a friend not a resident in the town. The Lyceum is a much handsomer building in the exterior than the Athenaeum; and it ought to be, since it was built at the expense of eleven thousand pounds, whereas the Athenaeum cost only four thousand. It consists of a coffee-room furnished with English and foreign newspapers, magazines, reviews, &c., and a library containing about ten thousand volumes, which are circulated among the subscribers. Besides these there are several other news-rooms.

An Academical Institution for the promotion of Literature, and the Arts and Sciences, with professorships attached to it, has long been projected, and a large subscription raised for the purpose, which gives promise of its being carried into effect. But the Botanic Garden is one of the objects which of all others in Liverpool best deserves to be honourably mentioned. It stands about a quarter of a mile out of the town upon an eminence called Edge-Hill, and is really one of the most complete things of the kind I have seen; not by any means so extensive as that belonging to the Dublin Society, but excelling it in the construction of the conservatories, and in the collection of exotics by which they are occupied. Some of these were growing in such luxuriance, that the roof of the building was no longer of sufficient height for them. Among them are many very fine plants from the Cape of Good-Hope; and I had familiarized myself so much with the productions of that country, from translating Dr. Lichtenstein's Travels in Southern Africa, that I seemed as if among old acquaintance. Nor must the gardener Mr. Shepherd be passed over without a word of  p.201 tribute; he is one of the most intelligent men that I ever met with in such a situation.

No place can abound more with charitable institutions, as the following list will evince. There is a General Infirmary; — An Hospital for Seamen; — A Dispensary for supplying the Sick Poor with Advice and Medicines at their own Houses; — An Asylum for the Blind; — A Blue-coat Hospital, or Freeschool for the Education of Boys and Girls; — A House of Industry; — A House of Recovery, or Fever Hospital; — An Institution for the Recovery of Drowned Persons; — A Lying-in Charity for Women, conducted by the Ladies of the Town; — A Welsh Charity-school; — A Catholic Charity-school; — A School of Industry for the Education of Girls; — A Magdalen Asylum; — A Society for the Relief of Debtors confined in the Borough Gaol; — A Society for bettering the Condition of the Poor; — A Bible Society; — several Alms-houses. — Lastly, though not least in merits, a Society called The Stranger's Friend Society. — It is an institution, as the name imports, for relieving objects in distress, strangers in the town, who cannot apply for parish relief: there can hardly be greater objects of charity and benevolence than people in such a situation. Everton is a small village just without the town, standing on a terrace above the Mersey, and having a number of villas belonging to citizens. Hither I was carried to see, as one of the lions of the place, a new church, not then quite finished, built in the Gothic style, the pillars and all the ornamental work being of cast-iron painted stone-colour. They are admirably executed, and have so much the appearance of carved stone, that they might very well pass for such if not known to be otherwise: what a facility is here opened for introducing all the grand effect of the Gothic architecture with a tithe of the labour!

The Theatre, with the dresses, decorations, and every thing belonging to it, is the handsomest I have seen in any country town; a very large audience may here be accommodated. Through the politeness of Mr. Knight, the proprietor, I had the advantage of a seat in his box every evening while I staid at Liverpool. Miss O'Neill was then playing there.

I had every day sent my inquiries down to the harbour for the expected Duke of Richmond packet; but everyday, and all day long, received the same answer, that she was expected that day, till I began to be rather weary of expectation. At length she did arrive, but I had then been four days in waiting; and my servant told me he was informed at the port, that, whatever might be said at the packet-office, he might be very sure they would not sail again for three or four days. Moreover, the wind being totally adverse for getting out of the river, if I got on board, I might be kept beating about, perhaps, for a day or two before the vessel could clear the harbour. Now, though I was passing my time very pleasantly among several old friends, and several more new ones, it was not reasonable to encroach too far upon them; still less did I like the idea of beating about perhaps for two or three days without making any progress. I therefore, as if fate had determined that I was never to embark from the first port to which my steps were directed, now determined on leaving his Grace the Duke of Richmond to pursue his course without me, and to go off to Holyhead; secure that from thence there would be no delay in embarking.

I accordingly set off at two o'clock on Saturday the 29th of July, by a passage-boat, which carries passengers about eight miles up the river, to a place where a coach is in waiting to go on to Chester, whence another coach goes to Holyhead. Unfortunately a heavy rain came on just as I got into the boat, which never ceased a moment for about twelve hours. Shut up, therefore, in a crowded cabin, nothing could be seen of the banks of the river, which I am informed are worth seeing. The désagrément of this confinement was however somewhat relieved by a blind harper, who regularly takes his station in the boat to entertain the passengers with his music, and endeavours to make it charm some little gratuity from their pockets into his own. I found that it had the desired effect; there were few who did not give him at least two or three halfpence.

What I disliked in this journey was, that so much of it was performed in the dark. It was nearly dusk when we set off from Chester, and day-light had just come on again when we arrived at Conway-ferry; I could therefore see, though I could not examine, the magnificent ruins of Conway-castle; and a very bright morning having succeeded to the wet night, they were beautifully illumined by the glowing tints which the rosy goddess Aurora threw over them. There was something altogether fine and striking in the scene. Early as it was, no creature was visible but ourselves and the Charons who were to row us  p.203 over, while the water was still and smooth as glass; and since at such an hour scarcely is any one ever inclined to conversation, no sound, except the dashing of the oars, interrupted the solemn stillness which reigned around. An old gentleman only, an officer as I afterwards found, remarked when we arrived on the other side of the water, that since the melancholy catastrophe which had happened there two or three years before, of the ferry boat being overset and so many passengers lost, he could never feel easy till he found himself safe on shore again. Indeed, still as the water now was, it is not difficult to conceive that it may be rendered very dangerous by a strong wind blowing up the river between the rocks that form its entrance. Penman-maur, as is often the case with objects of which one hears too much, disappointed me. It is grand; but I had formed to myself an idea of vast crags hanging over the road, while the sea was dashing at a tremendous depth below. But instead of hanging over the road, I found the rocks sloping away from it, and its height above the sea scarcely more than half what I expected.

It was about twelve o'clock when we arrived at Holyhead; and the mail coming in half an hour after, preparations for embarking were to be made; at two we sailed. The wind, which had been invariably to the west for some time, this morning took a sudden turn round to the east, presenting a very favourable prospect for our voyage. The day was clear and beautiful, the wind just sufficient to carry us over pleasantly, without being boisterous, and by eleven at night we anchored in Dublin Bay, there to wait till morning, when the tide would serve for crossing the bar into the harbour. As evening was coming on, most of the passengers went down into the cabin; I alone remained upon deck; and here I enjoyed one of the most glorious spectacles imaginable. The Mourne mountains were then in sight. Above them rose a mass of dark cloud, the sun had just set behind them, and illuminated with the brightest golden tints the part of the heavens where it descended, throwing out the dark heads of the mountains with the finest contrast; and this glowing landscape was surmounted by the mass of dark cloud, forming as it were an arch through which it was seen; nothing could be imagined more beautiful; — even the bright sun of Provence could not have produced a happier effect.

As I stood admiring this, the Captain, whom I found a very pleasant,  p.204 sensible man, entered into conversation with me, observing that I was a very good sailor, that I did not appear at all disposed to be sick. I replied that I never found myself so in fine weather when I could be upon deck, but that I had suffered very much in rough weather. "However," I said, "I never think about it, but always try to amuse myself, and I believe there is something in that." — "I believe," he replied, "you are perfectly in the right; I observed you reading, or walking and looking about, not appearing to think of sickness, and I said within myself, That lady will not be ill. I have," he continued, "been now nine years in this service, constantly going backwards and forwards between Dublin and Holyhead, and you may imagine that in that time I have had the opportunity of seeing and making my observations upon a great variety of passengers. Upon an average, I should think not more than one out of five escape entirely without sickness, but I believe of the four that are sick not more than one need be so. I think three-fourths at least of those that are, work themselves up to it from the belief that it must be so. The ladies in particular," he said, "if I may say it without offence, seem to have an idea that it would be a want of delicacy if they were not, and even become sick with apprehension lest such a want of delicacy should be evinced." I listened with attention; — my opportunities of observation had been as nothing in comparison with the Captain's, yet had the same idea more than once struck me. In very many instances the effect is beyond all doubt wholly unavoidable; as for instance, I met with a common sailor once, who said he had been forty years in the service, but whenever he had been on shore for any length of time, on going to sea again he was always ill for the first two or three days. In this man there could be nothing like affectation. In many instances, however, I have thought the sickness brought on in the way suggested by the Captain. One way of promoting it is, the invariable habit people have of making it the great theme of conversation the moment they go on board a vessel. But enough on this subject.

The night was passed at anchor in the bay; about five in the morning the anchor was weighed, and about six we disembarked at the Pigeon-house.

 p.205

21. Tedious Voyage to Ireland. — Arrival… New Acquaintance. — Sir William Betham…

New Acquaintance. — Sir William Betham and his Family. — The late Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq.Mr. Walker his Brother. — Excursion to Howth to see the Diving-Bell. — Montpellier. — Remarkable Anecdote respecting Captain Usher. — Pedigree of the Tyrconnel Family. — Regalia of the Herald at Arms. — Mr. Kean and his Second Benefit. — Visit to Saint Valeri, the Seat of Mr. Walker. — Loch-Hela, or Luggelaw. — Derivation of the Name. — Lead Mines at Shankill. — Village of Enniskerry.

Once more then I am in Ireland, I said within myself as I came on shore, and what a multitude of pleasing recollections immediately pressed upon my mind! They seemed an assurance that in revisiting the country, far from being diminished, a large accession would be added to them; nor were my prophetic visions erroneous. Such indeed was the charm I found in renewing my acquaintance with my old friends, and in the acquisition of many new ones, that although I came with the fixed intention of not spending more than a week at Dublin, I stayed three weeks, and only wished at the expiration of that time that I could have indulged myself in a much longer stay.

Among my new acquaintance must be particularly mentioned the family of Mr. Walker at Saint Valeri near Bray, and that of Sir William Betham at Montpellier near Dublin. Though I had occasion in the former part of my work to mention the latter gentleman, it was rather by anticipation, for it was not till this year that I had the pleasure of knowing him. With his sister Miss Matilda Betham, the well-known authoress of a biographical work celebrating such of her own sex as have at any period of the world particularly distinguished themselves, of some poetical works, and lastly of a very beautiful poem entitled the Lay of Marie, — with this lady I had the pleasure of being acquainted, and she obligingly gave me a letter of introduction to her brother and his family, for which I have to acknowledge great obligations to her.

With that elegant scholar, that man of refined and classical taste, the late  p.206 Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq. I had been, from some accidental circumstances of a literary nature, in the habit of occasional correspondence during the latter years of his life. He had repeatedly in his letters expressed the most flattering wish that I would come over to Ireland and make Saint Valeri my residence awhile, assuring me that he would introduce me to beauties of nature which were hardly any where to be exceeded, and to society in which he doubted not I should find my time pass very pleasantly. At that time, how much soever I might wish to accept so flattering an invitation, I scarcely thought that it would ever be my lot to visit Ireland; I could only express my thanks and wishes, without being able to add hopes to them; and amid the pleasure I have received during my two abodes in this country, one regret has always been mingled, that it was too late to become personally acquainted with one whose letters could not but give the most pleasing impression of his mind and heart.

This tribute paid to the dead, my warm acknowledgements are now due to the living. While I was at Ravenswell, the year before, I had more than once passed by Saint Valeri, which is scarcely so much as two miles from Bray, looking towards it with an eye of regret, in the thought that while all its natural beauties were the same, still flourishing, the objects of delight to all around, the hand which had contributed so essentially towards forming them was cold in the tomb. I inquired who had succeeded to the property, and was informed that it was left by the deceased to a sister who had always lived with him. I was impressed with a strong wish to make myself known to her; but apprehensive of appearing intrusive, I restrained my wishes. When I returned from my excursion round the county of Wicklow the year before, I learnt that Mr. Samuel Walker, the brother of the deceased, had been inquiring for me, and I then began earnestly to wish I had been less scrupulous, and had made myself known to the family. But it was now too late, I was on the verge of my departure, and for that time the thought of answering his civilities must of necessity be abandoned. I had now, however, not been more than two days in Dublin before I was favoured with a call from him, he having heard that I was in the country from Sir William Betham, who is his brother-in-law, Lady Betham and Mrs. Walker being sisters — and he obligingly engaged me not to quit the country without visiting Saint Valeri. I had however  p.207 to regret, amid the pleasure I found from these new acquaintance, the absence of some old ones; Mr. and Mrs. Weld and Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert were in the north of Ireland with a sister of Mr. Weld's, who is settled there.

Having seen and descanted upon the principal objects that invite the attention of strangers in Dublin in the first part of this Narrative, I have little to add. I went over one day to Howth, in hopes of seeing the diving machine at work, which I was informed was used in making the new pier, and that it might be seen any day, only observing not to be there before the half ebb tide, since it cannot work at high water, or till the tide is about half down. But I was very unfortunate in the day I pitched upon; the machinery was to be removed to another part, and the bell was not to go down that day, so that I only saw the nature of the process, I did not actually see the men submerged. The machine is of cast iron, not in the form of a bell, but of a vast chest or coffer having no bottom. In the top are four bulls-eyes to give light, which are in no danger of being broken from any pressure of water; and the air pipe is so managed that nothing is to be apprehended from the want of a sufficiency of air, or a proper renovation of it; there are seats at each end within the chest. This is suspended at a sufficient height above the water, just to admit of a small boat going underneath; the men who are to go down are rowed under, when they place themselves upon the seats, the boat comes away, and the machine is let down by vast ropes over a cylinder turned by winches upon the same principle as a bucket to a well. When they want the machine to be drawn up, they strike upon the iron sides, which sends forth a body of sound that cannot fail of being heard above. I talked with some of the men who are in the habit of going down, and it was become so familiar to them, the machinery was besides of such an improved kind, that they talked of it with perfect unconcern, as of a thing not attended with the slightest risk. The object for which it is used is in laying the foundation stones for the head of the new pier. The block of stone is first lowered into the water, when the men descend and fix it in the proper situation. They do not stay below longer than twenty minutes together; the machine is sometimes fifteen feet under water. It is a curious idea to think of men working in such a situation; and yet the whole apparatus carried with it such an appearance of security, that I thought I could have gone down myself without apprehension. Indeed it appears much less hazardous than ascending in a balloon.

 p.208

Since the first part of my Narrative was printed off, I learn that the idea of this harbour at Howth ever being brought to answer the destined purpose is so much abandoned, that the making a harbour on the southern shore of the bay is determined on; not, however, at Dalkey Island which had been so much talked of and recommended, but at Dunleary. This is nearer to Dublin by two miles than Dalkey would be; there is already a little fishing harbour, which is to be enlarged by an additional mole, and at all states of the tide there will be a sufficient depth of water for the packets to come in. Passengers coming by the packets very often choose to be rowed up to Dunleary and there to land, rather than wait for the vessel going into the harbour, while jaunting-cars and jingles are in attendance to carry them into the city.

In the course of my stay at Dublin I spent a very pleasant day and night at Sir William Betham's house at Montpellier, a little beyond Black-Rock, in a delightful situation having a fine view all over Dublin Bay; indeed a particularly advantageous one, since the house stands just so far removed from the shore as to lose the tracts of sand which deform the bay when the tide is down, and nothing remains to the view but the fine sweep over the water with the Hill of Howth on the other side. In taking a drive about the neighbourhood before dinner, we passed a house to which Sir William directed my attention, as that of Mrs. Usher, the mother of Captain Usher, whose name had then recently come so much into public notice from his commanding the vessel in which the ex-emperor of the French and his suite were carried to the Island of Elba. I had been very much acquainted with a young man who was once a lieutenant under Captain Usher on board the Undaunted, but obliged to quit the service on account of ill health. In talking one day of the French emperor, while he was in his prosperity, long before any idea could be entertained of all that has happened, this young man said he wished they could take him prisoner on board the Undaunted, they'd teach him another lesson, they'd take down his pride, they'd show him the difference between him and an English seaman. "No," said a lady in company, "you would not; your captain would behave to him as a gentleman ought to behave, he would treat him with all the politeness and deference due to his talents and situation; and for the crew, they would all contend which should pay him the most respect and attention." How singular that Captain Usher should be the very person placed in this situation!  p.209 But how well did this lady read the mind of man, and understand the involuntary respect which extraordinary talents will always command, even among those who are the most desirous to hold the object in aversion; and how truly did Captain Usher's conduct justify the opinion she entertained of an English naval officer, incapable under any circumstances of deviating from the character of a man and a gentleman!

I have mentioned, in speaking of Shanes-Castle, the pedigree of the O'Neale family which had been made out by Sir William Betham, in quality of his function of Herald at Arms, and under his direction so finely written and illuminated. He showed me another of the same kind just finished, of the united families of O'Donnel and Tyrconnel in which was a painting of the celebrated relic belonging to the O'Donnel family, mentioned by Lady Morgan in her excellent novel of O'Donnel, the Cathach as it is called, or Casket, in which is supposed to be deposited the ancient legend of Saint Columba, or Columbkill. Indeed the writing, the illuminations, the binding of the work and every thing belonging to it, present admirable specimens of Irish talents and industry. I passed a most interesting morning at Sir William Betham's office, by his indulgence, looking over curious old records, books of heraldry and various other objects of curiosity; among which Sir William's own regalia must not be forgotten. Those worn as Herald at Arms are very ancient, on the head is a sort of crown or diadem; — as attached to the modern knights of Saint Patrick, he has a very handsome belt or girdle of modern workmanship. Nor must a sword and part of a shield which I saw there be forgotten, which are supposed to have belonged to one of the knights of Saint John of Jerusalem when they were in possession of the lands of Kilmainham. About four or five years ago in digging upon these lands, near the river Liffey, to make the new military road, a skeleton was found with this sword and shield lying by it; and from the handle of the sword being cruciform and inlaid with gold, it is obvious that it must have belonged to some person of distinction.

I found Mr. and Mrs. Kean again at Dublin; Mr. Kean enchanting the public not less than the former year. Many pleasant hours did I pass in his house, in the society of such men of talents as his own talents can never fail to draw around him. He had been performing for a fortnight before I arrived, and staid about a fortnight after. All people seemed anxious that the reproach  p.210 cast upon the city the former year by the failure of his benefit should be atoned on the present occasion; and the house was indeed as full as possible. The young men of the College in particular were so eager upon the subject, that some of them, in conjunction with two or three other gentlemen, took upon themselves the whole management of it: — they let the boxes, they distributed the tickets, and on the night stood at the doors themselves to take them, that they might assure themselves no fraud or collusion was practised. A higher compliment could scarcely have been paid to a person in Mr. Kean's situation. I was one of five upon a seat usually appropriated only to four, and the whole house was filled in the same way.

On leaving Dublin, my course was first directed to Saint Valeri, in acceptance of the kind hospitalities to which I had been invited by Mr. Walker. I was here introduced to Mrs. Walker, and to their amiable but suffering sister, Miss Walker. This lady had been the constant companion and nurse of her brother during a long and lingering illness; and perhaps the invalid state into which she has fallen almost ever since, is to be traced up to the fatigue of body and mind inseparable from so painful an attendance. Though she is the proper owner of Saint Valeri, such is her kindness towards the present Mr. Walker and his family, that the house and place are as much theirs as if they were the actual possessors. It is indeed a sweet spot, but it stands in a country where every spot is sweet. To a house small when he came to it, the late Mr. Walker added a very handsome room for a library, which is extremely well filled: it is scarcely necessary to say that a collection of rare and choice Italian books forms an essential part of it; of such a collection the author of the Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy, and the Essay on the Revival of the Drama in Italy, must have been possessed.

The situation of the house is extremely good, on a considerable slope, having the smallest of the sugar-loaf mountains directly in view of the windows: it was at this time most beautifully tinted with a variety of colours from the heath-plants growing about it; the prevailing were a bright purple and a glowing yellow. The Dargle is not more than a quarter of a mile from hence; the entrance to Mr. Grattan's side of the dell, not the most frequented one, is seen from the windows of Saint Valeri. Thus near the Dargle, I had an opportunity of exploring this delightful spot much more completely than before; but I  p.211 found nothing particular to add to what has been said of it already. The grounds at Saint Valeri are not very extensive, but there is a delightful walk through a plantation round the base of the slope on which the house stands, having the stream which comes from the Dargle, and thence pursues its course to Bray, running at the foot. Very good potter's clay is dug in this slope.

In a plantation at the back of the house, running along the side of the road, is an ancient stone cross, of the same kind as that mentioned at Glendaloch, and of which there are several more remaining in different parts of the country. The cross at Saint Valeri was brought from a glen at some distance, and stood originally in the centre of the little paddock, round which runs the plantation. But it became so much an object of devotion among the neighbourhood, that paths without number were made over the grass to get at it; and Mr. Walker found it expedient to remove it into a situation where the devotions might be paid without trespassing on his grounds: it stands now so close to the road, though just within the fence of the plantation, that any one may kneel down and say a prayer en-passant, without turning a step out of the way. In another part of the grounds is a holy well, close by which stands a bush stuck all over with little morsels of rag, votive offerings to the saint who presides over the spot, though I really do not know who the saint is. I believe the water cures all ailments. Mr. Walker has made a gate close by the well to give free access to it; a sort of little parterre is planted with shrubs and flowers, having stone seats ranged about it; and he has chained a drinking-cup by the side of the well, to furnish the means of drinking to any one who wishes it. Some of the neighbourhood are rather scandalized at his giving so much encouragement to the Romans, (for so the Catholics are universally called) he being himself a Protestant of the Church of England: but I truly believe, that humouring to a certain extent the prejudices in which they have been educated, and showing such lenity towards them, is by far the most likely way to lead this class of people in the end to renounce their errors. Conciliate their regard by kindness, and a vast step is made towards leading them to adopt your opinions. Violence has made many a hypocrite; it never made a sincere convert; kindness has made many a one.

The Romans is so much the appellation by which the Catholics are called in Ireland, that some people seem scarcely to have an idea but that it is exclusively  p.212 theirs. Once in a large dinner company, when subjects of cookery, as happens not unfrequently, occupied a considerable share in the conversation, one of the company observed, that the Romans seemed to have made the science of cookery their study very much, that they appeared to have been very great eaters. "Well," said a lady in company very eagerly, "so my husband says. He dined among a whole heap of 'em the other day, and he says you may talk of their fasting as much as you please, but he never saw people eat such dinners in his life."

The first morning of my stay at St. Valeri was spent in a visit to Loch Hela, better known by the name of Luggelaw, which sprang originally from a corrupt pronunciation of the true name. That of Loch Hela, the Lake of Hela, is now so little known, that it is very commonly called the Lake of Luggelaw. I have seen it called so under an engraving of the spot; nay, I have seen it spelt Lugula. It is about nine or ten miles from St. Valeri. After passing the finely wooded and cultivated country about Powerscourt, the road ascends to a great height among the ocean of mountains which occupies so large a part of the county of Wicklow; and the rest of the way lies entirely among these mountains. It was soon after arriving at this elevation that I saw the head of the great waterfall at Powerscourt, as mentioned in the former part of my Narrative. After going up and down among these mountains for about five miles, coasting round the base of the great sugar-loaf, at length in descending a pretty steep declivity at a sharp angle, appears far beneath what looks like a sheet of very black mud. This is the lake; but a small part of the expanse is, however, then seen, and none of the cultivated scenery around it; nothing but dark and naked rocks, which throw such a shade over the water as to deprive it in great measure of its aqueous appearance, and give it the semblance of mere slime.

In proceeding onwards down the descent, which winds round a high rock, a different scene presents itself. These wilds are the receptacle of a vast quantity of game, particularly grouse; and in this recess among the mountains, upon the borders of this lake, has Mr. Peter Latouche, the proprietor of Belle-Vue, and the Glen of the Downs, made a very pretty shooting-box. The rocks on the side of the lake down which lies the road are granite, sloping away considerably from the water. These are now entirely planted; the trees  p.213 are in a very thriving state; and a road lies through the plantations to the house, which is at the other end of the valley. The lake terminates some way before the valley closes: in this part stands the house; and the whole space is occupied with meadow-grounds and plantations. The valley closes with a vast amphitheatre of rocks, down which pours a water-fall, but not a very ample one, forming at the foot a little stream, which winding through the meadows runs into the lake. The opposite side of the valley to that on which runs the road is bounded by slate-rocks, which rise very abruptly above the lake. Such is the beautiful spot which art improving on natural advantages has formed in the midst of this wild country. I can conceive no greater surprise than any one would experience on being led to it, not having the least idea of what he was to expect. Though the water, on descending further into the valley, loses much of the black slimy appearance which is at first so striking, yet from the local circumstances it always retains a very dark hue. Such is the rocky chasm which it occupies, that the water in the centre of the lake is unfathomable. This circumstance, combined with its inclosed situation, and the dark slate-rocks rising on one side directly above it, sufficiently accounts for its Acherontic tint: when taken out of the lake it looks clear and fine. There is a boat, if any one chooses to row upon the water; but the navigation is bad, and the lake exposed to sudden squalls of wind through the entrance, which are dangerous when they occur, so that not many people venture upon it: indeed it is so small, that the whole surrounding scenery is just as effectually seen from the shore. At the foot of the lake is a little extent of beach, of a sort of sand or gravel composed of the debris of granite rocks, with some pebbles of mica slate intermixed. Abundance of beautiful mosses were growing about.

But it must be remembered, that the borders of this lake were not always cultivated; that the whole valley was once naked, dreary, barren: — what then so natural, in the ancient times of superstition, as that this black, dark lake, surrounded with dark and barren rocks, should be fixed on as the abode of darkness, of DEATH — for such was the Hela of the ancient Danish mythology. The lake of Hela, or of Death, was an appropriate title to such a spot, given probably by the Danes while they inhabited the island, and handed down from them; though this derivation is lost in the corrupted name now so generally  p.214 used. I could almost doubt whether the spot is improved in lessening its wild horrors, by mingling the grand features, which must be ever unchangeable, with the milder beauties bestowed by the hand of cultivation.

The next day I went to visit the lead-mines of Shankill, not far from the Scalp. These mines lie on the County of Dublin side of this chain of mountains; and to reach them from St. Valeri, I went by a road directly over the summit of the mountain: a plain proof that there was no occasion for the Danes to have hollowed out that immense chasm, the Scalp, to establish a communication between the counties of Dublin and Wicklow. The ascent is carried in such an oblique direction along the slope of the mountain to the summit, that though long it is by no means steep. These mines were formerly abundantly productive, and might be so still, but from the little excitement to industry held out. The rocks are granite, abounding exceedingly with galena, or sulphuret of lead. I also obtained some beautiful specimens of crystallizations of carbonate of lead; others containing sulphate of barytes, others with phosphate of lead, and others again with haematite or oxyd of iron. The granite every where abounds with mica; in some places is particularly rich in it: in one specimen I got, the mica appears (if I may be allowed to use such an unmineralogical expression) almost plated over the stone. The granite of the Scalp, which is scarcely half a mile from the mines, equally abounds with mica; it sometimes assumes the character of a coarse-grained gneiss.

The road from St. Valeri to the mines skirts the domains of Powerscourt, and then passes through the village of Enniskerry, which stands very picturesquely upon the slope of a steep hill. It is seen to most advantage coming down the hill on the other side from the Scalp; the view of it is then remarkably pretty. It is one of the neatest villages to be seen in Ireland. Above the road, coming down from the Scalp side, are lofty sand-banks, things not often to be seen in this country. The remainder of my stay at St. Valeri, which was extended to five days, was spent in driving or walking about, and exploring different parts of the neighbourhood: every where it abounds with pleasant walks and drives.

 p.215

22. Origin of the City of Dublin… Route to Cork. — Tallagh. —…

Route to Cork. — Tallagh. — Blessington. — Poll-a-Phuca, a Fall of the Liffey. — Ballymore Eustace. — Ruins of New-Abbey. — Kilcullen Bridge. — Old Kilcullen. — Quaker Village at Ballytore. — Castle-Dermot, the Ruins there. — Carlow and its Ruins. — Leighlin-Bridge. — Old Leighlin. — Kilkenny. — Lord Ormond's Agent, Mr. Barwis. — Dr. Ryan. — The Castle at Kilkenny. — The Marble Quarries. — Ancient Remains. — The Cathedral. — The Black Abbey. — The College. — Kilkenny Theatricals. — Clonmel. — Fermoy. — Glanmire. — Arrival at Cork.

The first place of my destination on quitting St. Valeri was Kilkenny. For want of a road over that part of the mountains which lies in the way, I was obliged to return within three miles of Dublin, coasting round the foot of the hilly region, till at length I gained the high road at Tallagh, five miles from the Capital. Here was once a summer residence of the Archbishop of Dublin; but it has long been deserted, and the house looks old and ruinous. The country about is flat and dull. Blessington, nine miles further, is a very neat pretty little town, belonging almost entirely to the Marquis of Downshire, who has a fine seat in the neighbourhood. There is a handsome new church built by the Marquis. Here I turned out of the road to see a natural curiosity, the fall of the Liffey at Poll-a-Phuca, as it is called, or The Daemon's Hole. In going thither we pass Russborough, the seat of the Earl of Miltown, a modern-built house with a very handsome front seven hundred feet in length. The house contains a good collection of pictures, but I did not stop to see them. Ireland abounds every where with noblemen's and gentlemen's seats; but these did not excite my curiosity like the natural beauties and wonders of the country. There must inevitably be a kind of sameness in these seats, and when one has seen a few, little is to be attained by seeing many more: but in the works of Nature there is an unceasing variety which never can pall; they are always presenting something new, something to charm, to fill the mind. If copies of the works of Nature  p.216 are fine, and fine paintings are undoubtedly very fine things, how much finer must be the models from which the copies are made!

I did not therefore stop to see Lord Miltown's seat at Russborough; but went on to Poll-a-Phuca, about two miles beyond it. Approaching the spot is a curious ruin of a church, with a small part of a round-tower, and a stone cross. I have not found this round-tower mentioned in any enumeration of those now standing, either in whole or in part. While I was in Dublin I had many times talked of going to see Poll-a-Phuca. "Oh dear," says one, "'tis never worth while to give yourself any trouble about that — just a bucket of water pouring over a rock; — so I'm told at least, for I never saw it." — "You are quite in the right," says another, "'tis a noble fall, as I hear, and well answers going a little out of the way to see it." — "Well, you are indefatigable in hunting after sights," says a third; "but I should have thought that by this time you must have seen waterfalls enough, without giving yourself any more trouble about them." — But I was determined, though I had seen so many waterfalls, to see one more; and I earnestly recommend to every body who has a taste for the striking features of nature to judge of this for themselves: — the fall at Powerscourt, which every body goes to see, is certainly very fine, and they are right to go and see it; but this which scarcely any body seemed to know more than by name is much finer. The annexed Plate gives a very good idea of it: the fall is broken by a shelving of the rock, so that there are two distinct rushes of water, not together amounting to the height of Powerscourt, but exceeding it very far in breadth, consequently making a much finer rush and foam. One side of the dell for some way below the fall, as well as above it, is bordered by abrupt and naked rocks; the other side, the bank being less steep, is cut into walks and planted with shrubs, having moss houses and other seats scattered about. This was all done by the late Earl of Miltown for the accommodation of the neighbourhood, who in the summer season often make parties hither and bring their dinner to enjoy the delightful scene. At this time there were five or six such parties. Mosses in great variety were to be collected here, as at Loch-Hela. I returned into the road at Ballymore Eustace, four miles beyond Blessington, and there stopped for the night. This is a small town standing on the Liffey near where it issues from the dell of Poll-a-Phuca. There  p.217 is a handsome bridge over the river, which spreads out to a considerable width, though very shallow.

The family of Eustace, after whom this town takes its name, was a very ancient one. It is probable that the proper name of the town is Bally-Eustace, that is, the town of Eustace; Bally signifying a town; and that by some accessory circumstance it has been extended into Ballymore. Near Kilcullen-Bridge, five miles further, are the ruins of a castle, formerly the residence of this family; and near them the remains of an abbey, still in its fallen state, retaining the name of New Abbey, which was founded by a Sir Rowland Eustace, in the fifteenth century, for Franciscan friars. In the church was a very fine monument to the founder. Both that and the church were well preserved till about eighty years ago, when a great part of the church was pulled down to furnish materials for building a Roman Catholic chapel in the neighbourhood. Kilcullen-Bridge is a town raised upon the downfall of Old Kilcullen, which stood on a hill about a mile further. The building a bridge here over the Liffey was the first step which led to the abandonment of the old town; and the situation was found so much more advantageous, that it was not long before the town was entirely transferred hither. The remains of Old Kilcullen now standing are very trifling. The walls of a church in tolerable preservation, with part of a round-tower close by, placed on the brow of the hill, form conspicuous objects some way round. The architecture of the church is that which is called Saxon, appearing about the date of the tenth century. The remains of a stone cross having some curious sculptures upon it are also to be seen here, some particulars respecting which may be found in Dr. Ledwich's Antiquities. The town in its prosperity was walled round, and had seven gates: some vestiges of two are remaining. Of habitations there is nothing now to be seen but a few very poor cabins. The most ancient name of this town was Killeughly, as the principal town of the barony in which it stands, which was then so called. It was afterwards called Penkoyle, or The Church on the Hill, having at length its present name, according to some traditions, from being the burial-place of St. Caëlan or Colyn; — kill, as I have before remarked, meaning a burying-place. Others give a different derivation of the name. On a hill a little to the north is a circular intrenchment, supposed to have been the rath, or fortress, of the Mac Kellys, ancient Irish chiefs, and called from them Caër Caëllan,  p.218 The fort of the Caëllans, or Kellys; whence comes Caëllan, or Cullen, not from the name of any saint. Within this intrenchment Oliver Cromwell encamped for one night when he was on his march to the south.

About six miles beyound Kilcullen, just out of the road to the right, is an assemblage of neat white houses, which cannot fail immediately to catch the eye. It is a village inhabited entirely by Quakers, and every thing about bears the impression of their sect; it is neatness itself. The inclosures are surrounded with quickset-hedges, kept in the nicest order, having trees planted in them all at regular distances; the fields are like lawns, not a weed is to be seen in the orchards and gardens: nothing can exceed the neat and orderly appearance of the whole place. The name of the village is Ballytore; a little river called the Greece winds through it. It is said that Mr. Burke received the first rudiments of education at a school in this village; it is certain that if he did imbibe his A B C ... here, he did not imbibe with them the placidity, calmness, and tranquillity of mind and manners that characterize this remarkable sect.

Castle-Dermot, thirty-four miles from Dublin, was once a very large fortified town, and the residence of the Dermods kings of Leinster, the last of whom, Dermod Mac Murrough, was the principal occasion of the conquest of the island by Henry the Second. Very large remains of a Franciscan abbey, founded about the middle of the thirteenth century by Gerald earl of Kildare, are now standing. Part of a round-tower, very much overgrown with ivy, and having the appearance of the celebrated round-towers, is incorporated in the outward walls, in the manner of a bastion in old fortifications; all the ruins are overgrown with ivy, which always gives a picturesque effect. This place continued to be of considerable note for a long time after the English conquest: so late as the year 1377 a parliament was held here, and there was a mint to coin money. What remains of the old parliament-house is now converted into an inn.

Carlow, five miles further, stands on the river Barrow. On an eminence directly above the river are the ruins of an old castle erected in the reign of King John, as a security to the English frontier, which then extended no further. In 1397 this castle was taken by Donald Mac-Art, of the family of the Kavanaghs, who called himself Mac Murrough king of Leinster. It remained  p.219 in the hands of him and his descendants till the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it again received an English garrison. There are also some fine ruins of an abbey. Carlow is a large town, superior in the neatness of its appearance to most towns. It has one very long street crossed about the middle by another not of equal length, and from these principal streets diverge several smaller, and many back lanes. A manufacture of woollen cloth is carried on here, and the inhabitants are much employed in the collieries of Castlecomer in the county of Kilkenny, which are not more than eight miles off, particularly in transporting the coals to different parts of the country. From hence to Leighlin-Bridge the road is very pleasant, almost all the way along the banks of the Barrow.

Leighlin-Bridge (pronounced Lochlin) is a small town or village like Kilcullen-Bridge removed from the old town for convenience of situation. Old Leighlin in conjunction with Ferns forms a bishop's see. The remains of that town are three miles from Leighlin-Bridge, among the mountains: besides the cathedral and the seat of a Mr. Vigors, there are only a few poor cabins. The cathedral is old, but kept in good condition by the bishop. Just without the church, at the east end, is a famous well surrounded by tall ash-trees dedicated to Saint Lasarien; it is held in great veneration, and much resorted to by the people in the neighbourhood. There is something very wild and romantic in the situation of these remains. From hence to Kilkenny, the extent of my this day's journey, is twelve miles; Kilkenny being fifty-seven miles from Dublin. At Kilkenny I had an introduction to the Earl of Ormond's agent, an English gentleman, Mr. Barwis, and we were not a little surprised on meeting, to find that we had been fellow-passengers in the packet from Holyhead to Dublin. One of my objects here was to collect all the information I could for a mineralogical friend of mine respecting the coal of the country, so well known under the title of Kilkenny coal. But I found that the collieries, though in the county of Kilkenny, were not very near the town, but at Castlecomer, nine miles off, and I was obliged to defer going thither till my return from Cork and Killarney. Mr. Barwis very obligingly, on the morning after my arrival, showed me the castle, the seat of the earl, now Marquis of Ormond, and accompanied me to the marble quarries just without the town; but then being engaged with business  p.220 which could not be deferred, he invited me to make the castle my residence for a day or two on my return, when I could see any thing left now unseen. He besides introduced me to Dr. Ryan, an eminent physician in the place, from whom I not only obtained much mineralogical information, but who favoured me with some valuable mineralogical specimens. Among these must be particularly mentioned some excellently well defined vegetable impressions found in the senate about the veins of coal, consisting principally of ferns and a gigantic species of reed. Kilkenny stands upon the river Nore, one of three rivers that unite to form the harbour of Waterford; the Nore being first joined with the Barrow, and their united streams afterwards combining with the waters of the Suir. Though the general name of Kilkenny is given to the whole town, it consists of two distinct divisions, Irishtown and Kilkenny, which are under separate jurisdictions, the former being governed by a portreeve, the latter by a mayor. Irishtown is one of the oldest towns in the whole island; by the inhabitants it is now called Bally-gaëloch, or the Town of Gaël on the Lake, the part whereon it stands having been formerly a marsh, sometimes so overflowed as to become like a lake; it is still very subject to inundations from the river. The first embryo of a town consisted only of a range of cabins, in this marshy ground running along the margin of the river. Such seems to have been the taste of the ancient inhabitants in choosing spots for their establishments; this was the case with Dublin, it was so with Cork, it was so with Limerick. The name of Kilkenny is differently derived. As nothing can go forwards very well in Ireland without the assistance of a saint, we have here one under the name of Saint Canice or Kenny. He was brought up in his infant years by a cow, whose milk he sucked, but how he came to be consigned to her care does not appear. No mention is made of a similar fate to that of Romulus and Remus when the wolf had compassion on them, the fact alone is stated that a cow was his nurse. He was afterwards employed as a shepherd's boy; but here he seems to have neglected his flock, for he was continually occupied in making little churches cut out of wood, or framed with osier twigs, with all the appendages of altars, crucifixes, &c. &c. This devotional turn constantly increasing upon him, when he grew up he entered himself in a monastery, where having continued several years, he by consent of the superiors travelled to Rome: here  p.221 still distinguishing himself by his extraordinary devotion, he obtained the highest renown. He was first buried at Aghaboe24, but his remains were afterwards transferred to Kilkenny, from which time it has been known by its present name, signifying the Burial-place of Kenny. Some, however, not satisfied with this derivation, say that the name is derived from the local circumstances attending the hill on which now stands the cathedral; in those times it was covered with wood, and thence called Coil or Kyle-ken-ui, the woody head, or hill, above the river; thence the transition is easy to Kilkenny.

The cathedral is a very ancient structure; it was begun about the year 1230 by Hugh Mapilton then bishop of the diocese. It is, like all cathedrals, in the form of a cross, the length from east to west being 226 feet, from north to south 123. The steeple is broad, but not lofty; it is supported by four very massive pillars of the black marble of the country; — of the same marble are the pillars which support the roof. But by the strange and absurd taste, or rather want of taste, in those who had the guardianship of the church about seventy or eighty years ago, they were all whitened over with a lime-wash. The original east window was esteemed one of the finest pieces of Gothic architecture ever seen in Ireland. So highly finished was the workmanship, that when Rinucini, archbishop and prince of Fermo in Italy, was in Ireland in the year 1645, as nuncio from the Pope to the Irish Catholics, he was so much struck with it that he would fain have purchased it to carry to Rome, offering for it no less than 700l., a large sum in those days. The Chapter, however, could by no means be prevailed upon to comply with his wishes. Only five years after, amid the troubles of the civil-wars, this window shared the fate of many monuments of art about the country, and was demolished. Some fragments of it were subsequently collected by that great scholar and traveller Dr. Pococke, when he was bishop of the diocese, and are now in the church. The stained glass in it contained the history of Jesus Christ from his birth to his ascension. The choir of the cathedral is fitted up with oak varnished, but quite plain without any carved work.

 p.222

That the church is still standing is principally to be ascribed to the great zeal and care of Bishop Pococke. When he came to the see it was in a very ruinous state, having been wholly neglected for a long course of years. He made a large subscription in the diocese, to which he himself contributed amply, and had it put into complete repair, superintending the workmen himself, often being with them by four o'clock in the morning. In the church is a monument to the memory of this distinguished prelate, executed by Scheemaker; it is of white marble. A whole-length figure representing Piety stands with her head reclined upon one hand, which is rested on an urn supposed to contain the ashes of the deceased; in the other hand she has a book. The bishop's arms are at the end of a long shaft. On the monument is the following inscription:
Sacred to the Memory of Richard Pococke, LL. D.
Who from the Archdeaconry of Dublin
Was promoted to this See M.DCCLVI.
And translated to that of Meath M.DCCLXV.
Where he died September 15th in the same year.
He discharged every duty of the Pastoral and Episcopal Office
With prudence, vigilance, and fidelity,
Adorning his station
With unshaken integrity of heart and of conduct.
Attentive to the interests of religion,
He caused several parochial churches to be rebuilt
Within his Diocese;
He promoted and liberally contributed to the repair
And to the embellishment of this Cathedral Church
Then unhappily falling to decay.
A zealous encourager of every useful public work,
Especially the Linen Manufacture,
He bequeathed a very considerable legacy
To the Governors of the Incorporated Society
For promoting the united Interests of Industry and
Charity,
Within this Borough of Saint Canice.

The bishop was not, however, buried here, but at Ardbraccan in the county of Meath. There are a great many monuments and inscriptions about the church, most of them very old. A round-tower stands within a few yards of it  p.223 on the south side: it is very lofty, and in a state of high preservation. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Canice.

The abbey of St. John was the oldest monastic foundation in Kilkenny, and was built early in the thirteenth century. It stands on the east side of the river Nore. Very extensive remains of it are still existing; but a great part has been terribly degraded by being patched up into barracks. The wall of the east end of the church, the whole of the south, and part of the north, are standing; and at this time it was just determined to add whatever was wanting to complete the building, modelling the work exactly after the old part, and convert it into a parish church, — a very laudable undertaking. The abbey of the Dominicans, known as the Black Abbey, is on the other side of the river. Most of the outward walls of the church, with the Gothic windows, are still standing, with two handsome towers. The carved work of the windows is very rich, much superior to St. John's. There is an idea of restoring this also as a church, and it is much to be wished that it may be prosecuted. This abbey was built in the thirteenth century, within a few years after St. John's. The Franciscan abbey was very extensive, and showed some equally good specimens of Gothic architecture; but a great part of its remains have been converted — shall I not say perverted — into barracks.

The castle makes a very grand appearance on entering the town, crowning an abrupt and precipitous rock, with the Nore running at its base. This rock had been previously the site of a Danish fortress, which was finally demolished at the conquest of the island by the English. The present castle was built as a fortress to supply its place, but who was its original founder is not well authenticated, the credit of it is generally given to Earl Strongbow. A very high wall of solid masonry runs along the base of the rock, and probably was once continued all round the domain; it now only serves to inclose a lawn and shrubbery in front of the house. Between the wall and the river is a walk, which is a great mall for the gentry of the town. It seems to have been intended that the building should be a square, with a court in the centre, having large round turrets at each corner. Only two sides of the square, with three towers, were ever completed; but the foundations of the remaining part of the building appear.

The great entrance is by an archway in the centre of one side of the building  p.224 which fronts the parade; this leads into the court, where is the entrance to the house. The principal front of the house is to the river, looking along its course over two bridges, having the lawn directly before it. There is nothing of magnificence in the interior; scarcely a single room is regularly shaped, yet there is an air of antiquity and nobility about it altogether, that sufficiently compensates for its irregularities. The breakfast-room is of the most irregular form, running into the principal turret. The walls are of such an immense thickness, that each window forms a separate recess, large enough to hold a company of six or eight at breakfast. In the room are some good tapestries. There are a vast number of portraits in different parts of the house, and some other pictures, but none very remarkable. In a gallery 150 feet long are whole-length portraits of Charles the First, Charles the Second, James the Second, King William the Third, Queen Mary, Queen Anne, and the first Duke of Ormond, besides a vast number of others. In an apartment called The Evidence Chamber is a very large collection of papers relating both to the private family concerns, and the many important public events in which the family have at various times borne a conspicuous part. Among other curious things which Mr. Barwis showed me, was an old house-keeping account-book of the family, from which a general idea might be gathered of the mode of living in those times: I think it was about 200 years old. From the top of one of the turrets is a fine view over a vast extent of flat country, skirted by mountains, some more, some less, elevated. The stables are magnificent; and the kitchen-garden and conservatories good.

Though I could not now go to see the collieries, I saw a noble fire in the kitchen made from the produce of them. The coal is of a remarkable quality, burning entirely without smoke; having much more the appearance of a fire of charcoal than of mineral coal. It is difficult to light it at first, a large foundation of turf must be laid underneath; but when once lighted, it burns for an amazing length of time without any addition of fuel. It is a most valuable coal for cookery, secure from all danger of things being ever smoked, perhaps the very worst fault that cookery can have.

Near the castle, on the opposite side of the river, is a school, or college, originally founded and endowed by the Ormond family. The election of a master of this school is vested in the provost, fellows, and scholars of Trinity  p.225 College, Dublin; but it is thought that the latter description of persons are not much consulted by the two former when a vacancy is to be filled up. The house is a neat modern one, and there is a spacious play-ground for the boys. Over the Nore are two handsome bridges; that nearest the castle has three wide elliptical arches, the other has seven circular ones. Both are built of the black marble of the country. During the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, parliaments were frequently held here. A memorable one was that of 1367, when the old Brehon laws were abolished, and the English laws alone substituted in their place. Very high penalties were enacted on this occasion upon any Englishman wearing the Irish dress.

The marble quarries are not above a quarter of a mile from the town; they are very extensive; the whole mass of rock for a great way seems entirely composed of the marble, differing only in quality, some coarser, some finer; it is in fact the stone of the country. The inhabitants of Kilkenny boast that they have fire without smoke, earth without bog, water without mud, air without fog, and that their streets are paved with marble. The first clause is certainly very true, as I have testified above; for the second, I can say that I undoubtedly did not perceive any bog in the environs of the town; for the third, the water, as far as I saw of it, was perfectly clear and pure; for the fourth, I was not there a sufficient time to say any thing about it; the last, that the streets are paved with marble, is very true. But how paved with marble? Those who should expect to walk or ride over beautiful polished marble slabs, would find themselves exceedingly mistaken. The marble is, as I have said, the stone of the country; the fine slabs taken from the quarries are reserved to be polished, and used for the purposes of chimney-pieces and the like, while the coarser parts are employed in all the most ordinary uses to which stone is usually applied; with this refuse the town is paved, and in walking over the pavement, nothing more appears to the eye than as if it was of the most ordinary pebbles; nay, if broken, the interior scarcely displays so much beauty as one of the pieces of Scotch granite which paves the streets of London. For some objects, the dark hue of the marble, though beautiful when polished, is unfavourable; as for example, to the bridges it gives a sombre funereal appearance, the effect of which is far from being good. Some of the poorest houses in the town are in  p.226 like manner built of marble, the roads are mended with marble, and some of the inclosures are fenced with marble.

The black, when first polished, is very fine; but, as is too frequently the case with the marbles of this country, and of most in the British islands, the intensity of colour is by no means permanent; after a time it becomes gray, and exhibits numerous white spots. All does not, however, show an entire black at first; indeed, the more prevailing character is to be mottled ab origine, the result of the marine exuviae with which all marble abounds. Distinct casts of shells are occasionally found in it, but not very frequently. An Italian, who was once at Kilkenny, seeing a particularly fine slab just then come from the polisher's hands, appearing an entire and pure black, was so struck, that he said, if they could send a few such to Italy, any price would be given for them, for that none so pure was produced there. The person to whom he said this was obliged to confess, that the beauty he so much admired was not lasting; that after being exposed awhile to the air white spots would appear. Such was the case with some chimney-pieces of Kilkenny marble which I saw at Mr. Weld's at Ravenswell: he said they were at first a perfect black; when I saw them they had many white spots about them. Crystallized carbonate of lime occasionally mingles itself with the marble.

Very near the quarries is a pit of a dark coarse sand, composed of siliceous and calcareous matter, with numerous pebbles of common limestone, generally of a dark colour, but sometimes approaching to a cream-colour; nodules of iron-clay also occur occasionally. Whether this sand or gravel is transported to Dublin I cannot tell; but it certainly has very much the appearance of the dark gravel which I have noticed as used there. The idea did not immediately strike me; nor indeed did it till after I left Ireland; but certainly no gravel of that kind, or of any kind, occurs in the neighbourhood of Dublin.

The theatricals of Kilkenny were for a long time exceedingly celebrated, but they have now for some years ceased entirely. They were carried on by a society of gentlemen, who used to perform for about a month every year, which created a sort of jubilee in the town. They had a little theatre of their own, and whatever remained of surplus from the receipts at the performances, after paying the nightly expenses, was given to different charities in the town. The  p.227 dresses were not allowed in the general expenses, they were each person's individual expense, and sometimes very large sums were expended in them. The female performers were actresses from the Dublin stage. But a thing of this kind, however eagerly pursued at first, in time begins to cloy; and after flourishing awhile, the performances gradually became less and less attractive, till at length they were entirely dropped; yet, though they ceased from being neglected, all persons now talk of them with such regret, that no one hearing it could suppose their failure was owing to such a cause.

A woollen manufactory for blankets and cloths is carried on here to a very considerable extent. It was first established by the Ormond family. Pierce earl of Ormond, and his wife the Lady Margaret, brought over manufacturers from Flanders expressly for the purpose. There is also a considerable starch manufactory. Before the Union, each division of the town returned two members to the parliament; at present the united towns send only one. The population of the town is estimated at about twenty thousand. A Book Society has of late years been established by subscription, upon the plan of being open to the subscribers to go and read there, but the books not to be circulated. It has always appeared to me, that half the use of such societies is annihilated by not circulating the books, bien entendu, under proper regulations: this the subscribers to the Kilkenny library have found so strongly, some of them at least, men of business, whose chief time for reading was in the evening, after the library was shut up, that they were making great exertions to get the inconvenience remedied, and the books put into circulation.

Clonmel, twenty-four miles from Kilkenny, eighty-one from Dublin, is an ancient town with a good deal of modern addition to it, standing on the Suir, one of the rivers that runs to Waterford harbour. Over the river is a handsome bridge of twenty arches. A town is believed to have existed here before the Danish invasion. In Oliver Cromwell's time Clonmel made a longer resistance to his arms than any town in Ireland; when it surrendered, he ordered the castle and fortifications, which were very strong, to be demolished; few fragments of them now remain. At present the town is much inhabited by Quakers, who, wherever they go, communicate to a certain extent a spirit of neatness; this town consequently, though so ancient, is very clean. A Dominican friary was founded here in the year 1260, and a Franciscan friary the same year.  p.228 The church of this latter was one of the most magnificent that any monastery in Ireland could boast; in it was an image of Saint Francis, celebrated for the many miracles it performed. The town consists of four streets crossing each other at right angles. A very extensive woollen manufacture is carried on here principally by the Quakers. Not far from the town, on a hill rising above the Suir, is a spa-spring, formerly in great repute as a remedy for scorbutic complaints and other chronic diseases; but the fashion is now over, other waters have come into higher repute, and this is entirely neglected. The river is navigable from hence to Waterford. Clonmel was the birth-place of the celebrated Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy; assuredly one of the first of wits, though it were to be wished that he had not on all occasions so entirely given the reins to it, but had tempered it with more of delicacy.

The road does not cross the river here, it continues on the north side seven miles further to Ardfinnan. This is a very ancient village, where are the ruins of an old Gothic castle standing on a rock which overhangs the river. It was built by King John while he was Earl of Morton. An abbey for regular canons was founded here by Saint Finian the Leper, to which the noted Cormac MacQuillenan, archbishop of Cashel and king of Munster, bequeathed in the year 903 his horse, his armour, and some other bequests in gold and silver. The town and abbey were sacked and plundered by the English in 1178.

Fermoy, a hundred-and-seven miles from Dublin, is one of those striking instances not unfrequently to be seen, of what may be accomplished in a very short space of time by the intelligence and activity of one man. It stands upon the Blackwater, and an ancient bridge of thirteen arches here crosses it at a weir of the river. Of this bridge the annexed plate gives a view. The whole is entirely overgrown with ivy, so that the water pours through green arches down the weir; the white foam of the falling water mingling with the green arches produces an uncommonly pretty effect. Through the interest of my friend Mr. Walker, Captain England, an officer in the barracks at Fermoy, was so obliging as to take this sketch for me. But though the bridge is ancient, the town is entirely modern. In the year 1791 it was a very poor village, consisting only of a few mud cabins. At that time the Government, having determined to erect barracks somewhere in this neighbourhood, were in treaty for the purchase of a parcel of land from a gentleman, not exactly in this spot, but at a little distance.  p.229 The owner, however, asked such an enormous sum for his property, that a demur was made whether to conclude the bargain or not; when Mr. Anderson, who had some property here, offered what land was wanted at a reasonable price. The bargain was immediately concluded, and a contract was entered into with him for building the barracks. From that time the town has rapidly risen, under the auspices of this spirited and active member of the community, to its present flourishing state. A large square is built at the foot of the bridge, at the corner of which is a most excellent inn, one of the best I found in any part of Ireland; also an excellent range of houses along the side of the river, and several new streets. Manufactories have been established which are in a very flourishing state, and every thing wears the appearance of ease and prosperity. The church stands very prettily upon the ascent of a hill above the river; the barracks are spacious, and make a handsome appearance. If I could have been tempted to wish for ancient castles with frowning battlements rising above the stream, or for the sombre fragments of a fine Gothic abbey, as according better than neat spruce modern habitations with the ancient bridge overgrown with ivy, yet I forgave these modern houses their want of picturesque effect, in consideration of the pleasing associations they afforded, from the idea of the comforts enjoyed by their inhabitants.

Fermoy is a name of great antiquity; one of the numerous petty kingdoms of Ireland in ancient days was so called, and such is now the name of one of the baronies of the county of Cork, though not that in which the town of Fermoy stands. The ancient name of the district was Fearmuigh, and the sovereignty of it was in the family of the O'Kiefs, or Mac Kiefs, who claimed their descent from the Milesian kings of Ireland. The name of Fearmuigh is differently derived; some say it signifies simply and humbly grassy plains, this being a country rich in pastures. Others, who like to trace all derivations back to something of the marvellous, say that Muigh was an eminent Druid of old who assisted the king of Munster in gaining a great victory over his enemies, obtaining by his prayers that the sun should stand still for two or three hours, till the forces of the adversary were completely routed. In consequence of this service, the district in question was granted to Muigh, who from that time was called Fear-muigh, that is Muigh the doer of great deeds, and this name was afterwards given to the district.

 p.230

Rathcormuck is a neat little town a hundred-and-eleven miles from Dublin, standing on the river Bride, which runs into the Blackwater. To the north of this town is a range of mountains, the most easterly of which is called Cairn Tierna, or the Thane's Heap, from one of those Cairns or heaps of stones which are so common on the tops of mountains. This hill is a conspicuous object from various parts of the country. The last place to be mentioned, before the city of Cork, is Glanmire. This is a little village in a beautiful and romantic situation, with a small stream running through it on which are several mills: from hence it winds through a deep and romantic glen, till it joins the Cork river about three miles below the town. After descending the hill of Glanmire, the road runs by the side of the Lee till it enters Cork.

 p.231

23. Renewal of an old Acquaintance —… Antiquity of the City of Cork.…

Antiquity of the City of Cork. — Origin of the Name. — Ancient and present State of the Town. — The Buildings. — The Bridges. — St. Finbarr. — The Cork Institution. — Articles of Commerce. — New Mode of preparing Flax. — Beauty of the Environs of Cork. — Urbanity of the Inhabitants. — Mr. Kean much admired there. — Anecdote of a Sailor at Drury Lane Theatre. — Mr. Harrison and his Family. — The Mardyke Walk. — Blarney Castle. — The Blarney Stone. — Black-Rock. — Lady Chatterton and her Family. — Sail about the Harbour. — The different Islands. — Marquis of Thomond's Seat at Rostellan. — The Steam-Boat. — Mineralogy. — Barry the Painter.

In speaking of Cork it would perhaps be wrong to call it a very ancient city, since it exhibits scarcely any remains of antiquity, but in its present appearance gives exactly the idea of what it is, a very prosperous and flourishing commercial town. Yet in very remote times there was a settlement here; if not before the Danish inroads, certainly during the time of their usurpation. Like many other places, the ground on which the city stands was entirely a marsh; and such spots being called in the ancient Irish language corcass grounds, hence it is believed the town derives its name of Cork. To this day among the lower classes in those parts of Ireland where the original language prevails, marshes have the same appellation of corcass grounds. Some, however, believe the name is derived from corcach, as the ancient boats made of wattles covered with hides were called; and this town being probably at first a settlement of fishers, they called their town after their boats. In some ancient documents it is called Corcach.

The principal part of the city stands on an island formed by the river Lee, which separates into two branches more than a mile above the town, and unites again below it. Formerly the town was intersected by a number of canals; cut, as some say, to drain the land, according to others, for purposes of commerce: whatever was the intent of them, they were found, instead of a convenience, a nuisance to the town; the filth from the houses being thrown into  p.232 them, and occasioning terrible putrid exhalations. They have, in consequence, through the interposition of the magistrates, been all filled up. It is generally believed that the Danish city was confined entirely to the island; that it was walled round, and well fortified; but since Cork has risen into note as a place of commerce, it has been extended every way much beyond the limits of the island. Nor does any trace of the ancient walls remain; one gate-way only is standing upon the north or main branch of the river; it is used now as the city gaol.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth Cork was considered as only the fourth city in Ireland. It is thus described by Cambden: — "This city is of an oval form, inclosed with walls, and encompassed by the channel of the river, which also crosses it, and is not accessible but by bridges, lying along, as it were, in one direct street, with a bridge over it. It is a populous little trading town, and much resorted to; but so beset with rebel enemies on all sides, that they are obliged to keep constant watch, as if the town was continually besieged: and they dare not marry out their daughters into the country, but contract one with another among themselves, whereby all the citizens are related in some degree or other." At that time Limerick and Waterford were considered as the second and third cities in Ireland; but the little populous trading town has so much increased since the time it was thus described, that it now ranks as the second city, and is called the Bristol of Ireland, while Limerick and Waterford are thrown each a step lower in the ladder, and become the third and fourth.

From the gate now standing a street called the Main-street runs directly through the town to the south channel, where was another gate. At each gate was a bridge; and these were the only accesses to the town. In 1633 great part of the bridge over the north channel was carried away by a flood. It was replaced by a wooden bridge; and this again was taken down in 1712, when the present, a handsome stone bridge, was erected in its place. Since that a drawbridge has also been built over the main channel, more at the east end of the town. This is now the principal entrance from Dublin. Two additional bridges have also been built over the south channel. To the east of the main street, where one of the canals from the south channel ran up, is a handsome wide street called the Grand Parade; at the end of which runs a stone balustrade along the river-side. Just at the centre of the balustrade  p.233 stands an equestrian statue of King George the Second, but it is a very poor one.

There is not much to be said for the architectural beauty of any of the public buildings. The Exchange is in a dirty bad part of the town, but has little to display if it were in a better. The old Custom-house is ugly; a red-brick building, with white pilasters: but a new one which was begun, is expected to be very handsome. The churches have little to boast of, not even the cathedral — half modern, half antique, they have neither the grandeur of the one, nor the neatness and prettiness of the other. The town is upon the whole recommendable to the eye only as having a general appearance of comfort and prosperity, not as offering any particular subjects to dwell upon.

The first extension of the city was on the north side of the river. The rocks here are steep; but just opposite to the old bridge a sort of dell runs up for some way, where lie the principal part of the suburbs on this side. Lately, however, extensive barracks have been erected on the heights directly opposite the drawbridge, where indeed the ascent is so steep, particularly towards the top, that a carriage could with difficulty get up; it should seem as if the idea was, that the barracks were to be frequented principally by asses and mules. A handsome street is begun, running along the side of the declivity about a third of the way up. It is somewhat extraordinary, considering the city is doubled in magnitude within a century and a half, that the number of churches should be diminished: there were once eleven; there are now only seven, six parish churches and the cathedral. This does indeed seem a scanty provision for a population estimated upon the lowest computation at a hundred thousand: some carry it to a hundred and twenty thousand, but that seems generally thought an exaggeration. The old cathedral was dedicated to St. Finbarr, a saint who flourished, according to tradition, in the seventh century, and by him the church was founded. A life of him in manuscript, written in Latin, is to be seen in the library of Trinity-college at Dublin, which says that his real name was Lachan; that he was so baptized, and that he was a native of Connaught. Finbarr signifies white- or gray-headed, and there are no less than seven of the name enumerated among the saints of Ireland; but he of Cork was the chief of them. As a saint is nothing without a miracle, the following is recorded of him: — A knight having seized some lands belonging to his see of Cork, and sowed them  p.234 with barley, he went to him, and adjured him in the name of God and all the saints to surrender them again. This being refused, he prayed with tears and uplifted hands that the seed sown in them might never come to harvest. So it happened, for not a grain of the corn was seen to shoot from the earth. The knight perceiving this, and finding he could not turn his theft to any account, was in a proper situation to repent, which he did, and restored the land. The saint then had it sown with wheat, but instead of the wheat a barley crop appeared; upon which, not doubting but if the land was left unsown the next year the wheat would come up, he ordered that it should be so; and the event proved him not mistaken — a very fine crop of wheat came forth at the proper season. The old cathedral had fallen so entirely to decay, that about a century ago it was pulled down, and the present one in the modern taste built. There are many charitable institutions in the city, as hospitals, endowed schools and others.

A Society has been formed within a few years, called the Cork Institution, which is now incorporated by charter, for the purpose of directing the application of the sciences to all the most important uses of common life. Having among several letters of introduction here, one to Dr. Willes, an eminent physician of the town, he obligingly recommended me to Mr. Davy, cousin to Sir Humphry Davy, who is at the head of the chemical department, and he showed me over the whole Institution. Considering that it has not been established more than eight or nine years, a great deal has been done: there is a very well-selected library, to which additions are constantly made; and a museum, at present consisting principally of a good collection of minerals, but where any thing rare that circumstances allow of being added is to be deposited. There are also a philosophical apparatus, and a very excellent laboratory. Lectures are given at certain times of the year in chemistry, experimental philosophy, agriculture, and botany. Just without the town is a botanic garden, which promises in a few years to be a very good one.

The great staple article of commerce in this place is the salting provisions for sea-stores. The curing season commences about October, and lasts for three months, in which about a hundred thousand head of black-cattle are annually sacrificed, besides a proportionate quantity of hogs. Raw and prepared hides are in consequence a considerable article of trade. Butter and candles for the navy are also supplied. There are in the town large manufactories of sailcloth,  p.235 coarse woollen cloths, paper, glass, and glue, all which articles are also exported. A good deal of flax is grown in these parts, and linen manufactories are carried on, but not to the extent they might be. A new discovery had just been made in preparing flax, which promised to be of very great importance. It was to clear the fibres used for the linen without the process of steeping the flax. This was performed by means of machinery. A small piece of the flax thus prepared, ready to be spun, was given to me. It is of the most beautiful texture imaginable; the fibres delicately fine, and so nearly white, that scarcely any bleaching would be required. In delicacy it is indeed almost equal to the raw silk, as wound from the cots of the worms. The advantages of this mode of preparing the flax, if it can be brought into general use, will be incalculable. By avoiding the steeping it in the ditches till it becomes putrid, the flax-countries will be relieved from an almost insupportable nuisance. It is impossible to conceive any thing more horrible than the effluvia emitted by it when taken from the ditches and spread out to be dried. The year before when I was in the county of Antrim, one of the great linen countries, it happening to be the time of preparing the flax, I was sometimes almost made ill with the stench; no one who has not been in the way of it can have an idea how offensive it is. Besides the removal of so great an evil by the new process, the fibres never having been reduced to this putrid state are much stronger, and the linen, instead of being of the dark hue which requires such excessive time and labour to bleach it, thereby still further weakening the cloth, would scarcely demand the bleaching process at all; one which of late years, from the chemical applications used, has spoiled many a web.

What progress has been made in bringing this discovery to perfection, or whether any, I have not heard; probably, if ever perfected, great difficulty will be experienced in bringing it into general use; — a new discovery, how manifest soever may be the advantages, always has an immense mass of prejudice to overcome before it can be finally established; and here the interests of two classes of people will be so materially affected, that they will be sure to raise every possible obstacle to its success. Imprimis; the linen manufacturers, whose market will be lessened by the superior wear of the linen: and secondly, the bleachers, whose trade will be reduced almost to nothing. Since the consumer  p.236 is to be the person principally benefited, he will be prevented enjoying the benefit as long as it shall be possible.

If much cannot be said of the beauty of Cork, as the eye alone is concerned, a great deal may be said as to the beauty of the environs, and the hospitality and urbanity of the inhabitants. The river to the east of the town, going down towards the harbour, is bordered on both sides with beautiful villas, each of which, in enjoying so many charms of situation itself, contributes to render that of their neighbours more charming. The whole way along the north side of the river to the village of Glanmire already mentioned, is a succession of villas ranged along a rapid slope; the slope coming so nearly to the river that there is only the breadth of the road at its foot. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful quarter; standing on such an eminence, the houses command a noble prospect over to the opposite shore, and down the river to the islands going towards the harbour, while at the same time the slopes furnish a prodigious advantage in laying out and embellishing the grounds. To a family living at one of these villas, that of Mr. Callaghan at Lota-beg, about two miles from the town, I was favoured with a letter of introduction by my friend Mr. Walker. They have, indeed, a most charming house and sweet place, where I was very obligingly entertained. With another letter of introduction I was less fortunate, to Dr. Gibbon, a physician, celebrated for his hospitality to strangers; unfortunately he was at this time absent. But, indeed, wherever I went in Ireland I did not find that many recommendations were necessary; one was sufficient to procure so many acquaintance as to leave only a single subject of regret, — that it was often impossible to accept all the civilities offered.

Again here I met Mr. and Mrs. Kean. Mr. Kean had been enchanting the society at Cork, as much as he had twice enchanted that of Dublin, for a fortnight before I arrived. This city from very early times has been noted for its love of theatrical amusements, and has been accustomed to them in a style superior to most country towns. The theatre is only open in summer, when that at Dublin is closed; the best of the Dublin company are then engaged, with the addition, commonly, of some of the most distinguished performers from the London theatres. Thus, accustomed to the best exhibitions of the kind which can be procured, the frequenters of the theatre are become remarkably  p.237 good judges of dramatic merit, nor have I any where seen such judicious criticisms upon Mr. Kean's acting as in the Cork papers. But here, as at Dublin and in London, he had a formidable task to encounter, in combating, by his natural style of acting, the prejudice long created in favour of the artificial style from seeing it carried to so much perfection by Mr. Kemble. Yet Nature restored, did triumph, and was acknowledged to be superior to Art, how finely soever that art was touched. It was difficult to say whether the theatre was most crowded at night to witness Mr. Kean's performances, or his own house in the mornings to compliment him upon them. At his benefit the house was so crowded that the treasurer, when he came to give in his account of the receipts, said that it was fuller than it could hold. This may be thought to savour a little of the country in which it was said; it was nevertheless so far true, that people crowded themselves together, and put many more into a box than the number for which it is usually let.

Yet though a fondness for the drama has always prevailed at Cork, there was no regular theatre till the year 1736. What was then built was soon found to be upon too small a scale, so that in about five-and-twenty years a second was established, the same that now exists, and the original one was converted to other purposes. In time of war, when the harbour is commonly full of vessels, the present theatre is sometimes found too small. Sailors are generally observed to be exceedingly fond of theatrical amusements, partly perhaps that they are always somewhat at a loss how to kill time when they are ashore. However, of the modes of killing it offered to their choice, this seems to be one for which they have a decided preference. — Once in the pit of Drury-lane theatre, when Mr. Kean was performing his favourite character of Richard the Third, I observed a sailor not far from me uncommonly attentive; every look, every word, was eagerly devoured by him, till at last he could contain himself no longer, and exclaimed aloud, "God bless the man, I declare he deserves a whole pint of grog." A higher compliment I believe the son of Neptune did not think could be paid, and I never witnessed one that seemed to come more truly from the heart.

At Mr. Kean's house, two or three days after my arrival, I oddly enough met with, and was introduced to a gentleman, Mr. Harrison, to whom and his family, but for an accidental circumstance, I should have had a regular letter of  p.238 recommendation. Mrs. Harrison is sister to Mrs. William Monk Mason, mentioned in the former part of my Narrative; and when I then talked of following my tour to the North by one to the South, Mrs. Mason obligingly wrote to her sister mentioning me, and recommending me to her notice. Mr. and Mrs. Mason were, however, absent from Dublin this year when I was there, so that nothing more could pass between us upon the subject, and I failed of my letter to Mrs. Harrison. But Mr. Harrison recollecting, the moment he heard my name, that I had talked of coming the year before, introduced himself to me, and carried me to his house to present me to his family. I found them all most pleasant people; two young ladies were among Mr. Kean's most enthusiastic admirers. I could not trace any likeness in Mrs. Harrison to her sister, though not less handsome.

Mr. Harrison's house is just without the town, on an eminence called Sandy's-well Hill, commanding a fine view over the city. He conducted me to it by the great mall of the place, the Mardyke walk: it is an avenue of elm-trees, an English mile in length, running between the two branches of the river, terminating near a weir, where they separate. This weir is formed by a vast bank of stones, the water pouring down only in two places, where there are bridges of planks; here we crossed to ascend the hill.

On inquiry into what among the sights of Cork I had and what I had not seen, Blarney-castle was mentioned; and as I had not been there, the family said that we must make a party thither, and we went accordingly a few days after. The term All Blarney, for all bounce and rhodomontade, is so familiar in Ireland, nay, even in England, that I should have thought scarcely any one could be unacquainted with the name at least of Blarney; yet thus it is mentioned by Sir John Carr: "About four miles before we reached Cork, my compagnon-de-voyage pointed out to me Blarney-castle, upon a turret of which there is a stone nearly inaccessible, which possesses, it is said, the rare virtue of making those for ever happy who touch it." Indeed I believe such a virtue was never before or since ascribed to the celebrated Blarney stone. The virtue I have always heard ascribed to it is, that whoever kisses it may allow himself to run into fiction as much as he pleases, (though Fielding would perhaps say that the term run into fiction would be better expressed by a monosyllable of three letters,) — no matter, whichever term is to be used, the virtue of the Blarney  p.239 stone is, that after kissing it, how much soever the kisser may indulge in fiction he is certain of being believed; and if afterwards he should plunge into the Shannon, all may be done without danger of a blush.

To Blarney then we went. This was formerly a very strong castle, the seat of the Earls of Clancarty, but forfeited by them, with a great deal of other property, for their adherence to James the Second. It was afterwards purchased of the crown by Sir James Jefferys, in whose family it still remains, though the present possessor was at this time endeavouring to dispose of the estate. It is described in old writings as having been in Queen Elizabeth's time one of the strongest fortresses in Munster, being composed of four large piles joined in one. Of the ancient building only one tower remains, a square of perhaps twenty or five-and-twenty feet. To this a modern building has been added as a dwelling-house; but the place has been entirely deserted for many years, and is falling miserably to decay; indeed, the more modern part seems very likely to fall before the ancient. Readers, beware! I did not find the Blarney stone by any means inaccessible, but perfectly easy of access. It is at the highest pinnacle of the old tower, with a very good winding stone staircase up to it. I ascended and kissed it; I have warned you of the consequence, and again I say, Readers, beware! In the house is a fine original whole-length picture of Charles the Twelfth King of Sweden, brought over by James Jefferys, Esq., son to Sir William Jefferys, the purchaser of the estate, who was envoy at the court of Sweden. This extraordinary character appears exactly such as he is described by Voltaire in his most entertaining Life of him; the countenance full of fire, but extremely wild, truly characteristic of the man. Alas! this valuable picture is suffering with every thing else from damp and neglect.

No place has greater capabilities of being rendered one of the most enchanting spots in the world. Were the old castle fitted up, and it has walls of a thickness which Time itself would with difficulty destroy; between that and what has been added, an excellent house might be made; and such are the natural advantages of the grounds, that very little would be wanting to render them truly beautiful. There have been delightful shrubberies, which might easily be restored. The castle stands on a rock, not very high, and below are fine meadows, with an ample stream flowing through them: there is plenty of wood, and a considerable lake at a short distance from the house, which furnishes  p.240 excellent trout: — in short, Nature has left little for Art to supply; and yet this charming spot is deserted, abandoned, looking wholly neglected and forlorn. Though I kissed the Blarney stone, I am not here exaggerating. The country beyond the immediate precincts of the castle is not very good; the slopes are pretty, but they are destitute of the greatest ornament to them, — wood. This place lies to the north-west of Cork.

The ground on the south side of the Lee is not so high as on the north side, but abounds alike with beautiful villas. Between two and three miles to the east, along this side, is Black-Rock, a point running down into the river, whence there is a very good view of the city. The rock is not lofty. A strong castle or fort was built here by the Lord Mountjoy in the reign of James the First, for the defence of the city: at present, the harbour being so fortified as to preclude any necessity of fortifications up the river, this is only used as a place of entertainment for parties. The mayor of Cork is by his office admiral of the harbour, and his courts of admiralty are held here; for which purpose, about seventy or eighty years ago, the sum of three hundred pounds was expended by the city in repairing the tower and making a handsome room for his use. On the first of August a grand entertainment is given at the Black-Rock by the city to the whole corporation. At a very pretty villa near this spot live Lady Chatterton and her daughters: she is the widow of Sir William Chatterton, a name much distinguished in his profession, the law. With this lady I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted by meeting her at Mr. Kean's house, and from her I received, in conjunction with Mr. and Mrs. Kean, great civilities: she is indeed a most pleasing amiable woman, truly a gentlewoman, and has three charming daughters, one married and two single. Her house stands very pleasantly, looking directly over the river to the Small island as it is called, formed by the river in going down to the harbour. In short, I have seldom in the space of ten days, which was the time I stayed at Cork, seen a greater variety of pleasant society.

One of these days was spent in a visit to the harbour, in which I accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Kean. We went by land to Monkstown upon the inner part of the harbour, where is a fine old castle standing at the summit of a wooded height above the village of Monkstown; — that lies directly upon the shore. Mr. and Mrs. Hewett, to whose house we went, had procured for the day a very nice schooner belonging to a gentleman at Monkstown, in which we had a delightful  p.241 sail all over the harbour. It is indeed a most noble one, capable of stowing the whole British navy, large as it is. The entrance is narrow, not a mile over, lying between Spike Island and a point of the main, but beyond this narrow entrance a most magnificent basin soon expands itself.

From the mouth of the harbour till past the city of Cork, a distance of full twelve miles, there is a continuity of islands. Spike Island, at the entrance of the harbour, is a rock of considerable extent, which has for a long time been fortified, but where immense additional works are now carrying on; some of them I could not help conceiving to be works of supererogation. A little town almost is made at the top of the rock; there are barracks for soldiers and officers, batteries mounted with cannon, vast magazines for military stores, immense reservoirs for water, &c. &c, and all inclosed within a deep ditch excavated in the solid rock; but lest the rock should happen to fall, a wall of very strong masonry is built up against it. This really does seem Irish, quite a work of supererogation for an Irish Catholic. Near this island is another, Hawlbowlin, which assists in breaking any force of winds and waves at the entrance of the harbour; and a little further to the west a third very small island or mere rock called Rocky Island. North of the harbour is a very considerable island five miles over, on which stands the town of Cove, running picturesquely along the declivity of the heights that rise directly from the water. This was formerly a poor little fishing-village; but since the great resort which the late wars have occasioned to Cork harbour, it has grown into a considerable town. The island is extremely fertile and well cultivated. It formerly went by the name of Barrymore's Island, from being the property of the Barrymore family. It is now called the Great Island, or Cove Island, but more commonly by the former name. It is not accessible by land from the western side, there is a ferry to it at a place called Passage; on the east side, where the channel is much narrower, there is a bridge. Further on is the Small Island; and some way further still, the island on which stands the city of Cork.

At the east end of the harbour, directly at the edge of it, is Rostellan the seat of the Marquis of Thomond: we sailed very near it. A conspicuous object in the grounds is a little temple in the Grecian style, dedicated to Mrs. Siddons. It will be remembered that the late Marquis of Thomond, then Earl of Inchiquin, married Miss Palmer, niece to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and that the  p.242 uncle and niece were both among the very great admirers of that great actress. The Marchioness seems to have inspired her Lord with all her own enthusiasm. There are several other noblemen's and gentlemen's seats round the harbour. At the south-west comer is a small creek called Crosshaven, with good anchorage for vessels; it runs behind a hill, which prevents its course being seen from the harbour. In the year 1589, Sir Francis Drake with five ships of war was chased by a very superior Spanish force, when he ran into Cork harbour, and took refuge in Crosshaven creek. The Spaniards sailed up the harbour as far as the vessels could go, but to the admiral's great astonishment nothing was to be seen of the ships which he had just chased in, and he went away utterly at a loss to account for a circumstance so extraordinary. At the head of the creek stood the castle of Carigoline, which in Queen Elizabeth's time was considered as impregnable; it is now entirely demolished.

The whole of this day was passed most pleasantly. We had a large company on board; Mr. Kean delighted the present audience with his singing, scarcely less than he had repeatedly charmed audiences with his acting. Major Hunter, a Scotch officer in garrison at Cork, amused us rather at the expense of his own countrymen, by many stories of them, and by acting the part of Sir Archy McSarcasm, which he did incomparably; he had not unfrequently been upon the stage as an amateur performer. We had besides several other very pleasant men of the party. The ladies were only Mrs. Kean, Miss Hewet, and myself.

The ships of war moor immediately before the town of Cove, where is deep water at a very little distance from the shore. From the shoaly nature of the river no vessels of any considerable size can get up to Cork, they unload at Passage, whence the cargoes are conveyed by small craft to the city. Lately a steam-boat has been set up which goes daily from Cork to Cove, and is found to answer extremely well. A scheme was at this time in agitation to work the packets which sail regularly between this place and Bristol by steam; but I have been told by those who have made the experiment, that though the steam-vessels answer very well upon the smooth surface of a river, they are extremely disagreeable upon the rough ocean.

The whole of this region appears to be limestone; the rocks on the north side of the river are so; they abound with small particles of iron, and where  p.243 the iron is much oxydated a dull red hue is imparted to the stone. Spike Island is a gray limestone intermingled profusely with opake white crystallizations of carbonate of lime. Rocky Island is a limestone mass, very much variegated with different shades of brown and yellow, according to the greater or less quantity of iron which it contains. The veins of crystalline matter occasionally exhibit an efflorescent character. Gems are sometimes found, but the occasions are not frequent. I saw in the possession of Lady Chatterton an amethyst set as a brooch, picked up very near the Black-Rock eight years before; nothing equal to it had been found since. It was scarcely to be distinguished from a foreign gem. But pebbles from the sea-shore may easily lead an inexperienced person astray; they are often quite foreign to the parts where they are found. I have one somewhat of the nature of blood-stone, picked up on the beach at Cromer in Norfolk; so different from any of the productions of that country, that it must have been brought by the waves from some very remote quarter. I found no organic remains in any of the rocks I examined hereabouts, nor could I learn that they ever exhibit any. Dr. Smith, in his History of Cork, says that there are marbles at Middleton, which is at the north-eastern point of a bay running up to the north-east of the great harbour. The county of Cork is the largest in Ireland.

The city of Cork has to boast of having been the birth-place of a very extraordinary genius and most eccentric character, the late Barry the painter; a man of whom it is eternally to be regretted that he suffered notions of independence pushed beyond what is compatible with the situation of man in this world, and a too tenacious adherence to certain eccentricities, to throw a cloud over genius destined, if it had been properly tempered, to carry his art far very far beyond what it was ever carried in this country. With this extraordinary man I had the pleasure of being much acquainted during the latter years of his life, and I can truly say that I never was in his company without retiring from it not less instructed than entertained. Never was mind more richly stored, never had tongue greater powers of eloquence in pouring forth his knowledge. The series of pictures painted by him for the Chamber of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures, in the Adelphi, will live for ages a lasting memorial of his genius to those who see them; — it is much to be regretted that they are not in a more public situation, where they would be more seen and their excellence consequently  p.244 more justly appreciated. Inshrined in a place scarcely ever visited but by the members of the Society, their existence is little known to the public at large. If many objections may be made to them, and no one can deny that there is much room for objection, the defects are amply compensated by the genius they display. The Olympic Games in particular shows a grandeur of conception which could only be the result of real greatness of mind. But Barry was impetuous in his temper, impatient of opposition, and indignant when he found others not carrying their ideas of the sublime nature of his art to an equal degree of elevation with his own. Hence arose the unfortunate differences with his brethren of the Academy which clouded his latter days. Could he but have bent a little to circumstances, not bowed so low as to degrade his talents, how much higher in public estimation would the productions of those talents have risen! for, with the public, the estimation of a man's talents will always depend to a certain degree upon the general suavity and urbanity of his manners. All cannot persuade themselves to take genius such as it is with the eccentricities usually attendant upon it; if it cannot conform partially with the ordinary usages of society, it is too much in danger of being ultimately neglected by society. It were perhaps to be wished that this were otherwise; but thus it ever has been, thus it probably ever will be.

In the Life and Works of Barry, published after his death, is a letter from Mr. Burke to him while he was in Italy, on the subject of regulating his temper. It is as fine a piece of writing as ever flowed from his pen, full of the most sound sense and excellent advice. Happy had it been, could the writer have applied his forcible precepts to himself, and set the example of what he so ably recommended.

 p.245

d11330e9694. Saint Patrick's Cathedral — Dr. Marsh's… Doubts about the Route on leaving…

Doubts about the Route on leaving Cork. — Googanebarra. — Visit to it abandoned. — Inishonan. — Valley from thence to Bandon. — Town of Bandon. — Castle Bernard. — Cloghnikelty. — Irish Funeral. — Sluggish Horse and talkative Driver. — Ross-Carbery. — Adventures there. — Talkative Girl at the Inn. — Offerings to Bacchus, and their Effects. — St. Fachnan. — Dean Swift 's Verses on this Coast. — Parish of Mirosash; Rocks, Arch, and Caves. — Glandore Bay.

When I was to leave Cork, the question was, which route among numerous ones offered to my choice I should pursue. My two great objects were now to see Glengariff the seat of Captain White, brother to Lord Bantry, upon Bantry-Bay, and to visit the Lakes of Killarney. Several people at Cork had talked to me of the lake of Googanebarra, the head of the river Lee, as a place extremely worth seeing, a romantic solitude in the midst of wild mountains; earnestly recommending my taking it in the way to Killarney, which might be done with little deviation from the direct road. I revolved this very much in my mind; — the description of the place awakened my curiosity, and I began to make more minute inquiries about both that and the access to it. In the course of these inquiries I was extremely perplexed, as I had often been before, with the contradictory accounts I heard: — of one thing only I could fully assure myself, that though talked of by every body, it had scarcely been seen by any body. Still further, I found that it lay wide of any high-road, or of any town or village where an inn was to be found. At length applying to Dr. Willes, he said he had never been there himself, but he showed me a painting of the spot done by a brother of his now resident in London, which he said would give me an idea of what was to be seen. It was indeed the representation of a fine, wild, romantic spot; a lake inclosed by lofty mountains, with a woody island in the midst, on which is a hermitage where St. Finbar for many years lived a recluse. It is now the not unfrequent resort of devotees, from an idea of its sanctity. As to the access to it, Dr. Willes told me that  p.246 from his brother's report he conceived it to be very bad indeed; that no carriage, or even horse, could get nearer than within two miles, from whence the walk was over the sides of boggy mountains. This account settled my determination: I had had some experience of walking over boggy mountains, in going up Knock-Laid; and content with that, I was not very much inclined to repeat the walk. Climbing hard rocks, where the footing is firm, is an easy task in comparison with wading over bog; my courage was not equal to the undertaking, and I abandoned the idea of visiting Googanebarra. What route then should I take? — Should I go first to Killarney, and thence to Bantry-Bay, or vice versa? At length I resolved upon going by Ross-Carbery and Skibbereen to Bantry and Glengariff, and afterwards to Killarney. Accordingly, I departed from Cork on the sixth of September, early in the morning, intending to get that night to Skibbereen. I stopped to breakfast at Inishonan on the Bandon river. This was formerly a walled town of considerable note, but is now reduced to a village, having, however, several very pretty houses. An extensive linen manufactory is carried on here, and there are large bleach-grounds by the river-side. Above the river and meadows is a fine wood, on the declivity of a steep slope, through which are cut many pretty walks. It belongs to Mr. Travers. Soon after quitting the village is a remarkably pretty view, looking back to it along the dell in which it stands. In the foreground is a very good bridge over the river, beyond which are the steep wooded slopes; and in the back the village church, with a handsome tower rising above the trees. The road continues along the dell, by the riverside, winding with the dell and river, all the way to Bandon, three miles. In one spot is a venerable ruin of an old castle at the edge of the river, with a bridge close by, forming an extremely good picture.

Bandon is a large town, consisting of a very long street running through it, but scarcely containing one tolerable house. The first Earl of Cork was the great founder of this town: it appears at that time to have been walled, and a place of considerable strength, since he writes thus of it to Secretary Cook in the year 1632: "Upon conference with the commissioners, I have been desirous to satisfy myself whether the works done by the Londoners at Derry, or mine at Bandon-Bridge, exceed each other. All that are judicial, and have carefully viewed them both, and compared every part of them together, do  p.247 confidently assert, that the circuit of my new town of Bandon-Bridge is more in compass than that of Londonderry; that my walls are stronger, thicker, and higher than theirs, only they have a strong rampier within, which Bandon-Bridge wanteth; that there is no comparison between their forts and mine, there being in my town three, each containing twenty-six rooms, the castles with the turrets and flankers being all platformed with lead and prepared with ordnance, and the buildings of my town, both for the number of the houses and goodness of building, far beyond theirs. In my town there is built a strong bridge over the river, two large session-houses, two market-houses, with two fair churches; which churches are so filled every Sabbath day with neat, orderly, and religious people, as it would comfort any good heart to see the change, and behold such assemblies; no popish recusant or unconforming novelist being admitted to live in all the town. The place where Bandon-Bridge is situated is upon a great district of the country, and was within the last twenty-four years a mere waste bog and wood, serving for a retreat and harbour to wood-kernes, rebels, thieves, and wolves; and yet now, God be ever praised! is as civil a plantation as most in England, being for five miles round all in effect planted with English protestants. I write not this out of any vainglory; yet as I, who am but a single man, have erected such works, why should not the rich and magnificent city of London rather exceed than fall short of such performances?"

Assuredly there is no appearance remaining of a place of so much consideration, excepting the bridge. For a long succession of years not a Catholic was suffered to live in this town, nor were the bagpipes allowed to be played in it, that having been the music in use among the rebels of those times. About a quarter of a mile westward of the town is Castle Bernard, originally the residence of the O'Mahony family, and called Castle Mahony. From them it passed into the family of Bernard, since created barons of Bandon. By them a new house was built in the year 1715. The park is spacious. Between this place and Cloghnikelty there are some very good points of view.

Cloghnikelty, twenty-two miles from Cork, is a small town standing at the head of a little bay of the same name. This bay is, however, so choked with sand and mud, that it affords no advantages of navigation to the town. On the shore of the bay, near the sea, was once a castle called Arundel-castle.  p.248 The town is built in the form of a cross, and has a good church standing on a rising ground, but it is altogether a dirty poor-looking place. It was a flourishing and commercial town, carrying on a great linen-trade before the civil-wars of 1641, but during that period was burnt down, and has never recovered the catastrophe. As I was sauntering about here while the horse was taking his refreshment, I heard a very strange noise, which I did not understand, and saw a great concourse of people coming along the road towards where I was. I could not imagine what this meant; and inquiring, I was told that it was a funeral. I had often heard of the noise, the sort of yell used by the poorer sort of Catholics on these occasions, but had never till now heard it. Indeed it is impossible, without hearing it, to form an idea of any thing so dreadfully discordant. It is to be presumed that, intended by those who utter it as an expression of grief, it is considered by them as extremely plaintive and affecting; but to ears unseasoned to it, nothing could appear less so. The coffin was laid upon one of the common Irish cars, drawn by one horse, and around was a prodigious concourse of people, more women then men, and they seemed very much to out-vociferate the men; they were all in long blue cloth cloaks. As the funeral proceeds on its way, it is commonly joined by still increasing numbers, and in going through a town or village the noise is redoubled, so that I, being in a town, heard it to perfection. I could not perceive any sign of tears, or the least symptom of real grief upon the countenance of any person attending.

I found from my first setting out in the morning that my horse, which I had hired at Cork, was not at all of a high-mettled breed; in truth, I never saw a more sluggish animal. The driver was a true specimen of his country; he had something to say to every body we met, but being commonly in Irish, I could not understand his witticisms: when he had nobody else to speak to, he addressed his horse with an incessant exhortation of "Come along, my man!" but his exhortations were vain; it was impossible to inspire the animal with any greater celerity of motion. Indeed, he appeared so wearied by the time we got to Cloghnikelty, that if I had seen any thing like a tolerable appearing inn, I should have stopped there for the night; but the houses of entertainment for travellers, carried with them so little appearance of affording even tolerable comfort, that I determined to go on to Ross, six miles further, which I knew to be a city and a bishop's see, and concluded must therefore afford something better.

 p.249

To Ross then we proceeded, though I was more than once in doubt whether our miserable animal would have got on so far. The approach to this town is extremely pretty; the whole coast is broken into innumerable little bays, and upon a slope above one of them stands the town with its very very small cathedral, looking like a little village church, the spire rising prettily above all the surrounding objects. Ross Bay, like the bay of Cloghnikelty, is extremely choked with sand and mud, so that a causeway has been raised across it, not far from the head, leaving only a channel for the water to come up, over which there is a bridge; at low water the whole is a muddy strand. Along this causeway the town is approached. When we entered the city, and inquired for the best inn, our attention was directed to a miserable-looking place, at the distance of only a few doors from us, looking many degrees worse than those I had despised at Cloghnikelty; indeed, it made me think most truly, that it is commonly far better
" — to bear the ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of."
But there was no remedy; here we must stay for the night: and alighting from my car, I walked into the inn. A parlour I quickly saw was a thing entirely out of the question: but I asked whether I could have a bed. The landlady hesitated; and at length said, she was afraid none that I should like, their best bed-chamber was engaged for the night, and the other was but a sorry one; if I would like, however, she would show it to me. There was nothing left but to take such as I could get, and I desired to see it: truly it was a sorry one; but the landlady began to lay her plans how it could be rendered a little decent and comfortable, when up came the landlord. He said, that he thought the lady might have the best bed-chamber, for the gentleman who had it the night before, only said when he went away, that he might, perhaps, want it again, and he did not therefore think they were bound to keep it for him; to be sure he had left his portmanteau, as if he thought of coming, but then he could never be angry at being put into another room to accommodate a lady. To all this the landlady assented; and it was agreed between them that I might be shown to this chamber. Thither then I went; and found it much cleaner and more comfortable than the general physiognomy of the house and the wretchedness of the staircase up to it gave reason to expect.

 p.250

I took possession, rejoiced at this amendment in my prospect for the night, consoling myself with the idea that in case of the other claimant to the room making his appearance, possession was nine points of the law. I ordered tea and eggs, my usual meal at the end of a day's journey, which were served very neatly, with excellent bread and butter, the daughter of the house, a girl about twelve years of age, officiating as waiter. When she had arranged every thing in nice order, I perceived that she still lingered in the room as if more disposed to stay than to retire, and I said that she need not wait. Oh, she said, she must stop and fill the teapot, that would be too much trouble for me; and drawing nearer she sat herself down on the edge of the bed, and entered into conversation. She supposed I had come along the new road made over the strand. I answered that I had. — Wasn't it a very curious thing? 'Twas quite admired by every body in the neighbourhood; a great deal more quality came that way than used to do; and she supposed there was going to be quite a great inn set up just at the end of the road, such as the quality would like to stop at. I always found that among the lower classes of the Irish all gentry were quality. At this time a number of new roads were made, or in making, over various parts of the country, which had been previously very ill provided in this respect, and they were the great subject of conversation and admiration with every body. My companion was so extremely full of them that she was not able to refrain from talking upon the favourite theme, and was brim full with visions of the extraordinary effects that were to be produced by them. I had been told of two remarkable cavities in the rocks upon the sea-shore here, and I next asked her about them. Her eloquence had now a new direction, and she poured out a number of wonderful stories concerning these caves. They resemble the craters of volcanos, but have a communication with the sea below at the foot of the rocks, which dashes in with a great noise, while the sound is finely reverberated by the echo of the deep cavern. In calm weather a boat may row into them, and parties of pleasure are sometimes made for the purpose; but I should conceive it always rather a dangerous experiment. A great deal of quality, my lassie said, came to see them, but for her part she wondered at them very much. Why now, once there was a poor girl fell into one, and though a boat was sent in directly to search for her, she was never to be found; people had very odd thoughts about it. — "What do they think?" I inquired. "Why it was very odd  p.251 that not a bit of her should ever be found, something must have had her." — I could not, however, make out what that something was supposed to be. Any where else I should have had no doubt who, or what, the suspected something was; in Ireland, far from being the parent of sin, it might not improbably be a saint.

Ten o'clock having arrived without hearing any thing of the apprehended claimant to the room, I thought myself perfectly secure, and went quietly to bed. And here I must observe, that wherever I went in Ireland, let the appearance of the inn be ever so poor, there were always nice sheets to the bed, perfectly clean and white; so it was here: indeed I must say that my accommodations were in every way superior to what could be expected from the first appearance of the house. About twelve o'clock I was awakened first by a violent noise below, which gradually ascended the staircase, and then by a lump against the chamber door, which I was a little apprehensive must have broken it open; but immediately I heard half a dozen voices endeavouring to soothe and pacify the invader; some, as I found from what passed, having got hold of him to prevent any further manual attacks. It was the gentleman returned; and having been taking in potations pottle deep, instead of being inspired with the excess of gallantry, so often consequent upon such sacrifices to Bacchus, the very reverse was the case in the present instance, since I more than once heard, "I don't care for the lady — I will have my room." At length, however, partly by soothing, but rather more I believe by main force, he was carried away, and I heard no more of him; only the landlady came in the morning with a great many apologies for the disturbance.

The name of a city and cathedral conveys the idea of a place of some consequence; but Ross, or Ross-Carbery, which is the proper name, though the latter part is commonly sunk, is scarcely more than a village: it stands on a considerable height, directly above the bay, and the new road is carried at its foot, not going through the town. Here were two or three good-looking new houses, and here was to be the projected inn. If there is traffic enough to support the road and inn, the latter will be a great acquisition to the country. In ancient times this town was called Ross-Alithri, the Field of Pilgrimage, and was of much more importance than at present; it is even said in some of the old chronicles that here was an university, to which all the youth in the south-west part of Ireland were sent for education; nay that many even came from England.  p.252 The cathedral was founded by Saint Fachnan, a saint held to this day in great reverence among the Catholics of the neighbourhood; they celebrate his festival on the sixteenth of August with prodigious ceremony. He used to pray daily on the side of a hill a little way out of the town, and one day forgetting to bring his prayer-book away with him, it remained there all night. In the night a great quantity of rain fell, but the book was preserved from injury by angels, who built a chapel over it. The same saint is reputed to have founded an abbey at Ross; but if there ever was one, no vestiges of it remain. This see was united to that of Cork in 1586.

The next morning I visited the caves or holes, which are really tremendous. They are a hundred-and-eighty feet deep, and lie three hundred yards from the cliffs, communicating with the sea by cavities under the cliffs. They are called East and West Pouladuff. Who can see this coast broken into numberless little bays and promontories, contemplate the vast caves and overhanging cliffs, and listen to the roar of the waters reverberated by the mighty echoes, — who, witnessing these things, and being at the same time acquainted with Dean Swift's beautiful lines, Carberia Rupes in Comitatu Corgagensi apud Hybernicos, can avoid immediately recurring to them? They are so finely descriptive of the scenery, that I trust I shall be excused citing them at length, in the much approved translation of Mr. Dunkin.

    Carbery Rocks, in the County of Cork, Ireland.

  1. Lo! from the top of yonder Cliff that shrouds
    Its airy head amidst the azure clouds
    Hangs a huge fragment; destitute of props
    Prone on the wave the rocky Ruin drops. —
    With hoarse rebuff the swelling seas rebound,
    From Shore to Shore the Rocks return the sound:
    The dreadful murmur Heaven's high Concave cleaves,
    And Neptune shrinks beneath his subject waves;
    For long the whirling winds and beating tides
    Had scoop'd a vault into its nether sides.
    Now yields the Base, the Summit nods, now urge
    Their headlong course, and lash the sounding surge,
    Not louder noise could shake the guilty world
    When Jove heap'd mountains upon mountains hurl'd p.253
    Retorting Pelion from his dread abode,
    To crush Earth's rebel Sons beneath the load.
    Oft too with hideous yawn the Cavern wide
    Presents an Orifice on either side,
    A dismal Orifice from Sea to Sea
    Extended, pervious to the God of Day:
    Uncouthly join'd, the rocks stupendous form
    An Arch, the victim of some future storm,
    While on the Cliff their nests the Woodquests make
    And Sea-Calves stable in the oozy lake.
    But when bleak Winter with his sullen train
    Awakes the winds to vex the watery plain,
    When o'er the craggy steep without controul,
    Big with the blast, the raging billows roll;
    Not Towns beleaguer'd, not the flaming brand
    Darted from heaven by Jove's avenging hand,
    When oft on impious men his wrath he pours,
    Humbles their Pride, and blasts their gilded Towers
    — Equal the tumult of this wild uproar,
    Waves rush o'er waves, shore echoes back to shore.
    The neighbouring race though wont to brave the shocks
    Of angry seas, and run along the rocks,
    Now pale with terror as the Ocean foams
    Fly far and wide, nor trust their native homes.
    The Goats, while pendent from the shaggy top
    The wither'd herb improvident they crop,
    Wash'd down the precipice with sudden sweep,
    Leave their meek lives beneath th' unfathom'd deep;
    Th' affrighted Fisher with desponding eyes
    For safety trembling to the harbour flies,
    And to behold the skies again serene
    Wearies with vows the Monarch of the Main.

These verses were written in June 1723, the whole of which summer was spent by the Dean with a clergyman in the parish of Miros in this neighbourhood, when he frequently amused himself with little aquatic excursions. The parish of Miros runs along the western side of another of these little inlets of the sea called Glandore Bay, somewhat to the west of Ross Bay. At Miros is a rocky arch, where he used to embark, and near the entrance of Castlehaven Bay,  p.254 an inlet still more to the west, are several caves running from the sea under the rocks, into which boats can row; the caves are low at the entrance, but the arch is much more lofty in the interior; the swell of the sea within is so great as often to close up the arch at the entrance, thus leaving navigators who have ventured to trust themselves within, in profound darkness. It is obvious, therefore, that it is more adventurous than prudent in any one to penetrate into them, since the boat may be thrown up at the low entrance by a sudden swell and dashed against the top of the rock to the infinite hazard of every life in it. There are said to be numbers of seals, or sea-calves, all along this coast, which inhabit these rocks and caves very much.

From the caves I proceeded by the new-made road, indeed an excellent one, to Skibbereen. We passed along the head of Glandore Bay, which is really beautiful. It winds so much up from the sea that no outlet appears, so that it presents the idea of an inclosed lake. There are fine bold rocks in various parts, and directly at the head is some gentleman's seat, though I could never learn his name. The house stands almost at the water's edge with wooded slopes rising all round it; a little stream which runs into the bay skirts a part of the woods; over it is a most picturesque old bridge of one lofty arch, entirely overgrown with ivy. I can scarcely conceive altogether any thing more beautiful; it has much the character of the scenery about Rostrevor and the Bay of Carlingford. A little further on in the road to Skibbereen is an exceeding pretty group of five or six small lakes all together, with rocks not lofty, but very picturesquely disposed about them.

 p.255

25. The Lying-in Hospital — The Rotunda… Skibbereen. — A new Addition to…

Skibbereen. — A new Addition to the Miseries of Human Life. — Black-Rock, the Seat of Lord Bantry. — Whiddy's Island in the Bay of Bantry. — The Town of Bantry. — Bantry Bay. — Great Fisheries. — The French Fleet. — Glengariff. — More friendly Advice. — Toilsome Route over the Mountains. — Kenmare Town. — The Kenmare River. — Route from Kenmare to Killarney. — Valley of the Kenmare River. — Glan-Flesk. — Fila-Down. — Arrival at Killarney.

Skibbereen stands upon the river Ilen, which about five miles from thence runs into Baltimore Bay; it was anciently called Stapletown, but what occasioned the change in its name, or when it took place, does not appear. It is a town of some extent, and from the number of new houses recently started up, appears to be increasing in prosperity; there are, however, whole streets, and not very short ones, consisting entirely of the wretched mud cabins of the peasants. The lands about produce a good deal of flax, and manufactories both of linen and woollen are carried on; but the principal objects of commerce in the town are corn, butter, and salted fish, of which considerable quantities are exported. The quantity of fish taken in Baltimore Bay is prodigious.

From our first setting out in the morning I found my horse very little the better for his night's stay at Ross; in short, it now appeared from the driver that he was not in the habit of going in a pleasure car, only in the common working cars, and was wholly unaccustomed to any other than the crawling foot-pace they go; but his master did not suppose I should make long days journeys, not above ten or twelve miles a day, so he thought he would answer my purpose very well. He should rather have said that he would answer his own purpose very well, for as I was to pay by the day for the use of him, he might think ten or twelve miles a sufficient day's journey. I thought quite otherwise; and having brought the man to this confession, I should have sent him back to Cork from Skibbereen could I have hired another: that I could not do, and I was obliged to take him on to Bantry, sixteen miles further. What a tedious sixteen  p.256 miles did I find it! It occupied six hours; I sometimes doubted whether it would be possible to get him on to Bantry at all. There, however, we did at length arrive, just before dark. The former part of the road was indeed, to add to the torment of the thing, very bad, a rocky mountainous cross road; this continued for six miles; the remainder of the way was along one of the new-made roads, and an excellent one. In the next edition published of the Miseries of Human Life, I will beg the facetious author to enrol among his Miseries the being six hours going from Skibbereen to Bantry, with a tired horse scarcely able to set one foot before the other; — I found it a most superlative MISERY. The whole way is a continuation of mountain scenery presenting some good points of view, but in general rather barren and uninteresting. In one place is a very good waterfall, not lofty, but the water rushing in profusion down several different channels. About four miles from Bantry, from a pretty considerable eminence, is a very fine view of the spacious mouth of Bantry Bay, with the magnificent rocks by which it is formed.

About two miles from the town the road comes down to the edge of the bay, and continues to coast it; along an artificial causeway thrown up at the foot of the heights, quite up to the town. About half a mile from the town is Black-Rock, the seat of Lord Bantry. This is the third Black-Rock we have seen in different parts of Ireland; — near Dublin, near Cork, and at this place; — not one of them answering to the idea which the name seems to present, of dark shaggy towering masses. The nature of the rocks in Dublin Bay has been noticed; at Cork it is a pale limestone rock, at the utmost from twenty to thirty feet above the river; and here at Bantry, though a considerable slope, the whole is covered with green meadow and wood. One is at a loss to imagine what has given occasion to the name in any of the three places. Lord Bantry's house stands upon the slope, not at a great height above the causeway, looking directly over a sort of basin which forms the upper part of the bay, being separated from the great bay by Whiddy's Island stretching nearly across, leaving only a small channel on each side; beyond are the fine bold rocks that skirt the bay. Nothing can exceed in grandeur and sublimity the scenery all round this vast inlet of the sea; rocks every where tower to a vast height above the water in a variety of forms, tracing a grand wavy outline as far as the eye can reach.

Whiddy's is a large island containing a thousand Irish acres. It is the property  p.257 of Lord Bantry, and was formerly occupied by the deer-park, but is now let out into farms. On the island are two lakes very near each other, the one of fresh the other of salt water. The soil affords great variety for so small a space, exhibiting bog, rocks, sand, and stiff clay. The parts cultivated are remarkable for their fertility; the sheep fed here grow to a great size and become extremely fat, though the sheep of the country in general are very small. There are several smaller islands scattered about, on which is some pasture ground, reckoned very salutary for the recovery of diseased horses, particularly for restoring such as have fallen away from too much work. My driver would have done well to have left his miserable animal on one of these islands; though indeed he did not look lean as if he was starved; his malady was, I believe, innate sluggishness of nature — that he had no idea horses were ever expected to move faster.

The town of Bantry, which stands almost at the head of the bay, is not large, but has one good street, with a very comfortable inn. Its ancient name was Ballygobbin; it was also for a while called the Old Town, another settlement having been made to the north of it, where, in the time of Oliver Cromwell, Ireton had fortifications erected: many people in consequence emigrated from the old to the new establishment. But afterwards, when the country was restored to tranquillity, these fortifications were neglected and suffered to fall into decay, and the Old Town was found to be more eligibly situated from its immediate vicinity to the bay, so that the New Town in its turn was deserted, and the old one has ever since flourished under its present name. Near it once stood a Franciscan abbey, founded in the fifteenth century by the O'Sullivans, a sept of great distinction in the country, but no trace of it now remains.

The bay is twenty-six miles in length, and in some places nine miles over; it is esteemed the finest bay in all Ireland; the depth of water in the midst is forty fathoms. About fifty or sixty years back the town of Bantry carried on a great trade in salted herrings and pilchards, from the immense quantities taken in the bay; they were principally exported to Spain, Portugal, and Italy. It is a remarkable thing that in these hot countries, where the climate naturally produces a great propensity to thirst, the inhabitants seem particularly fond of strong thirst-creating kinds of food, such as the salted and dried herrings of our  p.258 country, the cod of Newfoundland, and the anchovies and sardines of their own seas; not to mention their caviare, and potargo or poutargue, two of the very strongest species of food that can be imagined. We might also instance the excessive love of garlick and of high-spiced dishes in hot countries; one should have supposed these kinds of food more suited to cold northern climates, and such as are of a milder nature to southern latitudes. So great was the fishery formerly in Bantry Bay, that in the year 1749 a Mr. Mead obtained a premium from the Dublin Society for having caught and cured within the year 880,000 fish, reckoning six score to the hundred. Another person, about the same period, cured in one year 482,500 herrings and pilchards, and two hundred and thirty-four barrels of sprats. This immense swarm of fish ceased soon after; and for many years the numerous stages erected round the bay for curing them have been neglected and useless. The bay still yields fish in plenty of various kinds, but not in this extraordinary profusion. The O'Sullivans of old had a vast property here, and several houses, or palaces as they were called; one at a place called Rinedizart was demolished by a ship of war in Cromwell's time. A very remarkable account is given in Mr. Weld's Killarney of the lineal descendant of one branch of this family, who now lives a humble cottager in the mountainous regions of these parts, yet has preserved the pedigree of his family, which proves his descent indisputably. Three small rivers run into the bay, and at Hungry-hill, the highest point among the rocks that surround it, seven hundred yards above the water, is a cascade, sometimes pouring profusely from a vast height down the mountain side, at other times quite dry.

It is needless to remark how much this bay became the subject of public notice and eager attention in the year 1796, when a French fleet was for some time moored there. I must however observe upon the extreme inaccuracy with which this circumstance is mentioned in The Traveller's Guide. It says that the fleet was fitted out by the Consulate at the solicitation of the United Irishmen. Now at that time the Consulate was not established in France, the executive government was in the Directory. Again, it says that the fleet was dispersed in the Bay of Bantry; on the contrary, they had quitted the bay before their dispersion. Having waited there in vain for the arrival of the General, Hoche, who was to command the land forces, and who was to follow the fleet in a frigate, but owing to a storm was prevented joining them, they, after expecting  p.259 him in vain as long as the admiral judged expedient, sailed off. It seems to have been a most ill-chosen spot for the success of their enterprise, since the immense rocks, which surround the bay every where, must have presented a natural obstacle, almost insurmountable, to a landing ever being effected. Since that time fortifications have been erected at different parts about the bay, particularly on some islands near the entrance; but the breadth of water is such that vessels might always, in sailing up, keep out of reach of the batteries; the difficulty of landing presents a much more powerful obstacle to invasion from this quarter than can be offered by any fortifications art could raise. There is no strand about the bay; the rocks rise in some places directly from the water, in others almost close to it.

The first thing to be done on arriving at Bantry was to institute an inquiry for a horse to proceed with the next day. One was at length procured; but the owner said it would be impossible to get from thence to Killarney in one day as I expected, since, from the mountainous nature of the country, an immense circuit must be made. It was determined then, after visiting Glengariff, to proceed to Kenmare town on the Kenmare river, from which place there would be an easy journey on the following day to Killarney; I might be there by twelve or one o'clock. He said that from Glengariff we must return full half way to get into the road to Kenmare, and we should then find it a bad mountain road.

In the morning we set off for Glengariff, going quite round the head of the bay, through a great deal of fine wild mountain scenery. In the bay are several little creeks or inlets; on one of them, where ten years ago was nothing but wild and desolate rocks, or bog, has Captain White formed almost a paradise. He has built a very pretty house in a spot delightfully sheltered by rocks from the north and east winds, open to the south, looking over the basin of the sea below. He has converted bogs into rich lawns and meadows, and clothed the naked rocks, which in their nudity presented the finest forms, with beautiful plantations, all looking extremely thriving and healthy. The house is not large, but an exceeding good gentleman's house, handsomely fitted up with mahogany doors, window-shutters, and window-frames to the principal rooms. The drawing-room opens into a pretty conservatory. Mrs. White, I was informed, has a fine collection of old china; but the family were at this time absent;  p.260 and it could not be seen. Some handsome pieces were standing as ornaments to the rooms. There is a fine lawn before the house lying in beautiful inequalities, with a walk and shrubbery round it at the edge of the rocks bordering the sea. Among the shrubs are openings at intervals, to give a view of the water: about the more distant rocks are plantations, showing charming undulations of green, according to the forms of the rocks. The gardener, in walking about with me, pointed out a very fine piece of meadow-ground, which, he said, five years before was mere bog; it was now as rich pasture as could be seen. Hydrangeas were growing in the greatest luxuriance; but the flowers, no doubt from some peculiarity in the soil, had acquired the tint of the lilac, or perhaps a shade more inclining to the purple. Very fine myrtles were also planted in the grounds, having no other protection in the winter but being sheltered towards the north by the high rocks, and being fully exposed to the south sun.

The little bay on which this lovely place is formed, is in itself very pretty and picturesque, having fine rocks all round it, and an insulated rock not quite in the centre, though nearly so, on which is a temple. The gardener said he lived near this place when the French fleet was in the bay, and that some of the boats would not unfrequently come into the creek, sometimes fishing, sometimes appearing to be taking soundings. He pointed out the part in which the fleet was moored, which was nearly off the entrance to the creek. Probably here was one of the spots where a landing might have been attempted with greater prospect of success than in most. From the western end of this little bay runs up a valley for about three miles, which may truly be called the Valley of Rocks, though even in this rugged place Captain White has succeeded in raising a plantation for a considerable way. From all I learnt here and at Bantry, it appeared to me that Lord Bantry and Captain White are among those truly praiseworthy gentlemen who spend the greatest part of their time upon their estates, using every exertion to improve the agriculture of the country, and to excite the industry and promote the comfort of the inhabitants: — these are the people to whom Ireland must look up for a hope of its situation ever being rendered such as philanthropy would wish; they are the true patriots of the country. When I first began to inquire at Bantry about hiring a horse, the waiter of the inn said he hardly thought I should be able to get one,  p.261 but he was sure, if I would only write a note to Lord Bantry, and say how I was situated, His Lordship would readily lend me one. To think of such an intrusion was entirely out of the question, but the waiter's idea spoke in very strong terms the character this nobleman must have in his neighbourhood for liberality and hospitality. Much of the general character a man bears may be collected from these trifling circumstances. Dr. Smith, in his History of Cork, written nearly seventy years ago, mentions great attention being paid at that time to agriculture, by Richard White, Esq. of Bantry, particularly the draining a bog and converting it into a fine meadow, affording double the quantity of hay that was mown off an equal portion of any other land. If he who makes two blades of corn grow where one only had grown before be a true benefactor to his country, he who from a dreary waste draws rich food for the cattle — to which man looks up for so much of his nourishment and so many of his comforts in life — is not less so.

After having walked about the grounds, returning towards the house I found my servant and the driver of the car in earnest conversation with three gentlemen. As I approached, my servant came up to me, and said that those gentlemen had been very much recommending our not going back along the road we had come, and from thence taking the usual road to Kenmare town; they said it would be much better to pursue our course along the valley, and then going over the mountains that close it, we should come into a very good road all the way to Kenmare. It was, they said, a much shorter route, and we should miss an ugly place in the other road called The Priest's Leap; they had just come from Kenmare in a jingle along this road, and could assure me it was very safe and good, in one place excepted, where it was rather steep and rocky for a few yards; there it would be necessary to have a couple of men to push the car up behind, but we should go through a little village just before, and could easily get men from thence.

All this sounded so very plausible that I readily listened to it. I inquired, however, whether the way was difficult to be found? No, it was such a marked track, though not a regular made road, that it was impossible to miss it; indeed, when once over the mountain we must follow the course of the valleys into which we should descend. I had heard of The Priest's Leap, the driver  p.262 talked of it as an ugly place, and seemed very desirous of following the proposed route to miss it: besides, hearing all this from people who had the instant before come this way, in a jingle too, a four-wheeled carriage, much more heavy, awkward, and unsuited to bad roads than my car, there seemed no good reason for hesitation, and with thanks to the gentlemen for their advice I determined to follow it.

Ascending the car, then, we pursued our course along the valley very prosperously for some way through Captain White's fine plantations, till at length we came to complete wild and rocky scenery. The driver expressed much satisfaction at missing The Priest's Leap, and seemed to think there was great reason to felicitate ourselves upon the encounter with the gentlemen. However, as we advanced among the wild rocks, the road at every minute grew worse and worse; and I began to suspect that good roads meant one thing in the dictionary of the Kerry mountains, and another in the dictionaries in more general use. At length we came to the village talked of. Only one man was to be procured to help the car up the steep place, but he said some of the boys would do as well as another man; and in an instant we were surrounded by some half score ragged urchins, who among them all had scarcely so much clothing as would make one efficient suit. We pursued our way; but the further we got, the worse did we find this good road. I descended from my car, and walked on before; the driver descended and led the horse; my servant descended and helped, in conjunction with the man and boys, to push the car behind; not at one place only, but every ten or twenty yards: and all this time we were still in the valley, we were not yet come to the proper ascent of the mountain. The driver for a while seemed still happy at avoiding The Priest's Leap, and cracked his jokes with great volubility upon the road, and the vast broken masses of rock with which the valley was scattered over, encouraging the boys to exert their strength in pushing, or occasionally in holding back the car, for there were steep places to descend no less than to ascend. In one place was an immense block of stone standing up perpendicularly, probably thirty feet in length, by ten in breadth and height, a cubical parallelogram, almost as regularly formed as if it had been hewn: — "Arrah, by Jasus!" he exclaimed, "if that fellow isn't as fine a mountaineer as ever a man set his  p.263 two good-looking eyes upon." The chief of his conversation was, however, carried on in Irish; but it was all probably tinctured with the quaintness of the country, since it excited many a hearty laugh among his companions.

At length, after toiling on and on without any amendment of the ways, having a terrible steep before us which must be ascended, his spirit began somewhat to be shaken, he became more grave and silent, only now and then wondering how their honours ever could recommend such a road. Indeed I was impressed with the same wonder; I should have thought their having come over it was a reason rather to warn us against it, than to advise us to follow it. To go back was, however, now as bad or worse than to go forward; and the man who accompanied us from the village, assured us that when we got to the other side of the mountain we should find the road really good, only the descent somewhat steep. In the height of his despair the poor driver was at last driven to say, "We had much better have gone by The Priest's Leap — by Jasus 'tis n't above half as bad as this." Till now, that seemed to have been in his idea the ultimatum of every thing that was to be deprecated. At length after immense toil the summit of the mountain was reached, when indeed a better prospect did present itself; it was no longer a scene of shaggy broken rocks like what we had passed over, but a level surface covered with a green turf; the descent was, however, at first so steep that I would not remount the car, but waited till we got to a more gradual declivity, when I had walked at least five miles. How a jingle ever could get along such a road I cannot to this moment comprehend; nor how three men could impose the task upon one poor horse to draw them over it; or, if they had no humanity towards the horse, how they could endure the jolting of the carriage over the blocks of stone which were very often not to be avoided.

I had collected some specimens of the rock masses immediately about Glengariff, I collected some other pieces in the course of this walk. Mr. Weld says, that the prevailing character of the rocks about Bantry Bay is an argillaceous schistus, but that he observed a great variety of stones where there was any beach, and among them many large boulders of granite; he says also that some of the summits of the mountains consist of siliceous rock. Among the pieces which I collected were some of a red sandstone, but most were argillaceous schist, some having an appearance of chlorite. Mr. Weld also says, that  p.264 there is limestone at the head of the bay: — to that I can say nothing. I thought our drivers mountaineer looked very like a granite block; but so many lesser mountaineers were scattered about, that it was not very easy to get up to him and examine him.

The whole remainder of the route, very near to Kenmare, was through a wild and hilly region; but they were chiefly green slopes, with a smooth level road. In the midst of these wilds were a number of people, to the amount of perhaps nearly a hundred, assembled in one spot. On inquiry what had brought them together, I found it was to celebrate the day of some saint to whom a little chapel close by was dedicated. About half a mile before the bridge over the Kenmare river we came into the direct road from Cork to Kenmare. The approach to the river is very pretty, the road winding down a wooded hill, with several good views of the river. This river, as it is called, though it is difficult to say why, is another great estuary or arm of the sea, of not much less extent than Bantry Bay, with the difference, that it gradually contracts till it receives the stream, which alone should properly be called the Kenmare river. Over this part is a very picturesque bridge of two lofty arches, in a pretty little village: looking either way from this bridge a fine view presents itself; one way up the valley and mountainous country through which the stream flows, the other way looking down this grand estuary with its rocky boundaries. Kenmare town lies on the western shore of the bay, about a mile and half from this bridge. Our poor horse seemed very much tired; but he was to be forgiven, he had had a toilsome day. I do not think he would ever recommend the road through the valley of Glengariff.

Kenmare town has only within a few years been known by that name: it was formerly called Nedheen, and indeed is now almost universally called so by the country-people of the neighbourhood. The town is small, but there are some good-looking new houses. A new inn was also nearly finished, built rather upon a magnificent scale. This not being yet inhabited, I went to one close by, where were very comfortable accommodations. There is nothing striking in the country near the town; but in going down the estuary, very fine scenery is presented in many places. Mr. Weld mentions the Blackwater river and bridge over it, and gives a beautiful engraving of it; and I have an engraving of a remarkably fine rock which projects into the water. Artists say  p.265 that there is no bay on the coast which abounds so much with striking pictures. The Marquis of Lansdowne has a house at Kenmare; a pretty lodge, but nothing more. The prevailing stone of this country is a gray limestone.

The next day I proceeded onwards to Killarney. There are two roads, — one very mountainous, I suspect not much better than the valley of Glengariff; the other extremely circuitous, but the road good, and going all the way through valleys. For six miles it continues by the side of the Kenmare river (the river, not the estuary), to a very fine spot which may be called the head of the river, since several rills, running down from the mountains in different directions, unite to form the stream. Here is a bridge, with the water from these several rills tumbling through it over broken masses of rock, while no outlet from the valley appears: it seems as if it was closed impenetrably, that its secrets were no further to be explored. It is altogether a very fine scene. Yet on a sudden arriving at a projecting mass of rock, the road is seen to turn round it; and after a moderate ascent another valley appears running at a direct angle from the former. This is much more expanded than that just quitted, being a quarter of a mile in breadth between the rocks; the ground is very boggy and marshy. After following this for three or four miles further, the road again takes a sudden turn and descent, by a rill running down the rocks: this is the head of the Flesk river, which runs into the Lower Lake of Killarney, and from it the valley we now entered is called Glan-Flesk.

This valley is continued for seven or eight miles, and exhibits great variety of character. While on one side still rise abrupt rocks, on the other are gentle slopes, along which runs a wood continued for at least two miles. In this wood was long concealed one of the great ringleaders of the rebellion of 1798 in the south. Suspicions were always entertained that he was lurking about somewhere in these parts; yet he contrived for a considerable time to elude the vigilance of those who were in search of him, till at length he was betrayed by one of his associates acquainted with the secret of his retreat. The bottom of the valley on each side of the river is a complete marsh, having an immense quantity of the plant vulgarly called the Bog-myrtle growing in it. About half way through the wood is a cottage, the only house in the twenty-four miles from Kenmare to Killarney where it is possible to stop and bait a horse; but corn must be brought for him, there is none to be had on the spot.  p.266 Here we stopped: I saw that the poor animal was feeling the effect of his fatigues on the former day, and it was necessary to rest him awhile and let him feed. I in the mean time strolled about, but there was nothing to collect except mosses. I was told that occasionally, though very rarely, pebbles have been found by the side of the Flesk, which, when polished, have a lustre little inferior to diamonds. I did not learn this till afterwards; though, had I known it before, the marshy sides of the river would effectually have prevented my going in search of them.

After stopping about an hour we proceeded onwards, and soon came to very different scenery, the valley being bounded on each side by immense rocks, exhibiting the most various and fantastic forms; I never saw wild grandeur in higher perfection: the marsh ceases, the soil is firm, and the river runs over a fine pebbly bed. I should think it must be here, if in any part, that the stones talked of are found. This continues till within about four miles of Killarney, when on a sudden the valley ceases, the rocks on one side terminate entirely, ending in an abrupt promontory, which runs into a wide-spreading plain. On the other side the mountains turn in a different direction, and the rest of the road to Killarney is over an uninteresting flat. The plain is called Fila-Down. This entrance to Glan-Flesk is so striking, that people visiting Killarney often take a drive hither on purpose to see it.

My poor horse grew at length so weary that he could hardly get on; notwithstanding this, all my most earnest exhortations to the driver could not prevent his eternally whipping him, till I became so vexed and angry with the man, and so anxious to relieve the horse, that I flew down from the car, and walked for two miles into Killarney. Such were the adventures of my cavalry between Cork and this place. The first made me angry, for he had scarcely any but excellent road to go over; I was convinced he was a mere sluggard: the second excited only my compassion and remorse; I felt that he had not had fair usage in being made to toil through the valley of Glengariff and over that terrible mountain.

 p.267

26. The River Anna Liffey — The… Lake of Killarney formerly Lough Lene.…

Lake of Killarney formerly Lough Lene. — When first brought into public Notice. — First Sight of the Lakes. — Anecdote of Mr. Fox. — Meaning of the Term PONY in these Parts. — The Mountain of Mangerton. — The Devil's Punch-Bowl and Coommacopple, two remarkable Lakes on its Summit. — Fine View. — Regulations respecting Boats upon the Lakes. — Ross Castle. — Embarkation on the Lower Lake. — The Echoes between the Lakes. — The Upper Lake. — Ronayne's Island. — Kean's Island. — Cromiglaun. — Dericunihy. — Irish Songs. — Island of Innisfalen. — O'Donoghoe's Prison.

‘Nations are not only apt to speak with jealousy of the productions and climate of other nations, but the same jealousy is felt even by the inhabitants of provinces of the same kingdom, and counties of the same provinces. Whether this be commendable or not may become others to determine; I own that I was in some degree unwilling to be pleased so much with a view of Lough Lene, having a strong affection for another part of the kingdom, and some jealousy in consequence of that affection: yet beauty prevailed so entirely over this disposition in human nature, and so captivated alike my fancy and my judgement, that it was impossible not to feel delight, or to withhold admiration.’ ()

Such is the testimony of Dr. Barton of Trinity-College, Dublin, to the beauty of the Lakes of Killarney, which he visited in the year 1751, and which were then known only by the title he gives them of Lough Lene25. He is one of the earliest persons who brought them into notice. As a proof of the strong impression they made upon him, he drew up an account of them with the  p.268 surrounding scenery, addressed to the learned body of which he was a member; and published it in a thin quarto pamphlet, expressly for the purpose, as he says, of directing the public attention to beauties which he thought had been too long neglected. I do not know of any earlier work which professes that distinct object; till then this enchanting spot might almost be said
‘To waste its sweetness in the desert air.’ (Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard.)

Dr. Barton did not go into these parts with any particular view of visiting the lakes; the purpose of his journey was to examine the gems of the county of Kerry, and it was in the pursuit of this object that his attention was so much attracted by another. Perhaps beauties are never so striking as when they present themselves while the mind is wholly unprepared for them. There is one feeling which I can scarcely conceive it possible for any person to experience on seeing the lakes of Killarney, — disappointment. However busy fancy may have been in forming to itself beautiful pictures, scarcely can any be imagined too line for the reality to satisfy. It was not till about four o'clock that I arrived at Killarney, consequently too late to think of seeing much that evening. From Major Hunter, whom I have mentioned at Cork, I was favoured with an earnest recommendation to Mrs. Coffey the mistress of the principal Hotel, particularly desiring her to provide me with a good and civil guide. This she did; and having dined, I inquired where I could go and take a general view over the lakes, for something I must see, and there was not sufficient daylight remaining to do more. From the flatness of the country between Glan-Flesk and Killarney, and the no less flat situation of the town itself, nothing was hitherto to be seen but the tops of the surrounding mountains. My guide said that I could walk through Lord Kenmare's grounds, and from the top of a hill there see entirely over the Lower Lake. Upon this expedition I set out. I had read and studied very  p.269 much several different accounts of the Lakes, particularly Mr. Weld's admirable one; I had paid great attention to his plan, to his views, and had impressed my mind so strongly with all the great leading features of the landscape, that when I arrived at the hill and cast my eyes around, I had the feeling not as if they were wandering over objects never presented to them before, but as if I was renewing an acquaintance of long standing; — every thing seemed perfectly familiar to me; I found every thing conformable to the ideas arranged in my mind — a strong proof at once of the accuracy of the descriptions given;, and of the transcendent beauty of the scene, which thus answered the high expectation raised.

I had many times been told that I must not hope to have fine weather at Killarney; that scarcely did a day pass there without rain: and I had frequently heard an anecdote of Charles Fox, à-propos to the purpose, cited. Some years ago this distinguished character went to spend a few days with Lord Kenmare, whose house is just without, or scarcely without, the town of Killarney; invited by His Lordship to come and see the beauties of the country. He arrived in a heavy rain: he was told it would be but a shower, but it did not cease that day. The next was the same, a heavy rain; still he was told that it would be but a shower, and soon over. The shower, however, continued from day to day; and during five days that he stopped, there was scarcely an hour's interval from it: when, tired with hopeless waiting, he gave up the matter and took his leave; able to say he had been at the Lakes of Killarney, not that he had seen them. About three years after, Lord Kenmare being in London, went to visit him, when the first question Mr. Fox asked was, "Well, my lord, is the shower at Killarney over yet?" It was my fortune also to enter Killarney in a heavy rain, which had come on almost from the moment that we quitted Glan-Flesk; nor could I fail often to think of Mr. Fox. The evening was, however, clear and fine.

The assurance of this uncertainty in the weather occasioned me to make one determination long before I arrived on the spot; this was, that the first day of my stay which afforded any prospect of being clear and fine, I would go up the mountain of Mangerton, that being the object of all others for which a fine day was of the greatest importance. On returning from our walk, the guide said, he supposed he might order a boat for the next day, to go upon the lake.  p.270 I answered, By no means; I should wait to see what sort of a day it was likely to be before I would make any arrangement; and if promising to be fine and clear, I would go up Mangerton. I saw that he was somewhat disconcerted with this answer; he hesitated, and at length said, It was not usual to take that the first thing, it was generally the last. — I replied, that it was very immaterial to me what was generally done, I should please myself; and, if the day was fine, do as I had said. — Well then, he inquired, should he order ponies to be ready in the morning? — "No; nothing shall be ordered till I see the appearance of the morning: — you may come at seven o'clock, I shall be able then to judge of the weather, and will determine what shall be done." — The evening was now clear and beautiful, and I thought the prospect for the next day favourable.

Nor was I deceived. At seven my guide made his appearance: — "Well, Ma'am, there isn't the least bit of cloud about any of the mountains; we may be sure of a fine day." — I was perfectly of the same opinion; so I gave him full authority to hire ponies for the expedition; one for myself, one for my servant, and a third for him, which I found also was to be employed as a sumpterhorse; for a basket of provisions, with drink, I soon perceived was an indispensable requisite in whatever direction, or upon whatever element, we were to go. At eight o'clock the ponies were at the door: I expected to have seen little mountaineers not much bigger than donkeys; but to my utter astonishment, behold three tall horses, any of them big enough to be driven in a postchaise. "Are these your ponies? "I inquired. — "Yes, Ma'am." — "Have you none larger?" — The man stared, he seemed not to know what to answer; it was an objection to his cavalry wholly unexpected. He looked first at me, then at the nag; "I don't know, ma'am," he answered very seriously; "the man has but two that will carry ladies at all, and I believe they are much of a size; — most ladies think this quite big enough." — "You are sure the other is not larger?" — "Yes, ma'am." — "Are you sure it isn't less?" — "I don't know, but it may be." — "Because I should like it quite as well, if it wasn't above half the size." — The man stared again more eagerly than ever; a new light seemed thrown upon the matter; my real objection to the animal burst all at once upon his mind; I was surprised it had not done so sooner: he had not the usual quickness of his countrymen, or else he was so bewildered with  p.271 being put out of the usual routine in showing his lions, that his faculties were for a moment wholly suspended. Now, somewhat restored, he acknowledged that to be sure the baste was rather a tall one for a lady to ride, but I need not be afraid; he was very quiet, and would carry me safe over all the mountains in the world. That was rather more than I intended to require of him; it was quite sufficient for me if he would carry me up the one mountain of Mangerton; indeed I would gladly have dispensed with his services even for that, could I have got a substitute of a more reasonable size and stature. I therefore now began to inquire seriously whether it was not possible to have a smaller horse? — To this I received a negative reply — The other baste was not so big by a good deal, but he was gone out for the day. No remedy therefore appearing, I mounted my pony. Never was any one seated upon such a hard-going animal: — I should think, like the gentleman from Cork, that he was rather more accustomed to going in a common car than to any other kind of work; that he did not often go out pleasuring. I found here another instance in which the Kerry dictionary varies from dictionaries in general. I conclude that we should there find the article pony explained, "a horse fifteen hands high".

The mountain of Mangerton is not one of those that immediately border the lakes. It rises behind the Turk-mountain, the prominent feature round the middle or Turk lake, a long valley running between the two mountains, through which is the nearest road to Kenmare town. The height of this mountain above the level of the lake seems by no means ascertained with any accuracy; it has been many times described as the highest mountain in Ireland: it is now fully decided not even to be the highest of those in the vicinity of the lakes; Magillicuddy's reeks are much higher, though the difference between them is yet undecided. Mr. Weld, who appears to have been anxious to have their respective, and consequently their relative heights accurately ascertained, is yet obliged to leave the matter in doubt: he seems to think that the highest point of the reeks may be estimated at about three thousand five hundred feet: according to one computation, Mangerton is only seven hundred feet less; that is, two thousand eight hundred feet in height: another computation states its height at no more than two thousand feet. The ascent is easy, in no part very steep, though in some places rather stony. Within three hundred feet of the  p.272 summit is the celebrated lake called the Devils Punch-bowl. To this we went on horseback, but here dismounted.

This Punch-bowl is a vast chasm in the top of the mountain, encircled for the greater part by almost perpendicular rocks. On the side towards the Turk-mountain alone is an interval of rock at which the water is accessible, and from which it issues out in a small stream; this runs down the side of the mountain, generally appearing insignificant, though occasionally swelled to a fine cascade. Only one spring is known to feed the lake, the water of which is so extremely cold that it is scarcely possible to bear the hand in it; yet this water never freezes. The rocks by which the chasm is surrounded rise so directly from the water that it is impossible to go round its edge; the only way to make the circuit of it, is by the tops of the rocks. The guide inquired whether I would go round; to which I replied, By all means. We ascended therefore among blocks of stone and coarse herbage, but found nothing difficult in the ascent, and pursued our course to the opposite side of the lake. What an extraordinary scene here presented itself! Another lake exactly of a similar nature to the Punch-bowl appeared, the two separated only by a ridge of rock covered with the same coarse herbage. I can compare the whole to nothing so well as an enormous bridge of a nose with the eyes on each side. How extraordinary that, amidst all the accounts I have read of this country, this very striking, very remarkable feature, and indeed I think it far from one of the least remarkable, is never mentioned! It appears to me so extraordinary, that I sometimes am ready to ask myself, Did I dream of what I have related? or why should that so strike me, which no one before has thought worthy of remark? — But no: I certainly did walk along this ridge running between the Devils Punch-bowl and Coommacopple, or the Horses Glen, — so the guide told me the other lake was called, — at the height of three hundred feet above the water on each side; — a ridge with but just the breadth of a good footpath at the top. I would recommend every body to come so far round the Punch-bowl as to see so remarkable a feature. — I would not recommend any one who has not very firm nerves to attempt walking along the ridge, nor, if the nerves be ever so firm, to go without a guide accustomed to the place. How this can have been hitherto unnoticed, is a question I am at a loss to resolve. — Of the numbers who have visited Mangerton, has nobody ever thought of going round the margin of the Punch-bowl? — Surely this cannot be  p.273 the case; for the guide, in asking whether I would go round it, did not mention it as an uncommon thing to be done: and how any one going round could be otherwise than exceedingly struck with the scene and remark upon it, is utterly incomprehensible. It is not even noticed by Mr. Weld, who seems to have explored every part of the country so much in detail. He mentions once in a shooting-party upon the mountain being lost in a mist, and after wandering a long time coming to a deep glen and lake which he calls the Glen of the Horse, but never mentions it as connected with the Punch-bowl in the manner I have described.

After crossing this extraordinary bridge I proceeded round the other side of the lake where is a great extent of plain, not absolute bog, but of very soft spongy soil overgrown with coarse herbage, extremely fatiguing to walk over. At the edge of the precipice is a spot, about half way along the side, where the herbage is cleared away in a small circle, and a few loose stones are scattered about; this is called the highest point of the mountain. Owing to the extent of surface, from no part is the view seen completely round. Bantry Bay and the Kenmare river were visible in their whole length, looking scarcely wider than common rivers; but then the lakes were not to be seen, they were too much on the other side; and when we came again within sight of the lakes, the two great estuaries were lost. So much does this mountain rise above all immediately bordering the lakes, that every part of both lakes, with the stream by which they are united, lay as in a map at our feet, the stream scarcely appearing wider than a line in a map drawn for one. Beyond the lakes was a vast extent of country terminated by Dingle Bay and the mountains which coast the northern side of it. Never was a more favourable day for such an excursion; it was beautifully calm and serene, nor was there an object within the compass of the eye but was perfectly clear and distinct; not the least cloud or haze intervened throughout the whole wide extended horizon. Indeed, it was a glorious spectacle. Even the guide, though he evidently could not altogether digest the irregularity of the proceeding, confessed that I was quite right not to lose such a day; they might not perhaps have such another for weeks.

It is curious to observe, in all places which are much the resort of travellers, the ingenious devices the people about have, each to pluck a feather out of the pigeon's wing. I have spoken of guides at the Giants' Causeway who made their intrusions a pretence to ask for money. In the present instance  p.274 we set out from Killarney three; by the time we arrived at the top of the mountain we were not less than a cavalcade of fifteen or sixteen. A man had followed with a bugle-horn, which he blew in different parts about the Punch-bowl and the other lake, the reverberation of which by the echoes was really fine. Some girls from a cottage at the foot of the mountain followed with goats-milk, several boys pursued us with offers to relieve the guide from the trouble of the basket of provisions, and carry it, none making their offers in pure love, all hoped some token in return. When the regularly employed party had finished their meal by the side of the Devil's Punch-bowl, (not, however, contenting themselves with drinking only the punch it offered them,) all the rest sat down to a scramble for what remained. In descending the mountain, the guide showed me the entrance to the chasm of Coommacopple, the Horse's Glen; the end of the lake was just visible from without the chasm. I did not descend the mountain upon my pony, but walked down very near to the foot, which is about four miles from Killarney. We had stayed so long rambling about that it was five before we got back to the town: during the little remainder of daylight I rode down to Ross Castle at the edge of the Lower Lake, — the first near view I had yet had of it, — but it is not an advantageous one. I now permitted my guide to engage a boat for the next morning; but I saw that he was altogether deranged about the matter, and that the order for the boat was not received with the entire satisfaction that it would have been the night before.

The boats for company to row upon the lake are provided by Lord Kenmare, who has placed them under the direction of one man, Commodore or Admiral Plunket, to whom applications for one must be made, and they are at a fixed price according to the size of the boat, whether it requires six or four oars, and whether it is to go to the Upper Lake or not; it is, if I recollect rightly, half-a-crown more for going thither than for navigating only the Lower or the Turk . Whether it is a part of Lord Kenmare's regulation I cannot say; but it is expected that a freight of provisions and whiskey shall be carried on board, or else two shillings a man eating is charged by the day. I suspect this to be an illicit charge; but in such a place impositions are regarded as positive privileges. Ross Castle, to which I had gone the evening before, is the regular place of embarkation. This is the remains of an ancient fortress, once of considerable strength, and it would now be a very picturesque object, with  p.275 its mouldering ivy-crowned fragments frowning at the edge of the water, but that a vile barrack is patched upon it, which entirely defaces and deforms every thing. If instead of the barracks the old castle were suffered to remain in all its grandeur of decay, and near (not so as to interfere with it) a good hotel were built, what an acquisition would it be to all who visit Killarney! It is mortifying, when one would not wish to have the eye a moment detached from the exhaustless store of beauty presented to it, to be obliged to take up one's quarters in the town, from no part of which any of the lake scenery is visible. The whole of this shore is flat, in some parts even boggy. Ross Island was once but a promontory or peninsula; it was insulated by a channel being cut over the isthmus, to open a communication between the parts of the lake to the north and south, without going round the point of the island where is always a considerable swell of the waters, sometimes as I am informed, and I can readily believe it, a dangerous one.

I walked down to the castle, through a part of Lord Kenmare's grounds. We were accompanied by a man with a fiddle and a bugle-horn, a constant appendage to all the boat-parties, who sounds his long-drawn notes to the echoes, which they reverberate a thousand and a thousand times. The boat is also armed with a cannon; perhaps, — no, I don't think it is quite a twenty-four pounder, — say a half-pounder, and we shall perhaps be right, — to be levelled also at the echo, which she answers in thunders. Thus equipped, we proceeded on our voyage. If I had been astonished at the swelling sea I crossed from the coast of Antrim to the island of Rathlin, I was scarcely less astonished at the swell of the waters upon this lake. Not that the waves of the lake were at all to be compared with the rolling mountains of that northern sea, but it astonished me much, on this small receptacle of fresh water, to see any thing that pretended to imitate, even at a humble distance, the turbulence of the vast ocean. Nor is the imitation so very humble; — the lake is sufficiently subject to sudden squalls and gusts, from the eddies about the mountains, to render sailing very hazardous, and the use of sails is prohibited by Lord Kenmare. This great eddy of the waters seems to be principally within a tract forming a sort of triangle between Ross Island, Glenaa Point, and the Island of Innisfallen.

Our destination was to the Upper Lake. Passing the fine mountain Glenaa through the bay at its foot, and the pretty little cottage upon the bay, we proceeded  p.276 to Dinis Island26, where I landed while the boat was pushed up a rapid descent of the stream from the Upper Lake; and visiting a pretty cottage on the island which commands a lovely view over the Turk Lake, we re-embarked at another part of the island. Hence we proceeded to a bridge called that of the Old Weir, where we again landed for the boat to be pushed up the descent of the stream, which comes through the bridge with a strong rush very much like the rush of water through London-bridge, if small things may be compared with great. From hence we continued our course till we had passed the Eagle's Nest. This is a remarkable rock rising to a great height almost perpendicular above the stream, on the summit of which eagles regularly every year, probably the same, form their aëries. A little way beyond is reckoned the best spot for showing the effect of the echoes. Here we landed; the bugle-horn was played, and the cannon was fired. In this instance I felt disappointment, I think the effect of the echoes is magnified; the music of a fine band may produce a grand and striking effect, but there was something to me of a petitesse in the strains of our one solitary bugle-horn player, which seemed ill to accord with the grandeur and sublimity of the objects around, Nor were the repetitions of sound any thing like what I expected; I never could distinguish more than four, — Mr. Weld says he has distinguished twelve, — but this I am informed depends very much upon the state of the atmosphere; and, as the people said, it happened to be an unfavourable day for the reverberation. I have no doubt that what Mr. Weld says upon this subject is very just: "The generality of persons who visit Killarney have no opportunity of judging of the effect of musical sounds at the Eagle's Nest, or other parts about the lakes, as the only musicians who reside on the spot are two wretched performers on the French-horn and Bugle. Having been fortunate enough myself, each time that I visited Killarney, to be associated with parties who could command the services of a select military band, I can speak from experience of the superior advantage to be derived from a number of instruments. The simple notes of the bugle alone are indeed pleasing, but the wonders of the echo consist in the distinct repetition of a combination of sounds." I had no such opportunity  p.277 of judging the effect of music, so it is better to say no more about it. I must only add one observation upon the firing of the cannon, that I had heard an effect so much more grand and sublime produced, as I have mentioned in the Narrative of my Residence in France, by the firing of a fowling-piece among the rocks and woods of the Sainte Beaume in Provence, which came unexpected, and for which I was wholly unprepared, that this little peteraro, for the firing which so much preparation was made, and which I was told I should find so exceedingly astonishing, made no impression whatever upon me, or, if any, that of its being but child's play. Once again, however, I repeat that the people all said the state of the atmosphere was particularly unfavourable upon this day: indeed at the moment vapours were gathering about the mountains, which soon after descended in a torrent, and showed me very sufficiently the sublime effect which could be thus produced in these regions.

There is something very fine and romantic in the whole course of this stream which unites the two lakes. The forms of the mountains exhibit great variety, and there are in many places rocks in the stream, which exhibit such fantastic figures, that fantastic names have been given to them: one, in particular, which has a good deal of resemblance to the hulk of a ship, is called the Man of War; but such is the rocky nature of the channel, that it requires a person well skilled in the navigation to steer the boat right. The entrance to the Upper Lake is by a narrow pass between two masses of rock, little more than the width of the boat. This pass has the name of Coleman's Eye: a man by name Coleman, as the tradition says, was pursued by some enemy, and in the ardour of flight leaped over the pass, leaving the impression of his foot upon the side where he alighted. The particulars of this fact are in general very minutely related by the boatmen; but as we had the admiral himself on board, who came as steersman, I thought the crew were rather in awe at his presence, and not so talkative as they would otherwise have been. At first clearing the pass, one is not sensible of being in the Upper Lake, there are such a number of rocks rising above the water, among which the boat still winds. In a short time, however, this sublime scene opens full to the view, and most sublime it is. The watery expanse is every way bordered by vast mountains; and the passage by which it was entered being almost instantly lost to the view, it seems completely locked in, as if there were no possibility of quitting it but over  p.278 mountains whose steep sides almost forbid the access of human footsteps. What heightened the effect exceedingly was, that in a few moments after we entered the lake, the summits of the mountains were completely enveloped in black clouds, and the rain poured down in torrents. We made immediately for Ronayne's Island, one of the principal rocks in the lake, on which is a cottage inhabited by a family; and here we took shelter, every one nearly wet through. Good fires were immediately lighted; and to beguile the time the basket of provisions was produced.

Oh, how magnificent was the sight, to watch first the gradual breaking of the clouds, and at length their final dispersion, with the bursting forth again of the glorious sun! Indeed, they who have not seen the Upper Lake of Killarney under such circumstances, have scarcely half seen it, they have but imperfect ideas of its sublimity; it answered well the being wet through. The whole lake is spotted over with little rocky islands; not wholly naked, but in general clothed with shrubs and trees, among which the arbutus is the most prevailing. This tree is indeed to be seen abundantly all about the lakes, though in the greatest abundance about the Upper Lake. It grows to a size which I never saw before: in Provence these trees are common, and bear very fine fruit, but do not grow to near the size of those about Killarney. I have seen also very fine ones in the county of Wicklow; and there was one at Newtown Mount Kennedy, a place which I did not see, exceeding much, as I was informed, any about Killarney: not half of it is, however, now existing. Many people recommend the autumn as the best time for going to Killarney, because the arbutuses are then in flower; but, though beautiful, they are in my opinion such a minor consideration in comparison with the nobler features of Nature which claim the attention, that I should never make them my particular object, and rather say, Go when the days are at the longest, that the shades of night may shut the sublime scene from the sight for the shortest space possible.

Ronayne's Island is the largest among the little archipelago of this lake. The cottage upon it is one of many built about the lakes by the polite attention of Dr. Smith, for the accommodation of strangers. In all there are inhabitants, so that dinner may be cooked if a party chooses to dine at them; but they must carry their own provisions, potatoes excepted, which the tenants can always furnish. A gravel-walk from the cottage winds up among the rocks,  p.279 and wood with which they are clothed, to the summit of the rock, where is a little knoll, forty feet above the level of the water: from hence is a charming view over the lake. This island has its name from having been long the reputed residence of an Englishman, by name Ronayne, who here passed the latter years of his life in complete seclusion. Whether taste or disappointments drove him from society, or what course led him into such a seclusion, was never known. Such is at least the tradition now affixed to the island: if it be a fact, as it really seems to be, that a person by name Ronayne made it for many years his retreat, his being an Englishman seems somewhat improbable. Dr. Smith, in his History of the County of Cork, mentions a place on the Great Island in Cork harbour, called Ronayne's Grove, the seat of a family of that name. Does it not appear much more probable that the recluse of Killarney should have been of this family, situated in the very neighbourhood, than that he should have crossed the seas to seek such a shelter from the world, or from himself?

When the weather had cleared and the provisions were consumed, we returned to the boat, and began the regular survey of the lake. Several islands were pointed out to me by the names which they bore, some others were not particularized; and inquiring what their names were, I was told they had none. — "How happens that?" I asked. They did not know; the others had been named by different parties visiting the lakes, and nobody had had the fancy to give them names; if I had no objection, they should like very much to name one after me: then pointing to a rock very near us, they said that had no name, we might land and christen it. I would not, however, permit my name to be given: as the habit of the world has been ever to pronounce it as if it were a Plum-tree, I was sure that the island would never be called any thing but Plum-tree Island; and a tradition would soon be affixed to it that it was once covered with Plum-trees. I therefore declined being godmother, at least so far as giving my own name to it was concerned: but the men seemed to have a great desire that it should be christened, and begged that I would give it some name; any that I fancied. "Very well," I said; "it shall be called Kean's Island, after Mr. Kean the great actor." — Oh, they had often heard of him; they should like that name exceedingly; they wished he would come to Killarney. We landed then; it was a pretty rock, with some arbutuses and  p.280 other shrubs and plants growing upon it: the people were all ranged in a circle, in the midst of which the bugle-horn player, who I found was the established clergyman upon these occasions, came forward and repeated the proper formulary in a jargon of English, Irish, and Latin, perfectly unintelligible to me; then applying to me as godmother, I gave the name, which he repeated with the addition of a little more jargon; and the ceremony was concluded with throwing down upon the rock a bottle of whiskey, which was dashed to pieces. This part, I own, surprised me not a little; I should never have expected to see a bottle of whiskey thus disposed of; but the island they all said would not have been regularly christened without it: Now, they added, it could never have any other name than Kean's Island, and as such it would be pointed out to all future navigators on the lake. I should like much to know whether it ever has been so to one. The conclusion was a hope that the crew might have a bowl of punch when they got home in the evening, to drink the godmother's health. — I then perfectly understood the general eagerness for the christening.

We now proceeded in the examination of the lake. Its shores are very much indented with creeks and inlets formed by streams descending from the mountains. That of Cromiglaun is the most considerable and the most beautiful. The entrance is by a narrow pass between two almost perpendicular rocks; when soon an extensive basin opens to the view. Steep craggy cliffs, on which are scattered a few straggling trees, border it on one side; on the other are masses of dark and naked rock, while in the centre is a wood of oaks, from which a river is seen issuing. Proceeding about half a mile up the basin, some cottages appear, round which are a few small inclosures, and presently a beautiful cascade is seen above the trees pouring down a deep glen. The imagination can hardly picture to itself any thing more exquisitely romantic. Here, and not on Ronayne's Island, if I sought a seclusion among the lakes of Killarney, would my abode be fixed.

Another charming inlet is that which receives the river of Dericunihy. This lies round a rock, which, from the resemblance found in it to a coffin, has the name of Coffin-point. Here is the most considerable cascade about the Upper Lake; it lies embosomed in the depths of a thick wood. The water, where it first appears, gushes from among the rocks at a great height up the mountain; then, after falling some way, it spreads out to a much wider extent, pouring in  p.281 a number of small streams, which are beautifully mingled with the foliage of the trees. The rills afterwards unite and form a basin in an excavation of the rock, whence again the water rushes through a more contracted channel in the midst of the wood down to the river below.

Among a number of persons a diversity of opinions will prevail upon every subject; and among the numerous visitors to Killarney, great difference of sentiment is entertained as to which of the three lakes is to be preferred. I have no hesitation on the subject; I think the Upper Lake presents indisputably the grandest and most beautiful features of the whole circuit; but it should be visited and re-visited; one day is very insufficient to explore every part of such an extent of scenery, where every part offers something to interest, something to charm. I feel that seeing it but once, I have seen it very imperfectly. The idea of the bowl of whiskey-punch at night seemed to inspire the boatmen; they became talkative and sang several Irish songs as we rowed about. One was in praise of the lakes of Killarney; the man who sang it had a good voice, and gave it with an enthusiasm inspired by the subject, which rendered it very interesting. Another sang an old legend of some saint with great energy and action, rather, however, laughable than otherwise.

In returning home we stopped at the island of Innisfallen, the largest in the Lower Lake. It is a beautiful spot, a mile in circuit, covered with meadow-ground and trees; a gravel walk runs all round it. Here were the largest hollies I ever saw, with trunks really like forest-trees: vegetation does seem extremely luxuriant in these parts; the pasture here is esteemed remarkably fine for cattle. On the island are some remains of an abbey, one of the most ancient in Ireland; they are at the north-eastern end of the island, embosomed in trees, which give them a very picturesque appearance. The original foundation of this abbey appears to date as far back as the sixth century; and from the rudeness of these remains, destitute of sculptured ornaments, of lofty arches, of rich windows, they may fairly be supposed to be of the primaeval building. In cabins formed among the ruins live the present inhabitants of the island; and in a garden behind their humble habitations are trees which are shown as coeval with the first establishment of the abbey: a license is, however, allowed to people to believe this, or not, as they please. An old man,
‘The sad historian of the pensive plain,’ (Oliver Goldsmith, The deserted Village)  p.282 gathered a large piece of wild hop, which was running about the roof of his cabin, and begged I would accept it; it would bring me good luck; for the plant was originally set there by the monks, and it constantly grew up every year, and spread itself about as I saw it. I could not refuse the intended kindness; I brought the plant away, and have preserved it, at least as the memorial of a most beautiful spot, and a day which I shall ever recall with the sincerest pleasure.

Near these ruins is a small chapel or oratory, covered with ivy, more interesting than the ruins of the abbey. The door-case is a round arch, such as is usually termed Saxon, and appearing of a date much subsequent to the rest of the building. This chapel has been converted into a room of entertainment for the numerous parties that frequent the island during the whole summer season. And since the gloom of the edifice, such as it stood originally, would ill have accorded with the jollity intended to succeed to the pious meditation of which in ages past it was the theatre, two modern bow-windows have been added, and the whole inside has been smoothly plastered and washed over: — what can be said of the taste which shows so little respect to like venerable relics of antiquity? The shores of this island are on one side steep; on the other the rocks shelve down to the water's edge, and continue the same shelving so far into the water, that no boat could land here, but for a little stone quay which has been thrown up. At this quay, which is very near the ruins, were fishermen, who had got a fire, and were broiling slices of salmon from fish just taken out of the lake, and which they offered us as we came on shore. From hence we passed over to Ross-Castle, where we landed just before dark. Thus concluded the second day of my stay at Killarney.

 p.283

27. Mr. Kean, and his first Appearance… The Gap of Dunloh. — The…

The Gap of Dunloh. — The River Laune. — Stream and Lakes in the Gap. — The new Road through it. — The picturesque Bridges. — McCarty More's Country. — The Sept of McCartys. — Family of Mahony. — Dunloh Castle. — Mucruss Peninsula. — Ruins of Mucruss Abbey. — Tomb of the last O'Donoghoe. — Fabulous Stories respecting the Great O'Donoghoe. — Mr. Herbert's Grounds. — Copper Mines there. — Brickeen Bridge, and Island. — Dinis Island. — Turk Lake. — Excavations in the Rocks that border it. — Turk Cottage — Turk Mountain. — Glenaa Bay. — Glenaa Mountain. — Salmon Fishery. — O'Sullivan's Cascade. — Ross Island. — Copper and Lead Mines there. — Former and present Appearance of the Island.

The next day was devoted to the fine wild gap of Dunloh. All mountainous regions abound with dells, or glens, or valleys, by whichever term they may be called — breaks in the enormous masses of stone of which the mountains are composed, assuming various forms and appearances, according to the courses of the mountains which they intersect. Sometimes they seem but as breaks between masses of stone of different descriptions, which, having no regular point of union, leave this gap between them; since it often happens that the rocks on one side of such a dell are of one description, and those on the other of a very different. This is strikingly exemplified at Loch Hela in the county of Wicklow, one side of which dell exhibits rugged masses of granite, the other abrupt rocks of slate. But this is a geological question, and I am to describe these dells rather as objects of scenery.

None that I have seen presents more striking scenery than the gap of Dunloh. The road to it runs north of the lake; not immediately at the water's edge, but on rising ground a quarter of a mile above it. The country is dull, consisting of inclosures with stone fences, and destitute of trees; but from the road are several fine points of view over the lake and the mountains on the opposite shore. Two streams are crossed; the Deanagh, which runs into the lake, and the Laune, the only outlet by which the waters of the Lake communicate with  p.284 those of the ocean. This stream is in general shallow, but swelling occasionally assumes the character of a rapid torrent; it runs into Dingle Bay. It seems probable that, though now called the Laune, it is properly the Lene, so named after the lake from which it flows; but the lake having lost its original appellation, the name of the river has undergone a change, not a very material one.

From this river the road turns round the head of the lake, and presently the entrance to the Gap appears, a vast chasm between immense rocks, having a considerable resemblance in the distant view to the Scalp in the county of Wicklow, though this is lost exceedingly the nearer it is approached; indeed all the features are upon a much more grand scale. The valley is reached by a considerable ascent; a stream pours down it, which has its course quite through the valley, expanding at intervals into lakes of some extent. The mountains at the entrance of the valley, and indeed the whole way through, but more particularly at the entrance, are very much scattered over with vast broken masses of rock, and on the brows are many masses which seem ready to fall at every moment; — woe to those who are within reach whenever such a catastrophe may occur! — Formerly the whole valley was so overstrewed with these masses that it was difficult even for a pedestrian to penetrate through it; but since it forms a convenient line of communication between the country north of the lakes and that bordering on the Kenmare river, Major Mahony, the proprietor of Dunloh Castle, has had a regular road made for the convenience of the country-people carrying the produce of their farms to the places where they find a sale for them. It has been a most laborious, but therefore the more patriotic work; at present it is not practicable for any kind of carriage more than half way through the gap, the other is still but a horse road; when more prosperous times will permit of the undertaking being further prosecuted, a carriage road is to be made the whole way: even to make the present, masses of solid rock have been in some places cut through. The great difficulty lies in conducting it round the lakes, the rocks coming down so much to the edge of the water as scarely to allow space for a road wide enough even for a single carriage; it has also been necessary, from the winding course of the stream and the rocks, frequently to change the side of the stream on which it is carried, and cross it by bridges. These bridges contribute very much to the picturesque  p.285 effect, a character having been maintained in their construction which harmonizes well with the rest of the features; one in particular, at the head of a cascade, has almost the appearance of a natural arch in the rocks, the water having forced a way underneath.

The gap is three miles in length, lying the whole way in a gentle ascent, so that the stream forms numberless little cascades between the lakes; besides this, in many places water pours down the sides of the mountains. The gap expands very much towards the upper end, forming a vast amphitheatre; and the mountains that close it being ascended by a zig-zag road, the head of the Upper Lake is seen at a vast distance below. Magillicuddy's reeks are here a very conspicuous feature. One of the tracks for ascending them is from this part, but that does not lead to the highest point, Gheraun-tuel, a much more circuitous route must be taken to reach that. The gap runs between Tomies mountain and the Purple mountain. The guide brought with him a musket and some powder, which was fired in different parts of the gap: the echoes are fine: still, I think, on this subject too much is said, or else the atmosphere was peculiarly unfavourable to them during my stay in the country. The water of this stream is some of the most pure, soft, and delicious that I ever tasted.

Returning along our steps, since there was no other way of quitting the gap, we proceeded to Dunloh Castle, about a mile or mile and half from it. A large tract of country here, round the north-west end of the lake, is still called McCarty More's country. Before the English conquest, when Ireland was divided into a number of petty sovereignties, the McCartys, a powerful sept, were sovereigns of a large district in the province of Munster, then called the kingdom of Desmond, which in the Irish language signifies South Munster. It comprehended the whole of what is now the county of Cork, the western part of the county of Waterford, and great part of the county of Kerry. McCarty More (which More signifies The Great) was king of Desmond, at the time of Henry the Second's invasion, and was one of the earliest among these petty sovereigns to swear fealty to him, consenting to pay him a yearly tribute. The present owner of the lands, which still retain the name of their ancient possessor, Major Mahony, is a descendant in the female line of the great Brian Boroimhe; the first ancestor of the O'Mahowns, or O'Mahonys, for so they should properly  p.286 be called, being a descendant of Kean Mac Moyle More, who married a daughter of King Brian.

What is now standing of Dunloh Castle, the residence of Major Mahony, is but a fragment of a much larger pile of building, the original extent being yet discernible. All that remains is a square tower, which admits only of one room on a floor, and the greater part of the lodging-rooms are in a separate building detached from the house. The old part of Blarney Castle is just the same kind of tower, and so is the tower at Ross Castle on the lake. Dunloh Castle is deeply embosomed in wood: and, though in the neighbourhood of such fine scenery, has no view from the windows: its owner bears a very high character in the country. I have to acknowledge the politeness of being invited in, to take shelter in the castle during a heavy shower of rain. I had intended taking the ruins of Aghadoe in my way home; they stand on a hill half a mile out of the road. But though the rain had ceased when I quitted Dunloh Castle, it soon recommenced with increased violence, so that the lake, the mountains, and every other object but those immediately by the road side, were wholly shut out from the view: adjourning, therefore, the seeing Aghadoe to another time, I hastened home, where I arrived about four o'clock, nor could stir out any more the rest of the day. On the fourth day, having obtained permission to see the grounds of Mr. Herbert at Mucruss, I went thither as my first object. The road was for some way the same that I had taken to Mangerton, crossing the river Flesk, and passing the grounds of another Mr. Herbert at Cahirnane, on the edge of the lake. The grounds of the two Mr. Herberts and of Mrs. Delany occupy so large a part of the shores of the Lower Lake, that from Ross Island to the channel which unites the two lakes, they can only be examined from the water, unless special permission be given by the owners of these places. Into those of Mrs. Delany and Mr. Herbert of Cahirnane I did not go; but the grounds of Mucruss are one of the striking features of the Lower Lake, and to omit them is to leave half that unseen. Yet, if I felt disappointment any where in the scenery, it was in the grounds of Mucruss; in any other place they would be much more a subject of admiration; but they are only pretty, they have no grand features in them, and here we can scarcely be satisfied with any thing that exhibits none; they are surrounded,  p.287 it is true, with grand features, but present nothing grand in themselves; they run along a flat peninsula which divides the Lower Lake from Turk Lake.

The entrance to the demesne is in a decayed village, where once was a flourishing iron-manufactory, but which, like too many other things of the kind in Ireland, has failed for want of encouragement. The ruins of the Abbey of Irrelagh, or Mucruss Abbey, form an important feature in this demesne, presenting themselves in several very picturesque points of view as seen from different quarters; they stand amidst the shade of tall trees, and are exceedingly overgrown with ivy and other plants, which add greatly to their effect. So much of the outward walls is standing that the extent of the buildings may be very well judged; this is the case, in particular, with the form and dimensions of the church. The entrance at the west end is by a lofty pointed arch, in good preservation, from which there is a very good view along the church to the great east window; this is also well preserved. The length from east to west is a hundred feet, the transepts from north to south are sixty; the tower is supported by four arches also entire. The cloisters too are well preserved, they surround a quadrangular area of forty-six feet every way. In the centre of the area is a very remarkable old yew-tree; it rises in one straight stem to the height of nearly twenty feet, and then throws out branches which completely overshadow the whole area, giving an indescribable additional gloom and solemnity to the gloom always inseparable from these kind of monastic remains. At two corners of the cloisters are stairs leading to the cells over them; but nothing very interesting is to be seen when they are ascended. A collection of skulls and other bones are piled together close by the west entrance to the church; but I saw none of those revolting spectacles of the dead too early disturbed and removed from, what are usually termed, their last homes, which have been so severely reprobated by some writers.

Mr. Weld says: "This abbey is a common and favourite place of burial; the limits of the cemetery are small, the depth of the soil inconsiderable. The consequence is, that coffins with their mouldering contents are not unfrequently removed to make room for others, long before decency can warrant such a measure. In a passage leading to the cloister, I once found a head with a considerable part of the flesh of the face and nearly the entire hair upon it,  p.288 literally rolling under foot; and though the place from time to time is carefully cleared, yet the bones, skulls, and coffin-boards that are prematurely dug up, quickly accumulate again. The boards are deposited in the vaults, one of which, adjoining to the church, is now entirely filled with them to the very crown of the arch: the bones and skulls are heaped up in the angle formed by the nave of the church and the transept, where many thousands may be seen bleached to an extraordinary degree of whiteness by their exposure to the weather."

Sir John Carr speaks still more strongly. "Whilst I was reading," says he. "a pathetic epitaph upon one of the monuments in the abbey, I felt myself affected by a putrid effluvia, and upon looking on each side, I observed for the first time, some bodies, which might have been interred two or three months, in Coffins, the planks of which had started, not half covered with mould. Upon quitting the spot, a great collection of skulls and bones promiscuously heaped up in niches in the walls, excited melancholy observation." — Again: "The soil of the abbey is very thin, and every effort has been made to dissuade the lower classes from bringing their dead here, but in vain. It is a fact, that those who have been buried six months or a year before, are raised and placed on one side to make room for those who are brought for interment afterwards. So loaded with contagion is the air of this spot, that every principle of humanity imperiously calls upon the indulgent owner to exercise his right of closing it up as a place of sepulture in future." Indeed, indeed, I saw not these disgusting sights: whether Mr. Herbert may have prohibited any more interments there, I really cannot say; if the evil was so great, he was scarcely justifiable in not doing it. All I can say is, that there certainly were skulls and bones lying by the west door of the church, but in nothing like the numbers represented, perhaps inspiring some pensive reflections upon the frailness of our mortal nature, but in which I could not find any thing to disgust; and for the rest, nothing was to be seen of the half uncovered mouldering coffins — nor was the sense of smelling more offended than that of sight. I thought there was something altogether in the ruins of Mucruss Abbey very solemn and well worth exploring.

Here is shown the tomb of the last of the O'Donoghoes. I do not recollect at what time he was buried, but I think within fifty years. The name of  p.289 O'Donoghoe is of the highest distinction in these parts; the original ancestor was a sovereign prince, King of Munster I believe; but the period when he flourished seems by no means accurately determined. That such a prince did exist will scarcely admit of a doubt; and descendants of his, at least such as bore his name and claimed to be so, were, as appears above, recently alive; very possibly more may yet arise, notwithstanding that the tomb of the last of the race is shown here. But whatever or whoever the person was that first bore this name, the fables recorded of him are endless. He was the best of men and of princes, a great warrior, generous and hospitable to excess, a wise legislator, a strict adherent to justice, yet tempering his justice with godlike mercy. He did not die, but suddenly disappeared; nor was it ever certainly known what became of him, but it is much believed that he has now a Court and Palace at the bottom of the lake. Thus much is certain, that he is seen occasionally to rise out of the lake mounted upon a
"milk-white steed
Most like a baron bold."

There are many persons who have worked their imaginations into a positive and firm belief that they have seen such a vision: its appearance forebodes great good fortune to him who has the happiness of witnessing it. Moon-light nights are generally selected by the monarch for this ascent. Among a large cluster of islands or rocks between Ross Island and Mucruss, is one which is thought to resemble a horse drinking, and is thence called Horse Island; this is O'Donoghoe's horse, and when he is seen rising out of the lake on horseback, Horse Island vanishes. Our hero and his appearance rising from the lake are well described in a poem entitled Killarney, published about twenty years since by William Porter, Esq.; a poem which cannot fail to interest every person acquainted with the scenes it celebrates. The building Ross Castle is often ascribed to this renowned potentate. At the mouth of Ross Bay is a cluster of small islands, the most conspicuous of which is called O'Donoghoe's Prison; it is a tabular-appearing rock rising twenty feet above the water. This was the place of confinement selected by the prince for his disobedient and rebellious subjects. I was told that more than once soldiers from the barracks who have incurred punishment have been sent hither for a certain term. This may be true, or may not; and if such a punishment was substituted in the place  p.290 of flogging, praise be to those in whom the idea originated! In severe weather there would be some severity in it; in fine weather it seems little liable to objection. Punishment must be felt in some way, or it ceases to be what it is intended. On the summit of this little insulated pile of rock there is a bog six feet in depth.

From the abbey we drove all through the grounds of Mucruss to Brickeen Bridge where the peninsula terminates, a course of nearly three miles. The house makes no show, and is by no means advantageously situated for a view any way over the beauties by which it is surrounded. The drive is very pleasantly diversified by lawns and shrubberies, but there is no one spot particularly striking. The guide carried me to a place which he called a marble quarry at the edge of Turk Lake; but I could not make any thing more of this marble than a coarse-grained limestone exhibiting various shades of gray and reddish brown, sometimes regularly striated with these colours, which seemed to pass with the guide for the veinings of the marble. In some places the stone assumes a slaty character, the calcareous veins uniting in places with a form of clay slate. On this peninsula, at the edge of Turk Lake, some years ago a copper mine was worked, but it has been abandoned many years. The discontinuance of the works was owing partly to mismanagement, partly to want of harmony among the persons concerned in them. Water had broken into the mine before it was abandoned, but not from the lake, and it was not found to impede the works. Mr. Weld says, that in searching among the rubbish about the shaft of this forsaken mine he found, besides the copper pyrites, its principal produce, gray copper ore, malachite, brown iron-stone, gray and red cobalt ore, besides other mineral substances. A hope was once entertained that cobalt might have been found in sufficient quantities, and of so good a quality as to become a valuable article of commerce; but when some specimens of it were sent to a potter in England for trial, he found it too much intermingled with copper and iron to be employed in his manufacture. The whole peninsula of Mucruss is a pale blue limestone; the same stone continues all round the shore of the lake by Cahirnane to the Flesk river, and several of the islands in this part of the lake are entirely composed of this stone. The figure of rock likened to a horse drinking is formed by the excavations every where common among limestone rocks. Another rock near it, called O'Donoghoe's Table, is formed in like manner by  p.291 excavations which have left four pillars only as it were standing to support a flat piece of rock above.

Brickeen bridge unites the peninsula of Mucruss with the island of Brickeen: it is by this channel that boats from the Lower Lake commonly enter Turk Lake. Brickeen and Dinis islands close the lake to the west, running between the peninsula of Mucruss to the north and Turk mountain to the south. These two islands were once connected by a bridge, but that is no longer in existence; this channel is never used for entering the Turk Lake: boats sometimes go through that between Dinis Island and Turk Mountain; but the passage is narrow, the bushes and trees almost closing over it, and the water runs into the lake with such a prodigious rush, that the boat is hurried along very disagreeably; it is, therefore, rarely used. Dinis Island is one of the prettiest spots about the lakes to those who seek only for mild and tranquil beauty, but it has no grand features to boast. It produces the finest arbutuses hereabouts.

A boat was ordered to meet us at Brickeen bridge; and having taken a land survey of Mucruss peninsula, we now rowed round its southern shore. Turk Lake is sometimes called Mucruss Lake, from its running along one side of Mucruss peninsula, and sometimes the Middle Lake, from being in some sort, though not absolutely, between the two others; but the most common appellation is Turk Lake, from the great mountain of the same name bordering it to the south. We rowed first along the shore of Mucruss; the rocks here are curiously excavated, forming in various places arches, resembling exactly vaulted cellars, whence they are called O'Donoghoe's Cellars. Parts of the rock are sometimes so undermined by the constant attrition of the water, that they separate from the mass and are precipitated into the lake. Near the copper mines a mass of this kind has fallen, which now abides in the lake, exhibiting a most striking and fantastic figure, something like the ruins of an old gateway. I wonder that some similitude to this mass has not been found, after which to give it a name; but it is yet nameless. Turk Lake has not, like the others, its archipelago of islands; a single solitary one in the north-east corner is all that it can boast. Whether it is considered as a diabolical thing that while the other lakes are so rich in islands this should be so destitute, or for what reason I cannot tell, but something diabolical there must be about it, for it is distinguished as The Devil's Island.

 p.292

Having coasted round the north and east shores of the lake, we come to Turk Cottage, which stands on a small platform of level surface, between the foot of Turk Mountain and the lake. A garden and small meadow fill up the platform. This cottage is not, like those belonging to Lord Kenmare, open for the reception of visitors to the lakes; they are only permitted to contemplate its beauties at an awful distance from the water, — no profane foot must dare attempt to invade the shore. Above is a large plantation of fir and larch, made by Colonel Herbert upon the slope of the mountain; and by its side runs down Turk Cascade, supplied by the superfluous water from the Devil's Punch-bowl, on Mangerton. Turk Mountain rises boldly and majestically above the lake, but does not exhibit any very marked features of broken rock masses, dells, or chasms. Nearly the whole side is more or less planted.

After making the complete circuit of the lake, we passed through Brickeen Bridge, and crossing over to Glenaa Bay, the south-western corner of the Lower Lake, landed at Glenaa Cottage, delightfully situated on the bay, having the beautiful mountain Glenaa full in view. Here the bait for the day was prepared: — the boatmen had been angling in the lake, and caught some little trout, which were broiled, and thus fresh from the water they were really delicious. The mountain of Glenaa is by no means one of the most lofty hereabouts, but may be pronounced one of the most beautiful, whether from the wavy outline of its summits, the undulations presented by its slopes, its situation directly above the lake, or the green with which its sides are clothed.
"There was a time, nor is that time long past,"
when the sides of Glenaa were clothed with stately forests, but against the want of money not even their sylvan majesty could remain sacred; — to raise money, they have all within the last twenty years been laid prostrate. Yet if not waving with that luxuriance of foliage by which they were once adorned, these declivities are still green, still beautiful: new saplings are springing up, which, if not immediately, will ultimately, by their youthful charms and graces, throw into oblivion the memory of their noble and illustrious ancestors.

In Glenaa Bay is the great salmon-fishery of the lake. The fisheries are the property of Lord Kenmare, who leases them out, with the restriction that the fish are never to be sold in Killarney at more than twopence a pound,  p.293 and that any person is to be allowed to angle in the lake. After we had returned to our boat, we perceived the fisherman going to haul, as the term is, and made up to the shore to see the process: this there is no occasion to describe, it is known to most people. As they were drawing the nets to the shore, several stories were related by the people about of the number of fish often taken at a haul; sixty or seventy seemed to be considered as a trifle; and bets flew about freely of a glass of whiskey, a fivepenny piece, or some other not very heavy bet, whether the number of fish taken should be odd or even. There was no difficulty in deciding the matter, nor was any great time required to count over the prize, — one appeared. He was, however, a noble fellow, — a trout which must have weighed not less than five or six pounds. I suppose the fish seeing a stranger, were shy and would not show themselves. Whether the men reckoned all fish that came to their net I do not know, but they brought up plenty of weed: in deciding the bets, however, this was certainly not allowed to reckon as fish.

From hence we proceeded round Glenaa Point, which terminates the bay, along the south-western shore of the lake, to O'Sullivan's Cascade. Off Glenaa Point is an island which is still called Darby's Garden, an old man by name Darby having some years ago contrived to cultivate it as a garden. It is now well clothed with plants and herbage. The family of O'Sullivan has been mentioned as anciently of great distinction in this country. The cascade named after them is altogether the finest about the lakes. It is deeply embosomed in a wood, which, in preventing its becoming an object in the coup d'oeil of the landscape, to which it certainly would add one more beauty, renders it still more enchanting as a single feature. There are three distinct falls, each succeeding at a short interval to the other; the breaks adding to the beauty rather than diminishing it, and the rush of water is very great. This wood and cascade are upon the side of Tomies mountain; the height which the water descends is considerable, I know not at what it is computed.

Passing from this place to Ross Bay, we were so near the island of Innisfallen that I once more stopped there, and walked all round, which I had not time to do in my former visit: I was more enchanted than ever; it is indeed a delicious spot. Turning round the point of Ross Island, which forms the entrance into the bay, is a rock with a cavity which presents the appearance  p.294 of shelves: — this is called O'Donoghoe's Study. Landing at Ross Castle, I walked over to the other side of the island, where are very extensive copper and lead mines; the former more considerable than the latter. These mines were worked in times of a remote date, as appeared by tools found when in later times the works were resumed. The former undertakers had pushed their excavations too far in the direction of the lake, so that the water broke in, and this seems to have been the occasion that they were abandoned. The forsaken mines had very much attracted the curiosity and attention of an officer, who was for some time on duty at the castle, who came from the land of mines, — Cornwall. The observations he then made induced him, in 1804, to form a plan for re-opening them; and having engaged some others to join in the speculation, a capital was raised sufficient to commence the experiment.

Their first efforts were directed, not to the old shafts, but to a pit which, as well as the shafts, was filled by the water which had burst in from the lake. By means of the steam-engine,

  1. That giant power, which from earth's deepest caves
    Lifts with strong arm her dark reluctant waves,
    Each cavern'd rock and hidden den explores,
    Drags her dark coal, and digs her shining ores: —
by means of this giant-power the draining the pit was effected, and a rich vein of lead and copper was discovered, which for some time yielded such profit as proved an ample return to their expenditure, and the works were pursued with great alacrity. My guide had been employed in them for three or four years. They failed, however, at length; though the cause of the failure never seemed satisfactorily explained, for ore in abundance was still produced. Probably the expense of transport was too great, since there was no conveyance by water immediately from the lake, the river Laune not being navigable. The works had now been for some time abandoned, but the steam-engine still remained. The rocks are schistose, very much veined with quartz; silex forming a prevailing constituent of the common mass. The veins of pyrites are rich, and commonly exhibit a play of iridescent colours. Dark-gray copper ore is also very conspicuous. The veins of sulphuret ore are found intermixed with the copper, mineralized by a similar chemical operation. Veins of calcareous spar are frequent, receiving occasionally a greenish tinge, from the copper mingling  p.295 itself with the carbonic acid. The metallic schist ultimately passes into a fine-grained slate.

Ross Island was once extremely well wooded, and esteemed one of the finest spots about the lakes. It is at present one of the least interesting, except as an object of mineralogy. Cut off only by a narrow channel from the marshy shore to which it was once united, a great part of it is still a marsh, while the remainder exhibits nothing but low coppice-wood; and in the most rocky parts the rocks rise to no height above the water. The flatness of the whole line of shore from the river Laune to the Flesk could only be compensated by its being beautifully wooded. The grand mountain scenery on the other side scarcely wants the addition of wood; I could almost think, indeed, that its grandeur and sublimity would suffer some diminution from the mountains being more clothed. I am not sure that the axe which felled the forests of Glenaa is entirely to be held in reprobation; but rich forests can alone give grandeur to a country on which Nature has not impressed any of her more stately features. Such is Ross Island: covered with lofty oaks, their towering heads, their spreading arms, their waving foliage, would give it grace and dignity in the absence of other graces, nor can the ravages here made by the axe be too severely deprecated. Upon the whole, though there are some very fine points about the Lower Lake, I think it, though far the largest, the least beautiful and interesting of the three. The exploring the mines of Ross Island concluded this day.

 p.296

28. Black-rock, and Sunday Parties to it.… Property of Lord Kenmare and of…

Property of Lord Kenmare and of Mr. Herbert of Mucruss, about the Lakes. — Lord Kenmare's House. — The Deer-Park. — Ruins of Aghadoe. — Farewell to the Lakes. — Spenser and the Faerie Queene. — Different Routes from Killarney to Limerick. — Ruins of Kilmallock. — Kerry Head. — Disappointments from bad Weather. — Tralee. — Listowel. — Glynn. — Adair. — Ruins there restored. — Tradition respecting the Fitzgerald Family. — Liberal Conduct of Lord Adair. — Arrival at Limerick.

Lord Kenmare and Mr. Herbert of Mucruss are the two great proprietors of the Lakes and the country about them. All the islands, with the exception of Dinis, Brickeen, and the Devil's Island, in Turk Lake, belong to Lord Kenmare; the three latter are the property of Mr. Herbert. There are more than thirty in the Upper and Lower Lake that have names; many of these, however, are mere small rocks; and there are many more yet unnamed. The form of the Lower Lake is so extremely irregular, that it is somewhat difficult to say in what direction it runs; it is rather from the north-west to the south-east. Its utmost length is reckoned at seven miles, its utmost breadth at three. From the Laune river to the head of the Upper Lake forms a sweep, which may not improperly be termed a bay of mountains; and the greater part of the coasts of the lakes, with this district, belong to Lord Kenmare, continuing round nearly the whole of the Upper Lake as far as Cromiglaun, or Newfoundland, as it is sometimes called. From hence, the range of mountains running along the south-eastern side of the channel which unites the lakes, with the whole borders of Turk Lake, and those of the Lower Lake, from Dinis Island to Cahirnane, are the property of Mr. Herbert; — from the beginning of Cahirnane to the Flesk is the property of Mr. Herbert of Cahirnane; and then again, Lord Kenmare is proprietor of the lands from the north side of the Flesk to Prospect-Hall, the utmost point of the Lower Lake to the north-east. The remainder of the shores of the lake from Prospect-Hall, round again to the river Laune, is  p.297 divided into several small properties. This division will be well comprehended by consulting Mr. Weld's excellent Plan of the Lakes.

Lord Kenmare's house is at the entrance of the town of Killarney from the Kenmare road; that is, the shortest road to Kenmare over the mountains, not that which I came, through Glan-Flesk. It is most extraordinary that the houses of both these proprietors, each of whom had such choice of lovely spots, should be fixed in a part of their respective domains the most unfavourable for seeing the beauties that surround them. Lord Kenmare's house stands on a perfect flat, having nothing in front but an avenue of trees, running in a contrary direction to the lake. The house makes very little show as to its exterior, nor is there, as I am informed, any aim at splendour within; it is a comfortable gentleman's house, and no more. I did not go into it. His Lordship has a very fine collection of engravings of Irish scenery from every part of the island, but he does not permit their being shown when he is absent; and he was at this time at Brussels with his brother, who had been dangerously wounded in the battle of Waterloo. That the house should be placed in such a situation is the more extraordinary, since there are many spots in the grounds whence it would have commanded a fine view over the lake. The deer-park is half a mile out of the town, in a contrary direction, on the road to Castle Island; and here also fine views over the lakes might have been obtained. Some parts of this park are well wooded, and through a fine rocky glen runs the river Deanagh, whence it pursues its course to the lake through the grounds about Lord Kenmare's house. Walks are made about this glen; and in a grove at the end of it are some of the tallest and most erect fir-trees I ever saw; squeezed too closely together to admit of their having branches, these trees stand like so many masts of ships ready prepared. The dell and grove are the most striking features of the deer-park: it was of a very large extent, but a part has been let off of late years to Mr. Cronan, who has an estate contiguous to it. This park and the ruins of Aghadoe were the last two objects that I visited before I bade adieu to Killarney.

The abbey and cathedral of Aghadoe were among the most celebrated of ancient days. The ruins of them stand upon the highest ground north of the lake, and are conspicuous objects from many points in rowing about it. Here was once, as the cathedral denotes, a bishop's see; and it is now distinguished  p.298 as one among the Catholics, they having still a titular bishop of Aghadoe. The abbey is supposed to have been founded as early as the sixth century: in a record of the abbey of Innisfallen, dated in the year 1231, it is styled the old abbey of Aghadoe. The only vestiges that remain are parts of the church, very much overgrown with ivy; of these, the best preserved is the arch of the western door; it is in the style called Saxon, and resembles very much that to the little chapel on the island of Innisfallen. A remarkable thing in both is, that the door-cases are a red sandstone, a species of stone not known at present to be any where near this neighbourhood. I have mentioned finding it about Glengariff, but that is five-and-twenty or thirty miles distant, computing by the nearest route. This, no less than Mucruss Abbey, is a favourite place of interment among the Catholics, and the graves extend a considerable way from the church to the south, even going along the road-side; I suppose, however, it is well ascertained that the canoniz'd earth extends thus far.

Very near the church stands a small fragment of a round-tower, scarcely twenty feet in height, and appearing in such a state of decay that it will probably soon be entirely mouldered away. At a little distance, in a field, is part of another tower, called by the people of the country The Pulpit; but, though round, of a very different description from the round-tower properly so called. It is very similar to what are to be seen in such places of antiquity in England as have any remains of their ancient walls. Round Norwich many of these towers are still standing, and many more were so within a few years. As Aghadoe was certainly a place of great importance in ancient days, might it not be walled round, and might not this be a tower of defence in the walls? From the hill which is the site of these ruins, there is a good view over the Lower Lake and its shores; many people reckon it the best within the circuit: with this I do not agree. The hill itself is ugly, having no wood about it, while the sides are broken into small inclosures surrounded with stone fences; and over this viewless kind of view the eye is first carried before it reaches the lake. As a bird's-eye view, none appears to me so good as the spot in Lord Kenmare's grounds, whence I had first an actual survey of those scenes, till then only spread before me in imagination.

In visiting Lord Kenmare's deer-park and the ruins of Aghadoe, I completed the range of all the leading objects which claim attention in this celebrated spot.  p.299 Upon the whole, I had passed five days here, a sufficient time for obtaining a general idea of the scenery; — to examine all its beauties in detail, five weeks would hardly more than suffice. But to devote any thing like that time to it was wholly out of my power; and as I did not perceive that much would be gained by only an additional day or two, which was all I could have given, I determined to proceed on my way the same afternoon, the sixth from my arrival. Indeed, I know not any country where three or four months might be spent with greater pleasure and advantage than in exploring this whole southwestern corner of Ireland. But it must be by one whose mind is particularly attuned to the task; — whose delight in searching out the wonders and beauties of wild nature is superior to feeling the petty hardships and inconveniences inevitably attendant upon rambling over a country thinly inhabited, and little frequented by travellers; where good inns, or indeed any inns, are not to be expected at every ten miles: — not alone about the Lakes of Killarney, but in many other parts, beauties would probably be discovered of which at present no one has any idea. Formerly, visitors to these parts confined themselves entirely to the Lakes; their beauties explored, no one thought of extending their rambles further. Circumstances have now brought the Bay of Bantry much into notice, and Captain White has shown that it is capable of being made to exhibit beauties no way inferior to the Lakes. Indeed, as a single thing, I should be tempted to say that there is nothing at the Lakes equal to Glengariff; the superiority of the Lakes lies in the collected attractions which it presents. Of them as a whole, I think it may be said with truth, that their beauties can neither be exceeded nor exaggerated; nor is this my own feeling only, I have never found any writer who has treated of the subject express disappointment on seeing them, how highly soever their expectation had been raised; neither did I ever hear any body who mentioned them, evince any feeling to that effect. A sentiment so general can hardly be a mistaken one; each by whom it is entertained bears testimony to its correctness in his neighbour. Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who had been a great traveller, and had therefore strongly the power of judging them not only abstractedly, but by the more forcible medium of comparison, says: ‘The collected beauties of this favoured spot are so great, so varied, and so superior to any thing I have yet seen either in Italy,  p.300 Switzerland, or England, that they can neither be delineated nor described; to he felt, they must be seen.’ ()

Mr. Weld thinks that Spenser the poet must have been a frequent visitant at the Lakes of Killarney while he was writing his Faerie Queene, and have had its scenery impressed on his imagination in many of the beautiful descriptions with which that poem abounds. He was then resident at Kilcoleman, a castle in the county of Cork belonging to the Earls of Desmond, only forty miles from Killarney, so that the idea seems extremely probable. That Spenser was very fond of Ireland is shown by the motto given in the title-page of this work. Dr. Smith thinks the scenery about the castle in which he wrote was sufficient to inspire him. He says: "Two miles north-west of Doneraile is Kilcoleman, a ruined castle of the Earls of Desmond, but more celebrated for being the residence of the immortal Spenser, where he composed his divine poem The Faerie Queene. The castle, now almost level with the ground, was situated on the side of a fine lake in the midst of a vast plain, terminated by the Waterford mountains to the east, by Ballyhowra hills, or as Spenser terms them the mountains of Mole to the north, by the Nagle mountains to the south, and to the west by the mountains of Kerry; so that the view extended half the breadth of Ireland. When the adjacent uplands were wooded, it must have been a most pleasant and romantic situation, and no doubt Spenser drew from it several parts of the scenery of his poem." It is most likely that his descriptions were not borrowed from either solely, but that he was furnished with ideas alike from both.

If it may appear extraordinary that of scenery which presents so many beautiful pictures, of which almost every spot is a beautiful picture, I have not given a single sketch — I have many reasons to adduce for the omission. In the first place, it has rather been my aim to place before the reader, views of objects less known, and which have not been so often made subjects for the pencil. In the second place, it is not by views of single detached parts that any idea can be formed of the Lakes of Killarney as a whole; and it is in contemplating them as a whole that their beauties appear the most striking; in considering how much variety of beauty is comprehended within, comparatively speaking, so small a space. In the third place, every thing that the pencil  p.301 could do in delineating the beauties of these lakes has been done so ably by Mr. Weld, that he has scarcely left any thing to be added by those who come after him; — they can hardly appear other than his copyists.

Having taken my last look over the lake from the hill of Aghadoe, about three o'clock I set out for Tralee. Three roads go from Killarney to Limerick, not varying much in distance; my only doubt respecting which I should take was between the most eastern and the most western; the middle road was left entirely out of the question. It runs through Castle Island, Abbeyfeale, and Newcastle, over a mountainous country presenting no striking or marked features, the inns on the road being very bad. The most eastern passes through the town of Kilmallock, a place of great curiosity to travellers from the vestiges of former greatness which it exhibits, and which have given occasion to its being frequently called the Balbec of Ireland. Of this town an ample account is given in Sir Richard Colt Hoare's Journal, and to that I refer the reader, since he saw and examined the ruins, and I did not. A friend of mine, when I was coming this second time to Ireland, said to me, "I charge you do not omit seeing the ruins of Kilmallock, there is scarcely any thing in Ireland so interesting." I pondered, therefore, much upon taking this route: but I have said that the striking works of nature in this country, its fine scenery and mineralogical productions, were much rather the objects of my researches, than the productions of art either ancient or modern, and this it was which now determined my choice. In taking the most westerly road I thought I could include a visit to Kerry Head, the southern point at the mouth of the Shannon, where a noble scene presents itself. The river is here eight miles over, having fine bold rocks at each point of the channel, where it unites with the ocean. The force of the waves has excavated vast caverns in the rocks about Kerry Head, into which, in stormy weather, the sea beats with such tremendous force, that the noise may be heard for some miles. One cave in particular is more remarkable than the rest for the amazing roar which the waters make in rushing in, and to this is given again the name of Poll-a-Phuca or the Daemon's Cave. Among the rocks about Kerry Head are found abundance of the crystallizations which are celebrated as Kerry amethysts. Such objects were more attractive to me than the ruins of Kilmallock, and I resolved to devote a day to them,  p.302 going from Tralee, which is about fifteen miles from the Head, and returning thither again at night.

I had been upon the whole exceedingly favoured by the weather while at Killarney, and left it in as fine an afternoon as could be seen. On arriving at Tralee, I made my arrangements for the proposed excursion, not having then the least idea of the weather interposing to baffle a scheme on which I had fixed my mind rather eagerly. But on the morrow when I awoke, I found the rain pouring down in torrents, and the atmosphere so loaded with clouds that little hope could be entertained but of its continuance. In deep sadness did I contemplate this very unexpected transition. What was to be done? — To go on an excursion, in which the principal object was to see a noble view, under circumstances when any object a quarter of a mile distant was completely shut out, would be a downright absurdity; and though I was eager to see Kerry Head, I did not wish to do a thing very absurd. Should I then wait at Tralee that day in hopes of better fortune the next? — this was a day in every way completely lost, and I did not wish to waste my time. I waited till ten o'clock, I saw no chance of amendment in the weather, and I then determined to give up Kerry Head, and proceed on the way to Limerick.

The road from Killarney to Tralee is dull and dreary till very near the latter town, when the view of it, with the bay on which it stands, gives a little variety to the scene. The bay is a very indifferent one, shoaly, and will not admit vessels of any size. Vast numbers of herrings are taken in it in the fishing season.

A castle still remains at Tralee which was the ancient possession of the Earls of Desmond: during the troubles in which that family were involved in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and which ended in their final extinction, the town suffered very severely. It had originally four strong castles; three have been entirely demolished. There was also an abbey here for Dominican friars, founded in the thirteenth century, of which no traces remain. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem had moreover an establishment here. The town suffered very severely in the Great Rebellion, and again in the wars of James the Second, so that in rising from so much ruin and devastation little appearance has been left of the real antiquity which it boasts. Many new houses have recently been erected, and I found an extremely good inn, as far as clean and  p.303 comfortable apartments were concerned; but one of the most tedious and tormenting in all Ireland for getting any thing that was wanted: not less than an hour elapsed after I had ordered tea and eggs before they appeared; the people here practised what had been threatened at Glen Molaur. This is considered as the principal town of the county of Kerry.

The road continued dull and uninteresting, or at least the heavy rain made it appear so. Listowel is the first stage, a town on the Feal, having a handsome bridge over that river. It is rather remarkably situated upon a steep eminence, rising on a sudden from a wide-extended flat; and the remains of an old castle frowning over the brow of the height give it a striking appearance in approaching it. This castle once extended a considerable way; the principal part that remains is a gateway, a lofty circular arch, between two lofty round-towers. From hence we proceeded to Glynn on the Shannon, where were to be our night quarters. For a long way beyond Listowel there is a dismal dreary bog without an object of any kind to excite interest. At length at Tarbert we came upon the bank of the Shannon; the rain had by this time ceased, and a gleam of tolerable weather afforded an opportunity of seeing the really fine view presented. The village is neat and pretty, and opposite to it in the Shannon, which is here a great width, is a pretty wooded island. The road continues close by the river side from hence to Glynn: this is rather a pretty town, sloping up from the river side; close by it is the castle of the Knight of Glynn. An old castle once occupied the spot, but now, though retaining the name of a castle, it is a modern-built house.

The weather was not such the next morning as to give me any occasion for regret that I had not stopped the day before at Tralee to take my chance of a more propitious moment for Kerry Head. I set out again from Glynn in a heavy rain, which continued the greater part of the way till we got to Adair, a long stage of sixteen miles. Having then ceased, I had an opportunity of going over some of the numerous ruins for which the place is celebrated. The country here is somewhat improved, and just about Adair is well wooded. This town was in former times of great note, and was among the very large possessions of the Desmond family; it is now the property of Lord Adair, who has here a house and very extensive park, but it is much more to the vestiges of former grandeur  p.304 that it is indebted for being of any note. There are the remains of four abbeys and a castle. Two of the abbeys are in Lord Adair's park, and I did not see them. The best preserved is at the entrance of the town from the Limerick side, it is close to the river Maig. Over this river is a bridge of an irregular form, making a sort of curve; it brought to my recollection some of the ancient bridges in the South of France ascribed to the Romans, which form almost an angle in the centre. Not that this bridge at Adair is of a similar construction; its curvature brought them to my mind, yet I scarcely knew why; there is hardly sufficient resemblance for the one to recall the other.

The abbey is supposed to have been founded in the year 1315, for Augustine friars. Of this there were very large remains, and Lord Adair has generously given the whole pile to the use of the parish. The church, of which the greatest part was left standing, has been fitted up as a parish church; every thing that was wanting has been restored in a style perfectly to correspond with the ancient work, and the pews are all of fine old oak. All Ireland can hardly boast so handsome a village church. Another part of the building which joined to the cloisters is fitted up for a school-room; the cloisters are in good preservation, and are not to be touched. Such is the durable nature of the stone, a hard gray limestone, and of the work, that wherever any part of the wall is to be pulled down, which is done as sparingly as possible, it is a task of labour and difficulty. Over a gateway going into the building converted into a school-room, the master workman, who as well as the parish clerk walked about with me, putting aside a long pendant mass of ivy, showed me the Fitzgerald arms with the crest, a monkey, and the supporters, monkeys, and then proceeded to relate the origin of this crest and these supporters; to which I listened attentively, though indeed I had heard it before. He said that many years ago, a castle belonging to the family being on fire, the people were hurrying about in great confusion, endeavouring to save what was most valuable. Among these valuables, however, the heir of the family, a child in a cradle, was not thought of, and he had been left to perish in the flames but for the greater attention of a monkey. He took the child from the cradle and ran up with it upon the battlements; the fire had then got such complete possession of the interior that it was scarcely any longer safe to venture within,  p.305 The people were looking on amazed and confounded, when they perceived the monkey holding the child up and showing it to them. They were all thunderstruck at finding it had been neglected; when one, more courageous than the rest, rushed into the castle again, though all present thought he was hastening to inevitable destruction, and making his way up to the battlements brought both child and monkey away in safety. In grateful memorial of the service rendered by the animal, monkeys had ever since borne the conspicuous, place they now hold in the family arms. — The man then directed my attention to the remains of an old castle by the river on the other side and a little way from the road, and said that some people believed that to be the castle where this circumstance had happened, and that it had been in ruins ever since; others said that it happened at a castle in the county of Kildare. — Whether this tradition has its foundation in matter of fact I do not know: it is very generally told, and asserted for fact, nor is there any thing in it which offends against credibility.

In the centre of the village are the remains of another abbey, the church of which Lord Adair, with a truly liberal spirit, has given to the Catholics for their use; it is all covered in, but the Catholics are poor, and have not the means of bestowing much money on their churches, so that the new work is mere common masonry; the side to the street and the door of entrance are, however, in good preservation, and make a handsome appearance. It were much to be wished that Lord Adair's example may be followed in more than one point of view; in rising superior to the distinction of Catholic and Protestant, and seeing in all around him fellow-creatures and fellow-christians, though not exactly agreeing in all points of religious belief; — while it is equally desirable to see these ancient remains restored as much as possible to their primitive state, and rendered alike objects of ornament and utility in the country. Where there are remains wanting so little to restore them as has been found necessary at Adair, 'tis pity they should not be restored; the objection to touching them is, when some vile ordinary piece of patchwork is to be added to them in a style wholly foreign to the original building, to employ them perhaps for some very vile purpose. The town of Adair suffered severely in common with all the possessions of the Earl of Desmond in the conflicts which he  p.306 sustained against Queen Elizabeth. At the confiscation of this nobleman's property, these abbeys being then extremely rich, were granted to Sir Henry Wallop. In the grant, mention is made of their houses, tenements, burgages, parks, gardens, arable and pasture lands, water-mills, fishing-weirs, &c. &c.

From hence to Limerick the country is well cultivated, but affords no object of particular interest or deserving of remark. At Glynn the road takes a direction distant from the Shannon, and that river is seen no more till near Limerick. The approach to the town presented nothing striking.

 p.307

29. Visit to Ravenswell — The Dargle… Division of the City of Limerick.…

Division of the City of Limerick. — The Course of the Shannon. — Newtown-Perry. — The Cathedral. — Sieges sustained by the Town. — Limerick Gloves. — Monastic Institutions. — Bad Weather. — Attack of the Mail-Coach beyond Cashel. — The Bog of Allen. — Hill of Allen, the Scene of Ossian's Temora. — Number of Ruins in the County of Tipperary. — Kilkenny. — Visit to a Nunnery there. — Lord Ormond's School. — Cave of Dunmore. — Castlecomer . — The Collieries. — Carlow. — Return to Dublin.

Limerick was a long time considered as the second city in Ireland: of late years it has been superseded by Cork, and thrown one degree lower in the scale. It consists of two distinct parts; the English and the Irish town. The former stands upon an island of the Shannon, and is connected with the latter by a bridge, called Baal's Bridge by some, O'Brien's Bridge by others: I know not which is its proper name. It has thirteen arches, like all old bridges very small. The channel which it crosses is not the main stream of the Shannon; that runs on the other side of the island, upon which the English town stands, while the branch alone passes through Limerick. It is, however, of sufficient importance to admit vessels of five hundred tons burthen up to the town.

The course of the Shannon is somewhat remarkable. Its head is Lough Allen, in the county of Leitrim, so near to Sligo Bay that the river almost converts into an island all that western part of Ireland which lies between the above-named bay and the Shannon mouth. During the whole of its course, which is nearly two hundred miles, it is constantly expanding itself into large lakes, or dividing its channel and forming islands. Lough Allen, from which it issues, is a lake thirty miles in circuit: Lough Ree, through which it next flows, is fifteen miles in length; and Lough Derg is larger than either. The Shannon has now communication with Dublin from two different parts, by means of the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal. If the district by which it  p.308 flows were small, it would be called a peninsula; but it is so large, that the idea how nearly it is insulated scarcely strikes.

To the two former divisions of Limerick a third may now be added, in the vast additions made of late years towards the south-west, under the name of Newtown-Perry. These buildings were begun about fifty years ago, by the permission and under the patronage of Lord Perry, a part of the old walls of the town being thrown down to make way for them. Here the streets are wide and regularly built; the houses good, but built of red brick. There are as handsome shops as can be seen even in London. But the old town is one of the most frightful, the most filthy places in all Ireland. True, I saw it under every possible disadvantage . The rain, which had kept off for some hours, began to come on again very soon after I commenced my walk about Limerick, and the streets were almost ankle deep in mud: this, however, would not have been if it were a generally clean town.

My principal object in going into the Old Town was to see the cathedral. Indeed it scarcely furnishes any other object worth seeing. This is a fine old building, one of the best Ireland has to show, at least as far as my knowledge goes. It is a Gothic structure of the thirteenth century, built by Donal O'Brien, then king of Limerick. It has never been suffered to fall into a dilapidated state, but has been constantly kept in good condition. Much were it to be wished that it were better placed; but it is squeezed into such a poking kind of corner, and so beset with miserable buildings patched upon it, that the way to it is found with difficulty. The choir is handsomely fitted up. In doing some repairs to the roof, not many days before I was in the church, a cannon-ball was found deep within one of the spars, which must have lodged there in some of the sieges the town has sustained, and was never before discovered. In the time of Oliver Cromwell it was besieged by Ireton, who was repulsed in several attacks, and would in all probability have been compelled ultimately to abandon the siege, had not the daemon of discord found his way into the town, and insinuated himself among the inhabitants: — animosities arose among them: some declared in favour of the Pope's Nuncio, some in favour of King Charles, and some were for surrendering to the English army. A house divided against itself cannot stand, — and Limerick fell. Ireton entered and took possession of it: but here ended his career; he died there in a very short time. In 1690  p.309 it was besieged by King William; but he found so powerful a resistance, that he was obliged to abandon the siege. The next year General Ginckel succeeded better, and reduced it to submission.

On the quay is a very handsome custom-house, with docks, at which the ships unload their cargoes. There is a house of industry somewhat singularly situated, running as it were into the river. Flourishing linen, woollen, and paper manufactories are carried on here; and a great deal of ship beef and pork is salted. The reputation of this place for gloves is well known; but I found that there are many more Limerick gloves manufactured at Dublin and at Cork than in Limerick. For my own part, I think their reputation is rather, if I may be pardoned a familiar expression, great cry but little wool; I could never find in what their great superiority consists. This I know, that at Cork I was asked five shillings a pair for Limerick habit-gloves, while for very excellent ones not so called I paid half that price. There is a great manufactory of gloves at Cork, and most excellent ones; the kid leather very nice, and the work particularly good. I suspected them at first to be French, smuggled into sale in this way; but I was assured by persons of credibility that they were not so.

There were formerly a great many monastic institutions at Limerick. King Donal O'Brien, who founded the cathedral, founded also a convent for black nuns of the Augustine order. Edward the Third took this convent under his especial protection. A priory for canons regular of St. Augustine was founded in the reign of King John by a citizen of the town, Simon Miner. It stood near Baal's Bridge. A sumptuous monastery of Dominicans was founded in 1240 by another O'Brien, king of Thomond, which was endowed with very large possessions in and about the city. All these possessions, at the suppression of monasteries, were granted to the Earl of Desmond, at a yearly rent of five shillings. Another O'Brien, in the reign of Henry the Third, founded a monastery of gray-friars. This stood just without the wall of the town; and, with the priory of St. Augustine, was granted by Henry the Eighth, at the suppression of monastic institutions, to Edmund Sexton a citizen of the town, at an annual rent of two shillings and sixpence. No vestiges of any of these monasteries remain. There is a convent of nuns now in the town, but not inhabiting any of the ancient religious houses. I would have gone to see it, but being Saturday no strangers were admitted. Three other bishoprics, formerly  p.310 distinct sees, have been at different times incorporated with this; those of Inis-Catha, Ardfert, and Aghadoe.

Had it not been for the continued bad weather, I believe I should now have gone to Kilmallock, and from thence to Tipperary; it would only have made a circuit of about eight miles in going to the latter place. But such was the morning in which I set off from Limerick, and such had been the weather now for three days, that I began to think my good fortune in this respect had wholly forsaken me, and that nothing remained but to hasten back to Dublin as fast as possible. I accordingly pursued my route this day through a never-ceasing rain from Limerick by Tipperary to Cashel. I will not say any thing of the country; it seemed to me the most dreary and dismal imaginable. At Tipperary I first heard of the disturbances which just now commenced in these parts; only two nights before the Mail had been attacked on the other side of Cashel by a very desperate gang, and a soldier had been killed. I did not, however, from this first account at all understand the nature of the attack, but thought its object had been to rob the passengers.

On arriving at Cashel, I found that the attack had been of a much more serious and alarming nature: it took place on the other side of Littleton, which is about eight miles from Cashel; and the object was not so much to get money, as arms. Two guards always attend the mails in Ireland: there were besides at this time two dragoons travelling on the outside of the mail, and two sailors, one of whom was for some purpose, I do not recollect what, charged with a large sum of money. Very different accounts were given of the number of the assailants; the truth was, that in such a scene of terror, tumult, and confusion, it was impossible for any one to give a probable guess at their numbers; some estimated them at about fifteen or twenty; others computed them at fifty: that they were a strong party was certain. The attack was begun by firing at the leading horses, one of which was so desperately wounded that it fell immediately, and thus was the coach effectually stopped. A desperate conflict then ensued, in which one of the dragoons upon the top of the coach was mortally wounded, and one of the guards very severely. The sailor who had the money about him seeing the leading horse fall, with astonishing presence of mind leaped from the top of the coach, and having an immensely strong clasp-knife in his pocket, cut the traces of the leaders, when, giving a severe  p.311 lash to that which remained alive, he ran away, dragging after him his poor wounded companion. The coachman, thus freed from the embarrassment of the fallen horse, whipped on the two remaining ones and set them into a gallop, by means of which they soon got clear of the assailants. The sailor who had done this important service, amid the scene of confusion stole unperceived away, and lying down in a dry ditch under a hedge by the road side, there remained awhile till the gang were dispersed; when, creeping into a cornfield, he remained concealed there till morning; then thinking himself in safety, he went on to Littleton, having not only saved himself, but all his money. Till his safety was known, the utmost anxiety was experienced by every one on his account lest he had fallen into the hands of these desperadoes, which to him must have been certain destruction. A reward of fifty pounds was afterwards given him by the Government.

It may easily be guessed in what state the whole company in and about the mail must be when they arrived at Littleton, between two and three miles from the scene of action. The wounded dragoon and guard were left there, where the dragoon died in a few hours; he had been interred the very morning that I was at Littleton. No attempt was made by the assailants to demand money; they demanded only the surrender of the arms. Such a story was not to be heard unmoved; no one could have heard it with indifference two hundred miles from the spot where it had happened, and two years after; but to think of being then but a few miles from it, that I was the next morning to pass over it, that the affair had happened only two nights before, occasioned a feeling not to be described. It was not apprehension for my own safety, I did not consider that as in any clanger; I was not to travel by night; I had no arms to excite the desires of those unhappy wretches: — I know not what it was, but my mind was wholly untuned to thinking of any thing else; nothing was present to it but the idea of the shocking scene which had passed, and the inevitable consequences with which it must be attended. That the situation of the lower classes in Ireland, and particularly in this part of the country, was very deplorable, could not be doubted; but who could witness without deep regret the mistaken, the perverted notions they had adopted of the means by which it was to be ameliorated? Such violence must be repelled by violence; and the consequence ensued, which was reasonably to be expected, that martial law, that  p.312 law without law, was soon after proclaimed here. Devoted Ireland! are these things never to be otherwise? — I came to Cashel to see the celebrated rock and the venerable remains of antiquity with which it is crowned, but I could now see nothing except the increased sufferings which the country had prepared for itself; I became indifferent to every thing else, and I thought only of quitting scenes which seemed surrounded with nothing but gloom and horror. I saw the rock and the ruins at a little distance, as I entered the town, and as I quitted it they presented but new ideas of devastation, and I passed on.

Yet for one moment I felt an impulse to stop the carriage and ascend the rock. The rain had ceased in the night, the morning was fine, the sun was shining upon the mouldering towers and turrets, and they assumed an air of magnificence which methought ought not to be passed by. The next moment, however, the idea that though the heavens were bright and clear, all was gloom in the moral atmosphere, came too forcibly over my mind to be repelled, and I pursued my route. At present my feelings upon this occasion seem strange to me, they seemed so in a few hours after, but at the moment they were irresistible. I have often asked myself since, why I did not see the ruins of Cashel, — I could never answer the question satisfactorily.

One thing I must observe, that I was wholly disappointed in the situation of these ruins. I expected to have seen them crowning an enormous mass of dark towering craggy rock; I had figured to myself something like the towering height on which stands the fortress of Notre Dame de la Garde, near Marseilles; I saw what should rather be termed a green knoll than a rock; a smooth eminence covered with green sod, the height by no means considerable. It is nothing to the hill on which stands the fine old castle at Norwich.

At Littleton where I breakfasted, every tongue was still occupied with the same tale: the funeral of the soldier had just taken place, the wounded guard was then in the house, — I saw him not, but I knew he was there; it was impossible not to shudder at the situation in which he had been so recently. The driver stopped when we came to the spot where the dreadful scene had passed, and pointed it out to me; it was just within a sort of lane formed by inclosures, at the verge of a wide extent of bog, part of the great Bog of Allen. I was glad when we had passed it, and tried to think of the thing no more. The only truly dismal day that I passed during my two excursions, was that from Limerick to  p.313 Cashel; the weather was bad, the country dreary, and the latter part of the day this story was dwelling on my mind. But enough of it.

The Bog of Allen extends over an immense tract of country in the centre of Ireland. I never heard any attempt at a computation of the number of acres it contains, but it occupies parts of nine different counties; those of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Roscommon, Galway, Tipperary, and the King's and Queen's Counties. What immense forests must have been submerged to have formed such a tract! if, as seems the strong probability, all these bogs are submerged forests. At the edge of it in the county of Kildare is the Hill of Allen, the scenery of which, at this moment, accords so perfectly with what is described in the Temora of Ossian, that many people say, if Ossian did not take his descriptions from it, Macpherson must. There is in the declivity of the hill a natural cave, where the traditions of the country now say that Oscar lay after his death guarded by his faithful dog Bran; near the cave is a well which is called Oscar's Well, and at the foot of the hill is a stream called Dorthula. But Mr. Laing in his edition of Macpherson's works says that the latter had no other authority for his poem of Temora but an old Irish ballad; that all he says of his friends having collected for him in the Highlands the broken and scattered fragments of the poem, is so much a flight of imagination, that he might well be supposed to have kissed the Blarney Stone. If an Irish ballad was indeed the foundation of the poem, it is not extraordinary that the localities, the scene being laid in Ireland, should be accurately described.

No part of the country that I passed over abounds in ruins like the county of Tipperary; the eye is perpetually presented with them, there is scarcely a moment without some in sight. I am informed, however, that it yields much to the county of Galway, that there they are even more frequent. The noted ruins of Holy-Cross Abbey are in the county of Tipperary. At a small village between Cashel and Kilkenny is a church, which attracted my attention very much as I was walking about while the horses were baiting for half an hour. The church is a new built one; but at the west end is an archway extremely similar to those of Innisfallen and Aghadoe, very perfect, but with very little of the old wall remaining round it, and against this the new church is built; not including the archway in the new wall, but leaving the old part projecting  p.314 from the new, strengthened and supported by it, the door-way in the new wall being made exactly to correspond in size with the old one, so as to leave that the entrance to the church. I could not make out the name of this village; I inquired it of the driver, but he spoke so unintelligibly that I could not comprehend what he said; it is seven miles from Kilkenny.

I arrived at Kilkenny about three o'clock, and stopped at the Castle, according to my invitation, the remainder of that day and the next. I had the pleasure of meeting a large dinner-party on the day of my arrival: I had always heard the society of Kilkenny represented as exceedingly pleasant, and so I found it I went with Miss Ryan the sister of Dr. Ryan, whom I have mentioned before, to visit a convent of nuns; the sisters were twelve in number, whose time was principally devoted to the education of poor girls. They had a very, large school, I think nearly a hundred, who were entirely instructed by them; the children were all very industriously employed, and looked clean, healthy, and happy. The nuns have a nice and spacious garden, beyond which they never stir, and they seemed all perfectly comfortable and happy; none among them were very young, they were all forty or upwards. What struck me much was, that living thus retired from the world I never saw people more inquisitive for news, or more anxious to know what was going forward in the world. At Kilkenny I saw filberds which I think must have been from trees planted by Fin Mac Cool and his giant race, for they were truly giants of their kind.

From hence Mr. Barwis very obligingly accompanied me to the collieries at Castlecomer , stopping by the way to see the celebrated Cave of Dunmore. On the subject of this cave the author of The Post-Chaise Companion becomes quite poetical. "When you approach the cave," he says, "which is situated in the middle of a spacious field, a prodigious flight of birds of different species darken the air by their numbers. The passage into it is down a square hole, or rather precipice, upwards of sixty feet deep by twelve wide. At the bottom thereof is the mouth of the cave, which is but low, arched with rocks, seemingly dropped on the head, where from a number of petrifactions, like icicles, there falls a vast quantity of drops of limpid water, which also petrify into clear crystal lumps upon the rocks whereon they fall; they are white, and nearly transparent. On entering the mouth of the cave, a sudden chillness seizes all parts of the body, and lights which are brought hither burn red and:  p.315 dim as in a thick fog. From this entrance, by the help of flambeaux, you turn to the left, and descend over a multitude of rocks, till you come to a slippery ascent, where the constant dropping from the earth at top hath formed a kind of steps. After you pass the first rising, the shining of the petrified waters presents a variety of objects by no means unpleasing, and bearing a near resemblance to the works of art; such as organ-pipes, cylinders, inverted pyramids, and ten thousand other figures. From hence you proceed forward on a slippery footing, to a passage so low and narrow that you must creep through it. You then come into a wide open space where the cave is prodigiously enlarged, and the roof or top exceedingly high. Your voices echo as in a church, to which this part of the cavern bears a striking resemblance; the bottom is smooth, except where some pillars formed by nature appear; in many places skulls and human bones are set in the crystalline substance. After you have walked a considerable way further, you behold a broken and uninterrupted scene, made up of an infinite variety of inequalities or rocks over head, some threatening desolation on the spot, whilst others seem to be more fixed and secure. This amazing and difficult meander over rocks and precipices, leads you on for about a quarter of a mile, when you are agreeably entertained by the murmurings of a subterranean river, which rolling over tumbling stones, and falling over rocks, forms a strange kind of noise in that hollow cavern, but how far it extends none has been so bold as to attempt discovering."

The Traveller's Guide is less diffuse upon the subject: it only says; "Near the ruins of Dunmore Castle in an open field is a cave which extends more than a quarter of a mile, as far as it hath been explored, for no adventurer hath yet attempted to penetrate it farther, as the rumbling of a subterraneous current, reverberating through the awful silence of terrific gloominess and pitchy darkness, gives a solemn warning of approaching peril, and perhaps inevitable destruction. It is as remarkable for its petrifactions as for its magnitude." While I was at Dublin, I was talking to a gentleman about this cave. "By no means," he said, "ever think of going there:" and he then told me the following story. — "Three officers who were quartered in the neighbourhood, having heard much about the cave, agreed to go and explore it. They took lights with them; but after they had gone some way the lights were in a moment extinguished,  p.316 and they were left in utter darkness. At the same moment they heard the noise of rushing water. They turned back, as they thought, and attempted to grope their way to the entrance of the cavern; but the noise of the water increased at every moment, seeming as if it was almost at their feet. In the utmost terror they sat down upon a piece of rock which they felt beside them, and gave themselves over for lost. In the midst of such impenetrable darkness it was impossible to know which way to turn to get out of the cavern, and the sound of the water seemed so near, that if they advanced another step, they might be precipitated headlong into it. No alternative seemed to remain, but either to sit there and be starved to death, or to be lost in the torrent.

"After remaining in this situation a length of time which they had themselves no power of computing, but which seemed to them an age, and beginning to suffer very much from hunger, they thought they heard the distant sound of voices in the cavern; they listened, they felt more and more assured of it, and they answered with a loud halloo on their parts; this was replied to with another halloo, which they again answered; and in a few minutes after this exchange of vocal signals was commenced, they began to discern the glimmering of lights; nor was it many minutes longer before they saw five or six men approach carrying large torches, to them a most blessed signal of deliverance. Their situation was indeed truly perilous; they had been entirely deceived when upon their lights being extinguished they supposed they turned back, they had continued to advance, having penetrated further than it was ever customary to go, and the water was flowing directly at the foot of the rock where they sat. When missed at their quarters and inquiry was made after them, no one knew whither they were gone, till at length some one among their brother-officers recollected that he had heard them talk of going to this cave, and suggested the possibility that they might have lost themselves among its turnings and mazes. Some of the people in the neighbourhood best acquainted with the cave were accordingly sent to search for them, and they were happily extricated. They had been in this situation nearly four-and-twenty hours." — "Oh Madam," the gentleman concluded, "never think of going into that cave; it is extremely dangerous, I assure you, from the damps and vapours; besides, 'tis so slippery, that you may get a fall and receive some dreadful injury."

At Kilkenny I talked to Mr. Barwis about it, and told him my story of the  p.317 three officers; on which he observed, as indeed I had thought, that their adventure need not deter any body from going in, for it appeared to have been occasioned principally by their own folly in going into such a place without experienced guides. For the rest, he said, he had never been into it, but he understood from those who had, that there was nothing to see except an immense gloomy excavation in the rock. However, he added, as we should go very near it in our way to Castlecomer, we might as well go in and satisfy our curiosity. Bidding adieu then to Kilkenny, we set off to see the cave and collieries, whence I proposed going to Athy, there to stop for the night; the journey then the next day to Dublin would be only thirty miles. In our way Mr. Barwis stopped to show me a school instituted by Lord and Lady Ormond upon the Bell or Lancaster plan, which indeed appeared extremely well managed. Though the school was but in its infancy, some of the children could already read very fairly, and they all looked healthy, though ragged. A very good school-house has been built at Lord Ormond's expense, which was but just finished. On this side of the town, the opposite to that where are the great marble quarries, the marble is entirely lost; the stone is a dark gray limestone, abounding very much with fragments of imperfectly formed crystals, which give it a glimmering appearance like mica.

From hence we went to the cave, where, as at most places of the kind, we were presently surrounded by a whole tribe of guides. I wonder how any body can ever manage upon such occasions to go without these people; they will in general force themselves into your service:
"Willy, nilly, they will go with you."
Nothing of all The Post-Chaise Companion's poetical flights, or of his flights of birds that darken the air on approaching the cave, did I find; not a single winged chorister of the air, not a solitary croaking ill-omen'd raven, not a screeching owl, whose habitation is in like sombrous recesses — not any of these issued forth from the dark abyss, to hail us as welcome visitants, or repel us as impertinent intruders. The cave is indeed in the midst of a field, the gaping pit which is to be descended to get to its mouth being so level with the rest of the surface that it is not seen till arrived almost at its very margin. The descent is steep, and somewhat slippery, but by no means dangerous. The candles  p.318 were lighted, — but I had soon seen enough, — or rather I returned soon because I could not see any thing. The lights did indeed burn red and dim, so dim that they were scarcely lights; and instead of the limpid water and beautiful petrifactions of which I had read, all around was one dismal black rock, and the bottom absolutely a mire. Mr. Barwis however proceeded further: I charged him, if he found petrifactions, to bring me as many as he could collect, or any thing else worth preserving; to look in particular for the skulls and human bones set in the crystalline substance. He returned in about half an hour, assuring me that I had no loss whatever in not proceeding; he saw nothing of the organ pipes, the cylinders, the pillars, the inverted pyramids, no crystallizations, no petrifactions, no human bones. That he might not come away empty-handed, he brought a small piece of stalactitic incrustation, of which he said some occurred in one or two places, but in no quantity; a bone, though not a human one set in the crystalline substance, only the cylindrical bone of some quadruped, — very likely an unfortunate sheep, who straying in could not find its way out again, — and two or three pieces of stone, such as he said covered the whole bottom of the cave, almost like a pavement; these were only calcareous incrustations of an earthy character. The rock mass about the cave is a dark gray limestone very prettily veined, like all limestone, with calcareous spar; strontian occurs in it occasionally. Indeed I think all that is said of this cave is something like
‘a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.’ (Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5)

At Castlecomer we stopped to bait the horses before we went on to the collieries, three miles further: here is a very pretty house and grounds belonging to the Dowager Lady Ormond, who is the chief proprietor of the collieries. The house being on one side of the road, and the principal part of the grounds on the other, a subterranean communication has been made between them under the road. This place suffered very severely in the commotions of 1798. Lady Ormond's house was destroyed, as was a large portion of the town, and it has even now scarcely recovered the disaster. The collieries are very extensive; the veins of coal are numerous, but they are not in general found lasting; hence a number of shafts are to be seen no longer in use. Some of the coal  p.319 lies so near the surface, that instead of shafts being sunk to come at it, it is quarried like stone; but this is always an inferior quality of coal to that which lies deeper: it is a light kind of mineral, rather of a rhomboidal fracture, and has a shining metallic lustre. In some places it abounds with iron pyrites, which gives occasion to a variety of tints, particularly yellow and red, the latter having sometimes a tarnish resembling copper. The rocks in which the veins are found are clay-slate, partially exhibiting those delineations which are common in nodules of iron-clay.

I had been desired by the friend who charged me to make inquiries about the Kilkenny coal, to be particular in informing myself about a species of coal which he had heard was found in these parts, resembling very much the Cannel, or, as it is commonly pronounced, Kennel coal of England; he had been told, he said, that little boxes and other trifles were frequently made of it, and he desired me to get him one of them. I made the inquiry accordingly, but was answered that if any person had ever seen little boxes made of Cannel coal at Kilkenny, the material had come from England, for no coal of the kind was produced in that neighbourhood; nay, that most likely the workmanship as well as the material was English. The Kilkenny coal has the quality in common with the Cannel, that no black comes off in touching it with the fingers. I have mentioned that vegetable impressions upon the schale are not uncommon. Black chalk also occurs. At Killenaule and Coalbrook in the county of Tipperary, about seven or eight miles from Cashel, are also considerable collieries: I did not see them, but a piece of the coal was given me which seems very much the same as the Kilkenny. The vegetable impressions are more abundant about these veins than about those of Castlecomer .

Here I took leave of my polite and well-informed companion Mr. Barwis; he returned to Kilkenny, while I proceeded forward, the driver having been directed by him to go to Athy. After proceeding somewhat more than a mile, the said driver suddenly stopped, and said we could not go to Athy, I had better go to Carlow, that was much nearer, we could get there before dark, and we could not get to Athy. I told him that I chose to go to the latter place; in fact, going to Carlow now would have been making an unnecessary circuit of seven or eight miles to get to Dublin; and as I had travelled that road before, I wished to vary my route. He said very sturdily, we could not go to  p.320 Athy, the road was so bad. I replied, that I was very sure that was not the case, since Mr. Barwis had recommended the road, and he would not have recommended a bad one, and asked him why be had not made this objection when he was first ordered to take the road. He muttered something, and then said that there was a steep hill to go down, that the horses had no breechings, and it would be impossible they could keep the carriage up. I said I was sure this was not true, that he knew it was not, or he would have made his objections at once before we had parted with Mr. Barwis; and bade him go on as he was ordered.

Muttering and grumbling very much he went on. After proceeding some way, I saw a town before us which I knew could not be Athy, that we could not have got so far; and examining it more minutely, I was pretty sure it was Carlow, that town being rendered somewhat remarkable by the ruins on the edge of the river. I would not, however, speak too soon, lest I should be in an error, and determined to wait till we were in the town. When we had crossed the bridge I was very certain that I was not mistaken, and I called to the driver to ask what he could mean by coming to that place in direct opposition to his orders. He answered in a very surly manner, that he was going on to Athy, but it was impossible to go the road I wanted. I never felt much more angry. We were now as far from Athy as we had been at Castlecomer , and had come eight miles for nothing; — since, however, we had come to Carlow, it was making a great circuit to Dublin to go by Athy, and I ordered him to stop.

Here, however, a new difficulty arose; the town was full of troops on their march to the unfortunate county of Tipperary, and not a bed was to be had at any of the inns. I was resolved notwithstanding to go no further with this driver; and meeting with a very civil landlady at one of the inns, I asked whether she could not get me a bed at a private house; — it was indeed now growing dark. She said she had a friend over the way who would sometimes accommodate her with a bed when she was distressed, and sending there one was obtained. I then summoned the driver, and told him that in consequence of his ill-behaviour I should not pay him or give him any thing for himself, that I should send the money to Mr. Barwis, and desire him to settle with his (the driver's) master for the chaise; and as for what I should otherwise have given  p.321 him, I should desire Mr. Barwis to distribute it in charity in the town in any manner he judged most proper. The driver did, indeed, seem thunderstruck; it was an effort of decision which seemed totally unexpected from a lady; and he began to say he was sorry, but the other road was indeed bad and hilly. Again I asked him why he had not urged that objection at first? to which he could make no answer, only pleaded earnestly for forgiveness. I was however inexorable, for he made me completely angry by taking advantage of my servant and myself being both strangers to the road to practise this imposition, and I dismissed him, saying that I was determined to do as I had said. The man's fault must have been very glaring; for I learnt afterwards from my servant that even his own class condemned him, and thought the lady had done quite right: this indeed was more than I expected. Yet why do I say so? — Why may not they be equally capable with their superiors of distinguishing between manifest right and wrong? and here the right and wrong was surely very manifest.

The next morning I proceeded to Dublin, and arrived there about two o'clock. I had travelled this road before, and have nothing new to remark upon it. There was a continued march of troops the whole way; we met different divisions at every five or six miles.

 p.322

30. Departure from Dublin. — Swords. —… Desultory Hints and Animadversions respecting the…

Desultory Hints and Animadversions respecting the Claims of Ireland to having enjoyed the Use of Letters at a very remote Period. — Importance of cultivating the Irish Language. — Mr. Flood's Opinion upon this Subject. — Errors of Lord Lyttleton and Mr. O'Halloran respecting the Irish Alphabet. — Poetry the Garb in which the early Records of all Nations are clothed. — — The Ogham Character. — Dr. Ledwich's Doubts respecting the Existence of Saint Patrick. — Candid Opinions of Dr. Leland.

The claim of the Irish to have been in very remote antiquity a nation of letters, and in some sort of civilization while their future conquerors were yet in a state of absolute barbarism, is not less eagerly contested on our side of the Irish Channel, than it is warmly asserted on theirs. To prove the negative of any question is commonly a very difficult task: in this case it is not merely attended with difficulty, it is absolutely impossible; and in a case of so much perplexity nothing remains but to deny the fact, and to treat the arguments brought by writers in support of the claim as fable and fiction, having their origin entirely in national vanity. But why should we be so unwilling to admit of this claim? — All nations have had their dark and their brilliant periods, their days of cloud and their days of sunshine; and why may not Ireland too have had hers? She has known enough of adversity, of that we have assurance double sure, — why should we be unwilling to allow that she ever knew prosperity?

If indeed pretensions were made by the Irish to their country having in ancient times arrived at as high a point in civilization, and in literature and the arts, as prevails at present in Great Britain and many other nations of Europe, they might not unreasonably be charged with presumption and arrogance. But such are not their claims. Civilization is but a term of comparison; and what in one age may be justly considered as a high degree, compared with a period, more remote, will, when compared with subsequent ages, perhaps be regarded but as a small step beyond barbarism; and it appears not much more reasonable to treat with ridicule and contumely the claims the Irish actually do urge,  p.323 than it would be in them to carry their claims to the lengths which are by some imputed to them. If we may doubt the truth of the line of kings they trace anterior to the Milesian invasion, yet from that time so much authority can be urged in support of their having lived for a long succession of years under a regular form of government, established by the Milesian conquerors, in whose successors the sovereignty continued, that to doubt this seems almost to shake the foundation of all belief in ancient history. That if the Irish did not earlier enjoy the use of letters, they were at least brought over by the Milesians, if the question be fairly and candidly considered, can scarcely admit of a doubt. It should be remembered, that it does not rest upon mere oral evidence, upon traditions handed down from generation to generation; it is supported by written testimonies, of the antiquity of which the documents themselves are their own best evidence.

The misfortune lies in these writings being disguised in a character and language which has become nearly obsolete; which from circumstances has not only been for many ages neglected, but over which it has been the policy to throw a veil of ridicule and contempt, as the language but of the vulgar classes of society. But was not the Greek the language of the vulgar as well as of the polished classes? — was it not so with the Roman or Latin? — and though the Irish is now confined to the lower classes, was not that once the language of the Court and the Great, as well as of the Little? — It is from this great circumstance of the Irish language being so lost, that the disbelief in the antiquity of their records arises; but if instead of despising the language, people would study it, the case might perhaps be very different. Is any one authorized to despise what he does not understand? Surely not; for the contempt to be justifiable, the object of it at least ought to be thoroughly understood. Thus much may certainly be said in favour of the language and the light to be derived from it, — that the few who have devoted themselves to these studies have been uniformly more and more interested by them, and more eager to pursue them the further they advanced; while the deeper their researches were carried, the more strongly were they convinced of the truth and antiquity of the documents to which they had thus obtained access. The late Henry Flood, Esq. was so earnestly impressed with the importance of the ancient Irish language being studied and cultivated, that he bequeathed a large property to Trinity College, Dublin, for the purpose  p.324 of founding a Professorship expressly for these purposes. Unfortunately the validity of his will was contested and a decision given against the College, so that these commendable intentions were foiled; but it is no small testimony in favour of promoting this particular species of investigation, that it was deemed of so much importance by such a man.

The truth is, that at the conquest of the country by the English it became the policy of the conquerors to represent the vanquished as a herd of rude barbarians, the better to gloss over their own illicit and unjustifiable procedure. This imputation unfortunately gained too much colour from the circumstances under which the invasion of Ireland was ultimately undertaken. Torn by domestic feuds, the assistance of the English monarch was implored by the weaker party, and thus was furnished a too plausible pretence for what had before been resolved on; at the same time that too much reason was given for treating as barbarous and uncivilized, a people who were thus divided. Yet, if the thing be examined with a really philosophical eye, the very nature of those feuds showed civilization to a certain point, since they were not the quarrels of barbarians, they savoured much more of those of legitimate monarchies. They were the factions which always arise sooner or later in long established governments, not the squabbles of those who had never known what it was to live under a regular system. It was not by utter barbarians that a foreign power would have been called in to settle their domestic feuds, this savours much more of the apathy and indolence of civilization. Under such influence men feel only the present inconvenience; and if a prospect appears of disencumbering themselves from that by the exertions of others rather than their own, they catch at it eagerly, regardless of the lessons they might learn from uniform experience. The Horse and the Stag is one of the finest among the many fine moral lessons afforded by the Fables of Æsop: but it is the fate of man, individuals no less than states, that they can never profit by the experience of others, they must purchase it themselves, and dear is the price commonly paid. The Britons, long before, had called in the Saxons to assist them against the inroads of their fellow-islanders the Picts; and these new guests once introduced into the country did not choose to depart; — they came to assist, they remained to enslave it. The Irish, or one faction at least among them, called in the English to aid them in supporting their claims to the sovereignty: — the English had long since cast an  p.325 eye of desire upon their island, they rejoiced in the opportunity offered of satisfying it; — they went over as auxiliaries, they chose to remain as sovereigns.

Against the imputed advance in civilization among the Irish may be urged the rudeness of their habitations at the time of the English conquest — that Dublin did not afford any thing beyond houses, or rather cabins, of clay-built walls. But it is to be observed, that Dublin never was the capital under the proper Irish kings; their residence was at Tara; there they held their Court; thither the assemblies of the nation were convened. Dublin had been raised to consideration by the Ostmen or Danes; and the English, by whom alone these latter were finally expelled from the country, found it a more convenient situation for their capital, from its vicinity to the sea, and being directly opposite the English coast, than a more inland one. The arts of masonry in Ireland were then principally bestowed upon the religious seminaries or the castles of the chieftains; it is among them we must look for all the architectural remains so profusely scattered over the country. Many of these were indeed establishments subsequent to the English conquest. But it is rather in having had for so long a succession of years the use of letters and a regular established government, that the superior civilization of Ireland is to be looked for, than in their advancement in the arts, though that was by no means inconsiderable.

It may again be objected, that of the ancient Irish manuscripts handed down to the present time, the greater part are poetry, the fables of the bards of old, and in no way to be cited as authority for any thing like historical facts. Yet, even if it could be granted that no other ancient Irish manuscripts exist except the songs of the bards, is not poetry the almost universal vehicle through which the early annals of all countries have been handed down to posterity? Are not the very earliest writings we possess in many parts poetic? and do we reject the belief of them on that account? — It may be said that these writings were inspired; that they are not to be brought as an argument for affording any belief in profane poetry: but can we suppose the Being who inspired them, would have had them clothed in a garb which was ever after to be stigmatized as that of falsehood and delusion? — This seems an idea scarcely to be entertained for a moment of Infinite Wisdom. Turn to the Greeks: Is it not in the divine poems of Homer, is it not in the works of Hesiod, that we look not only for the earliest accounts of the history of this extraordinary people, but equally for the pictures  p.326 of their customs and manners, and for the description of that mythology which has rendered them no less celebrated to after ages, than their martial achievements, or the perfection to which they carried the arts and sciences?

True it is, that in these latter years there have been people who have chosen to doubt whether such persons as the heroes of Homer ever existed save in the fancy of the poet, and whether such an event as the Trojan war ever occurred except in his imagination. That Homer has mingled a great deal of fable in all he has written I have not the least doubt; as little can I doubt that he had some foundation whereon to raise that edifice which was the delight of his own time, which ever has been, and probably ever will be, the admiration of posterity. What has been the practice in all epic poesy, but to raise a splendid superstructure of fable upon a slender base of facts? nor has any argument yet been adduced, according to my ideas, of sufficient force to overturn the long-established belief that this was the case with the great father of epic poets. Till, then, some stronger arguments appear than I have yet heard, to disprove the existence of such persons as Priam and Achilles, of Paris and of Hector, of such a city as Troy and of such an event as the Trojan war, I must believe that illustrious chiefs of such names once flourished in Greece and in Phrygia, that such a city as Troy once ornamented the banks of the Simoïs and the Scamander, and that this city endured a long and remarkable siege. Thus much I must believe, however largely I may think the poet drew upon his imagination in furnishing out the splendid garb with which his story is decorated.

Turn to the Northern nations, Is not poetry equally the vehicle by which we arrive at the earliest ideas to be traced of their history, of their strange and wild mythology, and of the customs over which it had so strong an influence? Granted, therefore, that it were through the medium of poetry alone the alleged antiquity of the Irish nation was to be traced; such testimonies, though to be cautiously believed, are not to be wholly rejected. But the Irish claims do not rest upon this base alone; laws and statutes of a very remote period are in existence, which show that the nation where they were enacted could not have been in a state of absolute barbarism — that the use of letters was familiar to it. Manuscripts of these laws and institutions are to be seen: there are several deposited in the library of Trinity College at Dublin, with other manuscripts upon different subjects, the antiquity of which the most determined sceptic, on seeing  p.327 them, I should think could hardly doubt. Many collections are also to be found in private hands; I have instanced Mr. Monk Mason's very valuable one.

Lord Lyttleton, who seems indeed desirous of stating the matter fairly, has yet fallen into a great error in saying that the letters of the ancient Irish alphabet, called the Beth-Luis-Nion 27, are Roman, with but little variation from the originals. O'Halloran in his History of Ireland derives them from the Greek. He appears to me equally in an error; these letters are evidently of Celtic origin, having the utmost affinity, it might almost be said having identity, with the ancient Saxon character, as it is found in some old Saxon manuscripts preserved in this country: from these our ancient Black letter is derived; the modern German character, now used in Saxony, is properly the Teutonic, though the alphabets are but dialects (if I may be allowed the expression) the one of the other, in the same manner as the languages. But at the time Lord Lyttleton wrote, about the year 1770 28, or Mr. O'Halloran 1778, scarcely any body in this country thought of studying the German language, in any of its dialects;, the characters employed in them were of course very little known; and ignorant where the true affinity was to be found, these writers were ready to trace it to others with which they were familiar. Perhaps the very character in which the Irish manuscripts are written, rightly understood, is one of the strongest proofs that can be adduced of their antiquity; and if any resemblance is to be traced to the Greek characters, the Greeks, not the Irish, were the imitators. These are probably the characters which the Scythian nations brought with them from Asia when they spread themselves over so large a part of the North of Europe; they are in all probability what were used by the Phoenicians, and were carried by them into Spain, whence they were brought into Ireland by the Milesian colony at their conquest of the island.

Let me be allowed to quote a passage from Lord Lyttleton, and make a remark  p.328 or two upon it. "A colony of Boetica, or any part of the western coasts of Spain, may have brought into Ireland the Punic or Phoenician characters: but the alphabet called by the Irish Beth-Luis-Nion, appears to be the Roman alphabet differently arranged, and reduced to the number of only eighteen letters 29, with the addition of some compounds, and with small variations in the forms of some of the letters. One should therefore suppose that it is not very ancient; and the rather as no Irish writing, incontestably anterior to Patrick's preaching in Ireland, has ever yet been published. Sir James Ware indeed says, that he had in his possession an old manuscript full of secret characters called by the ancient Irish Ogum 30, in which they wrote what they meant to keep hidden or mysterious; but of what age he took the book to be he does not inform us, nor how, if it was written in characters different from those above-mentioned, that, or others in which this ancient cypher is found, can at present be decyphered, or could ever be understood by any modern Irish. One may reasonably suppose that, in manuscripts written since that nation received the Roman letters from Patrick, some traditional truths recorded before by the  p.329 bards in their unwritten poems may have been preserved to our times: yet these cannot be separated from many fabulous stories derived from the same sources so as to obtain a firm credit; it not being sufficient to establish the authority of suspected traditions, that they can be shown to be not so improbable or absurd as others with which they were mixed; since there may be specious as well as senseless fictions. Nor can a poet or bard who lived in the sixth or seventh century after Christ, if his poem is still extant, be any voucher for facts supposed to have happened before the Incarnation; though his evidence, allowing for poetical licence, may be received on such matters as come within his own times, or the remembrance of old men with whom he conversed. It is therefore safest, in writing the ancient history of Ireland, to be content with those lights which foreign writers have given, till better evidence is produced by the Irish themselves; as, in writing that of Britain, the most judicious historians pay no regard to the Welsh or British traditions delivered by Geoffry of Monmouth, though it is not impossible that some of these may be true, but adhere to the information which cotemporary writers of other countries afford concerning the Britons."

A few pages further be says: "Together with the Gospel the British missionaries introduced into Ireland the Roman alphabet, and a general knowledge of the Latin language. A school was formed at Armagh, which soon became very famous; many Irish went from thence to teach and convert other nations; many Saxons out of England resorted thither for instruction, and brought from thence the use of letters to their ignorant countrymen, the same letters which Patrick had given to the Irish. We learn from Bede, an Anglo-Saxon, that about the middle of the seventh century, numbers both of the nobles and of the second rank of English left their country and retired out of England into Ireland for the sake of studying theology or leading there a stricter life. And all these, he affirms, the Irish, who he calls Scots, most willingly received and maintained at their own charge, supplying them also with books, and being their teachers without fee or reward. A most honourable testimony not only to the learning, but likewise to the hospitality and bounty of the nation."

Now it is of importance to observe, that here the author asserts Patrick to have been the person who introduced the Roman alphabet into Ireland; and though he does not positively say it, we are to understand by implication that  p.330 this immediately became the character in general use. The inference, then, is obvious, that any manuscripts which appear in the old Irish character must be of a date anterior to St. Patrick's mission to Ireland, which is placed in the fifth century; and since the manuscripts now in existence, the relics only in all probability of much greater numbers scattered over the country, could not be supposed all to have been produced within twenty, or even fifty or a hundred years before St. Patrick's arrival, some of them may reasonably be supposed to be the produce of a very remote period indeed.

Dr. Ledwich would, however, with one stroke, throw both Lord Lyttleton's and my reasoning to the ground, — assuredly I should, at least, fall in good company, — for he totally disbelieves that such a person as St. Patrick ever existed. Now, though I am not disposed to be over-credulous, yet I must say in this instance, as in the instance of Homer's heroes, that I cannot persuade myself such traditions are entire coinages of the imagination. There is, I have no doubt, in all these cases a little base of truth, which is almost sunk beneath the monstrous weight of fiction pressing upon it: yet there it is still. It seems almost as ridiculous wholly to disbelieve the existence of such a personage as St. Patrick, as it would be to believe one half of the stories related of him. 31 It is very immaterial, however, whether the Gospel was first preached in Ireland by a person of that name or not; all that bears upon the present question is, whether the Roman alphabet was introduced by its preachers, to the exclusion of the characters previously in use? and this is of great importance in determining the antiquity of manuscripts couched in the original character. If  p.331 the Celtic character has been disused ever since the fifth century, the manuscripts in that character must be of an older date; and if from them any elucidation is to be obtained of points which at present appear only traditionary, here would the Irish authorities desired by Lord Lyttleton be obtained. Is it not then of some importance, in a literary point of view, that the language in which these manuscripts are written should be better understood? The loss of a part of the Decades of Livy is lamented as a great misfortune to literature: perhaps the numerous Irish manuscripts which have been lost might have been of more importance in assisting to elucidate periods of remote history now involved in such impenetrable obscurity.

But the dark policy of former ages unfortunately was concerned in devoting them to destruction. At the preaching of the Gospel the Christian missionaries would of course be earnest to sweep away as much as possible every vestige of the religion they came to abrogate; and, since the religions of the world have always been incorporated with State affairs, in destroying the vestiges of the one the records relative to the other unavoidably fell a sacrifice. In subsequent times, at the English conquest, State reasons completed the work of destruction religious ones had begun; — the Irish were to be represented as a people wholly sunk in barbarism, and whatever would prove the converse must be swept away by that fatal besom. The gross compact of iniquity into which the then sovereign of England, and the Holy Father of Rome, had entered for the subjugation of Ireland, was to have the best colouring put upon it that could be devised: — to affix the stigma of entire barbarism upon the devoted nation appeared the most plausible, and what therefore might aid to contradict such assertions was to be removed out of sight for ever. It is only wonderful that any of these remains of antiquity have been preserved amid such destructive moral hurricanes.

I feel that I have not said one half of what might be said upon this occasion; I have endeavoured only to throw out some desultory hints upon a subject which has struck me rather forcibly. I cannot but think that the Irish claims to antiquity are in general too rudely repelled, when the more equitable part would be to understand the nature of them, and to examine the grounds on which they rest; and this can only be done fairly by cultivating a better knowledge of the language. It is by no means my intention decidedly to pronounce the claims worthy of credit, though I very much incline to think them so to  p.332 a certain extent: all I mean to advance is, that we are not authorized to treat them with contempt while the authorities for them are so little known.

Their own historian, Dr. Leland, is the man who seems of all the writers upon this subject to consider it in the most fair and impartial point of view he neither adopts nor spurns the ancient traditions of the country; their poetic fictions, or the writings which treat of their ancient laws and institutions. He candidly confesses, that not understanding the language he is little competent to decide upon the measure of credit to which the records are entitled; and having given a view of the ancient history, such as he collected it from the best sources within his reach, he thus sensibly and rationally sums up the whole: ‘But to the antiquarian I leave it to establish the authenticity of this history. It is only pertinent to my present purpose to observe, that if we suppose that the old poets were merely inventors of this whole series of actions and incidents so circumstantially detailed, still they must have drawn their pictures from that government and those manners which subsisted in their own days, or were remembered by their fathers. So that we may reasonably conclude that the state of Ireland, for several centuries at least before the introduction of the English power, was such as they describe it in these early periods. And this is the only conclusion which I am concerned to establish.’ (Thomas Leland, History of Ireland, Preliminary Discourse, xvii.)

 p.333

31. The Valley of the Lagan. —… Present State of Ireland. — Mr.…

Present State of Ireland. — Mr. Hume's Libel on the Irish and their Country. — Rebellions in the Time of Queen Elizabeth. — The Irish very susceptible of kind Treatment. — Kind and warm-hearted themselves. — Miss Edgeworth's "Ennui." Evils of the great Families absenting themselves from the Country. — Wretchedness of the Cottages, and the Cause of it. — On the Education of the Poor. — Prejudices of the English respecting the Irish. — Irish Fortune hunters. — Resemblance between the Irish and French. — Different Characteristics of the People in the North and South of Ireland. — Distinguished literary Characters of Ireland.

But whatever was the state of Ireland previous to the English conquest, its state ever since is but too well known. Hume says, after giving an account of this event, "The low state of commerce and industry, during those ages, made it impracticable for princes to support regular armies, which might retain the conquered countries in subjection; and the extreme barbarism and poverty of Ireland could still less afford means of bearing this expense. The only expedient by which a durable conquest could then be made or maintained, was by pouring in a multitude of new inhabitants, dividing among them the lands of the vanquished, establishing them in all offices of trust and authority, and thereby transforming the ancient inhabitants into a new people. By this policy the Northern invaders of old, and of late the Duke of Normandy, had been able to fix their dominion, and to erect kingdoms which remained stable on their foundations, and were transmitted to the posterity of the first conquerors. But the present state of Ireland rendered that island so little inviting to the English, that only a few of desperate fortunes could be persuaded from time to time to transport themselves into it; and instead of reclaiming the natives from their uncultivated manners, they were gradually assimilated to the ancient inhabitants, and degenerated from the customs of their own nation. It was also found requisite to bestow great military and arbitrary powers on the leaders,  p.334 who commanded such a handful of men against such hostile multitudes; and law and equity became in a little time as much unknown in the English settlements as they had ever been among the Irish tribes. Palatinates were erected in favour of the new adventurers; independent authority conferred: the natives, never wholly subdued, still retained their animosities against their conquerors. Their hatred was retaliated by like injuries; and from these causes the Irish, during the course of four centuries, remained still savage and untractable. It was not till the latter end of Elizabeth's reign that the island was finally subdued; nor till that of her successor that it gave hopes of becoming an useful conquest to the English nation."

Indeed, for a philosophical historian this does appear a very unphilosophical passage. If Ireland was the poor and despicable country Mr. Hume would represent it, what was it that made Henry ambitious of adding it to his already immense dominions? A sovereign does not usually seek to deprive a brother-sovereign of his possessions, and seat himself in his place, without proposing to himself some important acquisition to compensate for the iniquity practised. But Henry saw in Ireland a most delicious and fertile country; a country abounding with fine forests, with excellent pasturage, capable of producing abundantly all the fruits of the earth; watered every where by abundant streams and rivers, many of them navigable; concealing treasures of ores within the bosoms of her rocks; — all this he saw, all this he coveted: — it was the riches, not the poverty of Ireland, that made it the object of his ambition and cupidity. Had the inhabitants of Ireland been sunk in as low a state of moral degradation as Mr. Hume represents them, living in a country so poor and despicable, what, by exciting Henry's hopes, or awakening his fears, could stimulate him to an act of so great injustice as he projected? No: he saw this rich country inhabited by an ingenious and warlike people: he found them dangerous as neighbours, and hoped to find them as subjects a valuable support to his power. But again, I say, an act of such outrage must be varnished over; and he thought no gloss so specious as that he threw over it, of depreciating in every way the country he had sacrificed his honour and honesty to obtain. The writers of his time, then, taking their cue from the court, vilified Ireland in every way; and Mr. Hume, at all times too much disposed to abandon his better judgement when personal  p.335 or national prejudices interposed, has, without considering the inconsistency of what he says, suffered the impartiality of the historian to be overswayed by their designed and wilful misrepresentations.

And what else could be expected from the scene of rapine and plunder he describes but the consequences that did actually follow? This conquest was to be secured "by pouring in a multitude of new inhabitants, dividing among them the lands of the vanquished, establishing them in all places of trust and authority, and thereby transforming the ancient inhabitants into a new people." This was indeed the way to transform them into a new people; the worm that is trampled on will turn and wound its oppressor: and what could be expected from conduct thus lawless on one side, but retaliation on the other? By oppression they were driven to show a sense of injury in copying the evil example set them: it was the lawless invaders who assimilated them to their manners; it was the ancient inhabitants who degenerated and adopted the manners of their conquerors, not the conquerors theirs; they were driven into acts of violence and barbarism, and afterwards condemned as barbarians; — as some good-natured husbands will not unfrequently scold unhappy madam till tears irresistibly flow, and then are angry with her for crying.

For four centuries this scene of animosities continued, this perpetual warfare of oppression and of ineffectual resistance; — the English still masters of the island, the Irish still kicking against the yoke, till in the latter years of Queen Elizabeth's reign the formidable rebellions which had been attempted were quelled, and the country seemed finally subjugated. But was any attempt then made to conciliate? No: four revolving centuries had revolved in vain to teach lessons of experience to the ruling powers. Queen Elizabeth was in many respects a great princess; — like the hen, she was a good mother to her chickens, but she was too much disposed to peck at those which did not immediately coop under her own wing: — she was fond of power, and could not bear to see her power resisted. Thus at the suppression of the Irish rebellion fines and confiscations were the order of the day; the heads of the ancient septs, shorn of their honours, were doomed to linger out their remainder of life in obscurity or captivity; while the followers, instead of the masters to whom they had been accustomed to look up with an attachment little short of veneration, were now expected to pay their homage at new shrines, — at shrines which to  p.336 their utter grief and dismay they saw decked out with the spoils of those fallen ones they had held so dear. The heads of the rebellion were crushed, but venom still rankled in the hearts. If in later times these things have been partially corrected; if by degrees something of the jealousy and asperity with which this rival sister was regarded has abated, too much has still been retained till that be entirely eradicated, Ireland can never be other than a diseased limb of the body politic.

During my respective residences in this country I mingled very much not only among what might be called my own class in society, but I endeavoured to search into the character of the inferior classes. To me it ever appeared that the Irish are a people uncommonly susceptible of kindness: I have seen the countenance sometimes lighted up with such animation at the sound of but one kind word, that I have thought to myself, What might not be done with these people if they were taken by the hands sincerely as brethren, — if they were no longer forced to feel themselves but as a sort of sheep shut on the outside of the fold, not suffered to enter the holy of holies within? But the title of the wild Irish has once been bestowed upon them: — nothing is so dangerous as such an epithet; for it seems as if a determination were formed that they shall still be compelled to deserve it. That they are capable of the strongest attachment, their firm and steady adherence to their clans or septs has repeatedly manifested; and nothing can be warmer even now than the attachments which I have seen manifested in the dependants of a family to the head, when they have been a lone time in his service.

In Miss Edgeworth's very fine tale of Ennui (and I know of few things in the way of fiction superior to it) I have still had one subject of regret. To give all the effect intended to the character of the hero, it was perhaps necessary he should experience the strange and complete reverse of fortune which Ellinor's abrupt disclosure of his being her son brings upon him: yet much could I have desired that her warm attachment had never been other than that of the foster-mother to the babe she had reared, — than that of the dependant of the sept to its master. I wish the author's fine imagination, her thorough acquaintance with the character of her countrymen, would exercise itself upon such a subject; — how exquisite a national picture would be added to those with which she has already presented the public!

 p.337

I do most sincerely believe that the disposition of far the greater majority of the nation is to attach themselves warmly to the English, to forget all past feuds and animosities, to become but one people with them, to let the distinctions of this side the water and that side the water be forgotten, — to forget even the humiliations they could not but feel attendant upon the Union, if they could only see that indeed an union, — not in sound only, but in heart and soul. I am sure my own reception, wherever I went, may be adduced as a justification of this opinion; I must either think that I saw nothing but hypocrites, or believe that the flattering attentions I experienced were of the heart, not merely of the head; for worlds I would not think the one; I must believe the other; — I must believe that the Irish are a kind and warm-hearted people, extremely disposed to show kindness themselves, and no less feelingly alive to receiving it from others.

If I am told of the troubles and commotions by which the country has been harassed within the last thirty years, the answer is obvious: — I know that tumults have arisen; I know that terrible scenes have passed; I know it has appeared too palpably that there were many troubled spirits in the country: but I also know that the number of these, compared with the whole population, has been trifling. This was particularly manifest in the rebellion of 1798; had it not been a very, very small minority of the nation who were engaged in it, never would it have been so easily subdued. So futile, indeed, have all attempts at insurrection proved, that they have only shown how insignificant was the number of the disaffected, how well affected was the majority of the nation towards this country. But it is a misfortune arising from the very nature of all human affairs, that, as Dr. Leland justly observes, ‘History records the effects arising from dangerous passions, the virtues of private life are not generally made the subject of history.’ () The world knows how many were concerned in these troubles, how many fell sacrifices to them on this occasion, how many on that; they will never know of the thousands who remained quiet in their homes, lamenting in secret the infatuation of their deluded countrymen; feeling but too sensibly that they had great cause of complaint, yet regretting that they had recourse to means so mistaken for seeking redress; means which could only terminate in an increase of suffering to themselves, and extend the calamity to those who were innocent of any participation in the offence.

 p.338

And ought not these good dispositions to receive every possible encouragement? Policy and humanity alike answer, Certainly. But do they? Truth compels the answering this in the negative. It cannot be denied but that the state of the country calls loudly for some amelioration — that the situation of the inferior classes among the Irish is lamentable, is affecting. Justice, however, demands that the blame should be principally imputed where it is principally due; and in this instance, the Great among the Irish themselves are the class of persons most to be condemned. The true source of the calamities of the country is in the principal landholders absenting themselves from it, spending in foreign climes (for even England is in this respect to Ireland a foreign clime) the fortunes which ought to be participated with the poor, from the sweat of whose brows they are derived. What attachment can the dependants of any estate have to an owner of whom they know nothing, but that they must at certain times of the year pay him a certain rent, which their utmost exertions can with difficulty scrape together? What influence might not the families of distinction obtain by living as of old on their estates, petty sovereigns among the people around? by attending themselves to the promotion of their comforts, by introducing a spirit of industry among them, and by furnishing them employment, so that such a spirit might never be suffered to know a moment's abatement? We are told that the Irish are indolent by nature: — alas, they are rather so by compulsion, because they have no means of being otherwise. The vast influx of factitious wealth which has of late years flowed into this country, which was thought her strength, but which has proved her weakness, has been, if possible, even more injurious to Ireland than to ourselves. It has created not a taste alone, but a craving after luxurious modes of life, which is a calamity of the most fatal kind that can afflict a nation: the parliament, which used to carry the great families of Ireland to Dublin, now transferred to London, they have been obliged to go thither; they have tasted the luxuries of the English capital, they are no longer satisfied with their own country, but hold themselves still absented from it. Here lies the great evil of the Union to Ireland. Yet, let me be just: though the country is lamentably deserted by too large a portion of the great, there are yet some righteous remaining in Sodom. There are still noblemen living principally upon their estates, — I have instanced several, — giving their time and attention to improvements in agriculture and manufactures,  p.339 and to ameliorating the situation of the country in a variety of ways: these are, I repeat it, the true patriots: let us hope their bright example will spread, that the strayed sheep, finding the good effects resulting from their exertions, may be induced to return into the fold, and by redoubled assiduities repair past omissions.

There is one point to which I cannot help more particularly adverting. We never cease hearing the wretchedness of the Irish cabins made the subject of animadversion; and very wretched indeed they are for the most part: but I have not yet found the true cause of their wretchedness explained. The landholders do not, as in England, provide cottages for the poor on their estates, each labourer provides his own habitation; — the inevitable consequence of this is, that, the means being very slender, it must be built at the least possible expense, — that the whole family, human beings and animals together, must be squeezed into the smallest space in which they can be contained: the inevitable result is, that they live in a degree of filth which I am confident is no less injurious to the mental than the corporeal health. — What do I say? no less? — It is infinitely more injurious. I have seen troops of healthy-looking children issue forth from these cabins, but I am sure the moral man cannot live in such a way without being exceedingly degraded. The remedy of this evil would be a very important step towards introducing more general habits of order and regularity. Is it possible for the infant mind to be impressed with any notion of such habits, when at the first dawning of its tender ideas they are presented with spectacles so directly opposite? Their ideas must be formed after what they do see, they cannot be formed after what they do not see. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Let him be accustomed to see nothing but neatness and order around him, depend upon it when he grows up he will not sigh for a mud cabin and filth. A very laudable spirit seems now to be awakened among the gentry who remain at their posts, and attend to the welfare of their poorer neighbours, for educating the children of these classes; but I do think that an indispensable step towards rendering education of any avail, is first to provide the poor with more decent homes.

Let me not be understood by any means to disparage the spirit of educating the poor, I only wish to see the very laudable desire of ameliorating their situation  p.340 take a still wider range, and extend itself towards the correction of another evil which does appear to me of extraordinary magnitude. Most sincerely do I wish prosperity to the Society for the education of the poor; — most sincerely should I rejoice to hear that a society were set on foot, for providing better cottages for the poor — or perhaps I would rather wish to see the nobility and gentry, without any association, adopt the English practice, and provide, each one on his own estate, habitations in which they might live with decency and comfort. Habit can reconcile the mind to almost any thing, else I should wonder how the gentlemen of the country can themselves endure to be surrounded by such abodes of wretchedness: — but they are so accustomed to seeing them, that I do not suppose they feel the same impression from the sight that is made upon a stranger. Another evil arising from the poor being their own builders is, that in case of a family emigrating from one place to another, the cottage is deserted, and having no longer any owner is left to fall to pieces, which it does not fail to do in a very short time. Thus the number of ruined modern cottages every where to be seen, is even a more striking feature in the country than the number of ancient ruined castles and abbeys. During my first summer's Residence in Ireland in 1814, Judge Fletcher, in a charge which he delivered to the Grand Jury of the county of Wexford, touched in so able a manner upon some of these topics on which I have ventured to hazard my opinions, that I must entreat the public indulgence in being allowed to quote two or three short passages, not omitting one which offers a hint or two to myself as a Tourist in Ireland. "For my part, I am at a loss to conceive how the permanent absentees can reconcile to their feelings or their interests, the remaining supine spectators of the present state of the country; that they do not see the remedies which are loudly called for. — cannot conceive how they can forbear to raise their voices in behalf of their unhappy country, and attempt to open the eyes of our English neighbours, who, generally speaking, know about as much of the Irish as they do of the Hindoos. — Does a visitor come to Ireland to compile a Book of Travels, what is his course? — He is handed about from one country gentleman to another, all interested in concealing from him the true state of the country; he passes from squire to squire, each rivalling the other in entertaining their guest, all busy  p.341 in pouring falsehoods into his ears touching the disturbed state of the country, and the vicious habits of the people. Such is the Crusade of information upon which the English traveller sets forward, returning to his own country with all his unfortunate prejudices doubled and confirmed, in a kind of moral despair of the welfare of such a wicked race, having made up his mind that nothing ought to be done for people so lawless and degraded."

Again: "I will tell you what those absentees ought to do; — they ought to promote the establishment of Houses of Refuge, Houses of Industry, and School-Houses, and set the example upon their own estates of building decent cottages, that the Irish peasantry may at least enjoy as much comfort as is enjoyed by an English sow — for an English farmer would refuse to eat the flesh of a hog so ill lodged and fed as an Irish peasant." — Once more: "I do not encourage you to expect any immediate amendment or public benefit from the plans in agitation for the education of the poor; it is in vain to flatter yourselves that you can improve their minds if you neglect their bodies. Where have you ever heard of a people anxious for education, who had not bread to eat or clothes to cover them? I have never known people under such circumstances feel any great appetite for moral instruction."

At the moment of writing this, I am favoured with a pamphlet from Ireland, sent me by the author, an Irish barrister, (whose name I suppose I must not mention, as it is not affixed to the work,) upon the subject of educating the poor. Most sincerely do I concur with this gentleman's ideas as to the general good likely to result from giving the poor the opportunity of learning the duties of their station upon sound principles; I can never persuade myself but that a man must be a better member of the community who is able to inform and enlarge his mind through the medium of books, who has such a resource to occupy his hours of leisure, than he who, sunk in ignorance, has no refuge but the public-house to fill up his time when the labours of the day are over. Yet I wish he had carried his views one step further, and had seen the necessity of providing the poor with more decent lodging, as an essential preliminary to the cultivation of their minds; — had seen how important it is, in order to prepare their minds for moral and religious instruction, that in future, when their eyes are first opened, when their ideas first begin to expand, they may fall upon something better than the wretchedness now presented to them. As they  p.342 are circumstanced at present, their minds are too much pre-occupied with revolting ideas before the task of education can begin; their eyes are too much accustomed to disgusting spectacles, for instruction to come with the same force that it would to minds better prepared. I know a very sensible man who, having a large family, has been anxious to store his house with every object that can impress upon the youthful mind notions of humanity, of benevolence, of refined taste; convinced it is of vast importance that the ideas should be early awakened to a sense and feeling of beauty, both mental and corporeal; and that this great point is best to be attained by accustoming them from the very earliest dawn of reason to the contemplation of objects calculated only to excite such ideas. If there be any truth in this reasoning, and it appears to me very sound and correct, what can be expected from ideas first formed in an Irish cabin? Indeed, indeed, I think these cabins a high national disgrace. It is not without great surprise, and much greater regret, that I see still in this country such strong prejudices existing, even in the minds of those who on most subjects are extremely candid and liberal, against the Irish. It seems the serious belief of many, that the lower classes are one and all ferocious and turbulent in their natures, always in a state of tumult and disorder, and that it is scarcely safe to trust oneself among them. I have not unfrequently been asked, "How did you dare to venture upon travelling over a country in such a disturbed state?" — Yet my Narrative will show, that it is possible to travel many and many miles over this disturbed country in the most perfect quiet. I could almost be tempted to call the majority patterns of patient endurance, suffering, but scarcely complaining, almost even kissing the rod by which they are scourged. If a disposition to plunder and murder had been prevalent among them, I furnished them with sufficient and repeated opportunities to deprive me of whatever property I was carrying about, or of my life if they were so inclined, since no one would have been the wiser. What could myself, my servant, and a youth of thirteen as our driver, in the midst of lone mountains or wastes, have done against a set of lawless ruffians, if they had abounded in the country, as many people seem to suppose? nay, in the county of Antrim, I trusted myself alone, as I have related, with a peasant of the country in a long and solitary walk along the Rock-heads, where there was nothing but his own honesty and principle to deter him from any act of plunder or violence. There  p.343 are some who I have no doubt will scarcely believe these things possible, yet they are true.

Carrying still further their prejudices, the young men a step higher in the scale of society, who come over here, are too commonly included under one general head, and to that head is given the title of fortune-hunters. A lady carried her ideas so far upon this subject, that she positively asserted there was an association formed in Dublin for the purpose of fitting out fortune-hunters to England. The plan of it she said was this: — Upon a certain subscription paid, the fortune-hunter was supplied with every thing necessary to enable him to cut the proper dash in England; his destination being commonly Bath or some other dashing-watering place, where he could with more facility insinuate himself into company than in London; and he had an unlimited power to draw upon the fund for all necessary supplies till the object of his mission was obtained, in being blessed with the hand of some wealthy English fair-one. Then, all the money he had received was to be reimbursed to the general fund, with the addition of a certain bonus for the use of it, regulated according to the length of time he had been accommodated with the money, and the greater or less value of the prize obtained. — Now really those who could believe in so absurd a tale, must have a measure of faith fit for the reception of any thing — no fiction of giants or enchanters could be more extravagant.

That there may be needy young men occasionally, who transport themselves from the other side of the Irish Channel to this, in hopes of making their fortunes among the fair of this country by a good address, by pleasing manners and polite attentions, which they prefer as an easier way of establishing themselves in life than drawing on their own industry and application; — that such things may occur, is very likely: but it does not follow, because some instances of the kind have happened, that an Irishman and a fortune-hunter are synonymous terms. And — let us be just — was such a thing never done by an Englishman? Have none of them spent their little all to enable themselves to cut a dash at some public place where females of fortune were to be found, in hopes of carrying off one, as the phrase is? Can such a question be answered in the negative? I think that is more than any one will venture to do. The truth is, that the cases in which this is done are blazoned abroad in the world; they are made the topics of public conversation, of public animadversion; while no  p.344 one hears of the hundreds of young men who establish themselves respectably in the world by the exertion of their own talents, their own industry: — "History relates the effects of the dangerous passions, the virtues of private life are not recorded by history." Mankind, in the great outlines of character, are very much the same in all nations and in all times; a great mixture of good and bad. I never could find that such a thing did exist, or ever had existed, as a nation wholly virtuous or wholly vicious; they are, and always have been, a great mixture of the one and the other. But the case with nations, as with individuals, is, that the wallet containing our neighbour's faults is hung before us, that which contains our own is behind, it is not seen.

I shall be thought, perhaps, by my countrymen to cast the severest reflection that can be cast upon the Irish, when I say that they perpetually reminded me of the French. There is a much stronger resemblance in them to the French national character than to the English; and this resemblance is equally forcible in the lower as in the higher classes of society. Nothing is more comic than to observe the difference between an English mechanic and a French or Irish one. I once, when travelling in France, wanted something done to the lid of a trunk, which I thought in some danger of splitting in two. I did not wish, however, to be long delayed by the job; and recollecting how an English carpenter or trunk-maker would have chiselled and planed a piece of wood, and fitted and fitted it over again before he could have been satisfied to nail it upon the trunk, and how much time all this would take, I was rather afraid of submitting my wounded servant to such a process; I thought I should be impatienté at the longueur, and I tried to persuade myself that the case was not of a very pressing nature. Yet the more I examined, the more imminent the danger appeared; and at length I desired that a carpenter might be sent for, stating what I wanted. Veni, vidi, vici, says Caesar; and so it was with the carpenter: I need not have been so much afraid of delay. He brought with him a hammer, a few nails, and a rough spline: the latter was knocked on in two minutes, and all was accomplished. It did not look quite so neat as if it had come from the hands of an English workman; it held the lid together, however, and all was well: but the rapidity with which the whole was performed was amusing and highly characteristic. The same is very much the case with the Irish: — ardent in their pursuits, rapid in their movements, they  p.345 blaze brilliantly for a while, but the ardour is too apt easily to subside; while with the Englishman, who is less alive at catching fire, when the flame within him is once lighted, it burns on even and steady, nor is readily exhausted. It is perhaps extraordinary, considering the state of depression in which the Irish have been kept for such a lengthened series of years, that they still retain so much of their native wit, ardour, and vivacity; but even now an Irishman, like a Frenchman, will have his joke if it comes in his way, coute-qui-coute.

A very marked difference is, however, to be observed between the inhabitants of the two extremes of Ireland which I visited, the north-east or county of Antrim, and the south-west, including the counties of Cork and Kerry, strongly supporting the belief that their origin is to be traced to different sources. In the south of Ireland the people are much darker than in the north; and here was the country where the Milesians from Spain, according to all the traditions, both written and oral, were first established. Now the dark complexion, eyes and hair, have been ever, and still are, the distinguishing characteristics of all the Southern nations of Europe; as the fair complexion, blue eyes, and light hair, sometimes deviating into red, were, and are still, of the Northern. The one are bleached by colds and snows, the others darkened by the warmth of the sun. Now, every possible presumptive evidence leads to the belief that the north of Ireland, or perhaps all Ireland and Scotland, were originally peopled from the Northern nations of Europe, the parts which formed the ancient Scandinavia; while the South, if originally peopled by the same, afterwards became the settlement of an Iberian colony, whose descendants remain there to this day. A close and constant intercourse has always subsisted between the inhabitants of the north of Ireland and Scotland, so that they ever have been, as it were, one and the same people. In more than one part the coasts come so near as within eighteen miles of each other: the distance is no more between Port Patrick in Scotland and Donaghadee in Ireland, and between the Mull of Cantire in Scotland and the county of Antrim in Ireland. Indeed there can scarcely be a doubt, from the name, that Port Patrick was originally an establishment of the Irish. It is well known that the Irish are in ancient records called Scots; but at the Milesian conquest, these people coming from the land of Iberia, one of the leaders also bearing the name of Heber, thence the name of Hibernia, afterwards given to the island, was derived; whilst the  p.446 natives driven constantly northwards, many of them probably at that time migrating to Scotland, transferred thither with themselves the name they bore. There is besides more of the true Irish quickness and vivacity in the south of Ireland than in the north; the people of the north partake somewhat of the solemnity of their neighbours the Scots.

To those who are fully convinced that an Irishman cannot speak without a bull dropping from his mouth (by the way rather a more inconvenient thing to be continually passing through the small orifice of the mouth, than the vipers, frogs, and toads of the unfortunate princess in the Contes de ma Mere l'Oie to those who are fully impressed with this belief, and hence infer that the Irish are all puzzlepated, I would earnestly recommend that their memories be sometimes directed towards the long catalogue of Irish names which may be cited as eminently distinguished in Literature and the Arts and Sciences. 32 I will not swell my pages with attempting to note all who might be particularized: a moment's recollection will suggest a very long list; but I must advert to a few of the most distinguished. In the name of Swift alone a host is mentioned, in more remote times Archbishop Usher, one of the most celebrated scholars of his day, and that at a period when literature was much less generally diffused than it is at present — a succession of Sheridans, Goldsmith, certainly a wit and  p.347 genius of no common stamp, though it must be confessed that he is not exempt from the imputation of his country's sin, bullism; — his going over to Holland to teach English there, not himself understanding a word of Dutch, was a stroke rather seasoned with the spices of his native soil. Then, as a man of extraordinary parts, though his parts were scarcely more extraordinary than was sometimes his misapplication of them, the name of Burke must not be omitted; nor must we omit those of Grattan and Curran. These few being particularized will instantly suggest the idea of many more. But a female pen must be allowed to advert to some names among her own sex who have distinguished themselves, foremost in which list must be placed the name of Edgeworth. Her pictures of the manners of her own country are those, indeed, of a masterly hand; and a finer piece of wit, humour, and keen satire than her Essay on Irish Bulls will not often be read. As a painter of the manners of her own country too, the name of Lady Morgan must not be passed over; there are some excellent pictures of them in O'Donnel; her character of Mac Rory is inimitable. Let these names suffice to prove that native talent highly cultivated is not scarce in Ireland; that however the pretensions of the country to having been anciently the seat of literature may be disputed, none can deny its claims to a great share of distinction in that respect in modern days.

 p.348

32. Ascent of the Mountain Knock-Laid. —… Celebration of the Patron. — The…

Celebration of the Patron. — The Long Dance. — Anecdote relating to one. — The Querne Cake. — Anecdotes respecting Irish Hospitality. — Instances of the great Family Affection subsisting among the low Irish. — The Funerals and the Funeral Orations of the Keeners. — Tenacity respecting the Places of Interment. — Remedies for Diseases. — Enchantment. — Bonfires on St. Johns Eve. — Marks on the Skin. — Youthful Marriages. — Former Modes of Dress among the Women. — Litigious Dispositions. — Anecdote of a Clergyman — and of an Irish Giant.

The veneration for saints so prevalent in all countries where the Catholic religion prevails, has been already frequently alluded to, as being very strong in Ireland. Each parish has its patron saint, whose birth-day was always a holiday celebrated with great festivity. These days were called patrons. On such occasions, not only the people of the parish but the neighbours far and near assembled themselves together, dressed in their very best clothes. The older people never failed to go into the church-yard, and offer up prayers for the dead, particularly if any among their own connexions happened to be interred there. Sometimes, indeed, the whole day was spent in tears and lamentations. This was the case particularly among the females; and the merry-making ended in a day of sadness. The place where the festivity was celebrated was a large common, about which tents were erected; and there was plenty of eating and drinking, with a proportionate quantity of fiddling, piping, and dancing. In the dancing, each lad dressed in his best clothes selected his lass, who was equally adorned in all the finery she could muster. A circle was then formed, not a very spacious one, scarcely more than two yards each way; when one of the couples danced a sort of jig within the circle, neither of them taking their eyes from the ground the whole time; till at length the jig being concluded, the man took the woman round the waist, gave her a twirl, and snatched a kiss. Another couple then succeeded, and after them another and another, continuing thus till all had taken their turns. But as  p.349 the whiskey always went round pretty freely at these meetings, they often ended in scenes of riot and disorder, not unfrequently in fighting, when ancient quarrels, which had been slumbering, broke out again. For this reason the patrons have, by desire of the Catholic priests themselves, been nearly laid aside.

The above festivities were of a very ancient date. Dances of a different kind, by no means so ancient, still continue to be celebrated, principally when a number of persons are desirous, for any particular reason, to honour some of their superiors; as for instance, the tenants of an estate for any act of favour shown them by the landlord, or the like. These they call Long Dances. The party is headed by a lad and lass chosen for the occasion as king and queen; the youngest and handsomest are generally selected. They are very much dressed with ribbons and other finery. The man is always in a nice clean shirt, the sleeves tied round the arms with ribbons, and the woman is in white; they carry a garland between them, and walk or dance at the head of the troop. When they arrive at the house of the person they intend to honour, they stop before the door, and the king and queen standing still, the rest of the dancers linked together by handkerchiefs held between each, dance in a long string round and round them till they are completely encircled; the company then dance back in the same order, till their majesties are entirely disencumbered, when they in their turn dance. This done, the king invites any of the ladies belonging to the mansion to come and dance with him, which is seldom refused, as such a refusal would be considered a great want of urbanity. The queen then invites any of the gentlemen to dance with her; and this concluded, the whole company dance according to their fancies, or else, which is more commonly the case, one of the men offers to amuse the company with a hornpipe. His performance is however any thing else; he twists and twirls himself about, hopping and jumping and turning in all directions, making great exertions, and showing great dexterity and agility in his motions, though the name of dancing can scarcely be applied to it. His countenance remains all the time entirely fixed, nor could the world combined make him alter a muscle: this exercise he continues as long as his breath and limbs will hold out; he does not cease till he is nearly exhausted. The company then, linked together, once more encircle their sovereign, and then untwisting themselves they all dance off in the same order that they came. They always expect the lady and gentleman of the house to  p.350 furnish them plenty of drink, but do not desire any thing to eat, and very rarely will accept money. The company is attended by a man and woman, dressed-up ridiculous figures, who are called the Pickled Herring and his Wife; they make grimaces and play anticks something in the style of a Merry Andrew. Many of these frolics took place without the least disturbance ensuing, even at the time when the country was considered as in its most disturbed state.

The above account was given me by an Irish lady whom I have the pleasure of calling my very good friend, and who, having lived a great deal in a country village, has not unfrequently seen these dances, and describes them as really a very pretty sight. She added the following relation: "A few years ago I had been for some time resident in England; it was at a period when Ireland was represented as in a state of the utmost disorder and anarchy. Having however been warmly pressed by a friend in Ireland to return to that country, and take up my residence with her, I determined to disregard the terrible stories I heard, and accept her invitation. I went accordingly, and received from her the most warm and flattering reception. It was the month of April, the weather was uncommonly fine, and the new place of my abode looked with all the enchantment that could be presented by this delightful season of the year, by hanging woods, and a fine stream of water. Soon after my arrival, my friend, one day, proposed a walk into a neighbouring wood; thither we accordingly went, when we wandered about so long that she at length was exceedingly tired, and sat down while I continued my wanderings. Presently I was alarmed with hearing such a shout close by, that it almost stunned me; instantly all the terrible stories I had heard in England rushed upon my mind, and I thought I was going to see some of them realized. In the utmost emotion I hastened back to my friend, whom I found surrounded by a number of men; yet there was nothing in her countenance or manner that betrayed any appearance of alarm, and I perceived that the men were all standing quietly with their hats in their hands. They were her tenants, and were desirous of doing honour to a gentleman in the vicinity, (who had procured a number of them employment during the severity of the winter in a neighbouring town,) by planting the maypole before his door: hearing, therefore, that she was in the wood, they had followed her thither to ask her permission, as owner of the wood, to cut down a tree for the purpose, and they concluded their petition  p.351 with three cheers, which was the noise I heard. Their prayer was granted, with the proviso that they were to seek for the ranger of the wood to assign them a proper tree; and giving three more cheers they set off in search of him. He was soon found, a tree was fixed on, three more cheers were given, the axes were applied to the root, and in a few moments it was laid prostrate on the earth. My friend and I hurried home to see it carried in procession to be prepared, painted, and dressed up for the occasion. The men I should think were in number about forty, and the tree being very tall they all assisted in carrying it upon their shoulders. By the time they passed my friend's house they were joined by a piper, who was seated across the tree, and thus borne in great state, he playing all the time, while the Pickled Herring danced along at the head of the procession. When they came in front of my friend's windows the tree was laid down, and she was once more saluted with loud and repeated shouts, attended with a request that her honour would permit them to come down the next day and have the Long Dance. Her consent obtained to this, again she was cheered; and the people resuming their burthen, the piper struck up a merry tune, the Pickled Herring resumed his antics, and away they all marched with the greatest order and regularity. The next day they did not fail, according to the permission, to have their Long Dance."

Another mode of the tenantry complimenting the landlord is, that a small quantity of the first wheat cut at the time of harvest is set apart, and instead of being thrashed, a person, holding the stalks of the wheat in his hand, beats the ears against a cask till the corn is all beaten out: this is called being scutched. The grain is then cleared away entirely from the chaff, and kiln-dried, after which it is spread out on a cloth or in a dish, and every bit of stone or dirt carefully picked out. This done, it is ground in what is called a querne; that is, it is put between two stones, the one convex the other concave, and rubbed till it becomes a fine flour, the bran being all ground with it; this is a very tedious and laborious process. It is only some farmers who have a querne; those that have not carry the wheat to a neighbour who has, and borrow the use of it. This flour is presented to the landlord, who has it made into a cake with cream and butter; it is baked on a griddle and eaten hot, being considered a great treat. When eaten, the lady of the house repeats a sentence in Irish, which  p.352 signifies "May we all eat the same together this time twelvemonth!" No luck would attend the house if this were omitted.

The Irish hospitality of old so much and so justly celebrated, notwithstanding the alleged state of barbarism of the country, — though indeed I am afraid true hospitality is much more to be found among people little advanced in what is called civilization than among those who are very much so, — this hospitality, though very much upon the decline in Ireland, is by no means wholly extinct. In the county of Waterford, a family of distinction practise it to this day in its fullest extent. Their house is constantly open for the reception of strangers; — rich and poor are equally welcomed with true kindness of countenance and demeanour, and genuine warmth of heart. The house is consequently always full, always the abode of cheerfulness and happiness; the voice of mirth and glee resounding no less in the kitchen than in the parlour. It is a fact, which I have from an eye-witness on whose credibility I can safely rely, that at one time a cask of wine was always standing in the hall, from which any body might at any time draw forth as ample a libation to Bacchus as he chose. Yet was this generosity never abused; it was repaid with the proper forbearance, and the hall was never disgraced by drunkenness or riot. Part of an English regiment being once quartered in a town near this mansion, the wife of a lieutenant who was not very rich, having nothing but his pay to live upon, was seized with a dreadful and dangerous illness, a malignant fever, which plunged her husband into the deepest distress, not only from the affliction caused by her situation, but from his inability to procure her all the comforts and assistance which her situation demanded; indeed, from the nature of her malady, it was difficult to find any one who would come near her. The hospitable family in question, hearing of the circumstance, sent their carriage for her, and being well wrapped up she was removed to their house, where, through the good advice procured for her, and the extraordinary care and attention she experienced, she soon recovered. Most happily the kindness shown was not attended with any disastrous consequences to the family, not one caught the fever. Two poor labourers from the county of Kerry, who had come into the country for harvest work, on their return home were near this mansion plundered by robbers of their little earnings, and cruelly beat; they were found in a very  p.353 miserable condition, were taken into the house, where they remained till recovered sufficiently to pursue their journey, and were then furnished with money to repair their losses and carry them home. — Such was the practice of old in all great houses, though now retained by very few.

It is an old saying, that when poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window. I believe this to be in part true; that is, as far as it concerns the poor rich, who are perhaps in the very worst state of poverty. But it is amazing to what lengths family affection is carried in an Irish cabin. This I shall perhaps be told is a refinement of sentiment, which militates strongly against what I have before said of the pernicious effect such extreme wretchedness must have upon the mind. I can only say, that there cannot be a stronger proof of the innate power this sentiment has over the heart, when not chilled by bitter blasts from adventitious circumstances, than that it is to be found so strongly in the midst of such misery. In one of these wretched abodes, where lived a poor labourer with a very large family, one of the sons, a lad about fourteen, fell into a consumption, and was obliged to quit a trade to which he was apprenticed and come home to his parents. Nothing could exceed the care and attention shown him by all the family. Two wretched rooms constituted the whole of the habitation, and he always had the best place in both; if sometimes he was able to walk out a little, and by chance his father or any one had taken his seat, the moment he appeared it was given up to him. Though the rest of the family lived upon potatoes, the best bread was always procured for him, and he had milk daily from the mansion-house in the village, whence also other trifles were occasionally sent him which might humour his sickly appetite. One of bis brothers, who had not the very best of dispositions, and was a great coxcomb in his way, (if such a term may ever be applied to the inhabitant of an Irish cabin;) this lad, overbearing to every body else, was yet kind and gentle for the most part towards his unfortunate brother. One day, however, when off his guard, he spoke to him harshly; the other, irritable from disease, snatched from him an oak stick which he held in his hand, and gave him several strokes with all the force his feebleness would permit: this the offender suffered without any attempt at resistance; nay, several times repeating that he had been very much in fault, and begged his pardon. Whether the exertion And irritation accelerated the poor creature's death it might be difficult to determine,  p.354 but he died in two or three days after. The family, far from appearing to think themselves relieved from a heavy burthen, lamented the loss of him exceedingly, and in a manner which could leave no doubt as to the reality of their sorrow.

Another remarkable instance of this affection was shown by a mother, who having been married some years without children, and wishing for them exceedingly, at length had a son, who unfortunately proved an idiot. Yet this mother's fondness for the child was unbounded: it was not the fondness of compassion, but her whole soul seemed wrapped up in it; she would clasp it to her bosom with looks of the most tender sadness, calling it the core of her heart and the apple of her eye; saying that she loved it the more because no one else ever would love it. And when at about four years old it died, nothing could exceed her grief at being deprived of it, nor ever did grief appear more sincere: she never spoke of it but with bitter regrets, and expressions of the fondest affection.

The practice of employing hired mourners at funerals, though involving one of the most palpable absurdities that can be imagined, has notwithstanding been always a very prevailing one. This is carried to a great height in Ireland, not being by any means confined to the lowest classes, but obtaining equally among those several degrees above them. There are men who make it their regular employment, and have fixed prices for their services; these are called Keeners: the lowest price for the hire of one is five shillings; but the poor will distress themselves in any way for other things, rather than omit this tribute of respect to a deceased friend. The Keener when hired is informed of the connexions and family of the deceased, and the principal circumstances of their lives, that they may come properly prepared for what they are to say; and they make orations over the body, which are, according to report, at the same time extremely pathetic and truly poetical: they are always in Irish. The corpse is set out in the room, and the friends and neighbours are seated round it, leaving room at the head for the Keener. He takes his station and begins his lamentations, which are made in a sort of song or recitative, bending his body backwards and forwards, and making many gesticulations, clasping his hands together between every sentence. If the deceased happens to be a young person, he pathetically asks, "Why did you leave us? had you not every comfort that  p.355 heart could wish? were you not beloved by your parents and your friends? but now your house is left miserable and desolate; your poor father, like a blasted oak, remains open to every wind of heaven, having lost its finest branches even in their early bloom." — Various other questions of a similar kind are put, the dress of the deceased is described, the place they used to occupy in the room while living; in short, every tender and melancholy recollection possible is conjured up and descanted upon with true pathos, and apparently with the deepest feeling, though perhaps, till this moment, the speaker had never heard of the person he laments. When his oration is finished, all the friends begin their doleful cry, having the hoods of their cloaks thrown over their heads and handkerchiefs in their hands. After they have continued this awhile, they cease, which is the signal for the Keener to begin again; and he is never at a loss for something to say: — thus they go on alternately, till the Keener has given the worth of the money he is to receive, when the lamentations cease, the eating and drinking commence, and pipes and tobacco are handed about — they are an indispensable part of the ceremony. If there is something almost ludicrous in the idea of the Keener's lamentations, thus called upon to evince a sorrow which he cannot feel, this must be a bitter and harrowing ceremony to the near connexions who do feel. It is to be observed that the ceremony is confined to the Catholics.

No person goes singly to purchase things for a funeral, — that is reckoned very unlucky, — the coffin in particular; two or three persons must be at the purchase of that, or it would be absolutely fatal. It was once a custom, but now nearly laid aside, that whenever a funeral passed where four roads meet, every person accompanying took up a stone and threw it by the road-side, uttering a prayer for the soul of the departed; in time these stones amounted to a large pile, which no one ever passed without crossing themselves and repeating a prayer. When young unmarried people are interred, a garland of flowers is placed at the head of the grave; and this no person on any consideration would think of removing, so that the time the deceased has lain there may be judged by how much more or less the garlands are faded. The attachment of the Irish Catholics to particular places of interment has been noticed: they are so tenacious of these spots that they will not on any account suffer a stranger to be intruded into them if the  p.456 thing is attempted, they will even take the coffin up, carry it to a proper distance from the sacred ground, and there leave it exposed.

Some curious remedies for diseases and accidents are employed by the lower class of the Irish. A poor woman was once bit by a dog, which she immediately concluded to be mad, though it was not so in reality. She insisted upon the owner of the dog killing it, and desired that some of the blood and hair might be sent to her to make a plaster for her wound. This the man thought an odd remedy, nor could persuade himself but that it must be very pernicious to make use in this way of the blood of an animal supposed to be in such a diseased state; yet, desirous of satisfying the woman, he had a chicken killed, and sent her some of the blood with some hair which he cut off the dog. The woman applied the plaster; and her wound healing soon, she boasted very much of what she had done, piquing herself exceedingly upon her sagacity in thinking of the application. The trick that had been played was never disclosed to her.

A lady once walking after sunset over a rock which had the reputation of being enchanted, sat down awhile to rest herself, not thinking how late it was and the danger which might be experienced from the damps. When she got up she found a dreadful pain on a sudden dart through her heel, which increased so much that she got home with difficulty. She was immediately supposed to be fairy-struck, and nothing less than her speedy death was looked for by all the neighbours. The malady proved the erysipelas, from which by the assistance of good advice she soon recovered; on which the people who had been so assured of her death concluded her something super-human. The prayers of the priest are however in most cases thought of much greater efficacy than the medicines of the physician. A nurse to whom the care of a weakly rickety child was given, asked the mother's permission to carry it to a priest who lived near and get him to say some prayers; she said it was the only thing that could do it any good. The mother consented, the child was carried to the priest, he said the prayers desired; the child in time grew strong and healthy, and the nurse gave the whole credit to her spiritual comforter.

Pleurisies and agues are exceedingly common among the lower classes; they are indeed the natural result of the damps to which they are continually exposed, sometimes unavoidably, and sometimes through their own fault. They will  p.357 often, when obliged to wait any where, extend themselves on the ground with their faces downward, regardless how damp soever it may be. Their cabins too are scarcely ever weather-tight; I have heard a lady say that she had gone sometimes into these abodes of wretchedness to visit the sick, and found the bottom (for they are never paved) quite a mire, the patient most likely lying upon a bed raised but a few inches from the ground by some pieces of plank. The first time after I came to Ireland, that I went to stay in the country, I was rather amused by seeing a paper stuck upon a wretched cabin in a village, half-unrooted, announcing Dry lodgings to be had here. It put me in mind of the noted Mr. Elwes's room where there was just one dry corner for the bed; though I must say that in these dry lodgings I questioned whether there was even a corner sheltered from the weather. I afterwards learnt that the meaning of dry lodgings, was, that lodging only was to be had, without eating and drinking.

The custom observed in most Catholic countries, of making bonfires on the eve of Saint John the Baptist, is still preserved in Ireland, though somewhat on the decline. An addition to it prevailed here, however, which I never saw abroad, that the children and cattle were made to pass through the fire; grown people would also not unfrequently do it voluntarily; it is considered a certain preservative against disease or accident. When the fire is dying away, the old women assemble round, and each takes away a burning stick to carry home with her, which is to bring a blessing upon the house, and is carefully preserved till the next year. It is reckoned very dangerous to be exposed to the air after sunset on this day, for the evil-ones are about, and are then endowed with particular power to harm any body. At all times it is thought hazardous to be near a wood at night, but the risk is never so great as on Saint John's eve! Much the same tricks are played among the young people in Ireland on Allhallows eve, as Burns describes in Scotland in his poem upon that subject. If a stranger comes into a farm-house where any of the usual occupations are going forward, such as making cheese or churning butter, if the visitor omits to say "God bless your work," and the work should afterwards go wrong, it is all ascribed to this omission, and the poor visitor is terribly execrated.

The people have a custom of marking themselves in a manner very much  p.358 after the nature of tattooing in the South Sea Islands, only not carried to that excess. The women with a needle and thread dipped in strong blue water prick themselves, drawing the blue thread through, which leaves a mark that is never wholly effaced. They generally make this mark between the thumb and fore-finger. The men will also sometimes mark themselves in a similar manner. A friend has told me that she knew a gardener in a family whose arm was marked with the figure of Jesus Christ upon the cross: this had been done when he was a child, with the point of a needle dipped in soot water; he was then an old man, and the figure was still fresh. These marks are considered as religious. It is a custom of very ancient date.

If a young woman among the class of wealthy farmers, or a rank equivalent, has any fortune of her own, it is always judged adviseable by her parents to marry her very early, lest any other match should be proposed which they do not like and dare not refuse. They therefore look out for a man of good character, to whom she is given, often when not more than fourteen years of age. A young creature who was to be thus disposed of, on the morning appointed for the wedding was met on the staircase by her governess, who asked her whither she was going; she answered, To practise her last new lesson on the piano-forte. "My dear," says the governess, "don't you recollect that this is your wedding-day?" — "Oh dear, very true," she replied, "I declare I had quite forgotten it." When a young couple are about to be married, they go together to choose what is called the living: This is the same as the French trousseau, (the wedding-clothes,) with which the man presents his bride. For a long time after they are married, sometimes even for several years, they are never seen walking side by side, the husband precedes the wife two or three yards.

Formerly, indeed within the last twenty years, the farming class of women had a style of dress peculiar to themselves, which seems to have borne a great resemblance to the dress of the peasantry in some parts of the continent, particularly Switzerland. Blue stockings and shoes of the same colour with silver clasps, a short blue cloth petticoat plaited full all round, and a jacket of the same bound with silk twist and laced up the front; short sleeves with cuffs, and a mantle of the same colour, or brown bound with the same silk twist as the jacket, and having a little scolloped cape. The hair was combed up straight from the neck and forehead,  p.359 and fastened in a knot at the crown of the head, round which was pinned a piece of broad ribbon of any fine showy colour. Over this was a cap of some very thin material through which the ribbon and hair could be seen, having ears to fasten under the chin, and a plain border of lace. Over the cap was tied a thin muslin or silk handkerchief, but put on so that the ribbon by which the hair was fastened might still be seen. Some wore gowns of camblet or crape stuff open in front, the sides and bottom of the gown being bordered within, to the depth of a finger or more, with a different-coloured stuff. The long blue or gray cloth cloak after a time superseded the little mantle, and now the whole costume is laid aside, this class imitating the fashions of the great. These women have an amazing fondness for rings, she who possesses a good stock of them is looked upon as a person of very great consideration. Broad heavy gold rings are those which are the most prized. A sort of linen used formerly to be in great request which was called band-linen, having that name from the measure by which it was sold, termed a handle; it was about the length of three fingers; the cloth was very narrow, not more than a handle in width; it used to be sold at about four-pence or five-pence that measure; but rising enormously in price, it is now fallen almost entirely into disuse.

The lower class of the men when inspired by whiskey are very apt to get quarrelsome; and if this happens at a fair or any kind of meeting where a number are assembled, old quarrels are often renewed, and a broken head or two is not unfrequently the consequence. Nothing will then satisfy them but law, and they must have recourse to a magistrate. — A man went one day to lay the case of one of these whiskey encounters before the justice, and begged he might have a little bit of a summons for his neighbour, he only wanted it about so big, showing the size he wished. In talking to their superiors these people commonly make use, in the style of sovereigns and critics in newspapers, of the plural number we, instead of the singular I; We would be very glad always to serve your honour; we will certainly do as your honour bids us. It is remarkable that excepting in the matter of shall and will, which are a never-ceasing fund of mistake, the common classes in Ireland speak better English than the same classes in England do. They would never mistake between we and us, or ours, as is not unfrequently done in England. I once heard a woman say very eagerly, "I am sure he killed we three pigs" meaning, "he killed three of our pigs."

 p.360

How! write a Tour in Ireland, and not give a string of Irish Bulls — that seems strangely out of character 33, — it would make an excellent termination to the present chapter. — To this I readily assent: but indeed I must confess my stock to be very scanty. I had minuted down one which I considered, indeed, as of the first quality, and by which I hoped to gain great credit among my readers; but on referring to Miss Edgeworth's Essay, I find she ascribes the honour of it to England:
"He who saw these new roads before they were made,
Will lift up their hands and bless General Wade."
Now this, which I was given as from an Irish finger-post, she transfers to an English one. Disappointed then in my choice morceau, I must make an apology for this part of my work being so denue, and conclude with two stories vouched for to me as actual facts.

A clergyman going one Sunday some little distance to perform the duties of the day, in his ride was so unfortunate as to lose his sermon. In the case of such losses it is very common to post an advertisement upon the church-door, by which means the article lost is often retrieved. The next day an advertisement to the following effect appeared upon the church-door: "Lost, on such a day, between such and such a place, a sermon. Whoever has found it and will bring it to such a place, shall receive a suitable reward, it being of no use to any body but the owner." It was however nothing more than some memoranda written on a slip of paper, the clergyman being in the habit of preaching extempore.

An Irish giant had the good fortune to captivate three fair sisters at once,  p.361 who all took some means of making known to him their tender sentiments. He was exceedingly perplexed — he had himself a decided preference for one; but he did not like to declare it, since that would seem an affront to the others. At length he hit upon the following expedient. He went to the top of a very high mountain, announcing that she among the three competitors who should first reach the top and join him, should become his happy bride; but, like many another promoter of a race, he played booty and gave a hint to the object of his choice what she should do. The two others set off upon the race at the utmost stretch of their powers, and had soon completely blown themselves out of wind; the third began gently, and kept on an even pace never beyond what she could continue, and by that means in the end passed her exhausted sisters and arrived before them at the goal.

 p.362

33. The Rock, and curious Rope-Bridge at… Opinions of Travellers on the Beauties…

Opinions of Travellers on the Beauties of Irish Scenery. — The Bogs of Ireland. — Reports of Commissioners concerning