Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent spelling of place names are left as in the original.
THE SUNNY SIDE
Second Edition. Re-written and Enlarged.
THE SUNNY SIDE
HOW TO SEE IT BY THE GREAT SOUTHERN AND WESTERN RAILWAY.
With Seven Maps and over 160 Illustrations.
AND A CHAPTER ON THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTH AND WEST OF IRELAND,
R. LLOYD PRAEGER, B.A., B.E., &c.
ALEX. THOM & CO. (LIMITED), 87, 88, & 89, ABBEY STREET, DUBLIN.
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.
These pages attempt to make better known the large part of Ireland which is served by the Great Southern and Western Railway Company, and while doing so to realise Shakespeare's words:
"An honest tale speeds best being plainly told."
If they succeed in these endeavours, they will satisfy the compiler. No inexorable route is insisted upon, but no suggestion is stinted which may help the tourist to enjoy fully the beautiful country he passes through—and a beautiful country it truly is, be it approached from Athlone, its north-western gate, by the Shannon, where,
"In the quiet watered land, the land of roses, Stands Saint Kieran's city fair,"
or from its south-western side, in the kingdom of Kerry, where the ocean leans against the mountains, and the storm-swept peak of Skellig Michael makes the most westerly citadel of Christ in the Old World! Everywhere within its broad borders, swift-rushing rivers, mirror-like lakes, and mountains tiaraed in the skies, delight the vision and gladden the heart.
The Gaelic names of places are usually word pictures reflecting with fidelity the physical features of each place, or "tell sad stories of the death of kings." Where possible, the equivalents have been given in English.
With these forewords, nothing further remains but to offer an Irish welcome— FAILTE.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
Since "The Sunny Side of Ireland" was issued the Royal Assent has been given to an Act of Parliament which makes the Great Southern and Western Railway foremost in every sense amongst Irish Railways. The two Provinces of Munster and Connaught are now knit together by a huge network of railway lines comprised in their amalgamated system.
The several counties thus included are dealt with in this Second Edition. The volume is further enhanced by more particular information as to the sports and pastimes of the country, and by a valuable chapter on the Natural History of the South and West of Ireland, by writers of authority on such subjects.
LIST OF MAPS.
MAP OF THE GREAT SOUTHERN AND WESTERN RAILWAY AND ITS CONNECTIONS IN IRELAND 6
MAP SHOWING CONNECTIONS OF THE GREAT SOUTHERN AND WESTERN RAILWAY IN GREAT BRITAIN 7
MAP OF DUBLIN CITY 14
MAP OF ENVIRONS OF DUBLIN 15
MAP OF CORK CITY 72
MAP OF ENVIRONS OF CORK 73
PICTORIAL MAP OF KILLARNEY DISTRICT 132
DUBLIN AND DISTRICT—
DUBLIN DISTRICT 24
LIMERICK AND DISTRICT—
LIMERICK DISTRICT 53
THE SHANNON LAKES 67
CORK AND DISTRICT—
CORK DISTRICT 85
THE RIVER BLACKWATER, YOUGHAL, &C. 98
WATERFORD AND DISTRICT 112
KILLARNEY AND GLENGARRIFF 133
LAKES AND FJORDS OF KERRY 175
COUNTY CLARE 221
GALWAY AND DISTRICT 235
CONNEMARA AND SLIGO 245
SUMMER AND WINTER RESORTS 256
NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTH AND WEST OF IRELAND 260
RIVER FISHING 295
LAKE FISHING 299
Travelling through Ireland in the good old times was at best a precarious and inconvenient diversion. Those who had to do so regretted the necessity, and those who had not, praised Providence. Many "persons of quality," to use Dr. Johnson's phrase, have written narratives of their adventures and experiences in "the most damnable country." No man of position, even early in the nineteenth century, would dream of travelling threescore miles from his residence without having signed and sealed his last will and testament. The highways were beset by "Gentlemen of the Road," such as that fascinating felon, "Brennan on the Moor," of whom the ballad tells—
"A brace of loaded pistols he carried night and day."
The coach roads were dangerous, the stage was deplorable, and everything but the scenery unpleasant. The interior and west of the country were connected with Dublin by canals cut in the time of the Irish Parliament, which followed the enterprise of the Dutch. They were looked upon at the time as feats of engineering skill, somewhat in the light that we view the Suez or Panama Canals to-day. Neville, the engineer, was the recipient of extravagant encomiums from the Lords and Commons, and his fame is embalmed in a street ballad which sings the praise of—
"Bold Neville, Who made the streams run level In that bounding river Called the Grand Canal."
Nowadays we have changed all that, and Neville and his skill are as little remembered in Ireland as the military-road cutter in Scotland, of whom, to show that
Ireland had not the monopoly in "bulls," an English admirer wrote:—
"If you had seen those roads before they Were made, You would hold up your hands and bless General Wade."
A poor Italian boy—Charles Bianconi—who tramped through the country as a print-seller, was the first, in the days of Waterloo, in the south of Ireland, to begin really that healthy competition with the mail-coaches which made straight the way for the Iron Horse.
The Great Southern and Western Railway was incorporated in 1845. Mr. Under-Secretary Drummond, the English statesman who got closest to the Irish heart, was identified with the construction of the line.
Year after year the Company prospered and increased, gradually absorbing the smaller lines adjoining it until the year 1901, when it amalgamated the only two other systems of broad gauge lines in their district which had remained independent. Practically the two provinces of Munster and Connaught are now knit together by the great network of railway lines which comprise the Great Southern and Western System. The total length is about 1,100 miles. The main line stretches from Dublin, through Cork, to Queenstown, forming the route for the American Mails and the great transatlantic passenger traffic. Branches extend to Waterford, Limerick, Killarney, and Kerry, and every place of importance in the South of Ireland, while in the west the line extends from Tralee, through Limerick, to Sligo. The carriages which the Company provide are of the very latest design; vestibule corridor trains, with dining and breakfast cars, are run daily, and the speed of the trains will bear comparison with any. The journey, Dublin to Cork (165 miles) is performed in four hours; to Killarney (189 miles) in about fifteen minutes more, and all the important tourist centres can be reached within a very short time. The comfort of passengers is well arranged for; refreshment rooms are provided at the principal stations, and breakfast, luncheon, and tea baskets can always be had, as well as pillows, rugs, and all the modern conveniences of travel. Besides all this, the enterprise of the Company has provided at Killarney, Parknasilla, Kenmare, Caragh Lake, and Waterville, hotels, which for appearance and luxury, tempered by economy, are the equals of any in Europe.
The scenery of Ireland surpasses the most roseate expectations. Within a comparatively small compass her scenic beauties include mountains, lakes, and seas, and it is the good fortune of the Great Southern and Western Company to have within its borders the finest scenery in the country. The "Skies of Erin" have been paid tribute to by artists again and again. Turner said the sun never seemed to set so beautifully anywhere as in Ireland, and Lady Butler, the well-known painter, has expressed the opinion that nowhere, except in the valley of the Nile, does the firmament put forth such varied changes of beauty as in Ireland. To the Gulf Stream, which strikes the south-western coast, scientists attribute the mildness of the climate. From Queenstown to Leenane the coast-line contains countless health resorts, where invalids may be recommended winter quarters as salubrious as many of the continental districts.
The sportsman has always found himself at home here. The fine hunting counties of Kildare, Tipperary, Kilkenny, and Waterford are familiar to every son of Nimrod. Shooting and fishing, although the preserves are not so many or so well kept as in Scotland, may be called the staple sports of Ireland. Golf has come to stay, and within recent years links have been laid in the vicinity of most of the tourist districts.
One word for Irish industries will not be out of place. Ireland has no industries in the sense in which England has. With the exception of Belfast, there is no place in the country which approaches to a factory town in the sense in which that phrase is understood across the channel. Agriculture, of course, is the backbone of Ireland, and in connection with it the creamery system of the south may be mentioned. Anyone anxious to find a line of industry in Ireland which has beaten the Dane in his own market should visit Cleeves' famous factory at Limerick. The woollen industry in the country has withstood destructive legislature, and a typical example of modern success is the great tweed factory of Morroghs, at Douglas, County Cork. The Blarney tweeds have become a household word, but Douglas is shouldering them in the keen competition for public recognition. The great bacon-curing houses of Denny, at Waterford, are well worth seeing, as is also the thriving wholesome Co-operative Factory at Tralee. In Dublin the mammoth brewery of Guinness and Sons can be viewed under the conductorship of a servant of the firm employed for the sole purpose of showing visitors through the great concern. But it is the lesser industries in Ireland which are really attractive. The law of the survival of the fittest stands to these—the homespuns woven in the cottages, the beautiful Dublin poplin, the delicate lace of Youghal and Limerick, the exquisite pottery of Belleek, these good things are beyond compare.
Dublin and District.
The Tourist too often hurries away from Dublin to the south or west with but a superficial knowledge of the attractions of the city. It will well repay a stay, and if the visitor happens to come at Horse Show week he can easily believe himself sojourning in the capital of one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. During that short carnival each autumn the tears are brushed aside, and Erin is all smiles and welcomes for her guests. The hotels are good, the lodging-houses are clean, and moderate in price. The restaurants have much improved within recent years. Readers of Lord Mayo's encouraging articles to would-be Irish tourists will do well to test his tribute to "The Dolphin" in Essex-street. If anyone wants to see the ladies of fashion at their tea, Mitchell's in Grafton-street is a sure find, and the well-equipped D.B.C. tea-houses, which are established in several parts of the city, will meet the requirements of moderate purses.
To attempt to mention more than a few of the more important places worth seeing in this city would be beyond the intention of these pages. Stretched beneath the beautiful Dublin Mountains the city scatters itself about the sides of the River Liffey. To get from one place to another in Dublin is simplicity itself. The electric-tram system is equal to any in Europe, and excels most in the cheapness of its fares. The cars run through the principal streets and along the quay sides to the suburbs. A good view of the city may be had from the top of a tram on a fine day. Those who wish to suit their own convenience, however, will always avail themselves of the outside car. The jaunting car is to Dublin what the gondola is to Venice—at least an imaginative Irish Member of Parliament has said so, and that settles the matter. When selecting an "outside" take care that you secure one equipped with a pneumatic tyre. The Dublin driver is much maligned, he is generally courteous, and not without humour. The municipal authorities supply him with a list of fares and distances. He is bound to produce it should any difficulty arise as to the financial relations, which sometimes happens.
Dublin was an old fortress of the Danes. They held the whole eastern seaboard of Ireland until 1014 when Brian Boru defeated them and broke their power at the battle of Clontarf. Historic remains of the old city—the Ford of the Hurdles the Irish call it—there are none. The Danes, the Normans, the Elizabethan, the Cromwellian, the Jacobite, all made history in Dublin in their day, but the city as it stands is practically modern. Between the Rotunda, one of the finest maternity hospitals in the world, and St. Stephen's Green, the beautiful park presented to the citizens by Lord Ardilaun, the principal buildings in the city lie. The College Green, however, forms a natural centre from which to make a short tour. The magnificent portico of the Bank of Ireland—formerly the Irish House of Parliament—is characterized by surprising dignity of proportion. Visitors can witness the printing of bank notes. The Irish House of Lords, which remains unaltered, is an oblong room with recess for throne at one end. Within may be seen two valuable Dutch tapestries, the one representing the famous Siege of Derry, and the second the Battle of the Boyne. Immediately outside "The Old House at Home," as the historic building is affectionately called by Irishmen, is a noble statue of Henry Grattan. He was the people's darling from 1782, when the Volunteers mustered in College-green, up to 1800, when the Act of Union was passed. Behind Grattan stands the old leaden statue of William III., erected in 1701. This equestrian figure of "King Billy," as the prince of glorious, pious, and immortal memory is familiarly known, has been the centre of, in its time, much mischief and merriment. Up to 1822 His Majesty was annually decorated with orange ribbons to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. This party demonstration was always resented by the populace, and King Billy came in for no end of ill-treatment. However, he has braved the battle and the breeze.
Turning from the Bank we face the University, in front of which stand fine bronze statues of its distinguished sons, Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith. The University, unlike its sisters, Oxford and Cambridge, contains but a single college—that of the Holy and Undivided Trinity—founded by Adam Loftus in Elizabeth's reign. Visitors to the College should be shown the chapel halls, museum, and library, and grand quadrangles, including Lever's notorious "Botany Bay." While in the library the world-famous "Book of Kells" may be inspected, and the enduring qualities of its marvellous illuminations admired. The College park is very beautiful, and during the College races at midsummer presents quite a gala sight.
In Dame-street most of the Irish banks have their offices. At the end of the street furthest from the College is the City Hall. The building was originally the Royal Exchange, but in the middle of the nineteenth century it was handed over to the Dublin Corporation. The Corinthian columns which form the portico are very handsome. The entrance is modern, the older structure having given way in "the troubled times," while a crowd of citizens were beguiling the time watching a public whipping of a malefactor from the steps. The centre hall is crowned with a decorated dome. The hall contains statues of O'Connell, Under-Secretary Drummond, Grattan, and Dr. Lucas, a publicist in eighteen-century Dublin. The Council Chamber is well furnished, and some of the portraits of former Lords Mayor are very fine. Immediately behind the City Hall is Dublin Castle, far from being the imposing structure those familiar with its history may suppose. The Lower Castle Yard is entered from Palace-street. It contains the Birmingham Tower, a modern structure replacing the fortress, some of the walls of which still stand, from which the fiery Red Hugh O'Donel, Prince of Tyrone, escaped. The Castle Chapel is beside the Tower, and permission to visit it is easily obtained. Among the things of interest in the chapel are the emblazoned arms of all the Irish viceroys. The wood work throughout is Irish oak, and there are ninety heads in marble to represent the sovereigns of England. St. Patrick's Hall, the Throne-room, and the Long Drawing-room are the most important of the State apartments. While in the vicinity of the Castle, St. Patrick's Cathedral should be visited. Founded so long ago as 1190, this cathedral, dedicated to the Apostle of Ireland, has had a chequered history. Mostly Early English in architecture, modern styles have been grafted on the building without consistency or unity of ideal. The monuments are many. Dean Swift's bears an inscription written by himself and breathing the hatred of oppression and love of liberty characteristic of the writer—
"Hic depositum est corpus JONATHAN SWIFT, s. t. d. Hujus Ecclesiae Cathedralis Decani Ubi saeva indignatio Ulterius cor lacerare nequit Abe Viator Et imitare si poteris Strenuum, pro virili, Libertatis vindicatorem, Obiit 19 deg. die mensis Octobris, A.D. 1745, Anno Aetatis 78."
Hard by is a white marble slab in memory of her whose name must be for ever associated with that of Swift—"Stella." Ten minutes' walk through Patrick-street will bring one from St. Patrick's to the most interesting ecclesiastical structure in Dublin—Christ Church Cathedral. An old Danish foundation, fire and time laid hands upon the original building. Its restoration is a triumph of architectural genius in the reproduction of thirteenth-century English Gothic. Strongbow's tomb is the famous monument of the place. The Crypt contains, besides other antiquities, the old City stocks, which is some three centuries old. Other places worth seeing in the city are the Four Courts, the Custom House, the Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough-street, St. Michan's Church and Churchyard, and the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Gardiner-street. The general architecture in the streets is incongruous, and the modern "improvements" not always desirable. In the back streets here and there the quaint gables as old as Queen Anne still survive, but the Dutch houses have almost entirely, and the Cage houses have entirely, disappeared.
Leinster Lawn, or the Duke's Lawn, as the man in the street in Dublin still calls it, contains, among other attractions, the National Gallery, Museum, and Public Library. These are store houses of treasure. The catalogue of the Gallery reveals a valuable collection of paintings, and the Museum contains an unique exhibition of gold, silver, and bronze ornaments, collars, brooches, shields, clasps, and spears, which were found from time to time throughout Ireland, and are evidence of her former civilization. The Royal Irish Academy, in Dawson-street, possesses a rich collection of ancient Irish manuscript.
The cemeteries of Dublin are small, except Glasnevin. A drive through the Phoenix Park will bring one by the embanked river or through the northern side of the city. An inquisitive tourist asked an Irish driver why the Park was so called, when there was no such bird ever in the world. "Sure that's the reason," said the driver. "Sure there's no such Park in the world either." Lord Chesterfield put up a column with a Phoenix in the Park, but of old its name was Parc-na-Fionniake (the field of the clear water). It lies on the northern bank of the river celebrated by Sir Samuel Ferguson:—
"Delicious Liffey, from the bosoming-hills What man who sees thee issuing strong and pure But with some wistful, fresh emotion fills, Akin to nature's own sweet temperature; And haply thinks:—On this green bank 'twere sweet To make one's mansion sometime of the year, For health and pleasure on these uplands meet, And all the Isle's amenities are here."
Long ago the St. John's Hospitallers had their house at Kilmainham, and the lands belonging to the Order lay about either side of the stream. The Hospice is now the Old Man's House—an Asylum for Disabled Soldiers, designed by Sir Christopher Wren—and possesses one of the finest halls in Europe. The lands have been built over at Inchicore, and on the other side of the river formed into the Phoenix Park, containing close on two thousand acres, and bounded by a circumference of seven miles. The Park contains the lodges of the Viceroy and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the monuments to Lord Gough, Lord Carlisle, and the "overgrown milestone," as the obelisk to the Duke of Wellington has been called. The People's Gardens have been laid out with great taste, but they cannot compare with the natural beauty of the Furze Glen with its deep shade and silent lake. Visitors in the summer time should not fail to drive from Knockmaroon gate, beside the Liffey, to "The Strawberry Beds." Here, in the season, delicious fruit, fresh from the gardens, and rich cream, can be had in most of the cottages beside the road.
The country in the immediate vicinity of Dublin contains much that is picturesque. The scenery along the coast has in general been already referred to. But Killiney, Bray, and Howth, if time permits, should be visited. The train and tram facilities are sufficient. Wicklow County has been called the Garden of Erin, and on no account should a visit to Glendalough or "The Meeting of the Waters" in the Vale of Avoca be deferred. But those who wish to speed on to the south or west will do so from the Kingsbridge Terminus. From here we pass through Inchicore, the busy thriving hive of industry, where the Great Southern and Western Railway have their engineering works. The first station we come to is that of Clondalkin. The old village sits snuggled up at the foot of its round tower, which is one of the best specimens of that early architecture in Ireland, of which the poet says:
"Two favourites hath Time—the Pyramids of Nile And the old mystic temples of our own dear Isle."
Irish antiquaries for generations have squabbled over these famous "Pillar Towers of Ireland," but the general trend of scientific opinion is that they are of early Christian origin. Father Matt Horgan, a famous Munster antiquary, humorously started the theory that they were built to puzzle posterity, which they have very successfully done. Lucan is a health resort, possessing a sulphur spa, and situated in a well-wooded country above the Liffey. The Hydropathic stands well sheltered and commanding a splendid view. The drives in the district are many, and the antiquarian will find much of interest. In Lord Annaly's demesne are the remains of an early Norman castle, and in the vicinity is an ancient Rath and souterraine. The drive to the Salmon Leap, at Leixlip, should not be missed. Near by is Castletown, the palatial mansion of the Connolly family, and a grotesque structure known as "Connolly's Folly," which was built in the time of the famine of "Black '47" to give employment. Here, too, the great Dean of St. Patrick's beguiled his time at "The Abbey," the home of Esther Vanhomrigh, the "Vanessa" of his strange life. From Lucan Maynooth may be reached. Here is St. Patrick's National College for the education of priests for the Catholic Church, originally founded on a Government grant. "Carton House," in the vicinity, is the residence of the Dukes of Leinster. It is surrounded by beautiful parks, well planted, among the trees the royal oaks, for which Kildare was celebrated, being conspicuous. Straffan may be called a "hunting village," as the meets of the famous "Killing Kildares" most usually take place in its neighbourhood. Here, too, are the seats of Lords Cloncurry and Mayo. The thriving market town of Naas is two miles from Sallins, and is the railway station for Punchestown, the great steeplechase meeting of the Kildare Hunt. Long centuries ago it was an historic spot—"Naas of the Kings." From the station may be seen the Hill of Allen, rising like a sentinel on the mearings of the "Great Plain of Ireland." Harristown, the second station on a branch line, is about three miles from Poulaphouca Waterfall. The road to the Falls leads through the picturesque village of Ballymore-Eustace, situated on a bank at a bend in the river Liffey. The view from the river below the Falls is very impressive. Tullow is the terminus of this branch of the line. It is a good business town, and the river Slaney affords excellent trout fishing. Within half-an-hour's walk from Sallins is Bodenstown Churchyard, where Theobald Wolfe Tone, the founder of the United Irish Organisation of 1798, is buried. He was the most desperate man who ever crossed the path of the English Government in Ireland. "The most extraordinary man I ever met," is the verdict of the Duke of Wellington. "He went to France with but one hundred guineas in his pocket, and induced Bonaparte, by his single unaided efforts, to send three armaments to Ireland." Six and twenty miles from Dublin, the town of Newbridge exists as a kind of aide-de-camp to the Commissariat Department of the Curragh Camp. The Curragh, a great plain over twelve miles square, was once a common, the property of the Geraldine tenants, but the Crown quietly seized upon it, and "their right there is none to dispute." It has been made a camp of instruction, and can accommodate, under more or less permanent cover, ten thousand men. It is in a good fox-hunting, sporting country, "the country of the short grass," and several times a year is the scene of race meetings. It is the Newmarket of Ireland, for here are the training stables for Punchestown, Fairyhouse, Leopardstown, Baldoyle, and all the lesser meetings in the Green Isle, and many of the greater ones across the water. The Curragh was the scene of more than one battle in centuries past, and, like Tara, was one of the historic places chosen in the minds of the insurgents of Ninety-eight as an ideal mustering point. The Curragh District Golf Club has been formed by the military stationed there. Kildare, some thirty miles from Dublin, is the junction for the Kilkenny branch of the line. The town is very old, being, in the early Christian era, a cell of St. Bride, a patroness of Ireland. The ancient cathedral has been partly rebuilt, and in the south transept is the vault of the Earls of Kildare, progenitors of the Leinster line. These Geraldines were the most famous of the Norman invaders:
"And, oh! through many a dark campaign They proved their prowess stern, In Leinster's plains and Munster's vales On king, and chief, and kern;
But noble was the cheer within The halls so rudely won, And generous was the steel-gloved hand That had such slaughter done. How gay their laugh, how proud their mien, You'd ask no herald's sign— Amid a thousand, you had known The princely Geraldine."
The Round Tower in the graveyard, which is one hundred and three feet high, is perfect, except that the original cap has been replaced with a battlement, out of character with the rest. The old castle stood by, to guard the church and tower, and what remains of it has been turned to use as a tenement. The Earls of Kildare were often warring with the Kings of England. The Archbishop of Cashel one time protested to the King against the Earl burning down his cathedral, and the Earl, when reprimanded, explained to the King in person that he would not have done so had he not thought that the Archbishop was inside the church at the time. This was the same Earl of whom the Parliament complained that "all Ireland could not govern the Earl of Kildare." "Then," said the King, "let the Earl of Kildare govern all Ireland," and he was appointed Lord Deputy, and made an excellent one. From Kildare, Carlow, twenty-six miles distant, and Kilkenny, fifty-one, are the principal stations on the line which terminates at Waterford. Carlow is an old town which belonged to the hereditary enemies of the Fitzgeralds, the Butlers of Ormonde. It is beautifully situated, surrounded by fine trees, and built on the picturesque Barrow. There is splendid water-power above the town, and it was the first place in Ireland that was lighted with electricity. Kilkenny, the marble city, easily induces the visitor to linger within its walls and enjoy fully the attractions of the river Nore. Long ago it was a keep of "Dermott of the Foreigners," "who had grown hoarse from many shoutings in the battle," and was given by him as a dowry with his beautiful daughter Eva to Strongbow. Afterwards it passed, by purchase, into the possession of the Butlers, Lords of Ormonde. Here a Parliament was held in 1367, which endeavoured by law to prevent the absorption of the newcomers by the old Irish race. It tainted the blood of all who gave their children into fosterage with Irish women, and penalised the usage of Irish dress and customs. It made it a capital offence for any of English blood to marry an Irish woman, which was humorous enough when we remember that Strongbow, "the first of the foreigners," did so. But the statute was of no avail, and the Butlers in time became as big rebels as the Geraldines. Here, in 1642, the Confederate Catholics held their Parliament. Among other things they drafted a scheme of local government for the country, and set up the first printing press in Ireland. St. Canice's Cathedral, the Round Tower, one hundred feet high, the Black Abbey, and Franciscan Friary, are the principal ecclesiastical objects of interest. The Round Tower is at the southern side of the Cathedral. This latter building, which is of an Early Pointed Style, was founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century. The pavement is of the famous Kilkenny marble. The principal object of interest in the building is St. Kieran's Chair, against the wall in the northern transept.
The grounds of the Franciscan Friary have been overbuilt by a brewery, but the fine seven-light window and tower still stand. The Black Abbey, a thirteenth century foundation, has come back into the possession of the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, who have restored it. The small parish church near the northern transept of St. Canice's contains a window commemorative of Lieutenant Hamilton, V.C., of Inistioge, who was killed in the massacre of the Cavagnari Expedition by the Afghans in 1879. From the market place, Kilkenny Castle, the noble seat of the Butlers, may be entered. In the absence of the family of the Marquis of Ormonde, the public are allowed to visit the castle. It is a practically modern residence, built into the ancient walls; and three of the imposing watch towers of bygone years survive. The hall of the castle is decorated with beautiful Spanish leather work, and the rich tapestries on the staircase were wrought in the sixteenth century, on looms set up in the town by Flemings. Besides the family plate, jewels, and heirlooms—which are displayed in several apartments—the picture gallery is exceptionally attractive. Among its treasures are Murillo's "St. John," Corregio's "Marriage of St. Catherine," and Giordano's "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin." From St. John's Bridge, above the Nore, a splendid view of the castle may be seen. There is a pleasant pathway under the castle wall, along the river side from the bridge. From Kilkenny many interesting excursions may be made. To Kells, twelve statute miles, where there are the ruins of an important twelfth century priory. Two miles from Kells is Kilree, where are situate a ruined church, Round Tower, and Celtic cross, and a remarkable tomb slab in the church, on which is an ancient symbolic sculpture of a cock-in-a-pot crowing. Three miles from Kilree is Aghavillar, with ruined church, attached castellated house, and Round Tower. About seven miles from the city is the Cave of Dunmore, a stalactite cavern worth seeing. Thomastown, on the line to Waterford, was formerly a walled town. It is less than two miles from Jerpoint Abbey, the ruins of which are interesting. It was founded by Donough Tiernach, Chief of Ossory, in 1180. The style is Early Norman, but the turrets and battlements are fifteenth century work.
Cromwell, who is discredited with destroying places in Ireland where he never was, is said to have passed by Jerpoint without molesting it, but when the peal of bells rang out in thanksgiving, he took it for a challenge, and returned and sacked the place. In Cork he melted down the chapel bells, saying that "as it was a priest that invented gunpowder, the best thing that could be done with chapel bells was to make them into cannons," which he did.
If, instead of branching off the main line at Kildare, we continue along it in the south-western direction.
Monasterevan, which was an old ecclesiastical place of importance, now insignificant except for its malting houses and distillery. The Marquis of Drogheda's demesne and residence, Moore Abbey, stands in the centre of the well-wooded lands, which were formerly monastic property. Portarlington, a small town on the Barrow, has the seat of the Earl of Portarlington. The river divides the town, and is the boundary here between Kildare and the Queen's County. The Irish name of this place is Coltody; but in the time of the "Merrie Monarch" it was given to a court favourite, Lord Arlington, who here built a little harbour on the Barrow, whence its name. In the townland of Deer Park, near the town, there is still a colony of pure Huguenot descent. Portarlington is the junction of the branch line running to Athlone.
Maryborough is pleasantly situated on the river side. From the Rock of Dunamaise, an old fort of "Dermot of the Foreigners" in an almost impregnable position, there is a splendid view of the Slieve Bloom mountain ranges. At Ballybrophy is the junction for the Parsonstown and Roscrea and Nenagh branches. Roscrea, under the Devil's Bit mountains, has celebrated ecclesiastical remains and a modern Cistercian Monastery, the parent house of which is the famous Mount Melleray Abbey. Among the ruins of interest to the antiquary are the remains of Augustinian and Franciscan foundations, and a Round Tower, about the foot of which St. Cronan had one of the early schools in Ireland in the sixth century. A square tower of the Butlers and a tower of Prince John's Castle will repay attention. Birr Castle, the seat of the Earl of Rosse at Parsonstown, is surrounded by a fine park. It is remarkable for its mammoth telescopes, one of which is fifty-two feet long, with a speculum six feet in diameter. Nenagh, at the foot of the Silvermines and Keeper mountains (2,278 feet), is a stirring market town, and possesses a Norman keep in fair preservation. Birdhill brings us to the Shannon, the attractions of which are dealt with in another chapter.
The branch line which runs from Portarlington to Athlone, runs right through the Bog of Allen. It is available for through passengers for Connemara. For miles, the undulating bog land, green and brown. The King's County still remains out of the primeval forests, and its great peat fields are the only source of wealth to the surrounding peasantry. Athlone, some two miles below Lough Ree, on the Shannon, is the military key to the Province of Connaught. The keep of the old Castle, dating from King John's reign, remains, but the bridge and salmon weir are of more interest. In 1691 Ginckle besieged the town on the eastern bank, but a handful of Irish troops held the Connaught side, desiring to keep the position until St. Ruth arrived. The defence of the bridge is one of the most gallant exploits in Irish history. Colonel Richard Grace, who held the position for the Jacobites, was offered security in his estates and military honours, if he surrendered, by the Duke of Schomberg. At night, when the offer reached the Jacobite general, he was in his quarters, playing the familiar Irish card game of spoil-five with his officers. The six-of-hearts happened to be the "deckhead." Grace took it from the pack and wrote on the back, "It ill becomes a gentleman to betray his trust," and gave it to the Williamite messenger. The "six-of-hearts" is still known as "The Grace's Card," especially in Kilkenny, where the general's estates were. From Athlone excursions may be made to Auburn, eight miles; Clonmacnoise, ten Irish miles; and to Lough Ree. Lissoy, where Goldsmith spent his childhood, there can be little doubt, was the original of—
"Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain."
It is a pleasant drive, the road from Ballykeeran skirting Lough Killinure. Lough Ree, three miles from Athlone, is low-lying, some ten miles long, and in parts prettily wooded. There is a small archipelago in the northern end, of which pretty "Hare Island" is the residence of Lord Castlemaine. The Seven Churches of Clonmacnoise formed the old city of St. Kieran, whose feast day is the 9th September. There are two Round Towers, O'Rourke's and M'Carthy's; a Holy Well, the Cairn of Three Crosses, Relich Calliagh, founded by Devorgilla, who bewitched Dermot of the Foreigners. Teampul-Kieran is a small cell. Teampul-Connor has an interesting tenth century doorway, and in Teampul-Fineen the chancel arch still remains, and the piscina can be traced. Teampul-Ree has two round-headed lights and a lancet window, twelfth century work. The Great Cross of the Scriptures is inscribed with Gaelic, "a prayer for Flan, son of Malseclyn," and "a prayer for Colman, who made this cross for St. Flan," referring to the ninth century monarch of Meath, and to Colman, Abbot, early in the tenth century, of Clonmacnoise. The cross is fifteen feet high, and its panels were sculptured with Scriptural scenes, interlined with Celtic tracery.
"In a quiet, watered land, a land of roses, Stands St. Kieran's city fair; And the warriors of Erin in their famous generations Slumber there.
"There, beneath the dewy hillside, sleep the noblest Of the Clan of Conn; Each below his stone with name in branching Ogham, And the sacred knot thereon."
For information as to Sport to be had in the Dublin District, see end of this volume, where particulars are given as to Golf, Fishing, Shooting, &c.
Limerick and District
Leaving Limerick Junction, between it and Limerick City, there are few places of interest. The country side is very rich, and is the centre of the Creamery Co-operative system. At Boher is Glenstal, the residence of Sir Charles Barrington. The demesne contains the Ilchester Oaks, with which the country people associate a romance. The story is told in detail in Lefanu's "Seventy Years of Irish Life." At Caghercullen, which is now part of Glenstal Demesne, early in the last century lived Squire O'Grady, an old grandee of Limerick; he was a fox-hunting widower, and his beautiful and only daughter was the cynosure of all eyes. When she came out at a Limerick hunt ball the little beauty captivated Lord Stourdale—eldest son to Lord Ilchester who was then with his regiment at Limerick. O'Grady's keen eye soon discerned that the young people were falling in love with each other. Proud of his family as the Irishman was, he feared his position was such that an English lord may not look on an alliance with favour. He wrote a friendly letter to Lord Ilchester—in order to prevent trouble—saying that, as an elder man, he perceived that his son was about getting into a scrape, and it would be well to have him brought home or sent on active service. Stourdale disappeared; and Lord Ilchester wrote thanking the squire, and notifying that an old military friend—a Colonel Prendergast—would call and thank him personally. The colonel came in good time, and partook of O'Grady's hospitality. As he was leaving, he mentioned to the squire that he thought his beautiful daughter was falling into bad health. O'Grady, with brusque confidence, said that she had been fooling about Stourdale, but would soon forget him. Lovers will rejoice at the sequel of the romance. Colonel Prendergast discovered himself as Lord Ilchester, and expressed his gratification at the possibility of having such a wife for his son. There was the usual happy marriage; and the present Earl of Ilchester and the present Earl of Lansdowne, can claim descent from Maureen O'Grady.
Limerick.—Like most of the Munster seaboard towns, it was built by the Danes; and it was the cock-pit of the fights between the Ostmen and the warlike clans who followed O'Brien's banner in the early centuries. It made history in Cromwell's days, and until recently the old house occupied by Ireton stood within its streets. Ireton sentenced many men of eminence to death during the short triumph of Cromwell. Among the most noble of the cavaliers who died at Limerick was Geoffrey Barron of Clonmel, a young Irish lawyer who acted as civil secretary to the Confederates. With exquisite cruelty he was sentenced to be executed upon the morning which had previously been fixed for his wedding. He asked, as a favour, that he should be permitted to wear his bridegroom attire on the scaffold, and Ireton granted the boon.
He made a brave show amid the crop-eared Roundheads.
"Taffeta as white as milk, Made all his suit. Threads of silver in the silk Trailed like moonlight through it. Silver cap and white feather, Stepping proud and high, In his shoon of white leather, Came Geoffrey Barron to die. Then the Roundhead general said, Fingering his sword— Art thou coming to be wed, Like a heathen lord?
"Go! thy pride thy scaffold is, Give her sigh for sigh. Breath for breath, and kiss for kiss, For Geoffrey Barron must die. But he laughed out as he ran Up the black steps; Never happier bridegroom man, With his wife's lips. If for mortal woman's sake, In silks should go I, I shall for heaven the same pains take, Now, Geoffrey Barron must die."
But the name of Limerick scintillates in those glowing chapters in its country's history, when it stoutly withstood the valour and prowess of the great soldier-king, William of Orange. Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, the beloved of damsels and dames, was the hero of this period. A handsome, large-limbed, brawny soldier, towering over the tallest of his dragoons, and true as the steel he wore, he was a fitting leader of a forlorn hope. Originally, one of the "Gentlemen of the Guard" under the Merrie Monarch, his defence of Limerick was a military achievement worthy of the ambition of any general; nor were his Williamite opponents slow to cordially appreciate his valour. But he was fated to die, "on a far, foreign field." The sieges of Limerick led up to its name of the City of the Broken Treaty. William of Nassau, having routed King James in August, 1690, invested the city with 35,000 men. Tyrconnel and Lauzun, Commander of the French allies, had cleared out, considering that the place could not be defended. Sarsfield, although not in command, with other kindred spirits, decided to defend the position. The heavy ordnance of the Williamites, while on the way to the scene of siege, was surprised at night at Ballyneety by Sarsfield and a hero called "Galloping O'Hogan," and the guns spiked and the ammunition mined and fired. Auxiliary artillery was, however, brought into camp, and the assault delivered. The guns breached the walls, the outworks were carried, but before the garrison could pour in, the townspeople—men and women—the latter, vieing in valour, flowed out and swept away all opposition. The siege was raised. But a year later, Ginckle again invested the place by land and sea. After three months' defence, Sarsfield agreed to capitulate, the chief conditions of the treaty being, that Catholics should be admitted to practice their religion without hindrance, and that the Jacobite garrison should march out with the honours of war. The latter condition was kept, but when Sarsfield and his regiments had gone beyond the seas, the former was shamefully violated. By the Thomond may be seen the Treaty Stone, on which the capitulation papers were signed, October 3rd, 1691. In the Cathedral place is the modern monument to Sarsfield. The castle, which was built by King John—now a store—is an excellent example of the military architecture introduced into Ireland by the Normans. The Shannon, the largest river in Ireland, flows through the city. Limerick lace is valued wherever people of taste are. The industry still thrives; but the former greatness of the glove manufacturers has departed. Bacon curing is the great industry of the city to-day, and the names of Denny, Matterson, and Shaw—the principal manufacturers—have become household words. The greatest factory in Limerick, however, is belonging to the famous Condensed Milk Company, organized through the enterprise of Sir Thomas Cleeve. The milk of some 15,000 cows contributes to the huge output of this great concern.
From Limerick tours may be made into North Kerry by rail, or by combined steamer and coach service along the Shannon lakes and shores. The amalgamation of the railway services in the south and west of Ireland has contributed greatly to the many facilities which, with an improved railway accommodation, now await the tourist.
Some seven miles from Limerick, and about the same distance from Killaloe, is the pretty little town of Castleconnell. The place was of yore a stronghold of the O'Brien's, and to-day the remains of the old castle from which the village takes the name still stand. During the Jacobite wars the place was of importance as one of the military keys to the Province of Connaught, and Sarsfield and Ginkel alternately garrisoned and fought for its possession. The village is situated delightfully beside "The lordly Shannon," and is famous as a resort for anglers. The scenery in the immediate vicinity is unsurpassed, and the Shannon here has been described as possessing "The majesty of the Amazon with the grandeur of the Rhine." Taking the well-appointed Shannon Hotel as our centre many most enjoyable excursions can be made to the beautiful places in the adjoining district. The hotel itself is only five minutes' walk from the far-famed Rapids of Doonass, and beside the celebrated Chalybeate Spa. Beneath a list of excursions is given of some of the pleasant driving and boating trips that may be made. It cannot pretend to be exhaustive, however, and is only offered as suggestive. Assume that the visitor has three days at his disposal—
First Day.—Start from Hotel, walk to Chalybeate Spa, World's End, Old Castle and Grounds (admission by pass), cross River at Ferry, walk to "Old Turrett," from which a grand view of the "Rapids" may be obtained—the Scenery at this particular point is unsurpassed—visit St. Synan's Well, return to Hotel, drive to "Clare Glens," see the Cascades—this is one of the most picturesque spots imaginable and well repays a visit.
Second Day.—DAY TRIP ON THE LORDLY SHANNON (LOUGH DERG).—Take train from Castleconnell Station at 10.40 a.m. for Killaloe where the Shannon Development Co.'s Steamer awaits the arrival of the Train to convey passengers for a Cruise on Lough Derg. Steamer returns to Killaloe about 5.30 p.m., the Train leaves Killaloe at 6.10 p.m. for Castleconnell, arriving at 6.41 p.m.; or take car from Hotel to meet the 8.15 a.m. Steamer at Killaloe for Portumna, return by down Steamer to Killaloe, thence by 6.10 p.m. Train for Castleconnell. This Cruise embraces the whole length of Lough Derg, and affords a grand combination of lake and mountain scenery.
Third Day.—A selection from the following may be made:—
(a) Drive to Limerick City. See its magnificent Churches, Treaty Stone, etc, etc.
(b) To Killaloe. St. Flannan's Cathedral, a very ancient edifice, Oratory with stone roof, Brian Boru's Fort, and Cragg Hill, from which a very pretty view of Lough Derg may be obtained.
(c) To Glenstal Castle and Grounds (admission by pass).
(d) To Keeper Hill. A splendid panoramic view of the surrounding country afforded from the summit of this Hill, including Lough Derg and "reaches" of the Shannon below Limerick.
(e) To Adare Manor (admission by pass).
(f) Or take Row Boat from Castleconnell to Killaloe via O'Brien's Bridge, or to Limerick via Plassy.
(g) Take train from Castleconnell Station at 10.40 a.m. for Nenagh, drive from Nenagh to Dromineer, take Steamer from Dromineer to Killaloe, thence rail or car to Castleconnell.
(h) Or take train from Castleconnell Station at 10.40 a.m. for Killaloe, take Steamer Killaloe to Dromineer, drive from Dromineer to Nenagh, thence rail to Castleconnell.
(i) Lower Shannon Steamer Trip to Kilrush (see special programme of Sailings).
Above a bend in the river at the Falls of Doonass the "Rapids" begin, and eddying and whirling through the rocks run for nearly half a mile along the surface of the river. It is to the angler, however, Castleconnell will prove most attractive. The season commences on the 1st February, and closes on the 31st October. Trout, pike, and perch fishing free; salmon and grilse fishing by arrangement. The fishing-rods manufactured at Castleconnell have won a world-wide reputation for Messrs. Enright and Sons, and Mr. Jack Enright has himself won the record as a long distance fly caster. A writer in The Fishing Gazette having dealt in an appreciative article with Castleconnell gives valuable information as to the names and situations of the more important pools on the river.
The fisheries in the Castleconnell district taken in rotation from below, are: the Prospect or Clareville Fishery, on the Limerick side of the river (this means that the fishery extends to midstream; adjoining it on the Clare side, and immediately opposite, is the Landscape Fishery. Both of these are well-known salmon and peel catches. A few of the best pools in Prospect are Pinnee, Salahoughe, Feemoor, and Commogue. On Landscape the best pools are Poulahoo, Pallaherro, and Filebegs).
Adjoining the Prospect Fishery, on the Limerick side of the river, is the New Garden Fishery, which contains the pools of Moreagh, Glassogue, Black Weir, and Sporting Eddy. Next to this, on the Limerick side, is the Hermitage Fishery, which contains some famous catches, such as Back of Leap, Fallahassa, Poolbeg, the Commodore, Bunnymoor, and Head of Moreagh. Still on the Limerick side, we next reach the Woodland's Fishery, a picturesque portion of the Shannon, and here are the pools of Panlaides, Drarhus, Thunnavullion, and Long Eddy. Next is reached the Castle Fishery, and the pools here are Balcraheen, Lackaleen, and the Lough, the last affording several courses of fly fishing. Still on the Limerick side the World's End Fishery adjoins the Castle Fishery, and the pools here are the Pantry, the Kitchen, and the Over the Weir.
Returning to the Clare side of the river the fishery next to Landscape is the famous Doonas, the lower part of which contains the pools of Poolcoom, the Stand, Black Weir, Faalgorribs, Franklin's Eddy, and the Old Door, while the upper part includes Lickenish, the Dancing Hole, Old Turf, Lurgah, Lacka, and Sallybush. Next on the Clare side we reach the Summer Hill Fishery, part of which is opposite the Woodland's Fishery and part opposite the Castle Fishery. The pools on Summer Hill are the Black Eddy, Clare side of Drarhus, Thunahancha, Figar, Clare side of Lackaleen, and Clare side of the Lough. After this the Erinagh Fishery is reached, and here the pools are Gorribs and side of the big Eddy.
In the spring salmon fishing is pursued principally with Devon minnows as lures, the "cullough" running a good second favourite. Phantom minnows and the very large spinning Shannon flies are also useful. A bit later on the prawn takes precedence, the bigger the prawn the better. As the season advances the lure, whatever it may be—fly, minnow, prawn, or what not—should decrease in size until October, when again they should assume larger proportions, but not so big as in the spring. Towards the latter end of March, and onwards for the rest of the season, artificial flies are are almost exclusively used. Truly wonderful specimens of the fly dresser's art are some of the Shannon patterns. Fancy a salmon fly dressed on an 8-o hook! Yet this is at times absolutely necessary to ensure success. The best patterns for various times of the year are—For February, March, and April, big Shannon Blue Fly, the Black Goldfinch, the Jock Scot, and the Yellow Lahobber; for May, June, and July, Purple Mixture, tinsel bodied Green Parrot, purple bodied Green Parrot, Silver and Blue Doctors, Purple Widgeon, Orange and Grouse, and Thunder and Lightning. Towards the end of the season here, as elsewhere, strange fancy patterns will frequently prove successful. The most suitable patterns of trout flies (the size of which depends entirely upon the height of the water) are—Orange and Grouse, Green Rail, Purple Rail, Black Rail, Orange Rail, March Brown, Hare's Ear, silver-tinselled body Black Rail, and Orange and Grouse with a sprig of Guinea Fowl or Green Parrot in wing.
The tackle for the coarse fish is of the ordinary character.
At the foot of Lough Derg stands Killaloe, an ideal resting place for an angler. The cathedral is of some interest, and in the vicinity the Protestant Bishop's palace stands. The bridge connecting the town with the village of Ballina has thirteen arches, and the huge weir helps as a breakwater. Shortly above the bridge of old time stood Kincora, the fortified palace of Brian Boru; its glory has departed, and all that remains is a mound, crowned with a grove of trees. Here Brian of the Tribes held his sway; and still the peasant in Munster, wishing to express his welcome, says in Gaelic—"Were mine the boire of the Dane or the wine of Kincora, it would be poured for you." Here it was that the Norse King, Magnus, wintered early in the twelfth century, and found a wife for his son, Sigurd, in the house of Brian. M'Laig, the bard of Brian Boru, after the death of his king in 1014, made a lamentation, which Mangan thus translated:—
"Oh! where Kincora is Brian the Great? And where is the beauty that once was thine? Oh! where are the princes and nobles that sate At the feast in thy halls, and drank the red wine? Where! oh, Kincora. They are gone, those heroes of royal birth, Who plundered no church and broke no trust, It is weary for me to be living on earth, When they, oh, Kincora, are below in the dust. Lo, of Kincora."
From Killaloe, northwards for twenty-five miles, Lough Derg at times expands in width over eight miles, where its distant shores form a sky line—hedged in with Tipperary and Clare Mountains. The lough loses none of its picturesque attractiveness to the sportsman, who is informed that the whole of the fishing is free.
From Limerick as centre, as we have said, tours may be made into North Kerry.
To the average tourist North Kerry is a terra incognita, and yet from the pleasant pasture lands around "Sweet Adare" in Limerick to where the distant mountain of Caherconree sees his regal head reflected in the sea—there lies a beautiful land. Beyond Patrickswell, on the Maigue, is the little village of Adare, once the camping ground and stronghold of "those very great scorners of death," the Desmond Geraldines. Still the ruins of Desmond Castle, and of three abbeys, tell the tale that here once, beside a citadel of strength, were places of religion and refuge. Now, in the depth of the retreat of sylvan splendour, the Earl of Dunraven has his noble mansion. At Adare, as well as at Ballingrane, six miles away, still are many evidences of the Palatine plantations, which were effected here in the eighteenth century. In 1709 a fleet was sent to Rotterdam by Queen Anne, and brought to England some 7,000 refugees from the German Palatinate. Of these, over 3,000 were settled in this part of the County Limerick. They were allowed eight acres of land for each man, woman, and child, at 5s. per acre; and the Government engaged to pay their rent for twenty years, and supplied every man with a musket to protect himself. Industrious and frugal, the exiles throve in the land of their adoption; many of them emigrated to America, and only a comparatively small number of families still remain. These, however, preserve, besides the names, many of the characteristics of their predecessors—as Dr. R. T. Mitchell, Inspector of Registration in Ireland, testifies in his survey of this very district:—"Differing originally in language, though even the oldest of the present generation know nothing of the German tongue spoken or written, as well as in race and religion, from the natives amongst whom they were planted, these Palatines still cling together like the members of a clan, and worship together. Most of them have a distinctly foreign type of features, and are strongly built, swarthy in complexion, dark haired, and brown eyed. The comfortable houses built in 1709 are in ruins now. The original square of Court Matrix in the ruined wall can be traced, and also, in the very centre of this square the foundations of the little Meeting House in which John Wesley occasionally preached to them in the interval, 1750-1765. Modern houses stand there now, but not closely grouped together. They are all comfortable in appearance, some thatched, some slated, some with one story, others with two; nearly all have a neat little flower garden in front, and very many have an orchard beside or immediately behind the house. There is all the appearance of thrift and industry among them." From Ballingrane, a branch line passing Askeaton, with its ruined Castle and Abbey ruins, to Foynes, a good harbour, from which passage can be made to Kilrush, and thence per rail to Kilkee. From the junction the main line runs by Rathkeale and Newcastle, where there is a ruined castle of the Knights Templars, and by Abbeyfeale and Kilmorna, where Mr. Pierce Mahony bred and kept his stud of famous Kerry cattle, to Listowel, an old market town which figured in the Desmond rebellion.
From Listowel the Lartigue railway, unique in the British Isles, runs to Ballybunion, a beautiful watering place, remarkable for its sea-caves and old castle. Ardfert is remarkable for its ruined Abbey and Cathedral, both dedicated to St. Brendon, the story of whose voyage to the New World was one of the subjects mentioned at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella by Columbus, when inducing them to assist him in his mission of discovery. Tralee is the largest town in the Kingdom of Kerry. It is one of the most thriving towns in the south of Ireland, and is situated in the vicinity of marine and mountain scenery. Those interested in the revival of industry in Ireland will do well to visit the Kerry Knitting Co.'s Factory, as well as the fine bacon-curing establishment of the Wholesale Co-operative Society which has been erected under the management of the well known Mr. Joseph Prosser. At Spa and Fenit there is good sea-bathing, and on the Dingle Promontory the ascent of Mount Brandon may be made. From Dingle excursions can easily be taken to Slea Head, by Ventry, and under the Eagles' Mountain, and within sight of the Blasket Islands. Smerwick has in its neighbourhood a coast line of mighty cliffs, the most remarkable of which is called the Three Sisters. Smerwick was the scene of the massacre of seven hundred Spaniards, who had surrendered in the sixteenth century to Lord Deputy Grey's forces. The bloody affair is the blackest stain in the careers of the gallant Raleigh and the gentle Spenser. Between Smerwick and Ballydavid Head the well preserved remains of the Oratory of Gallerius may be seen.
For information as to Sport to be had in the Limerick District, see end of this volume, where particulars are given as to Golf, Fishing, Shooting, Cycling, &c.
The Shannon Lakes.
DUKE OF YORK ROUTE.
The Shannon Development Company run during the season a service of steamers between Killaloe and Dromod (county Leitrim). The whole of the journey from Killaloe to Dromod—about one hundred miles—is interesting and full of variety, the shores and lakes of the lordly river presenting an ever-changing panorama of beautiful scenes. About Killaloe the views are very fine. The mountains of Clare and Tipperary shadow the town on either side, and away to the north for twenty-three miles stretches Lough Derg. Going up the lake, the first stopping place is at Scariff, which overlooks the beautiful Inniscattery or Holy Island. The reach from here to Portumna is crowded with islands, and on both shores are ruined castles and finely wooded demesnes. Dromineer, on the opposite bank, four and a quarter miles from Nenagh, is the next station. Nearly opposite Portumna, with its ruined and blackened castle, are the ruins of the monastery of Tirdaglass.
The ancient city of Portumna was once the chief pass and means of communication between Connaught and North Munster. Between Portumna, at the head of Lough Derg and Banagher, are the rich meadow lands of Galway, along which the river winds tranquilly, passing beautifully wooded islands; its banks green with rich, low-lying pastures. A few miles from Shannon Bridge is Clonmacnoise, over which hang many ancient memories of learning, of wars, and of worship. Near Athlone is a point in the river where the Counties of Westmeath, Roscommon, and King's County meet, and the waters of Lough Ree wash the shores of County Roscommon on the one side and of Westmeath and Longford on the other. Lough Ree is but little known to the tourist; and yet this lake, with its rocky shores full of indentations, and its shoals of sparkling islands, is one of the loveliest in Ireland. King John's Castle, on the Roscommon side of the lake, is a magnificent Norman ruin, and the town of Roscommon—which is not far from the brink of the lake—also contains the remains of a fine castle and of a Dominican Friary. The castle, which is flanked by four towers of massive masonry, was built in the thirteenth century by Sir Robert de Ufford, and afterwards suffered many changes of fortune; it is now the property of The O'Conor Don. The abbey is chiefly interesting as containing the sculptured tomb of Phelim Cathal O'Connor.
Circular tourist tickets for one day trips are issued by the Railway Company. Details will be seen on summer time tables.
Cork and District.
Enshrined in song and saga, set in the beautiful valley of a romantic river, Cork is one of the pleasantest places within the four shores of "the most distressful country." It is the capital of the rich Province of Munster, "the wheat of Ireland," says a Gaelic proverb, and while it preserves the characteristics of an old Irish town, here, too, the traveller, familiar with the quaint cities of the Continent, will meet with much that is suggestive of foreign scenes.
Cork sits snugly at the foot of, and leans her back up against, high hills that shelter her from the north, and the breeze that blows up from the sea is fresh and mildly bracing. From a height to the north overlooking the city a bird's-eye view can be had of the entire surroundings, and of what the poet Spenser called—
"The pleasant Lee, that like an island fayre Encloseth Cork in his divided flood."
Away to the west the eye can easily trace the river, winding with haste to the sea, through the barony of Muskerry, "the fair country," from its fountain home over the hills and far away.
More than halfway along the Mardyke Walk there is a sidepath leading down to a ferry across the Lee. Here a good view may be had of the river looking towards the city, with Sunday's Well, Blair's Castle, and Shandon standing high on the hill.
The history of the foundation of Cork City, and its progress through the centuries, is well authenticated. Towards the close of the sixth century, the place was founded by Lochan, son of Amirgin, the great smith to Tiernach M'Hugh, the proud chief of the O'Mahonys. Lochan has since come to be called St. Finbarr. His feast day is a retrenched holiday in the diocese of Cork, and his patron day is kept by the peasantry at the shrine of Gougane Barra, by the cradle of the river Lee. The Irish name, Cork, signifies that the locality was a marsh, and in the life of its founder it is described as a "land of many waters."
For less than three hundred years the little city throve, and then came the Sea Rovers, hungry for spoil. In 820 they burned down Cork, carrying away as pillage the silver coffin wherein St. Finbarr was buried. Shortly afterwards they returned, and seized on the marshes lying beneath Gill Abbey Rock, fortified them, and founded another little city—but their own. There they sang their "Mass of the Lances; it began at the rising of the sun," and, as the Four Masters assure us, "wheresoever they marched they were escorted by fire."
But in time the Rovers were absorbed, and race hatreds died out. They paid tribute to the MacCarthys, and were married and given in marriage to the Irish. Merovingian Kings came to buy and sell in Cork, and the Sagas of the North tell of many a hardy Norseman who fell captive to the maidens of Munster. To this day the Danish blood moulds the nature of many in Cork, and among the men especially the passionate affection for the sea is a characteristic. When the Normans invaded Ireland they found Cork a Danish fortress. They broke the power of the Danes in a sea fight, and won over the allegiance of MacCarthy, the old King of Cork, through the wiles of a woman. The strangers had not been long in the city when they, like the Danes before them, were absorbed, and became more Irish than the Irish themselves. As their island city grew in opulence, they began to assert an independence similar to the free cities of the Continent. A historical writer of repute points out that they were practically independent of external authority. Their edicts had nearly the force of laws. They levied taxes, and regulated commerce. They judged, pilloried, and hanged offenders. To suit themselves they modified the English laws of property. They set up a mint of their own, and their money had to be declared by the English Parliament to be "utterly damned."
Their audacity can be imagined from the part they played in Perkin Warbeck's rebellion of 1492. They decked him out "with some clothes of silk," and John Walters, the Mayor, insisting that the poor Fleming was son to the Duke of Clarence, demanded that the Lord Deputy should declare him King. Failing in this a number of Cork merchants sent him to France, where they duped the King, and induced the Duchess of Burgundy to give them armament and money. They then sailed for Kent, and having landed there, proclaimed their foundling "Richard the Fourth, King of England and Lord of Ireland." But the sequel of all this bravura behaviour was not so happy, as Warbeck and Walters lost their heads, and Cork lost its charter.
In 1847 the city suffered fearfully from the ravages of famine and famine fever. The failure of the potato crop drove the unfortunate, hunger-stricken peasantry into the city for sustenance; and it has been estimated that upwards of a million of people emigrated in these unhappy years through the port of Cork. During the Fenian movement, 1865-67, Cork was a hotbed of treason, and more prisoners were sentenced from there than from all the other parts of Ireland put together. Thus, in the nineteenth century, the name of "Rebel Cork," which was earned so far back as the time of Perkin Warbeck, was still deserved.
The manners of the people, gentle and simple, rich and poor, are perfect. There is, perhaps, too often a tendency to adopt your view of anything or everything with the most accommodating agreeableness. This is very pleasant, if not always sincere, but in this respect a thing never to be forgotten is that Cork is only a few miles from Blarney, and
"There is a stone there, whoever kisses, Oh! he never misses to grow eloquent. 'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber, Or become a Member of Parliament.
A clever spouter, he'll sure turn out, or An 'out-an'-outer' to be let alone; Don't hope to hinder him, or to bewilder him, Sure he's a pilgrim from the Blarney Stone."
Thackeray, like many another man before his time and since, has paid tribute to the loveliness of the girls of Cork. There is a graceful charm about them before which the most inveterate bachelor succumbs. The accents of the Siren singers were never so insinuating and caressing as the Munster brogue as it slips off the tongue of a gentlewoman. Blue eyes predominate, but are excelled in lustre by what Froude has been pleased to call "the cold grey eyes of the dark Celt of the south of Ireland." Edmund Spencer, when he was not busy "undertaking" Rapparees, or smoking Raleigh's fragrant weed—"than which there is no more fair herb under the broad canopy of heaven"—wooed and won and wedded a fair woman of Cork; not of the city, though, but of the county. She was a country lass, as he is at pains to point out to the Shandon belles who fain would vie with her:—
"Tell me, ye merchant daughters, did ye see So fayre a creature in your town before? Her goodlie eyes, like sapphyres shining bright; Her forehead, ivory white; Her lips like cherries charming men to byte."
There is nothing of peculiar interest about the streets of Cork but their number, their narrowness, and the irregularity of the houses. St. Patrick's-street, which is the principal thoroughfare, has many handsome shops, and winds its way in three curves through the city.
From the "Dyke," as it is locally known, through the "Band Field"—the baby park of Cork—we can cross to an entrance to the Queen's College on the Western-road. The College itself is a handsome building of white Cork limestone, in the later Tudor style, forming three sides of a quadrangle, and consisting of lecture-rooms, museum, examination hall, &c. It is built in the centre of well-laid pleasure grounds, which are open to the public, and which formerly were the site of St. Finbarr's old monastery. During the session proper, practically from November to June, visitors will not be admitted through the building without an official order, which may be had at the Registrar's office.
During the vacation the steward or assistant officials are in attendance to conduct visitors. The large palm-house is one of the most successful in Ireland, and the Crawford Observatory will repay a visit. The grounds were laid out under the personal supervision of the late president, Dr. W. K. Sullivan, a distinguished scientist. While at the south side of the city, St. Finbarr's Cathedral (Church of Ireland), eastward from the College, should be seen. It is a very dignified design of the French Early Pointed style. The nave, aisles, and transepts are grouped under three lofty towers with spires.
From the foot of the street a few minutes' walk will bring us under the old bi-coloured steeple, which contains the famous Shandon Bells. The church was built in 1772. The steeple is unique, inasmuch as the southern and western sides are of white limestone, and the northern and eastern red sandstone—
"Parti-coloured, like Cork people, Red and white, stands Shandon steeple."
But the "Bells" are the chief attraction, and the quaint inscriptions on them amuse the curious. In the stillness of a summer night their sweet chimes sound with peculiar cadence across the waters which encircle the old city of the Lee. The charter song of Cork is:—
THE BELLS OF SHANDON.
With deep affection and recollection I often think of the Shandon bells— Whose sounds so wild would, in days of childhood, Fling round my cradle their magic spells; On this I ponder, where'er I wander, And thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee; With thy bells of Shandon, That sound so grand on The pleasant waters of the river Lee.
I have heard bells chiming full many a clime in, Tolling sublime in cathedral shrine; While at a glib rate brass tongues would vibrate, But all their music spoke nought to thine; For memory dwelling on each proud swelling Of thy belfry knelling its bold notes free, Made the bells of Shandon Sound far more grand on The pleasant waters of the river Lee.
Francis Sylvester Mahony, author of this ballad, known in the world of literature as "Father Prout," was born in Cork in 1804. He was educated for the priesthood, but spent the best years of his life in London, as a magazine writer.
Further north than Shandon is St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, an ample piece of architecture, not particularly attractive. Coming down the hill towards the city on Pope's-quay, St. Mary's Dominican Church may be seen. It is a very beautiful church, of the composite style of architecture. The Grecian portico is remarkable for the gracefulness and justness of its proportions, and is very much admired. It is, perhaps, the most chaste building of its kind in the kingdom.
Besides the churches and public buildings already enumerated, the Courthouse and the Municipal Schools of Science and Art should be seen. The Courthouse is in Great George-street. In a recent fire there many valuable records were destroyed. Courthouses seem to be ill-fated in Cork. The old Courthouse fell during the trial for treason in the Penal days of the Catholic Bishop of Cork. The present Courthouse was burnt on Good Friday, 1891.
The punning, duel-fighting, hanging judge, Lord Norbury, of whom the country people still say, "He'd hang a man as soon as knock the head off a rush," often dispensed with an escort in the most exciting times, and rode here on circuit with a brace of pistols at his saddle-bow. But he was a man of uncommon determination. Once, when his acts were unusually unjudicial, he was reprimanded from Dublin Castle and threatened with compulsory retirement. He rode instanter to Dublin, and never stopped until he drew rein at the Castle gate. He demanded to see the Lord Lieutenant, but the then Viceroy, Lord Talbot, was in England. He was ushered into the presence of a courteous official, who was a little astonished to be authoritatively asked, "Who are you?" "I, sir," said the Under Secretary, whom he addressed, "am Mr. Gregory." "Then you be d——d, and don't Sir me," said his Lordship. "Fifty-two years ago I began life at the Irish Bar with fifty guineas and a case of pistols. Here it is! I have fought my way to preferment. Within a few months I expect a letter of an unpleasant character from the Castle. Tell the writer he may take his choice of these, and send me his second." History does not record whether "the letter of an unpleasant character" was ever written.
The Municipal Buildings of Science and Art in Emmet-place can bear comparison with those of any town of the same size in Great Britain or Ireland. The sculpture and picture galleries are open to visitors. The splendid collection of casts from the antiques in the Vatican Gallery were executed under the superintendence of Canova, and sent by Pope Pius VII. to George IV. The ship which carried them by long sea from Italy put into Cork, and was there detained for harbour dues. The King, instead of paying, transferred the Papal gift to the Cork Society of Arts.
A paltry exhibit of coins, antiquities, and fossils forms the Museum. Although Cork County has been one of the richest in Ireland in "finds" of gold and metal work of the ancient Irish, they are absolutely unrepresented.
The county of Cork is the largest shire in Ireland. The pleasure seeker, the artist, the antiquary, the sportsman, the invalid, will each find within its broad barriers much to meet his wants. Sir Walter Scott is credited with the statement that the history of this single county contains more romance than the history of the lowlands and highlands of his own dear land of the mountain and the flood.
The surface of the county Cork is as diversified as the people. In some places, such as Kilworth, Mushera, and Ballyhoura, the elevation is considerable, elsewhere it sinks to a low-lying plain, such as at Kilcrea, where the bog is that tradition says saw the last wolf in Ireland killed, and Imokilly, where the sea is yearly eating into the lowlands. The county is watered by no less than twenty rivers of importance.
Making the city the headquarters for a few days, there are many places of interest in the vicinity which may with ease be visited. The excellent tram system may be availed of by visitors to the sights in its immediate vicinity. A drive by Douglas and Vernamount can be recommended. Douglas was an old town, famous for its manufacture of sail cloth, and in recent years a village providence in the person of the late Mr. John Morrogh has resuscitated industry in the district by the establishment of a splendidly equipped tweed factory. With a fine day and a good "outside jaunting-car" to travel the five miles' drive to Blarney Castle will be found most enjoyable. The famous stone, which no one should miss kissing, is set in the parapet wall. The word "Blarney," meaning pleasant "deluderin' talk," is said to have originated at the Court of Queen Elizabeth. MacCarthy, the then chieftain over the clan of that name, resided at Blarney, and was repeatedly asked to come in from "off his keeping," as the phrase in the State Papers goes, to abjure the system of Tanistry by which the clan elected the chief, and take tenure of his lands direct from the Crown. He was always promising with fair words and soft speech to do what was desired, but never could be got to come to the sticking point. The Queen, it is told, when one of his speeches was brought to her, said, "This is all Blarney; what he says he never means."
By the Great Southern and Western Railway the castle can also be reached. By this route a good stretch of the Upper Lee is seen, with Carrigrohane Castle, which belonged to the M'Sweeneys, beetling high on a rock, and the line runs through the picturesque valley of the Sournagh, which may be likened to a Swiss ravine. All the remains of the former greatness of Blarney consists of the ruins of two mansions, one of the fifteenth century, and the other of the Elizabethan period. In its time the place was one of considerable strength, and was erected by Cormac MacCarthy Laider, or the Strong-handed chief of his name. Most of the outworks and defences are gone. The old square keep, ivy-crowned, rises from a huge limestone rock, around which the Coomaun or crooked river winds. The Castle is over 120 feet high; the great staircase at the right-hand side leads through the entire building, here and there small vaulted chambers being set in the massive walls, which are in places nine feet thick. The arched room, of which the projecting window with three lights overlooks the streamlet below, is known as the Earl's Chamber. The last fight in which Blarney Castle figured, was that in which the Confederates held out for King Charles in 1642. It fell before the superior ordnance of Cromwell's commander, Ireton. It was never afterwards used for a dwelling-house, being almost completely dismantled. From the summit of the Castle a good view of the surrounding country can be had. To the west lies Muskerry, with what Ruskin calls "the would-be hills" rising towards Mushera Mountain. To the north is St. Ann's Hydropathic Establishment, on a gentle slope, surrounded by well-wooded parks. In the village beneath is the well-known Blarney Tweed Factory of Messrs. Martin Mahony Brothers, through which visitors may be shown when convenient to the courteous proprietors. The "Rock Close," which is at the foot of the Castle at the southern side, is one beautiful jungle of foliage, in which myrtle, ivy, and arbutus intertwine with the rowan tree and the silver hazel.
If we have gone to Blarney on the "outside jaunting-car," the return journey may be made by Bawnafinny, Kerry Pike, and the Sournagh Valley, and Northern Lee road. Beneath Bawnafinny, "the pastures of beauty," we get a glimpse of Blarney Lake, a broad sheet of water bordered with tall trees, above which the old Castle raises its head. It would gladden the heart of Izaak Walton, as it is full of fish, among which is the famous gillaroo trout, which will not rise to the tantalising fly. The peasantry have a legend, that within the lake lies hidden the treasure and plate of the last of the MacCarthys, who hid them there sooner than allow his conquerors to gain possession of it. The secret is said to be known to three of the old family, and before one dies he tells it to the other, so that it may be recovered when the MacCarthy "comes to his own again." The milk girls also on May mornings are said to have frequently seen fairy cows along the banks of the lake, which vanish into thin mists when approached by human footsteps!
Ballincollig is a place of some interest. The powder mill is a long-established factory, and gives considerable employment in the neighbourhood. The large cavalry barracks is amongst the finest in the south of Ireland.
Blackrock is little better than a fishing village; but the suburbs between it and Cork are filled with villa residences, pleasure grounds, and market gardens. Beside the road, between the city and the village, are situated the well-known nursery gardens belong to Hartland. The daffodil farm, when the flowers are full, is a sight very difficult to surpass in the three Kingdoms. Maxwellstown House, on the slope of a southern hill, was the scene of a tragedy, not yet forgotten in Cork. After a marriage dejeuner, the bride retired to her dressing-room to don her going-away dress, but the bridegroom waited in vain for her return. She had died suddenly in the arms of those who attended her; and the story goes that the disconsolate lover dismissed the servants, shut up the house with everything just as it was, and went on his way out into the wide world alone. Long years afterwards, when news of his death came from a far-off land, his next-of-kin had the house re-opened, and found everything just as it had been left half a century before, after the wedding breakfast. The dust and cobwebs were cleared away, and all went to the hammer.
Eastward, towards the harbour's mouth, there is much to be enjoyed. Excursionists may take the train direct from the Great Southern and Western Railway terminus, or by Passage from the Albert Station, and then by steamer to Queenstown. Taking the direct line the train runs almost parallel with the promenade called the Marina, which separates from the river side the broad pasture known as Cork Park, which is the local race course. A race meeting at Cork is well worth witnessing. The gay young bucks, described long ago by Arthur Young, still are with us, and they and their lady friends make a fine flutter during race week.
Passage (West) was once the busy site of ship-building and dock-yards, but the industry is no longer of anything like its original proportions. The town is an old-fashioned place, and has not escaped the pen of Father Prout, who, in what he calls "manifestly an imitation of that unrivalled dithyramb," The Groves of Blarney—with little of its humours and all its absurdity—signs the attractions of what he styles a fashionable Irish watering-place:—
"The town of Passage Is both large and spacious, And situate Upon the say; 'Tis nate and dacent, And quite adjacent To come from Cork On a summer's day."
Steamers ply between the railway station at Passage and the many little towns around the port. Glenbrook and Monkstown are particularly picturesque. Above the latter, nestling in the trees, may be seen Monkstown Castle, the legend attached to which says it was built for one groat. The owner of the site, one of the Archdeckens, an Anglo-Irish family, having gone away to the wars in the Lowlands, his better-half promised him a pleasant surprise on his return. She employed a number of workmen to build the castle, a condition of the contract being that they should buy their food from her while so engaged. Truly, she was a shrewd woman. Her profits were such, that she had enough to pay the entire cost of the work, less one solitary groat.
Spike Island is mentioned in Church History as a present given by a Munster King to St. Cartach, of Lismore. In modern times it was used as a convict prison, the convicts' labour being employed in the construction of the fortifications around the harbour.
Queenstown, or, to give it its old Irish name, Cove, is built upon an island. It is the paradise of naval pensioners, and the home of all nationalities, yet Irish is still a spoken tongue not a mile away, behind "Spy Hill." The magnificent Cathedral to St. Colman, the patron Saint of Cloyne, occupies a commanding position over the harbour. It is in the later florid Gothic architecture, and within one of its transepts is buried the celebrated Dr. Coppinger, a learned writer and member of the most famous and enduring of the Danish families to whom Ireland became a native land. In an old graveyard on the island, Charles Wolfe, the writer of the elegy on Sir John Moore, and Tobin, the dramatist, are buried. The panorama from Spy Hill embraces the enchanting river and the wide harbour, which is capable of holding all the ships in the British Navy within the line drawn from the two forts, Camden and Carlisle, which guard the entrance. Of Queenstown, the Dublin Health Record says:—"The climate is remarkably mild and equable, and, at the same time, fairly dry and tonic, and is especially suitable as a winter and spring residence for persons with delicate chests, to sufferers from chronic catarrhal throat affections, and to convalescents from acute diseases. It is particularly appropriate as a seaside resort to persons requiring a soothing and sedative atmosphere. From the position of Queenstown, winds from the colder points are very little felt, and it is completely protected from the north, north-east, and north-west winds. The mean temperatures of the seasons are exactly similar to those at Torquay, the noted winter health resort in the south of England, and higher than those of Bournemouth, Hastings, and Ventnor. As a winter health resort, Queenstown possesses all the best natural and climatic advantages."
The beach presents the most varied and motley sights to be seen anywhere in northern Europe. Merchant seamen from every port of the world congregate here; military and man-of-war sailors are ever present, pleasure-seeking yachtsmen, pilots and fishers mix with the melancholy groups of emigrants, or the irrepressible vendors of impossible wares. Beyond in the blue waters, His Majesty's flagship rides at anchor, one or more of the "ocean greyhounds," with dead slow engines, are steaming out between the forts; tenders, whale-boats, small steamers, tugs, and every craft that sails the sea, down to the familiar Munster "hooker," are hurrying to ports far and near, or lying "idle as painted ships upon a painted ocean." Most of the Atlantic liners have offices here. Tenders convey the mails from the deep-water quays at the Great Southern and Western terminus out to the steamers, which usually ride in the fair way by the harbour's mouth. Queenstown is the principal port through which the emigrants leave Ireland. Young and old, when the "emigration fever" is rife, the tides of people may be seen flowing oceanwards. Sometimes they have a little money, and are going to better themselves; but most usually they are going out penniless to relatives abroad, or "just trusting in God." Not an unfrequent sight is to see bare-footed peasant children waiting for their turn to cross the gangway which leads to the New World. Perhaps they have nothing with them but "a pot of shamrock," or a little mountain thrush or orange-billed blackbird, in a wicker cage, to make friends with "beyant the herring-pond." It is very curious, but very Irish, that they do not at all seem to want the sympathy that is lavished upon them by the onlookers. When they are leaving their native place, the "neighbours" hold an "American wake," and in the morning, with heartrending embraces and wild caioning, give them the last "Bannact Dea Leat"—"God's blessing be on your way"; but when they come to Cove, the sorrow is smothered; they are buoyed up by that trusting faith in the future which is the first fibre in the Irish nature. They may look melancholy to us, but they themselves make merry, and before the "big ship" is but on the "Old Sea," as the Atlantic is called, the girls and young men are slipping through rollicking reels to improvised music "to show their heart's deep sorrow they are scorning." Perhaps, as the Gaelic proverb expresses it, "'Tis the heavy heart that has the lightest foot." But a truce to trouble. They tell a story of an emigrant and a grand trunk merchant at Queenstown which shows alike the hapless condition and happy-go-lucky heart of the Irishman. "Pat," said the merchant, "you're going to travel; will you buy a trunk?" "A trunk," answered Pat, "an' for what, yerra?" "To put your clothes in, of course." "And meself go naked, is it? Och! lave off your gladiatoring; sure it's took up I'd be if I did that!"
Crosshaven and Aghada, two watering places inside the harbour, are within easy reach of Cove by steamer, which calls at Currabinny Pier. The Owenabwee river runs between Currabinny and Crosshaven; it is a beautiful, well-wooded stream which has been celebrated in a plaintive-aired Jacobite ballad, the "Lament of the Irish Maiden."
"On Carrigdhoun the heath is brown, The clouds are dark on Ardnalee, And many a stream comes rushing down To swell the angry Owenabwee. The moaning blast is whistling fast Through many a leafless tree, But I'm alone, for he is gone, My hawk is flown, ochone machree."
A few hundred yards from Crosshaven river there is a fiord of the Owenabwee, known as Drake's Pool. Here the great soldier-sailor, Sir Francis Drake, with his five little sloops, hid in 1587 from a formidable Spanish fleet. The Spaniards entered the harbour, but failing to find their quarry, put to sea again in high dudgeon.
Near Aghada, at the other side of the harbour, is Rostellan Castle, formerly the residence of the Lords of Thomond. Cloyne is only four miles' drive "on the long car" through a rich countryside, and on the way may be seen a Druidical cromlech, at Castlemartyr, in a very fair state of preservation. Cloyne Round Tower "points its long fingers to the sky" above the ancient church wherein there is a fine alabaster statue of the metaphysician, Dr. Berkeley, who was Bishop of Cloyne. Ballycotton is seven miles from Cloyne. The cliffs here are high and wild, and Youghal, shining white in the sun in summer weather, can be easily seen at the mouth of the far-famed Blackwater. There are modern hotels and moderate lodgings at Ballycotton. In the season splendid deep-sea fishing can be had in the vicinity, and the opportunities of sea-bathing are enticing.
For information as to Sport to be had in the Cork District, see end of this volume, where particulars are given as to Golf, Fishing, Shooting, Cycling, &c.
The River Blackwater, Youghal, Etc.
Edmund Spenser spent most of his time in Cork County, at Kilcoleman Castle in the vicinity of Buttevant. The place was well chosen as the house of a poet. The surrounding country is very beautiful, and every mountain and glen has its story.
The town of Buttevant took its name from the battle-cry of the Barrymores—"Boutez-en-avant," "push forward." The ruins of the beautiful Abbey remain. At the time of the supervision of monasteries it was described as "a nest of abbots." Buttevant is the railway station for Doneraile, and hard by is Cahirmee, where the greatest horse fair in the British Isles is annually held. The fair lasts for two days. It is held about midsummer, and attracts buyers not only from all parts of these countries, but from as far away as Vienna and Stockholm. Spenser pays tribute to the beautiful Blackwater which flows through Mallow to Youghal—
"Swift Annsduff, which of the English is called Blackwater."
Far away in the highland country between Cork and Kerry the stream rises, and comes floating and pushing down from the haunt of the fairies and the outlaw, through the wild country of Meelin. Here is a remarkable cave, the hiding place of Donald O'Keeffe, last of the old chiefs of the land of Duhallow, who was outlawed after the fall of the Jacobites.