Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Charm of Ireland
Author: Stevenson, Burton Egbert, 1872-1962
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Charm of Ireland" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



available by Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries
(http://www.archive.org/details/toronto)



      file which includes the numerous original illustrations.
      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries. See
      http://www.archive.org/details/charmofireland00stevuoft


Transcriber's note:

      An o with a macron is represented in the text by [=o].



THE CHARM OF IRELAND


[Illustration: TWO TINY CONNAUGHT TOILERS

_See page 356_]


THE CHARM OF IRELAND

by

BURTON E. STEVENSON

Author of "The Spell of Holland," "The Mystery of the Boule
Cabinet," etc.

With Many Illustrations from Photographs by the Author



New York
Dodd, Mead and Company
1914

Copyright, 1914
By Dodd, Mead & Company



             _TO_

           J. I. B.

          _THIS BOOK_



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                         PAGE
       I DUBLIN'S SATURDAY NIGHT                     1
      II LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF AN ANCIENT CAPITAL    9
     III THE ART OF ANCIENT ERIN                    26
      IV ON THE TRAIL OF THE SHAMROCK               42
       V THE COUNTRY OF ST. KEVIN                   59
      VI DROGHEDA THE DREARY                        85
     VII HOLY CROSS AND CASHEL OF THE KINGS         97
    VIII ADVENTURES AT BLARNEY                     113
      IX CUSHLA MA CHREE                           128
       X THE SHRINE OF ST. FIN BARRE               139
      XI A TRIP THROUGH WONDERLAND                 153
     XII THE "GRAND TOUR"                          177
    XIII ROUND ABOUT KILLARNEY                     192
     XIV O'CONNELL, JOURNEYMAN TAILOR              203
      XV THE RUINS AT ADARE                        224
     XVI "WHERE THE RIVER SHANNON FLOWS"           242
    XVII LISSOY AND CLONMACNOISE                   265
   XVIII GALWAY OF THE TRIBES                      292
     XIX IAR CONNAUGHT                             314
      XX JOYCE'S COUNTRY                           339
     XXI THE REAL IRISH PROBLEM                    358
    XXII THE TRIALS OF A CONDUCTOR                 375
   XXIII THE LEACHT-CON-MIC-RUIS                   398
    XXIV THE WINDING BANKS OF ERNE                 415
     XXV THE MAIDEN CITY                           438
    XXVI THE GRAINAN OF AILEACH                    458
   XXVII THE BRIDGE OF THE GIANTS                  472
  XXVIII THE GLENS OF ANTRIM                       485
    XXIX BELFAST                                   503
     XXX THE GRAVE OF ST. PATRICK                  519
    XXXI THE VALLEY OF THE BOYNE                   534
   XXXII THE END OF THE PILGRIMAGE                 559
         INDEX                                     567



ILLUSTRATIONS


  Two Tiny Connaught Toilers                  _Frontispiece_
                                                    FACING
                                                     PAGE
  Dublin Castle                                       10
  O'Connell, alias Sackville, Street, Dublin          10
  Ruins of St. Mary's Abbey Howth                     22
  The Evolution of the Jaunting Car                   28
  The Cross of Cong                                   40
  The Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell                    40
  Glendalough and the Ruins of St. Kevin's Churches   66
  The Road to St. Kevin's Seat                        74
  The First of St. Kevin's Churches                   74
  The Round Tower, Clondalkin                         88
  St. Lawrence's Gate, Drogheda                       88
  Holy Cross Abbey, from the Cloisters               100
  The Mighty Ruins on the Rock of Cashel             100
  Cashel of the Kings                                104
  Blarney Castle                                     116
  A Cottage at Inchigeelagh                          144
  The Shrine of St. Fin Barre                        144
  The Bay of Glengarriff                             164
  The Upper Lake, Killarney, from the Kenmare Road   164
  Old Weir Bridge, Killarney                         188
  The Meeting of the Waters                          188
  Ross Castle, Killarney                             188
  Muckross Abbey, Killarney                          194
  The Cloister at Muckross Abbey                     194
  The Choir of the Abbey at Adare                    232
  The Castle of the Geraldines, Adare                232
  The Shannon, near World's End                      248
  St. Senan's Well                                   248
  The Bridge at Killaloe                             258
  The Oratory at Killaloe                            258
  Entrance to St. Molua's Oratory                    262
  A Fisherman's Home                                 262
  The Choir of the Abbey at Athenry                  270
  A Cottage at Athenry                               270
  The Goldsmith Rectory at Lissoy                    276
  The "Three Jolly Pigeons"                          276
  On the Road to Clonmacnoise                        288
  St. Kieran's Cathair, Clonmacnoise                 288
  The Market at Galway                               296
  "Ould Saftie"                                      296
  The Claddagh, Galway                               300
  A Claddagh Home                                    300
  A Galway Vista                                     302
  The Memorial of a Spartan Father                   302
  The Connemara Marble Quarry                        322
  A Connemara Home                                   322
  In "Joyce's Country"                               344
  On the Shore of Lough Mask                         344
  The Cloister at Cong Abbey                         348
  The Monks' Fishing-house, Cong Abbey               348
  The Turf-Cutters                                   356
  A Girl of "Joyce's Country"                        356
  Cromlechs at Carrowmore                            392
  Sligo Abbey from the Cloister                      400
  The Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis                            400
  A Ruin on the Shore of Lough Gill                  402
  The Last Fragment of an Ancient Stronghold         402
  A Cashel near Dromahair                            408
  St. Patrick's Holy Well                            408
  The Coast at Bundoran                              416
  The Home of "Colleen Bawn"                         416
  Birthplace of William Allingham                    430
  Castle Donegal                                     430
  The Walls of Derry                                 466
  The Grainan of Aileach                             466
  The "Giant's Head," near Portrush                  480
  The Ruins of Dunluce Castle                        480
  The Giant's Causeway                               482
  The Cliffs beyond the Causeway                     482
  The Grave of Ossian                                496
  An Antrim Landscape                                496
  A Humble Home in Antrim                            498
  The Old Jail at Cushendall                         498
  The City Hall, Belfast                             516
  High Street, Belfast                               516
  The Grave of Patrick, Brigid and Columba           522
  The Old Cross at Downpatrick                       522
  The Great Rath at Downpatrick                      526
  The Inner and Outer Circles                        526
  The Central Mound                                  526
  The Eye Well at Struell                            528
  The Well of Sins at Struell                        528
  The Birthplace of John Boyle O'Reilly              540
  Entrance to Dowth Tumulus                          540
  Entrance to Newgrange                              546
  The Ruins of Mellifont                             546
  The Round Tower, Monasterboice                     554
  The High Cross, Monasterboice                      554
  Muiredach's Cross, Monasterboice                   556



THE CHARM OF IRELAND



CHAPTER I

DUBLIN'S SATURDAY NIGHT


TWILIGHT was at hand when the little steamer, slender as a greyhound,
cast loose from the pier at Holyhead, made its way cautiously out past
the breakwater, and then, gathering speed, headed away across the Irish
Sea, straight toward the setting sun.

The boat showed many evidences that the Irish Sea can be savage when it
chooses. Everything movable about the decks was carefully lashed down;
there were railings and knotted ropes everywhere to cling to; and in the
saloon the table-racks were set ready at hand, as though they had just
been used, and might be needed again at any moment. But, on this
Saturday evening in late May, the sea was in a pleasant, even a jovial,
mood, with just enough swell to send a thin shower of spray across the
deck from time to time, and lend exhilaration to the rush of the fleet
little turbine.

There were many boats in sight--small ones, for the most part, rolling
and pitching apparently much worse than we; and then the gathering
darkness obscured them one by one, and presently all that was left of
them were the bobbing white lights at their mastheads. A biting chill
crept into the air, and Betty finally sought refuge from it in the
saloon, while I made my way back to the smoking-room, hoping for a
friendly pipe with some one.

I was attracted at once by a rosy-faced old priest, sitting at one of
the corner tables. He was smoking a black, well-seasoned briar, and he
bade me a cheery good-evening as I dropped into the seat beside him.

"You would be from America," he said, watching me as I filled up.

"Yes," I answered. "From Ohio."

"Ah, I know Ohio well," and he looked at me with new interest, "though
for many years I have been in Illinois."

"But you were born in Ireland?"

"I was so; near Tuam. I am going back now for a visit."

"Have you been away long?"

"More than thirty years," he said, and took a few reflective puffs.

"No doubt you will find many changes," I ventured.

But he shook his head. "I am thinking I shall find Tuam much as I left
it," he said. "There are not many changes in Ireland, even in thirty
years. 'Tis not like America. I am afraid I shall have to give up
smoking while I am there," he added, with a little sigh.

"Give up smoking?" I echoed. "But why?"

"They do not like their priests to smoke in Ireland."

I was astonished. I had no suspicion that Irish priests were criticised
for little things like that. In fact, I had somewhere received the
impression that they were above criticism of every kind--dictators, in
short, no act of whose was questioned. My companion laughed when I told
him this.

"That is not so at all," he said. "Every priest, of course, has
authority in spiritual matters; but if he has any authority outside of
that, it is because his people trust him. And before they'll trust him,
he must deserve it. There is no people in the world so critical, so
suspicious, or so sharp-sighted as the Irish. Take this matter of
smoking, now. All Irishmen smoke, and yet there is a feeling that it is
not the right thing for a priest. For myself, I see no harm in it. My
pipe is a fine companion in the long evenings, when I am often lonely.
But of course I can't do anything that would be making the people think
less of me," and he knocked his pipe out tenderly and put it sadly in
his pocket, refusing my proffered pouch.

"You will have to take a few whiffs up the chimney occasionally," I
suggested.

His faded blue eyes lit up with laughter.

"Ah, I have done that same before this," he said, with a little chuckle.
"That would be while I was a student at Maynooth, and a wild lot we
were. There was a hole high up in the wall where the stove-pipe used to
go, and we boys would draw a table under it, and stand on the table, and
smoke up the chimney, turn and turn about," and he went on to tell me of
those far-off days at Maynooth, which is the great Catholic college of
Ireland, and of his first visit to America, and his first sight of
Niagara Falls, and of how he had finally decided to enter the priesthood
after long uncertainty; and then presently some one came to the door and
said the lights of the Irish coast could be seen ahead, and we went out
to look at them.

Far away, a little to the right, a strong level shaft of light told of a
lighthouse. It was the famous Bailey light, at the foot of the Hill of
Howth, so one of the deckhands said; and then, still farther off,
another light began to wink and wink, and then a third that swept its
level beam across the sea, stared one full in the eye for an instant,
and then swept on; and then more lights and more--the green and red ones
marking the entrance to the harbour; and finally the lights of Kingstown
itself stretched away to the left like a string of golden beads. And
then we were in the harbour; and then we were beside the pier; and then
Betty and I and the "chocolate-drop"--as we had named the brown English
wrap-up which had done such yeoman service in Holland that we had vowed
never to travel without it,--went down the gang-plank, and were in
Ireland!

There is always a certain excitement, a certain exhilaration, in setting
foot for the first time in any country; but when that country is
Ireland, the Island of the Saints, the home of heroic legend and history
more heroic still, the land with a frenzy for freedom yet never
free--well, it was with a mist of happiness before our eyes that we
crossed the pier and sought seats in the boat-train.

It is only five or six miles from Kingstown to Dublin, so that at the
end of a very few minutes our train stopped in the Westland Row station,
where a fevered mob of porters and hotel runners was in waiting; and
then, after most of the passengers and luggage had been disgorged, and a
guard had come around and collected twopence from me for some obscure
reason I did not attempt to fathom, went on again, along a viaduct above
gleaming streets murmurous with people, and across the shining Liffey,
to the station at Amiens Street, which was our destination.

Our hotel, I knew, was only two or three blocks away, and the prospect
of traversing on foot the crowded streets which we had glimpsed from the
train was not to be resisted; so I told the guard we wanted a man to
carry our bags, and he promptly yelled at a ragamuffin, who was drifting
past along the platform.

"Here!" he called. "Take the bags for the gintleman. Look sharrup, now!"

But there was no need to tell him to look sharp, for he sprang toward me
eagerly, his face alight with joy at the prospect of earning a few
pennies--maybe sixpence--perhaps even a shilling!

"Where is it you'd be wantin' to go, sir?" he asked, and touched his
cap.

I named the hotel.

"It's in Sackville Street," I added. "That's not far, is it?"

"'Tis just a step, sir," he protested, and picked up the bags and was
off, we after him.

It was long past eleven o'clock, but when we got down to the street, we
found it thronged with a crowd for which the sidewalks were much too
narrow, and which eddied back and forth and in and out of the shops like
waves of the sea. We looked into their faces as we went along, and saw
that they were good-humoured faces, unmistakably Irish; their voices
were soft and the rise and fall of the talk was very sweet and gentle;
but most of them were very shabby, and many of them undeniably dirty,
and some had celebrated Saturday evening by taking a glass too much.
They were not drunk--and I may as well say here that I did not see what
I would call a drunken man all the time I was in Ireland--but they were
happy and uplifted, and required rather more room to walk than they
would need on Monday morning.

Our porter, meanwhile, was ploughing through the crowd ahead of us like
a ship through the sea, swinging a bag in either hand, quite regardless
of the shins of the passers-by, and we were hard put to it to keep him
in sight. It was farther than I had thought, but presently I saw a tall
column looming ahead which I recognised as the Nelson Pillar, and I
assured Betty that we were nearly there, for I knew that our hotel was
almost opposite the Pillar. Our porter, however, crossed a broad street,
which I was sure must be Sackville Street, without pausing, and
continued at top speed straight ahead. We followed him for some moments;
but the street grew steadily darker and more deserted, and finally I
sprinted ahead and stopped him.

"Look here," I said. "We don't want to keep on walking all night. How
much farther is the hotel?"

He set down the bags and mopped his dripping face with his sleeve.

"I'm not quite sure, sir," he said, looking about him.

"I don't believe it is up this way at all," I protested. "It's back
there on Sackville Street."

"It is, sir," he agreed cheerfully, and picked up the bags again and
started back.

"That _is_ Sackville Street, isn't it?" I asked.

"Sure, I don't know, sir."

"Don't know?" I echoed, and stared at him. "Don't you know where the
hotel is?"

"You see, sir, I'm a stranger in Dublin, like yourself," he explained.

"Well, why on earth didn't you say so?" I demanded.

He didn't answer; but of course I realised instantly why he hadn't said
so. If he had, he wouldn't have got the job. That was what he was afraid
of. In fact, he was afraid, even yet, that I would take the bags away
from him and get some one else to carry them. I didn't do that, but I
took command of the expedition.

"Come along," I said. "You follow me."

"Thank you, sir," he said, his face lighting up again, and fell in
behind us.

As we retraced our steps, I tried to figure out how he had expected to
find the hotel by plunging straight ahead without asking the way of any
one, and for how long, if I had not stopped him, he would have kept on
walking. Perhaps he had expected to keep going round and round until
some good fairy led him to our destination.

At the corner of Sackville Street, I saw a policeman's helmet looming
high above the crowd, and I went to him and asked the way, while our
porter waited in the background. Perhaps he was afraid of policemen, or
perhaps it was just the instinctive Irish dislike of them. This
particular one bent a benignant face down upon us from his altitude of
something over six feet, and in a moment set us right. The hotel was
only a few steps away. The door was locked, and I had to ring, and while
we were waiting, our porter looked about him with a bewildered face.

"What name was it you gave this street, sir?" he asked, at last.

"Sackville Street," I answered, and pointed for confirmation to the sign
at the corner, very plain under the electric light.

From the vacant look he gave it I knew he couldn't read; but he
scratched his head perplexedly.

"A friend of mine told me 'twas O'Connell Street," he said finally, and
I paid him and dismissed him without realising that I had been brought
face to face with the age-long conflict between English officialism and
Irish patriotism.

Ten minutes later, I opened the window of our room and found myself
looking out at Lord Nelson, leaning sentimentally on his sword on top of
his pillar--posing as he so often did when he found himself in the
limelight. Far below, the street still hummed with life, although it was
near midnight. The pavements were crowded, side-cars whirled hither and
thither, some of the shops had not yet closed. Dublin certainly seemed a
gay town.



CHAPTER II

LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF AN ANCIENT CAPITAL


I KNOW Dublin somewhat better now, and I no longer think of it as a gay
town--rather as a supremely tragic one. Turn the corner from any of the
main thoroughfares, and you will soon find yourself in a foul alley of
crowded tenements, in the midst of a misery and squalor that wring the
heart. You will wonder to see women laughing together and children
playing on the damp pavements. It is thin laughter and half-hearted
play; and yet, even here, there is a certain air of carelessness and
good-humour. It may be that these miserable people do not realise their
misery. Cleanliness is perhaps as painful to a person reared in dirt as
dirt is to a person reared in cleanliness; slum dwellers, I suppose, do
not notice the slum odour; a few decades of slum life must inevitably
destroy or, at least, deaden those niceties of smell and taste and
feeling which play so large a part in the lives of the well-to-do. And
it is fortunate that this is so. But one threads one's way along these
squalid streets, shuddering at thought of the vice and disease that must
be bred there, and mourning, not so much for their unfortunate
inhabitants, as for the blindness and inefficiency of the social order
which permits them to exist.

[Illustration: DUBLIN CASTLE

© Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.]

[Illustration: O'CONNELL, ALIAS SACKVILLE STREET, DUBLIN]

These appalling alleys are always in the background of my thoughts of
Dublin; and yet it is not them I see when I close my eyes and evoke my
memory of that ancient town. The picture which comes before me then is
of the wide O'Connell Bridge, with the great monument of the Liberator
guarding one end of it, and the curving street beyond, sweeping past the
tall portico of the old Parliament House, past the time-stained
buildings of Trinity College, and so on along busy Grafton Street to St.
Stephen's Green. This is the most beautiful and characteristic of
Dublin's vistas; and one visualises it instinctively when one thinks of
Dublin, just as one visualises the boulevards and the Avenue de l'Opera
when one thinks of Paris, or the Dam and the Kalverstraat when one
thinks of Amsterdam, or the Strand and Piccadilly when one thinks of
London.

It was in this direction that our feet turned, that bright Sunday
morning, when we sallied forth for the first time to see the town, and
we were impressed almost at once by two things: the unusual height of
Dublin policemen and the eccentric attitudes of Dublin statues. There
are few finer bodies of men in the world than the Royal Irish
Constabulary. They are as spruce and erect as grenadiers; throughout the
length and breadth of Ireland, I never saw a fat one. They are recruited
all over the island, and the tallest ones must be selected for the
Dublin service. At any rate, they tower a full head above the average
citizen of that town, and, in consequence, there is always one or more
of them in sight.

As for the statues, they sadly lack repose. The O'Connell Monument is a
riot of action, though the Liberator himself is comparatively cool and
self-possessed. Just beyond the bridge, Smith O'Brien poses with leg
advanced and head flung back and arms proudly folded in the traditional
attitude of haughty defiance; opposite him, Henry Grattan stands with
hand outstretched midway of an eloquent period; and, as you explore the
streets, you will see other patriots in bronze or marble doing
everything but what they should be doing: standing quietly and making
the best of a bad job. For to stand atop a shaft of stone and endure the
public gaze eternally _is_ a bad job, even for a statue. But a good
statue conceals its feeling of absurdity and ennui under a dignified
exterior. Most Dublin ones do not. They are visibly irked and impatient.

I mentioned this interesting fact, one evening, to a Dublin woman of my
acquaintance, and she laughed.

"'Tis true they are impatient," she agreed. "But perhaps they will quiet
down once the government stops calling O'Connell Street by a wrong
name."

"Where _is_ O'Connell Street?" I asked, for I had failed to notice it.

"Your hotel faces it; but the government names it after a viceroy whom
nobody has thought of for a hundred years."

It was then I understood the confusion of the man who had carried our
bags up from the station; for to every good Irishman Sackville Street is
always O'Connell Street, in honour of the patriot whose monument adorns
it. That it is still known officially as Sackville Street is probably
due to the inertia of a government always suspicious of change, rather
than to any desire to honour a forgotten viceroy, or hesitation to add
another leaf to O'Connell's crown of laurel. O'Connell himself, in some
critical quarters, is not quite the idol he once was; but Irishmen agree
that the wide and beautiful street which is the centre of Dublin should
be named after him, and his monument, at one end of it, is still the
natural rallying-place for the populace, whose orators love to
illustrate their periods by pointing to the figure of Erin breaking her
fetters at its base.

At the other end of the street is a very noble memorial of another
patriot--Charles Stewart Parnell. Parnell's fame burns brighter and
clearer with the passing years, and this memorial, so simple, so
dignified, and yet so full of meaning, is one which no American can
contemplate without a thrill of pride, for it is the work of Augustus
Saint-Gaudens--a consummate artist, American to the marrow, though
Dublin-born, of a French father and an Irish mother.

Midway of this great thoroughfare, rises the Nelson Pillar--a fluted
column springing a hundred and fifty feet into the air, dominating the
whole town. I do not understand why Nelson should have been so signally
honoured in the Irish capital, for there was nothing Irish about him,
either in birth or temperament. Perhaps that is the reason. Stranger
things have happened in Ireland. And indeed it is no stranger than the
whim which set another statue to face the old Parliament House--a gilded
atrocity representing William of Orange, garbed as a Roman emperor in
laurel-wreath and toga, bestriding a sway-backed horse!

The Home Rule Parliament will no doubt promptly change the street signs
along the broad thoroughfare which forms the heart of Dublin; but
meanwhile everybody agrees in calling the bridge O'Connell's monument
faces by his name. A very handsome bridge it is, and there is a
beautiful view from it, both up and down the river. Dublin is like
Paris, in that it is built on both sides of a river, and the view from
this point reminds one somewhat of the view along the Seine. There are
many bridges, and many domed buildings, many boats moored to the
quays--and many patient fishermen waiting for a bite!

A short distance beyond the bridge is the great granite structure with
curving façade and rain-blackened columns, a queer but impressive jumble
of all the Greek orders, which now houses the Bank of Ireland. Time was
when it housed the Irish Parliament, and that time may come again;
meanwhile it stands as a monument to the classical taste of the
eighteenth century and its fondness for allegorical sculpture--Erin
supported by Fidelity and Commerce, and Fortitude supported by Justice
and Liberty! Those seem to me to be mixed allegories, but never mind.

Those later days of the eighteenth century were the days of Dublin's
glory, for then she was really, as well as sentimentally, the capital of
Ireland. Her most beautiful public buildings date from that period, and
all her fine spacious dwelling-houses. After the Union, nobody built
wide spacious dwellings, but only narrow mean ones, to suit the new
spirit; and the new spirit was so incapable of living in the lovely old
houses that it turned them into tenements, and put a family in every
room, without any sense of crowding! I sometimes fear that the old
spirit is gone for good, and that not even independence can bring it
back to Dublin.

It was the Irish House of Commons which, in 1752, provided the funds for
the new home of Trinity College, just across the street--a great pile of
time-worn buildings, also in the classic style, and rather dull; but it
is worth while to go in through the great gateway for a look at the
outer and inner quadrangles.

Beyond the college stretches Grafton Street, the principal
shopping-street of Dublin, and at its head is St. Stephen's Green, a
pretty park, with some beautiful eighteenth century houses looking down
upon it. This was the centre of the fashionable residence district in
the old days, and the walk along the north side was the "Beaux Walk."
Such of the residences as remain are mostly given over to public
purposes, and the square itself is redolently British; for there is a
statue of George II in the centre, and one of Lord Eglinton not far
away, and a triumphal arch commemorating the war in South Africa. But,
if you look closely, you may find the inconspicuous bust of James
Clarence Mangan, who coughed his life out in the Dublin slums while Tom
Moore--who was also born here--was posing before fine London ladies; and
Mangan had this reward, that he remained sincere and honest and warmly
Irish to the last, a true bard of Erin, and one whose memory she does
well to cherish. How feeble Tom Moore's tinklings sound beside the white
passion of "Dark Rosaleen!"

          Over dews, over sands,
            Will I fly for your weal:
          Your holy, delicate white hands
            Shall girdle me with steel.
          At home in your emerald bowers,
            From morning's dawn till e'en,
          You'll pray for me, my flower of flowers,
            My dark Rosaleen!
            My own Rosaleen!
          You'll think of me through daylight's hours,
          My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
            My dark Rosaleen!

A short walk down Kildare Street leads to a handsome, wide-flung
building with a court in front, once the mansion of the Duke of
Leinster, but now occupied by the Royal Dublin Society. The wing at the
right is the Science and Art Museum, that to the left the National
Library. The latter is scarcely worth a visit, unless there is some
reading you wish to do, but we shall have to spend some hours in the
museum.

On this Sunday morning, however, Betty and I walked on through to
Leinster Lawn, a pleasant enclosed square, with gravelled walks and
gardens gay with flowers, but marred with many statues; and here you
will note that a Victorian government spent a huge sum in commemorating
the virtues of the Prince Consort. We contemplated it for a while, and
then went on to the great building which closes in the park on the
north, and which houses the National Gallery of Ireland. We found the
collection surprisingly good. It is especially rich in Dutch art, and
possesses three Rembrandts, one of an old and another of a young man,
and the other showing some shepherds building a fire--just such a
subject as Rembrandt loved. And there is a good Teniers, and an
inimitable canvas by Jan Steen, "The Village School." There are also a
number of pictures by Italian masters, but these did not seem to me so
noteworthy.

This general collection of paintings is on the upper floor. The ground
floor houses the National Portrait Gallery, composed for the most part
of mediocre presentments of mediocre personalities, but with a high
light here and there worth searching for. Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait
of Dick Steele is there, and Holbein's Henry Wyatt, and Zuccaro's
Raleigh, and there are three or four portraits by Lely and Reynolds, but
not, I should say, in their best style.

Let me add here that there is in Dublin another picture gallery well
worth a visit. This is the Municipal Gallery, housed in a beautiful old
mansion in Harcourt Street--another memorial of spacious eighteenth
century days, where that famous judge and duellist, Lord Clonmell,
lived. The house itself would be worth seeing, even if there were no
pictures in it, for it is a splendid example of Georgian domestic
architecture; but there are, besides some beautiful examples of the
Barbizon school, a number of modern Irish paintings which promise much
for the future of Irish art.

       *       *       *       *       *

The day was so bright and warm that it seemed a pity to spend the whole
of it in town, so, after lunch, we took a tram for the Hill of Howth.
Most of the tram lines of the city start from the Nelson Pillar, so we
had only to cross the street to the starting point.

There seems to be a considerable difference of opinion as to the correct
pronunciation of "Howth." Perhaps that is because it is a Danish
word--hoved, a head--the Danes having left the mark of their presence in
the names of places all over Ireland, even in the names of three of its
four provinces. Only far Connaught escaped the stigma. At any rate, when
I asked a policeman which tram to take for Howth, I pronounced the word
as it is spelt, to rhyme with "south." He corrected me at once.

"'Tis the Hill of Hooth ye mean," he said, making it rhyme with "youth,"
"and that's your tram yonder."

We clambered up the steep stairway at the back to a seat on top, and
presently we started; and then the conductor came around with tickets,
and asked where we were going--in Ireland, as everywhere else in Europe,
the fare is gauged by the length of the journey.

"To the Hill of Hooth," I answered proudly.

"Ah, the Hill of H[=o]th, is it," he said, making it rhyme with "both,"
and he picked out the correct tickets from the assortment he carried,
punched them and gave them to me.

We used the pronunciations indiscriminately, after that, and I never
learned which is right, though I suspect that "H[=o]th" is.

Howth is a great detached block of mountain thrown down, by some caprice
of nature, at the sea-ward edge of a level plain to the north of Dublin
Bay, where it stands very bold and beautiful. It is some eight or ten
miles from Dublin, and the tram thither runs through the north-eastern
part of the town, and then emerges on the Strand, with Dublin Bay on one
side and many handsome residences on the other. Away across the bay are
the beautiful green masses of the Wicklow hills, and presently you come
to Clontarf, where, on Good Friday, nine hundred years ago, the Irish,
under their great king, Brian Boru, met the marshalled legions of the
Danes, and broke their power in Ireland.

For the Danes had sailed up the Liffey a century before, and built a
castle to command the ford, somewhere near the site of the present
castle; and about this stronghold grew up the city of Dublin; and then
they built other forts to the south and north and west; bands of raiders
marched to and fro over the country, plundering shrines, despoiling
monasteries, levying tribute, until all Ireland, with the exception of
the extreme west, crouched under the Danish power. The Danes, it should
be remembered, were the terror and scourge of Europe, and since the
Ireland of that day was the richest country of Europe in churches and
monasteries and other religious establishments, it was upon Ireland the
Pagan invaders left their deepest mark.

For a hundred years they had their will of the land, crushing down such
weak and divided resistance as the people were able to offer. And then
came Brian Boru, a man strong enough to draw all Ireland into one
alliance, and at last the Danes met a resistance which made them pause.
For twenty years, Brian waged desperate war against them, defeating them
sometimes, sometimes defeated; but never giving up, though often
besought to do so; retiring to his bogs until he could recruit his
shattered forces, and then, as soon as might be, falling again upon his
enemies.

In the intervals of this warfare, he devoted himself to setting his
kingdom in order, and to such good purpose that, as the historians
tell--and Tom Moore rhymes--a lone woman could make the circuit of Erin,
without fear of molestation, though decked with gold and jewels. Brian
did more than that--and this is the measure of his greatness: he built
roads, erected churches and monasteries to replace those destroyed by
the Danes, founded schools to which men came from far countries, and
"sent professors and masters to teach wisdom and knowledge and to buy
books beyond the sea."

It was in 1014 that the final great battle of Clontarf was fought. Both
sides, realising that this was the decisive struggle, had mustered every
man they could. With Brian were his own Munster men, and the forces of
O'Rourke and Hy Many from Connaught, and Malachy with his Meath legions,
and Desmond with the men of Kerry and West Cork--a wild host, with
discipline of the rudest, trusting for victory not to strategy or
tactics, but to sheer strength of arm.

And what a muster of Danes there was! Not only the Danes of Dublin, but
the hosts from the Orkneys and "from every island on the Scottish main,
from Uist to Arran"; and even from far-off Scandinavia and Iceland the
levies hastened, led by "Thornstein, Hall of the Side's son, and
Halldor, son of Gudmund the Powerful, and many other northern champions
of lesser note." It is characteristic of Irish history through the ages
that, on this great day, one Irish province cast in its lot with its
country's enemies, for the battalions of Leinster formed side by side
with the Danes.

There are Danish and Irish sagas which tell the story of that fight, and
blood-stirring tales they are. Brian Boru, bent under the weight of
seventy-four years, took station apart on a bit of rising ground, and
there, kneeling on a cushion, alternately prayed and watched the battle.
The Danes had the better of it, at first, hewing down their adversaries
with their gleaming axes; but the Munster men stood firm and fought so
savagely that at last the Danes broke and fled. One party of them passed
the little hill where Brian knelt, and paused long enough to cut him
down; but his life's work was done: the power of the Danes was broken,
and there was no longer need to fear that the Norsemen would rule
Ireland.

Just north of Clontarf parish church stands an ancient yew, and
tradition says that it was under this tree that Brian's body was laid by
his men. The tradition may be true or not, but the wonderful tree, the
most venerable in Ireland, is worth turning aside a few moments to
visit. It stands in private grounds, and permission must be asked to
enter, but it is seldom refused.

Like too many other spots in Ireland, Clontarf has its tragic memory as
well as its glorious one, for it was here that O'Connell's Home Rule
movement, to which thousands of men had pledged fealty, dropped suddenly
to pieces because of the indecision of its leader at the first hint of
British opposition. But there is no need to tell that story here.

       *       *       *       *       *

The town of Howth consists of one long street running around the base of
the hill and facing the harbour and the Irish Sea. The harbour is
enclosed by impressive piers of granite, and was once a busy place, for
it was the Dublin packet station until Kingstown superseded it. Since
then, the entrance has silted up, and now nothing rides at anchor there
but small yachts and fishing-boats. On that clear and sunny day the view
was very beautiful. A mile to the north was the rugged little island
known as Ireland's Eye, and far away beyond the long stretch of low
coast loomed the purple masses of the Carlingford hills. Away to the
east stretched the Irish Sea, greenish-grey in the sunlight, with a
white foam-crest here and there, and to the south lay Dublin Bay against
the background of the Wicklow mountains.

High on a cliff above the haven lie the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, and
we presently clambered up to them. We found them encircled by an
embattled wall, but a neighbourhood urchin directed us to a pile of
tumbledown buildings at the corner as the home of the caretaker. He was
not there, but his wife was, as well as a large collection of ragged
children, and one of these, a girl of ten or thereabouts, was sent by
her mother to do the honours. She was very shy at first, but her tongue
finally loosened, and we were enraptured with her soft voice and
beautiful accent. Her father was a fisherman, she said; they were all
fisher-families who lived in the tumble-down pile, which was once a part
of the abbey and so comes legitimately by its decay, since it is four or
five hundred years old, and has apparently never been repaired.

Of the abbey church itself, only the walls remain, and they are the
survivals of three distinct buildings. The west front is part of the
original Danish church, built in 1042, and is pierced by a small
round-headed doorway, above which rises an open bell-turret. In 1235,
the Archbishop of Dublin rebuilt the Danish church, retaining only its
façade. The interior, as he remodelled it, consisted of a nave and one
aisle, separated by three pointed arches. They are still there, very low
and rude, marking the length of the Archbishop's church. Two centuries
later, this was found too small, and so the church was lengthened by the
addition of three more arches. They also are still standing, and are
both higher and wider than the first three. The tracery in the east
window is still intact, and is very graceful, as may be seen by the
photograph opposite this page, in which the variation in the arches is
also well shown. Note also the round-headed doorway at the side, with
the remains of a porch in front--a detail not often seen in old Irish
churches. And, last of all, note the ruined building in the corner.
Although it has no roof, it is still used as a dwelling, as the
curtained window shows.

[Illustration: RUINS OF ST. MARY'S ABBEY, HOWTH]

Just inside the east window of the church is the tomb of Christopher,
nineteenth Lord Howth, who died about 1490. It is an altar tomb, bearing
the recumbent figures of the knight and his lady, the former's feet
resting, after the usual fashion, on his dog. Considering the
vicissitudes of weather and vandalism through which they have passed,
both figures are surprisingly well preserved.

The Howth peninsula still belongs to the Howth family, who trace their
line direct to Sir Almericus Tristram, an Anglo-Norman knight who
conquered and annexed it in 1177, and the demesne, one of the most
beautiful in Ireland, lies to the west of the town. The castle, a long,
battlemented building flanked with towers, is said to contain many
objects of interest, but we did not get in, for the gardener informed us
that it was open to the public only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The
grounds are famous for their gorgeous rhododendrons, and there is a
cromlech there, under which, so legend says, lies Aideen, wife of Oscar,
son of Ossian and chief hero of those redoubtable warriors, the Fianna.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Ireland, during the summer months, sunrise and sunset are eighteen
hours apart, and so, though it was rather late when we got back to the
hotel, it was as light as midday. We were starting for our room, when a
many-buttoned bell-boy, with a face like a cherub, who was always
hovering near, stopped us and told us shyly that, if we would wait a few
minutes, we could see the parade go past.

During the morning, we had noticed gaily-uniformed bands marching hither
and thither, convoying little groups of people, some of them in fancy
costume, and had learned that there was to be a great labour celebration
somewhere, with music and much oratory. We had not thought it worth
while to run it down, but we said we should be glad to see the parade,
so our guide took us out to the balcony on the first floor, and then
remained to talk.

"You would be from America, sir, I'm thinking," he began.

"Yes," I said.

"Then you have seen Indians!"

"Indians? Why, yes, I've seen a few."

"On the war-path?" he cried, his eyes shining with excitement.

I couldn't help laughing.

"No," I said. "They don't go on the war-path any more. They're quite
tame now."

His face fell.

"But you have seen cowboys?" he persisted.

"Only in Wild West Shows," I admitted. "That's where I have seen most of
my Indians."

"They're brave lads, aren't they?" and his eyes were shining again.

"Why, have you seen them?" I questioned in surprise.

"Ah, I have, sir, many times, in the moving-pictures," he explained. "It
must be a fine thing to live in America!"

I found out afterwards that the Wild West film is exceedingly popular in
Ireland. No show is complete without one. I saw some, later on, and most
sanguinary and impossible they were; but they were always wildly
applauded, and I think most Irishmen believe that the life of the
average American is largely employed in fighting Indians and rescuing
damsels in distress. I tried to tell the bell-boy that life in America
was much like life everywhere--humdrum and matter-of-fact, with no
Indians and few adventures; but I soon desisted. Why should I spoil his
dream?

And then, from up the street, came the rattle and blare of martial
music, and we had our first view of an Irish performer on the bass-drum.
It is a remarkable and exhilarating spectacle. The drummer grasps a
stick in each hand, and sometimes he pounds with both of them, and
sometimes he twirls one over his head and pounds with the other, and
sometimes he crosses his arms over the top of the drum and pounds that
way. I suppose there is an etiquette about it, for they all conduct
themselves in the same frenzied fashion, while the crowd stares
fascinated. It is exhausting work, and I am told that during a long
parade the drummers sometimes have to be changed two or three times. But
there is never any lack of candidates.

There were thousands of men in line, that day, members of a hundred
different lodges, each with its banner. Their women-folk trooped along
with them, often arm-in-arm; and they trudged silently on with the slow
and dogged tread of the beast of burden; and the faces of men and women
alike were the pale, patient faces of those who look often in the eyes
of want. It melted the heart to see them--to see their rough and
toil-worn clothing, their gnarled and twisted hands, their heavy
hob-nailed shoes--and to think of their treadmill lives, without hope
and without beauty--just an endless struggle to keep the soul in the
body. Minute after minute, for almost an hour, they filed past. What
they hoped to gain, I do not know--a living wage, perhaps, since that is
what labour needs most in Ireland--and what it has not yet won!

Our Buttons had watched the parade with the amused tolerance of the
uniformed aristocrat.

"There's a lot of mad people in Dublin," he remarked cheerfully, as we
turned to go in.



CHAPTER III

THE ART OF ANCIENT ERIN


DUBLIN is by far the most fascinating town in Ireland. She has
charm--that supreme attribute alike of women and of cities; and she has
beauty, which is a lesser thing. She is rich in the possession of many
treasures, and proud of the memorials of many famous sons. Despite all
the vicissitudes of fortune, she has remained the spiritual and artistic
capital of Ireland, and she looks forward passionately to the day when
the temporal crown will be restored to her. To be sure, there is a
canker in her bosom, but she knows that it is there; and perhaps some
day she will gather courage to cut it out.

Among her memorials and treasures, are four of absorbing interest--the
grave of Swift, the tomb of Strongbow, the Cross of Cong and the Book of
Kells. It was for the first of these, which is in St. Patrick's
Cathedral, that we started Monday morning, and to get there we mounted
for the first time to the seats of a jaunting-car.

I suppose I may as well pause here for a word about this peculiarly
Irish institution. Why it should be peculiarly Irish is hard to
understand, for it furnishes a rapid, easy, and--when one has learned
the trick--comfortable means of locomotion. Every one, of course, is
familiar with the appearance of a jaunting-car--or side-car, as it is
more often called--with its two seats back to back, facing outwards,
and a foot-rest overhanging each wheel.

Opposite the next page is a series of post-card pictures showing its
evolution from the primitive drag, which is the earliest form of vehicle
all the world over, and which still survives in the hilly districts of
Ireland, where wheels would be useless on the pathless mountain-sides.
Then comes a rude cart with solid wheels and revolving axle working
inside the shafts, still used in parts of far Connaught, and then the
cart with spoke wheels working outside the shafts on a fixed
axle--pretty much the form still used all the world over--just such a
"low-backed car" as sweet Peggy used when she drove to market on that
memorable day in spring. The next step was taken when some
comfort-loving driver removed the side-boards, in order that he might
sit with his legs hanging down; and one sees them sitting just so all
over Ireland, with their women-folk crouched on the floor of the cart
behind, their knees drawn up under their chins, and all muffled in heavy
shawls. I do not remember that I ever saw a woman sitting on the edge of
a cart with her legs hanging over--perhaps it isn't good form!

Thus far there is nothing essentially Irish about any of these vehicles;
but presently it occurred to some inventive Jehu that he would be more
comfortable if he had a rest for his feet, and presto! the side-car. It
was merely a question of refinements, after that--the addition of backs
and cushions to the seats, the enlargement of the wheels to make the car
ride more easily, the attachment of long springs for the same purpose,
and the placing of a little box between the seats for the driver to sit
on when his car is full. In a few of the larger places, the development
has reached the final refinement of rubber tires, but usually these are
considered a too-expensive luxury.

[Illustration: THE EVOLUTION OF THE JAUNTING CAR]

Now evolution is supposed to be controlled by the survival of the
fittest, but this is only half-true of the side-car; for, while
admirably adapted to hilly roads, it is the worst possible conveyance in
wet weather. Hilly roads are fairly frequent in Ireland, but they are
nowhere as compared to wet days, and the side-car is a standing proof of
the Irishman's indifference to rain. Indeed, we grew indifferent to it
ourselves, before we had been in Ireland very long, for it really didn't
seem to matter.

I suppose it is the climate, so soft, so sweet, so balmy that one gets
no harm from a wetting. The Irish tramp around without any thought of
the weather, work just the same in the rain as in the sun, never think
of using a rain-coat or an umbrella--would doubtless consider the
purchase of either a waste of money which could be far better spent--and
yet, all the time we were in Ireland, we never saw a man or woman with a
cold! The Irish are proud of their climate, and they have a right to be.
And, now I think of it, perhaps the climate explains the jaunting-car.

That compound, by the way, is never used by an Irishman. He says simply
"car." "Car" in Ireland means a side-car, and nothing else. In most
other countries, "car" is short for motor-car. In Ireland, if one means
motor, one must say motor. But the visitor will never have occasion to
mean motor unless he owns one, for, outside of the trams in a few of
the larger cities, the side-car is practically the only form of
street and neighbourhood conveyance. One soon grows to like it; we have
ridden fifty miles on one in a single day, and many times we rode
twenty-five or thirty miles, without any undue sense of fatigue. The
secret is to pick out a car with a comfortably-padded back extending in
a curve around the rear end of each seat. One can tuck oneself into this
curve and swing happily along mile after mile.

The driver of a side-car is called a jarvey. I don't know why. The
Oxford dictionary says the word is a "by-form of the surname Jarvis,"
but I am not learned enough to see the connection, unless it was Mr.
Jarvis who drove the first side-car. I wish I could say that the jarvey
differed as much from the cabbies and chauffeurs of other lands as his
car does from the cab and the taxi; but, alas, this is not the case. He
is just as rapacious and piratical as they, though he may rob you with a
smile, while they do it with a frown; and he has this advantage: there
is no taximeter with which to control him. Everywhere, if one is not a
millionaire, one must be careful to bargain in advance. Once the bargain
is concluded, your jarvey is the most agreeable and obliging of fellows.
He usually has every reason to be, for nine times out of ten he gets
much the better of the bargain! I have never been able to decide
whether, in these modern times when piracy on the high seas has been
repressed, men with piratical instincts turn naturally to cab-driving,
or whether all men have latent piratical instincts which cab-driving
inevitably develops.

The Dublin jarvey is famous for his ability to turn a corner at
top-speed. He usually does it on one wheel, and the person on the
outside seat has the feeling that, unless he holds tight, he will
certainly be hurled into misty space. We held on, that morning, and so
reached St. Patrick's without misadventure in a surprisingly few
minutes.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is not an especially impressive edifice. It
dates from Norman days, and was built over one of St. Patrick's holy
wells; but, like most Irish churches, it was in ruins most of the time,
and fifty years ago it was practically rebuilt in its present shape. Sir
Benjamin Guinness, of the Guinness Brewery, furnished the money. Like
all the other old religious establishments, it was taken from the
Catholics in the time of Henry VIII and given to his Established
Church--the Episcopal Church, here called the Church of Ireland--and has
remained in its possession ever since, though the church itself was
disestablished some forty years ago.

By far the most interesting fact about St. Patrick's is that Jonathan
Swift was for thirty-two years its Dean, and now lies buried there
beside that "Stella" whom he made immortal. A brass in the pavement
marks the spot where they lie side by side, and on the wall not far away
is the marble slab which enshrines the epitaph he himself wrote. It is
in Latin, and may be Englished thus:

          Jonathan Swift, for thirty years Dean of this
          Cathedral, lies here, where savage indignation can
          no longer tear his heart. Go, traveller, and, if
          you can, imitate him who played a man's part as
          the champion of liberty.

Another slab bears a second epitaph written by Swift to mark the grave
of "Mrs. Hester Johnson, better known to the world by the name of
'Stella,' under which she is celebrated in the writings of Dr. Jonathan
Swift, Dean of this Cathedral." Whether she should have borne the name
of him who celebrated her the world will never know. She died seventeen
years before him, "killed by his unkindness," and was buried here at
midnight, while he shut himself into a back room of his deanery across
the way that he might not see the lights of the funeral party. He had
faults and frailties enough, heaven knows, but the Irish remember them
with charity, for, though his savage indignation had other fuel than
Ireland's wrongs and sorrows, yet they too made his heart burn, and he
voiced that feeling in words more burning still. He died in a madhouse,
as he expected to die, leaving

                    "the little wealth he had
          To build a house for fools and mad,
          And showed by one satiric touch
          No nation wanted it so much."

There is another characteristic epitaph of Swift's on a tablet in the
south wall, near the spot where General Schomberg lies--that bluff old
soldier who met glorious death at the head of his victorious troops at
the battle of the Boyne. Swift wished to mark the grave with an
appropriate memorial, but Schomberg's relatives declined to contribute
anything toward its cost; whereupon Swift and his Chapter put up this
slab, paying tribute to the hero's virtues, and adding that his valour
was more revered by strangers than by his own kindred.

There are many other curious and interesting monuments in the place,
well worth inspecting, but I shall refer to only one of them--the one
which started the feud that sent Strafford to the scaffold. It is a
towering structure, erected by the great Earl of Cork to the memory of
his "virtuous and religious" Countess, in 1629. It stood originally at
the east end of the choir near the altar, but Strafford, instigated by
Archbishop Laud, who protested that it was a monstrosity which
desecrated that sacred place, compelled its removal to the nave, where
it now stands. The Earl of Cork never forgave him, and hounded him to
his death. The monument is a marvel of its kind, containing no less than
sixteen highly-coloured figures, most of them life-size. The Earl and
his lady lie side by side in the central panel, with two sons kneeling
at their head and two at their feet, while their six daughters kneel in
the panel below, three on either side of an unidentified infant. After
contemplating this huge atrocity, one cannot but conclude that the
Archbishop was right.

Back of the Cathedral is a little open square, where the children of the
neighbouring slums come to play in the sunshine on the gravelled walks;
and dirty and ragged and distressful as they are, they have still about
them childhood's clouds of glory. So that it wrings the heart to look at
the bedraggled, gin-soaked, sad-eyed, hopeless men and women who crowd
the benches and to realise not only that they were children once, but
that most of these children will grow to just such miserable maturity.

We walked from the Cathedral up to the Castle, that morning, crossing
this square and traversing a corner of the slums, appalling in their
dirt and squalor, where whole families live crowded in a single room. In
Dublin there are more than twenty thousand such families. Think what
that means: five, six, seven, often even eight or nine persons, living
within the same four walls--some in dark basements, some in ricketty
attics--cooking and eating there, when they have anything to cook and
eat; sitting there through the long hours; sleeping there through the
foul nights; awaking there each morning to another hopeless day of
misery. Think how impossible it is to be clean or decent amid such
surroundings. Small wonder self-respect soon withers, and that drink,
the only path of escape from these horrors, even for a little while, is
eagerly welcomed. And the fact that every great city has somewhere
within her boundaries some such foulness as this is perhaps the one
thing our civilisation has most reason to be ashamed of!

       *       *       *       *       *

Dublin Castle is interesting only because of its history. It was here,
by what was then the ford across the Liffey just above the tideway, that
the Danish invaders built their first stronghold in 837, and from it the
last of them was expelled in 1170 by Strongbow at the head of his
Anglo-Norman knights; here, two years later, Henry II received the
submission of the overawed Irish chiefs; and from that day forward, this
old grey fortress cast its shadow over the whole land. No tribesman was
too remote to dread it, for the chance of any day might send him to rot
in its dungeon, or shriek his life out in its torture-chamber, or set
his head to blacken on its tower--even as the shaggy head of Shan the
Proud blackened and withered there for all the world to see. In a word,
it is from the Castle that an alien rule has been imposed on Ireland for
more than a thousand years, until to-day to say "the Castle" is to say
"the Government."

Of the mediæval castle, only one of the four towers remains, and the
curtains which connected them have been replaced by rows of
office-buildings, where the Barnacles who rule Ireland have their lairs.
A haughty attendant--not too haughty, however, to accept a tip--will
show you through the state apartments, which are not worth visiting; and
another, more human one, will show you through the chapel. It is more
interesting without than within, for over the north door, side by side
in delightful democratic equality, are busts of Dean Swift and St.
Peter, while over the east one Brian Boru occupies an exalted place
between St. Patrick and the Virgin Mary, while on the corbels of the
window-arches the heads of ninety sovereigns of Great Britain have been
cut--I cannot say with what fidelity.

It is but a step from the Castle to Christ Church Cathedral, by far the
most interesting building in Dublin. The Danes founded it in 1038; then
came Strongbow, who built an English cathedral atop the rude Danish
church, which is now the crypt, and his transepts and one bay of his
choir still survive. There were various additions and rebuildings, after
that, but in 1569 the bog on which the Cathedral is built moved under
its weight, the entire south wall of the nave and the vaulted roof fell
in, and the debris lay where it fell until 1875, when Henry Roe, of
Roe's Whiskey, furnished the money for a complete restoration.

It is a significant coincidence that St. Patrick's was restored from the
profits of a brewery and Christ Church from the profits of a distillery,
for it was by some such profits that they had to be restored, if they
were to be restored at all, because brewing and distilling are the only
industries which have flourished in Dublin since the Act of Union. All
others have decayed or withered entirely away. Wherein is food for
thought!

But this takes nothing from the fact that Christ Church is an
interesting structure; and the most interesting thing in it is the tomb
of Strongbow. Richard de Clare his name was, second Earl of Pembroke,
and it was to him, so legend says, that Dermot MacMurrough, King of
Leinster, appealed for aid, in 1166, after he had been driven from his
kingdom and compelled to restore to Tiernan O'Rourke, Prince of Breffni,
Dervorgilla--otherwise Mrs. O'Rourke--with whom he had eloped. It wasn't
the lady that Dermot wanted--it was revenge, and, most of all, his
kingdom--we shall hear more of this story later on--and Strongbow
readily agreed to assist. He needed little persuasion, for the Normans
had been looking longingly across the Irish Sea for many years; and
Dermot got more than he bargained for, for Strongbow brought his legions
over from Wales, entered Dublin, and soon established English rule so
firmly that it was never afterwards displaced.

When Strongbow died, he was buried here in the church that he had built,
and a recumbent statue in chain armour was placed above the tomb, with
legs crossed above the knees to indicate three crusades. Crossed at the
ankles would have meant one crusade, between knee and ankle, two. I
don't know how the old sculptors indicated four crusades; perhaps they
never had to face that problem. Some critics assert that this is not the
old statue at all; but if we paid heed to the critics, there would be
mighty little left to believe!

If you will lay your hand upon the head of the statue, you will find
that the top is worn away into a hole. And that hole was worn by human
fingers--thousands upon thousands of them--placed there just as yours
are, as witness to the making of a deed or the signing of an agreement
or the paying of a debt. Almost all of such old documents in Dublin were
"Made at the Tomb of Strongbow." Thither people came for centuries to
settle accounts, and the Irish are so conservative, so tenacious of
tradition, that I dare say the tomb is sometimes the scene of such
transactions, even yet. Beside the knight's statue lies a truncated
effigy supposed to represent his son, whom, in a fit of rage, he cut in
two with a single stroke of his sword for cowardice on the battle-field.

There are many other things of interest about the church, especially
about the crypt, where one may see the old city stocks, and the
tabernacle and candlesticks used at the Mass celebrated here for James
II while he was trying to conquer Ulster; and the church is fortunate in
possessing a most intelligent verger, with whom it is a pleasure to
explore it. We talked with him quite a while that day, and he lamented
bitterly that so few visitors to Dublin think the church worth seeing.
I heartily endorse his opinion of them!

       *       *       *       *       *

Which brings us to those two wonderful masterpieces of ancient Irish
art, the Cross of Cong and the Book of Kells.

The Cross of Cong is in the National Museum of Science and Art, and is
only the most interesting of many interesting things which have been
assembled there. The first exhibit as one passes through the vestibule,
has a flavour peculiarly Irish. It is an elaborate state carriage,
lavishly decorated with carvings and inlay and bronze figures, and it
was ordered by some Irish lord, who, when it was completed, found that
he had no money to pay for it, and so left it on the builder's hands.
What the poor builder did can only be conjectured. Perhaps he took down
his shillelagh and went out and assaulted the lord; perhaps he fled to
the hills and became a brigand; perhaps he just sat philosophically down
and let _his_ creditors do the worrying.

Just beyond the vestibule is a great court, containing a remarkable
collection of plaster replicas of ancient Celtic crosses. They should be
examined closely, especially the two which reproduce the high and low
crosses at Monasterboice. We shall see the real crosses, before we leave
Ireland, but they have iron railings around them, which prevent close
examination, and they are not provided with explanatory keys as the
replicas are. Half an hour's study of the replicas helps immensely
toward appreciation of the originals.

The chief glory of the museum is its collection of Irish antiquities on
the upper floor. It starts with the Stone Age, and we could not but
remark how closely the flint arrow-heads and spear-heads and other
implements resemble those of the Indians and Moundbuilders, so common in
our part of Ohio. Then comes the Bronze Age, with a magnificent
collection of ornaments of hammered gold, and some extraordinarily
interesting examples of cinerary urns and food vessels--for the old
Irish burned their dead, and, after the fashion of most Pagan peoples,
put food in the grave beside them, to start them on their journey in the
other world.

In the room beyond are the so-called Christian antiquities: that is, all
the objects of art, as well as of domestic and military usage, which
date from the time of St. Patrick down to the Norman conquest--roughly,
from 400 A. D. to 1200 A. D. Before that time, Ireland was Pagan; after
the Norman conquest, she was crushed and broken. It was during these
eight hundred years, while the rest of Europe was struggling in
ignorance and misery through the Dark Ages, that Ireland touched the
summit of her artistic and spiritual development--and a lofty summit it
was!

Her art was of home growth, uninfluenced from any outside source, and it
was admirable. Her schools and monasteries were so famous that students
from all over Europe flocked to them, as the recognised centres of
learning. Scholars were revered and books were holy things--so holy that
beautiful shrines were made to hold them, of gold or silver, set with
precious stones. Five or six of them, nine hundred years old and more,
are preserved in this collection.

The bells used by the early Irish saints in the celebration of the Mass
were also highly venerated, and, cracked and worn by centuries of use,
were at last enclosed in shrines. Most holy of all, of course, was the
rude little iron bell used by St. Patrick, and recovered from his grave
in 552. The exquisite shrine made for it by some master artist about
1100 is here, as is also the bell itself. There is a picture of the
shrine opposite the next page; the bell is merely a rude funnel made of
two bent iron plates rivetted together and then dipped in molten
bronze--not much to look at, but an evoker of visions fifteen centuries
old for them who have eyes to see!

I should like to say something of the croziers, of the brooches, of the
chalices which are gathered here; but I must hasten on to the chief
treasure, the Cross of Cong. It is perhaps the very finest example of
early Irish art in existence anywhere. It was made to enshrine a
fragment of the True Cross, sent from Rome in 1123 to Turlough O'Conor,
King of Ireland, and it is called the "Cross of Cong" because Rory
O'Conor, the last titular King of all Ireland, took it with him to the
Abbey of Cong, at the head of Lough Corrib, when he sought sanctuary
there in his last years, and it was by the Abbots of Cong that it was
preserved religiously through the long centuries. The last Abbot died
about a hundred years ago, and the museum acquired the cross by
purchase.

There is a picture of it opposite the next page, which gives some faint
idea of its beauty. It was in a cavity behind the central crystal that
the fragment of the True Cross was placed; but it is not there now, and
nobody seems to know what became of it. Perhaps it doesn't matter much;
at any rate, all that need concern us here is the fact that, eight
hundred years ago in Ireland, there lived an artist capable of producing
a masterpiece like this.

[Illustration: THE CROSS OF CONG]

[Illustration: THE SHRINE OF ST. PATRICK'S BELL]

It is of oak, covered with plates of bronze and silver, washed in places
with a thick coating of gold, and with golden filigree work of the most
exquisite kind around the central crystal. It is elaborately carved,
front and back, with the intertwined pattern characteristic of Irish
ornamentation, and every detail is of the finest workmanship. It is
inscribed with a Latin verse,

    Hac cruce crux tegitur qua passus conditor orbis,

"In this cross is the cross enclosed upon which suffered the Founder of
the world"; and there is also a long inscription in Irish which bids us
pray, among others, for Turlough O'Conor, King of Erin, for whom the
shrine was made, and for Maelisu MacBraddan O'Echon, the man who
fashioned it. Thus is preserved the name of a great artist, who has been
dust for eight centuries.

The Book of Kells is even more wonderful. It is to the library of
Trinity College we must go to see it--and go we must!--for it is
indisputably the "first among all the illuminated manuscripts of the
world." No mere description can give any idea of its beauty, nor can any
picture, for each of its pages is a separate masterpiece. Kells was a
monastery celebrated for its sanctity and learning, and it was there,
sometime in the eighth century, that an inspired monk executed this
Latin copy of the Gospels. It is of sheepskin parchment, and each of
its pages is framed with exquisite tracery and ornamentation, and with a
beautiful harmony of colouring. Most wonderful of all, perhaps, the
colours are as fresh and brilliant as they were when they came from the
artist's brush, eleven centuries ago.

There are many other things in this old library worth seeing--among them
the Book of Darrow, thirteen centuries old, and ornamented with designs
which, as Betty remarked, would make beautiful crochet patterns. And
there is Brian Boru's harp--the very one, perhaps, that shed the soul of
music through Tara's halls--only unfortunately, the critics say that it
isn't more than five or six hundred years old. And there are stacks of
modern books, and the attendant who piloted us around remarked sadly
that many of the best of them were never taken off the shelves, except
to be dusted. I couldn't help smiling, for that is a complaint common to
all librarians!

       *       *       *       *       *

We went out, that night, to a big bazar given for the benefit of the
Passionist Fathers, where we were made almost riotously welcome.
"America" is the open sesame to every Irish heart; and how winning those
bright-eyed Irish girls were in their quaint costumes! Ordinarily Irish
girls are shy with strangers; but they were working in a good cause that
night, and if any man got out of the place with a penny in his pocket it
must certainly have been because he lacked a heart! And the nice old
women, with smiling eyes and wrinkled, pleasant faces--we could have
stayed and talked to them till morning! Indeed, we almost did!



CHAPTER IV

ON THE TRAIL OF THE SHAMROCK


OUR third day in Dublin was ushered in by a tremendous explosion. In a
minute the street outside was filled with dense black smoke, and then in
another minute with excited people. When we got down to breakfast, we
found that the suffragettes had tried to blow up the post-office, which
is next to the hotel, by throwing a bomb through the door. But the woman
who threw the bomb, like most women, couldn't throw straight, and
instead of going through the door, the bomb struck a stone at the side
of it and exploded. Our bell-boy proudly showed us the hole that it had
made in the wall.

The day was so bright and pleasant that we decided to spend it somewhere
in the country, and as we wanted to see a round tower, and as there is a
very handsome one at Clondalkin, a few miles west of Dublin, we decided
to go there. The ride thither gave us our first glimpse of rural
Ireland--rather unkempt, with the fields very lush and green; and then,
when we got off the train, we were struck by a fact which we had
occasion to remark many times thereafter: that railroads in Ireland are
built with an entire disregard of the towns along the route. Perhaps it
is because the towns are only Irish that the railroads are so haughty
and disdainful--for of course the roads are English; at any rate, they
never swerve an inch to get closer to any town. The train condescends
to pause an instant at the point nearest the town, and then puffs
arrogantly on again, while the passengers who have been hustled off hoof
it the rest of the way.

We got off, that morning, at a little station with "Clondalkin" on it,
but when we looked about, there was no town anywhere in sight. We asked
the man who took the tickets if this was all there was of the town, and
he said no, that the town was over yonder, and he pointed vaguely to the
south. There was no conveyance, so we started to walk; and instead of
condemning Irish railroads, we were soon praising their high wisdom, for
if there is anything more delightful than to walk along an Irish lane,
between hedgerows fragrant with hawthorn and climbing roses, past fields
embroidered with buttercups and primroses and daisies, in an air so
fresh and sweet that the lungs can't get enough of it, I don't know what
it is. And presently as we went on, breathing great breaths of all this
beauty, we caught sight of the conical top of the round tower, above the
trees to the left.

I should say that Clondalkin is at least a mile from its station, and we
found it a rambling village of small houses, built of stone,
white-washed and with roofs of thatch. Many of them, even along the
principal street, are in ruins, for Clondalkin, like so many other Irish
villages, has been slowly drying up for half a century. There was a
great abbey here once, but nothing is left of it except the round tower
and a fragment of the belfry.

The tower stands at the edge of what is now the main street, and is a
splendid example of another peculiarly Irish institution. For these
tall towers of stone, resembling nothing so much as gigantic chimneys,
were built all over eastern and central Ireland, nobody knows just when
and nobody knows just why; but there nearly seventy of them stand to
this day.

They are always of stone, and are sometimes more than a hundred feet
high. Some of them taper toward the top in a way which shows the high
skill of their builders. That they were well-built their survival
through the centuries attests. The narrow entrance door is usually ten
or twelve feet from the ground, and there is a tiny window lighting each
floor into which the tower was divided. At the top there are usually
four windows, one facing each point of the compass; and then the tower
is finished with a conical cap of closely-fitted stones.

As to their purpose, there has been violent controversy. Different
antiquarians have believed them to be fire-temples of the Druids,
phallic emblems, astronomical observatories, anchorite towers or
penitential prisons. But the weight of opinion seems to be that they
were built in connection with churches and monasteries to serve the
triple purpose of belfries and watch-towers and places of refuge, and
that they date from the ninth and tenth centuries, when the Danes were
pillaging the country. In case of need, the monks could snatch up the
most precious of their treasures, run for the tower, clamber up a ladder
to the little door high above the ground, pull the ladder up after them,
bar the door and be comparatively safe.

I confess I do not find this theory convincing. As belfries the towers
must have been failures, for the small bells of those days, hung a
hundred feet above the ground in a chamber with only four tiny openings,
would be all but inaudible. As watch-towers they were ineffective, for
the enemy had only to advance at night to elude the lookout altogether;
and as places of refuge, they leave much to be desired. For there is no
way to get food or water into them, and the enemy had only to camp down
about them for a few days to starve the inmates out. However, I am not
an antiquarian, and my opinion is of no especial value--besides, I have
no better theory to suggest. Whatever their purpose, there they stand,
and very astonishing they are.

The Clondalkin tower, for the first thirteen feet, is a block of solid
masonry about twenty feet in diameter, and above this is the little door
opening into the first story. New floors have been built at the
different levels and ladders placed between them, so that one may climb
the eighty-five feet to the top, but we were contented to take the view
for granted. While I manoeuvred for a photograph in a field of
buttercups which left my shoes covered with yellow pollen, Betty got
into talk with the people who lived in the cottage at the tower-foot,
and then she crossed the street to look over a wall at a tiny garden
that was a perfect riot of bloom, and by the time I got there, the
fresh-faced old woman with a crown of white hair who owned the garden
had come out, and, after a few minutes' talk, started to pick Betty a
bouquet of her choicest flowers.

Betty was in a panic, for she didn't want the garden despoiled,--at the
same time she realised that she must be careful or she would hurt the
feelings of this kindly woman, who was so evidently enjoying pulling her
flowers to give to the stranger from America. It was at that moment the
brilliant idea flashed into her head to ask if the true shamrock grew in
the neighbourhood.

"Sure, miss, I have it right here," was the answer, and the owner of the
garden picked up proudly a small pot in which grew a plant that looked
to me like clover.

"But doesn't it grow wild?" Betty asked.

"It does, miss; but 'tis very hard to find. This was sent me by my
brother in Tipperary. 'Tis the true shamrock, miss," and she broke off a
spray for each of us.

Let me say here that she knew perfectly well Betty was a married woman;
her first question had been as to our relationship. But all over
Ireland, women, whether married or single, are habitually addressed as
"miss," just as, conversely, in France they are addressed habitually as
"madame." But we had got the old woman's mind off her flowers, and we
managed to escape before she thought of them again.

There are not, I fancy, many visitors to Clondalkin, for, as we
sauntered on along the street, we found ourselves objects of the
liveliest interest. It was a kindly interest, too, for every one who
could catch our eyes smiled and nodded and wished us good-day, just as
the Dutch used to do in the little towns of Holland. We were heading for
the church, and when we reached it we found that there was a large
school attached to it, and most of the pupils were having their lessons
outdoors, a group in this corner and a group in that. The small children
were being taught by older ones, and the older children were being
taught by nuns; but I am afraid that our passage through the school-yard
nearly broke up the lessons. It was a sort of triumphal progress, for,
as we passed each class, the teacher in charge would say "Stand!" and
all the children would rise to their feet and stare at us with round
eyes, and the teacher would bow gravely. I am sorry now I didn't stop
and talk to some of them, but the formal nature of our reception
confused and embarrassed us, and we hastened on.

We took a look at the church, which is new and bare; and then we walked
on toward the gate, past a lawn which two gardeners were leisurely
mowing. It was evident from the way they returned our greeting that they
wanted to talk, so we stopped and asked if we could get a car in the
village to take us back to the station.

"You can, miss," said the elder of the two men, who did all the talking,
while his younger companion stood by and grinned. "There is a very good
car to be had in the village," and he told us where to go to find the
owner. "You would be from America? I have a sister and two brothers
there." And he went on to tell us about them, where they lived and what
they were doing and how they had prospered. And then Betty asked him if
he could find her a piece of the true shamrock. "I can, miss," he
answered instantly, and stepping over a low wire fence, he waded out
into a meadow and came back in a moment with a clover-like clump in his
hand. "This is it, miss," he said, and gave it to her; "the true
shamrock."

We examined it eagerly. It was a trefoil, the leaf of which is like our
white clover, except that it lacks the little white rings which mark the
leaf of ours, and it blossoms with a tiny yellow flower. I confess that
it wasn't at all my idea of the shamrock, nor was it Betty's, and she
asked the gardener doubtfully if he was sure that this was it.

"I am, miss," he answered promptly; "as sure as I am of anything."

"But down in the village," said Betty, "a woman gave me this," and she
took the spray from her button-hole, "and said _it_ was the true
shamrock. You see the leaf is quite green and larger and the blossom is
white."

"True for you, miss; and there be some people who think that the true
shamrock. But it is not so--'tis only white clover. The true shamrock is
that I have given you."

"Well, you are a gardener," said Betty, "and ought to know."

"Ah, miss," retorted the man, his eyes twinkling, "you could start the
prettiest shindy you ever saw by getting all the gardeners in Ireland
together, and asking them to decide which was the true shamrock!"

I suppose I may as well thresh out the question here, so far as it is
possible to thresh it out at all, for though, in the east, the west, the
north and south of Ireland, we sought the true shamrock, we were no more
certain of it when we got through than before we began. The only
conclusion we could reach, after listening to every one, was that there
are three or four varieties of the shamrock, and that almost any trefoil
will do.

The legend is that, about 450, St. Patrick reached the Rock of Cashel,
in his missionary journeyings over Ireland, and at once went to work to
convert Ængus MacNatfraich, the ruling king who lived in the great
castle there. One day, out on the summit of the rock, as the Saint was
preaching to the king and his assembled household, he started to explain
the idea of the Trinity, and found, as many have done since, that it was
rather difficult to do. Casting about for an illustration, his eyes fell
upon a trefoil growing at his feet, and he stooped and plucked it, and
used its three petals growing from one stem as a symbol of the
Three-in-One. This simple and homely illustration made the idea
intelligible, and whenever after that St. Patrick found himself on the
subject of the Trinity, he always stooped and plucked a trefoil to
demonstrate what he meant.

Now of course the true shamrock is the particular trefoil which St.
Patrick plucked first on the Rock of Cashel, but there is no way of
telling which that was. In his subsequent preaching, the Saint would
pluck the first that came to hand, since any of them would answer his
purpose, and so, sooner or later, all the Irish trefoils would be thus
used by him. The Irish word "seamrog" means simply a trefoil, and in
modern times, the name has been applied to watercress, to wood-sorrel,
and to both yellow and white clover; but nowadays only the two
last-named kinds are generally worn on St. Patrick's day. Whether white
or yellow clover is worn is said to depend somewhat on the locality, but
the weight of authority is, I think, slightly on the side of the yellow.

Whatever its colour, it is a most elusive plant and difficult to get.
Our original idea was that every Irish field was thick with shamrocks,
but in no instance except that of the gardener at Clondalkin, do I
remember any one finding some growing wild right at hand. Indeed, in
most localities, it didn't seem to grow wild at all, but was carefully
raised in a pot, like a flower. Where it _did_ grow wild, it was always
in some distant and inaccessible place. I should have suspected that
this was simply blarney, and that our informants either wished to keep
our profane hands off the shamrock or expected to get paid for going and
getting us some, but for the fact that those who raised it always
eagerly offered us a spray, and those who didn't usually disclaimed any
exact knowledge of where it grew.

We bade the Clondalkin gardener and his helper good-bye at last, and
walked on down to the village for a look at the remnant of the fort the
Danes built here as their extreme western outpost against the wild
Irish, and presently we fell in with an old woman, bent with rheumatism,
hobbling painfully along, and she told us all about her ailment, and
then as we passed a handsome house set back in a garden surrounded by a
high wall, she pointed it out proudly as the residence of the parish
priest. Then we thought it was time to be seeing about our car, and
started down the street to find its owner, when we heard some one
running after us. It was a man of about thirty, and his face, though not
very clean, was beaming with friendliness.

"Is it a car your honour would be wantin'?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "How did you know?"

"The man up at the church told me, sir. He said you'd be wishin' to
drive to the station."

"Well, we do," I said. "It's too far to walk. Have you a car?"

"I have, sir, and it's myself would be glad to carry you and your lady
there."

"All right," I agreed; and then, as an afterthought, "How much will you
charge?"

"Not a penny, sir," he protested warmly. "Not a penny."

I stared at him. I confess I didn't understand. He returned my stare
with a broad smile.

"The Dublin train doesn't go for an hour yet, sir," he went on. "If
you'll just be wanderin' down this way when the time comes, you'll find
me ready."

"It's mighty kind of you," I said hesitatingly; "but we couldn't think
of troubling you. . . ."

"Niver a bit of trouble, sir," he broke in. "I'll be that proud to do
it."

He seemed so sincerely in earnest that we finally agreed, and he raced
away as he had come, while we went on to the village post-office to mail
a postcard--and perhaps find some one else to talk to.

The post-office was a little cubby-hole of a place, in charge of a
white-haired, withered little old woman, whom we found very ready to
talk indeed. At first there were the inevitable questions about America
and about our family history, and then she told us about herself and her
work and the many things she had to do. For every Irish post-office, no
matter how small, is the centre of many activities. Not only does it
handle the village mail, but it is also the village telegraph-office,
and it does the work--by means of the parcel-post--which in this country
has been done until quite recently by the express companies. Furthermore
it is at the post-office that the old age pensions are disbursed and the
multifarious details of the workman's insurance act attended to.

The latter is too complicated to be explained here, but we soon had a
demonstration of the working of the old age pension, for, as we sat
there talking, a wrinkled old woman with a shabby shawl over her head,
came in, said something we did not understand, held out her hand, was
given three or four pennies, and walked quickly out.

"The poor creatures," said the postmistress gently, "how can one be
always refusin' them!" And then, seeing that we did not understand, she
went on, "That one gets an old age pension, five shillings the week; but
it never lasts the week out, and so she comes in for a bit of an
advance. I shouldn't be giving it to her, for she's no better in the
end, but I can't turn her away. Besides, she thinks--and there's many
like her--that the pension may be stoppin' any time, next week maybe,
and so what she gets this week is so much ahead. Many of them have no
idea at all of where the money do be coming from."

I am not myself partial to pensions of any sort, for no permanent good
can come from alms-giving, which weakens instead of strengthens; but
Ireland, perhaps, needs special treatment. At any rate, the pensions
have been a great help. Every person over seventy years of age and with
an income of less than ten shillings a week, receives five shillings
weekly from the government. The same law applies to England and
Scotland, but there is an impression that Ireland is getting more than
her share. Certainly there is a surprisingly large number of people
there whose income is under ten shillings and whose years exceed
threescore and ten. I questioned the postmistress about this, and she
smiled.

"Yes, there be a great many," she agreed. "In this small place alone
there are fifty poor souls who get their five shillings every Friday.
Are they all over seventy? Sure, I don't know; there be many of them
don't know themselves; but they all think they are, only it was very
hard sometimes to make the committee believe it. There is Mary Clancy,
now, as spry a woman as you will see anywhere, and lookin' not a day
over fifty. The committee was for refusin' her, but she said, said she,
'Your honours, I was the mother of fourteen children, and the youngest
of them was Bridget, whom you see here beside me. Bridget was married
when she was seventeen, and she has fifteen children of her own, and
this is the youngest of them she has by the hand--you'll see that he is
four years old. Now how old am I?' The gentlemen of the committee they
looked at her and then they looked at each other and then they took out
their pencils and made some figures and then they scratched their heads
and then they said she should have a pension. And sure she deserved it!"

We agreed with her,--though, as I figured it out afterwards, Mrs. Clancy
may still have been a year or two under seventy--and then she went on to
explain that the pensions had been a blessing in another way, for not
only do they give the old people a bit to live on, but their children
treat them better in consequence. In the old days, the parents were
considered an encumbrance, and whenever a marriage contract was made or
a division of the property, it was always carefully stipulated who
should look after them. Naturally in a land where a man was hard put to
it to provide for his own family, he was reluctant to assume this
additional burden, and the result often was that the old people went to
the workhouse--a place they shunned and detested and considered it a
disgrace to enter. But the pension has changed all that, for a person
with a steady income of five shillings a week is not to be lightly
regarded in Ireland; and so the old people can live with their children
now, and the workhouses are somewhat less crowded than they used to be.

But they are still full enough, heaven knows, in spite of the aversion
and disgust with which the whole Irish people regard them. Let me
explain briefly why this is so, because the establishment of the
workhouse system is typical of the blind fashion in which England, in
the past, has dealt with Irish problems,--the whole Irish problem, as
some protest, is merely the result of a stupid people trying to govern a
clever one!

About eighty years ago, England realised that something must be done for
the Irish poor. Irish industries had been killed by unfriendly
legislation, the land was being turned from tillage to grass, and so,
since there was no work, there was nothing for the labouring class to do
but emigrate or starve. In fact, a large section of the people had not
even those alternatives, for there was no way in which they could get
money enough to emigrate.

The Irish themselves suggested that something be done to develop the
industrial resources of the country, so that the able-bodied could find
work, and that some provision be made for the old, sick and infirm who
were unable to work, and for children who were too young. Instead of
that, and in spite of frenzied and universal Irish protest, a bill was
put through Parliament extending the English workhouse system to
Ireland.

Now, the workhouse system was devised to provide for tramps--for people
who would not work, though work was plentiful; so there is a stigma
about the workhouse which the Irish poor detest and which most of them
do not deserve. They enter it only when driven by direst need--and how
dire that need has been may be judged by the fact that, in 1905, for
instance, the number of workhouse inmates exceeded forty-five thousand.
Of these, about four thousand might be classified as tramps. The
remainder were aged and infirm men and women, young children, and a
sprinkling of starving middle-aged who could find no work--but the
disgrace of the workhouse was upon them all.

To-day, the traveller in Ireland finds one of these mammoth structures
in every town--in nearly every village, for their total number is 159.
In fact, the two most imposing buildings in the average Irish town are
the workhouse and the jail. And there is a savage irony in this, for not
only are there few voluntary paupers in Ireland, but there is amazingly
little crime. Six millions a year of Irish money are spent to maintain
the workhouses; how much the jails cost I don't know; but perhaps in
that golden age which some optimists believe will follow the coming of
Home Rule, workhouses and jails alike will be transformed into schools
and factories, and Irish money will be spent in brightening and
beautifying the lives of Ireland's people.

       *       *       *       *       *

We bade good-bye, at last, to the little Clondalkin postmistress, with
many mutual good wishes, and wandered forth to find the Samaritan who
had offered to take us to the station; and finally we saw him standing
in a gateway beckoning to us, and when we reached him, we found the
gateway led to the house which had been pointed out to us as that of the
parish priest. It was a beautiful house, with lovely grounds and gardens
and a large conservatory against one end, and we stood hesitating in the
gateway, wondering if we would better enter.

"Come in, sir; come in, miss!" cried our new-found friend. "The Father
is away from home the day, worse luck, but he'd never forgive me if I
didn't make you welcome."

"Oh, then you're the gardener," I said.

"Sure, I'm everything, sir," and he hustled us up the path, his face
beaming with happiness. "And how grieved His Riverence will be when he
comes back and learns that he missed you. If he was anywhere near, I'd
have gone for him at once, but he went to Dublin to the conference and
he won't be back till evenin'. He's a grand man, God bless him, and has
travelled all over the world, and it's himself would know how to talk
to you! There is the cart, sir; but there's no hurry. I must cut some
blooms for your lady."

Betty was already admiring the flowers--great scarlet peonies, white and
pink geraniums, cinerarias, laburnums, and I know not what beside; but
she tried to stop him as he made a dash at them, knife in hand.

"Oh, but you mustn't cut them!" she cried. "What would the Father say!"

"Sure, miss, if he was here, he'd make me cut twice as many!" he
retorted, and went on cutting and cutting. "If he was here, 'tis not by
this train you'd be leaving. He'd take you all over the house, and it
would break his heart if you didn't stop for tea. It's sorry he'll be
when he gets home and I tell him of you!"

We too were sorry, and said so--sorrier, next day, when we learned from
Katherine Tynan Hinkson what an accomplished and interesting man he is.
Meanwhile, the gardener had entered the greenhouse and was attacking the
plants there. Almost by main force, and sorely against his will, we made
him stop. As it was, Betty had about all she could carry--as lovely a
bouquet, she protested, as she had ever had in her life. And the joy of
this simple, kindly fellow in being able to give it to her was beautiful
to see.

Then he brought out a fat little mare and hitched her to the cart, and
insisted on driving us for a while along the fragrant country roads
before he took us to the station. And I am sure that he valued our
thanks much more than the coin I slipped into his hand.

We went out, that night, to see some friends in Dublin, and Betty took
part of her bouquet along to give to them. And as we were walking up
Grafton Street, an old and tattered woman, with two or three grimy
little bouquets in her hands, fell in beside us and begged us to buy
one. Finally she laid one of them on top of the gorgeous bunch Betty was
carrying.

"Take it, miss; take it!" she urged. "Just see how beautiful it is!"

"It's not beautiful at all!" Betty protested. "It's faded."

"And so am I faded, miss," came the instant retort. "Sure, we can't all
be fresh and lovely like yourself!"

Of course, after that, I bought the bouquet!



CHAPTER V

THE COUNTRY OF ST. KEVIN


DUBLIN is fortunate in its environs. A few miles to the south or west,
and one is in the midst of lovely scenery. The Liffey, just above the
town, changes from an unsightly stream into a beautiful river; just to
the south lie the Wicklow hills--one can reach their foot by tram-line
and some of their wildest beauties are within an hour's walk; a short
run by rail takes one to Bray, from where the Dargle, a glen beloved of
Dubliners, is within easy reach. But the wise traveller will keep on to
Rathdrum, and from there drive over to Glendalough. Or the trip may be
made all the way from Dublin by motor-omnibus, and by this route one
gets the full beauty of the Wicklow passes; but I think the car trip
preferable, at least in fine weather.

The forty-mile run from Dublin to Rathdrum is by the very edge of the
sea. The roadway has been cut high in the face of the cliffs that fringe
the coast--sometimes piercing a projecting headland, sometimes spanning
a deep gully, sometimes skirting a sheer precipice--and the view at
every turn is very romantic and beautiful. The train pauses at Bray, and
then, still hugging the coast, reaches Wicklow, where it turns inland
and mounts toward the hills along a pleasant valley to Rathdrum, perched
in the most picturesque way on the steep banks of the Avonmore, for all
the world like an Alpine village.

Betty and I were the only ones who descended at Rathdrum, that day, and
we were glad, for it is peculiarly true of a side-car that two are
company and any larger number a crowd. The car was waiting, and in a few
minutes we were off on the twelve-mile drive.

The road mounted steeply for a time, passed through a dingy village
clinging to a hillside, and then suddenly emerged high above the lovely
Vale of Clara. Far down, so far it seemed the merest ribbon, the
Avonmore sparkled over its rocky bed; beside it, here and there, a
thatched cottage nestled among the trees; and the greenest of green
fields ran back to the hills on either side. Here the gorse began,
mounting the hillsides in a riot of golden bloom, only to be met and
vanquished on the highest slopes by the low, closely-growing heather,
brown with last year's withered flowers, but soon to veil the hilltops
in a cloud of purple. But the gorse was in its glory--every hedge, every
fence, every wall, every neglected corner was ablaze with it; it
outlined every field; the road we travelled was a royal way, bordered on
either side with gold. "Unprofitably gay?" Betty hotly disputed it. For
how could such beauty be unprofitable?

It was a perfect day, with the air magically soft and the sun just warm
enough for comfort, and we sat there, mightily content, drinking in mile
after mile of loveliness. Away across the valley, we caught a glimpse of
Avondale House, a school of forestry now, but sacred to every Irishman
as the home of Parnell. A little farther on, Castle Howard glooms down
upon the valley where the Avonmore meets the Avonbeg--that "Meeting of
the Waters" celebrated by Tom Moore. But it would take a far greater
poet to do justice to that exquisitely beautiful Vale of Avoca,
stretching away into the shimmering distance.

The road turned away, at last, from the edge of the valley and plunged
into a beautiful wood, and we could see that the bracken was alive with
rabbits. It was a game preserve, our driver said, and he told us to whom
it belonged, but I have forgotten. I suggested that, when he had nothing
better to do, it would be easy enough to come out and knock over a
rabbit.

"They would be putting a lad away for six months for the likes of that,"
he protested.

"Surely no one would grudge you a rabbit now and then!"

"Ah, wouldn't they?" and he laughed grimly. "There's nothing the keepers
like so much as to get their hands on one of us. Why, sir, 'tis a crime
for a man to be caught on the far side of that wall. Not but what I
haven't got me a rabbit before this," he added, "and will again."

We passed a gang of men repairing the road, and two or three others
sitting along the roadside, breaking stone by hand, and wearing goggles
to protect their eyes from the flying splinters; and our driver told us
how the contract for keeping each section of road in shape was let each
year by the county council to the lowest bidder, and the roads inspected
at regular intervals to see that the work was properly done. Two
shillings a day--fifty cents--was about the average wage. I suppose it
is because stone is so plentiful and labour so cheap that the roads all
over Ireland are so good; but one would be inclined to welcome a rut
now and then, if it meant a decent wage for the labourers!

We emerged from the wood presently, and then, away to the left, our
jarvey pointed out the high peaks which guard the entrance to
Glendalough--and let me say here that the word "lough," which occurs so
frequently in Irish geography, means lake, and is pronounced almost
exactly like the Scotch "loch." Glendalough is one of the most beautiful
and romantic spots in Ireland, and its story runneth thus:

In the year 498, the King of Leinster had a son whom he named
Caomh-ghen, or Gentle-born, and whom to-day we call Kevin. The King had
been converted by St. Patrick himself, and he brought his boy up a
Christian; and Kevin had never the slightest doubt as to his vocation,
but knew from the very first that he must be a priest. So he was sent
first to St. Petroc's school in Wicklow, and then to his uncle, St.
Eugenius, who had a school near Glenealy.

Kevin grew in grace and wisdom, and likewise in beauty, until a
handsomer lad was to be found nowhere in Erin, and many a girl looked
sideways at him as he passed, but he paid no heed. One of them, seeing
him so fair and saintly, lost her heart to him entirely, and her head as
well, for she grew so shameless that she followed him in his walks,
pleading with him, touching his hand, kissing his robe--all of which
must have been most embarrassing to that modest and retiring man. At
last, one day, she waylaid him in a wood, and, hungry with passion,
flung herself upon him.

There are two versions of what followed. One is that St. Kevin escaped
by jumping into a bush of nettles, and cooled the damsel's ardour by
beating her with a branch of them, whereupon she asked his pardon and
made a vow of perpetual virginity. The other, and much more plausible
one, is that, after the manner of women, she loved Kevin more
desperately after he had beaten her than she had before, and that
finally the Saint, worn out by a struggle in which he saw that he would
some day be defeated, resolved to hide himself where no man could
discover him, and betook himself to the wild and inaccessible spot where
the mountains meet above Glendalough. There high in the side of the
cliff above the lake, he found a crevice where he made his bed, and lay
down with a sigh of relief for the first peaceful sleep he had had for a
long time. Here is Tom Moore's rendering of the rest of the story:

          On the bold cliff's bosom cast,
          Tranquil now he sleeps at last;
          Dreams of heaven, nor thinks that e'er
          Woman's smile can haunt him there.
          But nor earth nor heaven is free
          From her power if fond she be;
          Even now while calm he sleeps,
          Kathleen o'er him leans and weeps.

          Fearless she had tracked his feet
          To this rocky, wild retreat,
          And when morning met his view,
          Her wild glances met it too.
          Ah! your saints have cruel hearts!
          Sternly from his bed he starts,
          And, with rude, repulsive shock,
          Hurls her from the beetling rock.

          Glendalough, thy gloomy wave
          Soon was gentle Kathleen's grave!
          Soon the saint (but, ah! too late)
          Felt her love and mourned her fate.
          When he said, "Heaven rest her soul!"
          Round the lake light music stole,
          And her ghost was seen to glide
          Smiling o'er the fatal tide.

Most biographers of the Saint hotly deny that he killed the fair
Kathleen, and point out that he was far too holy a man to do such a
thing, even in a moment of anger; but, on the other hand, Kathleen's
ghost may be seen almost any night sitting on a rock by the lakeside,
combing its yellow hair and lamenting its sad fate. What, then, are we
to believe? My own theory is that when the Saint opened his eyes, that
fatal morning, and found his tempter bending over him, he sprang hastily
away, well knowing to what lengths her passion led her, and
inadvertently brushed her off the narrow ledge of rock. The horrified
Saint scrambled down the cliff as quickly as he could, but the
too-impulsive girl was dead. A good many people will add that it served
the hussy right.

This seems to me a reasonable theory; whether it be true or not, Saint
Kevin dwelt seven years in his cave, after Kathleen's death, without
being further disturbed. Then one day, a shepherd climbing down over the
cliff searching for a lost sheep, came upon the holy man, sitting
meditating in his cell, and hastened away to spread the news of the
discovery of a new saint. Great throngs crowded the lake to get a
glimpse of him, much to his annoyance, and besought him to come down so
that they could see him better. This he sternly refused to do, and told
them to go away; but finally he permitted them to build him a little
chapel on a shelf of rock near his cell. That was in June, 536; but the
number of his disciples increased so rapidly that the chapel soon proved
too small, and at last an angel appeared to him and ordered him to found
a monastery at the lower end of the lake. This he did, and it soon
became one of the most famous in Ireland.

It must have been a picturesque place; for there was a special
stone-roofed cell for the Saint, and no less than seven churches to hold
the people, and a great huddle of domestic buildings to protect the
students from the rain and cold, and finally a tall round tower, from
which to watch for the Norse invader. St. Kevin himself died in the
odour of sanctity on the third day of June, 618. What I like about this
story of St. Kevin are the dates--they give it such an unimpeachable
vraisemblance!

After his death, the monastery had a varied history. It was destroyed by
fire in 770, and sacked by the Danes in 830 and many times thereafter;
but the final blow was struck by the English invaders in 1308, when the
place was burnt to the ground. Since then it has been in ruins, much as
it is to-day.

As we drove into the valley, that lovely day in May, no prospect could
have been more beautiful. To right and left, in the distance, towered
the bare brown hills, very steep and rugged, with the blue lake nestling
between. In the foreground lay the ruins of the seven churches, with the
round tower rising high above them; and, from among the trees, peeped
here and there the thatched roof of a cottage with a plume of purple
smoke rising from its chimney. It was like a vision--like some ideal,
painted scene, too lovely to be real--and we gazed at it in speechless
enchantment while our jarvey drove us around the lower lake, under the
shadow of the hills, and so to the little inn where we were to have
lunch.

[Illustration: © Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.

GLENDALOUGH AND THE RUINS OF ST. KEVIN'S CHURCHES]

We were looking in delight at the inn, with its thatched roof and
whitewashed walls, when a formidable figure appeared in the door--a
towering young woman, with eyes terrifically keen and a thick shock of
the reddest hair I ever saw. She was a singularly pure specimen, as I
afterwards learned, of the red Irish--a sort of throw-back, I suppose,
to the old Vikings of the Danish conquest. I admit that I quailed a
little, for she was looking at us with an expression which seemed to me
anything but friendly.

"Can we get lunch?" I inquired.

"You can," she answered, short and sharp like the snap of a whip, and
she stood in the doorway staring at us, without making any sign that we
should enter.

"Is it ready?" I ventured further, for the long drive had made us very
hungry.

"It is not."

Let me say here that very rarely does any one of Irish blood say "yes"
or "no" in answer to a question. When you ask the man at the station,
"Is this the train for So-and-so?" he will invariably answer, "It is,"
or "It is not," as the case may be. When you ask your jarvey if he
thinks it will rain to-day, his invariable answer is "It will not." I
never heard an Irishman admit unreservedly that it was going to rain.
But before I had time to ask the red-headed girl any further questions,
she was hustled aside by a typical little brown Irishwoman, who asked us
in and made us welcome. Lunch would be ready in fifteen minutes, she
said; meanwhile, if we wished, we could walk to the waterfall.

Of course we _did_ wish, and set eagerly forth past the end of the upper
lake, across a bridge, past a great empty hotel which was falling to
decay, and up a little stream to the fall. It is really a series of
rapids rather than a fall, and only mildly pretty; but growing
abundantly in the damp ground along the margin of the stream was what
Betty declared to be the true shamrock--a very beautiful trefoil,
evidently a variety of oxalis, and certainly much nearer our ideal of
the shamrock than the skimpy plant shown us by the gardener at
Clondalkin. We gathered some of it, and then hastened back--for we
didn't want to be late for lunch. As we were passing the lake, we
noticed an extremely dirty and unkempt individual, who looked like a
vagabond, sitting on a stone, and as soon as he saw us, he jumped up and
fell in beside us.

"Your honour will be goin' to St. Kevin's bed," he began.

"Where is the bed?" I asked.

"In the cliff beyant there, sir," and he pointed across the lake.

"How do we get to it?"

"Sure I'll carry your honour and your lady in me boat."

I looked at the fellow, and at the wide lake, and at the little
flat-bottomed skiff moored to a rock near by, and I had my doubts as to
the wisdom of entrusting ourselves to the combination. He read the doubt
in my face, and broke in with voluble protests.

"Arrah, you must go to the bed, your honour," he cried; "and your
honour's lady, too. 'Tis the place where the blessed Saint lived for
siven years, and if you sit down in his seat you will niver have the
backache, and if you lie down in his bed you will niver have any ache at
all, at all, and if you make three wishes they will surely come true."

Betty and I glanced at each other. We were tempted. Then I looked at our
would-be guide.

"Why don't you make three wishes yourself?" I asked.

"I have, your honour."

"Did they come true?"

"They did, your honour," he answered instantly. "I asked for a light
heart, a quick wit and a ready tongue. Your honour can see that I have
all of them."

My heart began to warm to him, for he was the first person we had met in
Ireland who talked like this.

"Now just be lookin' at this, your honour," he went on, and led us to
the side of the road where stood a cross of stone--the terminal cross,
as I afterwards learned, which marked the boundary of the old monastery.
"Do you see them marks? This large one is the mark of a horse's hoof,
and this small one of a colt's; and 'twas by a miracle they came there.
In the old time, there was a man who stole a mare and her foal, but who
denied it, and who was brought before St. Kevin. The Saint placed the
man in front of this cross and told him if he was guilty to be sayin'
it, and if he was not guilty to be sayin' it; and the man said he was
not guilty. And as he spoke the words, the shape of the hoofs appeared
on the cross, and when the man saw them, he knew it was no use tryin' to
deceive the Saint, so he confessed everything. And there the hoof-prints
are to this day."

They certainly bore some resemblance to hoof-prints, and I could not but
admire the ingenuity of the tale which had been invented to explain
them.

"What happened to the thief?" I asked. "Did the Saint let him go?"

"He did not, your honour, for it was the law that he must be hanged. But
before he died, he asked the Saint to grant him one favour, and the
Saint told him to name it; and the man asked that he be buried in the
same graveyard with the Saint himself, and that on his grave a stone be
placed with a hole in the middle, so that, if a horse stepped over his
grave, he might put out his hand and pull it in. The Saint kept his
promise, and in the graveyard yonder you may see the stone."

As, indeed, we did; at least, there is a grave there covered by a stone
with a large round hole in the middle.

"And now, your honour," went on our guide, as we came to the door of the
inn, "you will be wantin' me to row you over to the Saint's bed, I'm
thinkin'."

"What is the fare?" I asked.

"As much over sixpence as you care to give, your honour."

"All right," I said. "We'll be ready presently." And we went in to
lunch.

We certainly enjoyed that meal, though I have forgotten its ingredients;
but I have not forgotten the clean, pleasant dining-room in which it was
served. And then we sallied forth for the visit to St. Kevin's bed.

Our guide was awaiting us, and helped us into his boat and pushed off;
and at once began to recount the legends of the lake; how the fairies
danced punctually at nine every evening, whenever there was a moon,
while at eleven the ghost of the fair Kathleen sat on a stone and sang
and combed her hair, and at twelve the wraith of a wicked sorceress
struck blind by St. Kevin glided about the lake. I forget what else
happened, but it was evident that any one spending a night there would
not lack for entertainment. And he told us why no skylark ever sings in
the vale of Glendalough.

It seems that when St. Kevin was building his monastery, he had a great
number of workmen employed, and the rule was that they should begin the
day's labour with the singing of the lark and end it when the lambs lay
down to rest. It was summer time, and the larks began to sing about
three in the morning, while the lambs refused to retire until nine at
night. The workmen thought these hours excessive, and so complained to
St. Kevin, and he listened to them, and looked at them, and when he saw
their poor jaded faces and tired eyes wanting sleep, his kind heart
pitied them, and he promised to see what he could do. So he raised his
eyes to heaven and put up a prayer that the lark might never sing in the
valley, and that the lamb might lie down before the sun was set; and
the prayer was granted, and from that day to this Glendalough has been
famous as

              "the lake whose gloomy shore
          Skylark never warbles o'er."

At what hour the lambs now go to rest our boatman did not state, and I
did not have time to make any observations for myself; but I commend the
question to the attention of antiquarians.

By the time all these tales had been told, we were across the lake and
drawing in toward a high cliff on the other side; and suddenly somebody
shouted at us, and, as the hills shuttlecocked the echo back and forth
across the water, we looked up and saw two men clinging to the cliff
about forty feet up. As our boat ran in to the shore, they came
scrambling down and helped us out upon a narrow strand.

"The seat and the bed are up yonder," said our guide. "Them ones will
help your honour up."

I looked at the perpendicular cliff, quite smooth except for a little
indentation here and there where one might possibly put one's toe, and
my desire to sit in St. Kevin's seat suffered a severe diminution, for I
have no head for heights. I said as much and listened sceptically to the
fervent assurances of the guides that there was no danger at all, at
all, that they had piloted thousands of people up and down the cliff
without a single mishap, glory be to God. I knew they were talking for a
tip, and not from any abstract love of truth. But in matters of this
sort, Betty is much more impulsive than I--as will appear more than once
in the course of this narrative--and she promptly declared that she was
going up, for the chance to be granted three wishes was too good to be
missed. So up she went, one man pulling in front and the other guiding
her toes into those little crevices in the rock; and presently she
passed from sight, and then her voice floated down to me saying that she
was all right.

Of course I had to follow, if I was to escape a lifetime of derision,
and after a desperate scramble, I found her sitting on a narrow ledge at
the back of a shallow cave in the cliff, with her eyes closed, making
her three wishes. Then I sat down and made mine; and then the guides
offered to conduct us to St. Kevin's bed, but when I found that the bed
was a hole in the cliff into which one had to be poked feet first, and
that to get to it one had to walk along a ledge about three inches wide,
I interposed a veto so vigorous that it prevailed.

Having got up, it was necessary to get down, and when I looked at the
cliff, I understood why St. Kevin had stayed there seven years. The
method of descent is simply to sit on the edge and slide over and trust
to the man below. Fortunately he was on the job, so we live to tell the
tale. As to the efficacy of the seat, I can only say that two of my
three wishes came true, which is a good average. I don't know about
Betty's, for it breaks the charm to tell!

I asked our boatman afterwards why he didn't pilot his passengers up the
cliff himself, and so earn the extra sixpence which is the fee for that
service; and he told me that he couldn't because that was an hereditary
right, controlled by one family, in which it had been handed down for
generations. The father trains his sons in the precise method of
handling the climbers, so that they become very expert at it, and there
is really no great danger. One member of the family is always on the
lookout above the cliff, and when any visitor approaches, two members
climb down to offer their services. Our boatman added that he wished he
belonged to the family, because in good seasons they made a lot of
money.

We pushed out into the lake again, and rowed up a little farther to
another narrow beach, whence a rude flight of steps led to a shelf of
rock many feet above the lake, on which are the ruins of St. Kevin's
first little church. There is not much left of it, which is natural
enough since it was built nearly a thousand years before America was
discovered; but I took the picture of it which is reproduced opposite
the next page, and which gives a faint idea of the beauty of the lake.

All during the afternoon, I had been conscious, at intervals, of a dull
rumbling among the hills, and as we pushed out from the shore, I heard
it again, and asked the boatman if it was thunder, for the clouds had
begun to bank up along the horizon, and I remembered that we had twelve
miles to ride on a side-car before we reached the station. But he said
that it wasn't thunder; there was an artillery camp many miles away
among the hills and the rumbling was the echo of the guns. He also
assured me, after a look around, that it wouldn't rain before morning.
The basis of an Irish weather prediction, as I have said before, is not
at all a desire to foretell what is coming, but merely the wish to
comfort the inquirer; but in this case the prediction happened to come
true.

When we got back to the inn, we found a new arrival, a very pleasant
woman who had come over in the coach from Dublin. Her husband, I
learned, was an inspector employed by the National Education Board, who
had come to Glendalough to inspect the schools in the neighbourhood. He
had started out to inspect one at once, but when he returned I had a
most interesting talk with him concerning education in Ireland, and the
problems which it has to face.

[Illustration: THE ROAD TO ST. KEVIN'S SEAT]

[Illustration: THE FIRST OF ST. KEVIN'S CHURCHES]

The Irish schools, like everything else Irish, are controlled by a
central board which sits at Dublin Castle. There are sixty-six other
boards and bureaus and departments sitting there, each dealing with some
special branch of Irish affairs, and all of them are costly and
complicated. These sixty-seven varieties must cause a pang of envy in
the breast of our own Heinz, for that is ten more than he produces! The
particular board which controls the schools is called the National
Education Board, and, like all the others, it is in no way responsible
to the Irish people. In fact, it isn't responsible to anybody. Its
members are appointed for life, and it is virtually a self-perpetuating
body, for vacancies are usually filled in accordance with the
recommendation of a majority of its members. It is absolutely supreme in
Irish educational affairs.

The elementary schools in Ireland are known as "National Schools," and
each of them is controlled by a local manager, who is always either the
priest or the rector of the parish--the priest if the parish is largely
Roman Catholic, the rector if it is largely Protestant. If there are
enough children, both Catholic and Protestant, to fill two schools,
there will be two, and the two creeds will be separated. This is always
done, of course, in the cities, and in the north of Ireland there are
separate schools for the Presbyterians; but in the country districts
this cannot be done, so that, whatever the religious complexion of the
school, there will always be a few pupils of the other denomination in
it. In the villages where there is a church, as at Clondalkin, the
school is usually connected with the church and in that case, if it is
Roman Catholic, the teachers will be nuns.

The local manager of the school has absolute authority over it. He
employs and dismisses the teachers; he prescribes the course of study;
no book which he prohibits may be used in the school; any book, within
very wide limits, which he wishes to use, he may use; he determines the
character of the religious instruction. If he is a Catholic, this is, of
course, Catholicism; if he is a Protestant, it is Protestantism--which
means in Ireland either Presbyterianism in the north or Church of
Irelandism in the south and west. But, as a very noted preacher remarked
to me one evening, if he should happen to be a Mohammedan, he would be
perfectly free to teach Mohammedanism.

The secular instruction given in the schools is supposed not to be
coloured by religion, but it is inevitable that it should be; and this
is especially true of Ireland, in whose history religious differences
have played and still play so large a part. The result is that the
memory of old wrongs, far better forgotten, is kept alive and flaming;
and not only that, but the wrongs themselves are magnified and
distorted out of all resemblance to the truth. Some one has remarked
that half the ill-feeling in Ireland is caused by the memory of things
that never happened; and furthermore such atrocities as did occur in
some far distant day are spoken of as though they happened yesterday. To
every Catholic, Limerick is still "The City of the Violated Treaty,"
although the treaty referred to was made (and broken) in 1691, and
Catholics have long since been given every right it granted them. In
Derry, the "siege" is referred to constantly as though it were just
over, though as a matter of fact it occurred in 1689. To shout "To hell
with King Billy!" is the deadliest insult that Catholic can offer
Protestant, though King Billy, otherwise William III of Orange, has been
dead for more than two centuries. And when one asks the caretaker of any
old ruin how the place came to be ruined, the invariable answer is
"'Twas Crummell did it!" although it may have been in ruins a century
before Cromwell was born.

A certain period of every day, in every National School, is set apart
for religious instruction. When that period arrives, a placard on the
wall bearing the words "Secular Instruction," is reversed, displaying
the words "Religious Instruction" printed on the other side. Then
everybody in the schoolhouse who does not belong to the denomination in
which religious instruction is to be given is chased outside. Thus, as
you drive about Ireland, you will see little groups of boys and girls
standing idly in front of the schoolhouses, and you will wonder what
they are doing there.

They are waiting for the religious instruction period to be ended.

No Protestant child is permitted to be present while Catholic
instruction is going on, and no Catholic child while Protestant
instruction is being given. The law used to require the teacher forcibly
to eject such a child; but this raised an awful rumpus because, of
course, both Catholics and Protestants are anxious to make converts, and
the teachers used to say that they had conscientious scruples against
driving out any child who might wish to be converted. So the law now
requires the teacher to notify the child's parents; and the result is, I
fancy, very painful to the child.

All of which, I will say frankly, seems to me absurd. I do not believe
that religious and secular instruction can be combined in this way,
especially with a mixed population, without impairing the efficiency of
both. The first real struggle the Home Rule Parliament will have to
face, in the opinion of my friend the inspector, is the struggle to
secularise education. And this, he added, will not be a struggle of
Protestant against Catholic, but of clerical against anti-clerical, for,
while religious instruction is a far more vital principle with the
Catholic church than with the Protestant church, Protestant preachers in
Ireland are just as jealous of their power over the schools and just as
determined to retain it, as the Catholic priests. The influence of the
clergy in Ireland is very great, and I am inclined to think they will
win the first battle; but I also think that they are certain to lose in
the end.

The General Education Board keeps in touch with the local schools by
employing inspectors, who visit them three times a year and report on
their condition. These visits are supposed to be unexpected, but, as a
matter of fact, they seldom are.

"Word always gets about," my informant explained, with a smile, "that we
are in the neighbourhood, and of course things are furbished up a bit."

"I should like to visit some of the schools," I said.

"You are at perfect liberty to do so. Any orderly person has the right
to enter any school at any time."

"It is the poor little schools I wish to see," I added.

"You will find plenty of them in the west of Ireland--in fact, that is
about the only kind they have there. And you will probably scare the
teacher out of a year's growth when you step in. He will think you are
an inspector, or a government official of some kind, who has heard
something to his discredit and has come to investigate."

"Something to his discredit?" I repeated.

"Perhaps that he doesn't try to make the children in his district come
to school. That is one great fault with our system. We have a compulsory
education law, and every child in Ireland is supposed to go to school
until he is fourteen. But no effort is made to enforce it, and not over
half the children attend school with any sort of regularity. Often, of
course, their parents need them; but more frequently it is because the
parents are so ignorant themselves that they don't appreciate the value
of an education. That isn't their fault entirely, for until thirty or
forty years ago, it was practically impossible for a Catholic child to
get any education, since the schools were managed by Protestants in a
proselytising spirit and the priests would not allow Catholic children
to attend them.

"I have some of the old readers that were used in those days," went on
the inspector, with a smile, "and I wish I had them here. They would
amuse you. In one of them, the Board cut out Scott's lines,

          "'Breathes there a man with soul so dead
           Who never to himself has said
           This is my own, my native land,'

and so on, fearing that they might have a bad effect upon Irish children
by teaching them to love the land they were born in, and substituted
some verses written by one of their own members. One stanza ran
something like this:

          "'I thank the goodness and the grace
              Which on my birth have smiled,
           And made me in these Christian days
              A happy English child.'

The Board claimed there was nothing sectarian about that stanza, but I
wonder what the O'Malleys over in Joyce's Country thought when their
children recited it? I'll bet there was a riot! And the histories had
every sort of history in them except Irish history. Ireland was treated
as a kind of tail to England's kite, and the English conquest was spoken
of as a thing for which Ireland should be deeply grateful, and the
English government was held up to admiration as the best and wisest that
man could hope to devise.

"Ah, well, those days are over now, and they don't try to make a happy
English child out of an Irish Catholic any longer. The principal
trouble now is that there isn't enough money to carry on the schools
properly. Many of the buildings are unfit for schoolhouses, and the
teachers are miserably paid. The school-books are usually poor little
penny affairs, for the children can't afford more expensive ones. We
visit the schools three times a year and look them over, but there isn't
anything we can do. Here is the blank we are supposed to fill out."

The blank was a portentous four-page document, with many printed
questions. The first section dealt with the condition of the schoolhouse
and premises, the second with the school equipment, the third with the
organisation, and so on. As might be expected, many of the questions
have to do with the subject of religious instruction. Here are some of
them:

          Note objections (if any) to arrangements for
          Religious Instruction.

          Have you examined the Religious Instruction
          Certificate Book?

          Are the Rules as to this book observed?

          Is the school _bona fide_ open to pupils of all
          denominations?

          In case of Convent or Monastery schools, paid by
          capitation, state is the staff sufficient.

The "Religious Instruction Certificate Book"--note the reverent
capitals--is the book in which the religion of each child is certified
to by its parents, so that there can be no controversy on the subject,
and in which the child's attendance is carefully entered. There is also
a Punishment Book, in which the teacher, when a child is punished, must
enter the details of the affair for the inspector's information; and an
Observation Book, in which the inspector is supposed to note
suggestions for the teacher's guidance; as well as records of attendance
and proficiency, and all the usual red tape of the Circumlocution
Office. I have never seen any of these books, but I fancy that, with the
exception of the first-named, few teachers spend much time over them.

As I have said before, the local manager has absolute control of the
school, and the poverty of the school funds is sometimes due to his
desire to keep this power wholly in his own hands. The government grant
is intended only as a partial support, and is supposed to be
supplemented by a local contribution. But frequently no local
contribution is asked for or desired, because, if one was made, the
persons who made it would rightfully claim some voice in the management
of the school. I have heard queer tales of managers' eccentricities. One
of them read somewhere of the high educational value of teaching
children to fold paper in various shapes, and so had the children in his
school devote an hour every day to this exercise. It was popular with
the children, but the indignation of their parents may be imagined. They
were, however, quite powerless to do anything except raise a row.
Another, who believed that the highest function of education was to
develop the æsthetic consciousness, had the children in his school
arrange rags of various colours in symphonies, and the people in his
parish nearly went mad with rage.

But these, of course, were exceptions. As a rule, the course of study is
utilitarian and humdrum enough, and the only colour the manager injects
into it is that of religion. I note that the subjects of study
mentioned in the inspector's blank are oral and written English,
history, arithmetic, geography, object lessons and elementary science,
cookery and laundry work, singing, drawing, needlework, and training of
infants. This sounds ambitious enough, but I fancy it is mostly blarney,
so far as the small schools are concerned, at any rate. About all most
of them do is to teach the children to read and write and cipher--and
these most haltingly. Twenty per cent of the people in western Ireland
are still unable to do even that.

"You are a Nationalist, I suppose?" I said, after I had finished looking
through the blank.

"I am," he assented emphatically.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because it is bad for Ireland to be treated like a spoiled child. That
is the way England treats us now--we can get anything we want if we yell
loud enough. And it's bad for England, too. She has problems enough of
her own, heaven knows, but all she can think about is Ireland. Every
sensible Englishman will be glad to get rid of us, so his government can
have a little time to attend to its own affairs. What Ireland needs is
to be chucked overboard and told to sink or swim. We'll swim, of course,
but the shore's a long way off, and it will be a hard pull; but the
harder it is, the closer we Irishmen will be drawn together. Home Rule
won't bring any shower of blessings--it's more apt to bring hardships
for a while; but it will give us a chance to stop thinking about our
wrongs, and go to work to make Ireland a country worth living in."

The time had come for us to take our leave, and the inspector and his
wife walked with us, for half a mile or so, along a beautiful path
through the woods on the other side of the lower lake, and finally, with
many expressions of good-will, bade us good-bye. We went on again, to
the ruins of St. Kevin's seven churches, with the round tower looming
high above them, while all about are the mounds and slabs of the old
graveyard. All the churches are little ones--mere midgets, some of
them--and they are in all states of preservation, from a few fragments
of wall to the almost perfect "St. Kevin's Kitchen"--a tiny structure
with high stone roof, which was set apart for the Saint's use, and which
was so solidly built that it passed unharmed through the many burnings
and sackings of the monastery, and still stands intact, defying the
centuries. There is a queer little tower at one end of it, and a chamber
above between the vault and the high roof; but most of these pre-Norman
churches are small and bare of ornament, and remarkable only for their
great age.

We spent some time in the graveyard, looking at the crosses and
ornamented tombstones, and sculptured fragments lying about, and then we
inspected the round tower; but my picture of it looks like a silhouette
against the sunset sky; and finally we went on to the road, where our
car was waiting. As we swung along through the fresh, cool air of the
evening, we drew our jarvey into talk. He was very pessimistic about the
state of the country, and apparently did not believe that Home Rule
would help it much. There was no chance, he said, for a man to get
ahead. It was a hard struggle for most of them to get enough to eat and
a place to sleep and a few clothes to wear. A little sickness or bad
luck, and there was nothing left but the workhouse--the workmen's
insurance act did not include men like him. His own wages were ten
shillings ($2.40) a week, and there were many who could not earn even
that. On ten shillings--eked out by such tips as he picked up from his
passengers--he managed to clothe and feed himself, but that was all.
Marriage was not to be thought of; there was no hope of saving money
enough to go to America; in fact, there was no hope of any kind. But
though he spoke bitterly enough, he didn't seem unreasonably cast down,
and I dare say spent little time thinking about his hard fate except
when some passing Americans like ourselves reminded him of it.

And at last, just as dusk was falling, we wound down into the valley at
Rathdrum; and presently our train came along; and an hour later we were
again walking along O'Connell Street. It was long past nine o'clock, but
not yet dark.



CHAPTER VI

DROGHEDA THE DREARY


THERE was one more excursion we wanted to make from Dublin. That was to
Drogheda (pronounced Drawda) of bitter memory; from where we hoped to
drive to the scene of the battle of the Boyne, and on to Dowth and
Newgrange, the sepulchres of the ancient kings of Erin, and finally to
the abbeys of Mellifont and Monasterboice. So we set forth, next
morning, on this pilgrimage; but fate willed that we were not to
accomplish it that day.

Drogheda is about thirty miles north of Dublin, near the mouth of the
River Boyne, and the ride thither, for the most part close beside the
sea, is not of special interest, as the coast is flat and the only town
of any importance on the way is Balbriggan, celebrated for its hosiery.
Drogheda itself is an up-and-down place, built on the side of a hill. I
suppose the castle which was the nucleus of the town stood on top of the
hill, and houses were gradually built from it down to the ford from
which the town takes its name. Encircled with walls and dominated by its
castle, it was no doubt picturesque enough, but it is singularly dingy
and unattractive now, with slums almost as bad as Dublin's and evidences
of biting poverty everywhere.

We blundered into the fish-market, as we were exploring the streets, and
watched for some time the haggling between the dealers and the women
who had come to market--a haggling so vigorous that it often threatened
to end in blows. Most of the fish had been cut up into pieces, and every
piece was fingered and poked and examined with a scrutiny almost
microscopic; and then the would-be purchaser would make an offer for it,
which would be indignantly refused. Then the dealer would name his
price, and this never failed to arouse a storm of protest. Then dealer
and purchaser would indulge in a few personalities, recalling with
relish any discreditable facts in the other's private life or family
history; and finally, sometimes, an agreement would be reached. In any
case, the price was never more than a few pennies, and the reluctance
with which they were produced and handed over proved how tremendously
hard it had been to earn them.

Drogheda recalls Cromwell to every Irishman, usually with a malediction,
for it was here that the massacre occurred which made and still makes
the Great Protector anathema in Catholic Ireland. Briefly, the facts are
these: The Irish Catholics, under Owen Roe O'Neill, had, naturally
enough, supported Charles I against the Parliament, and when the
Parliament cut off his head, promptly declared for his son, Charles II,
and started in to conquer Ulster, which was largely Protestant then as
now.

Cromwell realised that, before the Commonwealth would be safe, the
rebellion in Ireland must be put down, and at once addressed himself to
the task. He landed at Dublin about the middle of August, 1649, and
marched against Drogheda, which was held by an Irish force of some three
thousand men. Arrived before it, he summoned the town to surrender;
upon its refusal, took it by storm, and "in the heat of action," as he
afterwards wrote, ordered that the whole garrison be put to the sword.
Not more than thirty of the three thousand escaped, and such Catholic
priests as were found in the place were hanged. Cromwell afterwards
sought to justify this cruelty on two grounds: as a reprisal for the
killing of Protestants in Ulster, and as the most efficacious way to
strike terror to the Irish and end the rebellion. As a matter of fact,
it cannot be justified, as John Morley very clearly points out in a
chapter of his life of Cromwell which should be read by every one
interested in Irish history.

Some fragments of the old walls still remain, and one of the gates,
which will be found pictured opposite the next page. It spans what is
now the principal street, and consists of two battlemented towers,
pierced with loopholes in each of their four stories, and connected by a
retiring wall also loopholed. It is so well preserved because it stands
on the opposite side of the town from the one Cromwell attacked, and is
the most perfect specimen of the mediæval city-gate which I saw anywhere
in Ireland. When one has seen it, one has exhausted the antiquarian
interest of Drogheda, for all that is left of the old monastery is a
battered fragment. As for the modern town, the churches are rococo and
ugly, while the most imposing building is the workhouse, capable of
accommodating a thousand inmates.

Having satisfied our curiosity as to Drogheda, we addressed ourselves to
getting out to the battlefield and abbeys. The railroads sell
combination tickets for the whole trip, at three or four shillings
each, carrying their passengers about in brakes; but these excursions do
not start till June, so it was necessary that we get a car. At the
station, and again at the wharf by the river, we had observed large
bulletin boards with a list of the jaunting-car tariffs fixed by the
corporation, and giving the price of the trip we wanted to take as ten
shillings for two people. In the square by the post-office, a number of
cars were drawn up along the curb, and, picking out the best-looking
one, I told the jarvey where we wanted to go.

[Illustration: THE ROUND TOWER, CLONDALKIN]

[Illustration: ST. LAWRENCE'S GATE, DROGHEDA]

"Very good, sir," he said. "I'm the lad can take ye. Do you and your
lady get right up."

"What is the fare?" I asked.

"One pound, sir."

"The legal fare is just half that," I pointed out.

"It may be," he agreed pleasantly.

We left him negligently flicking his horse with his whip, and presently
we met a policeman, and told him we wanted to drive out to
Monasterboice, and while we didn't mind being robbed, we didn't care to
be looted, and we asked his advice. He scratched his head dubiously.

"Ye see it is like this, sir," he said; "there is no one to enforce the
regulations, so the jarvies just charge what they please. I'm free to
admit they have no conscience. There is one, though, who is fairly
honest," and he directed us to his house. "Tell him you come from me,
and he'll treat you well."

But that transaction was never closed. We found the house--grimy, dark,
dirt-floored, trash-littered--with the man's wife and assorted children
within; but the woman told us that "himself" had driven out into the
country and would not be back till evening. And just then it began to
drizzle most dismally.

"This is no day for the trip, anyway," I said. "Suppose we wait till we
get to Belfast, and run down from there."

So it was agreed, and we made our way back to the station, through a sea
of sticky mud, and presently took train again for Ireland's ancient
capital.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were ready to leave Dublin for a swing clear around the coast of
Ireland, and late that afternoon, having sifted our luggage to the
minimum and armed ourselves cap-à-pie against every vicissitude of
weather, we bade our friends at the hotel good-bye (not forgetting the
bell-boy), drove to the station, and got aboard a train, which presently
rolled away southwards. It was very full--the third-class crowded with
soldiers in khaki bound for the camp on the Curragh of Kildare, and our
own compartment jammed with a variety of people.

In one corner, a white-haired priest mumbled his breviary and watched
the crowd with absent eyes, while across from him a loud-voiced woman,
evidently, from her big hat and cheap finery, just home from America,
was trying to overawe the friends who had gone to Dublin to meet her by
an exhibition of sham gentility. In the seat with us was a plump and
comfortable woman of middle age, with whom we soon got into talk about
everything from children to Home Rule.

What she had to say about Home Rule was interesting. Her home was
somewhere down in the Vale of Tipperary, and I judged from her
appearance that she was the wife of a well-to-do farmer. She was most
emphatically not a Nationalist.

"It isn't them who own land, or who are buyin' a little farm under the
purchase act that want Home Rule," she said. "No, no; them ones would be
glad to let well enough alone. 'Tis the labourers, the farm-hands, the
ditch-diggers, and such-like people, who have nothin' to lose, that
shout the loudest for it. They would like a bit of land themselves, and
they fancy that under Home Rule they'll be gettin' it; but where is it
to come from, I'd like to know, unless off of them that has it now; and
who would be trustin' the likes of them to pay for it? Ah, 'tis foolish
to think of! Besides, if everybody owned land, where would we be gettin'
labour to work it? No, no; 'tis time to stop, I say, and there be many
who think like me."

"What wages does a labourer make?" I asked.

"From ten to twelve shillin's a week."

"All the year round?"

"There's no work in winter, so how can one be payin' wages then?"

"But how can they live on that?"

"They can't live on it," she said fiercely; "many of them ones couldn't
live at all, if it wasn't for the money that's sent them from America.
But what can the farmers do? If they pay higher wages, they ruin
themselves. Most of them have give up in disgust and turned their land
into grass."

"What do the labourers do then?" I asked.

"They move away some'rs else--to America if they can."

"Perhaps Home Rule will make things better," I suggested.

"How, I'd like to know? By raisin' taxes? That same is the first thing
will happen! No, no; the solid men hereabouts don't want Home
Rule--they're afraid of it; but they know well enough they must keep
their tongues in their mouths, except with each other. The world's goin'
crazy--that's what I think."

Now I look back on it, that conversation seems to me to sum up pretty
well the situation in rural Ireland--the small farmer, handicapped by
poverty and primitive methods, ground down in the markets of the world,
and in turn grinding down the labourers beneath him, or turning his farm
into grass, so that there is no work at all except for a few shepherds.
And I believe it is true that, as a whole, only the upper class and the
lower class of Irishmen really want Home Rule--the upper class from
motives of patriotism, the lower class from hope of betterment; while
the middle class is either lukewarm or opposed to it at heart. The
middle class is, of course, always and everywhere, the conservative
class, the class which fears change most and is the last to consent to
it; in Ireland, it is composed largely of small farmers, who have
dragged themselves a step above the peasantry and who are just finding
their feet under the land purchase act, and I think their liveliest fear
is that a Home Rule Parliament will somehow compel them to pay living
wages to their labourers. I can only say that I hope it will!

Outside, meanwhile, rural Ireland was unfolding itself under our eyes,
varied, beautiful--and sad. The first part of it we had already
traversed on our excursion to Clondalkin; beyond that village, the road
emerged from the hills encircling Dublin, and soon we could see their
beautiful rounded masses far to the left, forming a charming background
to meadows whose greenness no words can describe. Every foot of the
ground is historic; for first the train passes Celbridge where Swift's
"Vanessa" dwelt, and just beyond is Lyons Hill, where Daniel O'Connell
shot and killed a Dublin merchant named D'Esterre in a duel a hundred
years ago--an affair, it should be added, in which D'Esterre was the
aggressor; and presently the line crosses a broad and beautiful
undulating down, the Curragh of Kildare, where St. Brigid pastured her
flocks, and it was made in this wise:

One time, when Brigid, who was but a poor serving-girl, being the
daughter of a bond-woman, was minding her cow, with no place to feed it
but the side of the road, the rich man who owned the land for leagues
around came by, and saw her and her cow, and a pity for her sprang into
his heart.

"How much land would it take to give grass to the cow?" said he.

"No more than my cloak would cover," said she.

"I will give that," said the rich man.

"Glory be to God!" said Brigid, and she took off her cloak and laid it
on the ground, and she had no sooner done so than it began to grow,
until it spread miles and miles on every side.

But just then a silly old woman came by, bad cess to her, and she opened
her foolish mouth and she said, "If that cloak keeps on spreading, all
Ireland will be free."

And with that the cloak stopped and spread no more; but the rich man was
true to his word, and Brigid held the land which it covered during all
her lifetime, and it has been a famous grazing-ground ever since, though
the creatures are crowded off part of it now by a great military camp.

Beyond the Curragh, the train rumbles over a wide bog, which trembles
uneasily beneath it, and the black turf-cuttings stretch away as far as
the eye can see; and then the Hill of Allen looms up against the
horizon, where the Kings of Leinster dwelt in the old days, and the
fields grow greener than ever, but for miles and miles there is not a
single house.

And this is the sad part of it; for this fertile land, as rich as any in
the world, supports only flocks and herds, instead of the men and women
and children who once peopled it. They have all been driven away, by
eviction, by famine, by the hard necessity of finding work; for there is
no work here except for a few herdsmen, and has not been for half a
century. For when the landlords found--or fancied they found--there was
more money in grazing than in agriculture, they turned the people out
and the sheep and cattle in--and the sheep and cattle are still there.

But the landscape grows ever lovelier and more lovely. Away on either
hand, high ranges of hills spring into being, closing in the Golden Vale
of Tipperary, and one realises it was a true vision of the place of his
birth that Denis McCarthy had when he wrote his lilting verses in praise
of it:

    Ah, sweet is Tipperary in the springtime of the year,
      When the hawthorn's whiter than the snow,
    When the feathered folk assemble and the air is all a-tremble
      With their singing and their winging to and fro;
    When queenly Slievenamon puts her verdant vesture on
      And smiles to hear the news the breezes bring;
    When the sun begins to glance on the rivulets that dance--
      Ah, sweet is Tipperary in the spring!

Slievenamon is not in sight from the train--we shall see it to-morrow
from the Rock of Cashel; but just ahead is a rugged hill with a
singular, half-moon depression at the summit, for all the world as
though some one had taken a great bite out of it--and that is precisely
what happened, for once upon a time the Prince of Darkness passed that
way, and when he came to the hill, being pressed with hunger, he took a
bite out of the top of it; but it was not to his taste, so he spat it
out again, and it fell some miles away across the valley, where it lies
to this day, and is called the Rock of Cashel, while the hill is known
as the Devil's Bit.

And then we came to Thurles--and to earth.

Now Thurles--the word is pronounced in two syllables, as though it were
spelled Thurless--is a small town and has only two inns. We knew nothing
of either, so we asked the advice of a bluff, farmer-looking man in our
compartment, who was native to the place. He declined, at first, to
express an opinion, saying it would ill become him to exalt one inn at
the expense of the other, since the keepers of both were friends of
his; but after some moments of cogitation, he said that he would
recommend one of them, since it was kept by a poor widow woman. I
confess this did not seem to me a convincing reason for going there; but
our new-found friend took charge of us, and, having seen us safely to
the platform, called loudly for "Jimmy," and an old man presently
shambled forward, to whose care, with many wishes for a pleasant
journey, we were committed.

The old man proved to be the driver of a very ramshackle omnibus, in
which we were presently rumbling along a wide and dreary street. The
hotel, when we got to it, proved bare and cheerless, with every corner
crowded with cots. The landlady explained that the great horse-fair
opened in a day or two, and that she was preparing for the crowds which
always attended it; but finally she found a room for us away up in the
attic, and left us alone with a candle. The weather had turned very
cold, and we were tired and uncomfortable, and even our electric torch
could not make the room look otherwise than dingy; and I think, for a
moment, we regretted that we had come to Ireland--and then, presto!
change. . . .

For there came a knock at the door, and a soft-voiced maid entered with
towels and hot water, and asked if there wasn't something else she could
do for us; and then another came, to see if there was anything _she_
could do, and between them they lapped us in such a warmth of Irish
welcome that we were soon aglow. I left them blarneying Betty and went
down to the shining little bar, where I smoked a pipe in company with
two or three habitués and the barmaid, and had a most improving talk
about the state of the country. They were as hungry to hear about
America as I was to hear about Ireland, and it was very late before I
mounted the stairs again.

All through the night, we were awakened at intervals by the tramping and
neighing of the horses arriving for the fair.



CHAPTER VII

HOLY CROSS AND CASHEL OF THE KINGS


IF one doesn't like bacon and eggs, one must go without breakfast in
Ireland, unless one likes fish, or is content with bread and butter.
Every evening Betty would have a colloquy with the maid, which ran
something like this:

"What will ye be wantin' for breakfast, miss?"

"What can we have?"

"Oh, anything ye like, miss."

"Well, what, for instance?"

"There's bacon and eggs, miss, and there's fish."

We usually took bacon and eggs, for fish seemed out of place on the
breakfast-table. Besides, we were sure to encounter it later at dinner.

"And will ye have coffee or tay, miss?" the maid would continue.

We took coffee once, and after that we took tea. The tea is good, though
strong, and it seems somehow to suit the climate; but one sip of Irish
coffee will be enough for most people.

So next morning we sat down to our breakfast of tea and bacon and eggs
with a good appetite. The cloth was not as clean as it might have been,
but the eggs were fresh and the bacon sweet, and the bread and butter
were delicious--as they are all over Ireland--and the tea tasted better
than I had ever imagined tea could taste, and outside the sun was
shining brightly, but no brighter than the face of the maid who waited
on us, and there was a pleasant stir of movement up and down the street,
for it was Saturday and market-day, so that it was quite impossible to
be otherwise than happy and content. And presently the car I had
arranged for the night before drove up, and we were off on the four-mile
drive to the ruins of Holy Cross Abbey.

We had to go slowly, at first, for the street was crowded with people
come to market, and with the wares exposed for sale. There were little
carts heaped high with brown turf, which might be bought for two or
three shillings a load, though every load represented as many days' hard
work; there were red calves in little pens, and chickens in crates, and
eggs and butter in baskets; and there were a lot of pedlars offering all
sorts of dry-goods and hardware and odds and ends to the country-people
who stood stolidly around, apparently rather sorry they had come. The
faces were typically Irish--the men with short noses and shaved lips and
little fuzzy side-whiskers, and the women with cheeks almost startlingly
ruddy; but there wasn't a trace of those rollicking spirits which the
Irish in books and on the stage seldom fail to display.

Once clear of the crowd, we rolled out of the town, over a bridge above
the railway, and along a pleasant road, past little thatched cottages
overflowing with children; meeting, from time to time, a family driving
to town, all crowded together on a little cart behind a shaggy donkey,
the men with their feet hanging down, the women scrooched up under their
shawls, with their knees as high as their chins. They all stared at us
curiously; but our driver passed them by with disdain, as not worth his
notice, and from a word or two he let fall, it was evident that he
considered them beneath him.

The road was rather higher than the surrounding country, and we could
see across it, north and south, for many miles; then it descended to a
winding stream, the Suir, flowing gently between rushy banks, and
presently we saw ahead a great pile of crumbling buildings--and then we
were at Holy Cross, one of the most exquisite and interesting of the
hundreds of ruins which cover Ireland.

That word "hundreds" is no exaggeration. In a single day's journey, one
will see scores; and as one goes on thus, day after day, one begins to
realise what a populous and wealthy country Ireland was eight hundred
years ago, how crowded with castles and monasteries; and I think the
deepest impression the traveller bears away with him is the memory of
these battered and deserted remnants of former grandeur. And yet it is
not quite just to blame England for them, as most of the Irish do. It
was the English, of course, who broke up the monasteries and destroyed
many of the castles; but the march of the centuries would probably have
wrought much the same ruin in the end; for men no longer live in
castles, finding homes far pleasanter; and it is not now to monks they
go for learning, nor is the right of sanctuary needed as it was in the
time when might made right, and a poor man's only hope of safety lay in
getting to some altar ahead of his pursuers. Yet one cannot tread these
beautiful places without a certain sadness and regret--regret for the
vanished pomp and ceremony, the cowled processions and torch-lit feasts,
the shuffle of feet and the songs of minstrels--in a word, for the old
order, so impressive, so picturesque--and so cruel!

[Illustration: HOLY CROSS ABBEY, FROM THE CLOISTERS]

[Illustration: THE MIGHTY RUINS ON THE ROCK OF CASHEL]

Holy Cross was a great place in those days, for, as its name indicates,
it held as its most precious relic a fragment of the True Cross, given
by the Pope, in 1110, to Donough O'Brien, grandson of Brian Boru, and
thousands of pilgrims came to pray before it. The relic had many strange
vicissitudes, in the centuries that followed, but it was not lost, as
was the one which the Cross of Cong enshrined, and it is preserved
to-day in the Ursuline convent at Blackrock. Holy Cross had better luck
than most, for, at the dissolution in 1563, it was granted to the Earl
of Ormonde, a friend who cherished it. But the end came with the passing
of the Stuarts, and now it is deserted save for the old woman who acts
as caretaker, and who lives in a little ivy-covered house built against
the wall of the great church.

She opened the iron gate which bars access to the ruins, and let us
wander about them at will, for which we were grateful. The plan of the
place is that common to almost all monastic establishments: a cruciform
church, with the altar at the east end, as nearest Jerusalem, the arms
of the cross, or transepts, stretching north and south, and the body of
the cross, or nave, extending to the west, where the main entrance was;
a door from the nave opened to the south into a court around which were
the cloisters and the domestic buildings--the refectory, the
chapter-house and the dormitories; and still beyond these were the
granaries and storehouses and guest-houses and various out-buildings.
Also, like most others, it stands on the bank of a river, for the monks
were fond of fishing,--and had no mind to go hungry on Friday!

The roof of the church has fallen in, but it is otherwise
well-preserved, even to the window-tracery; and the square tower above
the crossing is apparently as firm as ever. The whole place abounds in
beautiful detail, proof of the loving workmanship that was lavished on
it; but its bright particular gem is a little sanctum in the north
transept, surrounded by delicate twisted pillars and covered by a roof
beautifully groined. Whether this was the sanctuary of the relic, or the
place where the monks were laid from death to burial, or the tomb of
some saintly Abbot, no one knows; but there it is, a living testimony to
the beauty of Irish artistry.

The cloister is now a grass-grown court, and only a few arches remain of
the colonnade which once surrounded it; but the square of domestic
buildings about it is better preserved than one will find almost
anywhere else, and deserves careful exploration.

As was the custom in most of the abbeys, the friars, when they died,
were laid to rest beneath the flags of the church floor; the church is
still used as a burial place, and is cluttered with graves, marked by
stones leaning at every angle. One's feet sink deep into the mould--a
mould composed, so the caretaker told us in awestruck voice, of human
dust.

We mounted the narrow staircase to the tower roof and sat there for a
long time, gazing down on these lichened and crumbling walls, restoring
them in imagination and repeopling them with the White Brothers and the
pilgrims and the innumerable hangers-on who once crowded them. It
required no great stretch of fancy to conjure the old days back--that
day, for instance, three centuries and more ago, when Red Hugh
O'Donnell, marching southward from Galway with his army to join the
Spaniards at Kinsale, came down yonder white highway, and stopped at the
monastery gate, and invoked a blessing from the Abbot. And the Abbot,
with all the monks in attendance, carried the fragment of the Cross in
its gilded shrine out to the gate, and held it up for all to see, and
Red Hugh and his men knelt down there in the road, while the priest
prayed that through them Ireland might win freedom. And even as they
knelt, a wild-eyed rapparee came pounding up with the news that a great
force of English was at Cashel, a few miles away; so Red Hugh had to
flee with his men over the hills to the westward, to die a year later,
poisoned by a man he thought his friend.

We descended after a time, and crossed the river to have a look at the
Abbey from that vantage-ground; and at last, most regretfully, we
mounted the car again and drove back to Thurles. An hour later, we were
at Cashel--the one place in all Ireland best worth seeing.

I write that in all earnestness. If the traveller has time for only one
excursion out of Dublin, he should hesitate not an instant, but go to
Cashel. I shall try to tell why.

Cashel is a rock some three hundred feet high dropped down among the
pastures along the northern edge of the Golden Vale of Tipperary. I do
not know how the geologists explain it. How the Irish explain it I have
told already. Its sides are of the steepest, and its flat top is about
two acres in extent. In itself it is a natural fortress, and it was of
course seized upon as such by the dim people who fought back and forth
over the length and breadth of Ireland in the far ages before history
begins. At first it was strengthened by a wall around the top. Any such
defensive wall in Ireland is called a cashel, as one of earth is called
a rath, and there are both raths and cashels all up and down the land,
for forts have always been sorely needed there; but this is the Cashel
above all others.

Buildings were put up inside the wall, rude at first, but gradually
growing more elaborate, and when the real history of the place begins,
say about fifteen centuries ago, it was already the seat of the Kings of
Munster, that is of the southern half of Ireland. Hither about 450 came
St. Patrick to convert the King and his household; it was while
preaching here that he is said first to have plucked the trefoil or
shamrock to illustrate the principle of the Three-in-One; Brian Boru
strengthened its fortifications; and in 1134 was consecrated here that
wonderful chapel of Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, which still
endures as a most convincing demonstration of the beauty of old Irish
architecture. Then a round tower was put up, and then a castle, and then
a great cathedral, for King Murtough had granted the Rock to "the
religious of Ireland," and the Archbishop of Cashel came, before long,
to be nearly as powerful as the great Archbishop of Armagh; and then a
monastery was built, and schools, under the sway first of the
Benedictines and later of the Cistercians. All this made a stupendous
group of buildings, a splendid and impressive symbol of Cashel's
greatness.

[Illustration: © Underwood & Underwood, N.Y.

CASHEL OF THE KINGS]

But under Elizabeth, the scale turned. Dermot O'Hurley, Archbishop of
Cashel, was taken prisoner and carried to Dublin and hanged. His
successor, Milar Magrath, abjured his religion, under Elizabethan
pressure, and to prove the sincerity of his Protestantism, married not
once, but twice. From that time on, the place was used as a Protestant
cathedral, until, in 1744, Archbishop Price succeeded to the see.

Now the Archbishop was a man who loved his ease, and though his palace
was situated conveniently enough at the foot of the Rock, his church was
perched most inconveniently upon it, and the only way even an archbishop
could get to it was to walk. Price spent a lot of money trying to build
a carriage road up the Rock, but finally he gave it up and procured from
Parliament an act decreeing that, whereas, "in several dioceses,
cathedral churches are so incommodiously situated that they cannot be
resorted to for divine service," power should be given the chief
governor, with assent of the privy council, to "remove the site of a
cathedral church to some convenient parish church." Two years later, in
1749, an act was passed directing that the cathedral be removed from the
Rock into the town. This was, of course, impossible in any but a
metaphorical sense; but, incredible as it may seem, since he couldn't
remove it, Price determined to destroy it, secured from the government
the loan of a regiment of soldiers, and set them to work tearing it
down. They stripped off the leaden roof, knocked in the vaulting, and
left the place the ruin that it is to-day. It might be remarked, in
passing, that here is one ruin "Crummell" didn't make. George II was
King of England in 1749, and Cromwell had been dead nearly a hundred
years.

I shall never forget my first glimpse of this stupendous pile of
buildings, looming high in air, all turrets and towers, like those fairy
palaces which Maxfield Parrish loves to paint. A short branch runs from
Goold's Cross to Cashel, and it was from the windows of the rickety
little train we peered, first on this side and then on that--and then,
quite suddenly, away to the left, we saw the Rock, golden-grey, high
against the sky, so fairy-like and ethereal that it seemed impossible it
could be anything more than a wonderful vision or mirage. And then the
train stopped, and we jumped out, and hurried from the station, and
presently we were following the path around the Rock. But that was too
slow, and with a simultaneous impulse we left the path and climbed the
wall, and hastened upward over rock and heather, straight toward this
new marvel. We skirted another wall, and climbed a stile--and then we
were stopped by a high iron gate, secured with a chain and formidable
padlock.

But we had scarcely time to feel the shock of disappointment, when we
saw hastening upward toward us a sturdy old man, with weather-beaten
face framed by a shock of reddish-grey hair and beard, and a moment
later we had the pleasure of meeting John Minogue, the caretaker--the
most accomplished caretaker, I venture to say, in all the length and
breadth of Ireland. For, as we soon found, he has the history and
legends and architectural peculiarities of Cashel at his tongue's
end--he knows them intimately, accurately, in every detail, for he has
lived with them all his life and loves them.

He unlocked the iron gate and ushered us in, and chased away the rabble
of ragged children who had followed him up from the village; and then
began one of the most delightful experiences that I have ever had. I
almost despair of attempting to describe it.

At our feet lay the Vale of Tipperary--an expanse of greenest green
stretching unbroken to the foot of a great mountain-chain, the Galtees,
thirty miles away. Farther to the north, we could just discern the gap
of the Devil's Bit, beyond which lay Limerick and the Shannon. And then
we walked to the other side of the Rock, and there, away in the
distance, towered the great bulk of "queenly Slievenamon," the Mountain
of Fair Women, and as we stood there gazing at it, John Minogue told us
how it got its name.

It was in the days when Cormac son of Art was King of Erin, and Finn son
of Cumhal, Finn the Fair, he of the High Deeds,--whose name I shall
spell hereafter as it is pronounced, Finn MacCool--had been declared by
birthright and by swordright Captain of that invincible brotherhood of
fighting-men, the Fianna. Finn was past his youth, and had a comely son,
Ossian the sweet singer; but at times his spirit hung heavy on him, for
his wife was dead, and no man has peaceful slumber who is without a
fitting mate. So he looked about for one to share his bed, but found it
hard to choose, for there were many fine women in Erin; and at last in
his perplexity he sat himself down on the summit of Slievenamon, and
said that all who wished might run a race from the bottom to the top,
and she who won should be his wife. So it was done, and the race was won
by Gráinne, daughter of the great Cormac himself. The feast was set for
a fortnight later, in the king's hall at Tara--and what happened there
we shall hear later on.

We might have been standing yet upon the Rock, gazing out across that
marvellous valley, if John Minogue had not dragged us away to see the
wonders of the place. Not the least of them is the weather-beaten stone
cross, with the crucifixion on one side and an effigy of St. Patrick on
the other, which stands just outside the castle entrance, on the rude
pedestal where the Kings of Munster were crowned in the old, old days.
Here it was, perhaps, that St. Patrick himself stood when he stooped to
pluck the trefoil, and that King Ængus was baptised. Legend has it that,
as he was performing that ceremony, the Saint, without knowing it, drove
the spiked end of his crozier through the King's foot. Ængus said never
a word, nor made complaint, thinking it part of the rite; but when the
Saint went to take up his crozier and saw what he had done, he blessed
the King and promised that none of that royal stock should die of wounds
forever. Perhaps the promise was not "forever," for, five centuries
later, Brian Boru, the greatest of them all, was killed in battle at
Clontarf, as I have told.

But the greatest wonder of all at Cashel is the jewel of a chapel built
by Cormac and standing as firm to-day as when its stones were laid,
eight centuries ago. It nestles in between the choir and south transept
of the later cathedral, and its entrance is the most magnificent doorway
of its kind existing anywhere on this earth.

It is round-headed, as in all Irish Romanesque, with five deep mouldings
rich in dog-tooth and lozenge ornamentation, and though it is battered
and weather-worn, it is still most beautiful and impressive.

Inside, the chapel is divided into nave and chancel, both very small,
but decorated with a richness and massiveness almost oppressive--twisted
columns, arcaded walls, dog-tooth mouldings, rounded arches, traceried
surfaces, sculptured capitals, and I know not what beside. Facing the
choir is a stone sarcophagus, beautifully ornamented with characteristic
Celtic serpent work, as may be seen in the photograph. It is called
"King Cormac's Coffin." It was in the small apartment over the nave and
under the steep stone roof that Cormac was struck down by an assassin,
as he knelt in prayer.

It was something of a relief to get out into the high, roofless
cathedral, where one feels at liberty to draw a deep breath. The
cathedral is rich with sculptures, too; but I shall not attempt to
describe them. I can only hope that it may be your fortune to visit the
place, some day, and have John Minogue to take you round. But, let me
warn you, he does not waste himself on the unsympathetic. While we stood
admiring the sculptures of St. Patrick and St. Brigid and eleven of the
apostles, in the north transept (the sculptor omitted St. Matthew for
some unknown reason; or perhaps our guide told me why and I have
forgotten); as we stood there gazing in delight at these inimitable
figures, a party of four or five entered the church, and stood staring
vacantly about.

"See here, Mr. Minogue," I said, after a time, "we can amuse ourselves
for a while, if you'd like to look after those other people."

Minogue shot one glance at them.

"No," he said; "they're not worth it. Now come--I must show you the
round tower."

A beauty the tower is, with walls four feet thick, built of great blocks
of stone, and a little round-headed doorway, twelve feet above the
ground. It stands eighty-five feet high, and is wonderfully preserved;
but when we looked up it from the inside, we saw that the old masons did
not succeed in getting it quite true.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was an hour later--or perhaps two hours later--that we emerged again
from the iron gate, and found the rabble of children still waiting. They
closed in on us at once, murmuring something in a queer half-mumble,
half-whisper, of which we could not understand a word.

"What is it they're saying?" we asked.

"They're saying," explained Minogue, "that if your honour will toss a
penny amongst them, they will fight for it; or, if you'd rather, they
will put up a prayer for you, so that you will get safe home again. They
don't consider that begging, you see, since they offer some return for
the money."

And then, as they hustled us more closely, he turned and shouted
something at them--some magic incantation, I fancy, for they scurried
away as though the devil was after them. I regretted, afterwards, that I
had not asked him for the formula--but in the end, we found one of our
own, as you shall hear.

Our guide insisted that we go down with him to his house and see his
books, and write our names in his album, and have a cup of tea. He lived
in an ivy-covered cottage, just under the Rock, and his old wife came
out to welcome us; and we sat and talked and wrote our names and looked
at his books--one had been given him by Stephen Gwynne, and others by
other writers whose names I have forgotten; but the treasure of his
library was a huge volume, carefully wrapped against possible soiling,
which, when unwrapped, proved to be a copy of Arthur Champneys' "Irish
Ecclesiastical Architecture," and with gleaming face our host turned to
the preface and showed us where Champneys acknowledged his indebtedness
for much valuable assistance to John Minogue, of the Rock of Cashel.

We bade him good-bye, at last, and made our way down through the quaint
little town, which snuggles against one side of the Rock--a town of
narrow, crooked streets, and thatched houses, and friendly women leaning
over their half-doors, and multitudinous children; but the most vivid
memory I have of it, is of the pleasant tang of turf smoke in the air.
And presently we came out again upon the road leading to the station.

From the top of the Rock we had seen, in the middle of a field not far
away, a ruin which seemed very extensive, and Minogue told us that it
was Hore Abbey, a Cistercian monastery built about 1272, but had added
that it was scarcely worth visiting after Cashel. That was perhaps
true--few ruins can compare with Cashel--but when we saw the grey bulk
of the old abbey looming above the wall at our left, we decided to get
to it, if we could.

It required some resolution, for the way thither lay across a very wet
and muddy pasture, with grass knee-high in places, and Betty would
probably have declined to venture but for the assurance that there are
no snakes in Ireland. The nearer we got to the ruin, the worse the going
grew, but we finally scrambled inside over a broken wall, and sat down
on a block of fallen masonry to look about us.

The mist, which had been thickening for the last half hour, had, almost
imperceptibly, turned to rain, and this was mizzling softly down,
shrouding everything as with a pearly veil, and adding a beauty and
sense of mystery to the place which it may have lacked at other times.
But it seemed to us singularly impressive, with its narrow lancet
windows, and plain, square pillars. Such vaulting as remains, at the
crossing and in the chapels, is very simple, and the whole church was
evidently built with a dignity and severity of detail which modern
builders might well imitate. It seems a shame that it is not kept in
better order and a decent approach built to it; but I suppose the Board
of Works, whose duty it is to care for Irish ruins, finds itself
overburdened with the multiplicity of them.

We sat there absorbing the centuries-old atmosphere, until a glance at
my watch told me that we must hurry if we would catch our train. We
_did_ hurry, though with many a backward glance, for one is reluctant
to leave a beautiful place which one may never see again; but we caught
the train, and the last glimpse we had of Cashel was as of some gigantic
magic palace, suspended in air and shrouded in mist.



CHAPTER VIII

ADVENTURES AT BLARNEY


IT was getting on toward evening when we caught our train on the main
line at Goold's Cross. The storm had swept southward, and the hills
there were masked with rain, but the Golden Vale had emerged from its
baptism more lush, more green, more dazzling than ever. We left it
behind, at last, plunged into a wood of lofty and magnificent trees, and
paused at Limerick Junction, with its great echoing train-shed and wide
network of tracks and switches. Beyond the Junction, one gets from the
train a splendid view of the picturesque Galtees, the highest mountains
in the south of Ireland, fissured and gullied and folded into deep
ravines in the most romantic way.

The train had been comparatively empty thus far, and we had rejoiced in
a compartment to ourselves; but as we drew into the station at
Charleville, we were astonished to see a perfect mob of people crowding
the platform, with more coming up every minute. The instant the train
stopped, the mob snatched open the doors and swept into it like a tidal
wave. When the riot subsided a bit, we found that four men and two girls
were crowded in with us, and the corridor outside was jammed with people
standing up. We asked the cause of the excitement, and were told that
there had been a race-meeting at Charleville, which had attracted a
great crowd from all over the south-eastern part of Ireland, especially
from Cork, thirty-five miles away.

Our companions soon got to chaffing each other, and it developed that
all of them, even the two girls, had been betting on the races, and I
inferred that they had all lost every cent they had. It was assumed, as
a matter of course, that nobody would go to a race-meeting without
putting something on the horses; it was also assumed that every normal
man and woman would make almost any sacrifice to get to a meeting; and
there was a lively discussion as to possible ways and means of attending
another meeting which was to be held somewhere in the neighbourhood the
following week. And finally, it was apparent that everybody present had
contemplated the world through the bottom of a glass more than once that
day. As I looked at them and listened to them, I began to understand the
cause of at least a portion of Irish poverty.

It was a good-humoured crowd, in spite of its reverses, and when a girl
with a tambourine piped up a song, she was loudly encouraged to go on
and even managed to collect a few pennies, found unexpectedly in odd
pockets. Then one of the men in our compartment told a story; I have
forgotten what it was about, but it was received uproariously; and then
everybody talked at once as loud as possible, and the clatter was
deafening.

We were glad when we got to Cork.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cork is superficially a sort of smaller Dublin. It has one handsome
thoroughfare, approached by a handsome bridge, and the rest of the town
is composed for the most part of dirty lanes between ugly houses. In
Dublin, the principal street and bridge are dedicated to O'Connell; in
Cork both bridge and street are named after St. Patrick--that is about
the only difference, except that Cork lacks that atmosphere of charm and
culture which makes Dublin so attractive.

We took a stroll about the streets, that Saturday night after dinner,
and found them thronged with people, as at Dublin; but here there was a
large admixture of English soldiers and sailors, come up from Queenstown
to celebrate. Many of them had girls on their arms, and those who had
not were evidently hoping to have, and the impression one got was that
Cork suffers a good deal from the evils of a garrison town. There is a
tradition that the girls of Cork are unusually lovely; but I fear it is
only a tradition. Or perhaps the lovely ones stay at home on Saturday
night.

Sunday dawned clear and bright, and as soon as we had breakfasted, we
set out for the most famous spot in the vicinity of Cork, and perhaps in
all Ireland, Blarney Castle. Undoubtedly the one Irish tradition which
is known everywhere is that of the blarney stone; "blarney" itself has
passed into the language as a noun, an adjective, and a verb; and the
old tower of which the stone is a part has been pictured so often that
its appearance is probably better known than that of any other ruin in
Europe. Blarney is about five miles from Cork, and the easiest way of
getting there is by the light railway, which runs close beside a pretty
stream, in which, this bright morning, many fishermen were trying their
luck. And at last, high above the trees, we saw the rugged keep which
is all that is left of the old castle. Almost at once the train stopped
at the station, which is just outside the entrance to the castle
grounds.

[Illustration: BLARNEY CASTLE]

"The Groves of Blarney" are still charming, though they have changed
greatly since the day when Richard Milliken wrote his famous song in
praise of them. There were grottoes and beds of flowers, and terraces
and rustic bowers there then, and statues of heathen gods and nymphs so
fair all standing naked in the open air; but misfortune overtook the
castle's owner and

    The muses shed a tear when the cruel auctioneer,
    With his hammer in his hand, to sweet Blarney came.

So the statues vanished, together with the grottoes and the terraces;
but the sweet silent brook still ripples through the grounds, and its
banks are covered with daisies and buttercups, and guarded by giant
beeches. Very lovely it is, so that one loiters to watch the dancing
water, even with Blarney Castle close at hand.

Approached thus, the massive donjon tower, set on a cliff and looming a
hundred and twenty feet into the air, is most impressive. To the left is
a lower and more ornamental fragment of the old castle, which, in its
day, was the strongest in all Munster. Cormac McCarthy built it in the
fifteenth century as a defence against the English, and it was held by
the Irish until Cromwell's army besieged and captured it. Around the top
of the tower is a series of machicolations, or openings between
supporting corbels, through which the besieged, in the old days, could
drop stones and pour molten lead and red-hot ashes and such-like
things down upon the assailants, and it is in the sill of one of these
openings that the famous Blarney stone is fixed.

Legend has it that, once upon a time, in the spring of the year when the
waters were running high, Cormac McCarthy was returning home through the
blackness of the night, and when he put his horse at the last ford, he
thought for a moment he would be swept away, so swift and deep was the
current. But his horse managed to keep its feet, and just as it was
scrambling out upon the farther bank, McCarthy heard a scream from the
darkness behind him, and then a woman's voice crying for help. So he
dashed back into the stream, and after a fearful struggle, dragged the
woman to safety.

In the dim light, McCarthy could see only that she was old and withered;
but her eyes gleamed like a cat's when she looked at him; and she called
down blessings upon him for his courage, and bade him, when he got home,
go out upon the battlement and kiss a certain stone, whose location she
described to him. Thereupon she vanished, and so McCarthy knew it was a
witch he had rescued. Next morning, he went out upon the battlement and
found the stone and kissed it, and thereafter was endowed with an
eloquence so sweet and persuasive that no man or woman could resist it.

Such is the legend, and it may have had its origin in the soft,
delutherin speeches with which Dermot McCarthy put off the English, when
they called upon him to surrender his castle. Certain it is that it was
fixed finally and firmly in the popular mind by the stanza which Father
Prout added to Milliken's song:

    There is a stone there, that 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 and outer, to be let alone;
    Don't hope to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
      Sure he's a pilgrim from the Blarney Stone.

And ever since then, troops of pilgrims have thronged to Blarney to kiss
the stone.

The top of the tower is reached by a narrow staircase which goes round
and round in the thickness of the wall, with narrow loopholes of windows
here and there looking out upon the beautiful country, and a door at
every level giving access to the great, square interior. The floors have
all fallen in and there is only the blue sky for roof, but the graceful
old fireplaces still remain and some traces of ornamentation, and the
ancient walls, eighteen feet thick in places, and with mortar as hard as
the rock, are wonderful to see; and finally you come out upon the
battlemented parapet, with miles and miles of Ireland at your feet.

But it wasn't to gaze at the view we had come to Blarney Castle, it was
to kiss the stone, and we went at once to look for it. It was easy
enough to find, for, on top of the battlement above it, a row of tall
iron spikes has been set, and the stone itself is tied into the wall by
iron braces, for one of Cromwell's cannon-balls almost dislodged it, and
it is worn and polished by the application of thousands of lips. But to
kiss it--well, that is another story!

For the sill of which the stone forms a part is some two feet lower than
the level of the walk around the parapet, and, to get to it, there is a
horrid open space some three feet wide to span, and below that open
space is a sheer drop of a hundred and twenty feet to the ground below.
When one looks down through it, all that one can see are the waving
tree-tops far, far beneath. There is just one way to accomplish the
feat, and that is to lie down on your back, while somebody grasps your
ankles, and then permit yourself to be shoved backward and downward
across the abyss until your mouth is underneath the sill.

Betty and I looked at the stone and at the yawning chasm and then at
each other; and then we went away and sat down in a corner of the
battlement to think it over.

We had supposed that there would be some experienced guides on hand,
anxious to earn sixpence by assisting at the rite, as there had been at
St. Kevin's bed; but the tower was deserted, save for ourselves.

"Well," said Betty, at last, "there's one thing certain--I'm not going
away from here until I've kissed that stone. I'd be ashamed to go home
without kissing it."

"So would I," I agreed; "but I'd prefer that to hanging head downward
over that abyss. Anyway, I won't take the responsibility of holding you
by the heels while you do it. Perhaps some one will come up, after
awhile, to help."

So we looked at the scenery and talked of various things; but all
either of us thought about was kissing the stone, and we touched on it
incidentally now and then, and then shied away from it, and pretended to
think of something else. Presently we heard voices on the stair, and a
man and two women emerged on the parapet. We waited, but they didn't
approach the stone, they just looked around at the landscape; and
finally Betty inquired casually if they were going to kiss the Blarney
stone.

"Kiss the Blarney stone?" echoed the man, who was an Englishman. "I
should think not! It's altogether too risky!"

"But it seems a shame to go away without kissing it," Betty protested.

"Yes, it does," the other agreed; "but I was here once before, and I
fought that all out then. It's really just a silly old legend, you
know--nobody believes it!"

Now to my mind silly old legends are far more worthy of belief than most
things, but it would be folly to say so to an Englishman. So the
conversation dropped, and presently he and his companions went away, and
Betty and I sat down again and renewed our conversation.

And then again we heard voices, and this time it was two American women,
well along in years. They asked us if we knew which was the Blarney
stone, and we hastened to point it out to them, and explained the
process of kissing it. There were postcards illustrating the process on
sale at the entrance, and we had studied them attentively before we came
in, so that we knew the theory of it quite well.

"We were just sitting here trying to screw up courage to do it," Betty
added.

The newcomers looked at the stone, and then at the abyss.

"Well, _I'll_ never do it!" they exclaimed simultaneously, and they
contented themselves with throwing a kiss at it; and then _they_ went
away, and Betty and I, both rather pale around the gills, continued to
talk of ships and shoes and sealing-wax. But I saw in her eyes that
somehow or other she was going to kiss the stone.

And then a tall, thin man came up the stair, and _he_ asked us where the
stone was, and we showed him, and he looked at it, and then he glanced
down into the intervening gulf, and drew back with a shudder.

"Not for me," he said. "Not--for--me!"

"We've come all the way from America," said Betty, "and we simply
_can't_ go away until we've kissed it."

"Well, _I've_ come all the way from New Zealand, madam," said the man,
"but I wouldn't think for a minute of risking my life like that."

"It used to be a good deal more dangerous than it is now," I pointed
out, as much for my own benefit as for his. "They used to take people by
the ankles and hold them upside down outside the battlement. I suppose
they dropped somebody over, for those spikes were put there along the
top to stop it. If the people who hold your legs are steady, there
really isn't any danger now."

The New Zealander took another peep over into space.

"No sirree!" he said. "No sir--ree!"

But he didn't go away. Instead, he sat down and began to talk; and I
fancied I could see in his eyes some such uneasy purpose as I saw in
Betty's.

And then a boy of twelve or fourteen came up. He was evidently native to
the neighbourhood, and I asked him if he had ever kissed the stone.

"I have, sir, many a time," he said.

"Would you mind doing it again, so that we can see just how it is done?"

He readily consented, and lay down on his back with his head and
shoulders over the gulf, and the New Zealander took one leg and I took
the other. Then the boy reached his hands above his head and grasped the
iron bars which ran down inside the battlement to hold the stone in
place.

"Now, push me down," he said.

My heart was in my mouth as we pushed him down, for it seemed an awful
distance, though I knew we couldn't drop him because he wasn't very
heavy; and then we heard a resounding smack.

"All right," he called. "Pull me up."

We pulled him up, and in an instant he was on his feet.

"That's all there is to it," he said, and sauntered off.

"Hm-m-m!" grunted the New Zealander, and sat down again.

I gazed at the landscape for a minute or two, my hands deep in my
pockets.

When I turned around, Betty had her hat and coat off, and was spreading
her raincoat on the parapet opposite the stone.

"What are you going to do?" I demanded sternly.

She sat down on the raincoat with her back to the abyss.

"Come on, you two, and hold me," she commanded.

I suppose I might have refused, but I didn't. The truth is, I wanted her
to kiss the stone as badly as she wanted to; so I knelt on one side of
her and the New Zealander knelt on the other, and we each grasped an
ankle. She groped for the iron bars, found them after an instant, and
drew herself toward them.

"Now, push me down," she said.

We did; and as soon as we heard the smack, we hauled her up again, her
face aglow with triumph. It took her some minutes to get her hair fixed,
for most of the hair-pins had fallen out. When she looked up, she saw
that I had taken off my coat.

"What are you going to do?" she demanded, in much the same tone that I
had used.

"I'm going to kiss that stone," I said. "Do you suppose I'd go away now,
without kissing it? Why, I'd never hear the last of it! Get hold of my
legs," and I sat down, keeping my eyes carefully averted from the
hundred-and-twenty-foot drop.

"Oh, but look here," she protested, "I don't know whether I'm strong
enough to hold you."

"Yes, you are," I said, making sure that there was nothing in my
trousers' pockets to fall out. "Now, then!"

Just then four or five Irish girls came out upon the tower, and Betty,
stricken with the fear of losing me, asked them if they wouldn't help,
and they said they would; so, with one man and four women holding on to
my legs, I let myself over backwards. One doesn't realise how much two
feet is, till one tries to take it backwards; it seemed to me that I was
hanging in midair by my heels, so I kissed a stone hastily and started
to come up.

"That wasn't it," protested one of the girls who had been watching me;
"you've got to go farther down."

So they pushed me farther down, and I saw the smooth, worn stone right
before my eyes.

"Is this it?" I asked.

"Yes," she said; so I kissed it, and in a moment was right side up
again; and I don't know when I have felt prouder.

And then the New Zealander, his face grim and set, began to take things
out of his trousers' pockets.

"If you people will hold me," he said, "I'll do it too."

So we held him, and _he_ did it.

Then he and I offered to hold the Irish girls, but they refused,
giggling, and as there was nothing more to do on top of that tower, we
went down again, treading as if on air, more elated than I can say.

That sense of elation endures to this day, and I would earnestly advise
every one who visits Blarney Castle to kiss the stone. I am not aware
that I am any more eloquent than I ever was, and Betty never had any
real need to kiss it, but to go to Blarney without doing so is--well, is
like going to Paris without seeing the Louvre, or to the Louvre without
seeing the Winged Victory and the Venus of Milo. Really, there isn't any
danger, if you have two people of average strength holding you; and
there isn't even any very great sense of danger, since your back is to
the abyss and you can't see it. My advice is to do it at once, as soon
as you get to the top of the tower, without stopping to think about it
too long. After that, with a serene mind, you can look at the view,
which is very, very lovely, and explore the ruin, which is one of the
most interesting and noteworthy in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

We sat down on a bench just outside the castle entrance to rest after
our exertions. There was a young man and woman on the bench, and in
about a minute we were talking together. It turned out that they were
members of Alexander Marsh's company, then touring Ireland in classical
repertoire, and would open in Cork in "The Three Musketeers" the
following evening. I had never heard of Alexander Marsh, but they both
pronounced his name with such awe and reverence that I fancied he must
be a second Irving, and I said at once that we should have to see the
play. We went on to talk about that high-hearted story, which I love;
and I noticed a growing embarrassment in our companions.

"See here," said the man at last, "you know the book so well and think
so much of it, that I'm afraid the play will disappoint you. For one
thing, we can't put on Richelieu. The play makes rather a fool of him,
and the Catholics over here would get angry in a minute if we made a
fool of a Cardinal, even on the stage. So we have to call him Roquefort,
and leave out the Cardinal altogether, which, of course, spoils the
whole point of the plot. It's a pity, too, because his robes are
gorgeous. Of course it doesn't make so much difference to people who
haven't read the book--and mighty few over here have; but I'm afraid you
wouldn't like it."

I was afraid so, too; so we promised we wouldn't come.

And then they went on to tell us about themselves. They were married, it
seemed, and were full of enthusiasms and ideals, and they spoke with
that beautiful accent so common on the English stage; and he had been to
New York once, and for some reason had fared pretty badly there; but he
hoped to get to America again. He didn't say why, but I inferred it was
because in America he could earn a decent salary, which was probably
impossible in the Irish provinces.

We left them after a while, and wandered through what is left of the
groves of Blarney, and visited the caves in the cliffs under the castle,
at one time used for dungeons, into which the McCarthys thrust such of
their enemies as they could capture. And then we explored the charming
little river which runs along under the cliff, and walked on to Blarney
Lake, a pretty bit of water, with more than its share of traditions:
for, at a certain season of the year, a herd of white cows rises from
its bosom and feeds along its banks, and it is the home of a red trout
which will not rise to the fly, and it was into this lake that the last
of the McCarthys cast his great chest of plate, when his castle was
declared forfeited to the English, and his spirit keeps guard every
night along the shore, and the secret of its whereabouts will never be
revealed until a McCarthy is again Lord of Blarney.

We walked back to the entrance, at last, and had a most delicious tea on
the veranda of a clean tea-shop there, with gay little stone-chatters
hopping about our feet, picking up the crumbs; and then we loitered
about the quaint little village, and visited the church, set in the
midst of a pretty park, and wandered along a road under lofty trees, and
were wholly, completely, riotously happy.

We had kissed the Blarney Stone!



CHAPTER IX

CUSHLA MA CHREE


IT was very evident, as we went back to Cork, that the people who live
there do not regard it as an earthly paradise, for it seemed as though
the whole population of the place was out in the fields. We had seen the
same thing at Dublin the Sunday before--every open space near the city
crowded with men and women and children; from which I infer that the
Irish have sense enough--or perhaps it is an instinct--to get out of
their slums and into the fresh, clean air whenever they have a chance.
And the way they lie about in the moist grass on the damp ground is
another proof of the amenity of the Irish climate.

When we got back to the town, we decided we could spend an hour very
pleasantly driving about and seeing the place; and, since the day was
fine, we voted for an outside car. Be it known, there are two varieties
of car in Cork: one the common or garden variety, the outside car, and
the other a sort of anti-type called an inside car. The difference is
that, in an outside car you sit on the inside, that is in the middle
with your feet hanging over the wheel, while in an inside car you sit on
the outside, that is over the wheel with your feet hanging down in the
middle. Also the inside car has a top over it and side-curtains which
can be let down in wet weather. I hope this is clear, for I do not know
how to make it clearer without a diagram. Both inside and outside cars
are rather more ramshackle in Cork than anywhere else in Ireland.

The legal rate for a car in Cork is one shilling sixpence per hour, and
I decided in advance that, come what might, come what may, I would not
pay more than twice the legal rate for the use of one. So when we got
off the train at the Cork terminus, I passed under review the cars
standing in the street in front of it, while each individual jarvey,
seeing I was interested, stood up in his seat and bellowed at the top of
his voice. Finally I picked out the least disreputable one and looked
the jarvey in the eye.

"We want to drive around for an hour or two," I said. "How much will you
charge an hour?"

"Jump right up, sir," he cried, and wheeled his car in front of me with
a flourish.

"You'll have to answer my question first."

"'Twill be only five shillings an hour, sir."

I passed on to the next driver, who had been listening to this colloquy
with absorbed interest. His price was four shillings. So I passed on to
the third. His price was three shillings. I suppose if I had passed once
again, the price would have been two shillings; but three shillings was
within my limit, so we mounted into our places and were off.

I fear, however, that that phrase, "we were off," gives a wrong idea of
our exit. We did not whirl up the street, with our horse curvetting
proudly and the jarvey clinging to the reins. No, nothing like that. The
horse trotted--I convinced myself of this, from time to time, by looking
at him--but he was one of those up-and-down trotters, that come down in
almost exactly the same place from which they go up. The jarvey
encouraged him from time to time by touching him gently with the whip,
but the horse never varied his gait, except that, whenever he came to a
grade, he walked. Sometimes we would catch up with a pedestrian
sauntering in the same direction, and then it was quite exciting to see
how we worked our way past him, inch by inch. This mode of progression
had one advantage: it was not necessary to stop anywhere to examine
architectural details or absorb local atmosphere. We had plenty of time
to do that as we passed. In fact, in some of the slum streets, we
absorbed rather more of the atmosphere than we cared for.

Cork is an ancient place, built for the most part on an island in the
River Lee. St. Fin Barre started it in the seventh century by founding a
monastery on the island; the Danes sailed up the river, some centuries
later, and captured it; and then the Anglo-Normans took it from the
Danes and managed to keep it by ceaseless vigilance. The Irish peril was
so imminent, that the English had to bar the gates not only at night,
but whenever they went to church or to their meals, and no stranger was
suffered inside the walls until he had checked his sword and dagger and
other lethal weapons with the gate-keeper.

But the Irish have always had a way with them; and what they couldn't
accomplish by force of arms, they did by blarney;--or maybe it was the
girls who did it! At any rate, at the end of a few generations Cork was
about the Irishest town in Ireland, and levied its own taxes and made
its own laws and even set up its own mint, and when the English
Parliament attempted to interfere, invited it to mind its own business.
The climax came when that picturesque impostor, Perkin Warbeck, landed
in the town, was hailed as a son of the Duke of Clarence and the
rightful King of England by the mayor, and provided with new clothes and
a purse of gold by the citizens, together with a force for the invasion
of England. The result of which was that the mayor lost his head and the
city its charter.

Cork is a tragic word in Irish ears not because of this ancient history,
but because of the dreadful scenes enacted here in the wake of the great
famine of 1847. It was here that thousands and thousands of famished,
hopeless, half-crazed men and women said good-bye to Ireland forever and
embarked for the New World. Hundreds more, unable to win farther, lay
down in the streets and died, and every road leading into the town was
hedged with unburied bodies. That ghastly torrent of emigration has kept
up ever since, though it reached its flood some twenty years ago, and is
by no means so ghastly as it was. Yet every train that comes into the
town bears its quota of rough-clad people, mere boys and girls most of
them, with wet eyes and set faces, and behind it, all through the west
and south, it leaves a wake of sobs and wails and bitter weeping.

Cork possesses nothing of antiquarian interest. The old churches have
all been swept away. The oldest one still standing dates only from 1722,
and is worth a visit not because of itself, but because of some verses
written about its bells by a poet who lies buried in its churchyard. St.
Anne Shandon, with its tall, parti-coloured tower surmounted by its
fish-weathervane, stands on a hill to the north of the Lee. The tower
contains a peal of eight bells, and it was their music which furnished
inspiration for Father Prout's pleasant lines:

    With deep affection and recollection
      I often think of the Shandon bells,
    Whose sounds so wild would, in the 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.

Of course we wanted to see St. Anne Shandon and to hear the bells, so,
with some difficulty, we persuaded our driver to put his horse at the
ascent. The streets rising up that hill are all slums, with little lanes
more slummy still ambling away in various directions; and all of them
were full of people, that afternoon, who hailed our advent as an
unexpected addition to the pleasures and excitements of the day, and
followed along, inspecting us curiously, and commenting frankly upon the
details of our attire. The impression we made was, I think, on the
whole, favourable, but there is a certain novelty in hearing yourself
discussed as impersonally as if you were a statue, and after the first
embarrassment, we rather enjoyed it. At last we reached the church, and
stopped there in the shadow of the tower until the chimes rang. They are
very sweet and melodious, and fully deserve Father Prout's rhapsody.

The wife of the inspector we met at Glendalough had told Betty of a
convent at Cork where girls were taught lace-making, and had given her
the names of two nuns, either of whom, she was sure, would be glad to
show us the school. It is in the convents that most of the lace-making
in Ireland is taught nowadays, and of course we wanted to see one of the
schools, so Monday morning we sallied forth in search of this one. We
found it without difficulty--a great barrack of a building opening upon
a court. Both nuns were there, and I do not remember ever having
received anywhere a warmer welcome. Certainly we might see the
lace-makers, and Sister Catherine took us in charge at once, explaining
on the way that there were not as many girls at work as usual that
morning, because one of their number had been married the day before,
and the whole crowd had stayed up very late celebrating the great event.
And then she led us into a room where about twenty girls were bending
over their work.

They all arose as we entered, and then I sat down and watched them,
while Sister Catherine took Betty about from one girl to the next, and
explained the kind of lace each was making. Some of it was
Carrickmacross, of which, it seems, there are two varieties, appliqué
and guipure; and some of it was needle-point, that aristocrat of laces
of which one sees so much in Belgium; and some of it was Limerick, and
there were other kinds whose names I have forgotten, but all of it was
beautifully done. The designing is the work of Sister Catherine, and,
while I am very far from being a connoisseur, some of the pieces she
afterwards showed us were very lovely indeed. Then we were asked if we
wouldn't like to hear the girls sing, and of course we said we would, so
one of them, at a nod from the Sister, got to her feet and very gravely
and earnestly sang John Philpot Curran's tender verses, "Cushla ma
Chree," which is Irish for "Darling of My Heart":

    Dear Erin, how sweetly thy green bosom rises!
      An emerald set in the ring of the sea!
    Each blade of thy meadows my faithful heart prizes,
      Thou queen of the west! the world's cushla ma chree!

    Thy gates open wide to the poor and the stranger--
      There smiles hospitality hearty and free;
    Thy friendship is seen in the moment of danger,
      And the wanderer is welcomed with cushla ma chree.

    Thy sons they are brave; but, the battle once over,
      In brotherly peace with their foes they agree;
    And the roseate cheeks of thy daughters discover
      The soul-speaking blush that says cushla ma chree.

    Then flourish forever, my dear native Erin,
      While sadly I wander an exile from thee;
    And, firm as thy mountains, no injury fearing,
      May heaven defend its own cushla ma chree!

It is a very characteristic Irish poem of the sentimental sort, and it
has been set to a soft and plaintive air also characteristically Irish,
and it took on a beauty which the lines by themselves do not possess as
we heard it sung that morning, with the girls, bending to their work,
joining in the chorus. Then we were shown over the convent, and finally
taken to the parlour, where Sister Bonaventura joined us, and where we
had a very pleasant talk.

The convent's chief treasure is the great parchment volume in which its
history is noted from day to day. How far back it goes I have forgotten,
but I think to the very founding of the institution, and it is
illuminated throughout very beautifully, while the lettering is superb.
The great events in the life of every nun are recorded here, and those
events are three: when she became a novice, when she took the final
vows, and when she died. Those are the only events that concern the
community, except that sometimes when death followed a painful and
lingering illness, it was noted how cheerfully the pain was borne.
Occasionally some delicate woman found the hard life more than she could
endure, and then she was permitted to put aside her robes and go back
into the world.

I spent half an hour looking through the book, and Sister Bonaventura
showed me the record of her own entry into the convent. It was in the
year in which I was born, and I shivered a little at the thought that,
during all the long time I had been growing to boyhood and manhood and
middle age, she had been immured here in this convent at Cork; during
all the years that I had been reading and writing and talking with men
and women and knocking about the world, she had been doing over and over
again her little round of daily duties; but when I looked at her bright
brave face and quiet eyes, and listened to her calm sweet voice, I
wondered if, after all, she hadn't got farther than I!

It would be a mistake, however, to think of these nuns--or of any I ever
met--as pious, strait-laced, lachrymose creatures. They were quite the
reverse of that; they were fairly bubbling over with good humour and
with big-hearted blarney. Some one had given them a victrola, and it was
evidently the supreme delight of their lives.

"We can't go to the opera," they said; "but the opera comes to us. We
have a concert nearly every evening, and it's sorry we are when the bell
rings and we have to go to bed."

They showed us their austere little chapel, after that, and introduced
us to the Mother Superior, a very delicate, placid, transparent woman of
more than eighty, who reminded me of the sister of Bishop Myriel; and I
am sure they were sorry when we had to say good-bye.

       *       *       *       *       *

We went down to Monkstown by rail, that afternoon, to see Queenstown
harbour. The line runs close to the river, passing Passage, whose charms
have been celebrated by Father Prout, and finally reaching Monkstown, on
the heights above which stands the famous, four-square castle which cost
its owner only fourpence. The story goes that, in 1636, John Archdeckan
marched away to the war in Flanders, and his wife determined to surprise
him, on his return, by presenting him with a stately castle. So she
gathered a great number of builders together and gave them the job on
the condition that they would buy all their food and drink and clothing
from her. When the castle was done, she balanced her accounts and found
that she had expended fourpence more than she had received.

At Monkstown, we took a boat and ferried across the harbour, past many
grey men-of-war which lay at anchor there. Very beautiful it is, with
the high, green-clad hills pressing about it on all sides, and shrouding
the entrance so completely that one might fancy oneself in a landlocked
lake. Queenstown is built on the side of one of these hills, and is
dominated by the great, white cathedral, which has been building for
fifty years, and is not yet finished.

It is a curious coincidence that the two ports of Ireland by which most
visitors enter and leave it should be named after two people whom the
Irish have little reason to love. In 1821, when George IV embarked at
the port of Dunleary, just below Dublin, he "graciously gave permission"
that its name might be changed to Kingstown in honour of the event. In
1849, Queen Victoria paid one of her very few visits to Ireland, and
sailed into the Cove of Cork. As she herself wrote, "To give the people
the satisfaction of calling the place Queenstown, in honour of its being
the first spot on which I set foot on Irish ground, I stepped on shore
amidst the roar of cannon and the enthusiastic shouts of the people."
Forty years later, when the Irish had come to realise that the Queen had
no interest in them, they had the dignity and good sense to put aside
the servility to which they have sometimes been too prone, and to refuse
to take part in the celebration of her Jubilee. But Queenstown is still
Queenstown.

The town consists of a single long street of public houses and emigrant
hotels and steamship offices facing the water, and some steep lanes
running back up over the hill, and the day we were there, it was crowded
with emigrants, Swedes and Norwegians mostly, who had been brought
ashore from the stranded _Haverford_, and who spent their time wandering
aimlessly up and down, trying to find out what was going to happen to
them. There were many sailors and marines knocking about the grog-shops,
as well as the crowd of navvies and longshoremen always to be found
lounging about a water-front. This water-front is one great
landing-stage, and it is here that perhaps a million Irish men and women
have stepped forever off of Irish soil.

We climbed up the hill presently to the cathedral, which owes not a
little of its impressiveness to its superb site. Its exterior is
handsome and imposing--good Gothic, though perhaps a trifle too florid
for the purest taste; but the effect of the interior is ruined by the
absurd columns of the nave, made of dark marble, and so slender that the
heavy structure of white stone above them seems to be hanging in the
air.

       *       *       *       *       *

We had hoped to go by rail to Youghal and take steamer up the Blackwater
to Cappoquin, and from there drive over to the Trappist monastery at Mt.
Melleray; but we found that the steamer did not start until the
fifteenth of June, so most regretfully that excursion had to be
abandoned. Those who have made it tell me it is a very beautiful one.
Cloyne is also perhaps worth visiting; but we were tired of Cork and
hungering for Killarney, and so decided to turn our faces westward next
day.



CHAPTER X

THE SHRINE OF ST. FIN BARRE


THERE are two ways of getting from Cork to Killarney, one by the
so-called "Prince of Wales Route," because the late King Edward went
that way in 1858, and the other by way of Macroom. Both routes converge
at Glengarriff and are identical beyond that, and as the best scenery
along the route is between Glengarriff and Killarney, I don't think it
really matters much which route is chosen. The "Prince of Wales Route"
is by rail to Bantry, and then either by boat or coach to Glengarriff,
which is only a few miles away. The other route is to Macroom by rail,
and from there there is a very fine ride by coach of nearly forty miles
to Glengarriff. We chose the Macroom route because of the longer coach
ride and because it touches Gougane Barra, the famous retreat of St. Fin
Barre. I think, on the whole, it is the more picturesque of the two
routes; but either is vastly preferable to the all-rail route. Indeed,
the visitor to Killarney who misses the run from Glengarriff, misses
some of the most beautiful and impressive scenery in all Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was shortly after nine o'clock that our train pulled out of the
station at Cork, and at first the line ran between small, well-tilled
fields, each with its cosy cottage. The whole country-side had an air of
content and passable well-being; every wall was gay with the yellow
gorse, and in the fields the green of potato and turnip was just
beginning to show above the dark earth of the ridges in which they were
planted. These ridged fields, which we were to see so often afterwards
in the west of Ireland, tell of a ground so soaked with moisture that it
must be carefully and thoroughly drained before anything will grow in
it. The ridges, which run with the slope of the land, are usually about
eighteen inches wide, and are separated by ditches a foot wide and a
foot deep to carry off the excess moisture. There is always a trickle of
water at the bottom of these ditches, and the task of keeping them open
and free from weeds is a never-ending one.

Presently on a high rock away to the left, appeared the tower which is
all that is left of the old stronghold of the Barretts, and farther on
are the green-clad ruins of Kilcrea Abbey, and near by is another great
keep marking an old castle of the McCarthys. And then the train skirts
the wild bog of Kilcrea, and then there are more ruins, and still more;
and at last the train stops at its terminus, Macroom.

The motor-coach was awaiting us, and we were relieved to find that, so
far from being crowded, there was only one other couple, Americans like
ourselves, to make the trip. The season had opened only the day before,
and, after we got started, the driver confided to us that this was the
first time he had ever been over the road. Even if he hadn't told us, we
should soon have had every reason to suspect it.

The road follows the valley of the Lee, which is not here the single
clear and shining stream which we saw above Cork, but is broken into a
score of channels between islands covered with low-growing brush--a sort
of morass, of a strange and weird appearance. Here and there an ivied
ruin towers above the trees, for this was the country of the O'Learys
and these are the strongholds they built to defend it against the
aggressions of their neighbours; and then we rattled down the street of
a little village, and the driver brought the coach to a stop before the
door of an inn, told us that this was Inchigeelagh and that there would
be ten minutes for refreshments, and then disappeared in the direction
of the bar.

I suppose he got his refreshments for nothing, as a reward for stopping
there. At least I can think of no other reason for stopping, since
Inchigeelagh is only half an hour from Macroom, unless it was to give
the nerves of the passengers a chance to quiet down a little. For we had
already begun to realise that our driver was a speed-maniac. He had
struck a hair-raising gait from the start, had sent the lumbering bus
down grades and around turns at a rate that was decidedly disconcerting,
and while there had been no especial danger except to the people we
met--for the road was bordered by high earthen walls--the rattle and jar
of the solid tires had been enough to make the teeth chatter.

So we were glad when the racket stopped, and we could get down and
stroll about a little; and we soon found that Inchigeelagh is a very
quaint village. We walked down to the bridge over the Lee, and looked at
Lough Allua stretching away to the west; and then we stopped at a
tumbledown cottage to talk to an old woman who was leaning over her
half-door; and she invited us in and asked us to sit down. It was my
first glimpse of the interior of an Irish cottage of the poorer class,
and it opened my eyes to the cruel lot of the people--and there are
many, many thousands of them--who are compelled to live in such
surroundings.

There was just one room, perhaps eight feet by fifteen, lighted by two
little windows about eighteen inches square, one on either side the
door. The doorway was just high enough to enter without stooping, and
ran from the ground right up to the eaves. The floor was of clay, and
the walls inside had been daubed with mud to fill up the cracks and then
whitewashed, but the damp had flaked the whitewash off in great
leprous-looking blotches. The ceiling was formed by some rough boards
laid on top of the joists overhead, so low that one feared to stand
upright, and I suppose the dark space under the thatch was used as a
sleeping-room, for there was a ladder leading to it, and I saw nothing
in the room below which looked like a bed. There may have been a bed
there, however, which, being new to rural Ireland, I did not recognise
as such.

At one end of the room was an open fireplace in which a few blocks of
turf smoked and flared, with that pungent odour which we had already
come to like, but which, at such close quarters, was a little
over-powering. A black and battered pot hung on a crane above the fire,
and some sort of mess was bubbling in it--potatoes I suppose. There was
a rude table, and two or three chairs, and all sorts of rags and debris
hung against the walls and piled in the corners, and a few dishes in a
rough home-made dresser, and an old brush-broom, and some boxes and a
lot of other indescribable trash. Three or four bedraggled chickens
were wandering in and out, and I glanced around for the pig. But there
was no pig--this family was far too poor to own one.

It seemed impossible that a human being could live for any length of
time in a place so bare of comfort, and I looked at the old woman, who
had sat down across from us, and wondered how she managed to survive. I
suspect she was not half so old as her wrinkled face and sunken eyes and
shrivelled hands indicated. She lived there with her husband, she said,
and had for many years. He was a labourer, and, in good times, could
earn ten shillings a week; but most of the time it was impossible to
find any work at all. She had no relatives in America to turn to, and
neither she nor her husband was old enough to get a pension, so that it
was a hard struggle to keep out of the workhouse. But they _had_ kept
out thus far, glory be to God, though the struggle was growing harder
every year, for they were getting older and their rheumatism was getting
worse, and neither of them could work as they once could.

All this was said quite simply, in a manner not complaining, but
resigned, as if accepting the inevitable. Her philosophy of life seemed
to be that, since Fate had chosen to set herself and her husband in the
midst of circumstances so hard, there was nothing to do but struggle on
as long as possible, with the certainty of coming to the workhouse in
the end. No doubt they would be far more comfortable in the workhouse
than they had ever been outside of it, and yet they had that horror of
it which is common to all Irish men and women. The horror, I think, is
not so much at the abstract idea of receiving charity as at the public
stigma which the workhouse gives. The Irish have been eager enough to
draw their old age pensions, and many of them, who shrink from the
workhouse as from a foul disgrace, do not hesitate to beg a few pennies
from the passing stranger.

[Illustration: A COTTAGE AT INCHIGEELAGH]

[Illustration: THE SHRINE OF ST. FIN BARRE]

The old woman at Inchigeelagh, however, did not beg, nor intimate in any
way that she desired or expected money, but she did not refuse the coin
I slipped into her hand, after I had taken the picture of her and of her
cottage, which you will find opposite this page. Perhaps she would have
liked to do so, but the little coin represented a measure of potatoes or
of turnips, and so a little less hunger, a little more strength. How
many of us, I wonder, would be too proud to beg if we could find no work
to do, and our backs were bare and our stomachs empty?

The tooting of the horn warned us that our bus was ready to go on again,
and we were soon skirting the shore of Lough Allua, with picturesque
mountains closing in ahead. And then our driver crossed the bridge over
the Lee, and made a wrong turning, and didn't know it until somebody
shouted at him and set him right; and this small misadventure seemed
completely to wreck his self-control, so that, when he got back to the
main road, he rushed along in a manner more terrifying than ever. The
fearful racket heralded our approach, else there must have been more
than one bad accident; and I can yet see wild-eyed men leaping from
their seats and springing frantically to their horses' heads, while the
white-faced women seated in the carts peered out at us under their
shawls as we brushed past, and no doubt sent a malediction after us.
Geese, chickens and pigs scurried wildly in every direction, and that we
did not leave the road strewn with their dead bodies was little less
than a miracle. The road ran between high hedges, so that we could see
only a little way ahead, and we got to watching the curves with a sort
of fascination, for it seemed certain that we _must_ run into something
at the next one.

We had been mounting gradually all this time, often up gradients so
steep that they kept the driver busy with his gears, and the view had
gradually widened and grown in impressiveness. Then we turned off a
narrow road at the right, and I thought for a moment our driver had gone
wrong again.

"We're going to Gougane Barra," he explained, seeing my look, for I sat
on the seat beside him, and in a few minutes we were skirting a narrow
lough, hemmed in, on the north, by a range of precipitous mountains,
with gullied sides patched with grey granite and dark heather, as bare
and desolate as a mountain could be.

There is an inn by the lake shore, and the bus stopped in front of it.
The driver showed us with a gesture the little island containing the
shrine of St. Fin Barre, and then hastened away into the inn. We four
started for the island, and presently we heard heavy steps behind us,
and an animated scarecrow armed with a big stick came running up and
shouted something in an incomprehensible tongue, and waved the stick
above his head, and proceeded to lead the way. He was evidently the
guide, so we followed him along the border of the lake, and across the
narrow strip of land which now connects the island with the shore, and
all the time our guide was talking in the most earnest way, but not a
word could any of us understand. It sounded remotely like English, and
he evidently understood English, for when we asked him to repeat some
particularly emphatic bit, he would do so with added emphasis, but quite
in vain. I shall never forget how earnestly he would look in our faces,
raising his voice as though we were deaf, and pointing with his stick,
and gesturing with his other hand, in the effort to make us understand.

We persuaded him to go and sit down, after awhile, and then we had a
chance really to look about us. There is something indescribably savage
and threatening about that dark sheet of water, shadowed by gloomy
cliffs, bare of vegetation, and torn into deep gullies by the cataracts
which leap down them. Through the hills to the east, the water from the
lake has carved itself a narrow outlet, and the stream which rushes away
through this gorge is the beginning of the River Lee. No place so grand
and desolate would be without its legend, and this is Gougane Barra's:

When the blessed Saint Patrick gathered together all the snakes in
Ireland and drove them over the mountains and into the western sea,
there was one hideous monster which he overlooked, so well had it
concealed itself in this mountain-circled tarn. It was a winged dragon,
and it kept very quiet until the Saint was dead, for fear of what might
happen; but, once Patrick was gathered to his fathers, the dragon
fancied it might do as it pleased. So it issued forth, all the more
savage for its years of retirement, and started to lay waste the
country. The frightened people appealed to their saints to help them,
and among those who put up prayers was a holy man named Fineen Barre,
who had a hermitage on an island in the lake, and so knew the dragon
well. And the saints in heaven looked down and saw the distress of the
poor people and pitied them, and they told Fineen Barre that they would
give him power to slay the dragon on one condition, and that condition
was that he should build a church on the spot where the waters of the
lake met the tide of the sea.

Fineen accepted the condition gladly, and went out and met the monster
and slew it and threw its body into the lake, and its black blood
darkens the water to this day. And when that was done, he set off down
the river, and at the spot where its waters met the tide, he built his
church, and the city of Cork grew up about it. And then in place of the
church, he built a great cathedral, and when he died his body was placed
in a silver coffin and buried before its high altar. Then the city was
plundered by the Danes, who dug up the coffin and carried it away, and
what became of the Saint's bones no one knows.

But the little island where he first lived has been a holy place from
that day to this, and on the anniversary of his death, which comes in
September, crowds of pilgrims journey here to say their prayers before
the thirteen stations set apart by tradition, and to bless themselves
with water from the Saint's well.

The well is just at the entrance to the island, and its water is
supposed to possess miraculous power. Our voluble but ununderstandable
guide invited us by urgent gestures to test its efficacy, but the water
looked scummy and dirty, and we declined. A few steps farther on is a
small, stone-roofed chapel, built in the likeness of Cormac's chapel on
the Rock of Cashel, and in it services are held during the days of
pilgrimage to the shrine. There are also some remains of an old chapel,
supposed to have been Saint Fin Barre's own; but by far the most
interesting thing on the island is the stone enclosure within which the
pilgrims say their prayers.

The enclosure, which is surrounded by a heavy wall of stones laid
loosely on each other, after the ancient Irish fashion, is about thirty
feet square, and its level is some feet below that of the ground
outside, so that one goes down into it by a short flight of steps. In
the centre of the enclosure a plain wooden cross stands on a platform of
five steps. On the flagstone at its foot is an inscription telling in
detail how the "rounds" are to be performed on the vigil and forenoon of
St. Fin Barre's feast-day. In the enclosing wall, which is fourteen feet
thick in places, under heavy arches, are eight cells, which may be used
as places of retreat by those undergoing penance. The Stations of the
Cross are set in the upper portion of the wall, but are ugly modern
plaster-casts. I took a picture of the place, which will be found
opposite page 144, and which gives a fairly good idea of it.

In the middle of a scrubby grove, a little way from the enclosure, is a
wishing-stone, which had evidently been much used, I hope to good
purpose, for the stone itself was covered with trinkets and the bushes
round about were hung thickly with rags and hairpins and rosaries and
other tokens. I picked up somewhere, perhaps from the jargon of the
guide, that this wishing-stone is the altar of Fin Barre's old chapel,
but I haven't been able to verify this, and it may not be so; but the
game is to put up a prayer to the Saint, and make your wish, and leave
some token to show you are in earnest, and the wish will surely come
true. Of course we made a wish and added some half-pennies to the
collection on the altar. In turning over the trinkets already deposited
there, we were amused to find two bright Lincoln cents.

On the shore just opposite the island is a little cemetery held in great
repute because of the holy men who are buried there. For the island has
been the home of a succession of hermits from the time St. Fin Barre
left it to build his church at Cork, and there are many legends of their
saintly lives and wonderful deeds. When they died, they were buried in
the cemetery, where there is also a cross to the memory of Jeremiah
Callanan, a poet native to the neighbourhood, who celebrated the shrine
in some pretty verses beginning:

  There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra,
  Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow;
  In deep-valleyed Desmond--a thousand wild fountains
  Come down to that lake, from their home in the mountains.

But the wild honking of the horn told us it was time to go; our guide
realised this, too, and was back at our heels more voluble and
inarticulate than ever; not too inarticulate, however, to sell a knobby
shillelagh to our companions and to accept with thanks the pennies I
dropped into his hand. He tried to stay, hat in hand, until we
departed, but the strain was too much for him, and after a moment he
made off for the bar of the inn.

Our chauffeur was evidently vexed that we had lingered so long at the
shrine of the Saint, for he hurtled us down the rough by-road at a great
rate, whirled into the smoother highway on two wheels, and then opened
his throttle wide and pushed up his spark and let her rip. The road
mounted steadily, with the view to the south opening more and more, and
a rugged range of hills ahead coming closer and closer, until they lay
flung right across the road, and then we swept around a sharp turn and
entered the Pass of Keimaneigh.

The guide-books assert that no pass in Europe exceeds it in grandeur,
but this is a gross exaggeration--it is not nearly so fine, for
instance, as the Pass of Llanberis; and yet it is wild and savage and
very beautiful--a deep gorge cut right through the mountains by a
glacier, which has left the marks of its passage on the rocks on either
side. There is just room between the craggy precipices for a narrow road
and the rugged channel of the rushing stream which drains the mountains.
The pass is most picturesque near its eastern end, for there the cliffs
are steepest, and the overhanging crags assume their most fantastic
shapes. In every nook and cranny of the rocks ferns and heather and
wild-flowers have found a foothold, the feathery plumes of London-pride
being especially noticeable. Here in Ireland it is called St. Patrick's
Cabbage, and no doubt there is a legend connecting the Saint with it,
but I have never happened to run across it.

As we plunged deeper into the pass, the walls on either side closed in
more and more, great boulders dislodged from the heights above crowded
the road so closely that more than once it was forced to turn aside to
avoid them; the greenery of fern and colour of flower gave place to the
sober hue of the heather and the dark green of the bog-myrtle; and then
we were suddenly conscious that the stream by the roadside, which had
been flowing back toward Cork, was flowing forward toward Bantry Bay,
and we knew that we had reached the summit of the watershed dividing
east from west. And then the hills fell back, and there, far below us,
stretched a great rugged valley, with a tiny river wandering through,
and white threads of roads curving here and there, and Lilliputian
houses scattered among the fields.

The car paused for an instant on the edge of this abyss and then plunged
into it. At least, that was the sensation it gave its passengers. I do
not know that I have ever travelled a steeper road, or one which wound
more threateningly near the unguarded edges of precipices--certainly not
in a heavy motor-bus hurtling along at thirty miles an hour. Perhaps the
brakes were not holding, or perhaps the driver had had a drink too much;
at any rate, we bounced from rock to rock and spun around sharp turns,
only a foot or two from the edge of the road, which there was absolutely
nothing to guard and which dropped sheer for hundreds of feet. But at
last the more hair-raising of these turns were left behind, the road
straightened out along the side of the hill, and then, far ahead, we saw
opening out below us the blue waters and craggy shores of Bantry Bay.

Down and down we dropped, with new vistas opening every minute, until we
were running close beside the border of the bay, and for ten miles we
followed its convolutions. Then we swung away between high hedges, and
Betty nearly fell out of the bus--for the hedges were of fuchsias, ten
feet high and heavy with scarlet flowers!

That was the crowning delight of that wonderful drive. We ran between
high rows of fuchsias for perhaps half a mile; then we turned through a
gate into beautiful grounds; and a moment later we were climbing out in
front of the hotel at Glengarriff--half an hour ahead of schedule time!



CHAPTER XI

A TRIP THROUGH WONDERLAND


YOU may well believe that, with such variegated loveliness all about us,
we did not linger in the hotel a moment longer than was necessary, but
made a hasty tea and sallied forth to explore the neighbourhood. First
of all, Betty must pick some fuchsias, so we went back to the road, and
climbed over a wall into a field surrounded by high hedges of the
gorgeous flower. It was a new experience for Betty to reach up overhead
and break off great branches which were simply masses of scarlet bells,
until she had her arms full, and I suspect she went a little wobbly over
it; but she was to have the same experience many times thereafter, for
the fuchsia grows in great profusion throughout southern and western
Ireland.

I saw but one variety, however, the flower of which has a dark blue
trumpet and scarlet bell, but this is perhaps the most showy of all, and
nothing could be more gorgeous than a hedge in full bloom. In the woods,
or in gardens where they are left untrimmed, the bushes will grow into
veritable trees, twenty-five or thirty feet high.

We went back to the hotel, when Betty had gathered all she could carry,
and she sent the flowers up to our room by a maid who laughed
sympathetically--I fancy she had seen such attacks of madness more than
once before--and then we started along a winding path which led through
the woods down to the shore of the bay. And we soon found that fuchsias
were not the only things which grow to giant proportions here, for the
path was hedged with ferns four or five feet high--great, lordly
fellows, standing stiffly upright as though on parade. Ferns were
everywhere, even on the trees overhead, for the trees are padded with
moss, and in this the ferns have found a foothold. And there were holly
trees still scarlet with last year's berries, and hawthorn fragrant with
bloom; and over everything the English ivy ran riot--rather in the same
fashion, I thought as I looked at it, in which England herself has run
riot over Ireland.

We got down to the shore of the bay, at last, and I quite agree with
Thackeray that it is a world's wonder, with its rock-strewn shore and
emerald islands and pellucid water, framed in, all about, by rugged
mountains. We wandered along its edge, gay with sea-pinks, for an hour
or more, and then spent another hour loitering in the woods, and finally
walked on, between the flaming hedges and fern-draped trees, to the
little village, which we could smell, long before we came to it, by the
tang of peat-smoke in the air. It is a mere huddle of low, thatched
houses, and I judge that, even amid these gorgeous surroundings, life
can be as hard and sordid as anywhere in Ireland.

A little distance from the village was a pretty, two-storied villa,
covered with roses and climbing vines, and with a large garden beside
it, blazing with a great variety of gorgeous bloom. We stopped to look
at it over the gate, and the gardener espied us and came hurrying
forward to ask us in to see the flowers. And one of the plants he
showed us most proudly was a single, sickly-looking stalk of Indian
corn, about a foot high, growing in a pot. When we told him that, in the
state we came from, Indian corn filled thousands and thousands of acres
every summer, and grew from eight to ten feet high, he looked as though
he scarcely believed us. But that little stalk of corn brought home to
me, as perhaps nothing else could have done, the fact that my own
particular corner of the earth is divinely favoured, too, in ways
unknown even to Glengarriff.

       *       *       *       *       *

I had a most improving conversation, that night, in the smoking-room of
the hotel, with a Catholic priest and a salesman for the British
Petroleum Company. The priest, who must have been at least sixty-five,
had the typical long, thin Irish face, and was intensely Nationalist.
The salesman was younger and rather rubicund, and I judge that he was an
Englishman and a Unionist. It was the priest who did most of the talking
about Home Rule, after I got him started, and he protested earnestly
that Ulster's fears of unfair treatment were utterly unfounded. The
Catholics, he said, didn't want supremacy; all they wanted was equality,
but they _did_ want that, and felt they were entitled to it. England, he
admitted, had made great strides within the past ten years toward
atoning for her old injustice to Ireland, and was evidently trying hard
to do what was right.

"Yes," broke in the salesman; "she's going altogether too far. What with
old age pensions and the purchase act and poor relief and railway
building and putting up labourers' houses and what not, she's spending
twice as much on this country as she gets out of it. It won't do; it has
got to stop."

"I don't believe England spends more on Ireland than she gets out of
us," said the priest quickly.

"Here it is in black and white," and the other triumphantly slapped the
paper he had been reading. "Imperial expenditures for Ireland, 1912-13,
£12,381,500; received from Ireland, £10,850,000; deficit,
£1,531,500--that would be about seven and a half million dollars," he
added, for my benefit. "Over a million and a half pounds sterling that
England has made Ireland a present of in the past year! What do you
think of that?" and he turned back to the priest.

"The figures may be true," said the latter, slowly, "and then again they
may not. I have been told that England burdens Ireland with many
expenditures which don't belong to us. But in any event, I agree with
you that charity does us no good--it does us harm. We don't want
charity."

"Hm-m-m!" grunted the salesman sceptically.

"I'll admit," went on the other, "that there are and always have been
many Irishmen only too eager to take alms--more shame to them. There
have always been many ready to sell themselves for a good position under
government, and to sell their country too, if need be. We have our share
of patriots, but we have more than our share of traitors, I sometimes
think. But it isn't by them the country should be judged. What true
Irishmen want is the right to stand alone like men and fight their own
battles, and in fighting them, the north and south will forget their
foolish quarrel and become friends again as they should be. They aren't
half as far apart, even now, as some would have you believe. Most of
this talk about Ulster is the black work of men who make their living
out of it, who care nothing for Ireland, and take advantage of every
little by-election to stir the fire and keep the pot bubbling."

I remarked that this ceaseless agitation over elections was unknown in
America, where all the elections were held on one day, after which there
were no more elections for a year.

The priest stared at me in astonishment.

"Did I understand you to say," he asked, "that the elections all over
your country are held on the same day?"

"Yes," I said; "on a day early in November, fixed by law."

"I don't see how you manage it."

"It isn't hard to manage--it's really very simple."

"But where do you get enough police?"

"Enough police?"

"Yes. Here in Ireland, when we have an election, we have to send in the
police from all the country round to keep the peace. If we tried to have
all our elections on one day, there would be riots everywhere."

"What about?" I asked.

"I don't know--the people wouldn't know themselves, most likely; but
there's many of them would welcome the chance for a shindy, if the
police wasn't there. Isn't it the same in America?"

I told him I had been an election officer many times, but had never seen
any serious disorder at the polls.

"Aren't there many riots next day?" he asked.

"Why," I said, "the day after election is the quietest day in the year.
Everybody goes to work as though nothing had happened."

"I don't think there is much danger of riots," put in the salesman, "but
we couldn't have your system over here because with us a man has a right
to vote wherever he owns property and pays taxes, and if all the
elections were held on one day, he couldn't get around."

"Ah, yes," nodded the priest; "I did not think of that. How do you
manage it in America?"

"With us," I explained, "every man has one vote and no more."

Again his eyes goggled.

"Would you be telling me," he gasped, "that your millionaires, your men
of vast properties, have no more votes than the poor man?"

And when I told him that was so, I think he was by way of pitying our
millionaires, as men deprived of their just rights--as, perhaps, in some
respects, they are.

And then the salesman told me that he had been to America, as far west
as Kansas, where he had visited some friends. He had gone over, he said,
with that sort of good-natured contempt for everything American so
common in England, but he had come away convinced that there was no
country on earth to match it.

"The only thing I saw to criticise in America were the roads," he added.
"Why don't you take a leaf from Lloyd George's book? He has put a tax of
three-pence a gallon on gasoline used by pleasure cars, and this tax
goes into a fund for the upkeep of the highways, proportioned according
to the number of cars in each county. Gasoline used in commercial cars
pays a tax of three-ha'-pence a gallon. A great sum is collected in this
way, and the upkeep of the highways is thrown upon the people who do
them the most damage. If you'd do the same in America, your roads would
soon be as good as ours; and nobody could complain that the tax was
unjust."

I agreed that it was a clever idea, and I hereby call it to the
attention of our lawmakers.

"Well," said the priest, who had been listening attentively to all this,
"I am glad to know the truth about this tax. I had heard of it, and had
thought it another English exaction laid upon Ireland. Now I see that I
was wrong; for, as you say, it is a just tax."

And then he told us some stories of the old days, of famine and
persecution and eviction, of the hard fight for life on the rocky
hillsides, while the fertile valleys were given over to grazing or
ringed with high walls and turned into game preserves. There were
lighter stories, too, of the humorous side of Irish character, and one
of them, though I suspect it is an old one, I will set down here.

The southwest coast of Ireland, of which Bantry Bay forms a part, is one
of the most dangerous in the world, because of the rugged capes which
stretch far out into the ocean and the small islands and hidden reefs
which lie beyond. It is just the sort of coast where fish abound, and so
little villages are scattered all along it, whose men-folks fish
whenever the weather lets them, and at other times labour in the tiny
potato patches up on the rocky hillsides. Naturally they are familiar
with all the twists and turnings of the coast, and are always on the
lookout to add to their scanty incomes by a job of piloting.

One day the crew of a fishing-boat perceived a big freighter nosing
about in a light fog, rather closer inshore than she should have been,
and at once lay alongside and put a man aboard.

"Will you be wantin' a pilot, sir?" he asked the captain, who was
anxiously pacing the bridge.

The captain stared a moment at the dirty and tattered visitor.

"Who the devil are you?" he demanded, at last.

"Me name's McCarthy, sir. I'm a pilot, sir."

"A pilot!" and the captain looked at McCarthy again. "I don't believe
it."

"'Tis the truth I'm tellin' you, sir," protested McCarthy.

"Well," said the captain, "if it's the truth, you can easily prove it.
Let me hear you box the compass."

McCarthy was nonplussed. More than once, sitting over a pot of ale in
some public house, he had heard old sailors proudly rattle off the
points of the compass, but, though he remembered how the rigmarole
sounded, he had no idea how to do it, nor even any very clear idea of
what it meant.

"Faith, I can't do it, sir," he admitted.

"Can't do it?" roared the captain. "Can't box the compass! And yet you
call yourself a pilot."

McCarthy did some rapid thinking, for he saw a good job, which he could
ill afford to lose, slipping through his fingers.

"It's like this, sir," he said, finally, "in our small place, it's the
Irish we would be using, niver a word of English, and all the English
any of us knows is just the little we might pick up from bein' after the
ships. I can't box the compass in English, but I can box it in the
Irish, sir, if that will do."

The captain looked into the speaker's guileless eyes and also did some
rapid thinking. He knew no Gaelic, but he needed a pilot badly, and he
reflected that, in any language, it ought to be possible to tell whether
the compass was being boxed correctly, because the words would have to
follow each other with a certain similarity of sound, as north,
north-and-by-east, north-north-east, north-east-by-north, and so on.

"All right," he growled, "go ahead and let's hear you."

"My father," McCarthy began solemnly in his homely Gaelic; "my
grandfather, my grandfather's grandmother, my grandmother's grandfather,
my great grandfather, my great grandfather's grandmother, my great
grandmother's great. . . ."

"Hold on," shouted the captain, quite convinced. "I see you know how.
Take charge of the ship!"

And McCarthy thereupon proved he knew how by getting the vessel safely
past Cape Clear!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was pouring rain, next morning, a steady, driving rain, which looked
as though it might last forever, and we were confronted by the problem
which so often confronts the traveller in Ireland, whether to go or
stay. To go meant the possibility of having the most beautiful drive in
Ireland obscured in mist; to stay meant a dreary day at the hotel, with
no assurance that the next day would be any better, or the next, or the
next. At last we decided to go.

Never after that was the problem so difficult, for we soon realised the
folly of permitting Irish rain to interfere with any plan. In the first
place, the rain is not an unmixed evil, for it is soft and fresh and
vivifying, and it adds mystery and picturesqueness to the most
commonplace landscape; and in the second place, it is very fickle,
begins unaccountably, stops unexpectedly, and rarely lasts the day
through. In fact, the crest of any ridge may take one into it, or out of
it, as we were to find that day.

So when, about ten o'clock, the bus came puffing up to the door, we
climbed aboard. The road, for a little way, wound up the valley of the
Glengarriff River, and then, striking off into the mountains, climbed
upward at a gradient that tested the power of the engine. Almost at once
we were in the mountain mist, soft and grey, eddying all about us,
whirling aside for an instant now and then to give us tantalising
glimpses down into the valleys, and then closing in again. Up and up we
went, a thousand feet and more, and at last we came to the crest of the
mountain range which divides County Cork from County Kerry. The road
plunges under the crest through a long tunnel, and then winds steeply
down into the valley of the Sheen.

Again there was a series of sharp and unprotected turns, just as on the
day before, and this time with the added complication of a slippery,
sloppy road; but I have never ridden with a more careful or more
accomplished driver than we had that day, and he nursed the heavy bus
along so quietly and with such easy mastery that no one thought of
danger. Gradually the mist lightened and cleared away, until we could
see the wide valley far below, with the tiny winding river at the
bottom, and the walled fields and midget houses. There was a succession
of such valleys all the way to Kenmare, and we finally rolled up before
the big hotel there just in time for lunch.

We walked down into the village, afterwards, and found it more bustling
and prosperous than any of the other small villages we had seen. This is
due partly perhaps to the tourist traffic, for Kenmare is a famous
bathing and fishing resort; but homespun tweeds are manufactured there
in considerable quantities, and at the convent scores of girls are
employed at lace-making, Celtic embroidery, wood-carving and
leather-work. The school is said to be one of the best managed in
Ireland, and I was sorry that we did not have time to visit it. We saw,
however, some of the Kerry girls in the street, and they were fully
handsome enough to give colour to the doggerel:

    'Tis sure that the lads will be goin' to Cork
    When their money is gone and they're wantin' to work;
    But 'tis just as sure that they'll turn back to Kerry
    For a purty colleen when they're wantin' to marry.

Kerry is a poor country and always will be, for it consists mostly of
stony hills, and though it is renowned for its scenery, no one except
the hotel keepers can live on that. Such little hill farms as have been
wrested from the rocks produce but scantily; so when there is a "long
family," as the Irish put it--and "long families" are the rule--one son
will stay at home to look after the old people, and the others will fare
forth into the world to search for a living. I hope it is true that they
come back when they're searching for wives. Otherwise the lot of the
Kerry girls, hard enough under any circumstances, would be harder still.
Nowhere in Ireland are there brighter eyes or redder cheeks.

[Illustration: THE BAY AT GLENGARRIFF]

[Illustration: THE UPPER LAKE, KILLARNEY, FROM THE KENMARE ROAD]

The rain was quite over by the time we were ready to start again, and
the mist had disappeared under the rays of the sun, so that we had the
benefit of the full beauty of the Kenmare River, which is really a wide
bay, as we ran close along its western bank. Then the road doubled back
from it, and presently the driver stopped at a spot where a narrow
footpath struck down into the woods, and advised us to take it, saying
that he would wait for us at its other end. In a moment we found
ourselves clambering down the side of a wildly-beautiful ravine, with
the roar of rushing water rising from below, and trees festooned with
ferns and ivy meeting above our heads. And then, high above us, we saw
the arch of a stone bridge; and quite suddenly we came out upon the
stream, the Blackwater, foaming over the rocks. It was at its very best,
from the heavy rain of the morning, and we stood there watching it,
fascinated by its beauty, as long as we dared.

We went on again close beside the shore of the bay, and in half an hour
came to Parknasilla, where there is another big hotel, set in the midst
of beautiful grounds, and with superb views opening on every side. The
climate here is sub-tropical, and the vegetation mounts to a climax
of riotous profusion, with palms and calla lilies growing in the open.
The bay, too, is very fine, with bluff, rock-strewn shores, and
innumerable green islets speckling its sparkling waters, and rugged
mountains closing in the distance.

Then again we were off, mounting steadily, steadily, winding under
beetling crags and above grey precipices; up and up, with the world
sinking away into the valley at our left, and the heathery, rock-strewn
heights soaring upward at our right; and finally, at our feet, opened
the wonderful panorama of the Brown Valley--brown bog, brown rock, brown
heather, mounting to the distant slopes of Macgillicuddy's Reeks. We
dropped down toward it, mile after mile; then up and up again, to the
crest of the ridge beyond--and there, far below us, lay the lakes of
Killarney, rimmed with green hills and dotted with green islands--the
most sweetly beautiful in all the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

The loveliest general view of the lakes of Killarney to be had from
anywhere is as one drops down toward them along the Kenmare road. Their
individual beauties may, of course, be seen to better advantage closer
at hand; but from this height, the whole wonderful panorama stretches
before one. Right across the valley opens the Gap of Dunloe, with the
rugged Reeks on one side and the green clad Purple Mountain on the
other; below is the narrow, island-dotted, hill-encircled upper lake;
farther away is Muckross Lake, and far in the distance stretch the blue
waters of Lough Leane, the largest of them all. My advice is to take a
long look at it, for you will never see anything more lovely.

The road soon dropped among the trees, and our driver pointed out with
evident pride the Queen's cottage on the shore of the upper lake, built
a good many years ago in order that Victoria, on her tour of the lakes,
might have a fitting place in which to lunch, and which has never been
occupied since. Then the road ran close beside the border of the middle
lake, plunged again into the woods for a mile or two; and at last the
bus stopped before the inn where we intended to stay, and we climbed
down regretfully.

The inn was a long, two-storied building, standing a little back from
the road, and the porter who came running out to take our bags might
have stepped straight out of Pickwick, he was so fat, so jolly, and so
rubicund. I had some films I wanted developed at once, because I was
afraid the damp weather would affect them, and I asked him where I could
get it done.

"There's a man just this side of the village can do it, sir," he said.
"You will see his sign as you go along the road."

"How far is it?" I asked.

"The village is two mile, sir."

"Then it's less than two miles?"

"It is, sir."

I turned to Betty.

"We've got plenty of time before dinner," I said. "Suppose we walk in
and see the town."

And Betty, wotting little of what was before her, consented.

I put my films in my pocket, and we set off eagerly along the pleasant
road, past a little village, past a church with a graveyard back of it
and a Celtic cross high on the hillside above it, past a hotel or two,
around one turn after another, with green-clad hills mounting steeply to
our right and the blue lake lying low on our left. We met an occasional
cyclist, or a donkey-cart being driven home from market, or a labourer
trudging stolidly home from work, or two or three girls strolling along
with arms interlaced, exchanging confidences. And the air was very sweet
and the evening very cool and pleasant, and the sky full of glorious
colour--

"We must certainly have come two miles," said Betty. "What do you
suppose is the matter?"

"I don't know," I said, looking at my watch and noting that we had been
half an hour on the road. "Perhaps we'll see the town around the next
turn."

But we didn't. All we saw was about half a mile of empty road. We
covered this and came to another turn, and there before us lay another
long stretch of road. Determined not to give up, we pushed on, and came
to a bridge over a rippling little stream, which we learned afterward
was the Flesk, and we stopped and looked at it awhile and rested.

"We must be nearly there," I said encouragingly.

"What's bothering me," explained Betty, "isn't the distance we have to
go to get there; it's the distance we have to go to get back."

There was another bend in the road just beyond the bridge, and we turned
this, confident that the village would be there. But it wasn't. We saw
nothing but the smooth highway, stretching away and away into the dim
distance. I looked at my watch again.

"We've been walking nearly an hour," I said. "It looks as though we
might miss dinner, after all."

And just then there came the trot of a horse and the jingle of harness
along the road behind us, and a side-car drew up with a flourish.

"Would your honour be wantin' a car?" asked the jarvey, leaning toward
us ingratiatingly.

"We were told there was a photographer's just this side of the village.
Do you know where it is?"

"I do, your honour."

"How far is it?"

"'Tis just over there beyont. If you will step up on the car, I'll have
ye there in a minute. I'm goin' right past it."

Of course we got up. And, as the jarvey had said, the photographer's
shop was just around the next bend. But before I got down, I made a
bargain with him to drive us back to our hotel, and, after I had left my
films, we set merrily off through the gathering dusk.

"There's one thing I don't understand," I said, at last. "The porter at
the hotel said it was only two miles to the village. Yet we walked for
an hour without getting there."

"He meant Irish miles, your honour," explained the jarvey, laughing.
"There is an old saying that 'an Irish mile is a mile and a bit, and the
bit is as long as the mile.' You see, here in ould Ireland we always
stretch everything."

I have found since that the Irish mile is about a mile and a quarter;
but this is no real measure of its elasticity. More than once thereafter
we saw one mile stretch out to three; and we soon came to realise that
the Irish mind is extremely vague and inexact when it comes to distances
and directions.

We got back to the hotel to have our first view of what proved to be a
nightly ceremony. On a stand in the entrance hall was a huge platter,
and on the platter lay a huge salmon, and a card leaning against it
announced that it weighed fourteen pounds and had been caught that day
by Captain Gregory, and there were flowers all about it, so it's a proud
fish it should have been. There were five or six other salmon on a lower
table, each with a card giving its weight--anywhere from five pounds to
eleven--and the whole collection represented the day's catch of the
guests of the hotel.

For the hotel, being handy to the lakes, and clean and comfortable and
homelike, is a favourite resort of the fishermen who come to Killarney
during the salmon season. Every evening while we were there, as the
fishermen came in, tired and wet, with their boatmen tramping behind
them carrying the fish--if there were any--they were met at the door by
the rotund porter, his face beaming like a full moon--a red harvest
moon!--and the fish would be solemnly weighed, and the biggest would be
decorated with flowers and awarded the place of honour, and the others
would be grouped around it, and after dinner, the fishermen would stand
and look at them, their hands deep in their pockets; and later on there
would be a great bustle as the fish were wrapped in straw and tied up,
ready to be sent by parcel-post to admiring friends back home!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a cosmopolitan crowd which gathered that evening after dinner
about the big fireplace in the smoking-room, where a most welcome and
comforting wood fire blazed and crackled. The weather had turned very
cold, and Betty and I were dressed as warmly as we had been at any time
during the winter, though it was the fifth of June, and the papers were
running long columns about the fearful heat wave which had America in
its grip. There was a sturdy, red-faced old Scotchman in carpet
slippers, and a sallow, heavy-lidded ancient whom the others addressed
as "colonel," and just such a close-clipped, stiff-backed sporting
squire as is Canon Hannay's Major Kent, of near Ballymoy; and there were
two or three other Englishmen with no outstanding characteristic except
their insularity; and the talk was of flies and rods and casts, and
everybody was indignant at the suffragette who had rushed out on the
track and tried to stop the Derby; and there was a steady emptying of
tall glasses and a steadily-deepening cloud of tobacco smoke, and
everybody was very comfortable and cosy. And presently the old Scotchman
took pity on me as a mere American who knew nothing about the high
mysteries of sport.

"It must be a great pleasure for you to sit before an open fire like
this," he said.

"It is," I agreed. "There's nothing more pleasant than a wood fire."

"Ye may well say so. But of course in America you have nothing like it."

"Nothing like it?" I repeated, looking at him.

"Why no," he said. "You never see an open fire in America. All you have
is steam pipes running all around the room."

I looked at him again to see if he was in earnest; and then I tried
gently to disabuse his mind of that idea. But it was no use. Indeed, he
got rather huffy when I said I had never seen a room with steam pipes
running all around it.

The savage insularity of the average Englishman is matter for
never-ending amusement, once one has grown accustomed to his contempt.
He believes that all American men are money-grubbers, and all American
women social climbers, who chew gum and talk loudly, while their
daughters are forward minxes who call their fathers "popper," and that
men, women, and children are alike wholly lacking in culture and
good-taste. The peculiar thing about it is that he never for an instant
doubts his own good taste in telling one all this frankly to one's face.

This is no fancy sketch. My own opinion is that the average Englishman
has no genuine feeling of friendship for America, and his ignorance of
things American is abysmal. One day, on the boat coming home, a
well-educated Englishman whom I had got to know, asked me the name of a
man with whom I had been talking.

"That is Senator So-and-so," I answered.

"What is a senator?" he inquired.

I remember that one day Betty and I and two other Americans happened to
be driving through the Tyrol in a coach with two Englishmen, and they
began to discuss American railway accidents--a favourite topic with
Englishmen when Americans are present; and one of them remarked that it
was no wonder there were so many accidents in America, since when
Americans built a railroad all they did was to lay the ties along on top
of the ground and spike the rails to them. I asked him if he had ever
been to America, and he said no, and I advised him to run over and pay
us a visit some time. This huffed him.

"Ah!" he said. "But what you Americans would give for a king!"

"Give for a king?"

"Yes; you would give anything for a king. Then you could have a court
and an aristocracy, and some real society. You're sick of your limping,
halting, make-believe government, and you know it!"

We all four stared at him in astonishment, wondering if he had gone
suddenly mad. Then Betty got her breath.

"No," she said; "you're really wrong about that. You see we settled the
king question back in 1776."

The rest was silence.

But really Englishmen aren't to blame for their distorted ideas of
America, for they get those ideas from the English newspapers, and the
only kind of American news most English newspapers publish is freak
news. During that week, for instance, almost the only American news in
any of the papers was about the terrific heat-wave, about Harry Thaw's
escape from Matteawan, and about some millionaire who had taken
bichloride of mercury by mistake, and lived for ten days or so
afterwards, occupying the time very cheerfully in closing up his
affairs. After his death, one of the great London dailies published a
column editorial about the affair, reasoning in the most solemn manner
that his survival for so long a time could have been due only to the
remarkable tonic properties of the American climate.

With the Irish it is entirely different. In the first place, America is
to them the haven to which a million Irishmen have fled from English
persecution; and in the next place, their knowledge of the country comes
not from newspapers but from letters written by relatives and friends.
The letters are somewhat rosier, I fear, than the facts warrant, but
they establish a kindly feeling which makes every Irishman ready to
welcome the passing American as a friend and brother. The only trouble
is that he is also apt to regard him as necessarily a millionaire.

It is undoubtedly true that a large portion of the lower-class Irish
consider it no disgrace to beg from an American. Not that they are
habitual beggars, but when an American comes their way, they seem to
consider it a waste of opportunity if they do not apply for a small
donation. In tourist centres, such as Dublin and Killarney, they are
very persistent, especially the children, and will follow along for
minutes on end telling the tale of their poverty and distress in queer
bated voices, as though they lacked the strength to speak aloud. But
Betty accidentally discovered a cure for this nuisance, quite as
effective as John Minogue's, and I take pleasure in passing it on.

Like most other people who have lived together for a long time, we have
developed a lot of symbols and pass-words, without meaning to any one
but ourselves; and it has become a rather foolish habit of mine when we
are together and I see something I especially admire, to express my
admiration by uttering the single word "Hickenlooper." And Betty, if she
agrees, says "Oppenheimer," and we understand each other and pass on.
One day in Cork, a group of children were unusually annoying, and
followed along and followed along, until Betty, losing patience, turned
upon them sharply, pointed her finger at them, and said "Oppenheimer!" I
shall never forget the startled look in their eyes, as they stopped dead
in their tracks, stared at her for an instant, and then fled
helter-skelter. We decided afterwards that they thought she was putting
a curse on them. She tried it more than once thereafter, and it never
failed to work; so, if you are annoyed beyond endurance by juvenile
beggars in Ireland, turn upon them sharply, point your finger at them,
and say "Oppenheimer!"

And since I am giving advice, I will give one bit more before I close
this chapter.

Among the purchases which Betty had made in New York, just before we
sailed, was a small electric torch. I had derided it as unnecessary, but
she had insisted on bringing it along, and had put it in our
travelling-bag when we were sorting over our luggage in Dublin. The
first night at Thurles, in a dreary little room, with only the
flickering candle for a light, I acknowledged her wisdom, for the bright
glow of the torch was very welcome. Again at Glengarriff candles were
the only illumination, and that night at Killarney, when I got to our
room, I found her in animated conversation with the chambermaid by the
light of a single tallow dip. They were talking about America, I think,
and the maid's eyes were shining with excitement and her cheeks were
flushed and the beautiful soft brogue was rolling off her tongue, when a
sudden gust from the open window blew the candle out. Betty picked up
the torch from the dresser and pressed the button.

"Glory be to God! What's that?" cried the girl, as the glare flashed
into her astonished eyes.

"It's only a torch," said Betty. "It won't hurt you." And then, when I
had lighted the candle again, she showed the girl how it worked.

"Glory be to God!" she cried again. "The wonder of it! You would niver
be gettin' that in Ireland!"

"No; I got it in New York."

"Ah, 'tis a wonderful place," said the girl, reverentially. "No place
but America would be havin' such things as that!"

Now this is no doubt a libel upon Ireland, for I suppose one can get
electric torches there. At any rate, my advice is to get one
somewhere--a good one--and take it along in your handbag. This advice is
good for the continent as well as for Ireland, but it is especially good
for the latter, and the reason is this:

In the old days, when English prodigals wasted their substance on
castellated palaces, the Irish squire, being a wiser man, spent his
money on good wine and good horses--or, when he had no money, ran
light-heartedly into debt for them. As to his family mansion, he
contented himself with adding a wing from time to time, as it might be
needed, either because of the increasing number of his children, or the
widening circle of his friends. The result was a singular house, often
only one story high, never more than two, flung wide over a great deal
of ground, and of a most irregular plan. Such a house had many
advantages, for, as another writer has pointed out, "at one end of it
the ladies could sleep undisturbed, no matter how joyous the men were at
the other; there were no stairs to fall down; and the long narrow
corridors were pleasant to those who found it hard to direct their
devious steps."

But the time came when these hospitable Irishmen found themselves
overwhelmed by debt, their houses were taken from them, and many of
them, since they were too large for any private family, were converted
into inns. The traveller in rural Ireland will encounter more than one
of them, and will find those long, shadowy, zig-zag corridors eerie
places after night, unless he has a torch to light his steps. The doors
are not always fitted with locks, and if the window is kept open, an
intruder has only to step over the sill. We never had any intruder; but
had we had, I am sure one flash from the torch would have sent him
flying.



CHAPTER XII

THE "GRAND TOUR"


THERE are many excursions which can be made over and around the
Killarney lakes, but the most important one--the "grand tour," so to
speak--starts at the town, proceeds by car to Kate Kearney's cottage,
then by pony through the Gap of Dunloe, then by boat the full length of
the lakes to Ross Castle, and back to town again by car. This round
takes a day to accomplish, and gives one a very fair idea of Killarney.
It is about all most of the people who come to Killarney ever see of it.
In fact, some of them don't see that much--as will presently appear.

Now Killarney is to Ireland what the Trossachs are to Scotland and
Niagara Falls to America--in other words, its most famous show-place;
and so it has passed more or less under the control of that ubiquitous
exploiter of show-places, Thomas Cook. Cook arranges all the excursions,
Cook controls most of the vehicles, Cook's boats are the biggest and
safest, and so, if you wish to see Killarney "in the least fatiguing
manner," you must resign yourself to Cook. Let me say here that I admire
Cook; there is no place where a traveller is served more courteously,
more fairly, or more intelligently than in a Cook office. No one need be
ashamed to make intelligent use of Cook. The reason of his disrepute is
that he has come to be used so largely by self-complacent people whose
idea of seeing Europe is to gallop from place to place in charge of a
conductor. But that isn't Cook's fault.

Killarney is the one place in Ireland which every tourist wants to see,
not because it is characteristically Irish, but because it has been very
carefully exploited. In my own opinion, a trip to Holy Cross and Cashel,
or to Mellifont and Monasterboice and the tombs of the kings, or to the
congested districts of Connaught, is far better worth while. But the
great bulk of tourist traffic follows the beaten path, and in Ireland
the beaten path leads straight to Killarney.

       *       *       *       *       *

As we sat at breakfast next morning, we witnessed the ceremonial rites
involved in getting the fishermen started off for the day's sport. The
rotund porter acted as major-domo, and puffed and panted and hurried
hither and yon, his brow creased with the anxieties of his high office.

It is a point of honour with all true fishermen to wear only the most
faded, rain-stained, disreputable of garments, and it was a
weird-looking company which gathered in front of the hotel that morning,
with their hats, decorated with many-coloured flies, flapping around
their brick-red faces. There was one woman in the lot who was going out
with her father--a short, square spinster, evidently hard as nails, with
a face as red as the reddest, and boots as heavy as the heaviest. The
wonder was that she didn't smoke a pipe like the others. They overhauled
their tackle with great care--shook out the lines, tested rods and
reels, examined the flies, and finally trudged away, the boatman
following, laden with rain-proofs and lunch-basket and gaff and
landing-net, and with a broad grin on his face at the prospect of
sharing his employer's tobacco and lunch, and of earning a few shillings
in so pleasant a manner.

When we had finished breakfast, we went out to have a look at the
weather, and found the sun shining brightly, with every prospect of a
pleasant day. The porter assured us that there was no chance of rain;
but we had already had some experience of the fickleness of the Irish
climate, so we went back and prepared for the worst, and clambered
presently to the seat of the car Cook sent for us.

On the way in to the village, we stopped at another hotel to pick up
three American women who had been touring the continent and England, and
who, by a long jump, had managed to squeeze in one day for Killarney
before hastening on to Queenstown to catch their boat. They had arrived
late the night before, and would leave for Cork as soon as the tour of
the lakes had been completed, and they were jubilant because the day was
so fine. They had feared it might rain, and that their long journey
would be for nothing. The only protection against rain they had with
them was two small umbrellas, and I could see that they were somewhat
amused at our rain-coats and leggings.

There was a long open coach, with seats for about twenty people, waiting
in front of Cook's office in the village, and presently, as cars drove
in from the various hotels, this was filled to overflowing, and at last
we rumbled away. We were fortunate in having been assigned to the front
seat with the driver, a handsome, good-humoured fellow, not averse to
talking; and behind us we could hear the merry chatter of the happy and
contented crowd. We passed the workhouse, which, as usual, is the
biggest building in the place, and then the lunatic asylum, which is
almost as big, and then we saw the ruins of Aghadoe high on the
hillside--and then I felt a drop of rain on my cheek. There was another
drop, and then another, and then a gentle patter, and then a rushing and
remorseless downpour.

We held the rubber lap-robe up under our chins and the water ran down it
in streams. The happy chatter had turned to exclamations of
consternation and dismay, and we did not need to look around to realise
the havoc which the rain was working. The driver chirruped to his horses
and endeavoured to divert his passengers with a few stanzas of a classic
Irish drinking song, rendered in a resounding baritone:

    Let the farmer praise his grounds,
    Let the huntsman praise his hounds,
      The shepherd his dew-scented lawn;
    But I, more blest than they,
    Spend each happy night and day
      With my charming little cruiskeen lawn, lawn, lawn,
      With my charming little cruiskeen lawn.

"What does cruiskeen lawn mean?" asked a man's voice behind us.

"Oh, it is just a term of endearment," said a woman's voice in answer.
"Don't you remember the song about Willy Reilly and his dear cruiskeen
lawn?"

"Oh, yes," said the man.

I caught a twinkle in our driver's eye, but he said nothing. After all,
Willy Reilly, being a true Irishman, no doubt loved his cruiskeen lawn,
or little full jug, almost as well as his colleen bawn, or fair-haired
lassie.

So we rolled merrily on, and presently turned into a hilly lane, where a
crowd of ragamuffins mounted on bony steeds awaited us. These were the
pony-boys, and a wild-looking lot they were as they fell in about us and
proceeded to act as a sort of cavalry escort. We took a bridge and a
steep grade beyond at a gallop, and drew up in front of a white-washed,
slate-roofed little house, which our driver announced was Kate Kearney's
cottage, and his bedraggled passengers made a break for its welcome
shelter. It was Lady Morgan who celebrated Kate's charms in the
ingenuous verses beginning,

          Oh, did you not hear of Kate Kearney?
          She lives on the banks of Killarney,
          From the glance of her eye shun danger and fly,
          For fatal's the glance of Kate Kearney,

and she is supposed to have lived somewhere in this neighbourhood,
though it is a long way from the "banks of Killarney." At any rate, this
spick-and-span cottage, very unlike Kate's, has been given her name, and
I dare say that any of the girls who tend bar inside would answer to it,
just to keep up the local colour.

The room into which the door opens has a bar at one end and an open fire
at the other, and while the women of the party crowded about the fire,
the men paused before the bar for a taste of potheen. There are many
other opportunities to taste it before one gets through the gap, but if
it is to be done at all, it would better be done here, for here one
gets a clean glass to drink it out of. The whiskey is supposed to be
surreptitious, but of course it has paid the tax like any other; an inch
of it is poured into the bottom of the glass, and then the glass is
filled with milk, and one drinks it and smacks one's lips and looks
knowing. I drank a glass of it in the interests of this narrative, and I
am free to say I have drunk many things I liked better.

At the end of half an hour, everybody had managed to get fairly dry, and
a prolonged discussion arose whether to go on through the gap or turn
back to the town. The rain was still falling steadily, and there was no
sign of break in the heavy clouds, though our conductor contended that
they were clearing away to the westward. The motley crew of pony-boys,
with their shaggy "coppaleens," were all most insistent that the shower
would soon be over, and that it would be a great mistake to go back.
Betty and I had already made up our minds: we were going to see the
thing through whatever happened; but the rest of the crowd vacillated
back and forth in cruel indecision, especially the three women who must
see Killarney to-day or never. We advised them to risk it; but in the
end, only one other member of the party, a little German Jew, decided to
do so, and all the rest clambered back into the bus and were driven off
toward the town. The Cook's conductor stayed with us to act as pilot.

I wish you could have heard the chorus of commendation from those Irish
throats as Betty mounted her pony. Sure she was the brave lady, she was
the wise lady, the torrents and cataracts would be that fine; let the
featherbed trash drive off back to the town, sure they were not worth a
thought; the shower would soon pass by, and it would be a fine day, and
anyway the Irish rain was a soft sweet rain that never did any harm, and
the gap was the grandest sight in the whole world--so their tongues ran
on.

I gave my camera into the keeping of the pony-boy who was going along
with us, and scrambled into the saddle. I have had mighty little
equestrian experience since my hobby-horse days, and I cannot pretend
that I enjoyed that ride, for the road was rough and up-and-down and the
pony anything but a smooth stepper. If I had it to do again, I think I
should walk. The distance is only about five miles, and a person not
thoroughly at home in the saddle has far more leisure to survey the
beauties of the gap when he is using his own legs than when he is
bumping along on a "coppaleen."

The accompaniments of the ride are more diverting than the ride itself.
We had gone scarcely a dozen yards, when we found a photographer with
his camera set up in the middle of the road, who took our pictures on
the off chance that we'd buy one. Then from the shelter of a rock arose
a battered human, with a still more battered cornet, which looked as
though it had been used as a shillelagh in moments of absent-mindedness,
and he offered to awake the echo for a penny. I produced the penny, but
the blast he blew upon the horn was so faint and wavering that Echo
slept on undisturbed. Then we came to an individual playing with great
violence upon a wheezy accordion. The pony-boys said that he had been a
great actor, but that rheumatism had overtaken him, so that he could
strut the boards no longer, and he had finally been reduced to playing
an accordion in the Gap of Dunloe, and they besought charity for him, as
the most deserving case in the gap. And then we came to two men with a
small cannon, which they offered to discharge for sixpence. And then
began a long procession of barefooted old women, pretending to offer
homeknit woollen socks and home-distilled potheen for sale, but really
begging--begging most insistently, running along beside the ponies with
their poor red feet slopping in the mud or slipping over the stones;
voluble with their blessings if they got a small coin, and plainly
thinking themselves insulted if they didn't.

Meanwhile, we had mounted into the gap along a rough and winding
bridle-path, and a desolately-impressive place we found it. A little
river, the Loe, runs at the bottom, and close on either side high,
frowning, rock-strewn precipices tower steeply upwards. There is no sign
of vegetation--except a patch of heather maintaining a perilous foothold
here and there on the bare and desolate hills,--the Tomies on one side
and McGillicuddy's Reeks on the other. And then, at what seemed the most
desolate spot, we came to a substantial, two-storied house, a station of
the Royal Irish Constabulary. What the police could find to do in such a
desert was difficult to imagine; but we stopped a few minutes to talk
with them, and they evidently welcomed the diversion.

Legend has it that the Gap of Dunloe was cleft by Finn MacCool with a
single blow of his great sword, and that it was here, in the Black Lough
into which the River Loe presently widens, that St. Patrick imprisoned
the last snake in Ireland, by persuading it to enter a box on the
promise that he would release it to-morrow. When the morrow came, the
too-trusting serpent reminded the Saint of his promise, and asked him to
open the lid, but Patrick replied that it was not yet to-morrow, but
only to-day, and so the snake is still there in the box on the bottom of
the lake, waiting for to-morrow to come. It makes such a fearful
bubbling sometimes that it scares all the fish away, so that, while
there are fish in plenty in the other lakes, there is none in this.
There is a bridge at one end of the lake, and if one makes a wish as one
crosses it, the wish will come true.

The road mounts steadily, curving from side to side of the valley, and
one should stop from time to time and look back, or the full beauty of
the place will be lost. We found the wind rushing along the heights, as
we worked our way upward, and the rain fairly poured at times, so that
the cataracts performed splendidly. At least I can vouch for two of
them--one down Betty's nose and the other down mine! But presently, the
clouds blew away, and the rain stopped just before we came out on the
heights above the Black Valley.

This is undoubtedly the most beautiful point of the ride. To the right a
savage glen runs back into the very heart of the Reeks, ending in a
pocket shut in by sheer and rugged precipices. Far below lies the
valley, with a silver ribbon of a river winding through it, and to the
left shine the blue waters of the upper lake.

I dismounted at this point, turned my pony over to the boy, and went
down the winding road on foot, for I didn't want anything to distract
my eyes from this wonderful view. And presently we were down among the
trees, before a little lodge called for some unknown reason "Lord
Brandon's Cottage," in which sat a man to whom we had to pay a shilling
each before we could pass to the landing-place at the head of the lake,
where the boats and lunch were waiting. Killarney is about the only spot
in Ireland which is exploited in this manner, but here you will find
fees exacted at every turn--a petty annoyance which, added to the
persistent begging and insistent demands for tips, does much to
interfere with the pleasure of the Killarney trip.

At the landing we found two boats which had rowed up from Ross Castle
during the morning--a small one with two oarsmen and a larger one with
four. The conductor marshalled us into the big one, took his seat at the
stern, got out our lunches, which had been sent up from the hotel,
tucked us in with heavy waterproofs, drew the tiller-lines across his
lap and gave the signal to start.

The upper lake is much the most beautiful of the three, with its many
islands, and the high hills hemming it in. Near its lower end is Arbutus
Island, and it is worth pausing a moment beside it to look at the
arbutus, that handsomest of shrubs, with ruddy stem and glossy leaf,
which is indigenous all about Killarney, but reaches its height of glory
on this little island. It is impossible to tell where the outlet of the
lake is, until you are right upon it, but it suddenly opens out between
two high rocks, and the boat enters the Long Range--the winding river
some three miles in length which connects the upper and middle lakes.

The rock on the left is called Colman's Leap, and the legend is that,
once upon a time, this Colman, who was lord of the upper lake, was
chased down the mountain by some supporters of The O'Donaghue, and took
a flying leap across the river, in proof of which you may still see the
print of his feet in the rock where he landed on the other side. Our
guide offered to show us the foot-prints, if we required any proof of
the story, but we assured him of our unquestioning belief.

The Reach itself is quite as beautiful as any of the lakes, for its
banks are covered with the most varied and luxuriant vegetation; and
once, as we drifted quietly along, we saw a red deer browsing among the
bracken. And then we drifted past the foot of a great precipice, and the
channel narrowed, the current quickened, and the boatmen prepared to run
the rapids into the middle lake.

One of the boatmen was a wild-eyed old fellow, very nervous and fidgety,
who had considerable difficulty in wielding an oar against the husky
fellow opposite him, and more than once the steersman had admonished him
to put more ginger into it. Now, as we drew near the rapids, his
agitation increased, his eyes grew wilder than ever, and as the current
caught us and we shot under the ancient arch of masonry called the Old
Weir Bridge, he managed to strike his oar on a rock with a force that
nearly broke it. The nose of the boat swerved alarmingly for an instant,
but the steersman brought her round with a quick jerk, and in a minute
more we were in the quiet waters of the middle lake. The atmosphere was
far from quiet, however, as the steersman relieved his mind. Let it be
added that the rapids are not very terrible, as will be seen from the
picture opposite this page, and even if the boat struck a rock and was
ripped in two, one could get ashore without much difficulty.

[Illustration: OLD WEIR BRIDGE, KILLARNEY]

[Illustration: THE MEETING OF THE WATERS]

[Illustration: ROSS CASTLE, KILLARNEY]

Just beyond, at the "meeting of the waters," there is a whirlpool called
O'Sullivan's Punchbowl, and every rock and cave along the shore has its
tradition, many of them manufactured, I suspect, for the consumption of
the summer visitor. Most of the traditions are of The O'Donaghue,
Chieftain of the Glens. A long cave is O'Donaghue's Wine-cellar; a
depression at its mouth is O'Donaghue's Chair; and a tall knoll beside
it is O'Donaghue's Butler, otherwise Jockybwee.

The boat leaves the middle lake under another massive, high-hipped arch
of masonry--Drohid-na-Brickeen, "The Bridge of the Little Trout," or
Brickeen Bridge, as it is called now--and emerges into Glena Bay,
another place of beauty; but, as we were gazing at its loveliness, the
boat suddenly pitched sideways, then tried to stand on end, and we
started round to find ourselves in the midst of an ugly expanse of
white-capped water. We had never thought of rough water on Killarney;
yet here it was, and mighty rough at that. The lower lake is five miles
long and half as wide, and when the wind gets a good sweep at it, it can
kick up a sea that is not to be despised.

"'Tis just O'Donaghue's white horses out for a frolic," said the
steersman encouragingly, and took a new grip of his lines. The oarsmen
bent to their work, and we headed out into the lake, for it was
necessary to cross to Ross Island.

We said nothing, but held tight, and grinned palely at each other when
the boat made a peculiarly ferocious pitch; the spray flew in sheets,
the wind dashed the spindrift viciously in our faces, and we would have
been very wet indeed but for the waterproofs. But after the first few
minutes, we began to enjoy it, for it was evident that the boat was a
staunch one, and even if it went over, it wouldn't sink. I don't suppose
there was really any danger of its going over, though it hung at an
alarming angle on the side of a huge wave, once or twice; and at the end
of half an hour, we swept under the lee of Ross Island, and our sweating
boatmen paused to take breath. The excitable one was trembling so he
could scarcely get his pipe between his teeth.

That night at the hotel, Betty was talking to two Englishwomen who had
hired a boatman to row them out to Inisfallen Island. The lake hadn't
been especially rough when they went out, and it wasn't until they got
out of the lee of the island on the return trip that they realised its
fury. Their boatman, at the end of a few moments, found himself unable
either to get ahead or to go back; the most he could do was to keep the
boat's head to the waves, and for nearly an hour they tossed there,
shipping great seas, bailing desperately, too frightened to be sea-sick,
and finally giving themselves up for lost, when the wind shifted and
their boatman managed to struggle past the point of Ross Island. They
expressed surprise that their hair wasn't white, and said that they
would consider all the remainder of their lives sheer gain, because they
felt that, except for a miracle, they would have ended on June 5, 1913.
No doubt they exaggerated their danger, but just the same I would advise
any one who is nervous on the water to be sure that the lower lake is
fairly smooth before attempting to cross it. We certainly drew a breath
of relief when we stepped ashore in the shadow of the ivy-clad ruins of
Ross Castle.

The castle itself is not of especial interest, for all that is left of
it is the ruin of the old keep, with some crumbling outworks, not nearly
so imposing as Blarney. About the only reason to visit it is to get the
view from the top, which is very fine. But it has some stirring
associations, for it was the stronghold of the great O'Donaghue, whose
legend dominates the whole district. The story goes that, every May
morning just before sunrise, the old warrior, armed cap-à-pie, emerges
from the lake, mounts his white horse, and rides like the wind across
the waters, attended by fairies who strew his path with flowers.

It was here the Royalist forces made their last stand against Cromwell,
and they thought they were safe, because the castle was a strong one,
and was built on an island, which made it unusually difficult to attack;
and furthermore there was an old legend which said it would never be
taken until a fleet swam upon the lake. Ludlow brought an army of four
thousand men over the mountains, and started a siege, but made little
progress; and then, one morning, as the garrison looked out over the
battlements, they saw a fleet of boats bearing down upon them across the
lake, and they rubbed their eyes and looked again, only to see the boats
nearer, and now they could discern the pieces of ordnance mounted in
the bows and the soldiers who crowded them, and they were so awed by the
fulfilment of the prophecy that they surrendered without more ado. That
was the end of Ross Castle, but nobody knows certainly to this day how
Ludlow got the boats over the hills from Castlemaine.

       *       *       *       *       *

A pretty drive along the margin of the middle lake brought us back to
the hotel, where we found all the fishermen assembled, for the water had
been too rough for fishing. We hurried out of our wet things, and dinner
certainly tasted good; and when we joined the others about the fire,
that evening, we found that we had qualified for admission to their
charmed circle by going through the gap and crossing the lake on such a
day. We were no longer tenderfeet.



CHAPTER XIII

ROUND ABOUT KILLARNEY


WE had been assured more than once, during our trip through the Gap of
Dunloe, that the Irish rain is a soft, sweet rain, which does nobody any
harm, and we found that this was true, for we felt splendidly next
morning. The only evidence of our strenuous experience was a certain
redness of visage, which grew deeper and deeper, as the days went on,
until it approached that rich brick-red, which we had already noted as a
characteristic of Irish fishermen.

The day was bright and warm, and after breakfast we walked in to the
town to take a look at our films. We found the road even more beautiful
in the morning than it had been in the evening, and, since we knew how
long it was, it did not seem long at all. But we were rather
disappointed in the films. I had not appreciated how much the moisture
in the atmosphere diminished the intensity of the sun, and so most of
the films were under-exposed. Amateur photographers in Ireland will do
well to remember that they must use an aperture twice as large or an
exposure twice as long as is necessary anywhere else.

We walked on in to the town, and were sauntering along looking in the
windows, when some one touched me on the elbow.

"Hello, comrade," said a voice, and I swung around to find myself
looking into the face of a tall, thin American whom we had met at
Dublin looking at the Book of Kells in Trinity College Library. We had
fallen into talk upon that occasion, and he had confided to us that he
was from Massachusetts, that he was a bachelor, that he had started out
by himself to see Europe, and that he was very lonely. He looked
lonelier than ever, standing on this Killarney street corner, and he
said that he was getting disgusted with Ireland, that it seemed to be
raining all the time, that Killarney wasn't half as beautiful as he had
been led to believe, and that he had about made up his mind not to go up
the west coast, as he had intended, but to go straight to the continent.
We remarked that we intended going up the west coast, and I saw his eye
light with anticipation, but there are some sacrifices too great for
human nature, and I didn't suggest his coming along.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps the most interesting show-place in the vicinity of Killarney is
Muckross Abbey, and we spent that afternoon exploring it and its
grounds. Muckross is far surpassed in interest by many other Irish
ruins, but it is very beautiful, embowered as it is in magnificent trees
and all but covered with glistening ivy. It is not very old, as Irish
ruins go, for it dates only from the latter half of the fifteenth
century, when it was founded for the Franciscans. The gem of the place
is undoubtedly the cloister, with its arcade of graceful arches ranged
around a court and lighting a finely-vaulted ambulatory. In the middle
of the court is a giant yew, many centuries old, which spreads its
branches from wall to wall. It is encircled with barbed wire, and I
don't know whether this is to protect it from vandals, or to protect
vandals from it--for the legend is that whoever plucks a spray of this
tree dies within a twelvemonth.

[Illustration: MUCKROSS ABBEY, KILLARNEY]

[Illustration: THE CLOISTER AT MUCKROSS ABBEY]

The adjoining graveyard is crowded with interesting old tombs, and as we
were wandering about looking at them, a funeral arrived. The priest
walked in front, reading the burial service, while his assistant walked
beside him, holding an umbrella over him, for it had begun to rain. Both
of them wore black and white scarfs draped over one shoulder and strips
of black and white cloth tied about their hats. Behind them came the
coffin, carried on the shoulders of four men, the pair in front and the
pair behind gripping each other about the waist so as not to be thrown
apart by the inequalities of the path. Then came the mourners, about a
dozen men, each with a black streamer about his hat. A number of women
came last, their shawls over their heads.

The coffin was placed on the ground, and every one knelt in the dripping
grass, bareheaded under the drenching rain, until the service was
concluded. One of the mourners, at the proper moment, produced from
beneath his coat a little black bottle which proved to contain the holy
water, and with this the priest sprinkled the rude black casket, with
little crosses for the screw-heads. Then the priest and his assistant
went away, and the men hastened to get to their feet and clap on their
hats, and then there was a general production of black clay cutties, and
in a moment a dozen deep puffs of smoke were floating away before the
breeze.

The women of the party retired behind a corner of the abbey to eat a
bite of lunch, and the men stood around talking and smoking; and finally
the caretaker produced four long-handled spades, and there was an
animated discussion as to just where the grave should be dug. As is
usually the case with Irish graveyards, this one was so crowded that it
was no easy matter to find room for a fresh grave, but at last the spot
was fixed upon, and four of the men fell to with the spades. When they
grew tired, four others took up the work, and in half an hour the
shallow grave was dug, the coffin placed in it, and the earth heaped
back upon it. There was no keening.

One of the women who was with the party told us that the funeral
procession had come all the way from the end of the upper lake, more
than fourteen miles away, and that the deceased was a woman of
ninety-six. Fancy the tragedies she must have seen! For she was a woman
of twenty-six, married, no doubt, with children, in the famine of '47.
How many of them died, I wondered, and how had she herself managed to
survive the awful years which followed? Her home beyond the upper
lake--I could close my eyes and see it--the dark little cabin with its
thatched roof and dirt floor and single room; I could picture the rocky
field from which she and her husband had somehow managed to wring a
livelihood; I could see her running with her poor bare feet through mud
and over stones beside some laughing tourist in the hope of getting a
penny or two--

But it is too tragic to think about!

The shower passed, after a time, and we went on along a beautiful walk
leading toward the lake--the Friars' Walk, it is called, and it is
bordered by century-old beeches, yews, pines and limes, the most
magnificent trees that I have ever seen, so glorious and inspiring that
we were lured on and on. We came to the shore of the lake, at last,
where the waves have carved the rocks into beautiful and fantastic
shapes, and we followed the shore a long way, stopping at every jutting
headland for a long look out over the grey, wind-swept water. Then the
path turned inland and came out upon the middle lake, and here we found
the fishermen from our hotel just getting to land, in a very drenched
and disconsolate condition, for the water had been too rough for good
sport.

That evening before the fire, the old Englishman, of whom I have already
spoken, relieved his mind to me upon the subject of Ireland and the
Irish. He said it was no use to try to help the Irish: in the first
place, they didn't deserve any help; in the second place they took your
help with one hand and bludgeoned you with the other; and in the third
place any attempt to help them only made matters worse. Take the old age
pensions, for example. They were a farce. Hundreds and hundreds of
farmers had given their property to their children, so that they could
go into court and swear they possessed nothing and claim a pension.
Thousands more who were nowhere near seventy were drawing pensions
because there was no way to prove just how old they were. And most of
the pension money went for drink. Every pensioner had credit at the
public houses, and his pension was usually drunk away long before it was
received. The only effect of the act had been to make the Irish worse
drunkards than ever--and they were already the worst in the world. That
was the cause of their poverty; that was the reason they lived in filth
and wretchedness. They were without ambition, without pride, without any
sense of manhood or decency--all they wanted was whiskey, and they would
do anything to get it. All this, I dare say, is the honest belief of a
great many Englishmen; and there is in it just that small grain of truth
which makes it sting.

But I grew tired of listening, after a time, and went out to the bar,
where a very loquacious Ulsterman with the broadest of Scotch accents
was explaining his woes to the grinning barmaid. He had just been
dismissed, it seemed, from some position in the neighbourhood because he
had "been out with a few friends" the night before. He was convinced
that his late employer was no gentleman, because a gentleman would have
understood the circumstances and overlooked them; he pronounced Kerry
the most God-forsaken of counties, and announced his intention of
getting back to Ulster as soon as he could. No doubt his experience in
the south of Ireland made him a more rabid Orangeman than ever, and I
suppose he lost no time in signing the covenant and enlisting in
Ulster's "army."

       *       *       *       *       *

We had planned to spend our last day at Killarney walking and driving
about the neighbourhood, and we were delighted, when we came down to
breakfast that Saturday morning, to find the weather all that could be
desired, with the sun shining from a brilliant sky, and not a cloud upon
it, except high, white, fair-weather ones flying before the wind. So as
soon as we had eaten, we started away on a car for a drive through the
deer-park of the Earl of Kenmare, a walk along the "fairy glen" which
traverses it, and then another drive up along the heights to the ruins
of Aghadoe.

We met many little carts driving in to Killarney, for it was market
day--the identical type which had already grown so familiar: a flat cart
with a man driving, his legs hanging down, and his women-folks crouched
behind him under their shawls, with their knees drawn up to their chins,
and the shaggy donkey which furnished the motive power, trotting briskly
and alertly along. I don't know what the poor Irish would do without
this serviceable little beast, long lived and useful in so many ways,
able to exist on stones and nettles, and costing only a pound or two.
Betty was so impressed with their usefulness that she wanted to buy one
and send it home, but that speculation fell through.

As we climbed higher and higher up the heights, the wind grew cold and
cutting, but the view below us over the lakes to the south opened more
and more--a glorious panorama of wood and hill and white-capped water,
with ever-varying light and shade under the drifting clouds. But what a
contrast between this smiling landscape and the one which met our eyes
when we turned them to the north, where one bleak and desolate hill
towered behind another, away and away as far as the eye could see, a
wilderness of grey boulders and black, fissured crags.

The car stopped at last before some stone steps leading over a wall, but
as we started to mount them, a woman came running out of a near-by
cottage and insisted on unlocking the gate for us, in the hope, of
course, of getting a tip. She was the caretaker in charge of the ruins
of Aghadoe, and she tried to tell us something about them, but the
visitor who has to rely on her for information must content himself with
very little.

The story, as I piece it together, is something like this: About the
middle of the seventh century, there dwelt at Killarney a very holy man
named St. Finian the Leper, and on Inisfallen, the largest of the
Killarney islands, he founded an abbey, whose ruins may yet be seen
there; and here at Aghadoe, the Field of the Two Yews, he built a
church, which became the seat of a bishop. As was often the case, the
original church proved, in time, to be too small, and an addition was
tacked on to it. A round tower was also built as a protection against
the Danes, and a little farther down the slope, a rude castle was put up
as a residence for the bishop.

There is very little left of the castle and the round tower, but the
walls of the church are still standing. The early church built by St.
Finian forms the western part, or nave, and is entered by a beautiful
round-headed doorway, of the familiar Celtic type. The rain of centuries
has washed away much of the carving, but enough remains to show how
elaborate it was. The windows here are also round-headed, but the later
portion, or choir, is lighted by narrow lancet windows, which prove that
it was built some time in the thirteenth century, after the Normans
came. These are the only things of interest left in the ruins, and the
visit to them is worth making not so much on their account, as for the
magnificent view over the lakes.

We drove back to Killarney along the border of the lower lake, through
the Kenmare demesne, and past the many-gabled mansion of the Earl, which
has since been destroyed by fire; and we spent a very pleasant hour
wandering about the village. The main street at Killarney is
unattractive enough, crowded as it is with shops whose principal stock
in trade is post-cards and photographs and books of views and
monstrosities in bog oak and Connemara marble--souvenirs, in a word, for
Cook tourists to take home. But turn up any of the narrow lanes which
branch off on either side, and there is authentic Ireland--the Ireland
of plastered cottages and thatched roofs and half-naked children and
gossiping women leaning over their half-doors.

As it was market day, the lanes were more than usually crowded, and I
explored them one after another, to an accompaniment of much
good-humoured chaffing from the girls and women, especially when I
unlimbered my camera. Then we walked out and took a look at the
cathedral, a towering structure, still uncompleted as to its interior
and bare and cold, but an impressive proof of the influence of the
church which could raise the money to build so great an edifice in this
poverty-stricken land; and then we stopped at some of the shops and
looked at the Irish homespun, and spent a little time at an
auction-sale, where the bidding was very slow and cautious, and finally
we caught the omnibus back to our hotel.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was still one place we wished to see. That was the Torc cascade,
and, after tea, we set out to walk to it. The road lay for about a mile
along the road skirting Muckross Lake, and then we came to a gate where
a boy was waiting to exact a fee of nine-pence. Then we mounted a steep
path, under magnificent pines, close beside the brawling Owengarriff
River, up and up, with a lovely view of the lakes opening below us; and
finally we came to the cascade--a white welter of water slithering down
over the black rocks, very beautiful and impressive.

We sat there for a long time, looking at it and at the stately wood
which clothed the opposite hillside, and at the blue water lying far
below us, and at the green hills away beyond, and we both agreed that,
next to the view from the Kenmare road, this was the most glorious view
to be had about Killarney. Subsequent reflection has not altered this,
and, after the trip through the Gap of Dunloe and across the lakes, I
should certainly place this one to the Torc cascade. Beside it, the view
from Aghadoe is nowhere.

We went on reluctantly, at last, mounting still higher until we came to
a path bearing away to the left through the woods, and we followed this
until we came to a mountain road which we had been told was there. It is
called the Queen's Drive, and I suppose Victoria passed this way during
her visit to the lakes; and it led us past the reservoir which supplies
Killarney with water, and on down through magnificent woods whose beauty
is marred only by a lot of so-called "monkey trees"--a monstrosity which
had annoyed us all through Ireland, but to which I have not yet
referred.

The monkey tree is a sort of evergreen, with long, thin branches clad
with close-growing foliage, and looking not unlike monkeys' arms. In
fact, the tree itself resembles in a grotesque way a lot of monkeys
swinging in midair, and hence its name. It is a hideous thing, and yet a
specimen grows in every dooryard. There was one in front of our hotel,
there were others along the road; here they had been planted in great
numbers and reached an unprecedented size--but we were glad to observe
that a few were dying. The monkey tree seems to be to Irish homes what
the rubber-plant used to be to American ones, and it appalled us to see
how many little ones were being started in tiny front yards, which they
would one day overshadow and render abominable. I can only hope that, in
some happy hour, a wave of reform will sweep over Ireland and carry
these monstrosities before it.

We came out, at last, upon a little huddle of houses on the hillside
above our hotel, and stopped to talk to some children and their mother,
then went on downward, in the gathering dusk, very happy because of a
beautiful and satisfying day. And just as we turned into the highroad,
Betty saw something gleaming on the ground at her feet, and stooped and
picked up a shilling. From what ragged pocket had it fallen, we
wondered? How great a tragedy would its loss represent? We looked up and
down the road, but there was no one in sight. So we decided to keep it
for luck, and we have it yet.



CHAPTER XIV

O'CONNELL, JOURNEYMAN TAILOR


THERE was quite a crowd on the platform, that Sunday morning, of
travellers turning their backs on Killarney, and we found ourselves
eventually in a compartment with two Americans, man and wife, who were
plainly in no pleasant humour. The man was especially disgruntled about
something, and I judged from his exclamations that he had got decidedly
the worst of it when it came to settling the bill. It is in some such
mood as this, I fear, that many people leave Killarney.

But the view from the window soon made us forget our fellow-passengers.
The road runs for a time close beside the Flesk, one of the prettiest of
Irish rivers, while away to the south rose the beautiful Killarney
hills, peak upon peak, with mighty Mangerton dominating all of them. And
then came the Paps, two conical elevations separated by a deep ravine;
and then the bleak brown slopes of the Muskerry hills, with a ruined
castle of the McCarthys guarding the only pass into the valley. To the
north a boggy plain stretched away and away, ridged with black pits,
like long earthworks, from which the turf had been cut.

The hills to the south grew gradually less rugged, and presently we
dropped into the beautiful valley of the Blackwater, with many ruined
castles perched on the crags which overshadow it--castles built by the
McCarthys, the O'Callaghans, and I know not what other septs, memorials
of the old days of raid and counter-raid, of warring clans and
treacherous chieftains.

And then we came to Mallow, and had to change into another carriage,
where we found five Americans, who were also coming from Killarney, and
who also believed that they had been held up. Their grievance was
against the hotel at which they had stopped, and they said wildly that
it was no better than a den of thieves. This, of course, was an
exaggeration, and, in any event, I did not pity them much, for it was
soon evident that their visit to Ireland had been a waste of time. They
knew nothing of her history and traditions; her ruins held no meaning
for them; her empty valleys told them nothing of her past; they had
never heard of Cormac, or Finn the Fair, or Ossian, or Conn the Hundred
Fighter, or even of Brian Boru; they had never heard of that old
civilisation which the Danes swept away, and saw nothing very wonderful
in the Cross of Cong or the Book of Kells. So to them Ireland had proved
a disappointment, just as she will to every one who visits her in
ignorance and indifference.

We reached Limerick Junction, at last, and changed thankfully to the
branch which runs to Limerick, twenty miles away. And almost at once we
came upon traces of Patrick Sarsfield, of glorious memory, for a few
miles beyond the Junction, to the left of the line, are the ruins of a
castle, which was held by the English, but which he surprised one night,
on one of those famous raids of his, and captured and blew up. And then
the line mounted the hills which divide the Vale of Tipperary from the
valley of the Shannon, crossed them, and came out upon a land as
beautiful and fertile as any we had seen in Ireland. Such lushness, such
greenness, such calm, quiet loveliness can surely be matched in few
other spots upon this earth.

It was still early afternoon when the train rolled in to the station at
Limerick, and on the platform we met the actor and his wife whom we had
talked with at Blarney a week before. They had come to Limerick, where
their principal was a great favourite, for a three weeks' engagement. I
saw the actor afterwards on the street, and he told me that the theatre
was in terrible shape, for some misguided enthusiasts had attempted to
hold a Unionist meeting there, a few days previously, and the patriotic
Limerickians had nearly torn the place to pieces.

Limerick is by far the most important town of central or western
Ireland; in fact it is surpassed in population only by Belfast, Dublin
and Cork, and it has many amusing points of resemblance to the two
latter. It is divided into two parts by a branch of the Shannon; it has
one long, curving principal street leading to a bridge; the street is
known officially as George Street, after an English king, but to all
Irishmen it is O'Connell Street, in honour of the Liberator whose statue
is its chief adornment; this street is a street of bright and attractive
shops, not in itself interesting, but cross the bridge to the older part
of the town, or turn up any of the little lanes which lead off from it,
and you will find nothing more picturesque anywhere--nor more
distressful.

We walked along George Street, that afternoon, and crossed the bridge
to the island on which Limerick had its birth. The bridge is called
Matthew Bridge, not after the Disciple, but after Ireland's great
apostle of temperance. Beyond the bridge is a maze of narrow, crooked
streets, and we made our way through them to the old cathedral, whose
tower served as guide. We got there just as vespers were over, and we
found the verger very willing to show us about.

I do not imagine there are many Protestants at Limerick; at least, a
very small portion of this impressive old church serves the needs of the
congregation, and the rest of it is bare and empty--and imposing. Rarely
indeed have I seen a more sombre interior, for the walls are very
massive, and the windows small, and there is a surprising number of dark
little chapels--the principal one, of course, being dedicated as a
burial place for the Earls of Limerick. The carved miserere seats are
worth examining, as are also many of the old tombs which clutter the
interior. There is an elaborate one to the Earl of Thomond in the
chancel, and a carved slab covering the grave of Donall O'Brien, King of
Munster, who founded the cathedral in 1179; but among the quaintest is a
slab built into the wall of the nave with this epitaph cut upon it:

               MEMENTO MORY
          HERE LIETH LITTELL SAMUEL
          BARINGTON THAT GREAT UNDER
          TAKER OF FAMOUS CITTIES
          CLOCK AND CHIME MAKER
          HE MADE HIS ONE TIME GOE
          EARLY AND LATTER BUT NOW
          HE IS RETURNED TO GOD
          HIS CREATOR
          THE 29 OF NOVEMBER THEN
          HE SCEST AND FOR HIS
          MEMORY THIS HERE IS PLEAST
          BY HIS SON BEN
                    1693

We spent a very pleasant half hour in the church, and then we wandered
on through the crooked streets to the magnificent Norman castle, set up
here to defend the passage of the Shannon. Most venerable and impressive
it is, with its great drum towers, and curtains ten feet thick. Just in
front of it the Shannon is spanned by a fine modern bridge, replacing
the ancient one which was the scene of so many conflicts, and at the
farther end of it, mounted on a pedestal, is the famous stone on which
Sarsfield signed his treaty with the English in 1691--the treaty which
guaranteed equal rights to Catholics, but which, as every Catholic
Irishman somewhat too vividly remembers, resulted only in a more bitter
persecution. Irish memory, curiously enough, seems always to grow
clearer with the passing years, and the mists of two centuries
accentuate, rather than obscure, the fame of Limerick as "The City of
the Violated Treaty." The story runneth thus:

The River Shannon, with its wide estuary, its many lakes, and its mighty
current flowing between impassable bogs or beetling cliffs, has always
been a formidable barrier between east and west Ireland. In the old
days, the only doors in this barrier was the ford at Athlone, just below
Lough Ree, and another all but impassable one at Killaloe, just below
Lough Derg; but in the ninth century, the Danes sailed up from the sea,
landed on an island at the head of the tideway, fortified it, and so
started the city of Limerick. The current of the river was divided here,
and the invaders managed in time to get a bridge across, and so opened
another door in the Shannon barrier. Brian Boru drove them out, at last,
and then the Normans came and, after their fashion everywhere, rendered
their hold secure by erecting a great round-towered castle to guard the
bridge. Edward Bruce captured it in 1316, and three centuries later,
Hugh O'Neill held it for six months against Cromwell's great general,
Ireton. The Ironsides captured it, finally, and Ireton died of the
plague not long afterwards in a house just back of the cathedral.

But it was in the war against William of Orange that Limerick played its
most distinguished part. I have already told how the Irish chose the
cause of the Stuarts against the Parliament; how they proclaimed Charles
II king as soon as his father's head was off, and of the vengeance
Cromwell took. So it was inevitable that they should espouse the cause
of James II against the Protestant William, whom the English had called
over from the Netherlands to be their king. James came to Ireland to
lead the rebellion, proved himself an idiot and a coward, and ended by
running away and leaving the Irish to their fate.

William's troops swept the country, took town after town and castle
after castle, until Limerick remained nearly the last stronghold in
Irish hands. So William marched against it, at the head of 26,000 men,
but the position was a very strong one, and that ablest of Irish
generals, Patrick Sarsfield, was in command of the town, and William was
beaten back. The next year another great army under General Ginkle
marched against the place, first capturing Athlone, and so getting
across the river. A terrific attack was concentrated on the fortress
guarding the bridge, a breach was made, the fort stormed, and the
garrison put to the sword, only about a hundred out of eight hundred
escaping across the other branch of the river into Limerick.

Sarsfield still held the town, but his men were disheartened by the loss
of the castle. Ginkle, on the other hand, realised that to take the town
would be no easy task. A truce was proposed, negotiations began, both
sides were eager to end the war, and the result was that the famous
Treaty of Limerick was signed by Ginkle and Sarsfield on the third day
of October, 1691, on a stone near the County Clare end of the bridge
over the Shannon.

There were twelve articles in the treaty, and some of them were
kept--the one, for instance, permitting all persons to leave the country
who wished to do so, and to take their families and portable goods
along; but one was not kept, the most important one, perhaps, which
provided that Irish Catholics should enjoy all the religious rights they
possessed under Charles II, and that all Irish still in arms, who should
immediately submit and take the oath of allegiance, should be secured in
the free and undisputed possession of their estates. In a word, the
price of peace was to have been a general indemnity and freedom of
religious worship. It was not an excessive price, but it was never paid.

The Protestant colonists in Ireland protested in great wrath that they
had been betrayed, and the Irish Parliament, which the colonists
controlled, after a bitter fight, repudiated the treaty, or, at least,
confirmed only so much of it as "consisted with the safety and welfare
of his Majesty's subjects in Ireland," and passed a number of new laws
aimed at Catholics, disqualifying them from teaching school, from
sending their children abroad to be educated, from observing any holy
day except those set apart by the Church of Ireland, and many others of
the same sort, some of almost insane malignity. All this was, of course,
quite unjustifiable, but "King Billy" seems to have been in no way
responsible for it. In any event, it happened more than two centuries
ago, all these laws have long since been repealed, and it seems absurd
to keep their memory so fresh and burning.

One word more, and I am done with history. After the surrender of
Limerick, Sarsfield and his men were given the choice of enlisting in
William's army or leaving the country. They chose the latter, and went
to France, where the last Catholic king of England had sought refuge.
He, of course, was unable to maintain them, so they enlisted under the
French king, Louis XIV, and formed the Irish Brigade, which was
afterwards to become so famous, and in which, during the next fifty
years, nearly half a million Irishmen enlisted, as the best means of
avenging themselves on England. The part they played at Landen, at
Barcelona, at Cremona, at Blenheim, at Ramilles, and finally at
Fontenoy--all this is matter of history.

       *       *       *       *       *

We crossed the bridge again, after a look at the treaty stone--which,
enshrined on its lofty pedestal, is really a monument to English
perfidy--passed the castle, and plunged into the crooked streets of
"English Town," as this oldest part of Limerick is called, with its
tall, foreign-looking, tumbledown houses--as picturesque a quarter as I
have seen anywhere. For Limerick grew into an important city in the
century following its capture by the English, and many wealthy people
put up handsome town-houses, four or five stories high, with wide halls
and sweeping stairs and beautiful doorways and tall windows framed in
sculptured stone. It is these old houses which shadow the narrow lanes
of "English Town," and they are all tenements now, for the well-to-do
people--such of them as are left--have moved over to the newer, more
fashionable, more sanitary quarter. No attempt is made to keep them in
repair, and many of them have fallen down, leaving ragged gaps in the
street. Others seem in imminent danger of falling, and the distressed
look of the place is further heightened by the great fragments of the
old walls which remain here and there.

This part of Limerick is on the island where the town started; the part
just beyond the bridge which leads to the mainland is called Irish Town,
and it, too, was once included in the city walls, a long stretch of
which is still standing back of the ancient citadel. Here too,
especially along the quay, are handsome houses, long since fallen from
their high estate, and now the homes of the poorest of the poor, a
family in every room. It is something of a shock to see these ragged and
distressed people climbing the beautiful stairways, or sitting in the
handsome doorways or leaning out of the carved windows, very much at
home in the place which was once the abode of wealth and fashion, while
the noisy play of dirty and neglected children echoes through the rooms
which once rang with gentle laughter and impassioned toast.

Newtown-Pery, the newer part of the town, built on land reclaimed from
the river by the Pery family, the Earls of Limerick, who still own it,
contrasts strongly with the older part, for its streets are wide and
straight and run regularly at right angles, and it is a bustling place,
but quite without interest to the stranger. The houses are almost
uniformly four stories high, and are built of a peculiar dark-brown
brick, which makes them look much older than they really are. And down
along the water-front are nearly a mile of quays, with floating docks
and heavy cranes, and towering warehouses looking down upon them.

Time was when Limerick fondly hoped to become the greatest port in
Ireland. She had every advantage--a noble situation on the broad estuary
of the Shannon, up which ships from America could sail direct to her
wharves--but in spite of great expenditures to improve her harbour
facilities, not only did no new trade come, but such as she already had
withered and withered, until to-day her tall warehouses are empty, her
quays almost deserted, and in the broad expanse of the Shannon there are
few boats except excursion steamers and pleasure yachts.

The cause of this decay? Irishmen assert that there is only one
cause--unjust and discriminating laws passed by England to protect her
own trade by destroying Irish industry. No doubt this is true; but these
laws have been repealed for many years, and there is little evidence of
the healthy revival of these industries anywhere in Ireland. Such
revival as there is has been carefully fostered by various government
agencies; there has been no great spontaneous revival, and perhaps there
never will be. But it is a melancholy sight--the empty, decaying mills,
the idle factories, the deserted warehouses, the ruined dwellings, which
the traveller sees all up and down the land.

I went out for another stroll about the town, after tea, for I wanted to
see the new Catholic cathedral, whose tall spire dominates the landscape
for many miles around. And as I went, I could not but notice the impress
the English have left on the names of the streets. The principal street,
as I have said already, is George Street; then there is Cecil Street,
and William Street, and Nelson Street, and Catherine Street, and George
and Charlotte Quays opposite each other. There is one, however, named
after a local celebrity whom all Irishmen should delight to
honour--Gerald Griffin, an authentic poet, whose "Eileen Aroon" is one
of the tenderest and most musical of lyrics.

Gerald Griffin Street is one of the most important in Limerick, and it
is by it that one gains the cathedral, an impressive building,
especially as to its interior, dimly lighted through high, narrow lancet
windows. And here again one admires not so much the church itself, as
the indomitable spirit which could undertake the task of building such
an edifice in want-stricken Ireland.

The Sarsfield monument is in the cathedral square, a rampageous figure,
charging with drawn sword off the top of a shaft of stone--perhaps the
most ridiculous tribute to a great soldier and patriot to be seen
anywhere on this earth. I, at least, have never seen any to match it,
unless it be that imperturbable dandy, supposed to represent Andrew
Jackson, who calmly doffs his chapeau from the back of a rearing horse
in front of our own White House!

I walked on, after that, down toward the quays, along little lanes of
thatched houses, and then back into the region of the old mansions, with
their chattering women and sprawling children; and then, suddenly, I
became aware of the girls.

Limerick, like Cork, is supposed to be famous for the beauty of its
women, and the younger generation was out in force, that Sunday evening,
rigged up in its best clothes, evidently ready for any harmless
adventure. There _were_ some nice-looking girls among them, no doubt of
that, with bright eyes and red lips and glowing cheeks, and the advent
of a stranger in their midst filled them with the liveliest interest,
which they were at no pains to dissemble. I know nothing about the
psychology of Irish girls, for I was not in a position to investigate or
experiment; but while they are shy, at first, I should judge that most
of them are not altogether averse to mild flirtation. The glance of
their eye is not, perhaps, as fatal as Kate Kearney's, but it is very
taking.

I wish I could say as much for the boys; but if there were any witty,
invincible Rory O'Mores left in Ireland, I didn't see them. The Irish
young man seems very different indeed from the light-hearted, audacious,
philandering scapegrace so dear to Lover and Lever and scores of lesser
poets, and once so familiar upon the stage. They are not forever
breaking into song, they do not brim with sentiment, they are not, so
far as I could judge, full of heroic emotions and high ambitions. In
fact, they are quite the opposite of all that--matter-of-fact, humdrum,
rather stupid.

Of course there are exceptions, and I was fortunate enough to meet one
that very evening. I stopped in at a tobacconist's to get a paper, and
fell into talk with the proprietor; and presently there entered a man
who bought a pennyworth of tobacco, filled his pipe, and then remained
for a word, seeing that I was a stranger. We were talking about Ireland,
and in a very few minutes the newcomer had the centre of the stage.

O'Connell, journeyman tailor, so he introduced himself, and I wish I
could paint a picture of him that would make him live for you as he
lives for me. He was a faded little man, of indeterminate age, with a
straw-coloured moustache and sallow skin, but his eyes were very bright,
and before long his face was glowing with an infectious enthusiasm. His
clothes were worn and shabby, but one forgot them as he stood there and
talked--indeed they even lent a sort of dignity to his lean, nervous
little figure.

First he told of how Cleeve, the big butter man, was trying to get the
city to close the swing bridge over the Shannon, so that his heavy
trams, which went about the country collecting milk, could cross it. To
close the bridge would shut off permanently about four hundred yards of
quay; but, so Cleeve argued, the quays were little used, and the town
would never need that stretch above the bridge. But O'Connell did not
believe it.

"'Tis true," he said, "that England with her cruel laws, has killed our
trade and brought us all to want; 'tis true that we have no use for the
quay at present. But all that will be changed when we get Home Rule.
Then, sir, you will see our quays crowded with boats from end to end;
you will see our mills and factories humming with life, you will see our
warehouses piled with commodities from every quarter of the world. To
shut off part of them, just because this bloated butter-maker wants it,
would be a crime against the people of this town."

"How is all this to be brought about?" I asked.

"'Tis you Americans will be doing it, sir. The Irish in America, our
brothers, God bless them, will rally to the ould land. Her children will
come home to the Shan Van Vocht, once she is free of England. 'Tis them
ones will set us on our feet again. They will be putting their money
into our industries, till in the whole island there will be not an idle
wheel or a smokeless chimney."

I told him I was afraid his dreams were too rosy; that the American
Irish, like all other Americans, would be governed by dividends, not by
sentiment, in the investment of their money. But nothing could shake his
belief in the good time coming. I asked him what he thought of Ulster,
and he laughed.

"The Protestants have nothing to fear from Home Rule," he said. "'Tis
them will control this government. We Catholics are going to pick the
best and strongest men in this island to man the ship, and there will be
more Protestants than Catholics amongst them. We will need strong arms
at the helm, and what do we care what their religion may be, if only
they're good men and true? You're a Protestant, I take it, sir?"

"Yes," I said; "I am."

"And does that make me think any the less of you? Not a bit of it. 'Tis
the same God we look at, only with different eyes."

"Not even that," I corrected; "with the same eyes--just from a different
angle."

"You've said it, sir. I can't improve on that. Well then, what is it the
Ulster men are afraid of? They say it's the priests. But how silly that
is! Let them look back into history, and see what has happened when the
priests interfered with things that did not concern them. In spiritual
matters I bow to my priest; in everything else, I am independent of him.
It is so with all Irishmen, and has always been. Do you remember what
the great O'Connell said: 'I would as soon,' said he, 'take my politics
from Stamboul as from Rome.' Do you remember what happened when Rome
tried to prevent the Catholics of Ireland from contributing to the
testimonial for the greatest patriot Ireland has ever had, Charles
Stewart Parnell? But of course you don't. I'll just tell you. Why, sir,
the whole country was on fire from end to end. 'Make Peter's Pence into
Parnell's Pounds' was the battle-cry, and the money poured in like rain.
Mr. Parnell's friends had hoped to raise fifteen thousand pounds for
him. When they got the money counted at last, they had near forty
thousand pounds. What do you think of that now?"

"I think it was fine," I said. "But why is it, then, Ulster is so
frightened?"

"Ah, Ulster isn't frightened--it's just a lot of talk from people who
live by talkin'. There's many Catholics who are against Home Rule, and
there's many Protestants who are for it. They'll all be for it, after
they've tried it a while. And we won't let the Protestants stay out--we
can't afford to--we need them too much. Why, sir, our leaders have
always been Protestants, and I'm thinking always will be."

"There was O'Connell," I reminded him.

"I have not forgotten him--I quoted him but a moment since; and 'tis
true he was a great man and a true patriot. But he fell into grievous
error when he chose Catholic emancipation, when he might have got Home
Rule. What did Catholic emancipation mean to me and thousands like me?
It meant just nothing at all. It meant that some Catholics of
O'Connell's own class could hold jobs under government--that was all.
The greatest man this island ever produced, sir, was a Protestant. I
have mentioned him already; his name was Charles Stewart Parnell!"

I wish you could have seen his shining eyes and heard his quivering
voice as he went on to tell me about Parnell; and how, after the scandal
which ruined his life--a scandal prearranged, so many think, by his
political enemies--he had come to Limerick to address a meeting, with
death in his face and a broken heart in his eyes; and there had been
some in the crowd that hissed him and pelted him with mud; and the
little tailor, his chest swelling at the old glorious memory, told how
he had been one of those who rallied around the stricken leader and beat
the crowd back and got him safe away. There were tears in his eyes
before he had ended.

"Ah, woman," he went on, "'twas not only Parnell you ruined then, it was
ould Ireland, too! And not for the first time! Why, sir, 'twas because
of a woman the British first came to this island. Troy had her Helen, as
Homer tells, and so had Erin. 'Twas the same story over again.
Dervorgilla the lady's name was, and she was the wife of Tiernan
O'Rourke, Prince of Breffni, who had his fine castle on the beautiful
green banks of Lough Gill. It was there that Dermot MacMurrough, King of
Leinster, saw her, and after that no other woman would do for him. So he
courted her in odd corners and whispered soft honeyed words into her
ear; and she listened, as women will, and her head was turned by his
flattery. One day her husband, who was a pious man, kissed her good-bye
and started on a pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Purgatory in Lough Derg;
and he was there nine days; and when he came back, what did he find? Ah,
sir, Tom Moore has told it far better than I can:

  "'The valley lay smiling before me,
     Where lately I left her behind;
   Yet I trembled, and something hung o'er me,
     That saddened the joy of my mind.
   I looked for the lamp which, she told me,
     Should shine when her Pilgrim returned;
   But, though darkness began to enfold me,
     No lamp from the battlements burned!

  "'I flew to her chamber--'twas lonely,
     As if the loved tenant lay dead;--
   Ah, would it were death, and death only;
     But no, the young false one had fled.
   And there hung the lute that could soften
     My very worst pains into bliss;
   While the hand, which had waked it so often,
     Now throbbed to a proud rival's kiss.'"

I wish I could convey the tremor of the voice with which O'Connell,
journeyman tailor, recited these silly lines. I can see him yet,
standing there, one hand against his heart, his eyes straining up to the
battlements from which no welcoming light gleamed. I can see the
proprietor of the little shop, as he lounged against his counter,
smiling good-naturedly. I can see the two or three other men who had
drifted in, listening with all their ears.

And then O'Connell went on to tell how O'Rourke, finding his wife had
fled with MacMurrough, appealed to his overlord, King Turlough O'Conor,
and how the two of them so harassed MacMurrough that he was compelled to
restore Dervorgilla to her husband and to flee to England, where he went
to Strongbow and persuaded him to bring his Normans to Ireland to help
him in his feud; and how Strongbow, once he got a firm grip on the land,
refused to loosen it, and the curse of English rule had been on Ireland
ever since.

I looked this story up, afterwards, and found that legend tells it much
as O'Connell did, and it is probably true. But, just the same, it is
hardly fair to lay the whole blame for Ireland's woes on Dervorgilla,
for the Normans had been looking longingly across the Irish Sea years
before MacMurrough fled to them, and would no doubt have crossed it,
sooner or later, without an invitation. The tragic point of the story is
that, as usual, the invader found the Irish divided and so unable to
resist. We shall see the castle from which Dervorgilla fled, before our
journey is done, and also the place where she lies buried, at Mellifont,
in the valley of the Boyne.

The quotation from Tom Moore had turned my little tailor's thoughts
toward poetry, and he asked if I knew this poem and that, and when I
didn't, as was frequently the case, he would quote a few lines, or sing
them, if they had been set to music.

"Of course you know 'To the Dead of Ninety-eight'?" he asked.

"Yes," I said; "but that is not Johnson's noblest poem. Do you know his
'Ode to Ireland'?"

"I do not," he answered. "Let us have it, sir."

How sorry I was that I couldn't let them have it, or didn't have a copy
that I could read to them, for it is a stirring poem; I had to confess
that I didn't know it, but I can't resist quoting one splendid stanza
now--

    "No swordsmen are the Christians!" Oisin cried:
    "O Patrick! thine is but a little race."
    Nay, ancient Oisin! they have greatly died
    In battle glory and with warrior grace.
    Signed with the Cross, they conquered and they fell;
      Sons of the Cross, they stand:
    The Prince of Peace loves righteous warfare well,
    And loves thine armies, O our Holy Land!
    The Lord of Hosts is with thee, and thine eyes
      Shall see upon thee rise
    His glory, and the blessing of His Hand.

"Have you heard Timothy Sullivan's 'Song from the Backwoods'?" he asked
me finally, and when I said I never had, he sang it for the assembled
company, and a splendid song I found it. Here it is:

          Deep in Canadian woods we've met,
            From one bright island flown;
          Great is the land we tread, but yet
            Our hearts are with our own.
          And ere we leave this shanty small,
            While fades the Autumn day,
              We'll toast Old Ireland!
              Dear Old Ireland!
              Ireland, boys, hurray!

          We've heard her faults a hundred times,
            The new ones and the old,
          In songs and sermons, rants and rhymes,
            Enlarged some fifty-fold.
          But take them all, the great and small,
            And this we've got to say:--
              Here's dear Old Ireland!
              Good Old Ireland!
              Ireland, boys, hurray!

As he went on with the song, the others in the shop warmed up to it and
joined in the chorus so lustily that a crowd gathered outside; and the
shopkeeper got a little nervous, fearing, perhaps, a visit from some
passing constable, and he whispered in O'Connell's ear, when the song
was done, and there were no more songs that evening.

But still we sat and talked and smoked and O'Connell told me something
of himself: of the fifteen shillings a week he could earn when he had
steady work; of the three-pence a week he paid out under the insurance
act, and how, if he was sick, he would draw a benefit of ten shillings
a week for six months. He said bitterly that, if he lived in England, he
would get free medical attendance, too, but that had been refused to
Ireland through the machinations of the doctors and their friends. He
told of the blessing the old age pension had been to many people he
knew, and he admitted that England had been trying, of late years, to
atone for her old injustices toward Ireland, and was now, perhaps,
spending more money on the country than she got out of it.

"But there is a saying, sir, as you know," he concluded, rising and
knocking out his pipe, "that hell is paved with good intentions; and
however good England's intentions may be, she can never govern us well,
because she can never understand us. Besides, it's not charity we want,
it's freedom. Better a crust of bread and freedom, than luxury and
chains! We'll have some hard fights, but we'll win out. Come back in ten
years, sir, and you'll see a new Ireland. Take my word for it. It's glad
I am that I came in here this night," he added. "I was feeling downcast
and disheartened; but that is all over now. This talk has been a great
pleasure to me. Good-bye, sir; God save you!" and he disappeared into
the night.



CHAPTER XV

THE RUINS AT ADARE


WE threw back the shutters, next morning, to a cold and dreary day of
misting rain; and after a look at it, Betty elected to spend it before a
cosy fire in our great, high-ceilinged room. I have wondered since if
our hotel at Limerick was not one of those handsome eighteenth-century
mansions, brought by the hard necessities of time to the use of passing
travellers. It is difficult to explain the gorgeousness of some of its
rooms on any other theory. Ours was a very large one, with elaborate
ceiling-mouldings and panelled walls and a mantel of carved marble,
which Betty inspected longingly. She could see it, I fancy, in her own
drawing-room, and perhaps its beauties had something to do with her
decision to spend the day in front of it.

There were two or three pictures I wanted to take--one of the old castle
and another of the crooked little lane I had wandered through the night
before; so I set forth to get them, along busy George Street, with its
bright shops, and then across the river to English Town, and so to the
castle front. I found it very hard to get anything like a satisfactory
picture of it, because the parapet of the new bridge is in the way, and
because the angle of my lens was not wide enough to take in both the
towers. I did the best I could, took a last look at the treaty stone,
but forbore to add to its fame by photographing it; and then traversed
again the quaint old streets, with their ramshackle houses, and so came
to the little lane.

The town, as I came through it, had been full of market-carts drawn by
ragged donkeys and driven by shawled women, and I loitered about for a
time, hoping that one of them would come this way and so add a touch of
human interest to my picture. A painter was busy giving one of the
thatched houses a coat of white-wash; only it wasn't white-wash,
properly speaking, because a colouring-matter had been added to it which
made it a vivid pink. This pink wash is very popular in Ireland, and,
varied sometimes by a yellow wash, adds a high note to nearly every
landscape. I talked with the man awhile, and then, the rain coming down
more heavily, I slipped into a cobbler's shop for shelter.

It would be difficult to imagine anything more comfortless and primitive
than that interior. The shop occupied one of the two rooms of the family
home--bare little rooms with dirt floors and tiny windows and no
furniture except the most necessary. Somebody has said that there are
two pieces of furniture always worthy of veneration--the table and the
bed; but I doubt if even that philosopher could have found anything to
venerate in the specimens which this house contained. The table was a
rude affair of rough boards, with one corner supported by a box in lieu
of a leg, and the bed was a mere pile of rags on a sort of low shelf in
one corner. What sort of fare was set forth upon that table, and what
sort of rest the bed afforded, was not difficult to imagine.

The cobbler was tapping away at a pair of shoes, trying to mend them,
and sadly they needed it. Indeed, they were such shoes as no
self-respecting tramp would wear in America, and I could not but suspect
that the cobbler had fished them from a garbage heap somewhere, and was
trying, as a sort of speculation, to make them worth a few pennies. Two
or three blocks of turf smoked and flared in a narrow fire-place, and,
as always, a black pot hung over them, with some sort of mess bubbling
inside it. The cobbler's wife sat on a stool before the fire
contemplating the boiling pot gloomily, and a dirty child, of
undeterminable sex, played with the scraps of leather on the floor.

I apologised for my intrusion; but the atmosphere of the place was not
genial. I fancied they resented my presence,--as I should have done, had
our positions been reversed--and so, as soon as the downpour slackened a
bit, I pressed a penny into the baby's fist and took myself off. The
cobbler, suddenly softened, followed me outside to see me take the
picture, and perhaps to be in it; but that picture was a failure, all
spotted by the rain.

I intended going to Adare, a little town not far away, said to possess a
most remarkable collection of ruins, but it was yet an hour till train
time, and I spent it exploring the town back of the railway station. I
found it a most picturesque collection of crooked streets and quaint
houses, and my advent was frankly treated as a great event by the
gossips leaning over their half-doors. How eager they were to talk; I
should have liked to stop and talk to all of them; but when I got ready
to take a picture of the very crookedest street, their interest in my
proceedings was so urgent and humorously-expressed that I lost my head
and forgot to pull the slide--a fact I didn't realise until I had bade
them good-bye and was walking away; and then I was ashamed to go back
and take another.

The train for Adare was waiting beside the platform when I got to the
station, and I carefully selected a vacant compartment and clambered
aboard. And then a guard came along and laughingly told me I would have
to get out, because that car was reserved for a "Mothers' Union," which
was going to Adare to hold a meeting. So I got out and waited on the
platform till the Union arrived--some twenty or thirty comfortable-looking
matrons, in high spirits, which the miserable weather did not dampen in
the least. Irish meetings are held, I suppose, just the same rain or
shine. It was Simeon Ford who remarked that if the Scotch knew enough to
go in when it rained, they would never get any outdoor exercise. This is
equally true of the Irish--only in Ireland, one doesn't need to go in,
for sure 'tis a soft rain that does nobody any harm!

Adare is about ten miles from Limerick and the road thither runs along
the valley of the Shannon, with its lush meadows and lovely woods,
veiled that day in a pearly mist of rain. As usual, the station is
nearly a mile from the town, and as I started to walk it, I saw a tall
old man coming along behind me, and I waited for him.

"'Tis a bad day," I said.

"It is so," he agreed; "and it's a long walk I have before me, for my
house would be two miles beyont the village."

"They tell me there are some fine ruins in the village."

"There are so;" and then he looked at me more attentively. "You're not a
native of these parts?" he asked, at last.

"No," I said; "I'm from America."

"From America!" he echoed, incredulously.

"Yes; from the state called Ohio."

"Think of that, now!" he cried. "And I can understand every word you
say! Why, glory be to God, you speak fairer than the old woman up here
along who has never crossed the road!"

I should have liked to hear more about this remarkable old woman, but he
gave me no chance with his many questions about America. He had a son in
New Jersey, he said, and the boy was doing well, and sent a bit of money
home at Christmas and such like. It was a wonderful place, America. Ah,
if he were not so old--

So, talking in this manner, we came to the town, and he pointed out the
inn to me, opposite a picturesque string of thatched cottages nestling
among the trees, and bade me Godspeed and went on his way; and I suppose
that night before the fire he told of his meeting with the wanderer from
far-off America, and how well he could understand his language!

I went on to the inn, which was a surprisingly pretty one, new and clean
and well-kept; and I took off my wet coat and sat down in the cosy bar
before a lunch which tasted as good as any I have ever eaten; and then I
lit my pipe and drew up before the fire and asked the pretty maid who
served me how to get to the ruins. They were all, it seemed, inside the
demesne of the Earl of Dunraven, the entrance to which was just across
the road, and it was necessary that I should have an entrance ticket,
which the maid hastened to get for me from the proprietor of the inn.
When she gave it to me, I asked the price, and was told there was no
charge, as the Earl of Dunraven was always glad for people to come to
see the ruins.

All honour to him for that!

So it was with a very pleasant feeling about the heart that I presently
crossed the road and surrendered a portion of my ticket to a black-eyed
girl at the gate-house, and she told me how to go to get to the ruins,
and hoped I wouldn't be soaked through. But I didn't mind the rain; it
only added to the beauty of the park. Besides, I was thinking of "Silken
Thomas."

Have you ever heard of "Silken Thomas," tenth Earl of Kildare? Probably
not; yet he was a great man in his day--not so great as his grandfather,
that greatest of the Geraldines, whose trial for treason before Henry
VII is a thing Irishmen love to remember.

"This man burned the cathedral at Cashel," said the prosecutor, "and we
will prove it."

"Spare your evidence," said the Earl. "I admit that I set fire to the
church, but 'twas only because I thought the archbishop was inside."

"All Ireland cannot rule this man!" cried one of his opponents.

"Then, by God, this man shall rule all Ireland!" said the King, and
Kildare was made lord lieutenant, and went back to Dublin in triumph.

It was in the thirteenth century that Adare came into possession of
this mighty family, and the second Earl built a great castle here, on
the site of an older one which had belonged to the dispossessed
O'Donovans. The first Earl had already built near by a monastery for the
Augustinians; and another Earl and his pious wife built a yet handsomer
one for the Franciscans; so that here was citadel and sanctuary for
them, when they grew weary of fighting, or when the tide of battle went
against them. It was a Kildare who led the northern half of Ireland
against the southern, at the great battle of Knocktow, where Irishmen
slew each other by thousands, while the English looked on and chuckled
in their sleeves; and after that, the Kildares waxed so powerful that
Wolsey, the great minister of the eighth Henry, took alarm at their
over-vaulting ambition, and caused the head of the house, the ninth
Earl, to be summoned to London. He went unwillingly, though he had been
given every assurance of safety; and his misgivings proved well-founded,
for he was at once imprisoned in the Tower.

He left behind him in Ireland his son, "Silken" Thomas, so-called from
the richness of his attire and retinue, a youth of twenty-one; and when
the news came that the old Earl had been put to death, Silken Thomas,
deeming it credible enough, renounced his allegiance to England, marched
into Dublin, and threw down his sword of state before the Chancellor and
Archbishop in St. Mary's Abbey, and then rode boldly forth again, none
daring to stop him. But it came to naught, for a great English force
wore him out in a long campaign, seduced his allies from him, and
finally persuaded him to yield on condition that his life should be
spared. He sailed for England, assured of a pardon, was arrested as soon
as he landed, and was beheaded, and drawn and quartered on Tower Hill,
together with five of his kinsmen.

So ended the haughty Geraldines. The estate was confiscated, and the
castle, after being besieged by Desmonds and O'Connells, by Irish and by
English, was finally taken by Cromwell's men and destroyed, and they
also, perhaps, put the finishing touches to the monasteries.

That was the wild old story I was thinking of as I made my way along the
winding road, over a beautiful little stream in which I could see the
trout lurking, and then across a golf ground to the ivy-draped ruins of
the old abbey of the Franciscans, built by the Geraldines in the heyday
of their power. It is a beautiful cluster of buildings, with a graceful
square tower rising high above them; and they are in excellent
preservation, lacking only the roofs and a portion of gable here and
there. Even the window tracery is, for the most part, intact.

The interior of the church is of unusual richness and beauty, abounding
in delicate detail--recessed altar-tombs, richly-carved sedilia, arched
vaults, graceful mouldings, and the window traceries are very pure and
lovely. Here, as at Muckross, the cloisters are especially beautiful,
and are perfectly preserved. They are lighted on two sides by pointed
arches arranged in groups of three, while on the side next the church
the arches are grouped in pairs, and the fourth side is closed in by a
lovely arcade, with double octagonal columns. Here, also as at Muckross,
the friars planted a yew tree in the centre of the court, and it is now
a venerable giant. Whether it is as deadly as the Muckross yew I do not
know.

[Illustration: THE CHOIR OF THE ABBEY AT ADARE]

[Illustration: THE CASTLE OF THE GERALDINES, ADARE]

Beyond the cloisters are the refectory and domestic offices and
dormitories, all well-preserved, and repaying the most careful scrutiny.
I don't know when I have been more ecstatically happy than when, after
examining all this beauty, I sat myself down under an arch in the very
midst of it, and smoked a pipe and gazed and gazed.

I tore myself away at last, and made my way across the meadow to the
ruins of the castle, which I could see looming above the trees by the
river. Right on the bank of the river it stands, and at one time there
was a moat all around it which the river fed. One can see traces of the
moat, even yet, with a fosse beyond, and there is enough left of the
castle to show how great and strong this citadel of the Geraldines was.
There is a high outer wall, all battlemented, pierced by a single gate;
and then an inner ward, also with a single gate, flanked by heavy
defending towers. Within this looms the ultimate place of refuge, the
mighty donjon, forty feet square, with walls of tremendous strength, and
flanking towers, and every device for defence, so that one wonders how
it was ever taken.

One can still go up by the narrow stone stair, and from the top look
down upon these walls within walls, and fancy oneself back in the Middle
Ages, with their pageantries and heroisms and picturesque mummeries; and
one can see, too, how hard and comfortless life was then, save for the
few who held wealth and power in their mailed fists. "The good old
times!" Not much! The sad, cruel, gruesome, selfish, treacherous old
times, whose like, thank heaven, will never be seen again upon this
earth!

The rain was pouring down in sheets as I left the castle, but I could
not forbear going back again to the friary for a last look at it; and
then I tramped happily back along the road to the gate; and the
black-eyed girl was there to welcome me, and to say how sorry she was
that the day was so bad. But I did not think it bad; I thought it
beautiful, and said so; only I was afraid my photographs wouldn't be
worth reproducing.

And then the girl asked me if I wouldn't come in and sit by the fire a
bit, and we had a little gossip, of course about America. She had a
married sister in New York, she said, and she hoped some day to join
her. And then she told me that the cottage next door was where the
famous Adare cigarettes were made--an industry started by the Earl, who
grew the tobacco on his place.

I stopped in to see the factory, and found four girls rolling the
cigarettes and a man blending the tobaccos. He told me that the Earl had
planted twenty-five acres with tobacco, and that it did very well; but
it was not used alone, as it was too dark, but blended with the lighter
Maryland, brought from America. I bought a packet of the cigarettes in
the interests of this narrative, but they did not seem to me in any way
extraordinary.

I went on again and stopped in at the parish church, which was at one
time a Trinitarian Friary, or White Abbey, founded seven hundred years
ago. It was falling into ruins, when the Earl, who seems omnipotent in
these parts, restored it and fitted it up as a church and turned it over
to the Catholics. There is a big school attached to it now, and as I
entered the grounds, a white-coifed nun who was sitting at a window
looking over some papers, fled hastily. The church itself is chiefly
remarkable for a very beautiful five-lighted window over the altar. Just
outside is a handsome Celtic cross, surmounting the fountain where the
villagers get their water.

There was a store farther down the street, and I stopped in to get some
postcards. It was the most crowded store I ever saw, the ceiling hung
with tinware, the shelves heaped with merchandise of every kind, and the
floor so crowded with boxes and barrels that there was scarcely room to
squeeze between them. I remarked to the proprietor that he seemed to
carry a large stock, and he explained that he tried to have everything
anybody would want, for it was foolish to let any money get away. While
we were talking, a girl came in to sell some eggs. She had them in a
basket, and the man took them out, but instead of counting them, he
weighed them.

I went on back to the station, after that, through the driving rain, and
I was very wet by the time I got there--wet on the outside, that is, but
warm and dry and happy underneath. And at the station, I found three
men, who were engaged in a heated argument as to whether a man weighed
any more after he had eaten dinner than he did before. One of the men
contended very earnestly that one could eat the heartiest of meals
without gaining an ounce of weight if one only took the precaution of
drinking a mug or two of beer or porter with the meal, since the drink
lightened the brain and so neutralised the weight of the food in the
stomach. He asserted that he had seen this proved more than once, and
that he was willing to bet on it. He was also willing to bet that he
could put twelve pennies into a brimming glass of stout without causing
it to spill. As the village was a mile away, there was no place to get a
glass of stout and try this interesting experiment.

And then one of the men, looking at my wet coat and dripping cap, asked
me if I had been fishing.

"No," I said. "I was tramping around through the demesne looking at the
ruins and trying to get some pictures of them," and I tapped my camera.

He looked at the camera and then he looked at me.

"Where would you be from?" he asked.

"From America."

"From America?" he echoed in surprise. "Ah, well," he added, after a
moment's thought, "that do seem a long way to come just to get a few
photos!"

I couldn't help laughing as I agreed that it did; but I had never before
thought of it in just that way.

And then he told me that he had five brothers in America, but he himself
had been in the army, and was minded to enlist again. In the army, one
got enough to eat and warm clothes to wear and a tight roof to sleep
under, which was more than most men were able to do in Ireland!

The Mothers' Union presently arrived, very wet but very happy. I was
curious to know what they had discussed at their meeting, and what
conclusions they had reached, but the train pulled in a moment later,
and I had no time to make any inquiries. If Betty had been along, I
think I should have persuaded her to attend that meeting; but I found
her very warm and comfortable before her fire back at Limerick, and I
confess that I was glad to get out of my wet things and sit down in
front of it.

At 9:25 o'clock that night, when we supposed that most of Limerick was
in bed, we heard the sound of music and the tramp of many feet in the
street below, and looked out to see a band going past, followed by a
great crowd of men tramping silently along in the wet. Ordinarily, I
would have rushed out to see what was up; but I was tired, and the fire
felt very good, and so I sat down again in front of it. I have been
sorry since, for I suspect it was a Home Rule meeting, and Limerick has
a great reputation for shindies. Perhaps O'Connell, journeyman tailor,
made a speech. If he did, I am sorrier still, for I am sure it was a
good one!

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one thing more at Limerick we wished to see--the great butter
factory of the Messrs. Cleeve, on the other side of the Shannon. We had
already seen, rumbling through the streets of Limerick, the heavy steam
trams carrying enormous iron tanks, which collect the milk from the
country for miles around--from ten thousand cows some one told us--and
we had seen so few industries in Ireland that it seemed worth while to
inspect this one. So, next morning, we walked down to the water-front,
past the towering, empty warehouses, to the swing bridge which Cleeve
wants to close so that his trams can get across the Shannon without
going away around by the castle.

The bridge, a very fine one, was named originally after Wellesley, but
has been re-christened after Patrick Sarsfield, in whose honour the
street which leads up from it is also named. The swivel which allows
boats to pass and which isn't strong enough to carry the weight of
Cleeve's trams, is on the Limerick side, and just beyond it is a statue
which one naturally thinks is Sarsfield's, until one reads the
inscription at its base and finds it is a presentment of a certain Lord
Fitzgibbon, who was killed in the charge of the Light Brigade. Beyond
that, the bridge stretches away across the wide and rapid stream, by far
the biggest river in Ireland.

The butter factory is not far off, and we entered the office and told
the clerk who came forward that we should like to see the place. He
asked for my card, had me write my American address on it, and then
disappeared with it into an inner room. There was a delay of some
minutes, and finally one of the Messrs. Cleeve came out, my card in his
hand.

After greeting us quite cordially, he looked at the camera which I had
under my arm, and asked if I expected to take any pictures of the place.

"Why, no," I said; "I hadn't thought of doing so. I certainly won't if
you don't want me to."

"Are you interested in the butter business?"

"Only as a private consumer."

"Or in the condensed milk business??"

"No," I said promptly, "neither of us is interested in that, even as
consumers." And then, seeing that he still hesitated, I explained that
we were just travelling Americans who had heard about the factory and
thought we should like to see it; but that if it was against the rules,
he had only to say so, and it would be all right.

"It isn't against the rules," he explained. "In fact, we welcome
visitors; only we have to be careful. We have some secret processes,
especially with our condensed milk, which we wouldn't care to have our
competitors know about. But I'm sure you're all right," he added, and
called a clerk and told him to show us everything.

Most interesting we found it, for twenty-three million gallons of milk
are used there every year, and are converted not only into butter and
condensed milk, but into buttons and cigarette holders and all sorts of
things for which celluloid is commonly used. It was in this use of one
of the by-products of the business, casein, so our guide explained, that
much of the profit was made, since both the butter and the condensed
milk had to be sold on a very close margin.

The factory is a very complete one, making everything it uses--its own
cans and boxes, its own labels, its own cartons, its containers of every
kind and shape, as well as their contents. And the machinery with which
this is done is very intricate and ingenious.

Our guide said that one of the principal hazards of the business was the
likelihood that some new machine would be invented at any time to
displace the old ones, and would have to be purchased in order to keep
abreast of competition.

We saw the long troughs into which the milk is poured and strained and
heated to Pasteurize it, and then run through the separators. In the
next room were the great churns, from which the yellow butter was being
taken; and beyond were the mechanical kneaders, which worked out the
superfluous water and worked in the salt; and then the butter was put
through a machine which divided it into blocks weighing a pound or two
pounds, and then each of these blocks was carefully weighed, to be sure
that it was full weight, and if it wasn't a little dab of butter was
added before it was wrapped up and placed in the carton. And during all
these processes it was never touched by any human finger.

On the floor above were the great copper retorts in which the milk was
being condensed by boiling. We looked in through a little isinglassed
opening, and could see it seething like a volcano. And still higher up
were the machines which turned the hardened casein, which would
otherwise be wasted, into buttons and novelties of various kinds. The
place seemed very prosperous and well-managed, and, so our guide assured
us, was doing well. We were glad to find one such place in southern
Ireland.

Of course there are many others; and perhaps the impression I have given
of Limerick does the town injustice, for it is a busy place. It is
famous for its bacon, to the making of which ten thousand pigs are
sacrificed weekly. It used also to be famous for its lace, worked by
hand on fine net; but Limerick lace is made almost everywhere nowadays
except at Limerick, although there is a successful school there, I
believe, in one of the convents.

The name of the town has also passed into the language as that of a
distinctive five-line stanza, which Edward Lear made famous, and of
which such distinguished poets as Rudyard Kipling, Cosmo Monkhouse,
George du Maurier, Gelett Burgess and Carolyn Wells have written famous
examples. The limerick is said to have been originally an extempore
composition, a lot of people getting together and composing limericks,
in turn, as a sort of game designed to while away an evening. Whether
this was first done at Limerick I don't know, but the name came from the
chorus which was sung after every stanza in order to give the next
person time to get his limerick into shape:

          Oh, won't you come up, come up, come up,
            Oh, won't you come up to Limerick?
          Oh, won't you come up, come all the way up,
            Come all the way up to Limerick?

At least, that is the way I heard the chorus sung once, many years ago,
without understanding in the least what it meant. The invitation, of
course, is for the passing ship to enter the wide estuary of the Shannon
and sail up to Limerick's waiting quays. If the first limerick was
composed at Limerick, it must have been a long time ago, and I doubt if
any are produced there nowadays.

We took a last stroll about the town, after we had seen the
butter-making, and looked at the great artillery barracks, and the big
market, and the mammoth jail and the still more mammoth lunatic asylum,
where the inmates are decked out in bright red bonnets, which I should
think would make them madder still. And then we walked through an open
space called the People's Park, whose principal ornament is a tall
column surmounted by the statue of a man named Spring Rice. Betty
remarked that she had heard of spring wheat, but never of Spring Rice,
and asked who he was; but I didn't know; and then we came to the
Carnegie Library, and went inside to see what it was like.

I have seldom seen a drearier place. In the reading-room a few shabby
men were looking over some newspapers, but the rest of the building was
deserted, except for one old man, who may have been the librarian. There
were few books, and the names of those the library had were arranged in
a remarkable mechanism which resembled a lot of miniature post-office
boxes; and when the book was in, the name was turned out toward you, and
when it was out, the card was turned blank-side out. It was the most
complicated thing I ever saw in a public library. I suppose after a
while, when the library gets more books, this bulletin will be used only
for the newer ones; but I don't imagine there is a great demand for
books in Limerick. At least mighty few seemed to be in circulation.
Where life's realities are so bitter, where want is always at one's
heels, there is little time for intellectual recreation.

How bitter those realities are we realised, as we had never done before,
on our way back to the station; for, on the doorstep of a low, little
house, sat a ragged girl of six or eight, cuddling her doll against her
breast and crooning to it softly. And the doll was just a block of turf,
with a scrap of dirty rag for a dress.



CHAPTER XVI

"WHERE THE RIVER SHANNON FLOWS"


I HAVE already spoken of the wonders of the River Shannon, which rises
in a bubbling cauldron away above Lough Allen, and flows down through
ten counties to the sea; widening into lakes twenty miles long, or
draining vast stretches of impassable bog; navigable for more than two
hundred miles; and, finally, the great barrier between eastern Ireland,
which the Danes and English over-ran and conquered, and western Ireland,
which has never ceased to be Irish, and where the old Gaelic is still
the language of the people.

The most beautiful portion of the river lies between Lough Derg, at
whose lower end stands the ancient town of Killaloe, and Limerick, which
marks the limit of the tideway. In this twenty-mile stretch, the river,
for the first and last time in its course, is crowded in between high
hills, and runs swift and deep and strong. It was this stretch we
started out from Limerick, that day, to explore, and our first
stopping-place was Castleconnell, about halfway to Killaloe. We found it
a perfect gem of a town, situated most romantically on the left bank of
the river, and with one of the nicest, cleanest, most satisfactory
little inns I have ever seen. It reminded us of our inn at Killarney,
for it was a rambling, two-storied structure, and the resort of
fishermen. Castleconnell, as the guide-book puts it, is the Utopia of
Irish anglers. I can well believe it, for the salmon we saw caught at
Killarney were mere babies beside the ones which are captured here.

We made straight for the river as soon as we had divested ourselves of
our luggage, down along the winding village street, past the ruins of
the castle which was once the seat of the O'Briens, kings of Thomond,
and which Ginkle blew up during the siege of Limerick, thinking it too
dangerous a neighbour; and then we turned upstream, close beside the
water's edge, for two or three miles. The exquisite beauty of every
vista lured us on and on--the wide, rushing river, with its wooded
banks, broken here and there by green lawns and white villas, lovely,
restful-looking homes, whose owners must find life a succession of
pleasant days. For this portion of the valley of the Shannon seems to me
one of the real garden spots of the world.

The river was in flood, and so not at its best for fishing, but
nevertheless we passed many anglers patiently whipping the water in the
hope that, by some accident, a passing fish might see the fly and take
it. And at last we came to the end of the river road--a place called
"World's End," where we had expected to get tea. But the refreshment
booth was closed and there was no sign of any one in the neighbourhood.

We were very hungry therefore, when we got back to our inn, and our high
tea tasted very good indeed, served in the pleasantest of dining rooms,
on a table with snowy linen and polished dishes and shining silver, and
by a waiter who knew his business so well that I judged him to be
French. What a pleasure that meal was, after the slovenly service of the
house at Limerick, most of whose customers were commercial travellers!
Irish commercial travellers, I judge, are the least fastidious of men!

Just across the street from the inn at Castleconnell is the place where
the famous Enright rods are made, and after tea we went over to take a
look at them. I know nothing about rods, but any one could appreciate
the beauties of the masterpieces which the man in charge showed us. And
then he asked us if we wouldn't like to try one of them, and insisted on
lending us his own--hurrying home after it, and stringing on the line
and tying on the flies, and pressing it into my hand in a very fever of
good-nature. I confess I shrank from taking it. I had a vision of some
mighty fish gobbling down the fly and dashing off with a jerk that would
crumple up the rod in my hands, and I tried to decline it. But he
wouldn't hear of it--besides, there was Betty, her eyes shining at the
prospect of fishing in the Shannon.

So I took the rod at last, and we went down to the river again, and
worked our way slowly down stream, along a path ablaze with primroses,
and cast from place to place for an hour or more. There were many others
doing the same thing, and they all seemed to think that the fish would
be sure to rise as the twilight deepened. But they didn't, and I saw no
fish caught that day. This didn't in the least interfere with any one's
pleasure, for your true angler delights quite as much in the mere act of
fishing as in actually catching fish. But it was with a sigh of relief I
finally returned the rod intact to its owner. He said that I was welcome
to it any time I wanted it, but I did not ask for it again.

There were five or six fishermen staying at the hotel, and they came in
one by one, empty-handed. They had had no luck that day--the water was
too high; but it was already falling, and they were looking forward to
great sport on the morrow.

That morrow was a memorable one for us, also. It was a perfect day, and
we set out, as soon as we had breakfasted, for the falls of Doonas and
St. Senan's well, one of the most famous of the holy wells of Ireland.
To get to it, it was necessary to cross the river, and the only way to
get across is by a ferry, which consists of a flat-bottomed skiff,
propelled by a man armed only with a small paddle. As I looked from the
paddle to the mighty sweep of the river, rushing headlong past, I had
some misgivings, but we clambered aboard, and the boatman pushed off.

He headed almost directly upstream, and then, when the current caught
us, managed by vigorous and skilful paddling to hold his boat diagonally
against it, so that it swept us swiftly over toward the other bank, and
we touched it exactly opposite our point of departure. It was an
exhibition of skill which I shall not soon forget.

We stepped ashore upon a beautiful meadow rolling up to a stately,
wide-flung mansion, and turned our faces down the river. Already the
fishermen were abroad, some of them casting from the bank, but the most
out in midstream, in flat-bottomed boats like the one we had crossed in,
which two men with paddles held steady in some miraculous way against
the stream. One was at the bow and the other at the stern, and they did
not seem to be paddling very hard, but the boat swung slowly and
steadily back and forth above any spot which looked promising, no
matter how swift the current.

It grew swifter with every moment, for we were approaching the rapids,
and at last we came out on a bluff overhanging them. Above the rapids,
the river flows in a broad stream forty feet deep, but here it is broken
into great flurries and whirlpools by the rocky bed, which rises in dark
irregular masses above its surface, and the roar and the dash and the
white foam and flying spray are very picturesque. For nearly a mile the
tumult continues, and then the stream quiets down again and sweeps on
toward Limerick and the sea.

We followed close beside it to a little inn called the "Angler's Rest,"
set back at the edge of a pretty garden, entered through a gate with
three steps, on which were graven the words of the old Irish greeting,
"Cead Mile Failte," a hundred thousand welcomes. We sat down for a time
at the margin of the river and watched the changing water, and then set
off to find St. Senan's well.

There are really two wells. The first is in a graveyard, a few rods
away, where a fragment of an old church is still standing. It is a
tangled and neglected place, with the headstones tumbled every way, and
bushes and weeds running riot, but the path that leads to the well shows
evidence of frequent use. The well itself is merely a small hollow in an
outcropping of rock--a shallow basin, about a foot in diameter, but
always miraculously full of water. I don't know how the water gets into
it, or whether it is true that the basin is always full, but it
certainly was that day; and the legend is that whoever bathes his
forehead in that water will never again be troubled with headache,
provided that he does it reverently, with full belief, and with the
proper prayers. The well is shadowed by a tall hawthorn bush, and this
bush is hung thick with cheap rosaries and rags and hairpins and bits of
string and other tokens placed there by the true believers who had
tested the wonderful properties of the water. We tested them, too, of
course, and added our tokens to the rest.

The principal well is a little farther up the road, set back in a circle
of trees and approached by a short avenue of lindens. It is a far more
important well than the other--is one of the most famous in Ireland,
indeed--and is covered with a little shrine, which you will find
pictured opposite the next page. The shrine is hung with rosaries and
crowded with figurines and pictures of the Virgin and of various saints,
among which, I suppose, the learned in such matters might have picked
out Saint Senan, who blessed this well and gave it its miraculous power.
The trees which encircle the glade in which the well stands are also
hung with offerings--sacred pictures, rosaries, small vessels of gilt,
and the crutches of those who came lame and halting and went away cured.
On either side of the entrance is a bench where one may sit while saying
one's prayers, and in front of the shrine is a shallow basin, some two
feet wide and a yard long, into which the water from the well trickles,
and where one may sit and wash all infirmities away. The water is held
to be especially efficacious in curing rheumatism and hip disease and
diseases of the joints; and I only hope the cripples who left their
crutches behind them never had need of them again.

[Illustration: THE SHANNON, NEAR WORLD'S END]

[Illustration: ST. SENAN'S WELL]

This whole valley of the Shannon, from Killaloe to the sea, is dominated
by the patron of this well, St. Senan, a holy man who died in 544, and
whose life resembled that of St. Kevin, whom we have already encountered
at Glendalough. Like Kevin, Senan was persecuted by the ladies, who, in
all ages, have taken a peculiar delight in pursuing holy men, and he was
finally driven to take refuge on a little island at the mouth of the
Shannon, Scattery Island, where he hoped to be left in peace. But he was
destined to disappointment, for a lady named Cannera, since sainted,
followed him and asked permission to remain. This scene, of course,
appealed to Tom Moore, and he enshrined it in a poem, of which this is
the final stanza:

          The Lady's prayer Senanus spurned;
          The winds blew fresh, the bark returned;
          But legends hint that had the maid
            Till morning's light delayed,
          And given the Saint one rosy smile,
          She ne'er had left his lonely isle.

I do not know upon what evidence Moore bases this slander of a holy man;
but, at any rate, he stayed on his island, and built a monastery and
collection of little churches there for the use of the disciples who
soon gathered about him, and their ruins, which much resemble those at
Glendalough, even to a tall round tower, may be seen to this day. Some
antiquarians hold that St. Senan is merely a personification of the
Shannon; but I don't see how a personification could build a
collection of churches. It is more satisfactory, anyway, to think of him
as a person who once existed, and lived a picturesque life, and built
churches and blessed holy wells, and died at a ripe age in the odour of
sanctity.

We sat for a long time before his shrine, looking at the tokens and the
crutches, and wishing we had been there the day they were abandoned. To
be made whole by faith is a wonderful thing, whatever form the faith may
take, and I should like to have seen the faces of the cripples as they
felt the miracle working within them, here in this obscure place.
Unlettered they no doubt were, unable to read or write perhaps,
believing this flat and stable earth the centre about which the universe
revolves; but they touched heights that day which such sophisticated and
cynically sceptical persons as you and I can never reach.

We left the shrine, at last, and made our way back to the river, and up
along it, past the rapids, to the ferry. The ferryman was watching for
us, and had us back on the Castleconnell side in short order. He
evidently considered the sixpence I gave him a munificent reward for the
double trip.

When we got back up into the village, we found it in the throes of a
great excitement over the arrival of three itinerant musicians, two of
whom played cornets, while the third banged with little sticks upon a
stringed instrument suspended in front of him. The cornetists paused
from time to time, to make short excursions, cap in hand, in search of
pennies, but the third man never stopped, but kept playing away all up
the street and out of sight. We came across them again when we walked
over to the station to take the train for Killaloe; but I judge their
harvest was a slender one, for the people who hung out of gates and over
doors to listen to the music, disappeared promptly whenever the
collectors started on their rounds.

We had a little while to wait at the station, and I got into talk with
the signalman, who told me he had a brother, a Jesuit priest, in
Maryland, and who wanted to hear about America, whither he hoped to be
able to come some day. That it would be at best a far-off day I judged
from the wistful way in which he said it.

And then he saw that I was interested in the signal-system by which the
trains on his little branch were managed, and he explained it to me. For
each section of the road there is a hollow iron tube, some two feet
long, with brass rings around it, called a staff. The engine-driver
brings one of these staffs in with him, and this must be deposited in an
automatic device in the signal-house and another received from the
signalman before the train can proceed. When the staff is deposited in
the machine, it automatically signals the next station and releases the
staff in the machine there, ready to be given to the engineer of the
approaching train. No staff, once placed in the machine, can be got out
again until it is released in this way, and as no train can leave a
station until its engineer has received a staff, it is practically
impossible for two trains to be on the same section of road at the same
time. The system is rather slow, but it is sure; and being automatic, it
leaves nothing to chance, or to the vagaries of either engineer or
signalman.

The bell rang, signalling the approach of our train, the signalman
carefully closed the gates across the highway which ran past the
station, and a crowd of men and boys collected, to whom the arrival of
the train was the most important and interesting event of the day; and
then it puffed slowly in, and we climbed aboard. Killaloe is only ten
miles or so from Castleconnell, but we had to change at a station called
Bird Hill; and then the line ran close beside the Shannon, with lofty
hills crowding down upon it, and at last we saw the beautiful bridge
which spans the river, and beyond it the spires and roofs of the little
town.

Not unless one knows one's Irish history will one realise what a
wonderful place Killaloe is; for Killaloe is none other than Kincora, a
word to stir Irish hearts, the stronghold of the greatest of Irish
kings, Brian Boru. When that great chieftain fell at Clontarf, MacLiag,
his minstrel, wrote a lament for him in the old Gaelic, and James
Clarence Mangan has rendered it into an English version, of which this
is the first stanza:

          O, where, Kincora, is Brian the Great?
            And where is the beauty that once was thine?
          O, where are the princes and nobles that sate
            At the feast in thy halls, and drank the red wine?
                          Where, O, Kincora?

It was by no mere chance that Kincora, the seat of the Kings of Thomond,
was situated just here, for it was this point which controlled the
valley of the lower Shannon. Limerick marks the head of the tideway
navigable from the sea, then come fifteen miles of rushing torrent, of
fall and rapid, which no boat can pass; and then comes the long stretch
of placid lake and river over which boats may go as far as the ford of
Athlone, and farther. Between Athlone and the sea, there was just one
ford--a treacherous and hidden one, it is true, possible only to those
who knew every step of it, but still a ford--and it was here, a little
above the present town of Killaloe, where Lough Derg begins to narrow
between the hills.

Brian was born here in 941. Twenty years before, the Danes had sailed in
force up the Shannon and fortified the island at the head of the tideway
which is now the oldest part of Limerick. They set themselves to ravage
the wide and fertile valley, to sack the shrines of the churches, to
exact tribute from every chieftain--nay, from every family. MacLiag,
Brian's bard, author of that old epic, "The Wars of the Gael with the
Gall," another Homer almost, who told the story of Danish oppression
down to their final defeat at Clontarf, thus described the burden under
which, in those days, the people of Ireland groaned:

          "Such was the oppressiveness of the tribute and
          the rent of the foreigners over all Erin, that
          there was a king from them over every territory, a
          chief over every chieftaincy, an abbot over every
          church, a steward over every village, and a
          soldier in every house, so that no man of Erin had
          power to give even the milk of his cow, nor as
          much as the clutch of eggs of one hen, in succour
          or in kindness to an aged man, or to a friend, but
          was forced to keep them for the foreign steward or
          bailiff or soldier. And though there were but one
          milk-giving cow in the house, she durst not be
          milked for an infant of one night, nor for a sick
          person, but must be kept for the foreigner; and
          however long he might be absent from the house,
          his share or his supply durst not be lessened."

Brian had an elder brother, Mahon, who was king of South Munster, and
dwelt at Cashel, and the two did what they could against the invaders,
killing them off "in twos and in threes, in fives and in scores"; but
always fresh hordes poured in, and at last Mahon grew disheartened at
the seemingly endless struggle against these stark, mail-clad warriors;
while as for Brian, his force was reduced to a mere tattered handful,
hiding in the hills. Then it was that he and Mahon met to discuss the
future.

"But where hast thou left thy followers?" Mahon asked, looking at the
men, only a score in number, standing behind their chief.

"I have left them," answered Brian, "on the field of battle."

"Ah," said Mahon, sadly. "Is it so? You see how little we can do against
these foreigners."

"Little as it is," said Brian, "it is better than peace."

"But it is folly to keep on fighting," said Mahon. "We can not conquer
these shining warriors, clad in their polished corselets. The part of
wisdom is to make terms with them, and leave no more of our men dead
upon the field."

"It is natural for men to die," answered Brian calmly; "but it is
neither the nature nor the inheritance of the Dalcassians to submit to
injury and outrage. And yet I have no wish to lead any unwilling man to
battle. Let the question of war or peace be left to the whole clan."

So it was done, and "the voice of hundreds as of one man answered for
war."

Mahon abode loyally by this decision, and there was a great muster, and
a fierce battle near the spot where Limerick Junction now stands, and
the Danes were routed, "and fled to the ditches, and to the valleys, and
to the solitudes of that great sweet-flowery plain," and the Irish
pursued them all through the night, and with the morning, came to
Limerick, and stormed and took the island fortress; plundered it, and
reduced it "to a cloud of smoke and red fire afterwards."

Then Mahon was murdered by some such treachery as stains so many pages
of Irish history, and Brian became king of all Munster. His first work
was to punish his brother's murderers, which he did with grim celerity,
so that, as the chronicler puts it, they soon found that he "was not a
stone in place of an egg, nor a wisp in place of a club, but a hero in
place of a hero, and valour in place of valour." After that, with new
energy, he turned against the Danes, and harried them and was himself
harried, defeated them and was himself defeated, but fought on undaunted
year after year, until the final great victory at Clontarf, where he
himself was slain. And during all the years that he was king of Munster,
he ruled it, not from Cashel, but from Kincora, his well-beloved castle
here at the ford of the Shannon.

The ford is no longer there, for an elaborate system of sluice-gates and
weirs has been constructed to hold the water back and regulate the
supply to the lower reaches of the river, and one crosses to the town
upon a beautiful stone bridge of thirteen arches, between which the
water swirls and eddies, forming deep pools, where great salmon love to
lurk. At its other end is the town, with its houses mounting the steep
slope from the river, and dominated by the square tower of its old
cathedral.

It was to the cathedral we went first, and a venerable pile we found it,
dating from the twelfth century, and attributed to that same Donall
O'Brien, King of Munster, who built the one at Limerick. But, alas, it
is venerable only from without; as one steps through the doorway, all
illusion of age vanishes, for the interior has been "improved" to suit
the needs of a small Church of Ireland congregation.

The Protestants in this parish are so few that the choir of the
cathedral is more than ample for them; so it has been closed off from
the rest of the church by a glass screen with hideous wooden
"tracery"--there is a rose window (think of it!) sawed out of boards;
and beyond this screen an ugly pavement of black and yellow tiles has
been laid over the beautiful grey flags of the old pavement, and pews
have been installed. One of the transepts is used as a robing-room; in
the other an elaborate combination of steam-engine, dynamo and
storage-batteries has been placed to furnish heat and light--and this,
mind you, in the church which was once the royal burying-place of the
Kings of Munster!

It seems foolish to maintain a great church like this for the use of so
small a congregation as worships here, and yet the same thing is done
all over Ireland, though it would seem to be only common sense to give
the big churches to the big congregations, and to provide small churches
for the small ones. But I suppose no one in Ireland would dare make such
a suggestion.

I am surprised that the energetic vicar of this parish has not decided
that the church is too dark and hired some workmen to knock out the
lancet windows. These windows are one of its chief beauties, they are so
tall, so narrow, so deeply splayed--the very earliest form, before the
builders gathered courage to cut any but the smallest openings in their
walls. And in the wall of the nave, blocked up and with use unexplained,
is a magnificent Irish-Romanesque doorway. Tradition has it that it was
the entrance to the tomb of King Murtough O'Brien, and its date is
placed at the beginning of the twelfth century. The man who built it was
an artist, for nothing could be more graceful than its four
semi-circular arches, rising one beyond the other and covered with
ornamentation--spiral and leaf work, grotesque animals with tails twined
into the hair of human heads, flowers and lozenges, and the familiar
dog-tooth pattern, of which the Irish were so fond.

Interesting as the church is, or would be but for the "improvements," it
is far outranked by a tiny stone structure just outside--the parish
church of Brian Boru himself. It is less than thirty feet long, and the
walls are nearly four feet thick, and the two narrow windows which light
it, one on either side, are loopholes rather than windows; and the
doorway by which it is entered, narrower at the top than at the bottom,
is a veritable gem; and the high-pitched roof of fitted blocks of stone
is twice as high as the walls;--and on the stone slabs of its pavement
Brian Boru was wont to kneel in prayer, five centuries before Columbus
sailed out of Palos!

Of course I wanted a picture of this shrine; but there were
difficulties, for it stands in a little depression which conceals part
of it, and the high wall around the churchyard prevented my getting far
enough away to get all of the high-pitched roof on the film. The
caretaker, who was most interested in my manoeuvres, brought a ladder
at last, and I mounted to the top of the wall, and took the picture
opposite the next page; but, even then, I didn't get it all.

The graveyard about these churches is a large one, but it is crowded
with tombs; and the north half of it is mown and orderly, and the south
half is almost impenetrable because of the rank and matted grass and
weeds and nettles. This is the result of an old quarrel, more foolish
than most. For, like Ireland itself, this graveyard is divided between
Protestants and Catholics, the Protestants to the north and the
Catholics to the south of the church; and the Protestants consider their
duty done when they have cared for the graves in their own half; while
the Catholics hold that, since the Protestants claim the cathedral, they
are bound to look after its precincts; and the result is that the
visitor to those precincts is half the time floundering knee-deep in
weeds.

The most interesting tomb in the place is in the midst of this tangle,
therefore a Catholic's. It bears the date 1719, and is most elaborately
decorated with carved figures--one kneeling above the legend, "This is
the way to Blis"; another, a man with crossed arms, inquiring, "What am
I? What is man?"--two questions which have posed the greatest of
philosophers. One panel bears this sestet:

          How sweetly rest Christ's saints in love
          That in his presence bee.
          My dearest friends with Christ above
          Thim wil I go and see
          And all my friends in Christ below
          Will post soon after me.

[Illustration: THE BRIDGE AT KILLALOE]

[Illustration: THE ORATORY AT KILLALOE]

We left the place, at last, and walked on along the street, peeping in
between the bars of an iron gate at the beautiful grounds of the
Bishop's palace; and then up a steep and narrow lane to the little
plateau which is now the town's market-place, but where, in the old
days, Brian's palace of Kincora stood. Not a stone is left of that
palace now, for the wild men of Connaught swept down from the mountains,
in the twelfth century, while the English were trying to hold the castle
and so control the destinies of Clare, and drove the intruders out, and
tore the castle stone from stone, and threw timber and stone alike into
the Shannon. Just beyond the square stands the Catholic church--a
barn-like modern structure, hastily thrown together to shelter the
swarming congregation, for which the cathedral would be none too large.

We went on down the hill, past the canal, with the roaring river beyond,
and the purple vistas of Lough Derg opening between the hills in the
distance, along an avenue of noble trees, and there before us lay a
great double rath, sloping steeply to the river, built here to guard the
ford. The ford lies there before it--a ford no longer, since the sluices
back up the water; but in the old days this was the key to County Clare,
this was the path taken by the men of Connaught in raid and foray; and
here it was that Sarsfield, with four hundred men, followed Hogan the
rapparee, on that night expedition which resulted in the destruction of
the English ammunition-train. Aubrey de Vere has told the story in a
spirited little poem, beginning,

          Sarsfield went out the Dutch to rout,
            And to take and break their cannon;
          To Mass went he at half past three,
            And at four he crossed the Shannon.

We had hoped to go to Athlone by way of Lough Derg, but we had already
learned that that was not to be, for we had been told, back at the
bridge, that the passenger service across the lake would not start until
the sixteenth of June. And we were sorry, for, from the summit of this
old rath, the lake, stretching away into the misty distance, looked very
beautiful and inviting.

We made our way back to the village and stopped in at a nice little
hotel just below the bridge, and had tea, served most appetizingly by a
clean, bright-eyed maid; and then, while Betty sat down to rest, I
sallied forth to see, if possible, the greatest curiosity of all about
Killaloe--the original church or oratory of St. Molua, on an island near
the left bank of the Shannon, about half a mile downstream.

Now to get back to St. Molua, one has to go a long way indeed, for he
died three hundred years before Brian Boru was born. He was the first
bishop of Killaloe, which is named after him, "cill" meaning church, and
Killaloe being merely a contraction of Cill Molua, the church of Molua.
The little oratory on the island, to which he retired for contemplation,
after the manner of Irish saints, was built not later than the year
600.

You will understand, therefore, why I was so eager to see it, and I went
into the bar to consult with the barmaid as to the best manner of
getting to it. I had been told that it was possible to reach it from the
left bank of the river without the aid of a boat, but the maid assured
me this could be done only when the river was low, and was out of the
question in the present stage of the water. So she went to the door and
called to a passing boatman, and explained my wishes, and he at once
volunteered to ferry me over to the island. His house, he said, was just
opposite the island, and his boat was tied up at the landing there; so
we walked down to it, along the bank of the canal which parallels the
river.

A little way down the canal was a mill, and a boat was tied up in front
of it unloading some grain, and when I looked into the boat, I saw that
the grain was shelled Indian corn! It was not from America, however, but
from Russia, and my companion told me that quite a demand for cornmeal
was growing up in the neighbourhood, and that it was used mixed with
flour. And then he listened, his eyes round with wonder, while I told
him how corn grows. He had never seen it on the ear, and did not know
the meaning of the word "cob," except as applied to a horse.

"And of course you have seen bananas growing!" he said, when I had
finished, and I think he scarcely believed me when I tried to explain
that a country warm enough for corn might still be too cold for bananas.

We finally reached his house--a little hovel built on a bluff
overhanging the river--and went down some rude stone steps to the
water's edge; and he unchained his boat, and whistled to his dog, and
pushed off. It was quite an exciting paddle, for the current was very
swift; but we got across to the island at last, after some hair-raising
scrapings against rocks and over submerged reefs. We found the island a
tangle of weeds and briars, but we broke our way through, and after some
searching, found the tiny church, almost hidden by the bushes about it.
They were so thick that I found it quite impossible to get a picture of
the whole church, but by breaking down some of them, I finally managed
to get a picture of the narrow inclined doorway, with my guide's dog
posing on the threshold.

The oratory is built solidly of stone, with walls three feet thick, and
a steep stone roof. Its inside measurements are ten feet by six! There
is a single window, with a round head cut out of a block of stone, and
in the wall on either side just below it is a shallow recess. The
ceiling has fallen in, but one can still see the holes in the walls
where the supporting beams rested. Above it, under the steep roof, was a
croft, where perhaps the saint slept.

Consider, for a moment, what was going on in the world when this little
church was built. It takes us back to the age of legend--the age of King
Arthur and his knights--to that dim period when the Saxons were
conquering England, and the Frankish kingdom was falling to pieces, and
Mohammed was preaching his gospel in Arabia. A century and a half would
elapse before Charlemagne was born, and two centuries before the first
Norse boat, driving westward before the tempest, touched the New England
coast!

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO ST. MOLUA'S ORATORY]

[Illustration: A FISHERMAN'S HOME]

There is, of course, a holy well on the island--the one at which St.
Molua drank; and we found it after a long search, but the river was so
high that it was under two or three feet of water. There were some rags
and other tokens hanging on the neighbouring bushes, but not many, and I
judge that few people ever come to this historic spot.

At last I was ready to go, and we climbed into the boat and started for
the mainland; and once I thought we were surely going to capsize, for
the boat got out of control and banged into a rock; but we finally
stemmed the current, and the boatman dropped his paddle and snatched up
a pole, and pushed along so close to the shore that the overhanging
branches slapped us in the face, and the dog, thinking we were going to
land, made a wild leap for the bank, fell short, and nearly drowned.

When we were safe again at the landing-place, and the boat tied up, I
asked my companion how much I owed him for his trouble.

"Not a penny, sir," he said, warmly. "It's glad I am to oblige a
pleasant gentleman like yourself."

"Oh, but look here," I protested, "that won't do," and I fished through
my pockets and was appalled to find that I had only nine-pence in
change. "Wait till we get back to the hotel," I said, "and I'll get some
money."

"What is that you have in your hand, sir?"

"Oh, that's only nine-pence."

"That would be far too much, sir," he said; and when I hesitatingly
gave it to him, he as hesitatingly took it, and I really believe he was
in earnest in thinking it too much.

On our way back to the town, he expounded to me his theory of life,
which was to give faithful service to one's employer, and help one's
fellow-men when possible, and never bother unduly about the future,
which was never as black as it looked. And I agreed with him that
trouble always came butt-end first, and that, after it had passed, it
frequently dwindled to a pinpoint--the which has been said in verse
somewhere, by Sam Walter Foss I think, but I can't put my hand on it.

       *       *       *       *       *

We got back to Castleconnell just as the fishermen were coming in, and
it was far from empty-handed they were this time. The array of salmon
stretched out on the floor of the bar, when they had all arrived, was a
very noble one. And everybody stood around and looked at them proudly,
and told of the enormous flies that had been used, and how one monster
had whipped the boat around and towed it right down through the rapids,
and lucky it was that the water was high or it would infallibly have
been ripped to pieces, but the boatmen kept their heads and managed to
get it through, and when the salmon came out in the quiet river below
and found itself still fast, it gave up and let itself be gaffed without
any further fuss.

And again after dinner, we saw the familiar sight of the catch being
wrapped in straw to be sent by parcel post back to England, as proof of
the anglers' prowess; and I can guess how those battles on Shannon
water were fought over again when the angler got back to the bosom of
his family. As for me, I have only to close my eyes to see again that
noble stream sweeping along between its green, flower-sprinkled banks,
foaming over the weirs, brawling past the rapids, hurrying between the
quays of Limerick, and widening into the great estuary where it meets
the sea.

          Into the West, where, o'er the wide Atlantic,
            The lights of sunset gleam,
          From its high sources in the heart of Erin
            Flows the great stream.

          Yet back in stormy cloud or viewless vapour
            The wandering waters come,
          And faithfully across the trackless heaven
            Find their old home.



CHAPTER XVII

LISSOY AND CLONMACNOISE


SINCE we could not get to Athlone by water, we must needs get there by
rail; so, most regretfully, next morning, we bade good-bye to
Castleconnell and took train for Limerick. Half an hour later, we pulled
out of the Limerick terminus, circled about the town, crossed the
Shannon by a long, low bridge, and were in County Clare.

Ruins are more numerous here than almost anywhere else in Ireland, for
this western slope of the Shannon valley, so fertile and coveted, was
famous fighting-ground. There are one or two in sight all the time,
across the beautiful rolling meadows. Near Cratloe there are three,
their great square keeps looming above the trees, and looking out across
the wide Shannon estuary. A little farther on is the famous seat of the
Earls of Thomond, Bunratty Castle, a fine old fortress, with all the
approved mediæval trimmings of moat, guard-room, banqueting-hall,
dungeons and torture-chamber, and I am sorry we did not get to visit it.
Indeed, there are many places in the neighbourhood worth a visit--but if
one is going to visit every Irish ruin, he will need ten years for the
task. Only it does cause a pang of the heart to pass any of them by.

We must have passed at least fifty by, that day; but I found that the
train stopped for a while at Ennis, the chief town of Clare, and I
hurried out to see what I could of it. It is certainly a picturesque
place, with narrow winding streets, and queer little courts, and houses
painted pink or washed with yellow ochre. I glanced in at the new
Catholic cathedral, whose most impressive feature is a rather good
picture of the ascension over the high altar; and then spent a few
minutes among the ruins of the Franciscan friary, a queer jumble of
buildings which I did not have time to untangle.

As usual, the two biggest buildings in the town are the jail and the
lunatic asylum, and I passed them both on my way back to the station.
Some of the lunatics were languidly hoeing a big potato patch that day,
with five or six guards looking on. I have never looked up the
statistics of lunacy in Ireland, but if all the asylums are full, the
rate must be very high.

About half a mile beyond Ennis, the train passes a most imposing ruin,
very close to the railway. It is the ruin of Clare Abbey, and is
dominated by a great square tower, which must be visible for many miles
around. There is still another ruin, that of Killone Abbey, only a few
miles away, and for a connoisseur in ruins, Ennis would be an excellent
place to spend a few days.

From Ennis, we turned almost due northward toward Athenry, and the
landscape became the rockiest I have ever seen. Every little field was
surrounded by a high stone wall, and as these walls did not begin to
exhaust the supply, there were great heaps of rocks in every available
corner--every one of them dug from the shallow soil with almost
incredible labour. The fact that any one would try to reclaim such land
speaks volumes for the hard necessities of the people who settled here.
I don't suppose they enjoyed the labour, but they had no choice--at
least, their only choice was to wrest a living from these rocky fields
or starve. No doubt many of them did starve, but the rest kept labouring
on, with insect-like industry, reclaiming this corner and that, adding
to the soil of their fields inch by inch.

There is an old saying that in this district, and in others like it in
Connaught, the first three crops are stones, and I can well believe it.
The green appearance of these hillsides is a delusion and a snare, for
it is nothing but a skin of turf over the rocks, and these rocks must be
dug away to the depth of two feet, sometimes, before the soil is
reached. In any other part of the world, a man who would attempt to
convert such a hillside into an arable field would be thought insane;
here, in the west of Ireland, it is the usual thing. Most tragic of all,
after it was fit for tillage, it did not belong to the man whose labour
had made it so, but to his English landlord, who promptly proceeded to
raise the rent!

We ran out of this rocky land, at last, and crossed a vast bog, scarred
with long, black, water-filled ditches, from which the turf had been
taken. There were a few people here and there cutting it, but a woman
who had got into the compartment with us said that the continued wet
weather had made the work very difficult and dangerous. All the people
hereabouts, she added, lived by the turf cutting, at which they could
earn, perhaps, ten-pence a day; but in bad seasons they were soon close
to starvation. I remarked that, with such wages, they must be close to
it all the time, and she smiled sadly and said that that was true.
Only, of course, in the bogs the children can work, as well as the men
and women, and that helps. Indeed, we saw them many times--little boys
and girls who should have been at school or running free, gaining health
and strength for the hard years to come, tugging at the heavy,
water-soaked blocks of peat, and laying them out in the sun to dry. It
takes a month of sun to dry the peat; in wet weather it won't dry at
all, and so isn't salable. Truly, the lives of the poor Irish hang on
slender threads!

There are ruins of castles and monasteries and raths and cashels all
through this region, and a lot of them cluster about the dirty little
town of Athenry, which can boast a castle, two monasteries, city walls
and an old gate. Such richness was not to be passed by, and we left the
train, checked our luggage at the parcel office, fought off a jarvey who
was determined to drive us to the ruins which we could see quite plainly
just across the track, crossed the road by the overhead bridge, and came
out in the streets of the village.

Athenry is typically Irish, with streets running every way, houses built
any way, and their inhabitants leaning over the half-doors, or braced
against the walls at the street corners, or going slowly about such
business as they have. Life has stood still here for at least a century;
and yet Athenry was once a royal town--"The Ford of the Kings" its name
signifies--and a royal court was held here in the great castle, and a
beautiful monastery was built near by at the express wish of St.
Dominick himself, and it became a famous place of learning, to which
scholars flocked from all over Europe. Alas and alack!

    Vanished, those high conceits! Desolate and forlorn,
    We hunger against hope for that lost heritage.

For the red tide of war swept over Athenry more than once, and left it
but smoking ruins. Eleven thousand Connaughtmen lay piled about the
walls one summer day in 1316, all that was left of the army that tried
to make Edward Bruce king of Ireland; two centuries later, when the
Earls of Clanricarde swept Connaught with fire and sword, Athenry fell
before them, and was left in ashes; and when it struggled to its feet
again, it was only to fall before the destroying hand of Red Hugh
O'Donnell, who left scarcely one stone upon another, and from that blow
it never rallied.

One of the old gates still survives, well preserved in spite of war and
weather, and near it is a quaint old market cross, with the Virgin and
Child on one side and Christ on the other. All that is left of the
thirteenth century castle is the gabled keep, looming high on a rock
just back of the town, and some fragments of the battlemented curtains.
All the floors have fallen in, and its four massive walls are open to
the heavens. Red Hugh, when he destroyed it, did his work well!

The ruins of the abbey nestle in the shadow of the rock on which the
castle stands, and we made our way down to them, along disordered
streets swarming with geese, ducks, dogs, chickens and children, only to
find the way closed by an iron gate, securely padlocked. But a passer-by
told us that the village blacksmith had the key, and indicated vaguely
the way to his shop, which we found after some circuitous wanderings.
The smith was a gnarled little man, quite the reverse of Longfellow's,
and as soon as we had made our errand known, he snatched down the keys
and hastened to lead the way to the ruins, leaving his work without
pausing to remove his apron, and without a backward glance at his
helper, who stood open-mouthed by the forge.

[Illustration: THE CHOIR OF THE ABBEY AT ATHENRY]

[Illustration: A COTTAGE AT ATHENRY]

There were three gates to unlock before we reached the ruins, and then
the blacksmith hurried back to his work, leaving his daughter to keep an
eye on us. The church is all that is left of the monastery, for the
domestic buildings, and even the cloisters have been swept entirely away
by the rude hand of time, and the far ruder ones of the villagers who
needed stone for their houses. The church itself has suffered more than
most, for not only is the roof gone, but the tower and one transept and
most of the window-tracery, and the whole interior has been swept by a
savage storm, the tombs hacked and hewed, and the carved decorations
knocked to fragments. Doubtless if we had questioned the girl who stood
staring at us, she would have said that "Crummell did it," and in this
case, history would bear her out, for the Puritan soldiery _did_ do a
lot of damage here. They and the sans-culottes suffered from the same
mania--a sort of vertigo of destructiveness before memorials of kings or
Catholics!

But they couldn't destroy everything, and what is left in this old
church is well worth seeing, for there are some graceful pointed
windows, and six narrow lancets in a lovely row along the north wall of
the choir, and a fine arcade in the north transept, and many details
of decoration beautiful in spite of mutilation. The place is crowded
with tombs, for this was the burial place of the Dalys and the Lynchs
and the De Burgos, and is still in use as such. The tomb of the "noble
family of De Burgh" is in one corner, and there are many mural tablets,
with inscriptions in French and Latin and Gaelic, as well as English. In
fact one of them announces in French and Latin and English, presumably
so that every one except the Irish might read, that "here is the antient
Sepulchre of the Sept of the Walls of Droghty late demolished by the
Cromellians."

We went back through the town, at last, and while I was manoeuvring
for the picture opposite page 270, Betty got into talk with a girl who
was leaning over a half-door, and found, marvellous to relate, that she
had once lived in Brookline, Mass. We asked her why she had come back to
Ireland, and after a moment's thought she said it was because "America
wasn't fair." We thought of aristocratic Brookline, the abode of
millionaires, and then we looked about us--at the ragged donkey standing
across the way, at the pig wandering down the middle of the dirty
street, at the low little houses and the shabby people--and perhaps we
smiled, but be sure it was in sympathy, not in derision.

We crossed over to the railway hotel, finally, and had lunch, and when
we came out, the woman who managed the place waylaid us at the front
door for a chat. She told us of a woman from the village who was on the
_Titanic_, but was saved, and discussed various scandals in high life,
which she had gleaned from the half-penny press; and then we spoke of
the girl we had met in the village, and she deplored the high-and-mighty
airs which some of the girls who come home from America give themselves.

"But I once heard one of them put well in her place," she added, "when
she came back with her hat full of flowers and her petticoat full of
flounces, and walked about the town as though we were all dirt beneath
her feet. Well, one day an old man stopped her for a word, a friend of
the family who wished her well, but she put up her nose at him--and
perhaps he was not very clean--and was for going past. But he put out
his hand and caught her by the arm. 'You're after bein' a fine lady
now,' says he, 'but I mind the time, and that but a few years since,
when I've seen ye sittin' on your bare-backed ass, with your naked legs
hangin' down--yes, and I can be tellin' ye more than that, if so be ye
wish to hear it!' She didn't stay long in the village after that," added
the speaker, with a chuckle of relish.

Our train came along, presently, and we were soon running over as
dreary, bleak and miserable a land as any we had seen in Ireland. Vast
boggy plains, bare rocky hillsides, with scarcely a house to be seen
anywhere--only a ruin, now and then, marking the site of some ancient
stronghold; and so, in the first dusk of the evening, we came to
Athlone.

One would have thought that, with so important a town, the station would
have been placed somewhere near it; but habit was too strong for the
builders of the line, and so they put the station about a mile away, at
the end of a dreary stretch of road, beyond a great barrack, along the
river, past the castle, and over the bridge.

Athlone has been famous for its widows ever since the days of Molly
Malone, ohone! who

            Melted the hearts
          Of the swains in them parts;

and we found that the best hotel in the place, which was not as good as
it might have been, was managed by a widow, who might well have posed
for the lovely Molly. She had not been a widow long, and I judged would
not be if the swains of the town had any voice in the matter, for the
bar was very popular when she was behind it.

We went out, after dinner, to see the town, and found it one of the most
ugly and depressing we had yet encountered--a sort of cross between a
town and a village, but with the attractions of neither. The water-front
is its most interesting part, for a fragment of the old castle which was
built to guard the second of the all-important fords of the Shannon
still stands there. Kincora, you will remember, guarded the other. But
Kincora was three days' march to the southward; and for two days' march
to the northward there was no other place where the Shannon could be
crossed; and so here at the ford just below Lough Ree, in the old days,
a franklin named Luan set up a rude little inn, and the place came to be
known as Ath Luan, Luan's Ford--Athlone. Here in the year 1001, hostages
were sent from all Ireland to meet Brian Boru and proclaim him High
King; and here, a century later, the O'Conors built a rath and a tower
to guard the ford and levy tribute upon all who used it. In another
hundred years, the Normans had seized it, and put up the strong,
round-towered castle, parts of which still remain; and for seven
centuries after that, the English power "sat astride the passage of
Connaught," save for the brief time, after the battle of the Boyne, it
was held by the Irish. But Ginkle captured it, as he was soon to capture
Limerick, and a few years later, most of what was left of the town was
destroyed when the magazine of the castle blew up during a thunderstorm.

But though there is little in Athlone to delay the visitor, there are
two places in the neighbourhood worth seeing. Nine miles to the north is
Lissoy, made immortal by Goldsmith as

          Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain;

and ten miles to the south, on the bank of the Shannon, are the ruins of
Clonmacnoise, whither, twelve centuries ago, men in search of knowledge
turned their faces from all the corners of Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was for Lissoy we started next morning, on a car for which I had
bargained the night before. Our jarvey was a loquacious old fellow, who
talked unceasingly, but in so broken a brogue that it was only with the
greatest difficulty we could follow him. He had known some people who
had gone down on the _Titanic_, and he told us all about them; but most
of his talk was a lament for the hard times, the sorrowful state of the
country, the paucity of tourists, and the vagaries of the landlady, of
whom he spoke in the most mournful and pessimistic way. She was not, I
gathered, a native of Athlone, but a Dublin woman whose ideas were
new-fangled and highfalutin, and who, I inferred, did not look kindly
upon the careless habits of her "help."

The road lay through a pleasant, rolling country, with glimpses of Lough
Ree to the left, and on a hill to the right a tall shaft which our
jarvey told us marked the exact centre of Ireland. When one looks at the
map, one sees that it is at least somewhere near the centre. But it has
been explained to other passers-by in many ways: as the remains of a
round tower, as a tower which a rich man built in order to mount to the
top of it every day to count his sheep, as a pole for his tent put up by
Finn MacCool, as a wind-mill in the old days, and as a dozen other
things--anything, in fact, that happened to occur to the man who was
asked the question. One answer, you may be sure, he never made, and that
was that he didn't know!

There _are_ some remains of old windmills in the neighbourhood--we saw
one or two on near-by hillsides, close enough to recognise them; and if
I had known at the time what a divergence of opinion there was about
that lonely tower in the distance, I would have driven over to it and
investigated it on my own hook. But our jarvey's answer was so positive
that it left no room for doubt, so we drove on through a village of tiny
thatched houses, with the smoke of the turf giving a pleasant tang to
the air; then up a long hill, to the left at a cross-roads, and at last
our jarvey drew up before a five-barred gate. We looked at him
questioningly, for there was no village in sight.

"'Tis here it was, sir," he said, "sweet Auburn, the loveliest village
of the plain. 'Twas up that path yonder the village preacher's modest
mansion rose, though there is little enough left of it now; and over
yonder, behind that wall with the yellow furze atop it, unprofitably
gay, was where the village master taught his little school, and there is
nothing at all left of that; and a little furder on is the 'Three Jolly
Pigeons,' where news much older than the ale went round."

[Illustration: THE GOLDSMITH RECTORY AT LISSOY]

[Illustration: THE "THREE JOLLY PIGEONS"]

I looked at him wonderingly.

"Where did you pick up all that patter?" I asked.

He snickered.

"Ah, you would not be the first gintleman I have driven out here, sir,"
he explained; "and many of them would be speakin' parts of the poem."

"I suppose ale is still to be obtained at the 'Three Jolly Pigeons'?"

"It is, sir, if so be your honour would be wantin' some. And they have
one of the big stones of the old mill for a doorstep," he added, as an
extra inducement not to pass it by.

We got down from our seats, went through the gate, and up the path which
Goldsmith and his father trod so many times; for, whether or not Lissoy
was really Auburn, there can be no doubt that the elder Goldsmith was
really vicar here, and that he lived in the house, the rectory of
Kilkenny West, of which only a fragment of the front wall remains, and
that Oliver was a boy here. The ash trees which shadowed the path have
disappeared, but there are still plenty of gabbling geese around, and a
file of them went past as I took a picture of the remnant of the
rectory. A shed with a hideous roof of corrugated iron has been built
behind it, and near by is a two-storied house where the present tenant
lives. We found an old woman, for all the world like Goldsmith's
"widowed, solitary thing," carding wool in an outhouse, and she showed
us the old well, deep in the ground, walled around and approached by a
steep flight of steps.

There was nothing more to see, so we went back to the gate, escorted by
three friendly pigs, and clambered up to our seats again, and looked out
over the valley. There is nothing in that valley but gently-rolling
pastures, and nothing lives there now but sheep and cattle. And it sends
a chill up the spine to realise that once a village stood there, and
that it has melted away into the earth. Not a stone is left of its
houses, not a sod of its walls, not a flower of its gardens.

But that village was Lissoy, not Auburn. No such village as Auburn ever
existed in Ireland, where the young folks sported on the village green,
and the swain responsive to the milkmaid sung, and the village master
taught his school during the day, and argued with the preacher in the
evening, and a jolly crowd gathered every night at the inn to drink the
nut-brown ale. There is not a single Irish detail in that picture; it is
all English, just as Goldsmith intended it should be, for it was of
"England's griefs" he was writing, not of Ireland's. In that day, few
people here in Westmeath spoke anything but Irish; the village children
knew nothing of schools, except hedge-row ones, taught by some fugitive
priest; the "honest rustics" had no "decent churches," but only hidden
caves in dark valleys, where Mass was said secretly and at the risk of
life; and, rest assured, when any inhabitant of this valley had money to
spend for drink, he wasted it on no such futile beverage as nut-brown
ale!

I am sure that little of it is sold to-day at the "Three Jolly Pigeons,"
where we presently arrived, a low wayside tavern with thatched roof and
plastered wall, kept by John Nally, who welcomed us most kindly, and
grew enthusiastic when I proposed to take a picture. There was a rickety
donkey-cart standing by the door, and its owner came out to be in the
picture, too--raggeder even than his donkey, disreputable, dirty,
gin-soaked, and with only a jagged tooth or two in his expansive mouth,
but carefree and full of mirth.

Betty, who had been admiring the supreme raggedness of the donkey, asked
its name.

"Top o' the Mornin', miss," answered the man, with a shout of laughter,
and I am sure the name was the inspiration of the moment.

And then, while our jarvey drank his whiskey, I had a talk with Mr.
Nally, who, of course, for reasons of trade perhaps, is firmly of the
belief that Auburn is Lissoy and no other. And he told me of another
poet who was born down on the banks of the Inny, a mile or two away, and
who, in the old days, spent many an evening at the Pigeons--Johnny Casey
he called him, and it turned out to be that same John Keegan Casey, who
wrote "The Rising of the Moon," and "Maire my Girl," and "Gracie og
Machree," and "Donal Kenny,"--Irish subjects all, and most of them local
ones, as well. Donal Kenny, for instance, was a bold blade, a clever
hand with the snare and the net, who turned the heads of all the girls
in the neighbourhood, and broke those of most of the boys, until it was
glad they were when he went off with himself to America. I have looked
up the poem since, and I fear that Casey enveloped the parting scene
with exaggerated sentiment; yet the verses have a swing to them:

          Come, piper, play the "Shaskan Reel,"
            Or else the "Lasses on the Heather,"
          And, Mary, lay aside your wheel
            Until we dance once more together.
          At fair and pattern oft before
            Of reels and jigs we've tripped full many;
          But ne'er again this loved old floor
            Will feel the foot of Donal Kenny.

We tore ourselves away, at last, taking a road which ran along the
border of the lake--a beautiful sheet of bluest water, dotted with
greenest islands, with the rolling plains of Roscommon rising beyond.
And then, from the top of a long hill, we saw below us the spires of
Athlone, and soon we were rattling down into the town.

       *       *       *       *       *

That morning, while looking through our guide-book, we had encountered a
sentence which piqued our curiosity. It was this:

          "Some of the walls of St. Peter's Abbey remain, in
          which can be seen one of those curious figures
          called 'Sheela-na-gig."

I remembered dimly that, back at Cashel, John Minogue had called our
attention to a grotesque figure with twisted legs and distorted visage
carved on a stone, and had called it something that sounded like
Sheela-na-gig; but I wasn't sure, and so we started out blithely to find
this one.

Right at the start, we met with unexpected difficulties, for nobody at
the hotel, not even the ancient jarvey, had ever heard of the
Sheela-na-gig. The barmaid, however, said that St. Peter's Abbey was on
the other side of the river, past the castle, so we went over there, and
found that part of the town much more dilapidated and picturesque than
the more modern portion on the Westmeath side. We wandered around for
quite a while, asking the way of this person and that, and finally we
wound up at St. Peter's church, a new structure and one singularly
uninteresting. It was evident that there was no Sheela-na-gig there; and
at this point Betty surrendered, and went back to the hotel to write
some letters.

But I had started out on the quest of the Sheela-na-gig, and I was
determined to find it. I thought possibly it might be somewhere among
the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey, which stand close to the other side
of the river, so I crossed the river again, and after walking about a
mile along a high wall through a dirty lane, reached a gate, only to
find it locked. There was a man inside, raking a gravelled walk, but he
said nobody was admitted to the ruins, and anyway he was quite positive
that there was no such thing as a Sheela-na-gig among them. He added
that a portion of the ruins had been torn down to make room for an
extension of the Athlone Woolen Mills, and perhaps they had the
Sheela-na-gig there.

I had no faith in this suggestion, but for want of something better to
do, I turned in at the office of the mills, and was warmly welcomed by
the manager, who invited me to inspect the place. It is an exceedingly
rambling and haphazard structure, but it gives employment to hundreds of
people, mostly girls and women, whose pale faces and drooping figures
bore testimony to the wearing nature of the work. The mill gets the wool
in the raw state, straight from the grower, and the processes by which
it is cleaned and carded and spun into thread, and dyed, and woven into
cloth, and inspected, and weighed, and finally rolled up ready for the
market, are many and intricate. The manager told me that the mill turned
out thirty thousand yards of tweed a week, and he hoped to turn out even
more, as soon as a reduction of the tariff permitted him to get into the
American market. Even with a duty of forty-five per cent., he could
compete with American tweeds, and with a lower duty he could undersell
them.

It needed only a glance at the shabby, toil-worn men and women working
in his factory to understand why this was true. I didn't ask him what
wages his women earned, but I _did_ ask as to their hours of labour.
They go to work at 6:30 in the morning and work till six in the evening,
with a three-quarter hour interval for breakfast and the same for lunch.
I saw groups of them, afterwards, strolling about the streets in the
twilight, and sad and poor and spiritless they looked. Yet they are
eager for the work, for at least it keeps them alive, and one can
scarcely blame the manager for sticking to the market price, and so
doing his best to meet a remorseless competition. I confess that such
economic problems as this are too stiff for me.

As I was about to leave, I casually mentioned my search for the
Sheela-na-gig--and he knew where it was! It was over on the other bank,
it seemed, not far from the river-front, and he directed me with great
detail how to get to it; but, alas, in such a town of crooked streets,
definite direction was impossible. However, with hope springing eternal,
I crossed the bridge a third time, turned up-stream close beside the
river, wandered into a board-yard, extricated myself, got into a blind
alley that ended in a high wall and had to retrace my steps; asked man
after man, who only stared vacantly and shook their heads; and finally
found a boy who knew, and who eagerly left his work to conduct me to the
spot.

Imagine with what a feeling of triumph I stood at last before the
Sheela-na-gig!

It is carved over the wide arch of the entrance to what was once an
abbey, but what I think is now a laundry--an impish, leering figure,
clasping its knees up under its chin, and peering down to see who
passes. Underneath the imp are the words "St. Peter's Port," and
underneath the words is a grotesque head. On either side of the arch is
a sculptured plaque, that to the left bearing the words "May Satan never
enter," and that to the right, "Wilo Wisp & Jack the Printer,"--the two,
of course, forming a couplet.

While I was staring at these remarkable inscriptions and trying to
puzzle out some meaning for them, an old woman, who had been watching me
with interest from the door of her house, came out and tried to tell me
the history of the gate. But she spoke so incoherently that I could make
nothing of it beyond the fact that the inscriptions originated in two
men's rivalry for possession of the property; so somebody else will
have to untangle that legend.

A little way up the street there was a shop which, among other things,
had post-cards displayed for sale, and I stopped in, thinking I might
get a picture of the gate and perhaps learn something more of its story.
But when I asked for such a card, the proprietor stared at me in
amazement.

"There is no such gate hereabouts," he said.

"But there is," I protested; "right there at the end of the street. Do
you mean to say you have never seen the Sheela-na-gig, nor read that
line about Wilo Wisp and Jack the Printer?"

He rubbed his head dazedly.

"I have not," he admitted. "Look at that, now," he went on; "here have I
been going past that gate for years, and you come all the way from
America and see more in one minute than I have seen in me whole life!"

Then he asked me if I had been up on top the castle, which was just
opposite his shop, and I replied that I had not.

"Nor have I," he said; "but I am told there is a grand view from up
there."

"Why not go up with me now?" I suggested.

"I might," he agreed; and then he looked at the tall keep of the castle
and shook his head. "'Tis not to-day I can be doing it; you see, I must
stay with the shop."

So I left him there, and essayed the heights of the castle by myself.
Only for a little way, however, was I by myself, for some families
connected with the garrison live there, and they are all prolific; so I
soon found myself surrounded by a horde of ragged children, who begged
for ha'pennies in the queer bated voice which seems to go with begging
in Ireland. I distributed a few, but that was a mistake; for when they
found I not only had some ha'pennies but was actually willing to part
with them, they grew almost ferocious; I said "Oppenheimer!" in vain,
and I was only saved at last by a husky woman who issued forth from one
of the towers and swept down upon them, vi et armis, and drove them
headlong out of sight. She was red-headed and curious, and she stopped
for a bit of talk. (I pass over the part about America.)

"How do you like living in the old castle?" I asked her, finally.

"Sure, 'tis a grand place, sir."

"Do you ever see any ghosts?"

"Ghosts? Niver a one, sir."

"Nor hear any banshees?"

"Banshees is it? Sure, they niver come to this place, sir, 'tis that
healthy, bein' so high."

And it must, indeed, be healthier than the narrow, gloomy, squalid
streets below. I could look down into them from the top of the tower, to
which I presently mounted, and see their swarming life--men and women
idling about, a girl drawing water from the public pump, a boy skinning
some eels at the corner, small children playing in the gutters. On the
other side lay the river, empty save for a few small launches, and
beyond it the roofs of the newer part of the town, and beyond the town
the beautiful Westmeath hills.

Just at my feet was the bridge across the Shannon, connecting east and
west Ireland. It is a modern one, but it stands on the site of the old
one, built while Elizabeth was queen, and the scene of a desperate
conflict when Ginkle stormed the town. Of the castle itself, only the
keep is old. The drum-towers, which frown down upon the river, are of
later date, though one would never suspect it to look at them; but when
one gets to the top of them, one finds embrasures for artillery, and the
approach is up a graded way along which the guns can be taken. The old
drawbridge and portcullis which guarded the entrance to the keep are
still in place, but there is little else of interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ruins of the ancient abbey of Clonmacnoise lie close beside the
Shannon, some ten miles below Athlone, and the road thither winds
through a rolling country down to the broad river, which here flows
lazily between flat banks. One would expect so noble a stretch of water
to be crowded with commerce, but it was quite empty that morning, save
for an occasional rude, flat-bottomed punt, loaded high with turf, which
a man and a boy would be poling slowly upstream toward Athlone.

It was a desolate scene; and Clonmacnoise looked desolate, too, with its
gaunt grey towers, and huddle of little buildings, and cluttered
graveyard. It seemed incredible that this obscure corner of the world
was once a centre of learning toward which scholars turned their faces
from the far ends of Europe, to which Charlemagne sent gifts, and within
whose walls princes and nobles were reared in wisdom and piety. Yet such
it was--the nearest to being a national university among all the abbeys,
for it was not identified with any class or province, but chose its
abbots from all Ireland, and welcomed its students from all the world.

The abbey was founded by St. Kieran in 548. St. Kieran belonged to what
is known as the Second Order of Irish Saints, founders of monasteries
and of great co-operative communities, as distinguished from the First
Order--St. Patrick and his immediate successors--who were bishops and
missionaries and founders of churches, and the Third Order, who were
hermits, dwelling in desert places, often in small stone cells, just as
St. Molua did in his little cell near Killaloe. St. Kieran had already
started an abbey on an island in Lough Ree, but grew dissatisfied with
it, for some reason, and he and eight companions got on board a boat and
floated down the river, rejecting this place and that as not suited to
their purpose, and finally reaching this sloping meadow, where their
leader bade them stop.

"Let us remain here," he said, "for many souls will ascend to heaven
from this spot."

So the abbey was started, and, though Kieran himself died in the
following year, it grew rapidly in importance. Let me try to picture the
place as it was then. The students lived in small huts crowded about the
precincts; the classes were held in the open air; only for purposes of
worship were permanent buildings built. Here, as at Glendalough, there
was not one large church, but seven small ones; and the students seem to
have attended divine service in the groups in which they studied. It was
a self-supporting community, tilling its own lands, spinning its own
wool, weaving its own cloth, and building its own churches; and its
life, while not austere, was of the simplest.

The students, at times, numbered as many as three thousand. The teaching
was free, but from every student a certain amount of service was
required in the interest of the community. The principal study, of
course, was that of religion, but from the very first the heathen
classics and the Irish language, arithmetic, rhetoric, astronomy and
natural science were taught side by side with theology.

The life at Clonmacnoise was typical of that at all the other monastic
schools with which Ireland was then so thickly dotted; and it is the
more interesting because the whole continent of Europe, at that time,
was groping through the very darkest period of the Middle Ages. Culture
there was at its lowest ebb--knowledge of Greek, for instance, had so
nearly vanished that any one who knew Greek was assumed at once to have
come from Ireland, where it was taught in all the schools. Those schools
sent forth swarms of missionaries, "the most fearless spiritual knights
the world has known," to spread the light over Europe; they established
centres at Cambrai, at Rheims, at Soissons, at Laon, at Liége; they
founded the great monastery at Ratisbon; they built others at Wurzburg,
at Nuremberg, at Constanz, at Vienna--and then came the Vikings, and put
an end to Irish learning. For the Vikings were Pagans, and the shrines
of the churches, the treasuries of the monasteries and schools, were the
first objects of onslaught.

For two centuries, the Danes made of Ireland "spoil-land and sword-land
and conquered land, ravaged her chieftaincies and her privileged
churches and her sanctuaries, and rent her shrines and her reliquaries
and her books, and demolished her beautiful ornamented temples--in a
word, though there were an hundred sharp and ready tongues in each head,
and an hundred loud, unceasing voices from each tongue, they could never
enumerate all the Gael suffered, both men and women, laity and clergy,
noble and ignoble, from these wrathful, valiant, purely-pagan people."
The Danes aimed to destroy all learning, which they hated and
distrusted, and they very nearly succeeded.

[Illustration: ON THE ROAD TO CLONMACNOISE]

[Illustration: ST. KIERAN'S CATHAIR, CLONMACNOISE]

I have already told how, under Brian Boru, the Irish drew together, and
finally managed to defeat the Danes at Clontarf; and for a century and a
half after that, ancient Erin seemed rising from her ashes. The books
destroyed by the Danes were re-written, churches and monasteries
rebuilt, schools re-opened--and then came Strongbow at the head of his
Normans, and that dream was ended. There was civilisation in Ireland
after that, but it was a civilisation dominated by England; there was
education, but not for the native Irish; there were great monasteries,
but they were built by French or Norman monks--by Franciscans or
Cistercians or Augustinians; and finally even these were swept away with
the coming of the Established Church.

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall not attempt to describe the ruins of the seven churches of
Clonmacnoise, except to say that, though they are all small, they are
crowded with interesting detail; and there are two round towers,
somewhat squat and rude, as a witness to the danger of Danish raiders;
but the glory of the place is the magnificent sculptured cross, erected
a thousand years ago over the grave of Flann, High King of Erin, and
still standing as a witness to Irish craftsmanship. It is ten feet
high, cut from a single block of stone, and elaborately carved from top
to bottom, and its date is fixed by an Irish inscription which can still
be deciphered: "A prayer for Colman who made this cross on the King
Flann." It was Flann who built the largest of the stone churches, near
which the cross stands, about 909, and at that time Colman was Abbot of
Clonmacnoise. Flann died five years later, and Colman honoured his
memory with this magnificent tribute.

Its maker's name is lost, but there can be no doubt he was a great
artist. On one side he has represented scenes from the founding of
Clonmacnoise, and on the other scenes from the Passion of the Saviour.
The crucifixion, as usual, is depicted at the intersection, while hell
and heaven are shown on the arms themselves, crowded with the damned or
the blessed, as the case may be. There is another cross in the graveyard
scarcely less interesting, though no one knows on whose grave it stands,
and there is the shaft of a third. And all about them are crowded the
lichened tombstones marking the graves of the fortunate ones who won
sepulture in St. Kieran's cathair, and who, on the last day, will be
borne straight to heaven with him.

For this enclosure was once the very holiest in Ireland. It was here
that Kieran was laid, and then his prophecy was remembered that many
souls would ascend to heaven from this spot; and the belief gradually
grew that no one interred "in the graveyard of noble Kieran" would ever
be adjudged to damnation. In consequence, so many people wanted to be
buried there that there wasn't room for all of them, and in the end,
even powerful kings and princes were forced to contend with great gifts
for a place of sepulture. Here Flann was laid; and hither was borne the
body of Rory O'Conor, the last who claimed the kingship of all Ireland,
after his death at Cong. The great abbey at Cong served well enough as
the retreat for his declining years, but it was only at Clonmacnoise, in
the sacred cathair of Kieran, that he would be buried. And, as I closed
the chapter on the Shannon with some verses of one of Ireland's truest
poets, I cannot do better than close this one with his lovely rendering
of the lament which Enock O'Gillan wrote many centuries ago for


THE DEAD AT CLONMACNOISE

    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.

    There they laid to rest the seven kings of Tara,
      There the sons of Cairbré sleep--
    Battle-banners of the Gael that in Kieran's plain of crosses
      Now their final hosting keep.

    And in Clonmacnoise they laid the men of Teffia,
      And right many a lord of Bregh;
    Deep the sod above Clan Creidé and Clan Conaill,
      Kind in hall and fierce in fray.

    Many and many a son of Conn the Hundred-fighter
      In the red earth lies at rest;
    Many a blue eye of Clan Colman the turf covers,
      Many a swan-white breast.



CHAPTER XVIII

GALWAY OF THE TRIBES


IT was in the dusk of early evening that our train started westward from
Athlone, and we soon found ourselves traversing again the dreary bogs
which we had crossed on our way from Athenry. I have seldom seen a more
beautiful sunset than the one that evening, and we watched the changing
sky and the flaming west for long hours; and then, just as darkness
came, the great reaches of Galway Bay opened before us, and we were at
our journey's end--Galway of the Tribes, the beautiful old town which is
the gateway to Connemara.

There is a good hotel connected with the railway, and we had dinner
there, and then went forth to see the town. We were struck at once by
its picturesqueness, its foreign air. The narrow curving streets do not
somehow look like Irish streets, nor do the houses look like Irish
houses; rather might one fancy oneself in some old town of France or
Belgium. We were fascinated by it, and wandered about for a long time,
along dim lanes, into dark courts, looking at the shawled women and
listening to the soft talk of the strolling girls.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nobody knows certainly how Galway got its name. Some say it was because
a woman named Galva was drowned in the river; others maintain that the
name was derived from the Gallæci of Spain, who used to trade here; and
still others think that it came from the Gaels, who eventually occupied
it in the course of their conquest of Ireland. Whatever the origin of
the name, the town was but a poor place, a mere trading village of
little importance, until the English came. Richard de Burgo was granted
the county of Connaught by the English king in 1226, and six years later
he entered Galway, rebuilt and enlarged the castle which had been put up
by the Connaught men, threw a wall around the town, and so established
another of those centres of Norman power, which were soon to overshadow
the whole of Ireland. It was a very English colony, at first, with a
deep-seated contempt for the wild Irish. Over the west gate, which
looked toward Connemara, was the inscription,

          FROM THE FURY OF THE O'FLAHERTIES
          GOOD LORD DELIVER US.

and one of the by-laws of the town was that no citizen should receive
into his house at Christmas or on any other feast day any of the Burkes,
MacWilliamses, or Kelleys, and that "neither O' nor Mac shalle strutte
ne swaggere thro the streetes of Gallway."

The years wore away this animosity, as they have a fashion of doing in
Ireland, and by Cromwell's time, the citizens of the town had become so
Irish that they were contemptuously called "the tribes of Galway" by the
Puritan soldiers. But, as was the case of the Beggars in Holland, a name
given in contempt was adopted as a badge of honour, and the "Tribes of
Galway" became a mark of distinction for men who had suffered and fought
and had never been conquered. There were thirteen of these tribes; and
the Blakes and Lynches and Joyces and Martins who still form the greater
part of the old town's population are their descendants--but how fallen
from their high estate!

For many years, Galway had a practical monopoly of the trade with Spain,
there was always a large Spanish colony here, and it is to this
long-continued intercourse that many persons attribute the foreign air
of the town. I have even seen it asserted that the people are of a
decided Spanish type; but we were unable to discern it, and I am
inclined to think the Spanish influence has been much exaggerated. Its
period of prosperity ended with the coming of the Parliamentary army,
which took the place and plundered it; and the final blow was struck
forty years later, when the army of William of Orange, fresh from its
victories to the east, laid siege to it and captured it in two days. The
old families found themselves ruined, trade utterly ceased, the great
warehouses fell to decay, and the mansions of the aristocracy, no longer
able to maintain them, were given over to use as tenements. There is
to-day about Galway an air of ruin and decay such as I have seen
equalled in few other Irish towns; but there are also some signs of
reawakening, and it may be that, after three centuries, the tide has
turned.

       *       *       *       *       *

We found the streets crowded, next morning, with the most picturesque
people we had seen anywhere in Ireland, for it was Saturday and so
market day, and the country-folk had gathered in from many miles around.
The men were for the most part buttoned up in cutaways of stiff frieze,
nearly as hard and unyielding as iron; and the women, almost without
exception, wore bright red skirts, made of fuzzy homespun flannel, which
they had themselves woven from wool dyed with the rich crimson of
madder. The shaggier the flannel, the more it is esteemed, and some of
the skirts we saw had a nap half an inch deep. They are made very full
and short, somewhat after the fashion of the Dutch; but the resemblance
ended there, for most of these women were barefooted, and strode about
with a disregard of cobbles and sharp paving-stones which proved the
toughness of their soles.

Galway, as well as most other Irish towns, boasts a number of millinery
stores, with windows full of befeathered and beribboned hats; but one
wonders where their customers come from, for hats are a luxury unknown
to most Irish women, who habitually go either bareheaded, or with the
head muffled in a shawl. All the women here in Galway were shawled, and
beautiful shawls they were, of a delicate fawn-colour, and very soft and
thick.

We went at once to the market, and found the country women ranged along
the curb, with great baskets in front of them containing eggs and butter
and other products of the farm. How far they had walked, that morning,
carrying these heavy burdens, I did not like to guess, but we met one
later who had eight miles to go before she would be home again. A few
had carts drawn by little grey donkeys; and the old woman in one of
these was so typical that I wanted to get her picture. She was sitting
there watching the crowd with her elbows on her knees, and a chicken in
her hands, but when she saw me unlimbering my camera, she shook her
head menacingly.

[Illustration: THE MARKET AT GALWAY]

[Illustration: "OULD SAFTIE"]

There was a constable in the crowd, and he offered to clear the
bystanders away, so that I could get a good picture of her. I remarked
that she seemed to object, and he said that he didn't see why that made
any difference, and that it wouldn't do her any harm. But I preferred
diplomacy to force, and finally I asked a quaint-looking old man
standing by if I might take his picture.

"Ye may, and welcome," was the prompt response.

So I stood him up in front of the cart and got my focus.

"Will ye be seein' the ould saftie!" cried the woman. "Look at the ould
saftie standin' there to get his picter took." And she went on to say
other, and presumably much less complimentary things, in Irish; but my
subject only grinned pleasantly and paid no heed. If you will look at
the picture opposite this page, you can almost see the scornful
invectives issuing from her lips. My subject was very proud indeed when
I promised him a print; and I hope it reached him safely.

Eggs are sold by the score in Galway, and the price that day was one
shilling twopence, or about twenty-eight cents--which is not as cheap as
one would expect them to be in a country where wages are so low. But
perhaps it is only labour that is cheap in Ireland!

One row of women were offering for sale a kind of seaweed, whose Celtic
name, as they pronounced it, I could not catch, but which in English
they called dillisk; a red weed which they assured us they had gathered
from the rocks along the beach that very morning, and which many
people were buying and stuffing into their mouths and chewing with the
greatest relish. It did not look especially inviting, but the women
insisted, with much laughter, that we sample it, and we finally did,
somewhat gingerly. The only taste I detected in it was that of the
salt-water in which it had been soaked; but it is supposed to be very
healthy, and to be especially efficacious in straightening out a man who
has had a drop too much. No matter how tangled his legs may be, so the
women assured us, a few mouthfuls of dillisk will set him right again;
and no man with a pocketful of dillisk was ever known to go astray or
spend the night in a ditch. I regret that we were not able to experiment
with this interesting plant; but if it really possesses this remarkable
property, it deserves a wider popularity than it now enjoys.

While I was talking to the women and the constable--who was a Dublin man
and very lonesome among these Irish-speaking people, who regarded him
with scorn and derision--Betty had been exploring the junk-shops of the
neighbourhood, and presently came back with the news that she had
discovered a Dutch masterpiece. Now we are both very fond of Dutch art,
so I hastened to look at the picture; and, indeed, it may have been an
Ostade, for it was a small panel showing two boors drinking, and it
seemed to me excellently painted; but when the keeper of the shop saw
that we were interested, he named a price out of all reason, and I was
not certain enough of my own judgment to back it to that extent. I
intended to go back later on and do a little bargaining; but I didn't;
and the first connoisseur who goes to Galway should take a look at the
picture--it is in a little shop just a few doors from the cathedral--and
he may pick up a bargain.

We went on down the street, and crossed the Corrib River to the
Claddagh--a picturesque huddle of thatched and whitewashed cottages, the
homes of fishermen and their families, Irish of the Irish, who, from
time immemorial have formed a unique community, almost a race apart.
Galway, within its walls on the other side of the river, was very, very
English; here on this strip of land next to the bay, the despised Irish
built their cabins, and formed a colony which made its own laws, which
was always ruled by one of its own members, where no strangers were
permitted to dwell, and whose people always intermarried with each
other. That old semi-feudal condition is, of course, no longer strictly
maintained; but the Claddagh people still keep to themselves, the men
follow the sea for a living just as they have always done, and the women
peddle the catch about the streets of Galway, as has been their custom
ever since the English settled there. They wear a quaint and distinctive
costume, one feature of which is the red petticoat I have already
described, and common to all Connemara women. But in addition to this is
a blue mantle, and a white kerchief bound tightly round the head, and
then over this, if the woman is unusually well-to-do, a fawn-coloured
shawl. The feet are usually bare, and so are the sturdy legs, some
inches of which, very red and rough from exposure to every weather, are
visible below the short skirts.

The houses of the Claddagh have been built wherever fancy dictated, and
in consequence form a most confusing jumble, for one man's back door
usually opens into another man's front yard. How a man gets home from
the tavern on a dark night I don't know, but I suspect that the
consumption of dillisk is large. We stopped to talk to a woman leaning
over a half-door; and her children, who had been playing in the dirt,
gathered around, and there is a picture of her quaint little house
opposite the next page. Then while I foraged for more pictures, Betty
sat down on a stone, and a perfect horde of children soon assembled to
stare at her. They were very shy at first and perfectly well-behaved;
but gradually they grew bolder, and finally, under careful
encouragement, their tongues loosened, until they were chattering away
like magpies.

The people of the Claddagh are said to be a very moral and religious
race, who never go to sea or even away from home on any Sunday or
religious holiday; and these dirty, unkempt, neglected, but chubby and
red-cheeked children were capital illustrations of Kipling's lines:

  By a moon they all can play with--grubby and grimed and unshod--
  Very happy together, and very near to God.

They were certainly happy enough; and, whether they were near to God or
not, they had all evidently been taught their catechism with great care,
for when Betty took from one of them a little picture of the Madonna and
asked who it was, they answered in chorus, without an instant's
hesitation, "The blessed Virgin, miss."

The Claddagh people are dark as a rule, though here and there one sees a
genuine Titian blond, and Spanish blood has been ascribed to them; but
they probably date much farther back than the Spaniards--back, indeed,
to that ancient, original Irish race, "men of the leathern wallet,"
antedating the Milesians or Gaels who now form the bulk of the Irish
people. The older race took refuge in the bleak Connemara hills before
the stronger invaders, to come creeping down again and found their
colony here at the mouth of the Corrib when the invaders had swept on
eastward to the kindlier and more fertile country there. Their whole
life is bound up in this topsy-turvy little settlement, where they live
just as they have lived for centuries, undisturbed by the march of
civilisation.

[Illustration: THE CLADDAGH, GALWAY]

[Illustration: A CLADDAGH HOME]

We tore ourselves away, at last, from this primeval place, and recrossed
the river to the turf market, with its familiar little carts piled high
with the dark fuel.

"The bogs are very wet this year, are they not?" I asked an old man.

"They are, sir, God save ye," he replied, his wrinkled face lighting up
at the chance to talk to a stranger. "There never was such a year for
rain. I'm sixty year, God bless ye, and I've never seen such another."
And then he went on to relate the story of his life, with a "God save
ye" to every clause. A hearty old fellow he was, in spite of his sixty
years; and he had driven his cart of turf down ten miles out of the
mountains, that morning, and would drive ten miles back that night; and
if he was lucky he would get half a crown--sixty cents--for the load of
turf which had taken a hard day's labour to cut, and numerous turnings
during a month to dry.

We went on past some fragments of the old walls, with a most romantic
arched gateway, and through the fish market, over which the red-skirted
women from the Claddagh presided--great strapping creatures, with broad
hips and straight backs and shining, good-humoured faces. Most of them
were selling an ugly, big-mouthed, unappetising-looking fish, whose name
I couldn't catch; but they told us it was a fish for poor people, not
for the likes of us, God bless ye--full of bones and scarcely worth the
trouble of eating, but plentiful and therefore cheap.

The principal street of Galway is called Shop Street--a name so
singularly lacking in imagination that it would prove the English origin
of the town at once, were any proof needed--and about midway of this
stands a beautiful four-storied building, known as Lynch's Castle, once
a fine mansion but now a chandler's shop. The walls are ornamented with
carved medallions, and there is a row of sculptured supports for a
vanished balcony sticking out like gargoyles all around the top; and
over the door there is the stone figure of a monkey holding a child,
commemorating the saving of one of the Lynch children from a fire, by a
favourite monkey, some centuries ago.

The Lynches were great people in old Galway, and another memorial of
them exists just around the corner--a fragment of wall, with a doorway
below and a mullioned window above, and it was from this window, so
legend says, that James Lynch Fitzstephen, sometime mayor of Galway,
hanged his son with his own hands. The principal inscription reads:

          This memorial of the stern and unbending justice
          of the chief magistrate of this city, James Lynch
          Fitzstephen, elected mayor A. D. 1493, who
          condemned and executed his own guilty son, Walter,
          on this spot, has been restored to its ancient
          site A. D. 1854, with the approval of the Town
          Commissioners, by their Chairman, Very Rev. Peter
          Daly, P. P., and Vicar of St. Nicholas.

Below the window is a skull and crossbones, with a much more interesting
inscription:

          1524
          REMEMBER DEATHE VANITI OF VANITI
          AND AL IS BUT VANITI

[Illustration: A GALWAY VISTA]

[Illustration: THE MEMORIAL OF A SPARTAN FATHER]

The story of the very upright Fitzstephen runs in this wise: He was a
merchant, prominent in the Spanish trade, and fortunate in everything
except in his only son, Walter, who was as bad a nut as was to be found
anywhere. But he had shown some fondness for a Galway lady of good
family, and it was hoped she might reform him; when, unhappily, she
looked, or was thought to look, too favourably upon a handsome young
hidalgo, who had come from Spain as the guest of the elder Fitzstephen.
So young Walter waited for him one night at a dark corner, thrust a
knife into his heart, and then gave himself up to his father, as the
town's chief magistrate.

Walter, as is often the way with rake-hellies, was a great favourite in
the town, and everybody interceded for his pardon, but his father
condemned him to death. Whereupon a number of young bloods organised a
rescue party, but just as they were breaking into the house, the
inexorable parent put a noose about his son's neck, and hanged him from
the window mullion above the crowd's head--the same mullion, I suppose,
which you can see in the picture opposite the preceding page.

Just behind the reminder of this fifteenth-century Brutus, stands the
fourteenth-century church of St. Nicholas, a venerable and beautiful
structure, with good windows and splendid doorways, and containing some
interesting tombs--one of them in honour of Mayor Lynch, the hero of the
tragedy I have just related. On the south wall is a large tablet to
"Jane Eyre, relict of Edward Eyre," (I wonder if Charlotte Brontë ever
heard of her), who died in 1760, aged 88. At the bottom of the slab the
fact is commemorated that "The sum of 300L was given by the Widow Jane
Eyre to the Corporation of Galway for the yearly sum of 24L to be
distributed in bread to 36 poor objects, on every Sunday forever." The
sexton told us that the yearly income from this bequest was now
thirty-six pounds, but that the weekly distribution of bread had
occasioned so much disturbance that it had been discontinued, and the
income of the bequest was now divided equally among twelve deserving
families.

As we stood there, the peal of bells in the tower began to ring for
service, but their musical invitation went quite unheeded by the crowd
in the market-place outside, all of whom, of course, were Catholics. One
woman, clad in black, slipped into a pew just before the curate began to
read the lesson. We waited a while to see if any one else would come,
but no one did, and at last we quietly took ourselves off.

There was one other sight in Galway we wanted to see--the most famous of
its kind in Ireland--and that was the salmon making their way up the
Corrib River from the sea to spawn in the lake above; and the place to
see them is from the bridge which leads from the courthouse on the east
bank of the river to the great walled jail on the west bank. Just above
the bridge is the weir which backs up the water from Lough Corrib to
afford power for some dozen mills--though all the mills, so far as I
could see, are decayed and ruined and empty. But below this weir the
salmon gather in such numbers that sometimes they lie side by side
solidly clear across the bed of the stream.

A number of fishermen were flogging the water, and we sat down under the
trees on the eastern bank to watch them for a while before going out on
the bridge. Two or three of them were stationed on a narrow plank
platform built out over the water just in front of us, and the others
were on the farther bank, in the shadow of the grey wall of the jail.
This is supposed to be the very best place in all Ireland to catch
salmon, and, in the season, more anglers than the short stretch of shore
can accommodate are eager to pay the fifteen shillings, which is the fee
for a day's fishing there. They fish quite close together, which is
somewhat awkward, but has its advantages occasionally; as, for instance,
on that day, not very long ago, when one enthusiast, having hooked a
noble fish, dropped dead in the act of playing it. The long account of
this sad event which the Galway paper published, concluded with the
following paragraph:

          Our readers will be glad to learn that the rod
          which Mr. Doyle dropped was immediately taken up
          by our esteemed townsman, Mr. Martin, who found
          the fish still on, and after ten minutes' play,
          succeeded in landing it--a fine clean-run salmon
          of fifteen pounds.

One cannot but admire the quick wit of Mr. Martin, who, seeing at a
glance that his fellow-townsman was past all human aid, realised that
the only thing to do was to save the fish, and saved it!

But no fish were caught while we were there. We had rather expected to
see one hooked every minute, but we watched for half an hour, and there
was not even a rise; so at last we walked out on the bridge to see if
there were really any fish in the stream.

The bridge has a high parapet, worn glassy-smooth by the coat-sleeves of
countless lookers-on, and there are convenient places to rest the feet,
so we leaned over and looked down. The water was quite clear, and we
could see the stones on the bottom plainly--but no fish.

"Look, there's one," said a voice at my elbow, and following the
pointing finger, I saw a great salmon, his greenish back almost exactly
the colour of the water, poised in the stream, swaying slowly from side
to side, exerting himself just enough to hold his place against the
current. Then the finger pointed to another and another, and we saw that
the river was alive with fish--and then I looked around to see whose
finger it was, and found myself gazing into the smiling eyes of a young
priest--not exactly young, either, for his hair was sprinkled with grey;
but his face was fresh and youthful.

"Of course you're from America," he said. "One can see that." And when I
nodded assent, he added, "Well, you Americans brag like hell, but you
have good reason to."

I glanced at him again, thinking perhaps I had mistaken his vocation;
but there was no mistaking his rabat.

"I have been to America," he went on. "I went there as a beggar for a
church here; and after my mission was done, I rested and enjoyed myself;
and I want to say that there is no country like America."

The words were said with an earnestness that warmed my heart; and of
course I agreed with him; and then, when he learned we were from Ohio,
he told us how he had crossed our State on his way to San Francisco, and
that seemed to establish a kind of relationship; and when we were
satisfied with looking at the fish, he insisted on taking us through the
marble works, just across the river, where some great columns of
Connemara marble were being polished. It comes from a quarry high on
Lissoughter, which we were soon to visit--though we didn't know it
then!--and it is very beautiful indeed, usually a deep green, but
sometimes a warm brown, and always gorgeously veined.

And then he asked us if we wouldn't like to see Queen's College, the
Galway branch of the National University of Ireland; and of course we
said we would, and so we started for it, he pushing his wheel before
him; and on the way, we met a handsome old man, who stopped when he saw
us, and smilingly asked for an introduction. It proved to be Bishop
O'Dee, and even in the short chat we had with him, it was easy to see
that he deserved his reputation for culture and scholarship. He has two
pet aversions, so our guide told us, as we went on together, bribery and
drunkenness. I don't imagine there is much bribery in Connaught, but I
fear the Bishop has a formidable antagonist in John Barleycorn.

We came to the college presently--a fine Gothic building, with a good
quadrangle, and we went through its somewhat heterogeneous museum and
looked in at some of the halls. There are now about a hundred and forty
pupils, so our guide said, and the new seminary, which drew students
from all the west of Ireland, and which was just getting nicely started,
was certain to increase this number greatly.

The National University of Ireland was established in 1908, as I
understand it, for the purpose of affording Catholic youth an
opportunity for higher education. The act provides that "no test
whatever of religious belief shall be imposed on any person as a
condition of his becoming or continuing to be a professor, lecturer,
fellow, scholar or student" of the college; nevertheless it is well
understood that its spirit and atmosphere are Catholic, and such
Protestant youth as desire higher education usually enter Trinity
College, Dublin, or Queen's College, Belfast. There are three colleges
in the National University of Ireland--University College, Dublin, which
is the parent institution, Queen's College, Cork, and Queen's College,
Galway. All of them are maintained by state grants.

I am not quite clear as to the maintenance of the new seminary, to which
our guide next conducted us; but it is a mammoth building, with queer
squat towers, giving it an aspect quite oriental. Our guide said that
the architecture was Irish-Romanesque, but it reminded me of nothing so
much as of the pictures I had seen of the temples of ancient Syria and
Egypt. The seminary is really an intermediate school, and is planned on
a very extensive scale. Its promoters are hoping great things for it,
which I trust will come to pass. We mounted to the top of the main
tower, and looked out over the bay and the hills, and talked of America
and of Ireland, and of many other things, and then our guide asked us if
we wouldn't come and have tea with him.

"Ah, I hope you will come," he urged, seeing that we hesitated. "When I
was in America, the welcome I got was so warm and open-hearted, that I
feel I am forever indebted to all Americans, and it is a great pleasure
to me when I am able to repay a little of that kindness. It's few
opportunities I have, and I hope you won't refuse me this one."

So we accepted the invitation, telling him how kind we thought it, and
started back through the streets, with the women and children
courtesying to our guide as we passed, and he never failing to give them
a pleasant word.

"'Tis not to my own quarters I'll be taking you," he explained, "but to
those of a brother priest, who will be proud to have them put to this
use," and he stopped in front of a row of little houses, called St.
Joseph's Terrace, and opened the door of one of them, and ushered us in,
and called the old servant, and bade her get us tea.

It was served in a bare little dining-room--with bread and butter and
jam and cake--and very good it tasted, though the tea was far too strong
for us, and we had to ask for some hot water with which to weaken it.
Our host laughed at us; he drank his straight, without milk or sugar,
and he told us about the first time he ordered tea in New York. When he
started to pour it, he thought the cook had forgot to put any tea in the
pot, so he called the waiter and sent it back; and the waiter, who was
Irish and understood, laughed and took the pot back and put some more
tea in.

"It was still far too weak," went on our host; "but I was ashamed to say
anything more, so I drank it, though I might as well have been drinking
hot water. Indeed, I got no good tea in America. And I nearly burnt my
mouth off me once, trying to eat ice-cream. I took a great spoonful,
without knowing what it would be like, and I thought it would be the
death of me. And I shall never forget the first time they served Indian
corn. It was in great long ears, such as I had never seen before; and I
had no idea how to eat it, so I said it didn't agree with me; and then I
was astonished to see the other people at the table--educated, cultured
people they were, too--pick it up in their fingers and gnaw it off just
as an animal would! Ah, that was a strange sight!"

I do not know when I have spent a pleasanter half-hour; but he had to
bid us good-bye, at last, for he was due at some service; and he wrung
our hands and wished us Godspeed, and sprang on his bicycle and pedalled
off down the road, turning at the corner to wave his hat to us. And I am
sure his heart was light at thought of the good deed he had done that
day!

       *       *       *       *       *

Galway possesses a tram-line, which starts at the head of Shop Street
and runs out to a suburb called Salthill; and as this happens to pass
St. Joseph's Terrace, we walked slowly on until a tram should come
along. And in a moment a woman stopped us--a woman so ragged and forlorn
and with such a tale of woe that, in spite of my dislike for beggars and
suspicion of them, I gave her sixpence; and she fairly broke down and
wept at sight of that bit of silver, and we walked on followed by her
blessings and thinking sadly of the want and misery of Ireland's people.

We had another instance of it, before long, for after we had got on the
tram, an old man stopped it and tried to clamber aboard, but the
conductor put him off, after a short sharp altercation, and he followed
us along the sidewalk, shaking his stick and, I suppose, hurling curses
after us. The conductor explained that the old fellow had no money to
pay for a ticket, but had proposed to pay for it after he had collected
some money which was due him in Galway. This he no doubt considered an
entirely reasonable proposition, and he was justly incensed when the
conductor refused to extend the small necessary credit.

"Them ones gave us trouble enough at first," the conductor added. "They
thought because the trams were owned by the town that they should all
ride free, and that only strangers should be made to pay. Even yet, they
think it downright savage of us to put them off just because they
haven't the price of a ticket. It costs us no more, they say, to take
them than to leave them, and so, out of kindness and charity, we ought
to take them. Och, but they're a thick-headed people!" he concluded, and
retired to the rear platform to ruminate upon the trials of his
position.

We got down at the head of Shop Street, and Betty went on to the hotel
to rest, while I spent a pleasant half-hour wandering about the streets
and through the calf-market. There were numbers of little red calves,
cooped up in tiny pens, and groups of countrymen standing about looking
at them, their hands under their coat-tails and their faces quite
destitute of expression. At long intervals there would be a little
bargaining; which, if the would-be purchaser was in earnest, grew
sharper and sharper, sometimes ending in mutual recriminations, and
sometimes in an agreement, in which case buyer and seller struck hands
on it. Then the calf in question would be caught and his legs tied
together, and a piece of gunny-sack wrapped about him, and he would be
carried away by his new owner. Or perhaps he might be sent somewhere by
parcel-post. Calves tied up in gunny-sacks with their heads sticking out
form a considerable portion of the Irish mail--how often have I seen the
postmen lifting them on and off the cars or lugging them away to the
parcel-room!

Betty rejoined me, after a time, and we got on the tram to ride out to
Salthill. Curiously enough, when we had climbed to the top of it, we
found sitting there the old man whom we had seen put off earlier in the
afternoon. I don't know whether he recognised us; but he at once
proceeded to relate to us the story of that misadventure, with great
warmth and in minutest detail--just as he would relate it, no doubt, to
every listener for a month to come.

"Why, God bless ye, sir, I told the felly he should have his penny," he
explained, with the utmost earnestness. "There was a man in the town
would be owin' me eight shillin's, and he had promised to pay me this
very evenin'--but it was no use; he put me off into the road, bad cess
to him, and it was in my mind to lay my stick across his head. But he
can't put me off now," he added triumphantly, and held up his ticket for
us to see.

And then he told us how he had five miles to walk beyond the end of the
tram-line before he would be home; but he seemed to think nothing of
having had to walk ten or twelve miles to collect his wages. Indeed,
most Irish regard such a walk as not worth thinking of; which is as
well, since many children have to walk four or five miles to school, and
men and women alike will trudge twice that distance in going from one
tiny field to another to do a bit of cultivating. Our new-found friend
seemed quite taken with us, for when the tram came to a stop, he asked
us if we wouldn't have a drink with him; and when we declined, bade us a
warm good-bye, with many kind wishes, and then shambled over to the
public-house for a last drink by himself. Twenty minutes later, we saw
him go past along the road, his face to the west, on the long walk to
his tiny home among the hills.

Salthill is a popular summer resort, and has a picturesque beach. The
view out over Galway Bay is very beautiful, and the wide stretch of
water seems to offer a perfect harbour; but there were no ships riding
at anchor there. Time was when the people of the town fancied their bay
was to become a world-famous port because of its nearness to America,
and a steamship company was formed, and the government was persuaded to
build a great breakwater and half a mile of quays and a floating dock
five acres in extent. But the company's life was a short one, for one
of its boats sank and another burned, and the other companies all
preferred to go on to Liverpool or London or Southampton, and the docks
and quays and harbour of Galway were left deserted, save for the little
hookers of the Claddagh fishermen.



CHAPTER XIX

IAR CONNAUGHT


WE were ready to say good-bye to Galway and to fare westward into far
Connaught, most primitive of Irish provinces; but on Sunday there is
only a single train each way, and the westbound one leaves Galway at six
in the morning. We managed to catch it, somewhat to our surprise,
crossed the Corrib River on a long bridge and viaduct, and were at once
in Iar Connaught--West Connaught, the domain of the wild O'Flaherties,
from whom the dwellers in Galway every Sunday besought the Lord to
deliver them.

The train skirts the shore of Lough Corrib, and one has beautiful
glimpses of the lake and the hills beyond; and then it plunges into a
wild and desolate country, strewn with great glacial boulders, some of
them poised so precariously on hill-side and cliff-edge that it seems
the rattle of every passing train would bring them crashing down.

And then we came out upon wide moors, crossed by innumerable little
streams, and then ahead of us the great Connemara mountains began to
loom against the sky--gigantic masses of grey granite, bare of
vegetation, even of the skin of turf which can find foothold almost
anywhere, but which is powerless against these masses of solid rock. The
Maamturk Mountains are the first to be seen, rugged giants two thousand
feet high, and the road mounts toward them over a pass, and then dips
rapidly to the station at Recess, which was our stopping-point.

It was still so early that there was nobody about, and when we got to
the hotel we found it locked; but the porter hastened to open the door
in answer to our ring, and we found ourselves in one of the nicest
hotels we had encountered anywhere in Ireland. We had already made up
our minds to spend that Sunday climbing Lissoughter, a mountain just
back of the hotel, famous for the view from its top; and so, as soon as
we had disposed of our luggage and eaten a most appetising breakfast, we
inquired how to get to it. And Sheila was summoned to tell us--Sheila
with a complexion like peach-bloom, and the brightest of blue eyes, and
the fluffiest of brown hair, fit to pose as the prototype of Sweet
Peggy, or Kathleen Bawn, or Kitty Neil, or any other of the lovely girls
the Irish poets delighted to sing. Not the least of the attractions of
this hotel at Recess are the girls who work there--as bright and
blooming a lot of Irish lasses as one could wish to see--and Sheila, I
think, was the flower of them all. She told us how to go, and we set off
happily through the soft, bright air of the morning.

Our road, at first, lay along the margin of a placid lake, then turned
off sharply to the right, and the climb began. It was an easy climb,
with beautiful views over bogs and lakes and mountains opening at every
step. There was a wet bog on either side the road, and at a place where
the peat was being cut, we walked out to take a closer look at it. And
as we stood there gazing down into the black excavation, we felt the
ground trembling beneath our feet; and when we looked up, there was a
man striding upward toward us, two hundred feet away, but at every
stride shaking the bog so that we could feel the tremor distinctly. The
bog shook more and more as he approached and passed us; and then the
tremor grew fainter and fainter as he went on his way. Unless I had felt
it, I would never have believed that the footsteps of a single man could
have created so wide a disturbance, and I understood how serious were
the difficulties the railways had to face in getting across the bogs of
central Ireland.

Half a mile farther on, we came to a cluster of little cabins clinging
to the hillside, and we paused to ask the way of a man who was pottering
about them; and, after a moment, we found that we were talking to Mr.
Rafferty, who with his brother, both bachelors, own the only quarry in
the world which produces Connemara marble; and when he offered to show
it to us, you may well believe we assented.

From the very first moment, I had perceived an air about Mr. Rafferty
which puzzled me. He was undoubtedly Irish, and yet his manner of
speaking was not precisely the Irish manner I had grown accustomed to;
his intonation was not precisely the Irish intonation, his choice of
words and acquaintance with slang was surprisingly wide for a man born
and reared in Connemara, and there was a certain alertness about him
which was not Irish at all. And then, when he started to tell us his
story, I understood, for he had been born in New York and spent the
first fifteen or twenty years of his life there. Not until then did I
realise in how many subtle, scarcely recognisable ways does the American
Irishman differ from the Irish Irishman.

His father was a Connemara man who had gone to America in the decade
following the great famine and settled in New York, where the son who
was talking to us was born. The father had come back to Connemara,
again, for some reason, and had settled at Recess, and, by mere
accident, one day discovered the vein of marble high on the side of
Lissoughter. There was no railroad in the valley then, and nobody
supposed the vein would ever be of any value, so he managed to get
control of it, and his sons came back from America to help him work it.
Its development was very slow and difficult, for the only way of getting
the marble to market was to haul it along the mountain roads to Galway,
forty miles distant.

But since the coming of the railroad, all that is changed. Some
primitive machinery has been installed, larger blocks can be handled,
and already more than one office building in New York has its vestibule
embellished with the beautiful green stone. Even the fragments are
carefully saved and worked up into small ornaments and novelties to sell
to tourists--round towers and Celtic crosses and such things.

We were at the entrance to the quarry by this time, and he took us
through and explained its workings to us. It is a surface vein, as you
will see from the photograph opposite page 322, which I took next day,
and no one knows its depth or its extent. Enough has been uncovered to
last for many years, at the present rate of quarrying. Of course if it
was in America, a great company would be formed to exploit it, and
modern machinery installed, and it would be yanked out by the thousands
of tons a day; but since it is in Ireland, I doubt if the rate of
production will ever be largely increased.

We bade Mr. Rafferty good-bye at last, and took up the climb again
toward the summit of the mountain which loomed before us; up and up,
with the view opening more and more. Away at the bottom of the valley
ran the white ribbon of a road, with a cluster of thatched roofs huddled
near it, here and there; and beyond the valley towered the granite sides
of the Twelve Pins of Bunnabeola, the loftiest and most picturesque
mountains in these western highlands.

We came to a cabin, presently, away up there by itself on the mountain
side, and we stopped long enough to leave the specimens of marble which
Mr. Rafferty had given us, for they threatened to become embarrassingly
heavy before the climb was ended. The family who lived there came out to
show us the best way up the hill, and stood watching us as we climbed
on. The path for a time lay along the bottom of a brook; then we came
out upon the bare hillside, with an outcrop of granite here and there
and dripping bog between, and no living thing in sight except agile,
black-faced sheep, who peered down at us curiously from every crag. The
way grew steeper and steeper and the stretches of bog more wet and
treacherous; but always the view was more magnificent, especially to the
west, where the Twelve Pins were, and to the south, where the plain
stretched away, gleaming with innumerable little lakes. I never saw so
many lakes at one time as I saw that day--there must have been two or
three hundred of them between us and the far horizon, each of them
gleaming in the sun like a polished mirror.

After an hour of this steep and slippery work, Betty declared that she
had had enough; but the last grey escarpment of the mountain loomed just
over our heads, and I hated to give up with the goal so near. She said
she would wait for me while I went up alone, so, leaving her cosily
seated in a niche in the cliff, I scrambled on, along the granite wall,
on hands and knees sometimes; and at last I came out upon the very
summit, with one of the most beautiful views in all Ireland at my feet.

Lissoughter stands exactly at the end of a great transverse valley, with
the Maamturk Mountains on one side and the Twelve Pins on the other, and
at the bottom of this valley gleam the waters of Inagh and Derryclare;
and the granite hills stretch away as far as the eye can see, one behind
the other, rugged and bleak, without a sign of vegetation--far more
impressive than the green-clad hills about Killarney. The day was
gloriously clear, and I sat there for a long time, gazing first this way
and then that, and I can shut my eyes now and see again that glorious
landscape. The top of Lissoughter is a ring of granite, with a bog in
the depression in the centre; and on the highest point of this ring some
one had heaped up a little cairn of stones. Feeling something like Peary
at the north pole, I tore a leaf from my note-book, wrote my name and
address upon it, with greetings to the next comer, and placed it under
the topmost stone of this cairn. I did not suppose that it would ever be
discovered, but when I got home, I found a postal awaiting me from an
Irish girl, who had climbed Lissoughter with a party a week later, and
found my note where I had left it.

When we got down again to the cottage where we had left our marble, we
found the man of the house out in front, and stopped for a chat with
him. Yes, it was a fine day; very wet it had been, but a few more such
days as this would do the potatoes a world of good, and one could get
into the bogs again to cut the winter fuel. As we talked, children
gathered from various directions, until there were ten standing about
staring at us, and Betty asked him if they were the neighbours'
children.

"They are not, miss," he answered, grinning. "They're all mine."

"All yours!" echoed Betty, and counted them again.

The man turned to the eldest girl.

"Mary Agnes, go bring the baby," he said; and Mary Agnes disappeared
indoors, and came out presently with number eleven.

How they manage to live I don't know; but they do live, and, so far at
least as the children are concerned, even grow fat. Their bright eyes
and red cheeks spoke of anything but undernourishment, and it must take
a large pot to hold enough to satisfy that family! How the pot is filled
is the mystery.

Their home was typical of Connaught--and of the poorer part of all
Ireland, indeed: a low cabin, built of stones and whitewashed, with two
rooms, a dirt floor, a few pieces of rude furniture, a pile of straw and
rags for a bed, and hardly enough clothes to go around. In fact, below
the age of ten or twelve, it was impossible to tell the boys from the
girls, for they were all dressed alike in a single garment, a sort of
shift made of homespun flannel, and usually, I judge, cut out of the
mother's old red petticoats; and boys and girls alike have their hair
cropped close. All through Connemara we saw this fashion--a single
rudely-made garment of wool, worn by the children of both sexes all the
year round, without undergarment of any kind, without shoes or
stockings. The flannel the garments are made of is practically
indestructible, and I fancy they are taken off only when outgrown and
passed on to the next youngest member of the family. When a boy outgrows
it and is privileged to put on trousers, it is a proud day for him, for
he ceases to be a mere petticoated "malrach" and becomes a "gossure."

Mary Agnes, the oldest member of this particular family, was a girl of
sixteen, who was soon to leave for America to try her fortune; I don't
know by what miracles of self-denial the money for her passage had been
scraped together! She was an ugly girl, with bad teeth and stupid
expression, and I am afraid she will find life no bed of roses, even
here in America. The rest of the children went to school; and the
nearest schoolhouse was five Irish miles away!

We went on at last, down past the other cabins, which are occupied by
the men employed in the quarry. They were all faithful replicas of the
one I have described, and they were all swarming with children. I never
ceased to be astonished at these children, for though they were dirty
and half-naked, they all seemed plump and healthy. Potatoes, I suppose,
is the main article of their diet, for every cabin had its deep-trenched
patch, won by back-breaking toil from the rocks of the hillside. That
leisurely walk down into the green valley is unforgettable, the day was
so bright, the air so fresh and sweet, the view so lovely.

[Illustration: THE CONNEMARA MARBLE QUARRY]

[Illustration: A CONNEMARA HOME]

We spent the remainder of the afternoon playing clock golf, and
exploring the beautiful garden attached to the hotel; and that night we
sat in front of a great open fire-place where a wood fire crackled, and
luxuriated in the pleasant fatigue of a well-spent day. If I had known
as much then as I do now, we would have spent other evenings there, for
Recess is as good a point as any from which to explore Connaught, and
the hotel there is immeasurably superior to any other in that section of
Ireland--clean and bright and comfortable and well-managed, with food
that was a pleasant variant from the unimaginative dishes we had grown
so weary of. It has been built by the railroad company to encourage
tourist traffic, and I don't see how it can pay; but, for the sake of
travellers in that part of Ireland, I hope it will never be closed.

I said something of this, that evening, to the manager and to Sheila;
and added to the latter that if she would tell me the secret of her
complexion, I would make a fortune for both of us.

"'Tis just the air," she laughed. "Send your lady friends out here to
us, and we'll soon have them blooming like roses."

So there is another reason for a stay at Recess.

       *       *       *       *       *

I clambered back up to the quarry, next morning, for I wanted some
pictures of it, and of the quaint cabins along the way. I found Mr.
Rafferty there, and a gang of men busy loading some blocks of marble
upon a cart, preparatory to taking them down the mountain. Just back of
the quarry, two red-skirted women were digging in a potato patch, and
they looked so picturesque and Millet-like that I asked them if I might
take their picture. They held a quick consultation, and then said I
might provided I paid them two shillings first!

But I _did_ want a picture of one of those poor little mountain cabins,
and on my way back, I saw a woman standing at the door of one of them,
and she passed the time of day so amiably that I stopped to talk. The
year had been very hard, she said--as what year is not, in such a
place!--and her husband was even then at Oughterard, trying to find
work. Meanwhile, she was left with the children, to do the best she
could, and what they found to live on I don't know; but she was glad for
me to take a picture of her little place, with herself and the children
and the dog standing in front of it, and I am sure the coin I slipped
into the baby's fist was very welcome. That picture is opposite page
322, and it gives a better idea than any mere description could of these
damp, dark, comfortless mountain homes, with their low walls, and tiny
windows, and leaky, grass-grown thatch, tied on with ropes. Both the
boys in the picture wear the red flannel garment common to all Connemara
children. The girl has just outgrown it.

Farther on, I came upon a woman and her daughter, a girl of about
sixteen, working in a potato patch; and the girl was really pretty,
although at the moment she was engaged in spreading manure with her
hands about the roots of the plants. Her skirt was kilted high,
revealing her graceful and rounded legs, and when she smiled her teeth
were very white. That was the finishing touch, for teeth are bad in
Ireland, and most pretty girls need only smile to disillusion one. So,
after some talk about the weather, and about America, I asked the mother
if I might not take the girl's picture; and the girl was willing enough,
for she hastily let down her skirt, blushing with pleasure; but her
mother shook her head.

"You are not the first one to be askin' that," she said; "but I have
said no to all of them, for I would not have her growing vain."

"She has a right to be vain," I pointed out, "for she is very pretty;
and it wouldn't hurt her to have her picture taken."

"Handsome is as handsome does," said her mother; "and she is not as good
as she looks."

No doubt with a little more blarney I could have won her consent; but in
my heart of hearts I knew she was right, and I didn't try to persuade
her. It was not the first time I realised I was not cut out for a
photographer! She said the girl would be going to America before long,
and I advised her to take care of her teeth, and bade them good-bye and
went on my way. I have regretted since that I didn't try the blarney,
for that picture would certainly have embellished the pages of this
book!

I had thought that the fine weather would bring out the turf cutters in
force, and I had hoped to get a picture of them at work; but the
cuttings were all empty, for some reason, and at last, after a final
long look at the beautiful valley, I made my way back to the hotel, and
an hour later we were faring westward toward Clifden.

The road ran for many miles with the granite masses of the Twelve Pins
towering on the right, springing sheer two thousand feet from the bogs
around them--great cones rising one behind the other, their summits
gleaming so white in the sun that they seemed crowned with snow. We ran
away from them, at last, across a dreary moor, down to the sea, and so
to Clifden.

Clifden is a little modern town with a single wide street overlooking
the bay; but we had time for only a glance at it, for the motor-bus was
waiting which was to take us to Leenane,--which is pronounced to rhyme
with "fan," as though it had no final "e"--and we were soon climbing out
of the town, with a beautiful view of the bay to the left, and on a
cliff close to the shore the great masts of the Marconi station, which
is in touch with the coast of Newfoundland. No contrast could have been
more complete--this latest and greatest of the achievements of science,
set down in a country where nothing has altered for five centuries; a
country to which the description penned by Rory O'Flaherty, more than a
century before our Revolution, applies as closely and completely as it
did when it was written. Another contrast, just as great, is that
between the handsome young Italian who set those masts here and the men
who live in the little cottages along the sea under them. And yet
Marconi himself is half Irish--for his mother was Irish, and he has
married an Irish girl; and I fancy he is glad that one of the greatest
of his stations should be here on the Irish coast.

We mounted steadily along a winding road, and at every turn the scenery
grew more superb--great sweeps of rugged landscape, of bog and rocky
field and granite mountain, rousing the soul like a blare of martial
music. Beyond Letterfrank, the road dips into the lovely Pass of
Kylemore; and again, as back at Glengarriff, it was bordered with
fuchsia hedges, gay with scarlet flowers. And presently we were running
close beside Kylemore Lake, with the white towers of the castle gleaming
above the trees on the other side--a magnificent structure, now owned by
the Duke of Manchester--financed by his Cincinnati father-in-law!

And then we came out upon a wide moor, and the road climbed up and
up--and all at once, we came to the top of the pass, and there, far
below us lay Killary Bay, a narrow arm of the Atlantic running back into
the very heart of the Connemara mountains, which press upon it so
closely that there is barely room for the road between rock and water.
We dropped down toward it, passed a tiny mountain village, came out upon
the shore, and sped along at the very edge of the water, until, far
ahead, we saw the cluster of houses which is Leenane; and in another
moment we had stopped before the rambling building which is McKeown's
Hotel.

McKeown himself is a bearded giant of a man, with bronzed face and the
sunniest of smiles, and his hotel is a sort of paradise for fishermen.
To others it is not so attractive; but in surroundings it could hardly
be surpassed. Right at its door stretches Killary Bay; back of it tower
the steep hills, and across the inlet grey and purple giants spring two
thousand feet into the air, right up from the water's edge.

A few looms have been set up by Mr. McKeown in a building adjoining the
hotel, and tweeds are woven there from yarn spun in the neighbourhood,
forming a small industry which gives employment to a number of persons;
and a few yards farther down the road is a station of the constabulary,
and it looked so bright and inviting that I stopped in for a chat with
the men.

I have already spoken of the Royal Irish Constabulary--the force which
polices the country; slim, soldierly men, governed from Dublin Castle,
and really constituting an army, eleven thousand strong, armed with
carbines, sword bayonets and revolvers, and ready to be concentrated
instantly wherever there is trouble. They are nearly all Irishmen, so it
is not a foreign army, but they are seldom assigned to the districts
where they were born and reared; and the men who command them from
Dublin Castle are English army officers, who are in no way responsible
to the public. All, in fact, that Ireland has to do with the Royal Irish
Constabulary is to foot the bills.

Because of this fact, because in the old days they were called out to
assist at every eviction and at every political or religious arrest,
because their services are still required at every trial and
mass-meeting and fair and market, and finally because their demeanour is
sometimes rather top-lofty, the Irish generally regard them with a
suspicion and dislike which seem to me undeserved. So far as I came into
contact with them, I found them courteous and kindly men, and apparently
as good Irishmen as any one could desire. But there is one cause for
complaint which has a real basis, and that is that, in a country which
is as free of crime as Ireland now is, a police force should be
maintained which averages one to every 394 of the population, and which
costs annually about $7,500,000. In the old days of evictions and
coercion acts and political and religious strife, some such force may
have been necessary; but that need has passed. Crime is to-day much less
frequent and serious in Ireland than in England, yet in Ireland the per
capita cost of the police is $1.64, while in England it is only
fifty-six cents.

But the members of the constabulary are not to blame for this, and one
grows accustomed to seeing them everywhere--at the Dublin crossings, at
the street corners of every little village, walking briskly in pairs
along the loneliest of mountain roads, stationed in the wilds of the
hills or amid the desolation of the bogs, often with no house in sight
except the barrack in which they live.

I certainly got a warm welcome, that day, from the sergeant in charge of
the Leenane barrack, and from the one constable who happened to be on
duty there. They showed me all through the place, clean and bare and
Spartan-like, with their kits along the wall, ready to be caught up at a
moment's notice, for a call to duty may come at any time, and there must
be no delay. It was a real barrack, too, with heavy bars across the
windows, and a door that would resist any mob.

And then they showed me their equipment. To the belt which they all wear
a leather case is suspended for the baton, and a square leather pouch
which contains a pair of handcuffs. At the back is the ammunition pouch,
and on the side opposite the baton hangs the sword-bayonet, which can
also be used as a knife or dagger. The small carbine they carry weighs
only six and a half pounds, but is wonderfully compact and efficient,
with a six-shot magazine, and a graduated sight up to two thousand
yards. No man in this station had ever had occasion to use his rifle,
and they all said earnestly that they hoped they never would.

They have a beat of twelve miles along the mountain roads, and they
cover it twice every day and once every night. I asked them the reason
for so much vigilance, for I could not imagine any serious crime back in
these hills among this simple and kindly people; and they said that
there was really very little crime; but a sheep would be missing now and
then, or a bit of poaching would be done, or perhaps a quarrel would
arise between some farmer and his labourers and a horse would be
lamed--it was such things as those they had to be on the lookout for.
The position of constable is a good one--for Ireland; and I imagine that
most of those who enter the service stay in it till retired, for it
carries an increase of pay every five years, with a pension after
twenty-five years' service, or in case of disability.

We sat and talked for a long time about America and Ireland, and
intelligent fellows I found them, though perhaps with a little of the
soldier's contempt for the shiftless civilian. And then I walked on to
the village which nestles at the head of the bay, a single street of
slated houses. Everybody wanted to talk, and I remember one old granny,
with face incredibly wrinkled, who sat in front of her door knitting a
stocking without once glancing at it, and who told me she was
eighty-five and had nine children in America. And I met the girl who,
with her brother, teaches the village school, and she asked me if I
wouldn't come in, before I left, and see the school, and I promised her
I would.

Then I noticed that one of the little shops had the name "Gaynor" over
the door, and I stopped in to ask the proprietor if he knew that was
also the name of the mayor of New York. He did--indeed, he knew as much
about Mayor Gaynor as I did. There were two other men sitting there, and
they asked me to sit down. One of them was a mail carrier, and he told
me something of his trips back up into the hills, and how almost all the
letters he delivered were from America, each with a bit of money in it.

"When there is bad times in America," he went on, "and when men are out
of work there, it pinches us here just as hard as it pinches them
there--harder, maybe, for if the money don't come, there is nothing for
it but the work-house. A man can't make a living on these poor hill
farms, no matter how hard he tries, and there is no work to be had about
here, save a little car driving and such like in the summer for visitors
like yourself."

"Why do they stay here?" I asked. "Why don't they go away?"

"Where would they go? There's no place for them to go in
Ireland--America is the only place, and every one that can raise the
money does go there, you may be sure. Them that's left behind are too
poor or too old to cross the sea; and then, however bad it is, there is
some that will not leave the little home they was born in, so long as
they can stay there and keep the soul in their body. There be some so
wrongheaded that they won't even move down into the valley farms which
they might be getting from the Congested Districts Board."

       *       *       *       *       *

I have been fighting shy of the Congested Districts Board ever since I
left Cork; but here, in the very heart of the worst of the congested
districts, I may as well explain what the words mean.

No one, travelling from Galway to Clifden and then on to Leenane, as we
had done, would have thought of the district as "congested," for, while
the little huddles of thatched roofs which mark a village are fairly
frequent, they are scarcely noticeable in the great stretches of hill
and bog and rocky meadow among which they nestle. And, indeed,
"congested," in this sense, does not mean crowded with people; it means
exceptionally poor; and there is no district of Ireland poorer than
Connaught, that land of bog and granite, where every inch of ground must
be either elaborately drained or wrested from the rock, and where, even
after years of labour, the fields are still either so wet that a little
extra rain ruins them, or so full of stones that the reaping must be
done with the hook. In Connaught, even the poorest man has a right to be
proud of his home, because, however small and mean it may be, it
represents infinite toil.

But how does it come that any one lives in these hills, where life is
such a constant and heartrending struggle? The answer is that Connaught
is the Irish pale. After Cromwell had subdued Ireland, the Puritan
Parliament announced that it was "Not their intention to extirpate the
whole nation," as many people had been led, not unreasonably, to
believe; and a year later, they proved their humanitarian intentions by
enacting that such Irish as survived should be permitted to live
thereafter between the Atlantic and the Shannon, certain portions of
which were set aside, as the Parliament said in unintentional rhyme,

          "For the habitation
           of the Irish nation."

It was stipulated, however, that they should not settle within four
miles of the sea, within four miles of a town, nor within two miles of
the Shannon; they were given until the first of May, 1654, to get into
their new homes, after which date, any found outside of Connaught were
to be treated as outlaws and killed out of hand. The misery and
sufferings of the little bands of terror-stricken people, wandering in
the depth of winter westward along unknown roads to an unknown,
inhospitable country, will not bear thinking of--or, thinking of it, one
can understand something of Irish hate for Cromwell's memory. As a
matter of fact, the edict sounds worse than it was, as such edicts
usually do, for it was impossible for it to be literally carried out.
All the Irish were not banished to Connaught, for many of them preferred
to face death where they had always lived rather than among the
Connemara hills; and they were not murdered out of hand, but given work,
for the new landlords were glad to employ them at menial labour, since
no other labourers were to be had. But from that time on, it was usually
the Protestant Englishman who lived in the mansion house, and the Irish
Catholic whose home was roofed with thatch and floored with dirt.

Let us be careful not to grow sentimental over the wrongs of Ireland,
nor to magnify them. They are not unique, for they have been paralleled
many times in history. We should be careful, too, not to judge a
seventeenth-century Parliament by twentieth-century ideals. There is
this to be said for it: that its only hope of existence lay in stamping
out rebellion, and the only way, apparently, to stamp out rebellion in
Ireland was to kill the rebels. That the Parliament chose to banish them
rather than kill them is so much to its credit, and I doubt not that,
after the vote had been taken, many of those old Puritans went home with
the feeling that they had done a merciful and Christian deed. Nor should
we forget that the wars of religion were as bitter on one side as on the
other: St. Bartholomew was far more bloody than Drogheda, and the
removal of the Irish to Connaught was matched by the banishment of the
Huguenots from France, thirty years later. It did not seem possible, in
that day, that Protestant and Catholic could ever live side by side in
peace and friendship, and that narrow bigotry alone would strive to keep
alive the memory of those mistaken, centuries-old feuds and
persecutions.

The best portions of Connaught were already fully settled, as the
fugitive Irish found when they got there; furthermore, although the
broad Shannon formed a natural moat which would hold safely the Irish
who had crossed it, it was further strengthened by giving to Cromwell's
soldiers all the broad belt of fertile land along the river, as well as
the rich valleys running back into the hills. All that was left for the
newcomers were the bleak moors and rocky mountain-sides, where no one
else would live; and since these, for the most part, were quite unfit to
be cultivated, there was every reason to believe that the people
condemned to live among them would soon cease from troubling.

But they didn't--at least, all of them didn't. They built rude shelters
of rock for their families, and the cabins one sees to-day throughout
Connemara are the direct descendants of those early ones, with scarcely
an altered feature. They set to work to reclaim the hillsides, and
though, every year, the spade turned up a new crop of stones, the fields
slowly grew capable of producing a little food. Before that time, of
course, many of the people had starved, but those that were left were
all the better off, and it looked, for a while, as though they might
some day be able to open the door without seeing the wolf there.

But the end was not yet. It should be remembered that these mountain
farms did not belong to the people who had created them, and who
laboured constantly to improve them, but were part of the "plantation"
of some court favourite or adventurer, so that rent must be paid for
them; and as the farm improved the rent was raised, although the
improvement resulted from the labour of the man who paid the rent, so
that, in the end, it was not the tenant who was richer, but the
landlord. If the rent was raised to a point where the tenant couldn't
pay it, or if the landlord wanted the land, the tenant was evicted with
absolutely no compensation for the improvements he had made. Then it was
a question either of going to America, or, if there wasn't money enough
for that, as was usually the case, of taking up some other stretch of
rocky hillside, and beginning the weary struggle all over again. The
craze for grazing, which started some forty or fifty years ago, resulted
in the eviction of many thousands from farms their own industry had
made, and to-day, as one drives through Connaught, one sees great
stretches of land given over to sheep which were once part of such
farms, and one can tell it is so by the faint ridges which mark the old
tillage.

So evolution proceeded, but for the Irish peasantry it was devolution,
for every step was a step downward; and millions of them left the land
in despair, and millions of those that remained were unable to make
enough to live on; and the workhouses kept getting bigger and bigger,
and the people poorer and poorer; until finally, a few English
statesmen, with a somewhat broader outlook than the average, saw that
something had to be done, and set about doing it. There is no need for
me to enumerate the steps that were taken--some of them wise, many of
them foolish; but the greatest of all was the enactment of legislation
permitting and assisting tenants to become the owners of the land on
which they lived.

This was in 1891, when the Congested Districts Board was established,
with wide powers, which have since been made wider still; but the kernel
of it all is this: in the west of Ireland, where the need is greatest,
the board has power to condemn and purchase at a fair valuation the
fertile land of the great land-owners, except the demesne, which is the
park about the mansion house, and can then re-sell this land to small
farmers, giving them about sixty years to pay for it, the payments being
figured on the basis of the cost price, plus interest at the rate of
four per cent. Such condemnation and re-selling is necessarily slow, but
it is going steadily forward, and must in the end, change the whole face
of western Ireland. Indeed, there are some who think it has already done
so.

The Congested Districts Board has done much more than buy and re-sell
land; it has aided and developed agriculture, improved the breeding of
stock, encouraged the establishment of industries, developed the
fisheries along the western coast, established technical schools--in
short, it has assumed a sort of paternal oversight of the districts
committed to its care.

All of the "congested districts" aren't in the west of Ireland--there
are districts in the east and south where the holdings are
"uneconomic"--that is, where the income possible to be derived from them
is not enough to support a family--sometimes not enough even to pay the
rent. But conditions are worst in Connaught, and remain worst, in spite
of the work of the board. It is here that life has sunk to its lowest
terms, where the usual home is a hovel unfit for habitation, sheltering
not only the family, but the chickens and the pigs and the donkey; it is
here that manure is piled habitually just outside the door, and where
fearful epidemics sweep the countryside. At the time we were at Leenane,
there was an outbreak of typhus a few miles back in the mountains. It
had been announced with hysterical scare-heads by the Dublin papers, but
the people of the neighbourhood thought little of it--they had seen
typhus so often!

Which brings me back to Gaynor's general store, and the mail-carrier who
was telling me about the letters from America.

"Yes," Gaynor put in, "and about the only letters that go out from here
are for America--and well I know what is inside them! There was a time
when I sold stamps to the poor people, or gave credit to them when they
couldn't pay, and the only stamps I ever thought of buying was the
tuppence-ha'penny ones, which we used to have to put on American
letters. And many is the letter I have written for poor starving people
praying for a little help from the son or daughter who had gone to the
States, and who was maybe forgetting how hard life is back here in
Connaught."

"Not many of them do be forgetting," said the mail-carrier, puffing his
pipe slowly; "I will say that for them. There be many away from here
now," he went on, "just for the summer--gone to England or Scotland to
help with the harvest. It is a hard life, but they make eighteen
shillings a week there, and the money they bring back with them will
help many a family through the winter. There be thousands and thousands
here in Connaught who could not live but for the money they make every
year in this way."

He stopped to watch Gaynor weigh out a shilling's worth of
flour--American flour!--for a girl who had come in with a dingy basket,
into which the flour was dumped; and then he went on to tell me
something about his trips up over the hills--for no house in Ireland is
too poor or too remote for the mail-carrier to reach. Talk about rural
delivery! With us, a man must have his mail-box down by the highroad,
where the carrier can reach it easily; in Ireland, the carrier climbs
to every man's very door, and puts the letter into his hand--and I can
imagine the joy that it brings. Irish mail-carriers play Santa Claus all
the year round!

I tore myself away, at last, from this absorbing conversation, and
started back to the hotel. The sun had not yet set; but suddenly the
thought came to me that it must be very late, and I snatched out my
watch and looked at it. It was half-past eight--an hour after the
hotel's dinner time! However, in a fishing hotel, they are accustomed to
the vagaries of their guests; and I found that dinner had been kept hot
for me.

       *       *       *       *       *

An hour later, as we sat on the balcony in front of our room, gazing out
across the moonlit water, we heard the tread of quick feet along the
road, and, looking down, saw pass two constables, starting out upon
their night patrol. And whenever I think of Leenane, I see those two
slim, erect figures marching vigorously away into the darkness along the
lonely road.



CHAPTER XX

JOYCE'S COUNTRY


TWENTY-FIVE miles away to the eastward from Leenane, across a wild
stretch of hill and bog known as Joyce's Country, are the ruins of the
old abbey of Cong, and thither we set out, next morning, behind a little
black mare who would need all her staying powers for the trip that day,
and on a car driven, as was fitting, by a man named Joyce--as perhaps
half the men are who live in this neighbourhood. "Jyce" is the local
pronunciation; and the Joyces are one of the handsomest and fiercest
breeds of mountaineers to be met with anywhere--fit companions for those
of Kentucky and Tennessee.

The original Joyces were Welshmen, so it is said, who came to Ireland
about 1300, and, with the permission of the all-powerful O'Flaherties,
settled in this country between Lough Mask and the sea. Why they should
have chosen so inhospitable a region I don't know--perhaps because no
one else wanted it. Certainly the O'Flaherties didn't; for they
preferred to live along the sea, where fish was plentiful. But the
Joyces were an agricultural people; they turned as much of the hillside
as they could into arable land, cultivated with the spade to this day
and reaped with the hook. On the rest of it, they grazed their flocks,
and they still graze them there.

It was a beautiful, warm day, with fleecy clouds in the sky and a blue
haze about the hills, and everybody was out enjoying the sunshine as we
drove through the village and turned up along the shoulder of the
Devil's Mother Mountain. The fine weather had brought the men and women
out to work in the potato fields--such of the men, that is, as hadn't
yet left for England or Scotland to spend the summer in the fields
there. Usually there were five or six women to one man, each of them
armed with a spade or a fork, and it was pitiful to see the poor little
patches in which they were working. Almost always they were on a steep
hillside--there isn't much else but hillside hereabouts which can be
cultivated, for even where there happens to be a little level land in
the valley, it is almost always wet bog in which nothing can be grown.
The patches were very, very small, and each of them was surrounded by a
high wall built of the stones which had been dug from the ground; and at
the bottom of every slope was a pile of surplus stones which had been
rolled there out of the way.

The potatoes were planted in drills about two feet wide, and then
between the drills a deep trench was dug to carry off the water, for
even on the hillsides the ground is very wet; and these trenches must be
kept clear of weeds so that the water will run off freely, and of course
the drills must be kept clear of weeds too; and the ground is so poor
that manure must be freely used, and the only way to get it where it is
needed is to place it there by hand. And almost every time the spade is
driven into the ground, it brings up more stones which must be carried
away, until it sometimes becomes quite a problem what to do with them.

As many as possible are built into the fences; and the dominant feature
of every Connemara landscape is the zig-zag tapestry of stone walls
which covers it. They run in every direction--up the sides of hills so
steep that it seems a miracle they don't slide off, around fields so
small that the ground can't be seen above the fence, along the tops of
high ridges where they form grotesque patterns against the sky which
shines through every chink, in places where there seems to be no need
whatever for a wall and yet to which the stones have been carried with
prodigious labour.

But do not suppose that, even with all this toil, the fields are cleared
of stones. Everywhere there are outcroppings of solid rock which the
tiller of the field has been unable to dislodge, and around which he
must sow and reap. In consequence, there are practically no fields in
which it would be possible to drive a plow, and few indeed in which it
is possible to swing a scythe. The fields themselves are so small that
one wonders anybody should trouble to cultivate them at all. I have seen
scores and scores not more than fifty feet square, each surrounded with
its high wall; I have seen many less than that, with just space enough
for a two-roomed hovel, where the family must take the stock into the
house with them, because there is no place for an out-building, and
where the manure must be heaped against the wall, because to throw it a
foot away would be to put it on land belonging to some one else. The
land which the family itself cultivated might lie in twenty different
places, miles away.

This complication, which is unparalleled elsewhere in the world, arose
in this way: Half a century ago a man would lease some acres of ground
and by terrific labour convert it into tillable land. As his sons grew
up and his daughters married, he would sub-let to each of his sons and
sons-in-law small portions of his holding, and their other relatives
would do the same, so that, while each of them might be the tenant of
four or five acres, they would be scattered in a dozen different places.
A second generation further complicated things. An acre field would be
split up between ten different tenants, each with his stone wall around
his portion; and one of the biggest jobs the Congested Districts Board
has had to tackle is that of so redistributing the land that each tenant
shall have a compact portion.

Imagine the small farmers of any neighbourhood called together for the
purpose of redistribution, each of them suspicious and jealous of all
the others, each of them believing that his scattered bits of land are
quite exceptionally valuable, each of them remembering the bitter labour
by which he reclaimed each rood; and then imagine the patience and tact
which are needed to convince them that they are not being cheated, and
to persuade them to agree to the proposed re-allotment. Talk about the
labours of Hercules! Why they were child's play compared with this!

       *       *       *       *       *

We drove on, that morning, down a wide valley, past these tiny walled
fields and thatched houses, now and then passing one of the neat little
slated cottages which the County Council builds where it can, but which
are distressingly few and far between; and then we came out into the
grazing country, with stone walls running right up the thousand-foot
hillsides to the very top, and the white sheep dotted over the green
turf; and then we turned off along a side-road, which speedily mounted
through a narrow pass, across a wide bog, and so to the head of a deep
gorge where, far below us, stretched the blue waters of Lough Nafooey,
lying in a deep cup of granite mountains.

I have never seen a steeper road than that which zig-zags down into this
valley, and I was very glad indeed to get off and walk, not only because
of the steepness, but also because on foot I could stop whenever I chose
and look at the beautiful scene below--the long, narrow lake, crowded in
on the south by steep, bare mountains, and with a white ribbon of road
running along its northern edge, past a cluster of houses built close
beside it, and with the furrowed fields behind them mounting steeply
upwards. The whole village was out at work in the fields, and the red
petticoats of the women gave the scene just that added touch of colour
it needed.

The mountains on the southern shore grew less rugged presently, and as
soon as the ground grew level enough for tillage, it presented such a
complicated pattern of stone walls as must be unique, even here in this
bewalled district. For more than a mile we drove along opposite them;
and then we reached the end of the lake, and struck off along another
valley toward Lough Mask. We were soon on another desolate moor, dotted
with the black stumps of bog oak; and then the road sank into a pass, as
the hills closed in on either side, and skirted a dancing brook, and
then before us opened the lower part of Lough Mask.

[Illustration: IN "JOYCE'S COUNTRY"]

[Illustration: ON THE SHORE OF LOUGH MASK]

I have said that these Irish mountaineers are fierce, and I must explain
now what I meant by that, for a kindlier people, one more eager to bid
you welcome or help you on your way, you will find nowhere. The same is
true of the Kentucky mountaineers; and yet they do not hesitate to put a
bullet through any man they regard as an enemy. So with the Joyces and
the O'Malleys. It was here among these hills that the "Invincibles" and
the "Moonlighters" ranged in the days of the Land League; their notions
of right and wrong were, and still are, the old primitive ones. They
believe in the Mosaic law of an eye for an eye; murder after murder has
been done here, and no one disapproved; and yet a man with a purse
filled with gold, or a woman with no protection save her chastity, might
walk these roads unharmed and unafraid on the darkest night.

Just before one reaches the bridge over the narrow stream through which
the upper lake flows into the lower, the road passes close to a cluster
of houses, and it was in one of them that two bailiffs of Lord Ardilaun
were beaten to death, and their bodies placed in sacks weighted with
stones; and then they were carried down to the lake, and every one along
the road was made to lend a hand to carrying them. That was but one
tragedy of many such--outbreaks of the feud which started six centuries
ago, and which only within the past decade has shown any sign of being
outlived and forgotten.

I do not know when I have been more impressed and astonished than when I
stood on the bridge over the river below Lough Mask, and gazed out upon
that noble sheet of water, stretching away to the north like an
inland sea. It was dotted with beautiful islands, but no farther shore
was visible, not even when we mounted a bold crag overhanging the water
in order to get a wider view. We went on again, with the lake at our
left, and then the road turned away between high stone walls--only these
walls were solidly built of dressed stones laid in mortar, and were
surmounted with broken glass set in cement. There was a gate here and
there, through which we could catch glimpses of wild and unkempt woods,
a-riot with a luxuriant vegetation bearing witness to the richness of
the soil.

The wall must have been ten feet high, and after we had gone on for half
an hour with no sign of it coming to an end, we asked the driver what it
was, and he told us that it was the wall surrounding part of the estate
of Lord Ardilaun, which stretches clear on to Cong, a distance of six or
eight miles--the very choicest land of the whole district. Some of it is
let to tenants, so our driver said, at rents which are almost
prohibitive; but the most part is walled in, with many notices against
trespassing posted about it--a preserve for woodcock.

We dropped through the little town of Rosshill, once the seat of the
Earl of Leitrim (but now owned by Lord Ardilaun), and then into Clonbur
(also owned by Lord Ardilaun), where the wall stopped for a while to
make room for the houses, but began again as soon as the village ended;
and then we passed a curious collection of cairns on a plateau at the
side of the road, some of them surmounted by weather-blackened wooden
crosses; and then on a hill to the right we saw another great cairn;
and then we suddenly realised that we were on the battlefield of
Moytura, which raged for five days over this peninsula between Lough
Corrib and Lough Mask, so long ago that nobody knows exactly when it
was, though it has been roughly dated at two thousand years before
Christ.

The contestants in that battle were the Firbolgs, the men of the
leathern wallets, who had come from the south to Ireland five days
before the flood, and the De Dananns, a tall, fair, blue-eyed race of
magicians from the north, who had "settled on the Connemara mountains in
the likeness of a blue mist." The De Dananns were the victors, and the
cairns we saw that day were the monuments they raised over the burial
places of their dead warriors.

There was another famous battle on this same peninsula, not so many
years ago, for over there on the shore of Lough Mask lived Captain
Boycott, whose name has passed into the language as that of the silent
and effective weapon which the peasantry forged against him, in Land
League days.

Half a mile farther, and a sharp turn of the road brought us into the
village of Cong, a single street of drab houses, whose principal
attraction is the ruins of the abbey where the Cross of Cong was
fashioned; but the long drive had made us hungry, and so first of all we
stopped at a clean little inn and had tea, and it was set forth in a
service of old silver lustre which Betty marvelled over so warmly that
she almost forgot to eat. And then we started for the abbey, which, of
course, like everything else hereabouts, belongs to Lord Ardilaun.

From the road, all that one can see of it is a portion of the wall of
the church, so overgrown with ivy that even the windows are covered; but
we managed to rout out a boy, who took us around to the cloister side,
which is very beautiful indeed, with its lovely broken arcades, its
rounded arches, its clustered pillars, and round-headed windows--some
glimpse of which will be found in the photograph opposite page 346.
There is not much of interest left in the church, but in one corner is a
small, dark, stone-roofed charnel house, still heaped high with the
whitened skulls of the monks who were entombed there.

The abbey stands close to the bank of that wonderful white river which,
coming underground from Lough Mask, bursts from the earth in a deep
chasm a mile above Cong, and sweeps, deep and rapid, down into Lough
Corrib. And the monks at Cong were more ingenious than most, for there,
on a little island in the middle of the river, stand the ruins of their
fishing-house, constructed over a narrow channel into which the nets
were dropped, and they were so arranged that when a fish was captured,
its struggles rang a bell back at the abbey, and some one would hasten
to secure it. We made our way through an orchard of beautiful old apple
trees bearded with lichen, waist-deep in grass, to the very edge of the
stream, that I might get the picture of this labour-saving edifice,
which you will find opposite the preceding page.

Then the boy asked us if we would care to see Ashford House, the seat of
Lord Ardilaun; and for the benefit of those of my readers who are
wondering from what ancient family Lord Ardilaun is descended, I may as
well state here that he is none other than Guinness, of Guinness's
Stout, and takes his title of Baron Ardilaun from a little island out in
Lough Corrib. We said, of course, that we should like to see Ashford
House, and we walked for half a mile through the beautiful woods of the
demesne, up to the great mansion of limestone and granite, set at the
edge of a terrace sloping down to the lake. The entrance to it is under
a square tower with drawbridge and portcullised gateway, and the house
itself is a mammoth affair, with turrets and battlements and towers and
machicolations and other mediævalities, quite useless and meaningless on
a modern residence, and there are acres and acres of elaborately-planted
grounds, with sunken gardens and fountains and long shady avenues
stretching away into dim distance.

[Illustration: THE CLOISTER AT CONG ABBEY]

[Illustration: THE MONKS' FISHING-HOUSE, CONG ABBEY]

But nobody lives here except a few caretakers, for Lord Ardilaun, an old
man of seventy-three, prefers the south of France, so that Ashford House
is deserted from year's end to year's end, except for a few days now and
then when a shooting-party of more than usual importance comes to kill
the woodcock. For the ordinary party, another mansion, farther down the
lake on Doon Hill, suffices; but when the king comes, as he did in 1905,
of course the great house has to be opened.

One reads in Murray, which is a very British guide-book, how, on that
occasion, the king and his party killed ninety brace of woodcock in a
single day; and how, five years later, 587 brace were bagged in five
days; but it will be quite impossible for you to understand, unless you
are also British, the peculiar veneration with which such coverts as
these are regarded by British sportsmen, and the peculiar cast of
mind which deems it right and proper that thousands of fertile acres
should be maintained as game preserves in a land where most of the
people are forced to wring their livelihood from the rocky hillsides.

It is only for such great parties that Lord Ardilaun returns to do the
honours; and he hastens away again, as soon as the parties are over. He
knows nothing of his tenants; he leaves the collection of his rents to a
factor, and the preservation of his coverts to a force of gamekeepers,
and any one caught inside the wall may expect to be prosecuted to the
limit of the law.

Now I have no quarrel with Lord Ardilaun. The stout he sells is honest
stout, and he got possession of this estate by honest purchase, which is
more than can be said for most great estates in Ireland. But he presents
an example of that absentee landlordism which has been the chief and
peculiar curse of this unfortunate country. With landlords who lived on
their estates and looked after their properties and got acquainted with
their tenants and took some human interest in their welfare, the tenants
themselves seldom had any quarrel. It was the landlords who lived in
England or on the continent, who entrusted the collection of rents to
agents, and whose only interest in their Irish estates was to get the
largest possible returns from them--it was these men who kept the
country in an uproar of eviction and persecution.

Indeed, I believe that if all Irish landlords were resident landlords,
the Irish labourer would be better off without the land purchase act;
for there are no more grasping and exacting masters in the world than
the small farmers to whom the great estates are passing. The old owners
might be despotic, but they were not mean; and where they lived among
their people and came to know them, their despotism was usually a
benevolent despotism, tempered with mercy. The rule of the small farmer
will be a despotism, too, but there will be no mercy about it. Joyce,
our driver, voiced all this in a sentence, as we were driving back.

"Land purchase, is it?" he said, puffing his short pipe, and staring out
across the hills. "Yes, I have heard much of it; but I'm thinking it
will be a cruel time for the poor."

       *       *       *       *       *

The neighbourhood of Cong is remarkable for its natural curiosities, for
the ground to the north toward Lough Mask is honeycombed with caves,
made by the water working its way through to Lough Corrib. Geologists
explain it learnedly, and doubtless to their own satisfaction, by saying
that the peninsula is composed of carboniferous limestone which has been
perforated and undermined by the solvent action of the free carbonic
acid in the river water; but I prefer to believe, with the residents of
the neighbourhood, that it was the work of the Little People.

The lofty tunnel through which the sunken river flows is accessible in
several places, and one of these, called the Pigeon Hole, is not far
from the village and is worth visiting. It is in the centre of a field,
and is a perpendicular hole some sixty feet deep, clothed with ferns and
moss and very damp indeed, and the steps by which one goes down are very
slippery, so that some caution is necessary; but there at the bottom is
a vaulted cavern through which the river sweeps. The girl who has come
along, carrying a wisp of straw, lights it and walks away into the
depths of the cavern, but the effect is not especially dazzling and the
smoke from the straw is most offensive. They order these things better
in France--at the Grotto of Han, for instance!

Another curiosity of the peninsula is not a natural but an artificial
one--a canal dug during famine times with government money to connect
Lough Corrib with Lough Mask. This was expected to be a great blessing
to the west of Ireland, extending navigation from Galway clear up across
Lough Mask and Lough Conn to Ballina; but, alas, when it was finished,
it was found that the canal wouldn't hold water, for the rock through
which it was cut was so porous that the water ran through it like a
sieve, and left the canal as dry as a bone. So there it remains to this
day, and one may walk from end to end of it dryshod and ponder on the
marvels of English rule in Ireland!

One thing more at Cong is worth inspecting, and that is the old cross
which stands at the intersection of the street with the road to the
abbey. It was erected centuries ago to the memory of two abbots, Nicol
and Gilbert O'Duffy, whose names may yet be read on its base; and it is
a cross that can work miracles. Here is one of them:

There was a boy here at Cong, once, who was stupid and could learn
nothing, but spent all his time wandering along the river or climbing
the hills or lying in the fields staring up at the sky. Everybody said
he would come to a bad end; but one day he sat down on the base of this
cross, and fell asleep with his head against it; and that night, when he
went home, he took up the newspaper which his father was reading and
read aloud every word that was on it; and they took him to the priest,
thinking a spell was on him, and there was not a book the priest had, in
Latin or Irish or any language whatever, but the boy he could read it at
a glance; and they sent him down to Cork to the college there, but there
was nothing his masters could teach him that he did not know already;
and the fame of him became so great that when Queen Victoria was looking
about her for a man to put at the head of the new college at Galway, she
hit upon him, and so he was given charge of Queen's College, and his
name was O'Brien Crowe, and he made that college a great college, and he
taught things there that no other man in Ireland had ever so much as
dreamed of!

I am sorry I had not heard this tale when I was at Galway; I should have
liked to ask Bishop O'Dee how much of it is true.

       *       *       *       *       *

We returned to Leenane by a different road, which lay for some miles
close beside the shore of Lough Corrib, white-capped now under a stiff
wind which had arisen, and studded with lovely green islands. It is
undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of the Irish lakes, but even here
the shadow of Land League days still lingers, for close by the shore is
Ebor Hall, which was the residence of Lord Mountmorris, who was beaten
to death near by; and as we drove on, our jarvey pointed out the scenes
of similar if less famous tragedies, whose details I have forgotten. But
all that was thirty years ago; the problem which the Land League tried
to solve has been solved in another fashion; the peasantry of Ireland
have won the fight for fair rent, fixed hold, and free sale, and can
afford to forget the past.

Just beyond the Doon peninsula, the road opens up the long expanse of
the narrow arm of the lake which runs back many miles into the
mountains, and on an island a little distance from the shore, towers the
keep of a ruined castle--Caisleán-na-Circe, or Hen Castle in the prosaic
vernacular. Islands, as you will have remarked before this, were a
favourite place in Ireland for castles and monasteries, and the deeper
the water about them the better, for it was a welcome defence in the
days when midnight raids were the favourite pastime of every chief, and
no sport was so popular with the English as that of hunting the Irish
"wolves."

There are many legends to explain the name of this castle in Lough
Corrib. One is that the castle was built in a single night by an old
witch and her hen, and she gave it and the hen to The O'Flaherty,
telling him that, if the castle was ever besieged, he need not worry
about provisions, since the hen would lay eggs enough to keep the
garrison from want. It was not long before a force of O'Malleys ferried
over from the mainland and camped down about the walls, and O'Flaherty,
forgetting the witch's words, killed the hen and was soon starved out.
Another legend is that the castle was held during a long siege by the
formidable Gráinne, wife of Donell O'Flaherty, and that her husband was
so proud of her that he named the place Hen Castle in her honour. Still
another is that the Joyces were holding it against the O'Flaherties,
but were about to surrender, when the famous Grace O'Malley marched a
party of her clansmen over the mountains from the sea and drove the
O'Flaherties off, and so it was named after her. These are examples of
what the Irish imagination can do when it turns itself loose; for the
fact is that the castle, at least as it stands now, was built by Richard
de Burgo, that first old doughty Norman ruler of Connaught, to hold the
pass from the isthmus of Cong into the wilds of Connemara. The keep is
plainly Anglo-Norman, flanked by great square towers of cut limestone.

A few miles farther on is the village of Maam, set in the midst of
magnificent scenery at the intersection of two valleys, one running to
the west and one to the south, closed in by the wildest, bleakest,
ruggedest of mountains. Our driver drew up here to water and wind the
horse, and I wandered about the village for a while, and stopped at last
at the open door of a little cottage where an old woman and some
children were sitting before a flaring fire of turf, and a hen was
hovering some chickens in a basket in one corner. Three or four others
were wandering about the dirt floor, looking for crumbs as a matter of
habit, though they must have known perfectly well that there were no
crumbs there.

I was welcomed heartily and invited to sit down before the fire, with
that instinctive courtesy and open-heartedness which is characteristic
of the Irish peasantry. Let the traveller take shelter anywhere, pause
before any door, and he will be greeted warmly. There is an old Irish
riddle which runs something like this:

          From house to house it goes,
            A wanderer frail and slight,
          And whether it rains or snows,
            It bides outside in the night.

It is the footpath the Irish mean; and if they could bring it in out of
the rain and the snow, I am sure they would, just as they bring their
chickens and cats and dogs and pigs and donkeys in, to share the warmth
of the fire.

So in this little cottage a stool was at once vacated for me and set in
a good place, and a ring of smiling faces closed around me, and the rain
of eager questions began as to whence I came and whither I was going. I
wish I could give you some idea of the tangle of trash that littered the
single room of that hovel--old clothes, old boards, broken baskets, a
pile of turf in one corner but scattered all about where the chickens
had been scratching at it, a low shelf piled with rags and straw for a
bed, a rude dresser displaying some chipped dishes--but I despair of
picturing it. And the dirty, ragged children, with their bright eyes and
red cheeks; and the old woman, wrinkled and toil-worn, but obviously
thinking life not so bad, after all. . . .

A whistle from Joyce told me that he was ready to start, and we were
soon climbing out of the valley, emerging at last upon a vast moor, with
great mountain masses away to the south, their summits veiled in mist.
We could see groups of people working in the bog here and there, and at
last we came upon two men and two boys cutting turf close to the road. I
asked them if I might take their picture, and they laughed and agreed,
and it is opposite this page, but the sun was setting and the light was
not good enough to give me a sharp negative. Still one can see the man
at the bottom of the ditch cutting the peat with a sharp-edged
instrument like a narrow spade and throwing the water-soaked bricks out
on the edge, where the boys picked them up and laid them out at a little
distance to dry.

[Illustration: THE TURF-CUTTERS]

[Illustration: A GIRL OF "JOYCE'S COUNTRY"]

"There's one would make a picture," said Joyce, about ten minutes later,
and I turned to see him pointing with his whip at a little girl
unloading turf from the panniers of a donkey by the side of the road.

Needless to say, I was out of my seat in an instant, and Betty, scarcely
less excited, was asking the girl if I might not take her picture; and
then Joyce said something to her in the Irish, and then from across the
bog came her mother's voice telling her, also in Irish, to hold still
and do as the gentleman wished.

She was a child of eight or ten, with dark hair and eyes, and slighter
and frailer than the average Irish child; and she wore the
characteristic garment fashioned from red flannel which all the poor
children in Connemara wear; and she was bare-headed and barefooted; and
her task was to drive the ragged little donkey out into the bog and fill
the panniers with the bricks, and drive it back again to the side of the
road, and pile the turf there, ready for the cart which would take it
away. From the place where the turf was being cut to the roadside was at
least a quarter of a mile, and how often that child had travelled that
road that day I did not like to think. From the pile of turf that lay
at the side of the road, it was evident she had not idled!

She was not without her vanity, for she had her skirt kilted up, and let
it quickly down as soon as she realised what I wanted; and then she let
me pose her as I wished. You should have seen her astonishment when I
pressed a small coin into her hand, as some slight recompense for the
trouble I had given her; you should have seen her shining eyes and
trembling lips. . . .

Up we went and up, with the mists of evening deepening about us; and at
last we reached the summit of the pass, and dropped rapidly down toward
Leenane. Half an hour later, we trotted briskly up to the hotel, the
little mare apparently as fresh as ever, in spite of the fifty miles, up
hill and down, she had covered that day.



CHAPTER XXI

THE REAL IRISH PROBLEM


IT was well we went to Cong when we did, for the next day was cold and
rainy, with a clammy mist in the air which settled into the valleys and
soaked everything it touched. I walked over to the village, after
breakfast, to keep my promise to the school-teacher. The school is a
dingy frame building with two rooms and two teachers, a man for the
older pupils and a woman for the younger ones. They are brother and
sister, and from their poor clothes and half-fed appearance, I judge
that teachers are even worse paid in Ireland than elsewhere. But they
both welcomed me warmly, and the man hastened to set out for me the only
chair in the place, carefully dusting it beforehand.

He called the roll, and it was delightful to hear the soft, childish
voices answer "Prisent, sorr," "Prisent, sorr." Then he counted heads to
be sure, I suppose, that some child hadn't answered twice, once for
himself and once for some absent friend. There were about thirty
children present, ranging in age from six to fifteen; and they were all
barefoot, of course, and such clothing as they had was very worn and
ragged, and most of them had walked four or five miles, that morning,
down out of the hills. The teacher said sadly that the attendance should
be twice as large, but there was no way of enforcing the compulsory
education law, though the priest did what he could.

I wish I could paint you a picture of that school, so that you could see
it, as I can, when I close my eyes. In the larger room there was a
little furniture--a chair and cheap desk for the teacher, some rude
forms for the children, and a small blackboard; but the other room was
absolutely bare, and the children sat around on the floor in a circle,
with their legs sticking out in front of them, red with cold, while the
teacher stood in their midst to hear them recite. Each of them had over
his shoulder a cheap little satchel, usually tied together with string;
and in this he carried his two or three books--thin, paper-covered
affairs, which cost a penny each; and all the children, large and small,
had to carry their books about with them all the time they were in
school because there was no place to put them.

The reading lesson had just started when I entered the room where the
smaller children were, and it was about the advantages of an education.
It brought tears to the eyes to hear them, in their soft voices and
sweet dialect, read aloud with intense earnestness what a great help
education is in the battle of life and in how many ways it is useful.
When the reading was done, the teacher asked them the meaning of the
longest words, and had them tell again in their own way what the lesson
had said, to be certain that they understood it.

Poor kiddies! As I looked at them, I could see in my mind's eye our
schoolhouses back home, heated and ventilated by the best systems--there
was ventilation enough here, heaven knows, for the door was wide open,
but no heat, though the day was very raw and chilly, and the children
were shivering--equipped with expensive furniture and the latest devices
of charts and maps; and I could see the well-fed, well-clothed children,
with their beautiful costly books which make teachers almost
unnecessary, languidly reading some such lesson as was being read here
in Connaught, on the advantages of an education! It would not have been
read so earnestly, be sure of that, nor with such poignant meaning.

And in that moment, I thrilled with a realisation of Ireland's greatest
and truest need. It is not land purchase, or reform of the franchise, or
temperance, or home rule, though these needs are great enough; it is
education. It is education only that can solve her industrial problems
and her labour problems; and, however she may prosper under the
favouring laws of a new political régime, it is only by education, by
the banishment of ignorance and illiteracy, that she can hope to take
her place among the nations of the world.

It was a sort of vision I had, standing there in that bare little room,
of a new Ireland, dotted with schools and colleges, as she was a
thousand years ago, illumined with the white light of knowledge; but
here, meanwhile, were these eager, bright-eyed, ragged little children,
stumbling along the path of knowledge as well as they could; but a rocky
path they find it, and how deserving of help they are! I wish you could
have seen those soiled, thumbed little readers, which cost, as I have
said, only a penny each, and which, if they had cost more, would have
been beyond the reach of the average Connaught family.

I bought a few of them, afterwards, to bring home with me, and when I
looked through them, I found them very primitive indeed. Here, for
instance, is Lesson Six in the primer:

          Pat has a cat.
          It is fat. It is on the mat.
          The cat ran at the rat.
          It bit the fat cat.
          Pat hit the rat.
          The rat ran. The cat ran at it.
          The rat bit the fat cat.

Cats and rats used, I remember, to be favourite subjects in the readers
of my own early school days; and so were dogs. It is still so in
Ireland, as Lesson Eight will show:

          Is it a dog?
          It is a fox.
          Was the fox in a box?
          The dog was in the box.
          He was in the mud.
          Rub the mud off the dog.
          He ran at the fox in the mud.
          The dog ran at the fox and bit it.

My principal objection to this is that it is nonsense: how, for example,
if the dog was in the box, could it have been also in the mud? These
questions occur to children even more readily than to adults, and to
teach them nonsense is wrong and unjust. Also these lessons tell no
story; they have no continuity; they ask questions without answering
them; they change the subject almost as often as the dictionary. Here,
for instance, is the first lesson of the second term:

          Tom put the best fish in a dish.
          The cat sat near it on a rug.
          Let the hen rest in her nest.
          Frank rode a mile on an ass.
          He went so fast he sent up the dust.

The last sentence shows it was an Irishman made this book; but why, in
this lesson, did he not continue with the story of the fish in the dish,
which the cat was plainly watching from the rug with malicious intent,
instead of branching off to a wholly irrelevant remark about a hen, and
then to an account of Frank's adventure with an ass? Perhaps the first
step to be made in educational reform in Ireland is the adoption of
better school-books, and there is no reason why this step should be
delayed.

I went back, presently, to the other room where the larger boys and
girls were reciting in small sections, standing shrinkingly before the
shrivelled little teacher, whose fierceness, I am sure, was assumed for
the occasion, and he got out for me a sheaf of compositions which the
boys and girls had written on the subject, "My Home," and of which he
was evidently very proud. They were written in the round, laborious
penmanship of the copy-book, and the homes which they described were,
for the most part, those poor little cabins clinging to the rocky
hillsides, which I have tried to picture; but here the picture was drawn
sharply and simply, with few strokes, without any suspicion that it was
a tragic one. For instance, this is John Kerrigan's picture of


My Home.

          My home is in County Galway and is placed in
          Ganaginula. It is built on a height near the
          roadside. The length of it is eighteen feet and
          the breadth is six feet. It is about ten feet
          high. The covering is timber and thatch. It is
          built with stones and mortar. There are four
          windows, two in the kitchen and two in the room.
          The floor is made of sand and gravel.

That was all that John Kerrigan found to describe about his home, and I
dare say there wasn't much more; but it is easy to picture it standing
there on the bleak hillside, with its low walls of rubble and its roof
of thatch, and its two little rooms, nine feet by six, with dirt floor
and tiny windows. And at one end of the kitchen there would be an open
fireplace, with some blocks of turf smoking in it, and above the turf
there would be hanging a black pot, where the potatoes are boiling which
is all John will have for supper. . . .

I put the compositions aside, for a lesson in Gaelic had begun. The
teacher wrote on the little blackboard some sentences composed of the
strangest-looking words imaginable, and the pronunciation of them was
stranger still. But the lesson proceeded rapidly, and it was evident
that most of the children understood Gaelic quite as well as they did
English. That, of course, is not saying very much; and I fancy that
about all these children can be expected to learn is to read and write.
Indeed, it is a wonder that they learn even that, for the odds against
them are almost overwhelming.

I bade them good-bye at last, and returned pensively to the hotel, and
there I found the district physician making some repairs to his
motor-cycle. It probably needs them often, for the roads up into the
hills are trying for anything on wheels; but he said it was surprising
where it would go and how much knocking about it would stand. And then,
naturally enough, we fell into talk about his work.

Every poor person in Ireland is, as I understand it, entitled to free
medical attendance. The country is divided into districts, in each of
which a doctor is stationed, paid partially by the government and
depending for the remainder of his income on his private practice.
Before a person is entitled to free attendance, he must secure a ticket
from one of the poor-law guardians, who have the management of the
charities in each district; and no physician is compelled to give free
attendance, unless the person asking for it can produce one of these
tickets.

"Even then," continued the doctor at Leenane, who was explaining all
this to me, "I don't put myself out, if I think the person presenting
the ticket can afford to pay. I look him over, of course, and give him
some medicine, with instructions how to take it--the law compels me to
do that; but I don't bother myself to see whether the instructions are
carried out. And if he's really sick, he soon realises that if he wants
me to be interested, he's got to pay for it, and he manages to find a
guinea or so. This sounds hard-hearted, perhaps; but it's astonishing
how many beggars there are in this country, and how the poor-law
guardians let themselves be imposed on. Why, people come to me with
cards and try to get free attendance who could buy and sell me ten times
over! I don't bite my tongue telling them what I think of them, you may
well believe. The trouble is, the poor-law guardians are natives of the
district and they all have some axe to grind; so the doctor, who is a
stranger for whom they care nothing, gets the worst of it. This is about
the worst district in Ireland, anyway, so big and poor and full of
hills. A man has to work himself to death to make three hundred pounds a
year out of it."

Various reflections occurred to me while he was talking. One was that
three hundred pounds a year is many, many times the income of the
average dweller in Connaught; and another was that, to leave any
discretion to the physician in regard to the treatment of charity
patients is not without its dangers; and still a third was that, in any
sudden emergency, such as might occur at any time, many valuable minutes
would be lost if the poor-law guardians had to be hunted up and a card
obtained before the doctor could be summoned. I suppose, in such cases,
the doctor is summoned first, and the card secured when there is time to
do so.

It is probably only in cases of dire need that the district doctor is
summoned at all. The fact that he is a stranger and a government
appointee is enough to make a large section of the Irish peasantry
distrust him. This one told me that he is never called for confinement
cases, because every old Irish woman considers herself competent to
handle them, and usually is; and that other cases are treated with "home
remedies" or visits to holy wells, until they get so bad that the doctor
is turned to as a last resort.

"The ignorance of the people is past all belief," he went on. "They
haven't any idea of what causes disease; they never heard of germs; they
don't know it is unhealthy to have a stinking heap of manure and human
excrement under the window or in front of the door; they don't believe
there is any reason why a person dying with consumption shouldn't sleep
in the same bed with other people, and eat out of the same dishes, and
spit all about the place. And so we have typhus, and tuberculosis--you
Americans are partially responsible for that."

"In what way?" I asked.

"The people born and reared in these western highlands, with lungs
adapted through long generations to this soft, moist climate, can't
stand the American atmosphere. When they are poor and live crowded
together in your towns, consumption gets them; and then, when they're
too far gone to work, they come back home to cough their lives out and
poison all their friends. They lie in these dark cabins without a
window, which soon become perfect plague-spots; and the children,
playing on the filthy, infected floor, get the infection in their lungs;
or perhaps they cut their knees and rub it into the sore. Ugh! it makes
one sick to think about it. There ought to be a law preventing any such
infected person landing in Ireland--you won't let such a one land in
America."

I had to admit that that would be one way of dealing with the mischief;
and I suggested that another way would be to try to educate the people
to some knowledge of the simpler facts of hygiene. But the doctor
snorted.

"Educate them!" he echoed. "You can't educate them! Why, you haven't any
conception of the depths of their ignorance. And they're superstitious,
too; they don't believe in science; they think it's something
irreligious, something against their faith. If prayers to the Virgin
won't cure them, or a visit to some holy well or other, why nothing
will. If I do cure them, I don't get the credit--they simply believe
they've got on the good side of one of their saints. What is a man to do
against such ignorance as that? The only reason they don't all die is
because this country is so full of little streams that the running water
carries off most of their filth, and the turf smoke which fills their
houses helps to disinfect them."

I agreed that his was a hard task; and left him still tinkering with his
motor-cycle, and went over to smoke a pipe with the men at the stables.
Joyce, our driver of the day before, was there, and he smiled as he
pointed his pipe-stem toward the doctor, with whom he had seen me
talking.

"He's a hard one, he is," he said. "Not a word of advice nor a sup of
medicine do you get out of that one, if he thinks you've got a shillin'
about you. He thinks we're all liars and thieves, which is natural
enough, for he's an Englishman--and I'm not sayin' but what it may be
true of some of us," and he grinned around at his companions.

"Tell the gintleman about the other one," one of them suggested.

"Ah, Mister O'Beirn, that was," said Joyce; "a Galway man, born to the
Irish. How he got the app'intment, I don't know; but he did stir this
district up--went about givin' long talks, he did, about how we're made
and why we get sick, and such like; and he went into the houses and made
the women wash the childer and set things to rights, and they bore with
him because they knew he meant them no harm. He wore himself to a bone,
he did, and we were all fond of him; but I'm not sayin' it wasn't a
relief when he was moved to another district, and we could make
ourselves comfortable again."

"No doubt the children are glad, too," I ventured.

"They are, sir; and why should one bother washin' them when they get
dirty again right away? Sure the women have enough to do without that!"

But it would be a mistake to suppose that the lives of the women and
girls are all work and no play. Betty chanced to remark to the girl who
waited on our table at the hotel that she must find the winters very
lonesome.

"Oh, not at all, miss," she protested. "We have a very good time in the
winter with a dance every week; and at Christmas Mr. McKeown do be
givin' us a big party here at the hotel. Then there will be maybe two or
three weddings, and as many christenings, and some of the girls who have
been to America will come home for a visit and there will be dances for
them, so there is always plenty to do."

So Leenane has its social season, just the same as New York and Paris
and London; and I suppose the same is true of every Irish village. The
Irish are said to be great dancers, but we were never fortunate enough
to see them at it.

You may perhaps have noticed that in such Irish conversations as I have
given in these pages, I have contented myself with trying to indicate
the idiom, without attempting to imitate the brogue; and this is
because it is impossible to imitate it with any degree of accuracy.
Such imitation would be either a burlesque or would be unreadable. For
example, while we were talking to the waitress at Leenane, Betty asked
her what a very delicious jam which she served with our tea was made of.

"Black törn, miss," she answered--at least, that is what it sounded
like.

"Black törn?" repeated Betty. "What is it? A berry or a fruit?"

The girl tried to describe it, but not recognisably.

"Can you spell it?" asked Betty at last.

"I can, miss; b-l-a-c-k, black, c-u-r-r-a-n-t, törn," answered the girl.

       *       *       *       *       *

We bade good-bye to Leenane, that afternoon, taking the motor-bus for
Westport, and my friends of the constabulary were out to see me off and
shake hands, and Gaynor sent a "God speed ye" after us from the door of
his little shop, and the schoolmaster and his sister waved to us from
the door of the school. It was almost like leaving old friends; and
indeed, I often think of them as such, and of that drab little town
crouching at the head of Killary, and of how serious a thing life is to
those who dwell there. We looked back for a last glimpse of it, as we
turned up the road out of the valley--the row of dingy houses, the grey
mountains rising steeply behind them, the broad sheet of blue water in
front--how plainly I recall that picture!

There were three other passengers on the bus--an elderly man and woman,
rather obese and grumpy, and a younger man with clean-shaven eager
face; and we were puzzled for a time to determine their relationship,
for the younger man was most assiduous in attending to the wants of his
companions and pointing out the places of interest along the road. And
then, finally, it dawned upon us--here was a personally conducted party;
a man and wife who had brought a guide along to see them safely through
the wilds of Ireland!

The road from Leenane to Westport is not nearly so picturesque as that
from Clifden, for we soon ran out of the hills, and for miles and miles
sped across a wild bog, without a sign of life except a few sheep
grazing here and there. We met a flock of them upon the road, and the
way the shepherd's dog, at a sharp whistle from him, herded his charges
to one side out of the way was beautiful to see.

Then at last, far below us, at the bottom of a valley, we saw the roofs
of Westport, and we started down the road into it--a steep and dangerous
road, for we came within an ace of running down a loaded cart that was
labouring up; and when we came to the foot of the hill, we were startled
by a remarkable monument looming high in the middle of the principal
street--a tall, fluted shaft, with two seated women at its base, rising
from an octagonal pedestal, and surmounted by a heroic figure in knee
breeches and trailing robe--without question the very ugliest monument I
ever saw. It was so extraordinarily ugly that we came back next day to
look at it, and discovered the following inscription:

          To the Memory of
          GEORGE GLENDINING
          Born in Westport 1770
          Died in Westport 1845

If the deceased had any other claim to fame except that he was born in
Westport, and also ended his days there, it does not appear upon his
monument.

       *       *       *       *       *

Westport has only one hotel, and it is probably the worst in Ireland.
When we had been ushered along its dark and dirty corridors, into a room
as dingy as can be imagined, and had found that it was the best room to
be had, and that there was nothing to do but grin and bear it, we sat
down and looked at each other, and I could see in Betty's disgusted face
some such thought as Touchstone voiced: "So here I am in Arden. The more
fool I. When I was at home, I was in a better place."

"'Travellers must be content,'" I said. "Let's get out of here and look
at the town."

Betty agreed with alacrity; but we soon found that it is a dull and
uninteresting place, offering no diversion except a stroll through Lord
Sligo's demesne. The gate was open, so we entered and plodded along a
sticky road, past the square, unimpressive mansion-house, out to the
head of Clew Bay. We walked on, past the longest line of deserted quays
and empty warehouses we had encountered in Ireland. There must be half a
mile of quays, and the warehouses are towering, four-storied structures,
with vast interiors given over to rats and spiders; and all along that
dreary vista, there was just one boat--a small one, unloading lumber.

It was government money, I suppose, which built the quay, and a
government board which authorised it; and looking at it, one realises
where Canon Hannay got the local colour for the descriptions of the
activities of government boards which are scattered through his Irish
stories. For Canon Hannay, whose pen name is George A. Birmingham, lives
here at Westport; and the bay which faces it is the scene of most of his
tales.

It is a beautiful bay, dotted with the greenest of islands; and it was
among those islands that the irrepressible Meldon sailed in quest of
Spanish gold; it was there the Major's niece had her surprising
adventures; and I have wondered since if the grotesque statue back in
the town may not have suggested that of the mythical General John Regan.

And there, in the distance, towering above the bay, is Croagh Patrick,
the great hill, falling steeply into the water from a height of 2500
feet, down which Saint Patrick one fine morning drove all the snakes and
toads and poisonous creatures in Ireland, to their death in the sea
below. Indeed, the marks of their passage are still plainly to be seen,
for the precipice down which they fell is furrowed and scraped in the
most convincing manner:

          The Wicklow hills are very high,
            And so's the Hill of Howth, sir;
          But there's a hill much bigger still,
            Much higher nor them both, sir;
          'Twas on the top of this high hill
            St. Patrick preached his sarmint
          That drove the frogs into the bogs
            And banished all the varmint.

The legend is that St. Patrick, who had spent forty days on the mountain
in fasting and prayer, stood at the edge of the precipice and rang his
little bell--the same bell we have seen in the museum at Dublin--and all
the snakes and toads in Ireland, attracted by the sound, plunged over
the cliff and so down into the sea.

From a distance, Croagh Patrick seems to end in a sharp point; but there
is really a little plateau up there, some half-acre in extent, and a
small church has been built there, and on the last Sunday in July,
pilgrims gather from all over Ireland and proceed to the mountain on
foot and toil up its rugged sides and attend Mass on the summit and then
make the rounds of the stations on their knees, just as has been done
from time immemorial. For Croagh Patrick is a very holy place, since
Ireland's great apostle prayed and fasted there, and those who pray and
fast there likewise shall not go unrewarded.

       *       *       *       *       *

I heard the click of a typewriter, as I went up the walk to the rectory,
that evening, to spend a few hours with Canon Hannay, and it must be
only by improving every minute that he gets through the immense amount
of work he manages to accomplish. He had just arranged for an American
lecture tour in the following October, and both he and his wife were
pleasantly excited at the prospect of encountering American
sleeping-cars and soft-shelled crabs and corn on the cob, and other such
novelties, some of which they had heard were very dreadful. I reassured
them as well as I could; and then we talked awhile about George Moore's
inimitable reminiscences, and Canon Hannay's own books; but the gist of
the evening was the discussion of Ireland and Irish problems which
occupied the greater part of it. It was very late indeed when I arose to
say good-night.



CHAPTER XXII

THE TRIALS OF A CONDUCTOR


WE took a last look about the town, next morning, not forgetting the
Glendining monument, which has the fascination supreme ugliness
sometimes possesses; and then we walked on down to the station, where a
loquacious old woman accosted Betty with a tale of woe which culminated
in an appeal for aid; and it was suddenly borne in on me that not once
in the whole of Connaught had we encountered a beggar. Not even a child
had held out its hand or indicated in any way that it desired or
expected alms. And I do not know that I can pay any greater compliment
to the people of that distressful province than by setting down this
fact. We were in Mayo now--and Mayo is different!

The first town out of Westport is Castlebar, which, as Murray puts it,
"has all the buildings usual in a county town, viz. Asylum, Gaol,
Court-house and Barracks," and they can be seen looming up above the
other buildings as the train passes, some half mile away. Beyond
Castlebar, the line crosses the so-called plains of Mayo, a vast expanse
of naked limestone rock, very ugly and sinister; and then to the left is
a village dominated by a round tower; and finally we came to
Claremorris, where we were to change cars.

Claremorris, no doubt, also has an asylum, a jail, a court-house and a
barracks; but we didn't go out to see, for nobody seemed to know just
when our train might be expected, and we were afraid to run any risks.
So we sat down on the platform, and Betty fell into talk with a clean,
nice-looking old man, who was carefully gathering up all the dodgers and
posters and old newspapers that were lying around, and folding them up
and putting them in his pocket, I suppose to read at leisure after he
got home. And he told about where he lived, and how many children he
had, and described the disposition of each of them; and then he
questioned Betty about her condition in life, and age, and size of
family, and all the time he was looking intently at her mouth.

"Tell me, miss," he said, at last, "is them your own teeth you've got?"

"Indeed they are," laughed Betty, and clashed them to prove it.

"I would hardly believe it," he went on, and looked closer. "I niver saw
any like them."

"They're strong as iron," and Betty clashed them again.

"And white as snow. I wish my daughter was here, for she will not
believe me when I tell her."

Good teeth, as I have remarked before, are the exception in Ireland; and
most of those that appear good at first glance, turn out, at second
glance, to be fabrications of the dentist. Perhaps it has always been
so. Irish poets are fond of dwelling on the glories of Irish hair, and
it is still glorious; they tell over and over again of the brightness of
Irish eyes, and they are still bright; they describe how many times the
beauty of Irish complexions, and there is none to match them anywhere
else in the world; but I do not remember that any of them refer to
Irish teeth. It is a pity, for many a pretty face is ruined by the ugly
teeth a smile discloses.

We got away from Claremorris, finally, after narrowly escaping being
carried back to Westport, and proceeded northward over a new line which
has been built across the plains of County Mayo. There were few
passengers, and we had a compartment to ourselves, except for two
priests who rode with us for a short distance, and who wanted to know
all about President Wilson, of whom they had heard many splendid things.
Just where we crossed into County Sligo I don't know; but we were in it
at Collooney, a village more prosperous than most, with a number of
mills; and then we came to Ballysadare, where there are some famous
salmon fisheries.

As we ran on past Ballysadare, a hill like a truncated cone loomed up on
the left, and in the centre of the level top was something that looked
like a huge bump, and as we drew nearer, we saw that it was a great
cairn of loose stones piled on top of each other. The hill was
Knocknarea, and the cairn, which is six hundred feet around and
thirty-five feet high, is said to have been piled over the body of
Meave, Queen of Connaught, by her tribesmen, in the first century after
Christ. Meave was killed while bathing in Lough Ree by Conal Carnach,
who, angry at her share in the death of the mighty Cuchulain, put a
stone into a sling and cast it at her with such sure aim that he
inflicted a mortal wound. There is some dispute as to whether she was
really borne to the top of Knocknarea for burial; but the cairn is
called "Miscan Meave," or "Meave's Heap," and if it does not actually
cover her body, it probably commemorates her death. She lived so long
ago that her name has passed into folk-lore--in England as Queen Mab.

Knocknarea, with its strange shape, dominates the whole landscape, and
is in sight all the way to Sligo, for the train describes a half-circle
around it. Sligo itself is a considerable town, with more bustle about
its streets than is usual in western Ireland, and the proprietor of its
principal hotel is a canny individual who follows the precept, once so
popular with American railroads, of charging all the traffic will bear.
When I asked the price of a double room, he looked me over, and then he
said ten shillings the night.

"Ten shillings a night!" I echoed, in some surprise, for I had not
expected to encounter rates so metropolitan on the west coast of
Ireland; and then I asked to see the room, thinking it might be
something palatial. But it was quite an ordinary room; clean and airy
and comfortable enough; but I judged the usual charge for it was about
five shillings. There are few things I detest more than being
overcharged. "Come along," I said to Betty. "There's another hotel in
this town; we'll have a look at it."

The proprietor was waiting nervously in the lobby.

"What's the matter?" he asked, as we came down. "Isn't the room all
right?"

"Oh, it's right enough," I said; "but I'm not going to pay two prices
for it."

"But this is the best hotel in Sligo," he protested. "There's an
American millionaire and his wife staying here right now."

"Well, I'm not a millionaire," I said; "and even if I were, I wouldn't
pay ten shillings for that room," and I started to walk out, for I
didn't want to argue about it.

But he followed me to the door.

"What would you pay, now?" he asked, ingratiatingly.

I looked at him in surprise, for I hadn't had any idea of fixing his
rates for him.

"Five shillings," I said.

"You may have it for six," he countered.

I hesitated. I didn't like the man; but it was a nice room, and the
dining-room looked clean. Probably we should fare worse if we went
farther.

"All right," I agreed finally; and I am bound to admit that he never
showed any malice, but treated us as nicely as possible during all our
stay in Sligo. Perhaps he is a retired jarvey, and this is just his way
of doing business.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sligo, with its well-built houses and bustling streets, has every
appearance of being prosperous, and I have been told that it is one of
the few towns in Ireland which is growing in population. It has had its
share of battles and sieges, for Red Hugh O'Donnell captured it from the
English, and then the English captured it from Red Hugh, and camped in
the monastery and did what they could to destroy it; but enough of it
remains to make a most interesting ruin, and we set out at once to see
it.

It is a Norman foundation, dating from 1252, but a good deal of the
existing structure is later than that. The most interesting feature, to
my mind, is the row of eight narrow lancet windows lighting the choir of
the church. I like these early lancets, and I am inclined to question
whether the wide windows and elaborate tracery of later Gothic are as
dignified and severely beautiful. There is a grace and simplicity about
these tall, narrow openings, with their pointed arches, which cannot be
surpassed.

There are some interesting monuments, too, in the choir, notably a most
elaborate one to O'Conor Sligo against the south wall. O'Conor and his
wife, life-size, kneel facing each other in two niches, over and below
and on either side of which are sculptured cherubs and saints and skulls
and swords and drums and spades and hooks and hour-glasses, together
with the arms of the family and an appropriate motto or two. From the
choir, a low door gives access to the charnel-house, and beyond that is
the graveyard; while from the nave there is an entrance to the
cloisters, three sides of which are very well preserved, though the
level of the ground almost touches the base of the pillars.

It is, I should say, at least four feet higher than it was when the
cloisters were built, and this accretion is mostly human dust, for the
graveyard has been in active use for a good many centuries. Burials grew
so excessive, at last, that before one body could be placed in the
ground, another had to be dug out of it; and gruesome stories are told
of the ruthless way in which old skeletons were torn from the graves and
thrown out upon the ground and allowed to lie there, a scandal to the
whole county. All that has changed now, and there wasn't a bone in sight
the day we visited the place. Indeed, the old caretaker waxed very
indignant about the way he had been wronged.

"'Tis in that book you have in your hand the slander is," he said, and
nodded toward my red-bound Murray, and I read the sentence aloud:

          "The exposure of human remains, and the general
          neglect here and in other church ruins, are a
          scandal to the local authorities."

"Now, I ask ye to look around, sir," continued the caretaker, excitedly,
"and tell me if ye see anywhere aught to warrant such words as them
ones. Human remains, indeed! Ye see, sir, it was like this. The day the
felly was here who wrote that book, I had just picked up a bone which
had got uncovered on me, and slipped it under a tomb temporary like,
till I could find time to bury it decent; and then he come by, and saw
it, and that was what he writ. The bones do be workin' up to the surface
all the time--and how can that be helped, I should like to know? But I
put them under again as soon as I see them. As for neglect--look about
ye and tell me if ye see neglect."

I assured him that everything seemed to be in good shape, for the grass
had just been cut and everything was very tidy. And then he told me that
he and his helper had been working on the place for a week past,
because, in a few days, the Irish Antiquarian Society was to meet at
Sligo, and its members would be poking their noses about everywhere.
From which I inferred that, perhaps, at ordinary times, the place may be
rather ragged, and that an occasional bone _may_ escape the guardian's
watchful eye.

When we got back to the hotel and entered the dining-room for dinner, we
were amused to find that the American millionaire and wife, of whom the
proprietor had boasted, were no other than the personally-conducted
couple who had come with us on the coach from Leenane to Westport. They
were eating grumpily, while their guide, who ate with them, was doing
his best to impart an air of cheerfulness to the meal by chattering away
about the country. The head-waiter hovered near in a tremor of anxiety,
and almost jumped out of his skin whenever the guide raised his finger.

I went into the smoking-room, later on, to write some letters; and
presently the door opened, and the guide slipped in, and closed the door
carefully, and sat down with a sigh, and got out a pipe and filled and
lighted it, and rang for a whiskey and soda. And then I caught his eye,
and I couldn't help smiling at its expression, and in a minute we were
talking. He was a special Cook guide, he told me, and the two people
with him were from Chicago.

"I fancied," he went on, "when I took this engagement, that I was going
to have an easy time of it with just two people, but I have never worked
so hard in my life. The man is all right; but all the woman wants to do
is to keep moving on. You know Glengarriff? Well, then you know what a
jolly place it is, and what a splendid trip it is over the hills from
Macroom. Would you believe me, that woman would not even turn her head
to look at that view. I would say to her, 'Now, Mrs. Blank, isn't that
superb!' and she would just bat her eyelids; and when we got to
Glengarriff, she raised a most awful row because we had to stay there
over night, and because there was no light but candles in the bedrooms.

"I don't know why such people travel at all," he went on wearily. "Yes I
do, too--she travels just to buy post-cards and send them back home. She
buys a hundred at every stop, and as soon as she gets them addressed and
posted, she is ready to start on. Ruins? Why she won't look at ruins.
She wouldn't even get out of the carriage at Muckross Abbey--but she
thinks that new Catholic cathedral at Killarney a marvel of beauty. It
is the only thing she has grown enthusiastic about since she has been in
Ireland. We had planned to stay at Killarney four days, but she wanted
to go on before she had been there four hours. I tell you, sir, it's
disheartening."

I asked him how long he had been conducting for Cook, and he said only
for a short time, for he was an actor by profession, and hoped to return
to the stage some day. But by a run of bad luck, he had been involved in
three or four failures, and had been driven to Cook's to make a living.
He had been to America, and he told me with what company, but I have
forgotten, and then he was going on to tell me what rôles he had played
and which of them had been his greatest successes, and the worn,
harassed look left his face--and just then the door opened and the
Chicagoan stuck his head in, and frowned when he saw us talking and
laughing together; and my companion grew suddenly sober, and went out to
see what was wanted, and I didn't see him again. I suppose they were on
their way at daybreak.

Sligo is the centre of one of the most interesting districts in Ireland
for the antiquarian. There is that great cairn on the top of Knocknarea,
and on the plain of Carrowmore near the mountain's foot is such a
collection of megalithic remains as exists nowhere else in the British
Isles, while on the summit of a hill overshadowing Lough Gill is a
remarkable enclosure, resembling Stonehenge, but far more extensive.

It was for Carrowmore we set off on foot, next morning, determined to
spend the day, which was beautifully bright and warm, in a leisurely
ramble over the plain, which, four thousand years ago, was the scene of
a great battle, in which the De Dananns were again the victors, as they
were at Moytura, below Lough Mask. This battle is known as Northern
Moytura, and here the De Dananns met and conquered Balor of the Evil Eye
and his Formorians, and after that they were undisputed masters of Erin
for a thousand years, until the Milesians, or Gaels, sailing from
south-western Europe, beached their boats upon the shore of Kenmare Bay.
It was to mark the graves of the warriors who fell in that dim-distant
fray that the circles and cromlechs which dot its site were probably
erected; but the Irish have another theory, which we shall hear
presently.

I shall not soon forget that walk, at first through the busy streets of
the town, past solid, well-built houses of brick, with bright shops on
the lower floor and living-rooms above; then into the poorer and
quainter quarter, where the houses are all one-storied, built of rubble,
roofed with straw, and, as we could see through the open doors, stuffed
with trash, as all these little Irish houses seem to be; and finally
out along the country road, between fragrant hedges, occasionally
passing a pretty villa, set in the midst of handsome grounds--and then
we came to a place where the road branched, and we stopped.

Our guide-book gave no definite directions as to how to get to
Carrowmore. "On Carrowmore," it says, with magnificent vagueness,
"within three miles south-west of Sligo, is a large and most interesting
series of megalithic remains"; nor does it tell how far the remains are
apart, or how to find them. If it had been Baedeker, now, we would not
have stood there hesitant at the cross-roads, because he would not only
have told us which way to turn, but would have provided a diagram, and
led us step by step from one cromlech to the other. There is no Baedeker
for Ireland, which is a pity, for I have never yet found a guide to
equal that painstaking German.

There was no one to ask, so we took the road which led toward
Knocknarea; but after we had gone some distance, a telegraph-boy came by
on his wheel, and told us that we should have taken the other road; so
we walked back to the branch and turned up it. The road mounted
steadily, and after about a mile of up-hill work, we came to a cluster
of thatched houses, and I went up to one of them to ask the way of a
woman who was leaning over her half-door.

I think I have already said somewhere that Irish directions are the
vaguest in the world--perhaps this is the reason Murray is so vague,
since it is written by an Irishman!--and the conversation on this
occasion ran something like this:

"Good morning," I began. "It is a fine day, isn't it?"

"It is so, glory be to God."

"Can you tell me how to get to the cromlechs?"

"The cromlechs? What might that be?"

"The big stone monuments that are back here in the fields somewhere."

"Ah--so it is the big stones you would be after?"

"Yes. Can you tell me how to get to them?"

"I might," said the woman cautiously. She had been looking at me all
this time with the brightest of eyes, and then she looked at Betty, who
had remained behind at the gate. "Is yon one your wife?" she asked, with
a nod in Betty's direction.

"Yes."

"You would be from America."

"Yes."

"Have you people hereabouts?"

"Oh, no; we haven't any relatives in Ireland."

"And would you be comin' all this way just to see the big stones?"

"We want to see everything," I explained. "The stones are near here,
aren't they?"

"They are so. Just a step up yonder lane, and you are right among them."

She was preparing to ask further questions; but this direction seemed
definite enough, so I thanked her and fled, and Betty and I proceeded to
take a step up the lane. We took many steps without seeing any stones;
and finally we turned up a narrow by-lane, and came to a tiny cottage,
hidden in the trees. We were greeted by a noisy barking, and then a man
hurried out of the cottage and quieted the dog and told us not to be
alarmed. We told him we were looking for the stones.

"There be some just a small step from here," he said; "but you would
never find them by yourselves, so I will go with you. You are from
America, I'm thinking?"

"Yes," I admitted, wondering, with sinking heart, if it was going to
begin all over again.

"I have four brothers in America, and all doing well, glory be to God,
though seldom it is that I hear from them."

"How did you happen to stay in Ireland?" I asked.

"One must stay with the mother," he explained simply. "I was the oldest,
so that was for me to do."

He was a nice-looking man of middle age, with a kindly, intelligent
face, and eyes very bright; and while his clothes were old and worn,
they were clean.

"She is dead now, God rest her soul," he added, with a little convulsion
of the face I didn't understand till later, "and I am alone here."

"What," I said; "not married?"

"No," he answered, with a smile, "there's just Tricker and me."

"Tricker?"

"Sure that's the dog, and a great help he is to me. Come here, Tricker,
and show the lady and gentleman what you can do." The shaggy black dog
came and sat down in front of him, looking up at him with shining eyes.
"You would hardly believe it, miss, but Tricker gathers all my eggs for
me, and he can tell a duck egg from a hen egg. If I do be having a bit
of company, I will tell Tricker to go out and bring in some duck eggs,
and I have never known him to make a mistake. Or perhaps I will be
wanting some water from the spring, and I just give Tricker the bucket
and send him for it. Or perhaps I will be wanting some coal, and then I
just tell Tricker to fetch it."

There was a little pile of coal lying in one corner of the yard, and I
had noticed it with some surprise, for we had seen nothing but turf in
the west of Ireland; but our host told us that the coal came from
Donegal and that it was better than turf and even cheaper in the long
run.

"Tricker," he said, "take in some coal!"

Tricker ran to the coal and picked up a lump in his jaws and trotted
through the open door of the house and laid the lump down on the hearth
inside; then he came back and took in another lump, and then a third,
and finally his master stopped him.

"He would be taking it all in if I left him to himself," he said. "He is
not very well, for he was kicked by the mare the other day, and I
thought for a time he was going to die on me. But he did not, glory be
to God, and I think he will soon be well again. And now, if you will
come this way, I will be showing you the stones."

He led the way across a field, which he said was his, and then over a
stone wall into another; and in the middle of it was a depressed tomb
with slabbed sides, in which, I suppose, at some far-off time, the body
of some chieftain had been laid; and then our guide showed us the path
which we must follow to get to the cromlechs; and then I put my hand in
my pocket.

"Ah, no," he protested, drawing back.

"For Tricker," I said; "to get him some dainty, because he's ill."

His face softened.

"Ah, well, sir," he said, "if you put it like that, I'll take it, and
Tricker and I both thank ye kindly; and you, miss. God speed ye," and he
stood watching us for quite a while, as we made our way up toward the
road which ran along the edge of the ridge above us.

As soon as we gained it, we saw the first of the cromlechs; and then, in
a farther field, we saw another--great stones, standing upright in a
circle of smaller ones, with a mighty covering slab on top, grey and
lichened, and most impressive. They are supposed, as I have said, to
mark the graves of warriors who fell in battle four thousand years ago;
but the Irish peasantry explain them in a more romantic way, as the beds
which Diarmuid prepared nightly for his mistress, Gráinne, during the
year they fled together up and down Ireland to escape the wrath of her
husband, the mighty Finn MacCool.

Gráinne, you will remember, was the daughter of King Cormac, and she it
was who won that race up Slievenamon for the honour of Finn's hand.
There was a splendid wedding at Tara; but as Gráinne sat at the feast,
she looked at the man she had just married, and saw that the weight of
years was on him; and then she looked about the board and noticed a
"freckled, sweet-worded man, who had the curling, dusky black hair, and
cheeks berry-red," and she asked who he was, and she was told that he
was Diarmuid, "the white-toothed, of lightsome countenance, the best
lover of women and of maidens that was in the whole world." And Gráinne
looked on him again, and her heart melted in her bosom; and she mixed a
drink and sent it about the board, until there came upon all the company
"a stupor of sleep and deep slumber."

Then she arose from her seat and went straight to Diarmuid, and laid a
bond upon him that he should take her away; and Diarmuid, who was leal
to Finn, asked his comrades what he should do, and they all said he must
bide by the bond she had laid on him, for he was bound to refuse no
woman, though his death should come of it.

"Is that the counsel of you all to me?" asked Diarmuid.

"It is," said Ossian and Oscar and all the rest; and then Diarmuid rose
from his place, and his eyes were wet with tears, and he said farewell
to his comrades, for he knew that from that day he was no longer a
member of the goodly company of the Fianna, but only a hunted man.

And he and Gráinne fled from Tara to Athlone, and crossed the Shannon by
the ford there, with Finn's trackers close behind them; and for a year
and a day they travelled through the length and breadth of Ireland; and
every night Diarmuid built for his love a chamber of mighty stones, and
carpeted it with sweet grass, and crept softly in beside her and held
her in his arms till morning, so that no hurt might come to her. And
there the chambers remain to this day, 366 of them, to prove the story
true.

I wish I could tell the remainder of the legend, but there is no space
here; besides you will find it and many others like it very beautifully
told in one of the most fascinating Irish books I know--Stephen Gwynne's
"Fair Hills of Ireland"; a book which I have pillaged remorselessly, and
which I recommend to every one planning to visit the Island of the
Saints.

There are really more than 366 of the cromlechs, though nobody knows the
exact number; and they are the most venerable monuments reared by man in
Ireland. The growth of peat around certain of them proves that they have
stood where they now stand for at least four thousand years. How the
huge covering stones, sometimes weighing hundreds of tons, were lifted
into place, no one knows, just as no one knows how the Egyptians raised
their great monoliths from the quarry.

There are two most impressive cromlechs at Carrowmore, quite close
together, and my pictures of them are opposite the next page. The first
one we came to stands near the road in a pasture, and it was merely a
question of clambering over a wall to get to it; but to reach the other,
it was necessary to cross a newly-cultivated field; and as there were
some men working in it, I asked permission to do so.

"Ah," said one of them, "so it is the big stones you have come to see.
You're very welcome. I only wish you could take them with you."

"So do I," I said. "We haven't anything like them in America. Everybody
would want to see them."

"That is just the trouble here. There are always people coming to see
them, and they tramp about over my field, with no thought of the damage
they will be doing, and without asking my leave, as you have done. And
then it is at least half an acre of good land that the stones make good
for naught, and good land is not that plentiful in Ireland that we can
afford to waste any of it. And then there's the trouble of ploughing
around them."

[Illustration: CROMLECHS AT CARROWMORE]

The farmer was right, in a way, for a half acre of good land would have
been of far more value to him than this beautiful cromlech in the midst
of its circle of stones; but how happy I would have been to give it half
an acre, if I could have wafted it home to America! The circle is
considerably more than a hundred feet in diameter, and the stones which
compose it are great boulders, four or five feet high, set on end. The
cromlech itself is very imposing, with massive side supports, six or
seven feet high, and a mighty covering stone, flat on the under side. It
is like a giant bestriding the landscape; and Betty remarked that it
reminded her of the legs of Uncle Pumblechook, with several miles of
open country showing between them. My picture of it has Knocknarea in
the background, and if you look closely, you will see the little bump in
the middle of its summit which is the cairn of Queen Meave.

The hill was only a mile or so away, and I proposed going over to it,
but Betty vetoed that, for it meant some stiff climbing, and we had
already walked a good many miles; so we started back slowly along the
road to Sligo, and a beautiful road it was, with the purple hills in the
distance, and the green rolling fields on either side, and the
whitewashed cottages gathered close beside it. And the doors of all of
them were wide open, and the people who lived in them, hearing our
footsteps, came out to pass the time of day and make some comment on the
weather; and one old woman, who had been hoeing her potatoes, was so
eager to talk that we stopped and sat down on the low wall in front of
her cottage, and stayed for half an hour.

She began with the usual questions--where we were from, if we were
married, how old we were, and so on; and then she started to tell us
about herself, omitting no detail, however intimate.

"I have been to America," she said; "for seven years I lived there, and
a grand place it is; and you will be wondering why I ever came back to
County Sligo. 'Twas because of this bit of land, which would be mine,
and this houseen, which is a poor one, but I was born there, and I will
die there, glory be to God. I would ask you in, but it is that dirty, I
am ashamed of it. There is so much to be done in the field that I have
had no time for the house; besides, I am getting old and my legs are
very bad. I got a bottle from the doctor, and I do be taking a sip of it
now and then, but it does me no good. I am thinking there is nothing
will cure me.

"We were not always down in the world like this," she rattled on. "There
was a time when we were well off. That was before my man was hurted. He
was a county councillor, then, and as handsome a man as you would be
seeing in a day's walk; and many's the time he has gone to Dublin with a
flower in his button-hole, and me looking after him with pride, for he
was always a good head to me. But a horse kicked him, and broke his leg
and his arm, and he has not had the right use of either since; and so
we started going down; and when one starts doing that, there's no
stopping.

"That's himself going there," she added, indicating an unkempt figure
limping painfully along the road with the help of a heavy cane. "He's
ashamed for you to see him, he's that dirty;" but curiosity proved
stronger than pride, in the end, and he finally came hobbling up to us,
a wreck of a man with dirty clothes and unkempt hair and unshaven face
and battered derby hat--and yet one could see that he had been a
handsome fellow once.

We mentioned our stopping at the house of the bachelor who owned
Tricker, and both our companions grew serious.

"Ah, poor boy," said the woman, "he does be havin' a hard time. There
was no one but his mother--all the others had gone to America; and he
looked after her as careful as a daughter could; but she was very
feeble, and he come home from the field one day to find her dead on the
hearth. She had fallen in the fire and burned, bein' too weak to get up.
It was a great shock to him, her dyin' in a way so painful and without a
priest; and we all felt for him, though he was to blame for not marryin'
some girl who could have looked after the old woman. He is well off, but
there's no girl could put the comether on him, though many have
tried,--nice girls, too, as nice as ever put a shawl across their
heads."

I remarked that we had been surprised at the number of bachelors in
Ireland; we had supposed that all Irishmen married and had "long
families," but it was not so at all. Some were too poor to marry, and
that we could understand; but many that were not poor preferred to stay
single. There were the Rafferty brothers, owners of the Connemara marble
quarry; there was the proprietor of the hotel at Castleconnell; and now
here was this man.

"It is so," the old woman agreed. "There be many bachelors
hereabouts--men too who could well afford to take a wife. The priest
gets very warm over it. Not long ago, he said some words about it in the
church--he said if it was left to him, he would be puttin' all these
bachelors in a boat with a rotten bottom, and sendin' them out to sea,
and sink or swim, small loss it would be whatever happened. For he said
they were poor creatures, who thought of nothing but their own pleasure,
who wasted their money in Dublin, instead of raising a family with it,
and who would come to no good end. And I'm thinking that was nothing to
what he had been saying to them in private. For of course, before he
said anything in public, he had been after them to let him speak to the
fathers of some of the nice girls there be about here."

Among the Irish, especially the Irish peasantry, marriage is still
largely a matter of arrangement between the families of the young
people; though I doubt if it is ever quite so carelessly done as in one
of Lever's books, where, after the bargain has been made, the father of
three daughters asks the suitor which one it is he wants, and the suitor
has them all brought in so that he may inspect them before he makes up
his mind. It is always a solemn occasion, however, with the suitor's
relatives ranged along one side of a table, and the bride's relatives
along the other--male relatives, be it understood, for it is not lucky
for a woman to take part in a match-making; and the bargaining is very
shrewd and quite without sentiment; but the marriages thus arranged
usually turn out well. For, if they are without romance, they are also
without illusion. The woman knows beforehand what will be expected of
her as wife and mother; the man is quite aware that matrimony has its
rough side; and so there is no rude awakening for either. It is really a
partnership, in which both are equal, and which both work equally hard
to make successful.

But I suspect that, in Ireland as elsewhere, marriage is not the
inevitable thing it once was, especially for the men. It may be, as the
priest said, that they have grown selfish and think only of their own
comfort; or it may be that their needs have become more complex and
their ideals harder to satisfy. Whatever the cause, Ireland certainly
has her full share of bachelors.

       *       *       *       *       *

We went to a picture-show at Sligo, that night, and I have never seen a
livelier audience. There was, of course, a cowboy film which was
received with the keenest pleasure; and there was a lurid melodrama,
which culminated in the hero flinging the villain over a high cliff, at
which those present rose to their feet and stamped and cheered; and then
King George was shown reviewing the Life Guards, and the crowd watched
in moody silence--a silence that was painful and threatening. As the
troops marched past, gallant and glittering, a sight to stir the blood,
there was not the suspicion of a cheer or hand-clap--just a strange,
breathless silence. We were to witness the same thing thereafter in
"loyal" Derry--the most convincing evidence imaginable of the feeling
toward England which every Irishman, Protestant or Catholic, carries
deep in his heart.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE LEACHT-CON-MIC-RUIS


WE wanted to drive around Lough Gill, a distance of about twenty-five
miles, and I had mentioned this project to our landlord the day before,
and asked the price of a car. He said it was a long trip and a trying
one on a horse, and that the price would be twenty shillings, and I saw
the same glitter in his eye which had been there when he named the price
of a room.

That afternoon, I happened to see a sign over a shop announcing that
posting was done in all its branches. Remembering the glitter in the
landlord's eye, I stopped in and asked the woman in charge if a car
could be had for the trip around Lough Gill. She said it might, and the
price would be twelve shillings, including the driver. I closed with her
on the spot, and told her to have the car ready at nine o'clock next
morning; and somewhat to my surprise it was; and we set forth on what
was to prove one of the most beautiful and adventurous excursions we had
had in Ireland.

It was a bright, warm day, and our jarvey, a picturesque old fellow, was
quite certain it would not rain; but we put our rain-coats and all our
other waterproof paraphernalia in the well of the car, so as to be
prepared for the worst; and we elected to go out by the northern shore
and come back by the southern one. For a mile or two our road lay
through beautiful fragrant woods, and then we came out high above the
lake.

There is no prettier lake in Ireland than Lough Gill, with its green
islands, and its blue water reflecting the blue sky and the fleecy
clouds, and its banks covered with a vegetation almost as varied and
luxuriant as that about Killarney, and the purple mountains crowding
down upon it--only it is hardly fair to call them purple, for they are
of many colours--the grey granite of their towering escarpments gleaming
in the sun, the wide stretches of heather just showing a flush of
lavender, the clumps of dark woodland clothing the glens, the broad
spread of green pastures along their lower slopes, all combining in a
picture not soon forgotten. For two or three miles we trotted on with
this fairy scene stretched before us, and then we turned back into the
hills, for we wanted to see the Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis, the Stone of Conn
the Son of Rush, set up on a neighbouring hilltop as a warning and a
sign.

At least, Murray calls it the Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis, but our driver had
never heard of it, though he protested that he knew every foot of the
neighbourhood. Perhaps he did not recognise the words as I pronounced
them, and as he could not read, it did no good for me to show them to
him in the book. So I described it to him as well as I was able, never
having seen it myself and having only the vaguest idea what it looked
like, as a collection of great standing stones on top of a hill not far
away; and still he had never heard of it. He was inclined to turn back
to the lake, but I persisted; and finally he stopped a man who was
driving a cart in to Sligo, and they talked together awhile in Irish,
and then our driver turned up another road, not very hopefully.

[Illustration: SLIGO ABBEY FROM THE CLOISTER]

[Illustration: THE LEACHT-CON-MIC-RUIS]

It was a very hilly road, and our horse developed an alarming propensity
to gallop--a propensity which the driver encouraged rather than strove
to check, so that we felt, a good part of the time, as though we were
riding to a fire at break-neck speed. The jaunting-car, it should be
remembered, is a two-wheeled vehicle, and when the animal between the
shafts takes it into his head to gallop, it describes violent arcs
through the air. But we hung grimly on, and finally our driver drew up
at a house near the roadside.

"'Tis here," he said.

We got down and looked around, but saw nothing that resembled the
Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis; and then a woman came out of the house, and we
asked her if she knew where it was, and, wonder of wonders! she did.
Most wonderful of all, she had been to see it herself, so she knew where
it was not vaguely but precisely, and she told us just how to go. It was
on the hill back of the house, and she showed us the path which we must
follow, and told us to look out for the rabbit-warrens, or we might
sprain an ankle; and we set off through knee-deep heather up over the
hill. It was quite a climb, and when we got to the top we saw no
standing stones, and I wondered if we were going to miss them, after
all; but we pressed on, and then, as we topped the next rise, my heart
gave a leap--for there before us was the Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis--the most
remarkable stone enclosure I have seen anywhere, with the exception of
Stonehenge--and Stonehenge is more remarkable only because its stones
are larger.

In every other way--in extent and in complexity--this enclosure far
outranks Stonehenge. Great upright rocks, lichened and weatherbeaten
by the rains and winds of forty centuries, form a rude oblong, about a
hundred and fifty feet in length by fifty feet across. It stretches east
and west, and at the western end is a square projection like a
vestibule, divided into two chambers; while at the eastern end are two
smaller oblongs some ten or twelve feet square, and their doorways are
two trilithons--that is to say, two great rocks set on end with another
rock laid across them, just as at Stonehenge. I despair of trying to
picture it in words, but I took two photographs, one of which is
opposite the preceding page, and gives some idea of the appearance of
this remarkable monument--at least of the trilithons. But it gives no
idea of its shape or its extent. There was no vantage point from which I
could get a photograph that would do that.

Its effect, here on this bleak hilltop, with other bleak hills all
around as far as the eye could see, was tremendously impressive. Nobody
knows who built it, nor when it was built, nor why. That it was a shrine
of some sort, a holy place, seems evident; and to me it seemed also
evident that the holy of holies were those two little chambers back of
the trilithic doorways; and it seemed to me also significant that they
should be at the east end, nearest the sunrise, just as the altars in
Gothic churches are, and that there should be a vestibule or entrance at
the west end. Surely it was built with some reference to the sun; and I
tried to picture the horde of panting men, who had, with incredible
labour, hacked out these giant stones from some quarry now unknown, and
pulled them up the steep hillside and somehow manoeuvred them into
place. Some powerful motive must have actuated them, and I can think of
none powerful enough except the motive of religion--the motive of
building a great temple to the God they worshipped, in the hope of
pleasing Him and winning His favour.

[Illustration: A RUIN ON THE SHORE OF LOUGH GILL]

[Illustration: THE LAST FRAGMENT OF AN ANCIENT STRONGHOLD]

What strange rites, I wondered, had these old stones witnessed; what
pageantries, what sacrifices, what incantations? Of all that ancient
people there remains on earth not a single trace, except in such silent
monuments of stone as this, so mighty the passing centuries have been
powerless to destroy them, more mysterious, more inscrutable than the
Sphinx.

We tore ourselves away, at last, and went silently down through the
heather, which was fairly swarming with rabbits; and we mounted our car
and headed back toward the lake. We came out presently close beside the
shore, and followed it around its upper end. Just there, out at the end
of a point of land, stands the fragment of a tower, and our jarvey told
us it was all that was left of the castle from which Dervorgilla eloped
with Dermot MacMurrough--a tale already told by the little tailor of
Limerick.

Of course I wanted a picture of it, and after much manoeuvring, I
managed to get the one opposite this page, which I include only because
of the beautiful Japanesy branch across one corner; for this wasn't
Breffni's castle at all, as we were presently to find. A little farther
on, and quite near the road, was another ruin, and a most imposing one,
with drum towers at the four corners, and a dilapidated cottage hugging
its wall; and I took a peep within the square enclosure, used now as a
kind of barnyard. There were little turrets looking out over the
lake, and a spiral stair in one corner, and mullioned windows and tall
chimneys and yawning fireplaces; and it looked a most important place,
but I have not been able to discover anything of its history. Then we
went on again, with beautiful views of the lake at our right, and high
on our left the flat-topped mountain called O'Rourke's Table, where,
once upon a time, as told by the old ballad, "O'Rourke's Noble Feast"
was spread:

          O'Rourke's noble fare will ne'er be forgot
          By those who were there, or those who were not.
          His revels to keep, we sup and we dine
          On seven score sheep, fat bullocks and swine,

and so on. It is, indeed, a table fit for such a celebration--a rock
plateau with sheer escarpments of grey granite dropping away from it,
and a close cover of purple heather for a cloth.

The road curved on along the lake; then turned away from it through a
beautiful ravine; and then a sparkling river was dashing along at our
right, and beyond it loomed the grey walls of a most extensive ruin; and
then we dropped steeply down into the town of Dromahair, and stopped at
a pretty inn to bait the horse.

I wanted to get closer to the ruins, and I asked if there was a bridge
across the river, and was told that there was, just behind the hotel. So
I made my way down to it, to find that the "bridge" was a slender plank,
without handrail or guard, spanning some ugly-looking rapids. I looked
at the plank, and I looked at the swirling water, and I looked at the
grey ruins on the farther shore, and I hesitated for a long time; but I
wasn't equal to it; and I turned away at last and made my way back to
the village in the hope of finding some more stable bridge there.

The dominating feature of the village is not the workhouse or lunatic
asylum, but an enormous mill, five stories high, built of black stone as
hard as flint, to endure for all eternity, but forlorn and deserted; and
while I was gazing at it and wondering where the money had come from to
build it, a man came out of the house attached to it and spoke to me. He
was an Englishman, he said, who was spending his vacation at Dromahair.
I asked him if there was any other bridge across the river except the
slender plank, and he said there was not; and that it was characteristic
of the Irish that there should not be, for a more careless, shiftless,
happy-go-lucky race did not exist anywhere on earth.

I asked him about the mill, and he said that it was just another example
of Irish inefficiency and wrong-headedness; that it had been erected at
great expense and equipped with the most costly machinery to grind
American grain, which was to be brought up Sligo Bay from the sea, and
up the river and across the lake; and then, when all was ready, there
was no grain to grind--or none, at least, which could be brought to the
mill without prohibitive expense. Furthermore, the power was so poor and
costly that it would have been impossible to operate the mill profitably
even if there had been plenty of grain. But the owner of the mill, with
some sort of dim faith in the power of Home Rule to produce the grain,
was preparing to install a turbine to run the machinery, and had already
started to build a big aqueduct to bring the water in from above the
rapids.

The rapids are just above the mill, and are quite imposing; and there,
just beyond them, is the abbey. I was near enough to see it fairly well,
though not, of course, in detail as I should have liked to do; but I
comforted myself with the thought that it is a comparatively modern one,
dating from the sixteenth century, when Margaret, the wife of another
O'Rourke, having, perhaps, like Dervorgilla, done something she
regretted, built it for the Franciscans.

I had another comfort, too; for I asked the Englishman if he had seen
the Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis; and he said that he had been hunting for it for
a week, but hadn't been able to find it, as none of the people
thereabouts seemed to know where it was; and he was astonished when I
told him that we had found it, and commented with envy upon the energy
of Americans. He asked me where it was, and I told him as nearly as I
could; and then he wanted me to come in and have tea, and was for
sending up to the hotel for Betty; but I had to decline that invitation.
I think he was lonely and glad to find some one to talk to, for he was
unusually expansive for an Englishman; and he said he would send his car
in to Sligo after us, if we would come out next day; but I told him we
were going on to Bundoran.

And then I left him and went back up the hill to the ivy-covered ruin
which was really the castle of Tiernan O'Rourke. It stands on the edge
of the hill overlooking the valley--the same valley which lay smiling
before him that evening he came back from his pilgrimage to Lough Derg;
and up there was the battlement from which no light burned. It was
battered down in the sixteenth century, in some obscure fight, and all
that is left of the castle now is the shell of its walls.

I am afraid Tom Moore, as well as O'Connell, journeyman tailor, has
invested the story with a glamour which did not belong to it; for
Tiernan O'Rourke was a one-eyed bandit who had sacked the abbey of
Clonard a few years before, and who certainly had need of pilgrimages to
shrive him from his sins; and Dervorgilla, so far from being a "young
false one," was forty-two years old; and MacMurrough took care to carry
off, not only the lady's person, but all her movable property, and most
of her husband's, as well.

       *       *       *       *       *

The clouds were gathering in the west as we set out from Dromahair, and
presently the rain began to slant down, slowly and softly at first, and
then in a regular torrent. I do not know when I have seen it rain
harder; but we were soon fixed for it and didn't mind. Dromahair is
about twelve miles from Sligo, and they are hilly miles, so we knew that
we had at least three hours of this wet work ahead of us; but the people
working in the fields or plodding along the road paid no attention to
the rain, so why should we? In fact, most of them, though without any
sort of protection, seemed to be quite unconscious that it was raining
at all.

And then, just when the rain was hardest, I saw to the left a circle of
stones crowning a little hill, and I knew it was a cashel. A cashel, as
I have explained already, is a fort made of stones, just as a rath is a
fort made of earth, both being in the form of a circle; and I knew I
could get pictures of raths without much difficulty, but I didn't know
when I would see another cashel; so I made the driver stop, and got my
camera out of the well, and started off through a field to get a picture
of this one, not heeding Betty's anxious inquiry if I had suddenly gone
mad.

That field into which I plunged was thigh-deep with dripping grass, and
I didn't realise how wet it was until I was well into it, and then there
was nothing to do but go on. So I scrambled up the hill and took two
pictures, shielding my lens, as well as I could, against the driving
rain; and I hadn't any idea that the pictures would be good ones, but
they were, and one of them is opposite the next page.

There was no vantage point from which I could take a picture which would
show the circular shape of the cashel; but it had been built in a
perfect circle about sixty feet in diameter. It was on top of a steep
hillock, of which it occupied nearly the whole summit. The walls,
pierced only by a single narrow entrance, were about six feet high, and
four or five feet thick, and the lower stones were very massive, as the
picture shows. They had been roughly dressed and laid without
mortar--the ancient Irish knew nothing of mortar, apparently, for all
these old stone circles are uncemented; but they had been so nicely
fitted that they were still in place after many centuries, though the
clambering ivy was doing its best to pull them down.

Right in the middle of the circle was a great stone slab, flush with
the ground. The only use I could imagine for it was as a base for a
shrine or altar; but as I went down to the road again, an old man came
out of a little house to talk, and he said that some antiquarians from
Sligo, who believed the slab covered the entrance to a secret passage,
had taken it up and found beneath it, not a passage, but a beautifully
fitted pavement; and that the parish priest, investigating on his own
account, had dug up some wood ashes, and so decided that this was the
place where the fire was built.

[Illustration: A CASHEL NEAR DROMAHAIR]

[Illustration: ST. PATRICK'S HOLY WELL]

"But no one knows," my informant rambled on. "Maybe some day some wise
man like yourself will be able to tell us what it was for."

I remarked that the man who did so would have to be far wiser than I;
but he protested that he knew a wise man when he saw one; and I suspect
that there is a blarney stone in some of these ruins, which the general
public doesn't know about.

I was sorry it was raining, for there was another cashel on a hill to
the right, and a great rath a little farther off, and I should have
liked to explore both of them; but really the weather was too bad, so I
went back reluctantly to the car, which our jarvey had driven close
under a clump of trees for shelter, and we were soon jogging contentedly
on again.

The valley which slopes down here to Lough Gill seems very fertile, and
the little farms have a more prosperous look than is usual in Ireland.
This is partly due to the fact that a number of neat labourers' cottages
have been built to replace the usual tumbledown hovels, and still more
are going up.

This erection of labourers' cottages, which is going on to-day all over
Ireland, seems to me almost as important as land purchase. If there is
any class of Irish more deserving of pity than another, it is the
agricultural labourer. He is worse off than the tenants; he has no land,
however poor, to cultivate, except perhaps a tiny patch in front of his
door; he has no means of livelihood except the unskilled labour of his
hands; if he can manage to earn ten shillings a week he is unusually
fortunate. In most cases, his average income throughout the year will be
scarcely half that. So naturally the labourers and their families live
in the most wretched of all the wretched hovels, in want, discomfort and
peril of disease.

It is for the relief of these unfortunate people that the new houses are
being built. They are very plain; but they have large windows which can
be opened, and stone floors which can be cleaned, and tight slate roofs,
and sanitary outbuildings; and each of them has a half acre or so of
garden, where vegetables enough to support the family can be raised
during the summer; and they rent for from two to three shillings a
week--just enough to pay interest on the amount invested in the house,
with a small sinking fund for upkeep and repairs. The money needed is
borrowed from the government by the county council, and the council has
control of the houses, decides where they shall be built, what rent
shall be asked for them, and exercises a general supervision over the
tenants.

The same thing is being done in the towns, where the insanitary
dwellings of the poorer artisans are being replaced by comfortable
houses, rented at a very low rate. Nearly a hundred thousand of these
cottages have been built within the past ten years, replacing as many
insanitary shacks, which, for the most part, have been torn down. The
shacks were much more picturesque, but nobody regrets them. And the
severely utilitarian aspect of the new dwellings will no doubt soon be
masked with vines and climbing roses.

It was such cottages as this, then, that gave the valley sloping down to
Lough Gill an unusually prosperous appearance, and many more were in
course of erection throughout the neighbourhood. We padded past them,
along the road above the lake, between beautiful hedgerows, gay with
climbing roses; and then we turned away through a luxuriant wood, where
the bracken was almost waist-high and the trees were draped with moss
and ferns, just as we had seen them along the southern coast. And then
we passed through a gate and jolted down a very rough and narrow lane;
and finally our driver stopped at the edge of a wood, and pointed to a
path running away under the trees.

"'Tis the path to St. Patrick's holy well," he said; and we clambered
down, and made our way under the trees and up the hillside, and there
before us was the well.

It is a lively spring, which bubbles up from the ground in considerable
volume, fills a deep basin, and then sparkles away down into the valley.
A wall has been built around it, with an opening on one side, and steps
by which one may descend and drink of the magic water. Just above it on
the hillside is a shrine, something like the one we had seen at St.
Senan's well--really an altar, where, I suppose, Mass may be
celebrated; and it was crowded with figurines of the Virgin and small
crucifixes and rosaries and sacred pictures, and the bushes all about
were tied with rags and strings and other tokens which the pilgrims to
the shrine had left behind.

This well is a very famous one, and the number of pilgrims who come to
it prove how general is the belief in its powers. It is really a belief
in the power of prayer, for prayer is always necessary. I tried to get a
picture of the well and the shrine above it, but it was very dark under
the trees, and there was no place where I could rest my camera for a
time exposure; but the photograph opposite page 408, is better than I
had any reason to expect.

We found that the rain had ceased when we came out from under the trees,
and we jogged happily back to the highroad and on towards Sligo; and
presently far ahead the bay opened out, rimmed by romantic hills, green
nearly to the summit, and then culminating in steep escarpments of grey
rock; and beneath us in the valley lay the roofs and spires of the town,
and we were soon rattling through its streets.

We went back to the hotel to change out of our wet things and get a cup
of hot chocolate; and then we took a last stroll about the streets, and
stopped to see the church of St. John, said to be older than the abbey,
but recently restored and now used by a Church of Ireland congregation.
The graveyard about it is full of interesting tombs, and the street it
fronts is one of the most romantic in the town. Indeed, the whole town
is interesting; its greatest drawback for the visitor being the beggars
who infest it, and who are nearly as pertinacious as those at Killarney.

We went back to the hotel, at last, and told the proprietor that we were
going to Bundoran by the four o'clock train.

"You will make a great mistake," he protested, "to leave Sligo without
going around Lough Gill."

It was then I had my revenge.

"We have been around Lough Gill," I explained sweetly. "That's where we
were this morning."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is no easy task to travel along the west coast of Ireland. The great
bays which indent it, running far inland, and the mountain ranges which
tower one behind the other, make it impossible to follow anything like a
straight line. The only thing to do is to zig-zag around them. Our
journey, that afternoon, was a striking example of this. Bundoran lies
twenty-two miles north along the coast from Sligo; but to get there by
rail, it was necessary to travel ninety-two--forty-eight miles
north-eastward to Enniskillen, and then forty-four miles westward to the
coast again.

The road to Enniskillen parallels Lough Gill, though it is so hemmed in
by hills that we caught no glimpse of the water; and then proceeds
across a dreary bog, climbing up and up with a wide valley opening to
the south; and then runs into woodland and even orchards--the first, I
think, that we had seen in Ireland; and then drops down toward
Enniskillen, whose name lives in English history as that of one of the
most famous of its regiments. It is said to be a pretty town, nestling
between two lakes and entirely water-girt; but we did not stop to see
it.

We changed instead to the Bundoran line, which runs along the northern
shore of Lough Erne; and we found the train crowded with people, on
their way to spend the week-end at that famous resort; at least so we
supposed, but when we got to Pettigoe, there was a crowd on the
platform, waving flags and shouting, and as the train stopped somebody
set off a series of bombs; and most of the passengers piled out of the
train to take part in the celebration; and then we saw a man and woman
standing rather sheepishly in front of another man, who was evidently
delivering an address of welcome. We asked the guard what it was all
about, and he said that the citizens of Pettigoe were welcoming home a
fellow-townsman who had gone to Australia and won a fortune and also a
wife--or perhaps I should put it the other way around--and had come back
to Pettigoe to live.

I was half-inclined to get off there myself, in order to visit St.
Patrick's Purgatory, a famous place of pilgrimage on an island in Lough
Derg, five miles away; but from the map it looked as though it would be
possible to drive over from Donegal, which would be much more
convenient. I found out afterwards that there is a mountain range
between Donegal and Lough Derg, and no direct road over it; so we did
not get to visit the island where, so legend says, St. Patrick had a
vision of purgatory, and which became so celebrated that pilgrims
flocked to it from all over Europe. The time prescribed for the
ceremonies is from the first of June to the middle of August, and the
island is often so crowded with penitents performing the rounds that
visitors are not permitted to land.

Our train moved on, after the address of welcome was concluded, and we
could see the blue waters of Lough Erne stretching away to the south,
while westward the sun was setting in a glory of crimson clouds; and
presently the broad estuary of the Erne opened below us, hemmed in with
high banks of yellow sand; and then we were at Bundoran--a bathing
resort, consisting of a single street of boarding-houses facing the sea;
and a little farther on, a great hotel, built on a projecting point of
the cliffs. As we paused at its door to look about us, we realised that
we had come very far indeed from primitive Connemara, for the first
thing which met our eyes was a huge sign:

          BEWARE OF GOLF BALLS!



CHAPTER XXIV

THE WINING BANKS OF ERNE


THE weather god was certainly good to us in Ireland. The occasional
showers and two or three heavy downpours were merely short interludes,
and by no means unpleasant ones, in the long succession of sweetly
beautiful days which I remember when I run my mind back over those
delightful weeks. That day at Bundoran was one of them, soft and
fragrant and altogether perfect.

There is nothing Irish about Bundoran except its climate--not, at least,
if one stays at the hotel which has been built there by the Great
Northern Railroad, and which is one of the most satisfactory hotels I
was ever in. And perhaps it would be as well to say a word here about
Irish hotels.

The small, friendly inn, which is one of the delights of European
travel, does not exist in Ireland; or, if it does, it is so carelessly
managed that it is not endurable. Commercial hotels are also apt to be
inferior. The only hotels that are sure to be pleasant and satisfactory
are the large ones which cater to tourist traffic. In the more important
towns, of course, there is never any difficulty in finding a good hotel;
in the smaller towns, the only safe rule is to go to the best in the
place, and if there is one managed by the railway, that is usually the
one to choose.

Some years ago, the Irish railways realised that the surest way to
encourage tourist traffic in the west and south was to provide
attractive hotel accommodations, and they set about doing this with the
result that the traveller in Ireland is now well provided for. Such
hotels as those at Bundoran, Recess and Parknasilla--and there are many
others like them, handsome buildings, splendidly equipped, set in the
midst of beautiful surroundings--leave nothing to be desired. Nor are
their rates excessive, considering the excellent service they offer,
averaging a little over three dollars a day. In the smaller towns, the
tariff is considerably less than this, though the service is almost as
good. In places where the railroad does not itself own or manage a
hotel, it usually sees to it that at least one under private management
is kept up to a satisfactory standard. So no one wishing to explore
Ireland need hesitate on account of the hotels. They will be found, with
a few exceptions, surprisingly good.

[Illustration: THE COAST AT BUNDORAN]

[Illustration: THE HOME OF "COLLEEN BAWN"]

The hotel at Bundoran is set close to the edge of the scarred and
weather-beaten cliffs, which look right out over the Atlantic toward
America. It was along the top of these cliffs that we set out, that
Sunday morning, and below us lay the strand where three galleons of the
Spanish Armada went to pieces, as they were staggering homewards from
the battle in the Channel. From time to time, an effort is made to find
these "treasure ships," but, though cannon and anchors and such-like
gear have been recovered, no one as yet has found any treasure.

The great waves which roll right in from the Atlantic, and which proved
too much for the galleons, have worn the cliffs into the most fantastic
shapes; and a little way above the hotel there is a natural arch,
called the Fairy Bridge, some twenty-five feet wide, which the water has
cut in the rocks. When the tide comes in, it may be seen boiling and
bubbling below the bridge, as in a witch's cauldron. Most beautiful of
all is a wide yellow strand, a little farther on, with the rollers
breaking far out and sweeping in, in white-topped majesty. We sat for a
long time watching them, rolling in in long lines one behind the other;
and then we scrambled down to the beach through the bare and shifting
dunes. Seen thus from below, the black cliffs are most impressive.

We went on again, at last, over the upland toward a wide-flung camp,
where the Fourth Inniskillens were getting their summer practice; and
one of the men directed us how to find a cromlech and a cairn, which we
knew were there somewhere, but which we were unable to see amid the
innumerable ridges. From the cairn, which crowns a little eminence
overlooking the Erne estuary, there was supposed to be, so our
acquaintance said, an underground passage to the other side of the
river, where stands the old castle of the Ffolliotts; but as the estuary
is at least a mile wide, I doubt if this ever existed except in the
imagination of the country-side. The castle is there, however,--we could
see its towers looming above the trees; but there was no way to get to
it, that day, for the river lay between. I was determined to see it
closer before we left the neighbourhood, because it was from that castle
that the fair Colleen Bawn eloped with Willy Reilly.

Farther down the stream, a two-masted schooner lay wrecked beside a
sand-bank, and across from us some soldiers were fishing in tiny boats,
while a company was going through some manoeuvres on the shore, so far
away they looked like a company of ants deploying this way and that. For
a long time we watched them; then we bade our companion good-bye, and
went slowly back through the bracken, where Betty picked a great bouquet
of primroses and violets and blue-bells; and we stumbled upon another
ancient burial-place; and stopped at the ruins of an old church; and got
back finally to the hotel to find the golf-links full of industrious
players.

Betty got into talk with the owner of a shaggy English sheep-dog--shaggy
clear to its feet, and looking for all the world like Nana, the
accomplished nurse of the Darling children; and I went on down to the
beach to watch the tide come in. It was swirling threateningly about the
black rocks; and out at the farthest point of them I found a man
sitting. He invited me to sit down beside him, and we fell into talk. He
was a handsome old fellow, a barrister from Dublin, who had come clear
across Ireland (which isn't as far as it sounds) to get a breath of sea
air. There was no air like the Bundoran air, he said, and two or three
days of it did him a world of good. And then we began to talk about
Ireland; and I was guilty of the somewhat banal remark that, before
Ireland could make any real progress, life there would have to be made
attractive enough to keep her young people at home, for she could never
hope to get ahead as long as her best blood was drained away from her.

He pooh-poohed the idea.

"The best advice you can give any Irish man or Irish girl," he said,
"is to leave the country the first chance they get; and that will always
be good advice, because there will never be anything here for them to
do. All this talk about the revival of industry is foolish. You can't
revive what's dead; and industry here has been dead for three hundred
years. Besides this is an agricultural country, and it will never be
anything else; and over wide stretches of it, grazing pays better than
tillage will ever do, so grazing there will be. Home Rule will make no
difference--how can it? I suppose we're going to get it, and I'll be
glad to see it come, if only to stop this ceaseless agitation; but as
for its reviving any industries, or increasing wages, or making Ireland
a place for ambitious young people to live in--I don't believe it."

"You don't foresee a roseate future, then?"

"Not for Ireland. All these schemes for land purchase and new cottages
and pensions and so on may make life here a little more comfortable than
it has been; but this country has been in a lethargy for centuries, and
it will never be shaken off. The Irish have no ambition; they just live
along from day to day without any thought for the future; and they will
always be like that. It's their nature."

He would doubtless have said more to the same effect, for he was very
much in earnest, but the rising tide drove us in, and I did not see him
again.

       *       *       *       *       *

The picturesque old town of Ballyshannon is only a few miles from
Bundoran, and we took train for it next morning, after a last stroll
along the cliffs and a look at the "rock-pool," a treasure-house of
fossils and marine growths of every kind. First of all, we wanted to
see the Colleen Bawn castle, so we got a car at the station, and set
out.

Ballyshannon, after the fashion of Irish towns, is built on the side of
a hill, and no horse unaccustomed to mountaineering could have got up
the street which leads from the river; but our horse had been reared in
the town, so he managed to scramble up; and then we turned to the left
and followed along the river to the falls--a dashing mass of spray,
where the whole body of water which rushes down from Lough Erne sweeps
roaring over a cliff some thirty feet high. Two or three miles along
country roads brought us to a gate; and here our driver, looking a
little anxious, had a short conference with a woman who lived in a neat
labourer's cottage near by; and finally he opened the gate and drove
through.

Half a mile along this lane brought us to another gate; and there our
driver stopped, and showed us the castle just ahead, and said that was
all the farther he could go, and that we would have to walk the rest of
the way. There was a certain constraint in his manner which I did not
understand till afterwards.

We went on through the gate, and across what had once been the demesne,
but had been swept bare of trees, and was now divided between a meadow
and a stable-yard, and in a few minutes we stood before the castle which
was the scene of a romance very dear to Irish hearts. It is not really a
castle, but merely a tall and ugly house, with three bays and a low
terrace in front, and it is not very old, since it dates only from 1739,
when it was built as the home of the Ffolliotts, a powerful English
family into whose hands this whole neighbourhood had fallen. The
Ffolliotts, of course, were Protestants, and Willy Reilly was a
Catholic; but Helen Ffolliott was so ill-advised as to fall in love with
him, and one night packed up her jewels and eloped. A hue and cry was
raised after them, and they were soon captured, and Reilly was thrown
into Sligo jail, and it looked for a while as though he might be
"stretched," for all this happened about 1745, when the penal laws
against Catholics were most severe. But the fair Helen came to the
rescue, and swore at the trial that she had been the leader in the
affair, not Reilly, and so he escaped with a sentence of banishment.
What happened thereafter history does not state; but Will Carleton, who
wove a poor romance about the affair, manages to reunite the lovers in
the end.

It is not to be wondered at that Reilly became a popular hero. Here was
a young and handsome Catholic, who, in the most daring way, had captured
the heart of a great Protestant heiress, the daughter of a persecutor of
Catholics, and, in addition, a girl so lovely that she was the toast of
the whole country-side. The ballad which celebrated the affair had an
immense vogue. It is a real ballad, rough and halting, but rudely
eloquent. You remember how it starts:

    "Oh! rise up, Willy Reilly, and come alongst with me,
     I mean for to go with you and leave this countrie,
     To leave my father's dwelling, his houses and fine lands;"
     And away goes Willy Reilly and his dear Colleen Bawn.

In the ballad, the family is called Folliard, which is the way the name
is still pronounced in the neighbourhood; but the old mansion is now
occupied by a tenant. And pretty soon we understood our jarvey's
uneasiness, for first a man came to the front door and looked at us, and
then went quickly in again; and then an old woman opened the side door,
and glared at us, and when we asked if we might have a glimpse of the
interior, slammed the door in our faces. I must give her credit,
however, for restraining a particularly savage-looking dog eager to be
at us. But it was evident we weren't wanted there, for even the turkey
gobbler resented our visit, and strutted fiercely about us, trying to
scare us out. So we went back to the car, and our jarvey breathed a sigh
of relief when he saw us.

"Sure, I didn't know whether you'd come back alive or not," he said.
"The master is away from home the day, and the woman that does work for
him wouldn't be above settin' the dog on you. But it's all right, glory
be to God," and he climbed up to his box and drove us back to
Ballyshannon.

We left our luggage at the station of the Donegal narrow-gauge railway,
and then walked down into the town. We found it a quaint place, with the
friendliest of people; and we were fortunate in discovering a clean inn
on the main street, where we had the nicest of lunches, after which we
set off to see the abbey.

The road to the abbey lies through a deep, romantic dell, at the bottom
of which we found a grain mill working, its great wheel turned by the
brook which rushes through the glen; and a little farther on were four
or five other mills, all fallen to decay, their wheels mere skeletons,
and their machinery red with rust. Just beyond, a little higher up the
hill, stands all that is left of the abbey, a few shattered fragments of
the old walls. Yet the abbey was, in its day, a great foundation,
patronised by the mighty Prince of Tyrconnell, and taking its name of
Assaroe from the falls in the river--Eas Aedha Ruaidh, the Waterfall of
Red Hugh, who was High King of Erin about three centuries before Christ,
and who was swept over the falls and drowned while trying to cross the
ford above them. A boy who played about the ruins described them, when
he grew to manhood, in a musical stanza:

    Grey, grey is Abbey Assaroe, by Ballyshanny town,
    It has neither door nor window, the walls are broken down;
    The carven stones lie scattered in briars and nettle-bed;
    The only feet are those that come at burial of the dead.
    A little rocky rivulet runs murmuring to the tide,
    Singing a song of ancient days, in sorrow, not in pride;
    The bore-tree and the lightsome ash across the portal grow,
    And heaven itself is now the roof of Abbey Assaroe.

We had heard certain legends of underground passages, which could still
be explored, and we asked an old man who was cutting grass in the
graveyard if he knew anything about them, and he said that he did not.
We remarked that it was a hard task cutting the grass around the
gravestones; and he said it was so, and would not be worth doing but
that the grass was given to him for the cutting; but the guardians were
unreasonable men who wanted it cut long before it was ready--it ought
really to stand a week longer, now, but them ones would not wait!

We went back past the mill, and met a man in flour-besprinkled clothes,
who bade us good-day and stopped to talk; and it proved to be the
miller. He invited us in to see the mill, which was grinding Russian
corn, very red and hard, into yellow meal which was used for feeding
cattle. We tried to tell him something of the delights of corn-bread and
griddle-cakes, but he was plainly sceptical.

He was an Ulster man, and had been running the mill for three years, but
he said it was a hard struggle to make both ends meet. If it was not
that his power cost him nothing, he would have had to give it up long
ago. Power apart, I could imagine no poorer place for a mill, for it was
at least two miles from the railway, and the road into the hollow was so
steep that it must be a terrific struggle to get a loaded wagon into or
out of it. There had been a number of mills in the neighbourhood at one
time, but they had all given up the struggle long ago, except one flour
mill, which had somehow managed to survive.

We told him that we had seen the ruins of some of them as we went to the
abbey.

"Have you been to the abbey?" he asked. "Did you see the underground
passages?"

"Are there really some?"

"Come along, and I'll show you."

We protested that we didn't want him to leave his work, but he said the
mill could take care of itself for awhile; and we started off together
up the hill, through a gate to the right, and then knee-deep through the
grass to the brook which ran at the bottom of the ravine, under the
walls of the monastery. And there, sure enough, was the mouth of a
passage cut in the solid rock of the bank. It was about six feet high
by three wide, and ran in about a hundred feet, for all the world like
the entrance to a mine. How much farther it extended I don't know, for
an iron gate had been put across it to keep out explorers; but there can
be no doubt that, at one time, it connected with the abbey itself, and
formed a secret means of ingress and egress, which was no doubt often
very convenient.

And then our guide showed us something else, which was far more
interesting. In the penal days, Catholic priests were forbidden to
celebrate Mass under the severest penalties; but nevertheless they
managed to hold a service now and then in some out of the way place,
carefully concealed, with sentries posted all about to guard against
surprise. A short distance down stream from the entrance to the secret
passage was a shallow cave in the cliff, so overhung with ivy that it
could scarcely be seen, and here, many times, the Catholics of the
neighbourhood had gathered at word that a priest would celebrate Mass.
On the heights all about lookouts would be placed, and then the men and
women would kneel before the mouth of the little cave and take part in
the sacrament.

At the back of the cave, the shelf of rock which served as the altar
still remains, and at one side of it is a rude piscina--a basin hollowed
in the rock, with a small hole in the bottom to drain it; and it was
here the vessels used in the celebration of the Mass were washed, after
the service was over. I wanted mightily to get a picture of this cave,
but it had started to shower, and though I got under the umbrella and
made an exposure, the picture was a failure.

We bade our guide good-bye, with many thanks for his kindness, and went
slowly back along the highroad toward Ballyshannon; and presently from a
tiny cottage beside the road two old women issued and greeted us with
great cordiality. They were clean and neatly dressed, and the younger
one, who did most of the talking, seemed to be quite unusually
interested in our private history and solicitous for our welfare, and
the blarney with which her tongue plastered us was the most finished I
have ever listened to. We thanked her for her good wishes, and were
about to go on, much pleased at this new demonstration of Irish
cordiality, when we had a rude awakening.

"Ah, your honour," she said, "would you not be giving me something for
my poor sister here? You see she is all twisted with rheumatism, and can
scarcely walk, and the medicine do be costing so much that she often
must go without it. Just a small coin, God bless ye."

I didn't want to give her anything, for I suspected that she made a
practice of waylaying passers-by and begging from them; and then I
looked at the older woman, who was standing by with her hands crossed
before her, and I saw how the fingers were twisted and withered and how
the face was drawn with pain--so I compromised by dropping sixpence into
the outstretched hand.

"If your honour would only be makin' it eightpence now," the woman said
quickly; "we can get three bottles of castor-oil for eightpence--"

But the other woman stopped her.

"No, no," she protested; "take shame to yourself for askin' the kind
gentleman for more. We thank your honour, and God bless ye, and may He
bring ye safe home."

And the other woman joined in the blessings too, and they continued to
bless us, considerably to our embarrassment, until we were out of
ear-shot.

Betty had had enough of Ballyshannon; besides, the showers were coming
with increasing force and frequency; so she elected to go back to the
railway station and rest, while I wandered about for a last look at the
town. And now, I suppose, I shall have to say a word about its history.

All this country to the north of Lough Erne is Tyrone--Tir Owen, the
Province of Owen--and was once a great principality, which stretched
eastward clear to the shore of the Channel about Belfast. Northwest of
it, answering roughly to the present county of Donegal, was
Tyrconnell--Tir Connell, the Province of Connell; and Connell and Owen
were brothers, sons of Nial of the Nine Hostages, who was King of
Ireland from 379 to 405, and whose eight sons cut Ireland up between
them into the principalities which were, in time, by their own
internecine warfare, to make Ireland incapable of defending herself
against the invader. Saint Patrick, about 450, found Connell in his
castle on Lough Erne and baptised him; and then he journeyed north to
Owen's great fortress, which we shall see before long on a hill
overlooking Lough Swilly, and baptised him.

Five centuries later, when Brian Boru had brought all Ireland to
acknowledge his kingship, he decreed that every family should take a
surname from some distinguished ancestor, and so began the era of the
O's and the Macs. The two great clans of Tyrone and Tyrconnell chose the
names of O'Neill and O'Donnell, and the river Erne was the frontier of
the O'Donnell domain. There was a ford here at Ballyshannon, and so, of
course, a castle to guard it, and many were the herds of lifted cattle
which the O'Donnells, sallying south into Sligo, drove back before them
into Donegal. Cattle was the principal form of property in those old
days--about the only kind, at least, that could be stolen--and so it was
always cattle that the raiders went after.

The English brought a great force against the place in 1597, and for
three days besieged the castle and tried unavailingly to carry it by
assault; and then the O'Donnell clans poured down from the hills, and
the English, seeing themselves trapped, tried to cross the river at the
ford just above the falls; and the strongest managed to get across, but
the women and the wounded and the weak were swept away.

There is no trace remaining of the castle, but just below the graceful
bridge of stone which crosses the river is the ford over which the
English poured that day, and an ugly ford it is, for the water runs deep
and strong, quickening at its lower edge into the rapids above the
falls. From the centre of this bridge, some twenty-five years ago, the
ashes of one of Ireland's truest poets were scattered on the swift,
smooth-running water and carried down to the sea, and a tablet marks the
spot:

          WILLIAM ALLINGHAM
          A Native of This Town
          Born 1824; died 1889.

          Here once he roved, a happy boy,
            Along the winding banks of Erne,
          And now, please God, with finer joy,
            A fairer world his eyes discern.

It is certainly a halting quatrain, quite unworthy the immortality of
marble. A couplet from Allingham's own poem in praise of his birthplace
would have been far more fitting; but I suppose that the lines on the
tablet were composed by some local dignitary, and that nobody dared tell
him how bad they were. I know of no more graceful tribute to any town
than Allingham paid to Ballyshannon in his "Winding Banks of Erne." The
first stanza gives a savour of its quality:

  Adieu to Ballyshanny, where I was bred and born;
  Go where I may, I'll think of you, as sure as night and morn:
  The kindly spot, the friendly town, where everyone is known,
  And not a face in all the place but partly seems my own;
  There's not a house or window, there's not a field or hill,
  But east or west, in foreign lands, I'll recollect them still;
  I leave my warm heart with you, though my back I'm forced to turn--
  Adieu to Ballyshanny, and the winding banks of Erne.

You will note that the savour is the same as that of the lines I have
already quoted describing Abbey Assaroe, and of course the same hand
wrote them. I wish I could quote the whole poem to Ballyshannon, for it
is worth quoting, but one more stanza must suffice, the last one:

  If ever I'm a moneyed man, I mean, please God, to cast
  My golden anchor in the place where youthful years were passed;
  Though heads that now are black or brown must meanwhile gather grey,
  New faces rise by every hearth, and old ones drop away--
  Yet dearer still that Irish hill than all the world beside;
  It's home, sweet home, where'er I roam, through lands and waters wide.
  And if the Lord allows me, I surely will return
  To my native Ballyshanny, and the winding banks of Erne.

His birthplace is not far away--one of a row of plain old stone houses
standing in the Mall, with a tablet:

          WILLIAM ALLINGHAM
          Poet
          Born in This House
          19th March, 1824

I walked on past it, down to the river below the falls, where, close to
the water's edge, a seat has been placed under a rustic canopy, and I
sat there for a long time and watched the foaming water rushing over the
cliff, with a crash and roar which, as Allingham says, is the voice of
the town, "solemn, persistent, humming through the air day and night,
summer and winter. Whenever I think of that town, I seem to hear the
voice. The river which makes it, runs over rocky ledges into the tide.
Before, spreads a great ocean in sunshine or storm; behind stretches a
many-islanded lake. On the south runs a wavy line of blue mountains; and
on the north, over green, rocky hills, rise peaks of a more distant
range."

[Illustration: BIRTHPLACE OF WILLIAM ALLINGHAM]

[Illustration: CASTLE DONEGAL]

It is up from the ocean the salmon come in the spring, seeking a place
to spawn, and before they can get into the "many-islanded lake," they
have to pass the falls. It is a ten-foot leap, even at flood-tide; but
they take it, and a beautiful sight it must be to see them do it. But I
saw none that day. Just below the falls is a little island, Inis-Saimer,
said to be the spot where the Firbolgs, the earliest inhabitants of
Ireland, first touched foot to Irish soil. It is given over now to some
small buildings connected with the fishery, which is very valuable.
There were a number of boats out, that day, with fishermen in them
patiently whipping the water, but I did not see any fish caught.

Ballyshannon is not, I judge, so prosperous as it once was, for across
the river from where I sat were a number of tall mills and warehouses,
empty and evidently dropping to decay. But it is more bustling than many
other towns in Ireland, and has perhaps not sunk quite so deeply into
the Slough of Despond. And then again, as the towering mass of the
Belfast Bank in the main street warned me as I walked back through the
village, we were getting nearer to the hustling north!

The little train we were to take for Donegal backed up to the platform
soon after I reached the station. It is a narrow-gauge road, and the
coaches are miniature affairs, scarcely high enough to stand up in, as
we found when we entered. And just then the heavens opened, and the rain
poured down in sheets. We closed door and windows, and congratulated
ourselves that we were snug and dry--and then the other passengers began
to arrive, soaked through and dripping wet; and as the train consisted
of only two coaches, our compartment was soon invaded by two women and
two girls, whose gowns were fairly plastered to them. They dried
themselves as well as they could, but little streams of water continued
to trickle off of them for half an hour.

The road runs through a bare, bleak valley for the first part of the
way, clinging perilously to the hillside, and then climbs steeply over
the watershed into the valley of the Ballintra, which is green and
smiling and apparently prosperous; and at last winds down along the
shore of Donegal Bay, through a district of orchards and lush meadows
and beautiful hedges and comfortable houses, and so into the picturesque
town--Dunna-Gall, the Fort of the Strangers--the ancient seat of the
O'Donnells; but to me Donegal, town and county, has one connotation
which overshadows all others, and that is with Father O'Flynn. Just
where he lived I don't know, but the tribute which Alfred Perceval
Graves paid him is the most eloquent ever paid in rhyme to any
priest--and, as a comment upon the efforts of selfish politicians to fan
the flame of religious bigotry in Ireland, it is worth remembering that
it was written by a Protestant! Do you know the poem? Well, if you do,
you will be glad to read it again, and if you do not, you will have
every reason to thank me for introducing you to it; so, just to give
myself the pleasure of writing it, I am going to quote it entire, for it
would be a crime to leave out a line of it.

FATHER O'FLYNN

    Of priests we can offer a charmin' variety,
    Far renowned for larnin' and piety;
    Still, I'd advance ye widout impropriety,
      Father O'Flynn as the flower of them all.
          Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
          _Sláinte_ and _sláinte_ and _sláinte_ agin;
              Powerfulest preacher, and
              Tinderest teacher, and
          Kindliest creature in ould Donegal.

    Don't talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
    Famous forever at Greek and Latinity,
    Faix! and the divels and all at Divinity--
      Father O'Flynn'd make hares of them all!
          Come, I vinture to give ye my word,
          Niver the likes of his logic was heard,
              Down from mythology
              Into thayology,
          Troth! and conchology if he'd the call.

    Och! Father O'Flynn, you've the wonderful way wid you,
    All ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
    All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
      You've such a way wid you, Father avick!
          Still, for all you've so gentle a soul,
          Gad, you've your flock in the grandest control,
              Checking the crazy ones,
              Coaxin' onaisy ones,
          Liftin' the lazy ones on wid the stick.

    And, though quite avoidin' all foolish frivolity,
    Still, at all seasons of innocent jollity,
    Where was the play-boy could claim an equality
      At comicality, Father, wid you?
          Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
          Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
              "Is it lave gaiety
              All to the laity?
          Cannot the clargy be Irishmen too?"

There is a quaint old inn in Donegal, with dining and sitting rooms
crowded with "curiosities" gathered from the four quarters of the globe
by the proprietor, who was once a soldier; and his daughter looks after
the comfort of the guests; and we had there that night a most satisfying
dinner. And then, as it was still quite light, I filled my pipe and
started out to stroll about the town; but I hadn't gone far when I heard
a bell being rung with great violence, and when I looked again, I saw
the small boy who was ringing it; and when he passed me, I asked him
what the matter was, and he handed me a poster, printed most gorgeously
in red and black, and these were the first lines of it:

          TOWN HALL, DONEGAL

          Monday Evg., June 23rd, 1913

          MONSTER ATTRACTION

          Powerful Performance!
          For the Benefit of Mr. Joe Cullen,
          The Donegal Old Favourite
          On which occasion the ladies and
          gentlemen of the Donegal Amateur
          Dramatic and Variety Club will
          Appear.

Then followed the programme. There were to be four scenes from "The Ever
Popular Play Entitled Robert Emmet," also "The Laughable Sketch Entitled
The Cottage by the Sea," also "The Irish Farce, Miss Muldowedy from
Ireland," the whole to be interspersed with variety turns by members of
the club, as well as Mr. Cullen. "Don't Miss This Treat," the poster
concluded. "Motto, 'Fun without Vulgarity.'"

Blessing the chance which had brought us to Donegal upon this day, I
hastened back to the hotel, showed the poster to Betty, and three
minutes later, we were sallying forth in quest of the town-hall, whose
entrance proved to be up a little court just across the street. The
prices of admission, so the bill announced, were "2s., 1s. and 6d.," and
I consulted with the abashed young man at the door as to which seats we
should take. He advised the shilling ones, and we thereupon paid and
entered. I wondered afterwards where the two shilling seats were, for
the shilling ones were the best in the house.

Although it was nearly time for the performance to begin, we were almost
the first arrivals; but we soon heard heavy feet mounting the stair, and
quite a crowd of men and boys began to file into the sixpenny seats at
the rear. A few girls and women came forward into the shilling seats;
but from the look of them, I suspected that they were deadheads, and I
fear that Mr. Cullen did not reap a great fortune from that benefit!

There was a tiny stage at one end of the hall, and the stage-manager,
after the habit of all such, was having his troubles, for he could not
get the footlights--a strip of gas-pipe with holes in it--to work. We
thought for a while that he was going to blow himself up, and the whole
house along with him; but he gave up the struggle, at last; the pianist
played an overture, and the curtain rose.

I have never seen the whole of "Robert Emmet," but from what I saw of it
that night, I judge that it must have been written for a star, for
nobody does much talking except Emmet himself. He, however, does a lot;
and it was fortunate that, in this instance, he was impersonated by Mr.
Cullen, for I am sure none of the other actors could have learned the
part. Mr. Cullen proved to be a hatchet-faced old gentleman without any
teeth; but he had a pleasing voice, and Emmet's grandiloquent speech
from the dock was greeted with applause.

Of the two farces I will say nothing, except that they were really not
so bad as one would expect, once the actors had recovered from their
embarrassment when they perceived two strangers present; but the feature
of the evening was the songs, which were many and various and
well-rendered. I remember only one of them, which we then heard for the
first time, but which we were to hear many times thereafter, a lilting,
catchy air, in which the audience assisted with the chorus, which ran
something like this:

          It's a long way to Tipperary,
            It's a long way to go;
          It's a long way to Tipperary,
            The sweetest land I know.
          Good-bye, Piccadilly,
            Farewell, Leicester Square;
          It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
            But my heart is there.

It is the old, old theme of the Irish exile longing for home; the theme
of I know not how many poems, from the time of St. Columba, banished
overseas and "thinking long" of

          Derry mine, my own oak grove,
          Little cell, my home, my love;

down through Father Dollard's lilting "Song of the Little Villages":

    The pleasant little villages that grace the Irish glynns
    Down among the wheat-fields--up amid the whins;
    The little white-walled villages, crowding close together,
    Clinging to the Old Sod in spite of wind and weather:
        Ballytarsney, Ballymore, Ballyboden, Boyle,
        Ballingarry, Ballymagorry by the Banks of Foyle,
        Ballylaneen, Ballyporeen, Bansha, Ballysadare,
        Ballybrack, Ballinalack, Barna, Ballyclare,

to the tender verses by Stephen Gwynne with which I will close this
already, perhaps, too-poetical chapter:

    Ireland, oh, Ireland! centre of my longings,
      Country of my fathers, home of my heart,
    Overseas you call me, "Why an exile from me?
      Wherefore sea-severed, long leagues apart?"

    As the shining salmon, homeless in the sea-depths,
      Hears the river call him, scents out the land,
    Leaps and rejoices in the meeting of the waters,
      Breasts weir and torrent, nests him in the sand;

    Lives there and loves; yet with the year's returning,
      Rusting in his river, pines for the sea;
    Sweeps down again to the ripple of the tideway,
      Roamer of the ocean, vagabond and free.

    Wanderer am I, like the salmon of thy rivers;
      London is my ocean, murmurous and deep,
    Tossing and vast; yet through the roar of London
      Reaches me thy summons, calls me in sleep.

    Pearly are the skies in the country of my fathers,
      Purple are thy mountains, home of my heart:
    Mother of my yearning, love of all my longings,
      Keep me in remembrance, long leagues apart.



CHAPTER XXV

THE MAIDEN CITY


ASs far back as its history goes, Donegal was the seat of the
O'Donnells, that powerful clan of which the choicest flowers were Hugh
Roe and Red Hugh, and here they had their castle, on a small bluff
overlooking the waters of the River Eask. It still stands there,
remarkably well-preserved considering its vicissitudes, one of the
handsomest semi-fortified buildings in existence anywhere. It is by far
the most interesting thing to be seen in the town of Donegal, and we set
out for it immediately after breakfast next morning.

Donegal we found by daylight to be a pleasant little town, with a single
street of two-storied houses curving down over the hill toward the
river, and a few narrow lanes branching off from it, after the
traditional fashion of the Irish village. The castle is nestled in a
bend of the river, which defends it on two sides, and there is still a
trace of the moat which used to defend the other two. The best view of
it is from the bridge crossing the river, and surprisingly beautiful it
is, with its gabled towers and square bartizan turrets and mullioned
windows. The picture opposite this page shows how the castle looks from
the land side, with one of the square turrets, perfectly preserved; but
the mullioned windows are the most striking feature of this side of the
building, which was the domestic side, and so had larger openings than
the one overlooking the river, which was more open to attack.

Just when the castle was built no one knows, but it was thoroughly
restored and largely added to by Sir Basil Brooke, to whom it was
granted after the confiscation in 1610, when the power of the O'Donnells
was finally broken. Red Hugh was really the last of the line, and his
short life of twenty-eight years was more crowded with adventure than
that of most heroes of romance.

He was the son of Hugh O'Donnell, head of the clan, and of a
high-spirited daughter of the Lord of the Isles, Innen Dhu Mac Donnell,
whom Hugh of the Red Hair resembled in more ways than one. He was
kidnapped by the English when only thirteen, and taken to Dublin and
imprisoned in the castle there, as a hostage for his father's good
behaviour. A year later, he managed to escape; was recaptured, escaped
again; and, by remarkable cunning and daring, eluded the pursuers who
were close after him, and got through to Donegal.

He arrived there to find a great force of English camped about the
place; but, half dead with exposure as he was, he mustered a force of
his clansmen, marched on the English and put them to rout--a good
beginning for a boy of fourteen. From that time forward, he was the
firebrand which kept all Ireland alight against the invaders; but at
last, as has happened so frequently in Irish history, a traitor in his
own camp overthrew him--his cousin and brother-in-law, Nial Garv the
Fierce, who, being older than Hugh, thought that he should have had the
O'Donnellship and been crowned at the Rock of Doon, and so grew jealous
of the red haired lad, and ended by going over to the English.

There was red battle between them after that, and the English were
treated to the pleasant spectacle of Irishmen slaying each other; but
Hugh was called away to Kinsale to join the Spaniards, stopping at Holy
Cross on the way, as we have seen, for the Abbot's blessing, and then
going on to a ruinous defeat. He went to Spain, after that, to plead for
more help, and died there, of poison it is said, at the age of
twenty-eight, and lies buried at Valladolid.

His brother, Rory O'Donnell, was recognised by the English and made Earl
of Tyrconnell, but at the end of a year or two he found himself so
surrounded with intrigue that, in fear for his life, he gathered up such
of his belongings as he could and fled the country. O'Neill, Earl of
Tyrone, fled with him, and this "flight of the earls" was the end of
Irish power in the north of Ireland, for their estates were declared
forfeit, and divided among adherents of the English court. Nial Garv,
who had contributed so much to the O'Donnells' overthrow, put in a claim
for their estates, but was arrested and sent to the Tower of London and
left to rot there till he died. Such was the end of Donegal as the seat
of a Celtic Princedom, for the new prince was an Englishman, Sir Basil
Brooke.

It is his imprint you will see upon the castle as it exists
to-day--particularly in the great sculptured chimney-piece which stands
in what was once the banqueting hall, and which is a marvel of
elaborate, though not very finished, carving. Brooke was a Catholic and
a royalist, a supporter of Charles I, and after the fall of that unlucky
monarch, was imprisoned in the Tower and his estate declared forfeited
to the Parliament. The old castle, now the property of the Earl of
Arran, fell gradually to ruin, until to-day only the shell remains.

Next to the chimney-piece, the most interesting feature of the interior
is the vaulting of the lower rooms, which are lighted only by narrow
slits like loopholes. This vaulting is made of flat stones, an inch or
two in thickness, set on edge, and though rough enough, is as firm
to-day as the day it was put in place.

As we came out of the grounds, we were accosted by an old man with a
flowing white beard, who suggested that we visit his tweed depot, just
across the street, and see for ourselves what Donegal tweeds really
were. He was so pleasant about it that we couldn't refuse; and to say
that we were astonished when we stepped inside his shop would be putting
it mildly, for there, in that village of twelve hundred people, was the
largest stock of tweeds and other Irish weaves that I have ever seen.
The place was fairly jammed with great rolls of cloth; and when we said
we weren't especially interested in tweeds, but might be in a
steamer-rug, he led us up to a wide balcony and produced rug after rug;
beautiful rugs, soft and thick, pure wool in ever fibre. Of course we
succumbed!

Mr. Timony, for such was the old man's name, was very proud of his shop,
as he had a right to be, and of his American custom. He told us that
President Woodrow Wilson and William Randolph Hearst had both been
among his visitors, and he evidently considered them equally
distinguished!

It had begun to shower again by the time we tore ourselves away from Mr.
Timony, and Betty elected to return to the hotel; but I wanted to see
the ruins of the old abbey, a little way down the river, and walked out
to it. There is scarcely more left of it than there is of Assaroe--just
some fragments of ivy-clad wall standing in the midst of a graveyard, as
may be seen from the picture opposite page 438. The graveyard is still
used, and when I got there, I found three men trying to decide on the
site for a grave, while the diggers stood by, with their long-handled
spades, waiting the word to begin. They had a hard time finding a place,
for the graveyard is crowded, like most Irish ones, and they wandered
about from place to place for quite a while.

That so little is left of the abbey is due to the fact that in 1601,
Nial Garv took possession of the place, and Red Hugh besieged him there,
and in some way Garv's store of gunpowder exploded and tore the
buildings to pieces. All of which is told in that priceless volume of
Irish history which was written here, the "Annals of the Four Masters,"
a book of eleven hundred quarto pages, which, by some miracle of luck,
has been preserved. The "four masters" were four monks of the abbey, and
it is largely to their labours we owe what history we have of the times
in which they lived.

There are a few arches of the cloisters still standing, and they
resemble those at Sligo not only in shape and character, but also in the
fact that repeated burials have raised the ground about them many feet
above its ancient level, so that what was once a lofty arched doorway
can now be passed only by stooping low. Hugh Roe O'Donnell and his wife,
Fingalla, who founded the monastery for the Franciscans in 1474, are
said to be buried here, but I did not find their graves. There is also a
legend that castle and abbey were at one time connected by a secret
passage, but I scarcely believe it, for they are a long way apart.

The rain was sheeting down in earnest when I finally left the place, but
the gravediggers were bending to their task, quite oblivious of the
downpour.

       *       *       *       *       *

We bade good-bye to Donegal that afternoon, and took train for
Londonderry and the "Black North." And it was not long before we
realised that we had turned our backs upon the Ireland of the Irish and
entered the Ireland of the English and the Scotch--a very different
country!

Just outside of Donegal, we witnessed one of those leave-takings, which
have occurred a million times in Ireland during the past fifty years. As
the train stopped at a little station, we saw that the platform was
crowded, and then we perceived the cause. A boy and two girls, some
seventeen or eighteen years old, were setting out for Derry to take ship
for America, and their relatives and friends had come down to see them
off. There were tears in every eye, and if blessings have any virtue,
enough were showered on that trio that afternoon to see them safely
through life.

The guard came along presently, and hustled them into the compartment
ahead of ours--he had seen such scenes a hundred times, I suppose, and
had long since ceased to be impressed by them--and then the three
children hung out of the door and took a last look at their people; and
then the engine whistled and the train started slowly, and one man, his
face working convulsively, began to run along beside it, then suddenly
recollected himself, and stopped with a jerk.

The whole country-side must have known that the three were going, for
every house for miles had a group of men and women out to wave at them
as the train passed; and the exiles waved and waved back, and leaned out
and gazed at the country they were leaving, as though to impress its
every feature on their minds.

And indeed it is a beautiful country, for the road follows the valley of
the Eask, and presently Lough Eask opened before us, lying in a deep
basin at the foot of lofty hills--such hills as cover the whole of
Donegal and make it one of the most picturesque of Irish counties.
Beyond the lake, the line traverses one of the wildest valleys we had
seen in Ireland, the Gap of Barnesmore--a bleak, rock-strewn defile,
with a little stream running at the bottom and the post-road following
its windings; but the railway line has been laid, most perilously it
seemed, right along the face of the mountain. There were evidences of
land-slips here and there, and it was plain that great boulders were
always rolling down, so I should fancy that a sharp watch has to be kept
on those five miles of road-bed. But we got across without accident, and
the views out over the valley and the Donegal mountains were superb--I
only wish we had had time to explore them more thoroughly.

Just beyond the gap, the line passes Lough Mourne, a melancholy little
lake set in a framework of bleak hills, and then runs on across a still
bleaker moor; but gradually, as the hills are left behind, the character
of the country changes, the houses become more numerous, the fields
larger and less stony, one sees an orchard here and there--and then,
quite suddenly, the whole landscape becomes prosperous and pastoral, and
we caught our first glimpse of wide fields covered with a light and
vivid green, which we knew was the green of flax. After that, there was
no time, until we left Ireland, that this new and lovely tint was not
among the other tints of whatever landscape we might be looking at.

We paused for a moment at the prosperous little town of Stranorlar, and
then went on northwards, past one village after another, along the
valley of the Finn, to Strabane--like Leenane, pronounced to rhyme with
"fan." We had an hour or two to wait here, so we walked up into the
town, and had lunch at a pleasant inn, and then took a look about the
place; and I think it was then we began to realise that the picturesque
part of Ireland was behind us. Certainly there is nothing picturesque
about Strabane, although it resembles most other Irish towns in having a
huge workhouse and jail. But it has also some large shirt-factories,
whence came the whirr of machinery, and where we could see the girls and
women in long rows bending to their tasks; and it has great ware-houses,
not falling to ruin like those of Galway and Westport and Ballyshannon,
but filled with merchandise and busy with men and drays. We were so
unaccustomed to such a sight that we stopped and looked at it for quite
a while.

It is a fifteen mile run from Strabane to Derry, for the most part along
the bank of the Foyle, through a beautiful and prosperous country, with
many villages clustered among the trees; and at six o'clock we reached
the "Maiden City,"--by far the busiest town we had seen since Dublin. In
fact, as we turned up past the old walls and came to the centre of the
town, the bustle of business and roar of traffic seemed to me to surpass
Dublin; and more than once, when we were settled in our room, the
unaccustomed noise drew us to the window to see what was going on. We
went out, presently, to see that portion of the town which stands within
the ancient walls; but before I describe that excursion, I shall have to
tell something of what those walls stand for.

Fourteen hundred years ago--in 546, to be exact--Columba, greatest of
Irish saints after Patrick and Brigid, passed this way, and stopping in
the oak grove which clothed the hill on which the town now stands, was
so impressed with the lovely situation, that he founded an abbey there,
which was known as Daire-Columbkille--Columba's Oak-grove.

There was another reason, perhaps, besides the beauty of the spot, which
persuaded the Saint to choose this site for his monastery, and that was
the nearness of the great fort on Elagh mountain, the stronghold of the
Lord of Tyrone. He doubtless hoped that, in the shadow of that mighty
cashel, his abbey would be safe from spoliation; but in this he was
disappointed, for its position on a navigable river, so close to the
sea, made it easy prey to the Danes and the Saxons, and they sailed up
to it time and again and laid it waste. But it grew in importance in
spite of repeated burnings, and it held off the English longer than
most, for, though it was plundered by Strongbow's men in 1195, and
included in the grant to Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster, in
1311, it was not until 1609, two years after that "flight of the earls"
which left Tyrone and Tyrconnell confiscated to the English, that it was
really conquered.

In confiscating this vast domain, as in all previous and subsequent
confiscations in Ireland, the English crown proceeded upon the theory
that all the land a chief ruled over belonged to that chief; but in
Ireland this was not at all the case, for there the land belonged, and
always had belonged, not to the chief but to his people. This, however,
was not allowed to interfere in any way with its re-apportionment among
court favourites and companies of adventurers; and Derry, together with
a vast tract of land about it, was granted to the Corporation of London,
which thereupon proceeded to re-name it Londonderry, in token of its
subserviency. Three years later, the Irish Society for the New
Plantation in Ulster was formed, and to it was granted the towns of
Coleraine and Londonderry, with seven thousand acres of land and the
fisheries of the Foyle and the Bann. The society was pledged to enclose
Derry with walls, and these were laid out and built in 1617. They were
strong and serviceable, as may be seen to this day, and so wide that a
carriage and four could drive along the top of them.

The new colonists were mostly Protestants, and in the war which soon
followed between King Charles and the Parliament naturally chose the
Republican side, so that Derry quickly became the centre of resistance
to royalty in Ulster. The town prospered under the Commonwealth, but the
ups and downs of Irish politics after the Restoration kept it in a
perpetual turmoil.

I have already told how, after the fall of Charles I, Cromwell's army
conquered Ireland, drove the Irish to the hills west of the Shannon, and
divided the fertile land among the Puritan soldiers and the adherents of
the Parliament. When Charles II was restored to the throne, part of the
price exacted from him for that restoration was the so-called Act of
Settlement, in which this division of the land among its Protestant
conquerors was confirmed. That the Irish should protest against the
injustice of this was natural enough; and that, once seated on the
throne, the king should give ear to the protestations was natural too,
since the Irish had been his father's allies and had lost their lands in
fighting his battles for him. So, while Irish Catholic Ireland brought
heavy pressure to bear on the king, English Protestant Ireland was on
pins and needles through fear of what might happen. Finally the
Cromwellians agreed to surrender a third of the estates in their
possession, and on this basis peace of a sort was patched up.

That was in 1665, and it looked for a while as though Protestant and
Catholic would thereafter be able to live together in amity, for there
was a general revival of industry which resulted in a prosperity the
country had seldom known, and a consequent abatement of religious
discord. But Charles died, and his brother, James II, at once proceeded
to remodel the Irish army upon a Catholic basis, even going so far as
partially to disarm the Protestants, who of course immediately concluded
that they were all going to be massacred in revenge for Drogheda.

But James soon found himself facing a rebellion in England, and in 1688
a large force of Irish troops were transported to England to help him
hold his throne. Among these troops was the regiment which had been
stationed at Derry; and when, alarmed at the attitude of the town, the
king attempted to throw another garrison into it, rebellion flamed up
swift and fierce, and some apprentice boys seized the keys of the city
gates and closed and locked them in the face of the royal army.
Enniskillen followed suit, and everywhere throughout the north of
Ireland, the Protestants began to form town companies and to arm and
drill for their own defence. Thus was organised the first "army of
Ulster"! It was soon to be needed--as I hope and believe the latest one
will never be!

Certain English leaders, determined to get rid of James at any cost, had
invited William Prince of Orange to bring an army to England to restore
liberty and rescue Protestantism from the destruction which seemed to
threaten it. William, it should be remembered, stood very near the
English throne, for his mother was the eldest daughter of Charles I, and
his wife was his own cousin, the eldest daughter of Charles's son, James
II. William, who had been expecting such an invitation, at once gathered
a great army together and landed in England in November. James, finding
himself detested and deserted by all parties, fled to France; and
William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen of Great Britain and
Ireland.

Ireland, of course, was still in rebellion. There is no more pathetic
page of Irish history than that which tells of Irish loyalty to the
Stuarts; for the Stuarts cared nothing for Ireland, but only for
themselves, and used the Irish merely as pawns in their selfish struggle
for power. The poor Irish stood firm for James, and got a great army
together; and James came over from France with a small French force, and
together they marched against Derry, which the Protestants still held,
but which James expected to capture with little difficulty. The
commander at Derry was a man named Robert Lundy, a Protestant and
soldier of some experience, but he seems to have been a Jacobite at
heart for, after one skirmish near Strabane, he held a council of war,
recommended immediate surrender, ordered that there should be no firing,
and sent word to James that the city was ready to submit. But he had
reckoned without Derry's militant spirit; for when news of his decision
got abroad, the people sprang to arms, and Lundy escaped with his life
only by fleeing in disguise.

Meanwhile, the Rev. George Walker and Major Henry Baker and Captain Adam
Murray, three militants to the backbone, took charge of affairs and put
Derry in the best state of defence possible; but the outlook was not
bright. Military opinion was agreed that the town could not hold out
against such an army as James was bringing against it; it seemed likely
that to defend it would be to invite another Drogheda; and while the
debate in the town council was still raging, James appeared under the
walls expecting an immediate surrender.

Negotiations were begun; but the sight of the Catholic army was the last
thing needed to inflame the townsmen. A group of them managed to get a
cannon pointed in the king's direction and touched it off. The ball is
said to have passed so close to him that the wind of it blew off his
hat; at any rate, the negotiations ended then and there, and with a
shout of "No surrender!" Derry prepared for the struggle.

That was the eighteenth day of April, 1689, and for fifteen weeks the
town held out against a strict siege, which nothing could break. There
were assaults and sallies, a bombardment which killed many people--all
the accompaniments of a siege, with the final accompaniment of famine.
It was the old story of horseflesh, mice and rats and even salted hides
being greedily devoured; of a garrison thinning wofully from death and
disease; but though there seemed to be no choice except starvation or
surrender, nobody thought of surrender. And then, on Sunday, July 28th,
a relief fleet which had been hovering uncertainly at the mouth of the
harbour for some weeks, ran the batteries, broke the boom across the
river, swept up to the city, and the siege was ended.

Such was the siege of Derry. A thousand incidents, impossible to set
down here, are treasured in the minds of every inhabitant; and, lest the
great event should ever be forgotten, two anniversaries connected with
it are celebrated every year, on December 18th the Closing of the Gates
against the King's Army, and on August 12th the Raising of the Siege.
There are processions and meetings and speeches of a very Protestant
character, and at the December festival the effigy of the perfidious
Lundy is hanged and burnt--not without some little rioting, for rather
more than half the population of Derry is Catholic and Nationalist. One
of the popular airs upon these occasions is, of course, "Boyne Water,"
and another is about Derry herself. It is called


THE MAIDEN CITY

  Where Foyle his swelling waters rolls northward to the main,
  Here, Queen of Erin's daughters, fair Derry fixed her reign;
  A holy temple crowned her, and commerce graced her street,
  A rampart wall was round her, the river at her feet;
  And here she sat alone, boys, and, looking from the hill,
  Vowed the Maiden on her throne, boys, would be a Maiden still.

  From Antrim crossing over, in famous eighty-eight,
  A plumed and belted lover came to the Ferry Gate:
  She summoned to defend her our sires--a beardless race--
  They shouted "No Surrender!" and slammed it in his face.
  Then, in a quiet tone, boys, they told him 'twas their will
  That the Maiden on her throne, boys, should be a Maiden still.

  Next, crushing all before him, a kingly wooer came
  (The royal banner o'er him blushed crimson deep for shame);
  He showed the Pope's commission, nor dreamed to be refused;
  She pitied his condition, but begged to stand excused.
  In short, the fact is known, boys, she chased him from the hill,
  For the Maiden on her throne, boys, would be a Maiden still.

  On our peaceful sires descending, 'twas then the tempest broke,
  Their peaceful dwellings rending, 'mid blood and flame and smoke.
  That hallowed graveyard yonder swells with the slaughtered dead--
  O brothers! pause and ponder--it was for us they bled;
  And while their gift we own, boys--the fane that tops our hill--
  Oh! the Maiden on her throne, boys, shall be a Maiden still!

  Nor wily tongue shall move us, nor tyrant arm affright,
  We'll look to One above us who ne'er forsook the right;
  Who will, may crouch and tender the birthright of the free,
  But, brothers, "No Surrender!" no compromise for me!
  We want no barrier stone, boys, no gates to guard the hill,
  Yet the Maiden on her throne, boys, shall be a Maiden still!

There is a good marching song, if there ever was one--a song to make the
heart leap and the spirit sing, when a thousand voices roar it in
unison; and it very fairly represents the spirit of Derry and of the
whole of Protestant Ulster--a spirit which is admirable, though often
mistaken, and sometimes made use of for base and selfish ends. The song
was written by a woman, a native of Derry, of course, Charlotte Tonna,
some sixty years ago; and it is a song of which Ireland, north and
south, should be proud.

Let me tell here, as briefly as may be, the rest of the story of that
ill-fated rebellion, of which Derry wrote one terrific chapter, for
unless we know it, it will be impossible for us to understand Ulster.

The relief of the Maiden City was followed by the complete defeat of the
royal army before Enniskillen, and no further attempt was made to
subjugate the north of Ireland. James took up headquarters at Dublin,
and every nerve was strained to recruit an army capable of withstanding
the one which William was certain to bring into Ireland. The king of
France sent seven thousand veterans, with a park of artillery and large
stores of arms and ammunition, every device of religious and racial
hatred was employed to persuade Irishmen to enlist; so that when, on
June 30, 1690, the Protestant and Catholic armies stood facing each
other on either side Boyne River, a few miles above Drogheda, the
Protestants had no very great numerical advantage. In discipline and
general efficiency, however, their advantage was immense, and the odds
against James were so great that it was folly for him to risk a battle;
but he could not make up his mind what to do, and in consequence, when
William threw his troops across the river, he caught the Irish
unprepared, and defeated them after a brisk engagement.

James was the first to gallop from the field. He reached Dublin that
night, snatched a few hours' rest, and then pressed on to Waterford,
where he took ship for France. Deprived of their cowardly leader, and
perhaps with some comprehension of how they had been betrayed, the Irish
would have been glad to lay down their arms on terms of a general
amnesty, which William, for his part, was willing to grant. But the
English settlers intervened. They had been compelled to restore to the
Irish a third of the estates which the Commonwealth had confiscated;
there were thousands of other fertile acres which the settlers coveted;
and, as a result of their influence, the amnesty, when finally
published, was confined to the tenant and the landless man. In
consequence, the Irish army was held together by Tyrconnell and
Sarsfield, and the rebellion did not end until Athlone, Cork, Kinsale,
Limerick, and finally Galway had been captured by the English. The
Irish troops were permitted to go to France and enlist in the king's
army, as has been told already; and so ended the hope of placing a
Catholic monarch on the English throne. So ended, too, for more than two
centuries, Catholic liberty in Ireland.

It is this Protestant triumph which is so dear to Ulster, and which the
walls of Derry have been preserved to commemorate. Their preservation is
a great inconvenience to the inhabitants of that town, but any one who
proposed to remove them would be treated as a traitor. They circle the
steep hill upon which the oldest part of the town is built, and when one
wishes to enter it, one must go around to one of the gates. There are
seven gates, now, instead of the original four; but it takes quite a
walk, sometimes, to get to one, for the walls are something over a mile
around. But no patriotic resident would think of objecting to
this--indeed, the walk gives him time to meditate upon his city's glory
and to thank the Lord that he was born there. I suspect that the
Catholics of Derry are just as proud of the walls as the Protestants
are.

It so happened that there was a gate not far from our hotel, so we
passed through it, and found ourselves confronted by one of the steepest
streets I have ever seen. The hill on which the old citadel was built
slopes very abruptly on this side toward the river, and no attempt has
been made to cut it down. We managed to climb it, and came out upon the
so-called Diamond--the square at the centre of the town where the old
town hall once stood, but which has now, to quote Murray, "been
converted into a pleasant garden by the London Companies." For it
should be remembered that the grant made to the London Companies three
hundred years ago is still in force.

The Diamond is the heart of the town, and from it four arteries radiate,
running to the four original gates; other smaller streets zig-zag away
in various directions, and everywhere is the vigorous flow of life and
trade. The shops are bright and attractive, and that evening crowds of
girls, freed from the day's labour in the factories, were loitering past
them, arm in arm, staring in at the windows and chattering among
themselves. They were distinctly livelier than the factory girls of
Athlone, and I judge that life is easier for them and that they are
better paid.

We walked about for a long time, and then, for want of something better
to do, went to a moving-picture show. I have forgotten all the pictures
but two--a meeting of the Knights of the Garter at Windsor and a review
of a body of English cavalry. In the former, King George and Queen Mary
twice passed slowly before the audience; in the latter, the king, on a
spirited horse, cantered down the field and then took his station in the
foreground while his troops galloped past. It was a stirring scene; but
the audience watched it in stony, almost breathless silence, without the
shadow of applause--and this in "loyal Derry"! I am inclined to think
that, with reference to England, the north of Ireland and the south of
Ireland are "sisters under their skins."

We had been wondering, during the final reel, how we were going to find
our way back to the hotel through the dark and unfamiliar streets, for
it was nearly ten o'clock; and we came out into them with a start of
astonishment, for it was still quite light, with the street lights not
yet on. So we loitered about for half an hour longer; and then, from the
balcony in front of our window, sat watching for an hour more the
fascinating life flowing past below us.

One feature of it was a boy quartette,--one of the boys with a clear,
high soprano voice,--which sang very sweetly, "It's a long way to
Tipperary"; and then, just as we began to think everybody had gone to
bed, there came a blast of martial music down the street, and the tramp
of feet, and a company of men swung past, going heaven knows where; but
the fife-and-drum corps which marched at their head was making the
windows rattle with

    "The Maiden on her throne, boys, shall be a Maiden still!"

It was the first of many such processions we were to see during our
remaining weeks in Ireland.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE GRAINAN OF AILEACH


DERRY has a charm--the charm of the hive--for it is a busy town, and a
cheerful one. It is only on mooted anniversaries, I fancy, or when some
fire-brand politician comes to town, that the Protestants and Catholics
amuse themselves by breaking each other's heads. At other times they
must work amicably side by side. At least, I saw nobody idle; and
Catholics and Protestants alike were plainly infected by the same spirit
of hustle.

The cause of the difference between the north and south of Ireland has
been hotly debated for a hundred years. Why is the north energetic and
prosperous, while the south is lazy and poverty-stricken? Some say
it is the difference in climate, others the difference in religion.
I could perceive no great difference in the climate, and as for
religion--strange as it may seem to those who think of Ulster only in
the light of Orange manifestoes--there are almost as many Catholics as
Protestants in the north of Ireland. My own opinion is that the Celt is
easy-going in the south and industrious in the north because of the
environment. "Canny" is undoubtedly the best of all adjectives to apply
to the Scotch--they are congenitally thrifty and industrious. The Celt,
on the other hand, is congenitally easy-going and unambitious. Left to
himself, among his own people, weighted with centuries of repression, he
falls into a lethargy from which it is impossible to awaken him--from
which, I sometimes think, he will never be awakened. But put him in
another environment, and he soon catches its spirit. At least, his
children catch it, and their children are confirmed in it--and there you
are. Put them back in the old environment, and in another generation or
two they will have slipped back into the old habits of carelessness and
improvidence. This, it seems to me, is the Irishman's history not only
in the north of Ireland, but here in America. He is adaptable,
impressionable, and plastic.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be absurd for any one to go to Derry without making a circuit
of the walls, and this we proceeded to do next morning. We mounted them
at the New Gate, where they are at least twenty-five feet high. There is
a promenade on top about fifteen feet wide, and along the outer edge the
old cannon given by the London companies still frown down through the
embrasures of the battlement. Outside the wall there was originally a
moat, but this has disappeared, and so have many of the old bastions. A
few of them still remain--the double bastion where the fruitful gallows
stood, and from which the noisy old gun, affectionately christened
"Roaring Meg," still points out over the town. And back of the
cathedral, the old wall stands as it stood during the siege, with its
high protecting parapet, crowned with little loop-holed turrets.

The cathedral itself is a quaint, squat structure, with pinnacled tower,
standing in the midst of a crowded graveyard, the most prominent object
in which is an obelisk erected over the bodies of those who fell in the
siege. The inscription, as is fitting, is long and eloquent. The church
itself is comparatively modern and uninteresting, but it is filled with
trophies of the siege--a bomb-shell containing a summons to surrender
which fell in the cathedral yard, the flags taken from the French during
a sally, memorials of the Rev. Mr. Walker, and so on. It is still called
after St. Columba, although the abbey built by the Saint stood outside
the present walls.

A little distance past the cathedral is another bastion which has been
turned into a foundation for the great monument to Walker--a fluted
column ninety feet high, surmounted by a statue of the hero, his Bible
in one hand. Time was when he held a sword in the other, but legend has
it that the sword fell with a crash on the day that O'Connell won
Catholic emancipation for Ireland.

A fierce controversy has raged about the part Walker really played in
the siege; and it is probable that he at least shared the honours with
Murray and Baker. However that may be, he must have been an inspiring
figure, as he walked about the walls, with his white hair and
impassioned face and commanding vigour--a vigour which his seventy-two
years seem nowise to have impaired; and his end was inspiring, too, for
he did not rest quietly at home, content with his laurels, as most men
would have done. Instead, he joined William's army, was in the forefront
at the Battle of the Boyne, and managed to get killed there while
exhorting the troops to do their duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

The town of Derry has long since outgrown the old walls, but there is
little else worth seeing there, unless one is interested in a busy
port, or in humming factories, or rumbling mills, or clattering
foundries. Of these there is full store. But a few miles to the west, on
the summit of a hill looking down upon Lough Swilly, is the cashel which
was once the stronghold of the Kings of Ulster, and for it I set out
that afternoon.

Murray, with that vagueness delightful in the Irish but exasperating in
a guide-book, remarks that "it can be reached from Bridge End Station on
the Buncrana line," so I proceeded to the station of the Buncrana line
on the outskirts of the town, and bought a ticket to Bridge End Station.
The ticket seller had apparently never heard of the Grainan of Aileach,
as the cashel is called, and seemed rather to doubt if such a thing
existed at all; but I determined to trust to luck, and took my seat in
the little train which presently backed in along the platform.

The Buncrana line is, I judge, a small affair; at any rate, the train
was very primitive, and the two men who shared the compartment with me
complained bitterly of the poor service the railroads give the people of
Ireland. They said it was a shame and a disgrace, and that no free
people would put up with the insults and ignominy which the railroads
heap upon the Irish, and much more to the same effect. I had heard this
complaint before and have read it in more than one book; but I never had
any real cause of complaint myself. Beyond a tendency to let the
passengers look out for themselves, the guards are as courteous as
guards anywhere; and only once, on the occasion of the race-meeting at
Charleville, did we suffer from crowding. This was not because we
travelled first, because we didn't--we travelled second; and when I was
alone, I always travelled third, as I would advise any one to do who
wishes really to meet the people.

Bridge End Station is only a few minutes' run from Derry, and when I got
off there, I asked the man who took my ticket if he could direct me to
the cashel.

"I can," he said; "but it is a long way from here, and a stiff climb. Do
you see that hill yonder?" and he pointed to a lofty peak some miles
away. "It is there you will find the fort, right on the very top."

"Have you ever been there?" I asked.

"I have not, though I'm thinking I will go some day, for them that have
seen it tell me it is a wonderful sight. But 'tis a long walk."

"Well, I'm going to try for it," I said, and hitched my camera under my
arm. "How do I start?"

"By that road yonder; and turn to your right at the village. Good luck
to you, sir."

I could see he didn't really believe I would get to the cashel; but I
set off happily along the road, between high hedges; and presently I
passed a village, and turned to the right, as he had told me; and then
two barefooted children caught up with me, on their way home from
school. They knew the way to the cashel very well, though they had never
been there either; and presently they left me and struck off across the
fields; and then I came to a place where the road forked, and stopped to
ask a man who was wheeling manure from a big stable which way to go. He
too was astonished that any one should start off so carelessly on such
an expedition; but he directed me up a narrow by-way, which soon began
to climb steeply; and then the valley beneath me opened more and more,
and finally I saw to my right the summit I was aiming for, and struck
boldly toward it along a boggy path.

The path led me to the rear of a thatched cottage, where two men were
stacking hay. They assured me that I was on the right road, and I pushed
on again for the summit, past another little house, from which a man
suddenly emerged and hailed me.

"Where be you going?" he demanded.

"To the fort," I said. "It's up this way, isn't it?"

"It might be."

"Am I trespassing?" I asked, for there seemed to be an unfriendly air
about him.

"You are so," he answered.

"I'm sorry," I stammered; "if there's another way--"

"There is no other way."

"Well, then, I'll have to go this way," I said. "I'll not do any harm."

"That's as may be. You must pay three-pence if you wish to pass."

I paid the three-pence rather than waste time in argument, which, of
course, wouldn't have done any good; and his countenance became
distinctly more pleasant when the pennies were in his hand, and he
directed me how to go; and I started up again, over springy heather now,
along a high wall of stones gathered from the field; and then the ground
grew wet and boggy, just as it is on the mountains of Connemara, and I
had to make a detour--the man who directed me, probably thought nothing
of a little bog! A ploughman in a neighbouring field stopped work to
watch me with interest until I passed from sight, and two red calves
also came close to investigate the stranger; and then I crested the last
ridge and saw towering before me the stronghold where Owen, son of Nial
the Great, established himself to rule over his province, Tyrone.

For a moment I was fairly startled at the huge apparition, grey and
solitary and impressive, for I had expected no such monster edifice--a
cyclopean circle of stone, looking like the handiwork of some race of
giants, three hundred feet around and eighteen feet high, with a wall
fourteen feet in thickness!

The outer face of the wall is inclined slightly inwards, and is very
smooth and regular. It is made of flat, hammer-dressed stones of various
sizes, carefully fitted together, but uncemented, as with all these old
forts. The stones are for the most part quite small, very different from
the great blocks used in the other cashels I had seen. There is a single
entrance, a doorway some five feet high by two wide, slightly inclined
inward toward the top, and looking very tiny indeed in that great
stretch of wall; and then my heart stood still with dismay, for there
was an iron gate across the entrance, and I thought for a moment that it
was locked. With a sigh of relief I found that the padlock which held it
was not snapped shut, and I opened it and entered.

It was as though I had stepped into some old Roman amphitheatre, for the
terraces which run around it from top to bottom have the appearance of
tiers of seats. They mount one above the other to the narrow platform at
the top, which is guarded by a low parapet. Two flights of steps run up
the slope, but an active man would have no need of them. On either side
of the entrance door a gallery runs away in the thickness of the wall,
opening some distance away on the interior, and designed, I suppose, to
enable an extra force to defend the entrance.

Of the castle which once stood within that stone circle not a trace
remains, and the circle itself, as it stands to-day, is largely a
restoration, for Murtagh O'Brien captured it in 1101 and did his best to
destroy it, and the storms of the centuries that followed beat it down
stone by stone. But these fragments have all been gathered up and put
back into place, so that the great fort stands to-day much as it did in
the days of its glory, except that the outworks of earth and stone which
formed the first lines of defence, have disappeared. The cashel was to
this great fortification what the donjon tower was to the later Norman
castle--the ultimate place of refuge for the garrison.

"Grainan" means a royal seat, and "Aileach," so say the Four Masters of
Donegal, was a Scotch princess, "modest and blooming," who lost her
heart to Owen of the Hy-Nial, and followed him back to Erin. After the
division of the north of Ireland with his brother Connell, he set up his
palace here--Connell's you will remember was at Donegal--and so this
became the royal seat of the rulers of Tyrone. Hither came St. Patrick
to baptise Owen and his family; hither came St. Columba before his exile
to Iona; hither captive Danes were dragged in triumph. But at last
Murtagh O'Brien, King of Munster, led a great raid to the north, and
defeated the army of Tyrone and captured the mighty fortress, and made
each of his soldiers carry away a stone of it in token of his triumph.

[Illustration: THE WALLS OF DERRY]

[Illustration: THE GRAINAN OF AILEACH]

That ended its earthly glory, but it remains glorious in legend; for it
is beneath its old grey walls that the Knights of the Gael stand
deathless and untiring, each beside his steed with his hand upon the
saddlebow, waiting the trumpet-call that shall break the charm that
binds them, and release them to win back their heritage in Erin. In the
caves within the hill the knights stand waiting--great vaulted chambers
whose entrance no man knows. Nor does any man know when their release
will come, whether to-morrow or not till centuries hence, for 'tis
Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan herself who must choose the day and hour.

    Sore disgrace it is to see the Arbitress of thrones
    Vassal to a Saxoneen of cold and sapless bones!
    Bitter anguish wrings our souls; with heavy sighs and groans
      We wait the Young Deliverer of Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan.

Glorious is the view from the top of those old walls. To the right is
Lough Foyle, to the left Lough Swilly, with the hills of Donegal, draped
in silver mist, beyond--wild, grey crags, rising one behind the other;
and away to the north, beyond the wide valley, are the hills of
Inishowen--Owen's Island, if you know your Irish. I have never gazed
upon a more superb picture of alternating lake and hill and meadow, of
flashing mountain-top and dark green valley.

But if I was to get back to Derry that night, I had need to hasten; so I
clambered down, after one long last look. I had still my picture to
take, and made two exposures, but they give only a faint idea of the
majesty of this great fort, standing here on this wild, deserted
hilltop; and then I started downwards, with long steps, past the
cottages, with the beautiful valley before me, back to the highway, down
and down among the trees, past the village and so to the station. The
guard was waiting there.

"Well," he said, as I sat down mopping my face, for I had covered three
miles in half an hour, "did you see the fort?"

"I did so," I answered, for I had long since fallen naturally into the
Irish idiom; and I told him what it was like; but I think he was
unconvinced.

"Was there a man stopped you?" he asked.

"There was--a man at the end of the lane right under the fort, who made
me pay three-pence before he would let me pass."

"Ah, that would be O'Donnell," said the guard, convinced at last. "He
has been given the key to keep. Did he give you the key?"

"He did not. But the iron gate was unlocked."

"That was by accident, I'm thinking," said the guard. "He is not caring
whether one can enter or not, so long as he has his three-pence."

So I would advise all wayfarers to the Grainan of Aileach to make sure
that the gate of it is unlocked, or to demand the key, before
surrendering their three-pence to O'Donnell.

When I got into the train again, I found as a fellow-passenger one of
the men who had come out from Derry with me, and after I had described
the cashel to him--for he had never seen it--we got to talking about
Home Rule. In spite of its militant Protestantism, Derry has a very
large Catholic population, and my companion said that opinion in the
town was about equally divided for and against Home Rule.

"The result is," he went on, "that whenever we have a meeting, no matter
which side it's on, there's sure to be a shindy, and the police has
their hands full. Most of the fellys who do the fighting don't care a
rap about Home Rule, but they just take pleasure in layin' a stick
against somebody's head. It's all done in a friendly spirit, and next
day they will be workin' side by side the same as ever. The only ones
who are really fighting Home Rule are the big landlords and
manufacturers, who imagine they'll get the worst of it in the matter of
taxation at the hands of a Catholic parliament, and they do everything
they can to keep their people stirred up. That has always been their
policy; and the big Catholic employers in the south--what few of them
there are--aren't a whit better. They're all afraid that if the Catholic
workingmen and the Protestant workingmen once get together they'll fix
up some kind of a union, and demand better wages. As long as they can be
kept fighting each other, there's no danger of that; and the poor idiots
haven't sense enough to see how they're being made fools of. But they'll
see it some day, and then look out!"

"How about this army of Ulster the papers are so full of?"

My companion laughed.

"There isn't any army around here, unless you can call a few hundred
devil-may-care boys an army. I did hear something about some drill going
on, but as far as fighting goes that's all nonsense. The boys are ready
enough to crack a head with a stick, but they're the first to run when
the police arrive, and they'll think a long time before they try to
stand up against the British army. I'll not say that they're not more in
earnest over Belfast way; but even there, a few politicians have stirred
up most of the talk--Sir Edward Carson and the likes of him. It's all a
political game, that's how I look at it."

I walked around Derry for a time that afternoon, and so far as public
buildings go, Catholicism and Protestantism seem about equally
represented--and with the strangest contrasts. Across the road from St.
Columb's College are the Nazareth Homes; around the corner from St.
Augustine's Church is the Apprentice Boys' Hall; a few steps farther on
is a Presbyterian church, and the Freemasons' Hall, and then St.
Columb's Temperance Hall, and then a convent; and if you walk back again
to the Diamond and make some inquiries, you will find that one of the
radiating streets is the home of militant Catholics, and the next the
home of militant Orangemen, and you will be accommodated with a fight at
any time if you go into the latter and shout "To hell with King Billy,"
or into the former and shout "To hell with the Pope!" And if you buy one
of the two papers which the town supports, you will read denunciations
of Home Rule and contemptuous references to "croppies," while, if you
buy the other, you will read denunciations just as fierce of Orange
plots against Ireland.

I have wondered since how much of this agitation is subsidised and how
much is real. I have heard both Catholics and Protestants complain that
it is kept alive in great part by professional agitators, working in
very diverse interests but to a common selfish end--and that end, as my
friend of the morning pointed out, the continuance and, if possible, the
deepening of the rift between the two religions. On the other hand,
there can be no doubt that Protestants and Catholics alike take a fierce
joy in an occasional fight, as lending a real interest to life. But I am
convinced that religion has really little to do with this--that it is
just the peg upon which the quarrels are hung. If it wasn't that, it
would probably be something else, for Irishmen have been fighting each
other ever since history began. The fights at Donnybrook were as fierce
as any, though there wasn't a Protestant in the crowd!

The Orange Societies, of course, with their parades and taunting songs
and flaunting banners and praise of Cromwell and "King Billy," do not
make for peace. Usually, on such occasions, blows are exchanged; and so
the name of Orangeman has come to be associated with riots. But, as
another writer has pointed out, in considering these things, "you should
not forget the common pugnacity. Only an Irishman can appreciate the
fierce joy of shouting 'To hell with the Pope!' Many a man who had no
claim to belong to the Orange Society has known the delight of breaking
Catholic heads or of going down in a lost battle, outnumbered but
damaging his foes to the last. And many who are slow to attend Mass, are
quick to seize their cudgels when they hear the Orange bands play the
tune of Boyne Water. Like the Crusaders, the Protestant and Catholic
champions alike feel that by their battles they make amends for the
errors and shortcomings of peace."

So it is a mistake to take these rows too seriously. To an Irishman
they are never serious; they are rather the innocent and natural
diversions of a holiday, small events which add to the savour of
existence; and, indeed, they are far less numerous and far less deadly
than they once were. In time, if the people are let alone and old sores
are allowed quietly to heal, they will probably cease altogether.

It is a mistake, too, I think to take the Orangemen too seriously. They
have such a habit of hyperbole that most Irishmen smile at their
hysterics and threats of civil war as at sheer fudge. In fact, the
Ulster controversy is so full of comic opera elements that it is
difficult to keep from smiling at it. For instance, Sir Edward Carson's
elder son is a member of the United Irish League because he believes in
a united Ireland, while John Redmond's nephew and adopted son is
enrolled among the Ulster Volunteers because he is opposed to coercion!
Gilbert and Sullivan never invented anything more fantastic.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE BRIDGE OF THE GIANTS


THERE is no busier place in Derry than the stretch of quays along the
river, and one may see ships there not only from England and Belgium and
France, but from Australia and Argentina and India and Brazil. The river
is wide and deep, with the channel carefully marked by a line of buoys
extending clear out into Lough Foyle; but there are no better facilities
here for shipping than at any one of half a dozen ports along the
western coast, all of which are silent and deserted. For a port is of no
use unless there is something to ship out of it in exchange for the
things which are shipped in, or money to pay for them--and there is
neither in the west of Ireland.

And, just as there is no more dismal sight than a line of deserted
quays, so there is no more interesting sight than a line of busy ones,
and we loitered for a long time, next morning, along those of Derry, on
our way to the Midland station, on the other side of the river. There is
a big iron bridge across the river just above the quays, but that seemed
a long way around, so when we came to a sign-board announcing a ferry we
stopped. My first thought was that the ferry-boat was on the other side;
then I perceived a small motor-propelled skiff moored beside the quay,
and one of the two men in it asked me if we were looking for the ferry,
and I said yes, and he said that that was it.

So we clambered down into the boat and started off; and I scarcely think
that that trip paid, for we were the only passengers, and the river is
wide, and gasolene is expensive, and somebody had to pay the men their
wages--and the fare is only a penny.

The part of the town which lies east of the river is industrial and
unattractive. There are some big distilleries there, and a lot of mills
and a fish-market, and row upon row of dingy dwellings; but the biggest
building of all is the workhouse--one point, at least, in which the
towns of the north resemble those of the south. There is another point,
too--the jail, without which no Irish town is complete. Derry has one of
which it is very proud--the latest word in jails, in fact--a great,
circular affair, with the cells arranged in so-called "panoptic"
galleries, that is in such a fashion that the guards stationed in the
centre of the jailyard can see into all of them.

But we had crossed the river not to see the town which lay beyond it,
but to take train for Portrush, and we were soon rolling northward close
beside the bank of the river, with a splendid view of "The Maiden on her
hill, boys," on the opposite shore, dominated by the cathedral tower and
Walker's white monument. Just before the river begins to widen into the
lough, the train passes the ruins of an old castle of the O'Dohertys,
standing on a point which juts out into the water--a castle which saw
rather more than its share of siege and sally; for this is Culmore,
which was always the first point of attack when any expedition advanced
against Derry.

Beyond it the water widens, and on the farther shore, which is
Inishowen, there are pretty villas, standing in luxuriant woods--the
homes of some of Derry's wealthy citizens. Then the train turned inland
across a stretch of country so flat and carefully cultivated that it
might have been Holland; and then the hills began to crowd closer and
closer to the shore, until the train was running along its very edge,
under precipitous crags, past grotesque pinnacles of white chalk or
black basalt, and fantastic caverns worn in the cliffs by the
century-long action of the waves. For that stretch of blue water
stretching away to the north, so calm and beautiful, was the Atlantic,
and it thunders in upon this coast, sometimes, with a fury even the
rocks cannot withstand.

We turned away from it, at last, up the wide estuary of the River Bann,
and so we came to Coleraine, chiefly connected in my mind with that
beautiful Kitty, who, while tripping home from the fair one morning with
a pitcher of buttermilk, looked at Barney MacCleary instead of at the
path, and stumbled and let the pitcher drop; but, instead of crying over
the spilt milk, accepted philosophically the kiss which Barney gave her;
with the result that

      "very soon after poor Kitty's disaster
    The divil a pitcher was whole in Coleraine."

Among the innumerable other laws for which Lloyd-George is responsible,
there is one requiring all the shop-keepers of the United Kingdoms to
close their places of business one afternoon every week in order to give
their employés a short vacation; and in every town the shop-keepers get
together and decide which afternoon it shall be; and if you arrive in
the town on that afternoon, you will find every shop closed tight, often
to your great inconvenience. It was Thursday afternoon when we reached
Coleraine, and Thursday is closing day there; and we found that not only
were the shops closed, but the train schedule was so altered that we had
a long wait ahead of us.

But we were richly compensated for the delay, for, as we started out to
explore the town, we saw written in chalk on a wall just outside the
station,

          To hell with the pope!

and under it in another hand,

          To hell with King Billy!

and then a third hand had added,

          God save King Will! No more pope!

I had heard, of course, that the accepted retort for Catholics to make,
when the Pope was insulted, was to consign William of Orange to the
infernal regions; but such a retort seemed so weak and ineffective that
I could hardly believe in its reality. Yet here it was, and some
Orangeman had paused long enough to add what is probably the usual third
article of the controversy. What the fourth article is I can't guess;
perhaps it is at this point that the cudgels rise and the rocks begin to
fly. And it seems to me characteristic of Ireland that the Catholic in
this case, instead of erasing the offending sentence, should have let it
stand and answered it in kind.

Cheered and heartened by this encounter, we walked on to look at
Coleraine, but found it an uninteresting manufacturing town, with
nothing in it of historical importance, for it is one of the plantations
made by the London Companies, some time after 1613. It was closed as
tightly, that afternoon, as on a Sunday, and we soon wearied of looking
at ugly houses and silent factories, and made our way back to the
station, meditating upon that black day for the Irish when this whole
county, having been duly confiscated, was made over by royal edict to
the hundred London adventurers, whose heirs or assigns still own it. Yet
the conquest had one advantage: the O'Dohertys and the O'Cahans knew
only the arts of war; the newcomers brought with them the arts of peace.
One of them was distilling, and the Irish had never drunk such whiskey
as the "Coleraine" which was produced here in the succeeding years.
There is no more popular story in this region than that of the priest
who was preaching a temperance sermon, and, after pointing out the evils
of over-indulgence, continued with great earnestness, "And, me boys,
'tis the bad stuff you be takin' that does the worst of the mischief. I
niver touch a drop meself--but the best Coleraine!"

We got away from Coleraine, at last, and ran northward toward the sea
again, across uneven sand-drifts, past Port Stewart, where Charles Lever
was once a dispensary doctor and occupied his leisure hours, which were
many, in setting down the adventures of Harry Lorrequer; and then the
road ran on close beside the sea to Portrush, with its pleasant beach
and rock-bound bathing-pool, which was full of people on this holiday.
But Portrush is a place of summer hotels, so we did not linger there,
but transferred quickly to the electric line which runs on to the
Giant's Causeway, fourteen miles away.

This line was established in 1883, and so is the oldest electric road in
the world; and I judge that it is still using the cars it started out
with. At least, the two which composed the train that day were
exceedingly primitive; one was open and the other was closed, and you
took your choice. We chose the open one, of course, on the side
overlooking the sea; and presently we started through the town, a man
ringing a bell with one hand and waving a flag with the other, preceding
us to make certain the track was clear. The bell, I suppose, is for
blind people and the flag for deaf people, and the fact that the man is
armed with both proves how thorough the Irish can be when they really
put their minds to it.

Although the line has been in operation for thirty years, it is still
evidently regarded with fear and wonder by the people who live along it.
Time was when the power was conveyed by means of the "third rail," so
common in the United States. With us, however, the rail is only used
along a guarded right-of-way. Here it was exposed close up by the fence
at the roadside, and though it was well out of the way, it was
nevertheless stumbled over by many men and beasts, with the usual
result. There were many protests, and in the course of fifteen or twenty
years, the Board of Trade was moved to investigate.

The evidence at the hearing was most conflicting. The people of the
neighbourhood asserted that their lives were in constant danger. The
company, on the other hand, claimed that no sober man would ever step
on the rail, since to get to it he had to cross the tracks. The people
of the neighbourhood protested indignantly against this reflection upon
their habits, and asked triumphantly if the horses and cows and other
poor beasts that were killed were also drunk. The company retorted that,
so far as the horses and cows were concerned, it was the practice of the
natives, for miles around, whenever they had an animal about to die, to
lead or, if it was unable to walk, to haul it to the railway, and prop
it against the fence with a foot on the rail, and then to demand
compensation for its death. There was, perhaps, a grain of truth in
this; but the board, nevertheless, ordered the company to take up the
rail and substitute an overhead wire for it, and this has been done.

The only way the natives can get damages now is to inveigle a car to run
into them, and this is well-nigh impossible, for the cars are run very
slowly and carefully, and at every curve there is a signal cabin, where
a watchful guard, armed with a red flag and a white one, keeps careful
eyes upon the track.

We were just gathering speed outside the town, when we saw in a near-by
field an aggregation whose bills had attracted our attention, more than
once, in our journeyings about Ireland. It was "Buff Bill's Circus," and
the picturesqueness of its lithographs had made us most anxious to see
it. Here it was, at last, and it consisted of three tiny tents and one
van and three or four horses, and five or six people, who at this moment
were eating their midday meal, seated on the ground about a sheet-iron
stove, while the youngsters of the neighbourhood looked on. I am sorry
we did not get to see the show, for I am sure we should have enjoyed
it.

Then the road mounted to a terrace high above the sea, and the views
over coast and water were superb. The effects of erosion are especially
fantastic, and the line passes fretted spires, and yawning caverns, and
deep gullies and mighty arches, all worn in the chalk and basalt cliffs
by the ceaseless action of the waves; and at one place there is a
grotesque formation which does indeed, as may be seen from the picture
opposite the next page, resemble a "Giant's Head."

And there is one most picturesque ruin, for, ten miles out from
Portrush, all that is left of Dunluce castle overhangs the sea from the
summit of a precipitous rock, separated from the mainland by a deep
chasm. The chasm is twenty feet wide, and in days of old there was a
drawbridge over it; but the bridge has disappeared, and now there is
just an arch of masonry about two feet wide and without protection of
any sort. It takes a steady head to cross it, but the Irish are fond of
just such breakneck bridges. The castle itself, with its roofless gables
and jagged walls, seems a part of the rock on which it is built. It is
said to possess a banshee, and one can well believe it!

Dunluce is interesting because it was once a stronghold of the Scotch
invaders who succeeded in conquering all this northeast coast of Ireland
from here around to Carlingford Lough, away below Belfast. Scotland is
only a few miles away across the North Channel--one can see its coast on
a clear day from the cliffs above Benmore; and it was natural enough
that there should be sailing back and forth. Owen, first lord of
Tyrone, brought a wife from Scotland--that Aileach, after whom he named
his fortress; and they had many children, one of whom went back to
Scotland and became the head of that princedom whose chief afterwards
called himself "Lord of the Isles." In Ireland, the family was
O'Donnell; but in Scotland the members of Clandonnell were not Os but
Macs. Angus MacDonnell married a daughter of the great house of O'Cahan,
and by this means and by that, the Scotch gradually won a foothold on
the Irish coast and built castles up and down it; and finally, in a
pitched battle, defeated the Irish who held the land about Dunluce and
had built this castle here.

[Illustration: THE "GIANT'S HEAD," NEAR PORTRUSH]

[Illustration: THE RUINS OF DUNLUCE CASTLE]

It was besieged and captured after that, once by the Irish under Shane
O'Neill, and once by the English under Sir John Perrot; and during the
troubled times of the Commonwealth and Restoration fell into ruins and
was never restored--partly, no doubt, because it was no longer safe; for
one night in 1639, there was a great party in the castle, and a storm
arose, and the waves dashed against the rock below it, and suddenly part
of the rock gave way and carried the kitchen and eight servants down
into the abyss.

Just beyond the castle, the road rounds a point and runs down into the
valley of the Bush River, where stands the little town of Bushmills,
known all over the world because of the whiskey which is made there; and
then it passes a great house on a cliff overlooking the sea, Runkerry
Castle; and then high up on the slope ahead loom two big hotels, and the
tram stops, for this is the Causeway.

Both the hotels at the Causeway are owned by the same man, but each
maintains its runner, and each runner makes a lively bid for your
custom; and then, when you have made your choice and started toward it,
you will suddenly be conscious of a rough voice speaking over your
shoulder, and you will turn to find a man striding at your heels, a man
unshaven and clad in nondescript clothes; and if you listen very
attentively you will presently understand that he is offering to guide
you about the Causeway.

Everybody in the vicinity of the Causeway makes his living off the
people who visit it, and the favourite profession is that of guide. Now
a guide is wholly unnecessary, for a broad road leads directly to the
Causeway, and once there it is simply a question of using one's eyes.
But from the persistence of the guides, one would think there was great
danger of getting lost, or of falling overboard, or of experiencing some
other horrible misfortune, if one ventured there unattended. Every guide
carries also in his waistcoat pocket one or more fossils, which he found
himself and prizes very highly, but is willing to sell for a small sum,
as a personal favour. When his supply is exhausted, he goes and buys
some more from the syndicate which ships them in in quantity.

For it should be remembered that the Causeway is as strictly organised
for profit and as carefully exploited as is Killarney.

As soon as we had arranged for our room, we set off for the Causeway,
running the gauntlet of guides posted on both sides of the road. Then a
man with a pony-cart wanted to drive us to our destination, and one
would have thought, from the way he spoke, that it was a long and
trying journey; then we refused three or four offers of fossils and
postcards; and finally we found ourselves alone on a road which swept
round the edge of a great amphitheatre of cliff; and the face of that
cliff is worth examining, for it is formed of the lava flow from some
long-extinct crater, and the successive flows, separated by the
so-called ochre beds, or strata of dark-red volcanic ash, can be plainly
distinguished. The road gradually drops, until it is quite near the sea;
and then it passes a number of shanties, from which old women issue to
waylay the passer-by with offers of fossils and post-cards and various
curios; and then the visitor is confronted by a high wire fence, beyond
which, if he looks closely, he will see a little neck of land running
out into the water--and that is the celebrated Giant's Causeway.

[Illustration: THE GIANT'S CAUSEWAY]

[Illustration: THE CLIFFS BEYOND THE CAUSEWAY]

It is so small and so seemingly insignificant that Betty and I stared at
it through the fence with a distinct shock of disappointment; then we
went on to the gate, paid the sixpence which is extorted from every
visitor, registered ourselves on the turnstile, and entered.

The misfortune of the Causeway is that its fame is too great. The
visitor, expecting to see something magnificent and grandiose, is rather
dashed at first to find how small it is; but after a few minutes'
wandering over the queer columns of basalt, this feeling passes, and one
begins to realise that it is really one of the wonders of the world. I
am not going to describe it--every one has seen photographs of it, or if
any one hasn't, he will find some opposite this page; and the
photographs picture it much better than I can.

There are some forty thousand of the pillars, the guide-book says;
five-sided or six-sided for the most part, averaging, I should say,
about fifteen inches in diameter, and so close together that a lead
pencil is too thick to be thrust between them. The pillars are divided
into regular, worm-like segments, some six or eight inches thick, and
there are quite a lot of segments lying about, broken off from the
columns. The whole bed is said by geologists to be nothing but a
lava-flow, which broke up into these columnar shapes when it cooled and
contracted.

The native Irish have a far better explanation than that. In the old
days, the mighty Finn MacCool, annoyed at the boasting of a Caledonian
rival on the hills across the channel, invited him to step over and see
which was the better man. And the giant said he would be glad to come
over and show Finn a thing or two, if it wasn't for wetting his feet. So
Finn, in a rage, built a causeway right over to Scotland, and the Scotch
giant came across on it; and of course Finn beat him well (for this is
an Irish legend); but with that generosity which has always been
characteristic of Irishmen after they have whipped their opponents, he
permitted his humbled rival to choose a wife from the many fair girls of
the neighbourhood, and to build him a house and settle down; which the
Scotch giant was very glad to do; for every one knows that the Scotch
women are rough and hard-bitten, also that Scotland is a land of mist
and snow, not fair like Ireland, which has always been the loveliest
country in the world. And presently, since the causeway wasn't needed
any more and impeded navigation, Finn gave it a kick with the foot of
him and sunk it in the sea, all but this little end against the Irish
coast. And there it stands unto this day to witness if I lie.

Whatever you think of the Causeway, you will certainly be impressed when
you pass out between the clustered columns of the Giant's Gateway, and
start on the walk under the beetling cliffs beyond. The narrow path
mounts up and up, under overhanging masses of columnar stone, which all
too evidently crashes down from time to time, for there are great piles
of debris below, and the path is either swept away in places or recently
repaired; so most visitors hurry past with one eye upward, and the other
contemplating the beauty of the scene below.

At least we did; and then we came out at Chimney Point, crowned with its
chimney-like columns--a mass of basalt on top of a red ochre bed. And
here there was a seat where we sat down to contemplate one of the most
impressive views in Ireland--a combination of blue sea and white surf
and black crag and columned cliff not soon to be forgotten.

We went on, at last, around the point of the cliff, where the path
overhangs the depths below and is guarded by an iron railing; on and on,
past clusters of columns named looms or organ pipes, or whatever Irish
fancy may have suggested; and at last we turned slowly back, and spent
another half hour at the Causeway, hunting out the wishing-chair, and
the giant's cannon, and Lord Antrim's parlour--all of which may easily
be found; and then we took a drink from the giant's well, a spring of
pure, cold water, bubbling up from among the rocks; and so back to the
hotel and to dinner.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE GLENS OF ANTRIM


THERE are some caves at the Causeway which are said to be well worth
visiting, but we found, next morning, that a stiff wind during the night
had kicked up such a sea that it was impossible to get to them. So we
spent the morning walking down to a beautiful beach some distance below
the hotel, and building a driftwood fire there, and watching the waves
roll in. Then, while Betty went in to read some just-arrived letters
from home, I went on along the top of the cliffs above the Causeway.

There is a path which follows the edge of the cliff closely, and a more
magnificent view I have never seen. At Chimney Point the rollers were
breaking in especial violence over the black rocks, on which one of the
galleons of the Armada went to pieces. Her name was the Gerona, and some
of her guns were rescued from the surf and added to the armament of
Dunluce castle. Legend has it that she brought her disaster upon herself
by running in too near the coast to fire at the chimney rocks, which she
mistook for the towers of Dunluce. The bay where the bodies of her crew
were washed ashore has been called Port-na-Spania ever since.

A little farther on is the uttermost point of all, Pleaskin, where the
view reaches its greatest grandeur, for one is here four hundred feet
above the sea, and on that bright, clear, wind-swept morning, I could
see the purple peaks of the Donegal coast stretching far to the west,
while to the northeast loomed the misty outline of the Scottish hills,
scarcely discernible against the sky. And all between stretched the
white-capped waters of the North Channel, with a tossing boat here and
there, and at my feet were the last black basalt outposts of Erin, with
the rollers curling over them in regular, heavy rhythm. If Ireland has
anything to show more fair I did not see it.

I went slowly back, at last, along the path, over the springy heather;
and an hour later we had said good-bye to the Causeway, and were
rattling away along a pleasant road toward Ballycastle. We were the only
voyagers, that day, so instead of the heavy bus, a side-car had been
placed at our disposal. It was the first car we had mounted since our
ride around Lough Gill; and how good it felt to settle back again into
the corner of the seat, and swing along mile after mile!

Our jarvey was an old fellow who was loquacious enough, at first, and
who stopped to show us, in a ravine not far from the Causeway, a crevice
in the rock which he said was used as a pulpit by the first Presbyterian
preacher in Ulster--for it should be remembered that for many years the
Presbyterians and other nonconformists were treated as harshly by the
established church as the Catholics were. And then we came to a little
village where the children were gathering for school, and our jarvey
stopped to water the horse, which gave us the opportunity to have a word
with the children.

And fairly surprised we were when they began to talk, for they spoke a
Scotch as broad as any to be heard in the Highlands. Their names were
Scotch, too--Fergus and Angus; and the only thing we encountered on that
drive which astonished us more were the sign-posts at the cross-roads,
the directions on which are all in Gaelic. We had seen Gaelic sign-posts
before, in the west, but they always had the direction in English, too.
Here there was no English. It is a riddle that I have never unravelled,
for I heard no Gaelic spoken here. Of course it is spoken; but so many
wayfarers along this road speak only English that I cannot understand
the contempt for them which the sign-boards indicate.

I have referred already to the Irishman's love for breakneck bridges,
and the prize one of all is at the village of Ballintoy, into which the
road drops down the steepest of hills. A little distance away along the
cliffs is an isolated rock some sixty feet from the shore, and spanning
the abyss between cliff and rock is the craziest bridge ever devised by
man. Two rings, about eighteen inches apart, have been embedded in the
rock on either side, and between these rings two ropes have been
stretched. These are lashed together at intervals by transverse cords,
and to these cords short lengths of narrow plank have been tied side by
side. For a handrail, a slender rope has been stretched between two
rings some three feet higher than the others--and there you are. It is
hardly correct to say that any of the ropes have been "stretched," for
they hang in a long curve, and in the wind that was blowing that morning
the bridge swung to and fro in the dizziest fashion. There was a crowd
of small boys at its land end, who offered to negotiate the passage for
a penny each, but we refused to pay for the privilege of seeing them
risk their lives.

And yet, probably, it would not have been risking them, for they were
used to the bridge and thought nothing of crossing it. Nay, more, the
men of the neighbourhood cross it carrying heavy burdens, for they are
fishermen and keep all their ropes and nets and even their boats out on
the rock, round which, at certain stages of the tide, the salmon circle,
so that they can be caught by nets shot out from the rock. There is no
harbour for the boats, so they have to be hoisted up to a terrace in the
rock some twenty feet above the water by means of a windlass; and then,
having made everything snug, the fishermen cross back over the bridge
with the catch on their shoulders. It need scarcely be added that I, who
had balked at the far more substantial bridges at Dromahair and Dunluce,
never for an instant thought of crossing this one.

We climbed out to the top of the cliffs again, and jogged along with the
beautiful sea to our left, and the beautiful rolling country to our
right, its meadows brilliant with the lush green of the young flax; and
then we turned back inland between high hedgerows; and the bright sun
and the soft air proved too much for our jarvey, who dropped gently to
sleep--a fact we didn't notice until the horse, after a backward glance,
stopped to take a few bites from the hedge. The driver woke with a start
and jerked the horse angrily back into the middle of the road, and then
glanced guiltily at us, but we were gazing far away into the distance;
and then he dropped off again, and again the horse, feeling the
slackened reins, stopped for a bite; and then, for fear that a
motor-cycle or something might run into us, I filled my pipe and offered
my pouch to the driver, and he filled up thankfully, and that kept him
awake until we dropped down into the beautiful old town of Ballycastle,
nestling under the high hills of Antrim. "Bally," which figures in so
many Irish place-names, is from the Gaelic "baile," meaning town or
village, and so Ballycastle is merely the Irish form of what in English
would be prosaic Castletown.

We had tea at a clean and pleasant inn, and then spent an hour wandering
about the place--to the site of the old abbey, near a sweet little
river, and then down to the shore, which has been desecrated with
golf-links; but the green slopes of Rathlin Island, just off the coast,
are very lovely, and just outside the bay the cliffs culminate in a
mighty bluff called Fairhead; and then back to the town along an avenue
of beautiful trees, for a visit to the "Home Industry Depot," a room
crowded with fantastic toys and some good wood-carving, all done in the
neighbourhood--about the only industry of any kind, so the keeper of the
shop said, now carried on in Ballycastle.

Time was when Ballycastle fancied it was destined for greatness, for a
seam of coal was discovered in the hill above the town, and an
enterprising Scotchman named Hugh Boyd leased the right to work it from
the Earl of Antrim, and built foundries and tanneries and breweries to
consume it; but unfortunately the seam turned down instead of up, Boyd
died, and nobody was found with sufficient energy to contend against so
many difficulties; so the whole enterprise dropped dead. I don't know
how the inhabitants came to turn to toy-making and wood-carving; perhaps
some expatriated Swiss settled here,--that shop certainly did remind us
of Lucerne!

There are far older memories which cluster around Ballycastle; for the
stream which ripples past the abbey was in the old days called the
Margy, and it was here, according to the most ancient of Irish legends,
that the children of Lir, King of the Isle of Man, sought shelter after
they had been turned into four white swans by their step-mother. I
should like to tell that story, but there is no space here--besides, it
has already been most nobly told by Mr. Rolleston. It will be found,
with many others, in his "High Deeds of Finn," a book I most heartily
recommend.

We were not yet at the end of our day's journey, for we had still to go
on to Cushendall, sixteen miles away, and so we went back to the hotel,
to find a long inside-car waiting. There were two other passengers,
women of the neighbourhood, who had come in to town to do some shopping;
and their gossip was most entertaining; but we dropped them before long,
and then the road mounted up and up along the valley of a little river,
which we could see gleaming far below us; and at last we came out upon a
bog as wild and desolate as any in Connemara. There were again the
familiar black cuttings, the piles of turf, and here and there a group
of men and women labouring at the wet, back-breaking work. This bog, so
our driver said, supplied the fuel for the whole district, and nobody
hereabouts ever thought of burning coal.

The road was quite deserted, save for a cart now and then, loaded high
with turf, lumbering heavily down toward the town; and presently even
these ceased, and there was no single sign of life as far as the eye
could reach--only the silent bog, desolate, vast, impressive, rolling
away into the distance with a beauty all its own--a beauty difficult to
express, but very poignant.

How high we were upon that moor we did not realise until we came to the
verge of one of the beautiful Glens of Antrim and saw, nestling away
below us, the spires and roofs of Cushendall. They were perhaps half a
mile away, but we travelled at least three miles to get down to them,
winding back and forth along the side of the glen, crossing a great
viaduct eighty feet high, past picturesque thatched houses, past the
fairy thorn which no man in the village would touch for love or money,
past a fragment of ruin which was once the castle where the MacDonnells
stood off the English; and then we turned away to the right and began to
climb again; and presently we had climbed out of Glendun into Glenaan,
and I should hate to have to decide which is the more lovely.

We emerged, at last, into more open country, with high hills at our
right pierced by shadowy valleys; and then the houses became more
frequent, and we could see the people gathering down from the fields for
the night. Twilight was at hand; but, though it must have been nearly
nine o'clock, we were amused to see that the ducks and chickens were
still pecking cheerfully about the door-steps, apparently with no
thought of retiring. Poultry, in Ireland, leads a strenuous life, for in
summer the sun rises at three and does not set till nine. Perhaps it is
these long hours which give Irish chickens an indolent air, and which
explain the frequent naps one sees them taking on the family doorstep.

The houses grew more and more frequent, until we were rattling down a
wide street of them, under an avenue of lofty trees, and knew we were at
Cushendall.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some three miles west of the town, on the top of a bare and windy hill
looking down over the Glenaan valley, is a circle of stones placed
there, so legend asserts, to mark the grave of Ossian, son of Finn
MacCool, and sweet singer of the Fianna of Erin; and it was to find this
spot I set out next morning, through fine, windy weather. I knew where
the valley of the Glenaan was, for we had passed its mouth the evening
before, but as to the position of the grave itself I knew nothing. The
guide-book devoted only a vague line to it; but I have a firm belief in
my luck, and I knew I should find it somehow.

For a mile or more my road lay back over the way we had come, mounting
steadily toward the entrance to the Glenaan Valley; and I met many
little carts coming in to market, for it was Saturday; and every one who
wasn't going into town was taking advantage of the fine day by working
in the fields, or putting new coats of dazzling whitewash upon their
houses, or digging in the little flower-gardens in front of them. And
everybody was in cheerful humour and passed the time of day with the
heartiest good will.

And then I came to the entrance of the valley, and turned westward along
the road which traverses it. The mountains soon began to close in on
either hand, and the houses strung along the road or perched on narrow
plateaus grew smaller and smaller; slate gave way to thatch, stone
floors gave way to dirt ones, and the windows shrank to a single
immovable sash of four small panes. In a word, as the land grew poorer,
the people grew poorer, too; and the conditions of life seemed not so
very different from those in far Connaught. Indeed it may very well be
that this is one of those "congested districts" which are scattered over
the east of Ireland.

I stopped, at last, and asked an old man in a blue flannel smock if he
could tell me the way to Ossian's grave; and he told me to fare straight
on till I came to some stepping-stones, and to cross the stones and push
right up the hill. So I went on happily, for the air was very sweet, and
the sun just warm enough, and the great wind was driving white clouds
before it across the sky, and the sunshine in the faces of the people I
met added to the beauty of the day; and at last I came to a cluster of
thatched cottages where the little river turned in close to the road and
rippled between a row of stepping-stones; and I asked a pleasant-faced
woman if that was the way to Ossian's grave, and she said it was; to
cross the stones and go right up the hill, and I would find a house
there where I could get further directions.

The road beyond the stones ran up the hill and into the yard of a
farm-house; and in the yard there was a dog with a very savage bark; but
there was also a blue-eyed girl who quieted him, while she stared at me
curiously. I asked her the way to the grave, and she pointed up the
hill, with a little motion of her hand toward the right, and I set off
again. The road had dwindled to the merest mountain path, with a wall on
either side of earth and stones, crested with prickly gorse; but I came
to a break in it, at last, opening to the right, and scrambled through;
and then, a minute later, in the midst of a heather-carpeted field on
the very summit of the hill, I saw the grave.

It is formed of standing stones, covered with lichen and crumbling under
the storms of centuries, and the vestibule, so to speak, is a
semi-circle some twenty feet in diameter opening toward the east. Back
of this are two chambers, one behind the other, divided by two large
uprights, and I suppose it was in one of these that the body of the bard
was laid--if it was laid here at all. My own guess would be that these
weather-beaten stones, like those others on the hill beside Lough Gill,
antedate Ossian by at least two thousand years. But that is an
unimportant detail; and it may be, indeed, that when the great singer
died, his comrades could think of no more fitting place to lay him than
within the guardian circle of this monument of an older race, looking
down across the valley and out toward the sea.

Fact and fancy have been so mingled in the Ossianic legend that it is
impossible to disentangle them, nor is it profitable to try. It is
fairly certain that he was born somewhere about the middle of the third
century after Christ, and legend has it that he spent two hundred years
in the Land of Youth with Niam of the Golden-hair. When, homesick for
Erin, he returned to it, it was to find his father's courts overgrown
with grass and St. Patrick preaching there, and his disputes with
Patrick are recorded at great length in the tales of the Fenian cycle;
for Ossian bewailed the vanished days of those mighty fighters, and
wished for nothing better than to join them, in whatever world they
might be, while Patrick laboured to convert him from such heathen
fancies and to save his soul. It is to this story reference is made in
the stanza from Lionel Johnson's "Ode to Ireland," which I quoted on
page 221.

Up there on the bleak hill-top the wind was roaring; but I found a nook
between two of the great stones where it could not reach me, and I
lighted my pipe and sat there and looked down over the valley and
thought of the old days, and so spent a sweet half hour. The valley had
changed but little, I fancied, with the rolling centuries; there were
tiny, high-walled fields and low thatched houses on the lower slopes;
but above them sprang the primal hills, clothed with heather, their
bones of granite gleaming here and there, back and back over the Glens
of Antrim, through which the red tide of tribal warfare had poured so
many times. And over eastward lay Cushendall, nestling among its trees,
with the gaunt, truncated mass of Lurigethan hill overshadowing it, and
beyond that, faint and far and scarcely distinguishable from the blue
sky, lay the blue sea.

That valley and those hills belong to the Earl of Antrim--his estate
includes some thirty-five thousand acres of Irish soil, around which he
may build walls and post notices and set guards; and as I sat there
gazing out at them, I realised far more keenly than I had ever done the
absurdity of the idea that any portion of this earth's surface can
rightfully belong to any man. Trace any title back, for a hundred years,
or a thousand years, or two thousand years, and one finds that it
started in a theft--theft on the part of an individual from the tribe
which held the land in common; and the solemn farce of sale and transfer
and inheritance after that was merely the passing on of stolen goods.
Perhaps some day we may win through to the ideal of an earth belonging
equally to all men, with private right only in the things man's industry
creates.

[Illustration: THE GRAVE OF OSSIAN]

[Illustration: AN ANTRIM LANDSCAPE]

I knocked out my pipe, at last, reluctantly enough, and took the picture
of the stones which is opposite this page, but which gives a poor idea
of them; and then I started downward, through the break in the hedge,
through the farmyard, going warily for fear of the dog, and so to the
stepping-stones; and when I looked at them, I saw what a perfect picture
they made, with the stream rippling through, and the thatched cottages
beyond, with the smoke whipped from their chimneys, and a single tree
bending before the wind. That picture in miniature is opposite this
page; but I could not snare with my camera the tang of the turf, the
softness of the air, the glory of the sun, nor the murmur of the water.
Those you will have to evoke for yourself, as best you can.

In the road beyond I found a mail-carrier, who had completed his
morning-round among the hillside dwellings, and who was turning back to
Cushendall; and we went on together. He was a tall, lithe lad, as he
had need to be to get over his daily route among these hills; and, like
every one else, he hoped some day to win his way to America. He knew
many of its towns from the postmarks on the letters he carried. In the
last month, he said, there had been fully a hundred from America, and
welcome letters they were, for nearly all of them contained a bit of
money. Many of the dwellers in these hills--like thousands more all over
Ireland--would find life outside the work-house impossible but for the
help from their sons and daughters in America; and it gives one a good
feeling at the heart to think of those devoted boys and girls putting by
every month a portion of the money which was hard to win and harder
still to save, to send to the old people who were left at home.

By the side of the road, as we walked along, I saw a hovel more
primitive and comfortless than most--just a tiny hut of a single room,
dark and cold and bare; but against one end of it grew a great fuchsia
bush, clothing it with glory. A wrinkled old woman, clad in filthy
clothes, was standing in the doorway, and my companion passed the time
of day with her, while I unslung my camera, for I wanted a picture of
the tiny house and the great bush. I would have liked a picture of the
old woman, too; but she said she was too dirty, and went in until the
picture was taken which is opposite the next page. Then she came out and
asked if I would send her one. It was the first time, she said, that any
one had thought her houseen worth a picture; so I promised she should
have one, and she gave me her name, and the postman promised it should
reach her.

We went on together, after that, and I asked him what the people of the
neighbourhood thought about Home Rule.

[Illustration: A HUMBLE HOME IN ANTRIM]

[Illustration: THE OLD JAIL AT CUSHENDALL]

"The truth is, sir," he answered, "that we don't know what to think,
what with this man telling us one thing and that man another; but most
of the poor people about here would be glad to see it, for they can't be
worse off than they are, and a change might better them. Drilling and
arming? Ah, there's none of that around here; there's no army of Ulster
in these parts. That's just talk."

He left me at the crossroads, for he had still a letter or two to
deliver farther down the road, and I went on by myself toward the town.
There were more whitewashers out, and they were splashing the lime about
in the most reckless fashion, besprinkling the hedges and the shrubbery
and even the road, somewhat to the danger of the passers-by; and at the
first houses of the town I met Betty. She had been talking to the
caretaker of the churchyard about the true shamrock; and he said that it
did not grow wild thereabouts, but that he had some in a pot at home and
would be glad to bring her a spray; and he told her of a ruined church
and an old Celtic cross out along the road above the cliffs, very near,
he said--not over eight minutes' walk at the most.

So we determined to take a look at it; but first we walked about the
town a little, and found it quite an ordinary town, except for a great
square tower at the intersection of the principal streets--a tower
erected, so the tablet on it says, "as a place of confinement for
rioters and idlers." I suppose the town has a modern jail now--perhaps
even with panoptic galleries! At any rate, the tower is no longer
used. I took a picture of it, and if you will look at the picture
closely, you will see a girl drawing water from the town pump just below
the tower.

We started off finally for the ruins, first to the cliffs along the sea,
and then on along the path which runs at their very edge. The view was
very lovely, and we didn't notice how the time was flying; but I looked
at my watch presently and found that we had been walking twenty minutes,
with no ruins in sight. We pushed on ten minutes longer, and had about
given them up, when some children directed us which way to go, and we
finally found the few remaining fragments of Layd Church, so overgrown
with ivy and embowered in trees that they were scarcely recognisable as
ruins at all. The cross proved to be a very modern one; and the
graveyard is sadly neglected, with the grass knee-deep among the tombs,
which have fallen into sorry disarray. Most of them cover some long-dead
MacDonnell--they were all MacDonnells, in the old days, who lived in the
Glens of Antrim.

The "eight minute walk" had taken more than half an hour, and we had
need to hasten if we were to get back to the hotel in time for lunch,
for the car which was to take us to Larne was to start at two; but we
made it, and when the car drove up, we found it was a long outside-car
with room for five people on each side. We chose the forward end of the
side next the sea; and then the car proceeded to another hotel in the
town, where five or six more people were waiting; and the two women who
were condemned to the landward side complained bitterly. They were
making the trip, they said, just to see the sea, and here they would be
compelled to sit the whole way facing the blank cliff.

"Sure, there's nothing I can do, miss," said the jarvey, who had
listened sympathetically; "I can't make the car any longer, now can I?
Maybe you might be glancin' over your shoulder from time to time; anyway
I'm thinkin' you'll be seein' enough of the sea before you're home
again."

And with that they had to be consoled.

The road runs inland for about a mile beyond Cushendall, and then turns
down close to the shore of Red Bay, a vast amphitheatre of red sandstone
cliffs, in whose face the road is cut. At the deepest point of the
circle, where the Vale of Glenariff opens up into the mountains, is
clustered a little village of white houses; and then the road runs on
round the base of towering precipices; and suddenly the red sandstone
changes to chalk, and the water washing against the shore, which has
been a lovely green, turns milky white, with outstanding pinnacles of
chalk, worn to fantastic shapes, keeping guard above it.

We had noticed an increasing crowd upon the road, all walking or riding
southwards; and presently two barefooted boys jumped up on the footboard
and asked if they might ride a little way; and they told us that there
was a circus at Carnlough to which every one was going; and they each
had the tuppence necessary for admission gripped in a grimy fist, and
were very excited indeed. Carnlough, as we soon found, is a small town
consisting principally of a curving beach, where a few people were
bathing; and the white tent of Duffy's Circus--a much larger affair than
Buff Bill's--was pitched close beside the road. The urchins dropped off
and made for the entrance; and as we passed, we caught a strain of "The
Stars and Stripes Forever," painfully rendered by the circus band.

We rolled on around another wide bay, and came to Glenarm, where we
paused to change horses; and then on again, under the white cliffs, past
quarries where flint and chalk are mined for the Belfast market; and
always at our feet lay the Irish Sea, stretching away to the dim
horizon, its colour changing with every passing cloud. In and out the
road circled, following the long curves of the coast; past the ruins of
a castle which O'Halloran, a famous outlaw, built for himself on the top
of a small rock with the sea washing round it; past another amphitheatre
where the rocks change back from chalk to basalt; through a short tunnel
and so to Larne.

The most interesting thing about Larne is its handsome new harbour built
for the express steamers which cross several times daily to Stranrear,
the shortest of the routes to Scotland. Edward Bruce chose this route
when he came over with an army of six thousand men to help the Irish
drive the English from Ireland, as his brother Robert had driven them
from Scotland the year before at Bannockburn. It was in May, 1315, that
the Scotch drew up in battle array along this strand; and a year later
Bruce was crowned King of Ireland; but though at first he drove the
Normans before him, his own army was gradually worn down by privation
and disease, and he himself was killed at the battle of Faughart. So
ended one more Irish dream!

We changed at Larne from road to rail, and were soon rolling southward,
still close beside the water, past a string of seaside resorts, each of
which added its quota of passengers--perspiring men and women and tired
but happy children; and so we came to the old town of Carrickfergus,
with its magnificent castle overlooking Belfast Lough. Its great square
keep, ninety feet high, looked most imposing in the gathering
twilight--how many assaults had it withstood in the seven centuries of
its existence! Bruce captured it, but the MacDonnells failed. Schomberg,
William's general, had better luck, and it was on the quay below it that
the great Orangeman first set foot in Ireland. It has some American
associations, too; for John Paul Jones sailed his good ship _Ranger_
under its walls in 1778, and captured the British ship-of-war _Drake_.
Murray, good British guide-book that it is, refers to the founder of the
American navy as "the pirate Paul Jones." But we can afford to smile at
that!

Carrickfergus is doubtless worth a visit, though the castle is used as
an ordnance depot now, and visitors are admitted only to the outer
court. But even that would be worth seeing; and the town possesses an
old church, and some fragments of its old walls, and doubtless many
interesting old houses. I am sorry we did not spend a day there.

But our train rolled on, close beside the border of Belfast Lough, and
presently, far ahead, we saw the gleaming spires and clustered roofs of
the citadel of Ulster.



CHAPTER XXIX

BELFAST


IT had been on a Saturday evening that we first saw Dublin, and it was
on a Saturday evening that we reached Belfast; and we had thought the
streets of Dublin crowded, but compared with those of Belfast, they were
nowhere. Even in our first ride up from the station, along York Street
and Royal Avenue, it was evident that here was a town where life was
strenuous and eager; there was no mistaking its air of alert prosperity;
and when, after dinner, we sallied forth on foot to see more of it, we
found the sidewalks so crowded that it was possible to move along them
only as the crowd moved.

It was a better-dressed crowd than the Dublin one, but I fancied its
cheeks were paler and its bodies less robust. Indeed, I am inclined to
think the average stature in Belfast an inch or so under the average
elsewhere. Great numbers of the men and women we saw on the streets that
night were obviously undersized. I am by no means tall; five feet eight
inches is, here in America, about the average; but when I walked among
that Belfast crowd, I overtopped it by half a head. It was this strange
sensation--the sensation of being a tall man, which I had never before
experienced--which first drew my attention to the stature of the crowd.

There must be several regiments of British troops stationed at Belfast,
for soldiers were much in evidence that evening, and in a great
diversity of uniform. They, too, for the most part, seemed undersized,
in spite of their erect carriage; and they were, as is the way with
soldiers everywhere, much interested in the girls; and the girls, after
the fashion of girls everywhere, were much interested in the
soldiers--and there was a great deal of flirting and coquetting and
glancing over shoulders and stopping to talk, and walking about with
clasped hands.

Next to the crowd, the most interesting feature of Belfast is the shops,
which are very bright and attractive. The Scotch have a genius for fancy
breads and cakes, and the bakers' shops here were extremely alluring.
There seemed to be also an epidemic of auction sales and closing out
sales and cut price sales, announced by great placards pasted all over
the windows; but there were so many of them that I fancy most of them
were fakes.

One notices also in Belfast the multiplicity of bands. It seemed to me
that night that a band, playing doggedly away, was passing all the time.
Sometimes the band would be followed by a body of marching men,
sometimes by men and women together, sometimes it would be just playing
itself along without any one behind it. Nobody in the crowd paid much
attention, not even when a big company of boy scouts marched past,
looking very clever in their broad hats with the little chin-straps, and
grey flannel shirts and flapping short trousers showing their bare
knees.

What I am setting down here are merely my first impressions of Belfast.
I do not allege that they were correct impressions, or that they fairly
describe the town, but, as we were fresh from many weeks in the south
and west of Ireland, the sense of contrast we experienced that first
evening is not without significance.

We went back to the hotel, finally, for we had had a strenuous day; but
for long and long we could hear the bands passing in the street below;
and then the martial rattle of drums and scream of fifes brought us to
the window, and we saw a great crowd of children march past, with
banners waving and tin buckets and shovels rattling. It was a Sunday
School picnic, just back from a day at the seashore; and the air which
the fifes and drums were playing with a vigour that made the windows
rattle was "Work, for the Night is Coming!" I had never before realised
what a splendid marching tune it is!

       *       *       *       *       *

I am sorry we did not go to church, next morning, for the pulpits of
Belfast were thundering against Home Rule, as we saw by the Monday
papers. Instead, we walked down to the river, for a look at the harbour
and custom house, and then about the streets to the city hall, with its
dome and corner towers oddly reminiscent of St. Paul's Cathedral; and
then we took a tram to the Botanical Gardens. The tram ran along a
tree-embowered street, lined on either side with villas set in the midst
of grounds so beautiful that any of them might have been the gardens;
but when we reached the end of the line, we found we had come too far.
The conductor was greatly chagrined that he had forgot to tell us where
to get off, and sternly refused to accept any fare for the return trip.

The gardens, which we finally reached, are very attractively laid out,
but far more interesting than the flowers and the shrubs was the crowd
which was coming home from church. There seems to be a church on every
square in Belfast, and I judge they were all full that day--as they no
doubt are every Sunday, for church-going is still fashionable in the
British Isles; and the crowd which poured along the walks of the gardens
was as well-dressed and handsome as could be seen anywhere. It was a
crowd made up of people evidently and consciously well-to-do, and one
distinctive characteristic was a certain severity of aspect, a certain
prevalence of that black-coated, side-whiskered, stern-lipped type which
was much more common in America thirty years ago than it is now. Our
type has changed--has softened and grown more urbane; but I should judge
that the cold steel of Calvinism is as sharp and merciless as ever in
Belfast.

The men walked slowly along in twos and threes, talking over the sermons
they had just listened to; and the sermons, judging from the newspapers,
were all cast in the same mould; and that mould gives so clearly the
Orange attitude toward Home Rule, that I shall try to outline it here,
quoting literally from the newspaper accounts.

Home Rule, then, according to the Belfast preachers, is a Papal-inspired
movement, whose object is "to thrust out of their birthright over one
million enterprising, industrious, and peaceable citizens, whose only
crime was their loyalty to Crown and Constitution, and to put them under
that Papal yoke from which their sires had purchased their liberty.
Their beloved island home had never been more prosperous. They were
grateful and they were satisfied, but their Roman Catholic fellow
countrymen seemed to have no sense of satisfaction or gratitude. The
Irish Nationalists had entered into a movement to sacrifice
Protestantism upon the altar of Home Rule, but Orangemen and Protestants
had entered into a covenant the object of which was the maintenance of
their rightful heritage of British citizenship, of their commercial and
industrial progress, and of their freedom. In the same spirit of
patriotic Protestantism as was displayed at the siege of Derry, they
would go forth to combat the onslaughts of Rome, and they would show
that the same spirit lived in them as in their illustrious sires." Some
of the services concluded with singing a new version of the National
Anthem:

          Ulster will never yield;
          God is our strength and shield,
            On Him we lean.
          Free, loyal, true and brave,
          Our liberties we'll save.
          Home Rule we'll never have.
            God save the King.

That last line is so perfunctory that it provokes a smile.

I am anxious to state the case against Home Rule as fairly as I can, the
more so because, as the readers of this book must have suspected before
this, I have little sympathy with the die-hard Unionists. I do not
believe that they represent Ulster in any such absolute sense as they
claim to do, for in the first place they hold only sixteen out of the
thirty-three Ulster seats in Parliament, and in the second place, even
in the four counties which are largely Protestant, there is a very
strong Nationalist sentiment. My own conviction is that the Orange
Societies are being be-fooled by a clique of politicians and aristocrats
whose quarrel is not with Home Rule but with the Liberal party. Nobody
denies that the funds for the organisation and equipment of the Orange
army have been supplied by the Conservative party, whose campaign chest
has been sadly depleted by the immense sums needed to keep the agitation
going. Certain leaders of that party have done their utmost to foment
religious and racial hatred, not because of any religious convictions of
their own, nor because of any special sympathy for Ulster, but in the
hope of overthrowing the government and stopping the march of social
reform. They might just as well try to stop the march of time--and some
day, perhaps, they will realise it!

          And yet--

These fighting preachers, these uncompromising, wrong-headed, upright
old Calvinists, are undoubtedly in earnest. The congregations which sat
in grim-faced silence that day listening to this oratory, were in
earnest, too. But I cannot believe that, in their inmost heart of
hearts, they really dread the subversion of Protestantism. What they
dread is, in the first place, some diminution of their supremacy in
Irish politics, and, in the second place, some diminution of their
control of Irish industry. In other words, the attack they really fear
is against their pocket-books, not against their creed. And it is not
impossible that their pocket-books may suffer; indeed, I think it
probable that when the Home Rule Parliament has made its final
adjustments of revenue, Ulster will be found to be bearing somewhat more
of the burden than she now does, though perhaps not more than her just
share. But this doesn't make the situation any the less serious, for
ever since the world began it has been proved over and over again that
the very surest way to drive men to frenzied resistance is to attack
their pocket-books. As for the religious bogy, I personally believe most
sincerely that it _is_ a bogy. Such danger to Protestantism as exists
comes, not from the Irish Catholics, but from the politicians who are
using it as a football.

There was a sentence in one of the sermons preached that day to the
effect that Irish Protestants laboured to help Irish Catholics to civil
and religious liberty, when Irish Catholics were unable to help
themselves, and this is a fact which I am sure Irish Catholics will be
the last to forget. A century ago, Ulster was as fiercely Nationalist as
she is fiercely Unionist to-day; it was in Belfast that the Society of
United Irishmen was organised, and its leader was Theobald Wolfe Tone, a
Protestant, and its first members were Presbyterians, and one of its
objects was Catholic Emancipation. And, as a close to these disconnected
remarks, I cannot do better than repeat an anecdote I saw the other day
in the _Nineteenth Century_. Some sympathetic neighbours called upon the
mother of Sir David Baird to condole with her over her son's
misfortunes, and they told her, with bated voices, how he had been
captured by Tippoo Sultan, and chained to a soldier and thrust into a
dungeon. Baird's mother listened silently, and then a little smile
flitted across her lips.

"God help the laddie that's chained to my Davie!" she said softly.

And anybody that's chained to Ulster will undoubtedly have a strenuous
time!

       *       *       *       *       *

The _News-Letter_ is the great Belfast daily, and while I was looking
through it, Monday, for fear I had missed some of the pulpit and
platform fulminations, I chanced upon another article which interested
me deeply, as showing the Protestant attitude toward control of the
schools. The article in question was a long account of the awarding of
prizes at one of the big Belfast National schools, as a result of the
religious education examination, and it was most illuminating.

The chairman began his remarks by saying that "nothing is pleasanter
than to hear a pupil repeat faultlessly the answers to the one hundred
and seven questions in the Shorter Catechism, without a stumble, placing
the emphasis where it is due, and attending to the stops," and he went
on to report that these one hundred and seven questions had been asked
orally of each of 396 children, that there was not a single failure, and
that practically all the children were in the first honour list--that
is, had answered faultlessly the whole one hundred and seven.

And then another speaker, a clergyman, of course, like the first, told
impressively of the meaning of education. It was, he said, the duty of
every child to store his mind with all manner of knowledge and to seek
diligently to gain information from day to day. But religion was the sum
and complement of all education. Without it, all other acquirements
would be little better than the beautiful flush upon the consumptive's
cheek, the precursor of sure death and decay. He reminded them that even
the very youngest there was guilty in the sight of God, for that awful
word sinner described them all.

Then a third speaker remarked that while the staff of the school was
doing a fine work in teaching the boys and girls to read and write and
cast up accounts, that that wasn't nearly so fine as teaching them the
catechism and encouraging them to study their Bibles. And then a fourth
speaker emphasised this; and then there was a vote of thanks to all the
speakers, and the prize Bibles were distributed, and everybody went away
happy--at least, the adults were all happy, and I can only hope the
children were.

From all which it is evident that the Presbyterians will fight for their
schools as hard, if not harder, than the Catholics will for theirs. But
to me, the thought of those poor children being drilled and drilled in
the proper answers to the 107 questions of the Catechism, until they
could answer them all glibly and without stopping to think, is a painful
and depressing one. I suppose that is the way good Orangemen are made;
but the Catechism has always seemed to me a rickety ladder to climb to
heaven by.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was fortunate enough to witness another peculiar symptom of Belfast's
temper, that afternoon, when I went down to the Custom House, which
stands near the river. It is a large building occupying a full block,
and there is a wide esplanade all around it; and this esplanade has,
from time immemorial, been the platform which any speaker, who could
find room upon it, was privileged to mount, and where he might
promulgate any doctrine he could get the crowd to listen to.

There was a great throng of people about the place, that afternoon, and
a liberal sprinkling of policemen scattered through it; and then I
perceived that it wasn't one big crowd but a lot of smaller crowds, each
listening to a different orator, whose voices met and clashed in the air
in a most confusing manner. And I wish solemnly to assert that the list
which follows is a true list in every detail.

At the corner of the building, a reformed drunkard, with one of those
faces which are always in need of shaving, stood, Bible in hand,
recounting his experiences. At least, he said he had reformed; but the
pictures he painted of the awful depravity of his past had a lurid tinge
which held his auditors spell-bound, and it was evident from the way he
smacked his lips over them that he was proud of having been such a devil
of a fellow.

Next to him a smartly-dressed negro was selling bottles of medicine,
which, so far as I could judge from what I heard, was guaranteed to cure
all the ills that flesh is heir to. The formula for this wonderful
preparation, he asserted, had been handed down through his family from
his great-great-grandmother, who had been a famous African voodoo
doctor, and it could be procured nowhere else. The open-mouthed
Belfasters listened to all this with a deference and patience which no
American audience would have shown, and the fakir took in many
shillings.

Next to him, a company of the Salvation Army was holding a meeting after
the explosive fashion familiar all the world over; and at the farther
corner, a white-bearded little fellow was describing the horrors of hell
with an unction and exactitude far surpassing Dante. I don't know what
his formula was for avoiding these horrors, for I didn't wait to hear
his peroration.

Just around the corner, two blind men were singing dolefully, with a tin
cup on the pavement before them, and straining their ears for the rattle
of a copper that never came; and farther along, a sharp-faced Irishman
was delivering a speech, which I judged to be political, but it was so
interspersed with anecdote and invective and personal reminiscence,
that, though I listened a long time, I couldn't make out who he was
talking against, or which side he was on. His audience seemed to follow
him without difficulty, however, and laughed and applauded; and then a
little fellow with a black moustache advised the crowd, in a loud voice,
not to listen to him, for he was a jail-bird. I saw the constables edge
in a little closer; but the speaker took the taunt in good part,
admitted that he had done twelve months for some offence, and thanked
the crowd with tears in his voice because they had raised two pounds a
week, during that time, for the support of his family. The crowd
cheered, and the fellow who had tried to start trouble hastened to take
himself off. Thinking over all which, now, it occurs to me that the
speech may have been a labour speech, and not a political one at all.

I gave it up, at last, and moved on to where a man was making an
impassioned plea for contributions for an orphan asylum. He had a
number of sample orphans of both sexes ranged about him, and he painted
a lively picture of the good his institution was doing; but how he hoped
to extract donations from a crowd so evidently down at heel I don't see.
Next to him, a frightful cripple, who could stand erect only by leaning
heavily upon two canes, was telling the crowd how exceedingly difficult
it was for a rich man to get into heaven. Next to him, a lot of women
were holding some sort of missionary meeting; and just around the last
corner, a roughly-dressed man, with coarse, red-bearded face, whose
canvas placard described him as a "Medical Herbalist," was selling
medicines of his own concoction.

He had no panacea, but a separate remedy for every ill; and I listened
to his patter for a long time, though obviously he didn't welcome my
presence. He proved that slippery-elm was harmless by eating some of it,
and argued that plantain, "which ignorant people regarded as a weed,
made the best medicine a man could put into his inside," and he proved
this proposition by saying that it must be so because plantain had no
other known use, and it was inconceivable that the Lord would have taken
the trouble to create it without some purpose. He also proved that he
was a capable doctor because he was not a doctor at all, but a
working-man, and it was the working-man who made the world go round.
Inconceivable as it may seem, this ignorant and maudlin talk was
listened to seriously and even respectfully, and he sold a lot of his
medicines. Medicine seems to be one of the dissipations of the Belfast
folk.

The largest crowd of all was gathered before a man who held the centre
of the fourth side of the esplanade, and who was talking, or rather
shouting, against Home Rule. He was garbed as a clergyman, and he wore
an Orange badge, and he was listened to with religious attention as he
painted the iniquity of the Catholic church and the horrible dangers of
Catholic domination. His references to King Billy and the Boyne and the
walls of Derry were many and frequent, and he had all sorts of newspaper
clippings in his pockets, from which he read freely, and though he was
very hoarse and bathed in perspiration, he showed no sign of stopping.
He intimated that, once Home Rule was established, the revival of the
inquisition would be but a matter of a short time, that no Protestant
would be allowed to own property, that no Protestant labourer could
expect employment anywhere until he had abjured his religion, that their
children would be taken away from them and reared in Catholic schools,
and he called upon them to arm and stand firm, to offer their lives upon
the altar of their country, and not retreat a step before the
aggressions of the Scarlet Woman. I don't know how much of this farrago
his audience believed, but their faces were intent and serious, and I
fear they believed much more than was good for them. I happened upon a
song of Chesterton's the other day which brought those strained and
intent faces vividly before me:

   The folks that live in black Belfast, their heart is in their mouth;
   They see us making murders in the meadows of the South;
   They think a plow's a rack, they do, and cattle-calls are creeds,
   And they think we're burnin' witches, when we're only burnin' weeds.

Those lines are scarcely an exaggeration; and after I had stood there
listening for half an hour, I began to feel uneasily that perhaps, after
all, there is in Ulster a dour fanaticism which may lead to an ugly
conflict. Those political adventurers who have preached armed resistance
so savagely, without really meaning a word of it, may have raised a
Frankenstein which they will find themselves unable to control.

[Illustration: THE CITY HALL, BELFAST]

[Illustration: HIGH STREET, BELFAST]

As I turned away, at last, sick at heart that such things should be, I
passed close by a little group of men who were standing on the sidewalk
opposite, listening to the denunciations of Rome with flushed faces and
clenched hands.

"Let's have a go at him!" said one of them hoarsely; and then he caught
my eye, as I lingered to see what would happen. "What do you think of
that, anyway, sir?" he asked.

"I think it's outrageous," I said. "But I wouldn't raise a row, if I
were you boys; you'll just be playing into his hands if you do."

Their leader considered this for a moment.

"I guess you're right, sir," he agreed, at last. "Come on, boys," and
they slouched away around the corner.

But perhaps, afterwards, when they had got a few more drinks, they came
back again. It is a peculiarity of Belfast that the public houses are
allowed to open at two o'clock Sunday afternoon, and they are crammed
from that time forward with a thirsty crowd.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is nothing of antiquarian interest at Belfast, and its public
buildings, though many and various, are in no way noteworthy. The
sycophancy of the town is evidenced by a tall memorial to Prince
Albert, not quite so ugly however, as the one at London; while in front
of the city hall stands a heroic figure of Victoria. There is a statue
to the Marquis of Dufferin, and one to Harland the ship-builder, and one
to Sir James Haslett; and many militant divines, in flowing robes, are
immortalised in marble. But search the streets as you may, you will find
no statue to any Irish patriot or Irish poet.

Nor will you find a street named after one--yes, there is Patrick
Street, but it is a very short and unimportant street, and may easily
escape notice. The shadow of the Victorian Age lies deeply over the
place. The greatest quay is Albert Quay, and the ship channel is
Victoria Channel, and the square at the custom house is Albert Square,
and a little farther along is Victoria Square, and just around the
corner is Arthur Square, and the principal avenue is Royal Avenue, and
the broad street which leads into it is York Street, and the street next
to it is Queen Street, and leading off of that is Kent Street, and a
little distance away is Albert Street leading up to Great Victoria
Street, and I am sure that somewhere in the town there is a Prince
Consort Street, though I didn't happen upon it!

The churches are all modern and uninteresting, though, strangely enough,
the Catholic ones are as large and ornate as any. You wouldn't think it
from the way Ulster talks, but about a fourth of the population of
Belfast is Catholic. There are two small museums, neither of which is
worth visiting; in a word, the whole interest of Belfast is in its
shops, its factories and its commerce.

The shops are wonderfully attractive, especially, of course, in objects
made of linen. For Belfast is the world-centre of the linen trade, whose
foundations were laid by the Huguenots who found a refuge here after
Louis XIV banished them from France. It was the one Irish industry which
England did not interfere with, because England produced no linen; and
consequently it prospered enormously, until to-day there are single
factories at Belfast where four thousand people bend over a thousand
looms or watch ten thousand spindles, and the annual value of the trade
is more than sixty million dollars. There are great tobacco factories,
too, covering acres of ground; and the biggest rope-walk in the world;
and a distillery which covers nineteen acres and--but the list is
interminable.

The most interesting and spectacular of all these mighty industries will
be found along the river banks, where the great ship-building yards are
ranged, where such monsters as the _Olympic_ and the fated _Titanic_
were built and launched, and where the rattle and clangour of steel upon
steel tells of the labour of twenty thousand men. And surely the clang
and clatter of honest toil which rises from Belfast on week days must be
more pleasing to the Almighty than the clang and clatter which rises
from it on Sunday! I should think He would be especially disgusted with
the noises which emanate from about the Custom House!



CHAPTER XXX

THE GRAVE OF ST. PATRICK


THE shops of Belfast, with their embroidered linens (duty, forty-five
per cent!), proved a magnet too great for Betty to resist, but I hied me
away, next day, into County Down, on a pilgrimage to the grave which is
said to hold the three great apostles of Erin--Saint Brigid and Saint
Patrick and Saint Columba. It is in the churchyard of the village of
Downpatrick that the grave lies, and the thirty mile run thither from
Belfast is through a green and fertile country covered with broad fields
of flax. There are raths and tumuli here and there, and a few ruins
topping the neighbouring slopes, but it is not until one reaches
Downpatrick that one comes upon a really impressive memorial of the old
days.

The cathedral is visible long before the train reaches the town,
standing on the edge of a high bluff overlooking the valley of the
Quoile, and it was to it I made my way from the station, up a very steep
street, for Downpatrick, following the fashion of Irish towns, is built
on the side of a hill--and also follows the fashion in having an Irish
Street and an English Street and even a Scotch Street, the surviving
names, I suppose, of the quarters where the people of those various
nations once lived close together for mutual protection.

The cathedral was locked, as Protestant churches have a way of being;
but the caretaker lives near by and came running when his wife told him
that there was a strange gentleman wished to see the church. He was a
very Scotch Irishman, and as he took me around the bare, white interior,
he said proudly: "There's not much high church about this. Not a bit of
flummery will we have here--no candles or vestments or anything of that
sort. Our people wouldn't stand it--it savours too much of Romanism."

"And yet," I said, "it was Saint Patrick who founded this very church,
and you have him and Saint Brigid and Saint Columba buried in your
churchyard."

"Yes, and we're proud to have them," he retorted quickly, "for they
weren't Romanists--they were just Christians, and good ones, too. The
Protestants of Ireland can honour Patrick and Brigid just as much as the
Catholics do. It wasn't till long after their day that the Irish church
made submission to Rome."

There is a modicum of truth in this, for, though it is probable that St.
Patrick was regularly ordained a bishop and is even sometimes asserted
to have been sent on his mission by Pope Celestine himself, the ties
which bound Irish Catholics to Rome were for many centuries very slight
indeed, and it was not until after the Norman conquest that the
authority of Rome was fully acknowledged; and this independence has
persisted, in a way, even to the present day; for while Irish Catholics,
of course, acknowledge absolutely the supremacy of the Holy See in all
spiritual affairs, they have always been quick to resent its
interference in things temporal, and their tolerance toward other
religions than their own stands almost unique in history. It is,
perhaps, a racial characteristic, for the Pagan Irish, during all the
years of Patrick's mission among them, never seriously persecuted him
and never slew a Christian.

Here at the spot where that mission began it is fitting that I should
say a word of it. Of Saint Patrick himself very little is certainly
known, for he was a man of deeds and not of words, and left no record of
his life; but there seems no valid reason to doubt the traditional
account of him; that he was born at Kilpatrick, in Scotland, somewhere
about 390; that his father was a Roman citizen and a Christian; that,
when about sixteen years of age, he was captured by a band of raiding
Irish, carried back to Ireland as a slave, sold to an Ulster chief named
Milcho, and for six years tended his master's flocks on the slopes of
Slemish, one of the Antrim hills. In the end he escaped and made his way
back to his home in Britain; but once there his thoughts turned back to
Erin, and in his dreams he heard the cries of the Pagan Irish imploring
him to return, bearing the torch of Christianity.

The voices grew too strong to be resisted, and in 432 he was back on the
Irish coast again, having in the meantime been ordained a bishop of the
Catholic Church; and he sailed along the coast until he came to
Strangford Lough, where he turned in and landed. His purpose was to go
back to Slemish and ransom himself from the master from whom he had
escaped, but he paused at a large sabhall, or barn, and said his first
Mass on Irish soil. It was to that spot he afterwards returned, when the
hand of death was upon him, to end his days; and the little village
that stands there is Sabhall, or Saul, to this day. He went on, after
that, to the great dun, or fort, of the kings of Ulster, which we
ourselves shall visit presently, and from which Downpatrick takes its
name. Then, finding his old master dead, he began his life-work. His
success was so extraordinary that at the end of thirty years, the
conversion of the Irish was complete.

[Illustration: THE GRAVE OF PATRICK, BRIGID AND COLUMBA]

[Illustration: THE OLD CROSS AT DOWNPATRICK]

At last, feeling his end near, he made his way back to the sanctuary at
Saul, died there, and was brought for burial to this bluff overlooking
the great rath below. Legend has it that Saint Brigid wove his
winding-sheet. She herself, when she died, was buried before the high
altar of her church at Kildare; and there are two stories of why her
body was removed to St. Patrick's grave. One is that, in 878, her
followers, fearing that her grave would be desecrated by the Danes,
removed her body to Downpatrick and buried it in the grave with the
great apostle, where the remains of St. Columba had been brought from
Iona and placed nearly two centuries before for the same reason. The
other story is that the bones of St. Brigid and St. Columba both were
brought here in 1185 by John de Courcy, to whom Ulster had been granted
by the English king,--and who had surprised and captured Downpatrick
eight years previously,--in the hope of conciliating the people he had
conquered. Either story may be true; but all that need concern us now is
that there seems to be no question that the three great apostles of
Ireland really do lie at rest within this grave.

De Courcy enlarged the cathedral, which, before that, had been a poor
affair, dedicated it to Saint Patrick, and caused effigies of the
three saints to be placed above the east window with a Latin couplet
over them:

          Hi tres in duno, tumulo tumulantur in uno
          Brigida, Patritius, atque Columba pius.

The stone which marks the grave is in the yard just outside the
church--a great, irregular monolith of Mourne granite, weatherworn and
untouched by human hand, except for an incised Celtic cross and the word
"Patric" in rude Celtic letters--one monument, at least, in Ireland
which is wholly dignified and worthy.

One other thing of antiquarian interest there is near by, and that is an
ancient cross, said to have stood originally on the fort of the King of
Ulster, but removed by De Courcy and set up in front of his castle in
the centre of the town, as a sign of his sovereignty, where it was
knocked to pieces when the castle was. The fragments have been put
together, and battered and worn as it is, the carvings can still be
dimly seen--the crucifixion in the centre, with stiff representations of
Bible scenes below. It is ruder than most, as may be seen from the
photograph opposite page 522, for the circle which surrounds the cross
is merely indicated and not cut through. There has been much controversy
as to the origin of this circle, which is the distinctive feature of the
Celtic cross; but I have never yet seen any theory which seemed anything
more than a guess--and not a particularly good guess, either.

Of the first church which was built here not a trace remains, and even
of the structure of 1137 there is little left. For Downpatrick, with the
priories and monasteries and hospitals and convents and other religious
establishments which had grown up around the sacred grave of the saints,
was one of the first objects of attack when Henry VIII began his
suppression of the religious houses. Lord Grey marched hither at the
head of a regiment of soldiers and plundered the place and set fire to
it, so that only an empty shell was left. The crumbling and blackened
ruin stood undisturbed for more than two hundred years, and when its
restoration was finally undertaken, it was found that only five arches
of the nave were solid enough to be retained. So the present structure
is only about a century old, except for that one stretch of wall and a
recessed doorway under the east window. The old effigies of Brigid and
Patrick and Columba, which Grey pulled down and knocked to pieces, have
been replaced in the niches above the window, but they are sadly
mutilated. In the vestry is a portrait of Jeremy Taylor, who was Bishop
of Down for nearly seventy years, but there is little else of interest
in the church. The most imposing thing about it is its position at the
edge of the high bluff, looking out across the valley of the Quoire to
the Mourne mountains.

Just to the north of this bluff and almost in its shadow, close to the
bank of a little stream, still stands the enormous rath built two
thousand years ago by Celtchair, one of the heroes of the Red Branch of
Ulster, and here he and the chiefs who came after him had their
stronghold. So great was its fame that Ptolemy, in far off Egypt, heard
of it, and it was gradually enlarged and strengthened until there were
few in Ireland to equal it. The sea helped to guard it, for at high tide
the water flowed up over the flats along the Quoile and lapped against
it; but the erection of sluice-gates farther down the stream has shut
away the tide, and it stands now in the midst of a marsh.

To get to it, one passes along the wall of the jail--one of the largest
I had seen anywhere in Ireland, and which Murray proudly says cost
$315,000--and scrambles down into the marsh, and there before one is the
rath. My picture of it, the top one opposite the next page, was taken
from close beside the jail, many hundreds of yards away, and gives no
idea of its size, except for the thread-like path which you may perceive
running up one end, which is two or three feet wide, and fully seventy
feet long.

The rath is an immense circular rampart of earth, nearly three quarters
of a mile in circumference, fifty feet high, and so steep that I had
great difficulty in getting up it, even by the path. Around it runs a
fosse or ditch some forty feet wide and nine or ten feet deep. This, of
course, was deeper in the old days, and would remain filled with water
even when the tide was out. Inside the circular rampart, the ground
drops some twenty feet into a large enclosure, near the centre of which
a great mound, surrounded by a ditch ten feet deep, towers sixty feet
into the air.

The central mound corresponds to the keep or donjon tower of more modern
forts, the last place of refuge and defence when the outer ramparts had
been forced; and it was on this mound that the dwellings of the chiefs
stood, rude enough, no doubt, though they were the palaces of kings. The
tribal huts clustered in the enclosure about the foot of the mound; and
so perfectly is the whole place preserved--though of course there is
now no trace of hut or palace--that one has little difficulty in
picturing the busy life which went on there--the throngs of men and
women and children, the tribal council gathered on the summit of the
great mound to listen to the chief, the departure of expeditions for war
or for the chase, the arrival of envoys from some other chieftain or
perhaps of some minstrel, his harp slung across his shoulder. . . .

[Illustration: THE GREAT RATH AT DOWNPATRICK]

[Illustration: THE INNER AND OUTER CIRCLES]

[Illustration: THE CENTRAL MOUND]

I tore myself away, at last, for there was another place I wished to
visit, and it was three miles distant--the Holy Wells of Struell. The
caretaker at the cathedral had pointed out the route, so I climbed back
past the prison, and went down through the town and up Irish Street
beyond, and over Gallows Hill, where some unfortunate Irishmen were
hanged during the rebellion of '98. The road beyond ran between high
hedge-rows and under arching trees, whose shade was very grateful, for
the day was the hottest I had experienced in Ireland; and then it
crossed the white high-road and ran close under a long stretch of wall
which surrounded an enormous and ornate building. I asked a passer-by
what it was, and he answered that it was a madhouse, and big as it was,
was none too big. Murray supplies the information that it cost half a
million.

There is a workhouse in the town which, from the look of it, must have
cost $300,000--or say a million dollars for the three together, the
jail, the workhouse and the asylum, every cent of it, of course, raised
by taxation from the poorest people in the world! Sadly pondering this,
I went on along the lane, and the heat made the way seem very long. But
a girl I met assured me that I had not much farther to go--only past
the farm at the foot of the hill; and presently I came to the farm, a
handsome one, with the dwelling-house surrounded by well-built barns and
stables, and a man there directed me to the wells, down a little
by-road. Five minutes later, I had reached the rude stone huts which
cover the Holy Wells of Struell.

Down the middle of a pretty valley, a small stream leaps from rock to
rock, pausing here and there in little pools, and these pools are the
"wells." Each of them is protected by a stone-walled, stone-roofed cell,
built in the old days when the wells were in their glory, and now
falling to decay. Just beyond the wells is a group of thatched cottages,
and a girl of eight or nine, seeing my approach, hurried out from one of
them and volunteered to act as guide, scenting, of course, the chance to
earn a penny. And she took me first to what she said was the
drinking-well, a little grass-grown pool in a fence-corner, and though
she seemed to expect me to drink, I didn't, for the water looked stale
and scummy.

Then we climbed a wall, and walked over to a stone cubicle, which stood
in the middle of a potato patch. This is the eye-well, and the cell over
it is just large enough to permit a person to enter and kneel down above
the water and bathe the affected parts. I took a picture of it which you
will find opposite the next page. Then she led me to the largest well of
all, the body well, or well of sins, where it is necessary to undress
and immerse the whole body.

The stone building over the body well is divided into two parts by a
solid wall, and one part is for men and the other for women. The
disrobing is done in the outer chamber, which has a low stone bench
running around three sides, and then the penitent enters a small inner
chamber, descends some six or seven steps into the pool of water, and, I
suppose, places himself below the stream which falls into the pool from
the end of a pipe. As its name indicates, this well was supposed to have
the power of washing away all disease, both physical and moral, and time
was when it was very popular. The effect of the cold bath was so
exhilarating, and the sudden sense of freedom from sin and disease so
uplifting, that the penitents would sometimes rush forth to proclaim
their blessed state without pausing to resume their garments. Naturally
a lot of impious Orangemen would gather to see the fun; and finally both
the secular authorities and the Catholic clergy set their faces against
the practices, with the result that they gradually fell into disuse.
Only single pilgrims, or small companies, at most, come now to bathe in
the magic waters, and their behaviour is most circumspect. The cells,
themselves, are well-nigh in ruins. A chapel to Saint Patrick, from whom
these waters derive their efficacy, was begun during the day of their
popularity, but was never finished, and now only a fragment of it
remains.

[Illustration: THE EYE WELL AT STRUELL]

[Illustration: THE WELL OF SINS AT STRUELL]

While I was manoeuvring for a photograph of the well of sins, a
middle-aged woman came out of a near-by cottage to advise me where to
stand. She had seen many pictures taken of the well, she said, and the
place that made the best picture was on top of the wall around her
garden, and I climbed up on it, and found that she was right.

"'Tis a warm day," she went on, when I descended, "and your honour must
be tired with the long walk. Will you not come in and sit a spell?"

"Thank you," I said; "I'll be glad to--it _is_ hot," and I followed her
into a lovely old kitchen, with floor of flags, and whitewashed walls
gleaming with pots and pans, and with a tall dresser in one corner
glittering with a brave array of china. In here it was quite cool, so
that after the first moment, the open grate of glowing coals, with the
usual bubbling pot above it and the usual kettle on the hob, felt very
pleasant.

I expressed surprise that she was burning coal, and she said the
landlords of the neighbourhood had shut up the peat-bogs, in order to
make every one buy English coal; and it was very hard indeed on the poor
people, who had always been used to getting their fuel for the labour of
cutting it, besides shutting them off from earning a little money by
selling the turf to the people in the town, who would rather have it
than coal. But the landlords were always doing things like that, and it
did no good to complain. She had two brothers in America, she said, and
lived here at Struell and kept house for a third. She and her brother
were both unmarried, and would probably always remain so. Then, of
course, she wanted to know about my condition in life, and I described
it as freely as she had described her own. And then she asked me if I
wouldn't like a glass of milk, and when I said I would, she hastened to
get it from the milk-house, through which a clear little stream
trickled, and very sweet and cool it was.

And then we got to talking about Ulster's attitude toward Home Rule.
County Down, you should remember, is one of the nine counties which form
the Province of Ulster, and is the most strongly Protestant of all of
them outside of Belfast and Antrim, for only about one third of its
200,000 people are Catholic.

"God knows what will happen," said my hostess, very seriously. "I have
been hearing a lot of wild talk, but paid no heed to it, for these
Orangemen are always talkin' about this or that, and their talk means
nothing. But I've come to think it may be more than just talk this time.
I heard a few days since that all the Orangemen hereabouts have been
getting together three evenings every week in a meadow over beyont, and
an officer of the army comes there and drills them till it is too dark
to see. And they say, too, that there is a gun ready for each of them,
with plenty of powder and lead to put into it; and they've sleuthered a
lot of poor boys into joinin' with them who have not the courage to say
no. But I'm hoping it will pass by, and that no trouble will come of it.
I am a Catholic myself, but we have never had any trouble with the
Protestants. We get along very well together, and why shouldn't we? Some
of my best friends are Protestants, and I know they wish us no harm. No,
no, we are well-placed here, though them ones in the south do be calling
us the black north."

I told her something of the destitution and misery I had seen in the
south and west; but she showed no great sympathy--rather a contempt, I
fancied, for people who could be so easy-going and unambitious. She
herself seemed of a very different breed; and the shining kitchen, as
clean as a new pin, proved what a delight and pride she took in her
home and how energetic a housewife she was. Personally she was just as
clean and tidy as her kitchen, with hair neatly brushed and a bit of
white about her throat; and the apron she had on was a fresh one,
newly-ironed--something I never saw upon any peasant woman of the south.
She brought out an album of photographs, presently--photographs of
herself and of her brother, and various photographs of the wells, and I
promised to send her a print of mine, if it proved to be a good one. And
then I bade her good-bye and started back the way I came; but I can
still see her shrewd and kindly face, with the little wrinkles at the
corners of the eyes, and the cool, sweet-smelling kitchen where I spent
that pleasant hour.

I walked about the steep streets of Downpatrick quite a while, after I
reached the town, and found them unusually quaint. Like so many other
towns in Ireland, this one is all too evidently on the down grade. The
tall houses, which were once the residences of the well-to-do, have been
turned into tenements, and while they are not so dirty and repulsive as
those of Dublin and Limerick, they are still bad enough. Others of the
houses are empty and falling into ruin. One curious thing about the
place is that from any quarter of it the town-hall is visible, standing
in the hollow at the bottom of the hill, for the five principal streets
start from it--Irish Street and English Street and Scotch Street and two
others whose names I have forgotten, but which were, perhaps, the
neutral ground of trade.

I made my way down to the station, at last, and as the train started, a
young fellow in the same compartment with me bade a tearful farewell to
the relatives and friends who had gathered to see him off, and sat for
some time thereafter weeping unaffectedly into his handkerchief. When he
was a little calmer, I asked him if he was going to America. He said no;
he was going only to Belfast, but that was a long way!

It is really only about thirty miles; but thirty miles is a great
journey to the average Irishman. For the Irishman is no traveller; he is
quite content to spend his life within the circle of one small horizon,
and never so happy as when sitting at his own fireside. Indeed, he is
apt to regard with suspicion those who have nothing better to do than
wander about the world. Mayo tinkers have always had a bad name in
Ireland, not because they do anything especially to deserve it, but
merely because they make their living in an unnatural fashion by roaming
from place to place. Surely there must be something wrong with a man who
does that!

       *       *       *       *       *

That night, at Belfast, we went to a variety show. The Wild West film
seems as popular here as in the rest of Ireland, for a particularly
sensational one, where the heroine escaped from the Indians by going
hand over hand along a rope above a deep ravine, into which the Indians
were precipitated by the hero, who cut the rope when they started to
cross by it, was received with great enthusiasm. There were also some
scattered cheers when a conjuror, with carefully calculated effect,
produced portraits of the King and Queen from somewhere and waved them
before the audience. But the cheers were thin and forced, and by far the
most of those present sat grimly silent and stared at the pictures with
set faces.



CHAPTER XXXI

THE VALLEY OF THE BOYNE


I HAD one other trip to make in Ireland. That was to the scene of the
battle of the Boyne, to the tombs of the kings at Dowth and Newgrange,
and to the ruins near-by of two of the most famous and beautiful of the
old abbeys, Mellifont and Monasterboice. Readers of this book will
remember that, early in the narrative, Betty and I had journeyed up from
Dublin to Drogheda for the purpose of visiting these historic places,
but had been prevented by a combination of unforeseen circumstances.

It was, then, for Drogheda that I set out next morning, Betty having
voted for another day in the Belfast shops; and by a singular
coincidence it was the first day of July, the anniversary of that other
day in 1690 when the army of William of Orange defeated the battalions
of Irishmen who had rallied around James--and surely never had braver
men a poorer leader! But it was not really the anniversary, for the
change in the calendar has shifted the date to July 12th, and it is on
that day the Orangemen celebrate.

It is an eighty mile run from Belfast to Drogheda, and one of the most
picturesque and interesting in the east of Ireland; and the weather god
was kind to the last, for a brighter, sweeter day it would be impossible
to imagine. As the train leaves the city, there are glimpses to the
right of the purple hills of Antrim; and then the train pauses at the
busy town of Lisbun, and continues on over the Ulster canal, past the
battlefield of Moira, past the beautiful woods of Lurgan, and then
through a prosperous and fertile country, with broad fields of grain and
flax, and pretty villages, and so into Portadown, once the stronghold of
the McCahans.

I was travelling third that day, as always when alone, and the
compartment had four or five people in it; and I had noticed that one of
them, a man poorly clad and with a kit of tools in a little bag, had
been looking anxiously from the window for some time. Finally he leaned
over and touched me on the knee.

"Can you tell me, sir, if this is the train to Derry?" he asked.

"No; it's going to Dublin," I said; and just then it rumbled to a stop,
and he opened the door and slipped hastily out.

What happened to him I don't know, but he was in no way to blame for the
mistake, which was due to the abominable custom they have in Ireland of
starting trains for different places from the same platform, within a
minute or two of each other. That morning, at Belfast, there had been a
long line of coaches beside one of the platforms; no engines were as yet
attached to them, but the front part of the line was destined for
Dublin, and the rear portion for Derry, but there was no way to tell
where one train ended and the other began, and no examination was made
of the passengers' tickets before the trains started.

I was wary, for I had been caught in exactly the same way once before,
at Claremorris Junction, and had escaped being carried back to Westport
only by stopping the train, amid great excitement, after it had started.
So, that morning at Belfast, I had assured myself by repeated inquiry of
various officials that the carriage I was in was going the way I wanted
to go; but any traveller unwary or unaccustomed to the vagaries of Irish
roads, such as this poor fellow, might easily have been caught napping.
Where it is necessary to start two trains close together from the same
platform, it would seem to be only ordinary precaution to examine the
passengers' tickets before locking the doors.

From Portadown, the road runs along the valley of the Bann, past the
ruins of the old fortress of Redmond O'Hanlon, an outlaw almost as
famous in Irish history as Robin Hood is in English; and then it passes
Scarva, with a mighty cairn marking the grave of Fergus Fogha, who fell
in battle here sixteen centuries ago. Here, too, are the ruins of one of
General Monk's old castles, and on a neighbouring slope the grass-green
walls of a great rath, the stronghold of some more ancient chieftain.
Indeed, there are raths and cashels and ivy-draped ruins all about, the
work of Irish and Dane and Norman and later English, for here was a pass
across the bog from Down into Armagh, and so a chosen spot for defence
and the exacting of tribute.

Then the train is carried by a viaduct half a mile long over the deep
and wild ravine of Craigmore, leaves Newry on the left and climbs
steadily, with beautiful views of the Mourne mountains to the right,
plunges at last through a deep cutting, and comes out under the shadow
of the Forkhill mountains, with the mighty mass of Slieve Gullion
overtopping them. Just beyond is Mowry Pass, the only pass between
north and south, except round by the coast, and so, of course, the scene
of many a desperate conflict.

From this point on, for many miles, the scenery is very wild and
beautiful, and every foot of it has been a battle-ground. Just before
the train reaches Dundalk, it passes close to the hill of Faughart,
topped by a great earthwork, and it was here that Edward Bruce was slain
in battle a year after he had been crowned king of Ireland; and farther
on is another rath, the Dun of Dealgan, where dwelt Cuchulain, chief of
the Red Branch Knights, and one of the great heroes of Irish legend. It
was from Dun Dealgan that Dundalk took its name, and Dundalk was for
centuries the key to the road to Ulster and the northern limit of the
English pale, which had Dublin for its centre. Merely to enumerate the
battles which have been fought here would fill a page; but the train
rumbles on, past a little church which uses the fragment of a round
tower for a belfry, past the modern castle of the Bellinghams, built
from the proceeds of a famous brewery, past a wayside Calvary, and so at
last into Drogheda. And when I arrived there, I had completed the
circuit of Ireland.

The car which was to make the round of the Boyne valley was waiting
outside the station, at the top of that long, ugly street which looked
so familiar now that I saw it again; and after waiting awhile for other
passengers and finding there was none, we drove down into the town,
where another passenger was waiting--a clergyman with grey hair and blue
eyes and white refined face, Church of England by his garb, and, as I
found out afterwards, Oxford by residence.

And here again it looked for a moment as though I was to be balked a
second time of seeing Mellifont and Monasterboice, for it was Tuesday,
and on Tuesday, it seemed, the round was by way of Slane; but the driver
left the choice of routes to his passengers, and the clergyman said he
didn't care where we went so we saw the Boyne battlefield; and with that
we set off westward along the pleasant road, and soon, far ahead, we saw
the top of the great obelisk opposite the place where Schomberg fell.
The road dips steeply into King William's Glen, along which the centre
of the Protestant army advanced to the river, and then we were on the
spot where the cause of Protestant ascendency in Ireland triumphed
finally and irrevocably and where the Cromwellian settlements were
sealed past overthrow.

William, with his English and his Dutch, had marched down from Dundalk,
and James, with his Irish and his French, had marched up from Dublin,
and here on either side of this placid little river, where the hills
slope down to the Oldbridge ford, the armies took their station; and
here, a little after ten o'clock in the morning, brave old Schomberg,
whose tomb, you will remember, we saw in St. Patrick's at Dublin (how
long ago that seems!), led his Dutch guards and his regiment of
Huguenots into the water, across the ford, and up the bank on the other
side. There, for a moment, his troops fell into disorder before the
fierce attack of the Irish, and as he tried to rally them, a band of
Irish horse rushed upon him, circled round him and left him dead upon
the ground. Almost at the same moment, the white-haired Walker, who had
exhorted the defenders of Derry never to surrender, was shot dead while
urging on the men of Ulster. But though the Irish were able to hold
their ground at first, and even to drive their assailants back into the
river, a long flanking movement which William had set on foot earlier in
the day, caught them unprepared, and they gave way, at last, before
superior numbers and superior discipline.

Long before that, King James had fled the field, and, without stopping,
spurred on to Dublin, thirty miles away. He reached that city at ten
o'clock that night, tired, hungry, and complaining bitterly to Lady
Tyrconnell that the Irish had run faster than he had ever seen men do
before. Lady Tyrconnell was an Irishwoman, and her eyes blazed. "In
that, as in all other things," she said, "it is evident that Your
Majesty surpasses them"; and Patrick Sarsfield, who had been placed that
day in command of the king's bodyguard, and so had got nowhere near the
fighting, sent back to the Protestants his famous challenge, "Change
kings, and we will fight it over again!"

Well, all that was more than two centuries ago; there is no more
placidly beautiful spot in Ireland than this green valley, with the
silver stream rippling past; but the staunch Protestants of the north
still baptise their babies with water dipped from the river below the
obelisk. And they are not altogether wrong, for that river is the river
of their deliverance; and perhaps, in some distant day, when new justice
has wiped out the memory of ancient wrong, Irish Catholics will agree
with Irish Protestants that it was better William should have won that
day than James.

[Illustration: THE BIRTHPLACE OF JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY]

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO DOWTH TUMULUS]

My clerical companion, guide-book in hand, had carefully noted every
detail of the field, and it was evident from his shining eyes how his
soul was stirred by the thought of that old victory. But our driver sat
humped on his box, smoking silently, his face very grim. This job of
driving Protestant clergymen to Boyne battlefield must be a trying one
for the followers of Brigid and Patrick! But at last my companion had
seen enough, and closed his book with a little sigh of happiness and
satisfaction; and our driver whistled to his horse, and we climbed
slowly out of the valley.

We had about a mile of hedge-lined road, after that, and, looking down
from it, we caught glimpses of wooded demesnes across the river, with
the chimneys of handsome houses showing above the trees--and they, too,
are the symbols of William's victory, for they are the homes of the
conquerors, the visible signs of that social order which Boyne battle
established, and which still endures.

And then our driver, who had recovered his good-humour, pointed out to
us a great mound in the midst of a level field--a circular mound, with
steep sides and flat top, and a certain artificial appearance, though it
seemed too big to be artificial. And yet it is, for it was built about
two thousand years ago as a sepulchre for the mighty dead.

For all this left bank of the river was the so-called Brugh-na-Boinne,
the burying-ground of the old Milesian kings of Tara; and two great
tumuli are left to show that the kings of Erin, like the kings of
ancient Egypt and the kings of the still more ancient Moundbuilders,
were given sepulchres worthy of their greatness. Yet there is a
difference. The tombs of the Moundbuilders were mere earthen tumuli
heaped above the dead; the pyramids of the Egyptians were carefully
wrought in stone. The tumuli of the ancient Irish stand midway between
the two. First great slabs were placed on end, and other slabs laid
across the uprights; and in this vaulted chamber the ashes of the dead
were laid; and then loose stones were heaped above it until it was
completely covered. Sometimes a passage would be left, but that would be
a secret known to few, and when the tomb was done it would seem to be
nothing more than a great circular mound of stones. As the years passed,
the stones would be covered gradually with earth, and then with grass
and bushes, and trees would grow upon it, until there would be nothing
left to distinguish it from any other hill. Only within the last half
century have the tumuli been explored, and then it was to find that the
Danes had spared not even these sanctuaries, but had entered them and
despoiled the inner chambers. Nevertheless, they remain among the most
impressive human monuments to be found anywhere.

This first tumulus we came to is the tumulus of Dowth, and a woman met
us at the gate opening into the field where it stands, gave us each a
lighted candle, and led the way to the top of an iron ladder which ran
straight down into the bowels of the earth. We descended some twenty
feet into a cavity as cold as ice; then, following the light of the
woman's candle, we squeezed along a narrow passage made of great stones
tilted together at the top, so low in places that we had to bend double,
so close together in others that we had to advance sideways blessing
our slimness; and finally we came to the great central chamber where the
dead were placed.

It is about ten feet square, and its walls, like those of the passage,
are formed by huge blocks of stone set on end. Then other slabs were
laid a-top them, and then on one another, each slab overlapping by eight
or ten inches the one below, until a last great stone closed the central
aperture and the roof was done. In the centre the chamber is about
twelve feet high. Many of the stones are carved with spirals and
concentric circles and wheel-crosses and Ogham writing--yes, and with
the initials of hundreds of vandals!

In the centre of the floor is a shallow stone basin, about four feet
square, used perhaps for some ceremony in connection with the
burials--sacrifice naturally suggests itself, such as tradition connects
with Druid worship; and opening from the chamber are three recesses,
about six feet deep, also constructed of gigantic stones, and in these,
it is surmised, the ashes of the dead were laid. From one of these
recesses a passage, whose floor is a single cyclopean stone eight feet
long, leads to another recess, smaller than the first ones. When the
tomb was first entered, little heaps of burned bones were found, many of
them human--for it should be remembered that the ancient Irish burned
their dead before enclosing them in cists or burying them in tumuli.
There were also unburned bones of pigs and deer and birds, and glass and
amber beads, and copper pins and rings; and before the Danes despoiled
it, there were doubtless torques of gold, and brooches set with
jewels--but the robbers left nothing of that sort behind them.

Nobody knows when this mound was built; but the men who cut the spirals
and circles--and in one place a leaf, not incised, but standing out in
bold relief--must have had tools of iron or bronze to work with; so the
date of the mound's erection can be fixed approximately at about the
beginning of the Christian era. For the rest, all is legend. But as one
stands there in that cyclopean chamber, the wonder of the thing, its
uncanniness, its mystery, grow more and more overwhelming, until one
peers around nervously, in the dim and wavering candle-light, expecting
to see I know not what. With me, that sensation passed; for I happened
suddenly to remember how George Moore and A. E. made a pilgrimage to
this spot, one day, and sat in this dark chamber, cross-legged like
Yogin, trying to evoke the spirits of the Druids, and just when they
were about to succeed, or so it seemed, the vision was shattered by the
arrival of two portly Presbyterian preachers.

There is another entrance to the tumulus, about half way up, which opens
into smaller and probably more recent chambers; and after a glance at
them, we clambered to the top. Far off to the west, we could see the
hill of Tara, where the old kings who are buried here held their court
and gave great banquets in a hall seven hundred feet long, of which
scarce a trace remains; and a little nearer, to the north, is the hill
of Slane, where, on that Easter eve sixteen centuries ago, St. Patrick
lighted his first Paschal fire in Ireland, in defiance of a Druidic law
which decreed that in this season of the Festival of Spring, no man
should kindle a fire in Meath until the sacred beacon blazed from Tara.
You may guess the consternation of the priests when, through the
gathering twilight, they first glimpsed that little flame which Patrick
had kindled on the summit of Slane, just across the valley. That, I
think, is easily the most breathless and dramatic moment in Irish
history. The king sent his warriors to see what this defiance meant, and
Patrick was brought to Tara, and he came into the assembly chanting a
verse of Scripture: "Some in chariots and some on horses, but we in the
name of the Lord our God." And so his mission began.

On the other side of the mound, across a field and beyond a wall, I
could see what seemed to be an ivy-draped ruin, and I asked our guide
what it might be, and she said it was the birthplace of John Boyle
O'Reilly. It was but a short walk, and my companion said he would wait
for me; so I hastened down the mound and across the field and over the
wall, and found that what I had seen was indeed a tall old house, draped
with ivy and falling into ruin. Just back of it is a church, also in
ruins, and again its wall is a granite monument to O'Reilly, more
remarkable for its size than for any other quality. There is a bust of
the poet at the top, and on either side a weeping female figure, and a
long inscription in Gaelic, which of course I couldn't read; and which
may have been very eloquent. But if it had been for me to write his
epitaph, I would have chosen a single verse of his as all-sufficient:

          Kindness is the Word.

Then, as I was wading out through the meadow to get a picture of the
house, I met with a misadventure, for, disturbed by my passage, a bee
started up out of the grass, struck me on the end of the nose, clung
wildly there an instant, and then stung viciously. It was with tears of
anguish streaming down my cheeks that I snapped the picture opposite the
preceding page.

Dowth Castle is not the ancestral home of the O'Reillys; that stood on
Tullymongan, above the town of Cavan, of which they were lords for
perhaps a thousand years. Dowth Castle, on the other hand, was built by
Hugh de Lacy, as an outpost of the English pale; but it came at last
into the hands of an eccentric Irishman who, about a century ago,
bequeathed it and some of the land about it as a school for orphans and
a refuge for widows. The Netterville Institution, as it was called, came
to comprise also a National school, and of this school John Boyle
O'Reilly's father, William David O'Reilly, was master for thirty-five
years. He and his wife lived in the castle, here in 1844 the poet was
born, and here he spent the first eleven years of his life. What fate
finally overtook the castle I don't know, but only the ivy-draped outer
walls remain. The trim modern buildings of the Institution cluster in
its shadow.

I made my way back to the car, where my companion, who was not
interested in O'Reilly, was awaiting me somewhat impatiently, and I
think he regarded the bee which had stung me as an agent of Providence.
But we set off again, and the car climbed up and up to the summit of the
ridge which overlooks the river; and presently we were rolling along a
narrow road bordered with lofty elms, and then, in a broad pasture to
our right, we saw another mound, far larger than the first, and knew
that it was Newgrange.

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO NEWGRANGE]

[Illustration: THE RUINS OF MELLIFONT]

Four mighty stones stand like sentinels before it. The largest of them
is eight or nine feet high above the ground and at least twenty in
girth; and they are all that are left of a ring of thirty-five similar
monsters which once guarded the great cairn with a circle a quarter of a
mile around. Like the tumulus of Dowth, this of Newgrange is girdled by
a ring of great stone blocks, averaging eight or ten feet in length, and
laid closely end to end; and on top of them is a wall of uncemented
stones three or four feet high. Behind the wall rises the cairn,
overgrown with grass and bushes and even trees; but below the skin of
earth is the pile of stones, heaped above the chambers of the dead.

The entrance here is a few feet above the level of the ground, and is
the true original entrance, which the one at Dowth is not, for the level
of the ground there has risen. This little door consists of two upright
slabs and a transverse one. Below it is placed a great stone, covered
with a rich design of that spiral ornamentation peculiar to the ancient
Irish--emblematic, it is said, of eternity, without beginning and
without end. The stone above the door is also carved, and my photograph,
opposite this page, gives a very fair idea of how the entrance looks.

We found a woman waiting for us--she had heard the rattle of our wheels
far down the road, and had hastened from her house near by to earn
sixpence by providing us with candles; and she led the way through the
entrance into the passage beyond. As at Dowth, it is formed of huge
slabs inclined against each other, but here they have given way under
the great weight heaped upon them, and the passage grew lower and lower,
until the woman in front of us was crawling on her hands and knees. The
clergyman, who was behind her, examined the low passage by the light of
his candle, and then said he didn't think he'd try it.

"Oh, come along, sir," urged the woman's voice. "'Tis only a few yards,
and then you can stand again. If you was a heavy man, now, I wouldn't be
advisin' it; I've seen more than one who had to be pulled out by his
feet; but for a slim man the likes of you sure it is nothing."

He still held back, so I squeezed past him, and went down on hands and
knees, and crawled slowly forward in three-legged fashion holding my
candle in one hand, over the strip of carpet which had been laid on the
stones to protect the clothing of visitors. As our guide had said, the
passage soon opened up so that it was possible to stand upright again. I
called back encouragement to my companion, and he finally crawled
through too; and then, as I held my candle aloft, I saw that we had come
out into a great vaulted chamber at least twenty feet high. Here, as at
Dowth, the sides are formed of mammoth slabs, and the vault of other
slabs laid one upon the other, each row projecting beyond the row below
until the centre is reached. Here too there are three recesses; but
everything is on a grander scale than at Dowth, and the ornamentation is
much more elaborate. It consists of intricate and beautifully formed
spirals, coils, lozenges and chevrons; and here, also, the vandal had
been at work, scratching his initials, sometimes even his detested name,
upon these sacred stones. There was one especially glaring set of
initials right opposite the entrance, deeply and evidently freshly cut,
and I asked the woman how such a thing could happen.

"Ah, sir," she said, "that was done by a young man who you would never
think would be doing such a thing. He come here one day, not long since,
and with him was a young woman, and they were very quiet and
nice-appearing, so after I had brought them in, I left them to
theirselves, for I had me work to do; but when I came in later, with
another party, that was what I saw. And I made the vow then that never
again would I be leaving any one alone here, no matter how respectable
they might look."

We commended her wisdom, and turned back to an inspection of the
carvings. It was noticeable that there was no attempt at any general
scheme of decoration, for the spirals and coils were scattered here and
there without any reference to each other, some of them in inaccessible
corners which proved they had been made before the stones were placed in
position. Evidently they had been carved wherever the whim of the
sculptor suggested; and so, in spite of their delicacy and beauty, they
are in a way supremely childish.

But there is nothing childish about the tomb itself. Nobody knows from
what forgotten quarry these great slabs were cut. Wherever it was, they
had to be lifted out and dragged to the top of this hill and set in
position--and many of them weigh more than a hundred tons. The passage
from the central chamber to the edge of the mound is sixty-two feet
long; the mound itself is eight hundred feet around and fifty high, and
some one has estimated that the stones which compose it weigh more than
a hundred thousand tons.

For whom was it built? Perhaps for Conn, the Hundred Fighter, for
tradition records that he was buried here, and he was worthy of such a
tomb. If it was for Conn--and of course that is only a guess--it dates
from about 200 A. D., for tradition has it that it was in 212 that Conn
was treacherously slain at Tara, while preparing for the great festival
of the Druids. Conn's son, Art, was the last of the Pagan kings to be
buried in the Druid fashion, for Art's great son, Cormac, who came to
the throne in 254, chose another sepulchre. He seems to have got some
inkling of Christianity, perhaps from traders from other lands who
visited his court. At any rate, he turned away from the Druids, and they
put a curse upon him and caused a devil to attack him while at table, so
that the bone of a salmon stuck in his throat and he died. But with his
last breath he forbade his followers to bury him at Brugh-na-Boinne, in
the tumulus with Conn and the rest, because that was a grave of
idolaters; he worshipped another God who had come out of the East; and
he commanded them to bury him on the hill called Rosnaree, with his face
to the sunrise. They disregarded his command, and tried to carry his
body across the Boyne to the tumulus; but the water rose and snatched
the body from them, and carried it to Rosnaree; and so there it was
buried. From Newgrange, one can see the slope of Rosnaree, just across
the river; but there is nothing to mark the grave of the greatest of the
early kings of Erin.

          Round Cormac spring renews her buds;
          In march perpetual by his side,
          Down come the earth-fresh April floods,
          And up the sea-fresh salmon glide.

          And life and time rejoicing run
          From age to age their wonted way;
          But still he waits the risen Sun,
          For still 'tis only dawning Day.

The road to the ruins of the abbey of Mellifont runs back from the
river, up over the hills, past picturesque villages, through a portion
of the Balfour estate, and then dips down into the valley of the
Mattock, on whose banks a company of Cistercians, who had come from
Clairvaux at the invitation of the Archbishop of Armagh, chose to build
their monastery. They called it Mellifont--"Honey Fountain"--and the
buildings which they put up were a revelation to the Irish builders, who
had been contented with small and unambitious churches, divided only
into nave and chancel. Here at Mellifont was erected a great cruciform
church, with a semi-circular chapel in each transept, as at Clairvaux;
and to this were added cloister and chapter-house and refectory, and a
most beautiful octagonal building which was used as a lavatory. It
marked, in a word, the introduction of continental elaborations and
refinements and luxuries into a land where, theretofore, austerity had
been the ruling influence.

That was in 1142, and there is not much left now of that mighty
edifice--a portion of the old gate-tower, some fragments of the church,
and a little more than half of the octagonal lavatory. Five of its eight
sides remain, and they show how beautiful it must once have been--as
you may see from the photograph opposite page 546. Another thing may be
seen in that photograph--the corner of a huge, empty, decaying mill,
such as dot all Ireland, symbols of her ruined industry!

A clean, pleasant-faced old woman, who opened the gate for us, intimated
that we could get lunch at her cottage, which overlooked the ruins; but
my companion had brought his lunch in his pocket and presently sat down
to eat it, while I made my way alone up to the cottage. There was a long
table spread in one room, and while the tea was drawing, I told my
hostess and her daughter about my encounter with the bee, and asked if I
might have some hot water with which to bathe the sting. They hastened
to get me a basin of steaming water and a clean towel, and then they
talked together a moment in low tones, and then the old woman came
hesitatingly forward.

"If you please, sir," she said, "I have often been told that with a
sting or bite or anything of the sort a little blueing in the water
works wonders, and indeed I have tried it myself, and have found it very
good. Would your honour be trying it, now, if I would get my blueing
bag?"

"Why of course I would!" I cried; "and thank you a thousand times for
thinking of it!"

Whereupon, her face beaming, she snatched the blueing bag from her
daughter, who had it ready, and gave it to me, and I sloshed it around
in the basin until the water was quite blue, and bathed my face in it;
and whether it was the heat of the water or the blueing I don't know,
but the sting bothered me very little after that, except for the
swelling, and that was not so bad as I had feared it would be.

I sat down finally to a delightful lunch of tea and bread and butter and
cold meat and jam; and then I got out my pipe and joined my hostess on
the bench in front of the house, and her daughter stood in the door and
listened, and we had a long talk. As usual, it was first about herself,
and then about myself. Her husband was dead and she suffered a great
deal from rheumatism, which seems to be the bane of the Irish; but she
had her little place, glory be to God, and she picked up a good many
shillings in the summer time from visitors to the ruins, though many
that came to see them cared nothing for them nor understood them.
Indeed, many just came and looked at them over the gate, and then went
away again.

And just then I witnessed a remarkable confirmation of this; for a
motor-car, with two men and two or three women in it, whirled up the
road below and stopped at the gate outside the ruins. My hostess caught
up her keys and started hastily down to open it, but before she had
taken a dozen steps, the man on the front seat spoke to the chauffeur,
and he spun the car around and in another moment it had disappeared down
the road in a cloud of dust. I confess that I was hot with anger when my
hostess, with a sad little smile, came back and sat down again beside
me, for I felt somehow as though she had been affronted.

I went back to the ruins presently, and my new friend came along,
finding I was interested, and we spent half an hour wandering about
them, while she pointed out various details which I might otherwise
have missed. Next to the lavatory, the most interesting feature of the
place is a beautiful pavement of decorated tiles which is preserved in
St. Bernard's chapel. The whole church was at one time floored with
these tiles, and a few detached ones may still be seen at the base of
the pillars. There also remain many details of sculpture which show the
loving labour lavished on the place when it was built--the individual
work of the artisan, embodying something of his own soul, which gives
these old churches a life and beauty sadly wanting in most new ones.

The cemetery is near the bank of the river; but potatoes are raised
there now, in a soil made fertile by royal as well as sacred dust; for
here Dervorgilla, the false wife of Tiernan O'Rourke, chose to be laid
to rest, in the hope, perhaps, that in the crowd of holy abbots and
monks which would rise from this place, she might slip into heaven
unobserved.

Three miles away from Mellifont stand the ruins of another abbey,
centuries older and incomparably greater in its day--an abbey absolutely
Irish, with rude, small buildings, but with a giant round-tower and two
of the loveliest sculptured crosses in existence on this earth.
Monasterboice it is called--Mainister Buithe, the abbey of Boetius--and
the way thither lies along a pleasant road, through a wooded
valley--which, fertile as it is, is not without its traces of
desolation, for we passed more than one vast empty mill, falling to
decay. Then, on the slope of a hillside away ahead, we saw the round
tower, or what is left of it, for the top of it is broken off, struck by
lightning, perhaps. But the fragment that remains is 110 feet high! And
seeing it thus, across the valley, with the low little church nestling
at its base, one is inclined to think that Father Dempsey was not
altogether wrong when he said he cared nothing about the theories of
antiquarians concerning the round towers, for he knew what they
were--the forefingers of the early church pointing us all to God.

[Illustration: THE ROUND TOWER, MONASTERBOICE]

[Illustration: THE HIGH CROSS, MONASTERBOICE]

My companion and I were discussing these theories, when our jarvey saw
the opportunity to spring a joke, which I have since discovered to be a
time-honoured one.

"Your honours are all wrong," he said, "if you will excuse my sayin' so.
It has been proved that the round towers was built by the government."

"Built by the government?" repeated my companion. "How can you prove
that?"

"Easy enough, your honour. Seein' they're no manner of use and cost a
lot of money, who else could have built them?"

And this, I take it, was his revenge for the Boyne battlefield.

We stopped presently beside a stile leading over the stone wall at the
side of the road, and here there was waiting another old woman, to
unlock the entrance to the tower. We clambered over the stile and made
our way up through the grass-grown, unkempt graveyard, first to the
tower--one of the mightiest of these monuments of ancient Erin, for it
is seventeen yards around at the base, and tapers gradually toward the
top, and the only entrance is a small doorway six feet above the ground;
and it takes no great effort of imagination to fancy the monks
clambering wildly up to it, clutching the treasures of the monastery to
their bosoms, whenever word came that the raiding Danes were in the
neighbourhood. Ladders have been fixed so that one can climb to the top,
but we did not essay them.

No trace remains of the monastic buildings which clustered at the tower
foot; for, unlike those at Mellifont and in England and on the
continent, these were not wrought of stone, but were mere shacks, as in
every truly Irish abbey, scarcely strong enough to screen from wind and
weather the groups of scholars who gathered to study here. They lived a
strait and austere life, and the only permanent structures they built
were the churches. Here, as usual, they were small, the largest one
being only forty feet in length; and the walls that remain prove how
bare and mean they must have looked beside the carved and columned
splendours of Mellifont.

But Monasterboice has one glory, or rather two, beside which those that
remain at Mellifont are as nothing; and these are the huge Celtic
crosses, the most perfect and beautiful in the land. One of them is tall
and slender and the other is short and sturdy, and both are absolute
masterpieces.

The high cross, as the tall one is called, stands near the tower-foot
and close beside the crumbling wall of one of the old churches. It is
twenty-seven feet high, and is composed of three stones, the shaft, the
cross with its binding circle, and the cap. The shaft, which is about
two feet square and eighteen feet high, is divided into seven compartments
on either face, and in each of them is an elaborately-sculptured
representation of some Bible scene, usually with three figures.
Although much worn, it is still possible easily to decipher some of
them, for there is Eve accepting the apple from the serpent while Adam
looks mildly on, and here they are fleeing from Paradise before the
angel with the flaming sword, and next Cain is hitting Abel on the head
with a club while a third unidentified person watches the scene without
offering to interfere. At the crossing there is a splendid crucifixion,
with the usual crowded heaven and hell to left and right; the binding
circle is beautifully ornamented with an interlacing design; and the
cap-stone represents one of those high-pitched cells or churches, such
as we saw at Killaloe and Glendalough.

[Illustration: MUIREDACH'S CROSS, MONASTERBOICE]

Beautiful as this cross is, it is surpassed by the other one,
Muiredach's Cross, from the inscription about its base: "A prayer for
Muiredach for whom this cross was made." That inscription gives us its
date, at least within a century, for two Muiredachs were abbots here.
One of them died in 844 and the other in 924, and as the latter was the
richer and more distinguished, it is presumed that the cross is his.
That would make its age almost exactly ten centuries.

And yet, in spite of those ten centuries, the sculptures which enrich it
from top to bottom are as beautiful to-day as they ever were. Look at
the picture opposite this page--it is not my picture, though I took one,
but there is an iron fence about the cross now which spoils every recent
photograph--and you will see what a wonderful thing it is. It is a
monolith--one single stone, fifteen feet high and six feet across the
arms--and every inch of it is covered with ornamentation. It is the
western face the picture shows, with the crucifixion occupying its usual
position. Below it are three panels of extraordinary interest, for they
show Irish warriors and clerics in the costumes of the period, all of
them wearing fierce mustachios. In the upper panel are three clerics in
flowing robes, the central one giving a book to one of his companions
and a staff to the other; in the central panel are three ecclesiastics
each holding a book; and in the lower panel a cleric in a long cloak,
caught together at the throat with a brooch, stands staff in hand
between two soldiers armed with Danish swords. At the foot of the shaft
two dogs lie head to head.

On the other side, the central panel shows Christ sitting in judgment,
with a joyous devil kicking a damned soul into an already-crowded hell.
The method of separating the blessed from the damned is shown just
below, where a figure is carefully weighing souls in a pair of scales--a
subject familiar to every one who has visited the Gothic cathedrals of
France, where almost invariably a devil is trying to cheat by crouching
below the scales and pulling down one side. The lower panels in the
cross represent the usual Scriptural subjects--the fall of man, the
expulsion from Eden, the adoration of the magi, and so on; and again at
the base there are two dogs, only this time they are playing, and one is
holding the other by the ear. All of this sculpture is done with spirit,
with taste and with fine artistry; and another glory of the cross is the
elaborate tracery of the side panels, and of the front, back, inside and
outside of the circle. Of this, the photograph gives a better notion
than any description could.

          Who was he? Was he sad or glad
            Who knew to carve in such a fashion?

Those questions we may never answer. All we can say certainly is that he
was a great artist; and his is the artist's reward:

          But he is dust; we may not know
            His happy or unhappy story:
          Nameless, and dead these centuries,
            His work outlives him,--there's his glory!

We tore ourselves away at last from the contemplation of this consummate
masterpiece, and drove slowly back to Drogheda, through a beautiful and
fertile country, which, save for the thatched cottages, and
gorse-crowned walls and hedges, did not differ greatly in appearance
from my own. And I was very happy, for it had been a perfect day.
Nowhere else in Ireland is it possible to crowd so much of loveliness
and interest into so short a space. All unwittingly, I had saved the
best for the last.



CHAPTER XXXII

THE END OF THE PILGRIMAGE


I CAN imagine no greater contrast to the quiet and peaceful valley of
the Boyne than was Belfast that night. The Orangemen had already begun
to celebrate King Billy's victory, and were practising for the great
demonstration of the twelfth, when England was to be shown, once for all
and in a manner unmistakable, that Ulster was in earnest.

As I came up on the tram from the station, we ran into a mob of people,
marching along in the middle of the street and yelling at the tops of
their voices, and we had to wait until they had passed. I asked a
fellow-passenger what was going on, and he answered with a little smile
that the Orange societies had all been given new banners that night and
were flinging them to the breeze for the first time. I asked him who had
given the banners, and he said he didn't know.

At the hotel, I found that Betty had sought the sanctuary of our room,
and was watching the tumult from the window. She said it reminded her of
the French Revolution, and the comparison was natural enough. The
especial scene she had in mind, I think, was that draggled procession of
shrieking fishwives which escorted the king and his family in from
Versailles.

I do not know how many Orange societies there are at Belfast, but we saw
at least a dozen march past that night, each of them headed by a band
or drum-corps, and each with a bright new Orange banner flaunting
proudly in the breeze. Each banner bore a painted representation of some
Orange victory; King Billy on his white horse fording the Boyne being a
favourite subject; and the banners were very large and fringed with gold
lace and most expensive-looking; and before them and beside them and
behind them trailed a mob of shrieking girls and women and ragamuffin
boys, locked arm and arm half across the street, breaking into a clumsy
dance now and then, or shouting the lines of some Orange ditty. There
were many men in line, marching along more or less soberly; but these
bacchantes outnumbered them two to one. They blocked the street from
side to side, stopped traffic, and conducted themselves as though they
had suddenly gone mad.

Presently all the societies, which had been collecting at some
rendezvous, marched back together, with the mob augmented a
hundred-fold, so that, looking down from our window, we could see
nothing but a mass of heads filling the street from side to
side--thousands and thousands of women and girls and boys, all
vociferous with a frenzied intoxication--and in the midst of them the
thin stream of Orangemen trudging along behind their banners.

I went down into the street to view this demonstration more closely, for
it was evident that here at last was the spirit of Ulster unveiled for
all to see; but at close quarters much of its impressiveness vanished,
for the mob was composed largely of boys and girls out for a good time,
and rejoicing in the unaccustomed privilege of yelling and hooting to
their hearts' content. A few policemen would have been quite capable of
dealing with that portion of it. But the men marching grimly along
behind their banners were of different stuff; they were ready,
apparently, for any emergency, ready for a holy war; and I wondered if
their leaders, who had sown the wind so blithely as part of the game of
politics, were quite prepared to reap the whirlwind which might follow.

A man with whom I fell into talk said there would be a procession like
this every evening until the twelfth; but I should think the drummers
would be exhausted long before that. I have described the contortions of
the Dublin drummers, but they are nowhere as compared with the drummers
of Belfast. And, though about a fourth of Belfast's population is
Catholic, you would never have suspected it that night, for there was no
disorder of any kind, except the wild disorder of the Orangemen and
their adherents. I suspect that, in Belfast, wise Catholics spend the
early evenings of July at home.

       *       *       *       *       *

We went out, next morning, to Ardoyne village, to see one of the few
establishments where linen is still woven by hand. A beautiful old
factory it is, with the work-rooms grouped around an open court which
reminded us of the Plantin-Moretus at Antwerp; and the Scotchman in
charge of it took us through from top to bottom. I have forgotten how
many looms there are--some thirty or forty; and it was most interesting
to watch the weavers as they shot the shuttle swiftly back and forth
with one hand and worked the heavy beam with the other, while with
their feet they controlled the pattern. Nearly all the weavers were old
men, and our guide told us it was growing more and more difficult to
replace them, because hand-weaving had been so largely displaced by
machine-work that it was rapidly becoming a lost art. Few young men were
willing to undertake the long apprenticeship which was necessary before
they could become expert weavers, and he foresaw the time when
hand-weaving would cease altogether.

Then we went upstairs, where the pattern mechanism is mounted above each
loom; and though I understood it, in a way, after long and careful
explanation, I am quite incapable of explaining it to anybody else,
except to say that the threads which run down to the loom below are
governed by a lot of stiff cards laced together into a long roll, and
cut with many perforations, so that the roll looks something like the
music-rolls used in mechanical piano-players.

Last of all we were shown some of the finished product, and very
beautiful it was, strong as iron--far stronger than machine-woven linen,
for the shuttle can be thrown by hand more often to the inch than is
possible by machine; and some of the patterns, too, were very lovely;
one, in especial, from the Book of Kells, the interwoven Celtic
ornamentation, the symbol of eternity.

Of course we talked about Home Rule, and our Scotch host, who was
evidently a devoted Orangeman, was very certain Ulster would fight
before she would acquiesce. If the fight went against her, he prophesied
that no Protestant industry which could get out of Ireland would stay
to be taxed out of existence by a Dublin Parliament, and he said that
many of the great factories had already secured options on English
sites, and were prepared to move at any time.

I remarked that it seemed to me the wiser plan would be to wait and see
how Home Rule worked before plunging into revolution; then, if it was
found that Ulster was really oppressed, it would be time enough for her
army to take the field. And I told him something of what I had seen and
heard in the south and west of Ireland--that, among all the people I had
talked with, not one had expressed himself with any bitterness toward
Ulster, and that many had said frankly that the leaders of the Irish
people would be largely Protestant in the future, just as they had been
in the past. But he was unconvinced, and very gloomy over the outlook.

We came away finally, and took a last look about Belfast--at the busy
streets, the bright shops, the humming factories, the clattering
foundries; and then the hour of departure came. The jarvey who drove us
to the boat was a jovial, loquacious son of the Church, with
good-natured laughter for Orange excesses.

"Why should we Catholics interfere wid them?" he asked. "We'd only be
gettin' our heads broke, and all the papers would be full of the riots
in Ulster. Sure, haven't I seen them before this treatin' a small fight
at the corner as though it was a revolution? No, no; we'll just stay
quiet and let them have their fun. It does good to them and no harm to
us. They'll settle down again when the Home Rule bill is passed, and
then we'll be Irishmen all, please God!"

From the bottom of my heart I said I hoped so. Indeed, I can think of no
better watch-word to replace "No Surrender!" and curses on King Billy
and the Pope than "Irishmen All!"

       *       *       *       *       *

There are few busier ports than Belfast, and we made our way down to the
quay through a tangle of drays that would have done no discredit to the
New York water-front; and at last we found our boat and got aboard. And
presently the ropes were cast off, and we steamed slowly down the river,
between long lines of lofty scaffolding shrouding the hulls of scores of
mighty ships, one day to play their part in the commerce of the world.

And then we were in Belfast Lough, with the grim keep of Carrickfergus
looming on the western shore; and then the bay widened, the shores
dropped away, and we headed out across the white-capped waters of the
Irish Sea. For long and long in the distance, we could see the purple
masses of the Antrim hills, growing fainter and ever fainter, until at
last they merged into the purple of the western sky. And so we looked
our last upon the Island of the Saints.


THE END



INDEX


  Abbeys, 21-22, 99-102, 108-109, 110-112, 193-196, 199, 229-233,
        266, 269-271, 280, 285-291, 346-347, 379-382, 405, 422-423,
        442-443, 550-558

  Adare, 226-236

  Aghadoe, 180, 198-200, 201

  Aideen, 23

  Aileach, 465, 480

  Allen, Hill of, 93

  Allen, Lough, 242

  Allingham, William, 428-430

  Allua, Lough, 141, 144

  America, Irish Idea of, 24, 170-174

  Annals of the Four Masters, The, 442, 465

  Antrim, County, 489, 521, 530, 534, 564

  Antrim, Earl of, 489, 495-496

  Antrim, Glens of, 491, 495, 499

  Arbutus Island, 186

  Archdeckan, John, 136

  Architecture, see Irish Architecture

  Ardilaun, Lord, see Guinness

  Ardoyne, 561-563

  Armada, The, 416, 485

  Armagh, 103, 536, 550

  Arran, Earl of, 441

  Art, see Irish Art

  Ashford House, 347-348

  Assaroe, Abbey, 422-423, 429

  Asylums, 180, 240, 266, 375, 526

  Athenry, 266, 268-272, 292

  Athlone, 207, 209, 252, 259, 265, 272-285, 292, 390, 454, 456

  Auburn, see Lissoy

  Avoca, Vale of, 61

  Avonbeg, The, 60

  Avonmore, The, 59, 60


  Baedeker, Karl, 385

  Baird, Sir David, 509-510

  Baker, Henry, 450, 460

  Balbriggan, 85

  Ballina, 351

  Ballintoy, 487

  Ballintra, The, 432

  Ballycastle, 486, 489-490

  Ballysadare, 377

  Ballyshannon, 419-431, 445

  Balor of the Evil Eye, 384

  Banishment to Connaught, The, 331-333

  Bank of Ireland, 13

  Bann, The, 447, 474, 536

  Bantry Bay, 139, 151, 159

  Barnesmore, Gap of, 444

  Beggars, 109-110, 144, 173-174, 183-184, 186, 283-284, 310, 364,
        375, 412, 426-427

  Belfast, 89, 205, 427, 469, 479, 501, 502, 503-519, 530, 532-533,
        534, 535, 536, 559-564

  Belfast Lough, 502, 564

  Bird Hill, 251

  Birmingham, George A., see Hannay, J. A.

  Black Lough, 184

  Black Valley, The, 185

  Blackrock, 100

  Blackwater, The, 138, 164, 203

  Blarney Castle, 115-127, 190, 205

  Bogs, 93, 267-268, 315-316, 370, 490-491

  Book of Kells, see Kells

  Boru, Brian, see Brian Boru

  Boycott, Captain Charles C., 346

  Boyd, Hugh, 489-490

  Boyne, The, 85, 221, 454, 537, 538-540, 549, 559

  Boyne, Battle of the, 31, 85, 274, 453-454, 460, 534, 538-540

  Bray, 59

  Breffni, Prince of, see O'Rourke, Tiernan

  Brian Boru, 18-20, 34, 41, 100, 103, 107, 204, 208, 251-259,
        273, 288, 427

  Bridge End, 461, 462

  Brigid, see St. Brigid

  Brooke, Sir Basil, 439-441

  Brown Valley, The, 165

  Bruce, Edward, 208, 269, 501, 502, 537

  Brugh-na-Boinne, 540-550

  Bundoran, 405, 412-419

  Burgo, Richard de, 271, 293, 354, 447

  Burial, Ancient Irish, 38, 540-544

  Bushmills, 480


  Cairns, 345-346, 377-78, 384, 392, 417, 536, 540-550

  Callanan, Jeremiah, 149

  Cannera, 248

  Cape Clear, 161

  Cappoquin, 138

  Car, see Jaunting-car

  Carleton, Will, 421

  Carlingford, 21, 479

  Carnach, Conal, 377

  Carnlough, 500-501

  Carrick-a-Rede, 487-488

  Carrickfergus, 502, 564

  Carrowmore, 384, 385

  Carson, Sir Edward, 469, 471

  Casey, John Keegan, 278-279

  Cashel, Rock of, 49, 94, 102-112, 148, 178, 229, 253, 254, 279

  Cashels, 103, 406-408, 461, 462-467, 536

  Castlebar, 375

  Castleconnell, 242-251, 263-264

  Castlemaine, 191

  Castles, 116-125, 207, 230-234, 243, 265, 268-269, 283-285,
        353-354, 402-403, 438-441, 479-480

  Catholic Emancipation, 218, 460

  Cavan, 545

  Celbridge, 92

  Celtchair, 524

  Celtic Crosses, see Crosses

  Champneys, Arthur, 110

  Charles I, 86, 441, 447, 449

  Charles II, 86, 210, 448

  Charleville, 113-114, 461

  Children, 32, 98, 106, 109-110, 320-321, 358-360

  Church of Ireland, 30, 75, 411

  Churches, 21-22, 30-32, 34-37, 87, 131-132, 138, 200, 206, 213,
        233-234, 255-257, 303, 459-460, 519-524

  Ciaran, see St. Kieran

  Civilization, Ancient Irish, see Irish Civilization, Ancient

  Claddagh, The, 298-300

  Clandonnell, see MacDonnell

  Clanricarde, Earls of, 269

  Clara, Vale of, 60

  Clare, Abbey, 266

  Clare, Richard de, see Strongbow

  Clare, County, 209, 258, 265-266

  Claremorris, 375-377, 535

  Cleeve, The Messrs., 215, 236-239

  Clew Bay, 371-372

  Clifden, 324-325, 331, 370

  Climate, 28, 60, 128, 161-162, 179, 358, 398, 415

  Clonard, 406

  Clonbur, 345

  Clondalkin, 42-57, 67, 75, 92

  Clonmacnoise, 274, 285-291

  Clonmell, Lord, 16

  Clontarf, 18-20, 107, 251, 252, 254, 288

  Cloyne, 138

  Coleraine, 447, 474-476

  Colleen Bawn, 417, 420-422

  Collooney, 377

  Colman, Abbot, 289

  Colman's Leap, 187

  Columba, see St. Columba

  Cong, 339, 345, 350-352, 354, 358

  Cong, Abbey of, 39, 290, 346-348

  Cong, Cross of, 26, 37, 39-40, 100, 204, 346

  Congested Districts Board, 331-336

  Conn the Hundred Fighter, 204, 291, 549

  Conn, Lough, 351

  Connaught, 17, 19, 27, 178, 258, 267, 269, 274, 293, 306, 314-369,
        375, 493

  Connell of the Hy-Nial, 427-428, 465

  Connemara, 200, 292, 293, 300, 314-336, 346, 414, 463, 490

  Connemara Marble, 306, 316-318

  Constabulary, see Royal Irish Constabulary

  Convent Schools, 133-134, 163

  Cook's Tours, 177-178, 182, 382-383

  Cork, 114-116, 128-138, 139, 147, 149, 151, 174, 205, 214, 331,
        352, 454

  Cork, County, 19, 162

  Cork, Earl of, 32

  Cormac, see MacArt or MacCarthy

  Cormac's Chapel, 107-108, 148

  Corrib, Lough, 39, 304, 314, 346, 347, 348, 350, 351, 352-354

  Corrib, River, 298, 300, 303, 314, 347

  Cottages, 88, 141-144, 181, 195, 225-226, 320-321, 354-355,
        362-363, 384-385, 497

  Craigmore, 536

  Cratloe, 265

  Crime, 55-56, 327-328, 344

  Croagh Patrick, 372-373

  Cromlechs, 23, 384, 385, 386, 388-392, 417

  Cromwell, Oliver, 76, 86-87, 105, 116, 118, 190, 208, 231, 270,
        293, 331-332, 448, 470, 538

  Cross of Cong, see Cong, Cross of

  Crosses, Celtic, 37, 288-289, 351-352, 523, 553-558

  Crowe, O'Brien, 351-352

  Cuchulain, 377, 537

  Cullen, Joe, 434-436

  Culmore, 473

  Curran, John Philpot, 134

  Cushendall, 490, 492, 495, 496, 498-500

  Cushendun, 491


  Dalcassians, 253

  Danes, The 17, 18-20, 22, 33, 34, 44, 50, 65, 66, 130, 147, 199,
        204, 207, 242, 252-254, 287-288, 446-447, 465, 522, 536,
        541, 542, 555

  Dargle, The, 59

  Dark Rosaleen, 14-15

  Darrow, Book of, 41

  Day, Length of Irish, 23, 338, 456-457, 491-492

  De Courcy, John, 522-523

  De Dananns, The, 346, 384

  De Lacy, Hugh, 545

  De Vere, Aubrey, 259

  Derg, Lough, 207, 219, 242, 252, 258-259, 406, 413

  Derry, 76, 397, 443, 446-461, 466, 467-474, 535, 539

  Derryclare, 319

  Dervorgilla, 35, 219-221, 402, 405-406, 553

  D'Esterre, 92

  Devil's Bit, The, 94, 106

  Devil's Mother Mountain, 340

  Diarmuid, 389-391

  Dillisk, 296-297, 299

  Dollard, James B., 436

  Donegal, 413, 431, 432-443, 465

  Donegal, County, 388, 427, 428, 440, 444, 466, 486

  Donnybrook, 470

  Doon, Rock of, 440

  Doonas, Falls of, 245-246

  Down, County, 519, 530, 536

  Downpatrick, 519-532

  Dowth, 85, 534, 540-544, 546, 547

  Dowth Castle, 544-545

  Drogheda, 85-89, 449, 450, 454, 534, 537, 538

  Dromahair, 403-406, 488

  Druids, The, 44, 542, 543-544, 549

  Drummers, 24-25, 561

  Dublin, 4-41, 56, 58, 59, 85, 86, 89, 92, 102, 104, 114, 115, 128,
        137, 173, 174, 193, 205, 229, 230, 418, 439, 446, 453, 454,
        503, 531, 534, 535, 537, 538, 539, 561

  Dublin Bay, 17-18, 21

  Dublin Castle, 18, 32, 33-34, 74, 327

  Dundalk, 537, 538

  Dunleary, 137

  Dunloe, Gap of, 165, 177, 181-186, 192, 201

  Dunluce Castle, 479-480, 485, 488

  Dunraven, Earl of, 229, 233-234


  Eask, Lough, 444

  Eask, River, 438, 444

  Education, see Schools

  Emigration, 131, 138, 330-331, 418-419, 443-444

  Ennis, 265-266

  Enniskillen, 412-413, 449, 453

  Episcopal Church, see Church of Ireland

  Erne, Lough, 413, 414, 420, 427

  Erne, River, 414, 417-418, 420, 428-431

  Established Church, see Church of Ireland

  Eugenius, see St. Eugenius

  Eyre, Jane, 303


  Famine, 93, 131, 195, 351

  Faughart, 501, 537

  Ffolliotts, The, 417, 420-422

  Fianna, The, 23, 106, 390, 492

  Fin Barre, see St. Fin Barre

  Fingalla, 443

  Finn MacCool, 106-107, 184, 204, 275, 389-391, 483-484, 492

  Firbolgs, The, 299-300, 346, 431

  Fishing, 169, 178-179, 191, 242-245, 263-264, 303-306, 326, 431

  Fitzgibbon, Lord, 237

  Fitzstephen, James Lynch, 301-303

  Flann, High King of Erin, 288-289, 290

  Flax, 445, 488, 519, 535

  Flesk, The, 167, 203

  Flight of the Earls, The, 440, 447

  Flowers, 43, 57, 60, 152, 154, 164-165, 418

  Fogha, Fergus, 536

  Formorians, The, 384

  Foyle, Lough, 466, 472

  Foyle, River, 446, 447

  Fuchsias, 152-153, 326, 497

  Funerals, 194-195


  Gaelic, 161, 242, 363, 487, 489

  Gaels, The, 293, 300, 384, 466, 540-544

  Galtees, The, 106, 113

  Galway, 102, 292-313, 314, 317, 331, 351, 352, 445, 455

  Game Preserves, 61, 345, 348-349

  George II, 14, 105

  George IV, 137

  George V, 396, 456

  Geraldines, see Kildare, Earls of

  Giant's Causeway, The, 477, 480-486

  Gill, Lough, 219-220, 384, 398-412, 486, 494

  Ginkle, Gen. Godert de, 209, 243, 274, 285

  Glenaan, 491, 492-496

  Glenariff, Vale of, 500

  Glenarm, 501

  Glendalough, 59, 62-84, 133, 248, 286, 556

  Glendining Monument, The, 370-371, 372, 375

  Glendun, 491

  Glenealy, 62

  Glengarriff, 139, 152-162, 174, 326, 382

  Goldsmith, Oliver, 274-279

  Goold's Cross, 105, 113

  Gougane Barra, 139, 145-149

  Government, The, 34, 54-55, 74, 79, 104, 327-328, 351, 372

  Grainan of Aileach, The, 461, 462-467

  Gráinne, 107, 389-391

  Grattan, Henry, 11

  Graves, Alfred Perceval, 432-433

  Grazing, 90-91, 93, 335, 419

  Griffin, Gerald, 213

  Guinness, Sir Benjamin, 30, 344, 345, 346, 347-349

  Gwynne, Stephen, 110, 391, 437


  Hannay, J. A., 170, 372, 373-374

  Heather, 60, 399, 400, 402

  Hen Castle, 353-354

  Henry II, 33

  Henry VII, 229

  Henry VIII, 30, 230, 524

  Hill of Howth, see Howth

  Hinkson, Katherine Tynan, 57

  Holy Cross Abbey, 98-102, 178, 440

  Holy Wells, 147-148, 245-249, 262, 365, 410-411, 526-531

  Home Rule, 12, 20, 56, 77, 82, 83, 89-91, 155-157, 216-218, 236,
        404, 419, 467-469, 498, 505-510, 514-516, 529-530, 559-564

  Hore Abbey, 110-112

  Hospitality, 41, 45-46, 50-57, 95-96, 110, 154-155, 244, 305-309,
        354-355, 551-552

  Howth, 4, 16-18, 20-23

  Howth, Lord, 22-23

  Hy Many, 19

  Hy-Nial, see Nial, Connell, Owen


  Idioms, 46, 66-67, 368-369

  Inagh, 319

  Inchigeelagh, 141-144

  Indian Corn, 154-155, 260, 309

  Industrial Depression, 54-55, 212-213, 215-216, 371-372, 404-405,
        419, 422-424, 489-490

  Inebriety, 5-6, 33, 114, 196-197, 306-307

  Inisfallen, 189, 199

  Inishowen, 466, 474

  Inis-Saimer, 431

  Inns, 66-67, 94-98, 164-166, 174-175, 224, 228-229, 242-244, 315,
        322, 326, 346, 371, 378-379, 415-416, 433-434, 480-481

  Inny, The, 278

  Insurance, Workman's, 52, 84, 222-223

  Ireland's Eye, 21

  Ireton, Gen. Henry, 208

  Irish Architecture, 21-22, 101, 103, 107-108, 111-112, 193-196,
        199, 231-233, 255-257, 261, 270-271, 285-290, 307-308

  Irish Art, 26, 37-41, 288-289, 543, 547-548, 555-558

  Irish Brigade, The, 210

  Irish Character, 3, 37, 98, 114, 159-161, 196-197, 214-215,
        386-389, 393-396, 404, 458-459, 470-471, 475, 532

  Irish Civilization, Ancient, 18, 19, 38, 99-100, 204, 286-290,
        525-526

  Irish Girls, 41, 115, 124, 163-164, 214-215, 315, 323-324

  Irish Sea, 1, 21, 35, 59, 220, 495, 500, 501, 564


  Jails, 55-56, 240, 266, 375, 473, 525

  James II, 36, 208, 210, 449-455, 534, 538-540

  Jarvey, The, 29-30, 88, 129, 168, 274-275, 398, 399, 486,
        488-489, 500, 563

  Jaunting-Car, The, 8, 26-30, 60, 88, 98, 128-130, 400, 486

  Johnson, Mrs. Hester, 30-31

  Johnson, Lionel, 221, 495

  Jones, John Paul, 502

  Joyce's Country, 79, 339-357


  Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan, 466

  Kearney, Kate, 181-182

  Keimaneigh, Pass of, 150-151

  Kells, Book of, 26, 37, 40-41, 193, 204

  Kenmare, 163, 200

  Kenmare, Earl of, 198

  Kenmare, River, 164, 384

  Kenny, Donal, 278-279

  Kerry, County, 19, 162, 197

  Kevin, see St. Kevin

  Kieran, see St. Kieran

  Kilcrea Abbey, 140

  Kildare, 522

  Kildare, Curragh of, 89, 92-93

  Kildare, Earls of, 229-231

  Killaloe, 207, 242, 248, 250 251-263, 286, 556

  Killarney, 138, 139, 165-203, 242, 319, 412, 481

  Killary Bay, 326, 369

  Killone Abbey, 266

  Kilpatrick, 521

  Kincora, 251-263, 273

  Kingstown, 4, 21

  Kinsale, 102, 440, 454

  Knocknarea, 377-378, 384, 385, 392

  Knocktow, 230

  Kylemore, Pass of, 326


  Labour Problem, 23-25, 54-55, 61-62, 83-84, 90-91, 281, 330-331,
        332-333, 349-350, 468

  Labourers' Cottages, 342, 408-410

  Lace-making, 133-134, 163, 239

  Land League, The, 344, 346, 352, 353

  Land Problem, 90-91, 266-267, 330-336, 340-342, 348-350, 353

  Landlords, 332-333, 334-336, 345, 349-350, 529

  Larne, 499, 501, 502

  Layd Church, 499

  Leacht-Con-Mic-Ruis, The, 384, 398-402, 405

  Leane, Lough, 165

  Lee, The, 130, 132, 140, 141, 144, 146

  Leenane, 325, 326-338, 339, 352, 357, 358-369, 445

  Legends, 48-49, 62-65, 68-69, 70-71, 92-93, 94, 106-107, 117, 120,
        126, 136, 146-147, 159-162, 184-185, 187, 188, 190, 194,
        199, 219-221, 246-247, 248-249, 275, 286-291, 292-293,
        301-303, 346, 351-352, 353-354, 372-373, 377-378, 389-391,
        413, 465-466, 483-484, 485, 490, 494-495, 521-522, 549

  Leinster, Province, 19

  Letterfrank, 326

  Lever, Charles, 214, 395, 476

  Liffey, The, 5, 18, 33, 59

  Limerick, 76, 106, 204-227, 236-242, 243, 251, 252, 254, 264, 265,
        274, 402, 454, 531

  Limerick, Treaty of, 208-210

  Limerick Junction, 113, 204, 254

  Limericks, 240

  Linen, 518, 519, 561-563

  Lir, Children of, 490

  Lisbun, 535

  Lissoughter, 306, 315-320

  Lissoy, 274-279

  Lloyd-George, David, 158-159, 474

  Loe, The, 184

  Londonderry, see Derry

  Lord of the Isles, The, 439, 480

  Loughs, see name of each

  Lover, Samuel, 214

  Loyalty, 396-397, 456, 532-533

  Ludlow, Gen. Edmund, 190-191

  Lundy, Robert, 450, 452

  Lurgan, 535

  Lynch, James, 301-303

  Lyons Hill, 92


  MacArt, Cormac, 106-108, 389, 549-550

  MacCarthy, Cormac, 103, 116-117, 126, 204

  McCarthy, Denis A., 94

  McCarthy, Dermot, 117

  MacCool or MacCumhal, Finn, see Finn MacCool

  MacDonnell, Angus, 480

  MacDonnell, Innen Dhu, 439

  MacDonnells, The, 491, 499, 502

  Macgillicuddy's Reeks, 165, 184, 185

  McKeown, R. H., 326-327, 368

  MacLiag, 251-252

  MacMurrough, Dermot, 35, 219-221, 402

  MacNatfraich, Ængus, 49, 107

  Maam, 354-355

  Maamturk Mountains, 314, 319

  Macroom, 139, 140, 382

  Magrath, Milar, 104

  Mahon, King of Munster, 253-254

  Mahony, Francis Sylvester (Father Prout), 118, 132, 136

  Mail, 330, 337-338, 496-497

  Mallow, 204

  Mangan, James Clarence, 14-15, 251

  Marconi, Guglielmo, 325

  Margy, The, 490

  Markets, 98, 200, 294-297, 311

  Marriage Contract, 54, 395-396

  Mask, Lough, 339, 343-345, 346, 347, 350, 351, 384

  Matthew, Father, 206

  Mattock, The, 550

  Maynooth, 3

  Mayo, County, 375, 377

  Meath, 19, 543

  Meave, 377-378, 392

  Meeting of the Waters, The, 60-61

  Mellifont, 85, 178, 221, 534, 538, 550-553

  Milcho, 521

  Milesians, The, see Gaels

  Milliken, Richard, 116, 118

  Minogue, John, 105-111, 173, 279

  Moira, 535

  Molua, see St. Molua

  Monasterboice, 37, 85, 88, 178, 534, 538, 553-558

  Monasteries, 18, 19, 21-22, 65-66, 99-102, 103, 108-109, 110-112,
        230-234, 268-271, 285-291, 379-382

  Monastic Schools, 19, 38, 104, 268-269, 285-291

  Monk, Gen. George, 536

  Monkey Trees, 201-202

  Monkstown, 136

  Moore, George, 374, 543

  Moore, Thomas, 14, 19, 60-61, 63-64, 219-220, 221, 248, 406

  Mount Melleray, 138

  Mountmorris, Lord, 352

  Mourne, Lough, 445

  Mourne Mountains, 524, 536

  Moytura, 346, 384

  Moytura, Northern, 384

  Muckross Abbey, 193-196, 231-232

  Muckross Lake, 165, 201

  Muiredach, 556

  Munster, 19, 20, 103, 107, 116, 253, 254, 465

  Murray, Adam, 450, 460

  Murray's Guidebook, 348, 375, 381, 385, 399, 455-456, 461, 502,
        525, 526


  Nafooey, Lough, 343

  Nally, John, 278

  National Education Board, The, 74-82

  National Gallery of Ireland, The, 15-16

  National Museum of Science and Art, The, 15, 37-40, 373

  National Schools, see Schools

  National University of Ireland, The, 306-307

  Nationalists, see Home Rule

  Nelson, Horatio, 6, 8, 12, 16

  Netterville Institution, The, 545

  Newgrange, 85, 534, 546-550

  Newry, 536

  Nial Garv, 439-440, 442

  Nial of the Nine Hostages, 427, 464

  Normans, The, 22-23, 33, 35, 38, 65, 130, 199, 207, 208, 220-221,
        274, 288, 293, 354, 379-382, 501, 520, 536


  O'Brien, Donall, 206, 255

  O'Brien, Murtagh, 256, 465

  O'Brien, Smith, 11

  O'Cahans, The, 476, 480

  O'Connell, Daniel, 10, 12, 20, 92, 115, 205, 217, 218, 460

  O'Conor, Rory, 39, 290

  O'Conor, Turlough, 39, 40, 220

  O'Dee, Bishop, 306-307, 352

  O'Dohertys, The, 473, 476

  O'Donaghue, The, 187, 188, 190

  O'Donnell, Hugh, 439

  O'Donnell, Hugh Roe, 438, 443

  O'Donnell, Red Hugh, 102, 269, 379, 438-440, 442

  O'Donnell, Rory, 440

  O'Donnells, The, 428, 432, 438-439, 480

  O'Duffy, Gilbert and Nicol, 351

  O'Echon, Maelisu MacBraddan, 40

  O'Flaherty, Rory, 325

  O'Flaherty, The, 293, 314, 339, 353-354

  O'Gillan, Enoch, 290

  O'Hanlon, Redmond, 536

  O'Hurley, Dermot, 104

  O'Malleys, The, 79, 344, 353-354

  O'Neill, Hugh, 208

  O'Neill, Owen Roe, 86

  O'Neill, Shane, 480

  O'Neills, The, 428, 440

  O'Reilly, John Boyle, 544-545

  O'Reilly, William David, 545

  O'Rourke, Tiernan, 35, 219-221, 405-406, 553

  O'Rourke's Table, 403

  O'Sullivan's Punchbowl, 188

  Old Age Pensions, see Pensions

  Ormonde, Earl of, 100

  Orangemen, 197, 458, 469, 470-471, 475, 506-508, 511, 514-516,
        528, 530, 534, 559-564

  Oscar, 23, 390

  Ossian, 23, 106, 204, 221, 390, 492-495

  Oughterard, 323

  Owen of the Hy-Nial, 427-428, 464, 465-466, 479-480

  Owengarriff, The, 201


  Parades, 23-24, 457, 504, 505, 559-560

  Parknasilla, 164, 416

  Parnell, Charles Stewart, 12, 60, 217-219

  Patrick, see St. Patrick

  Peat, see Turf

  Pembroke, Earl of, see Strongbow

  Pensions, 52-54, 196-197, 223

  Perrot, Sir John, 480

  Pettigoe, 413

  Plantation of Ulster, The, 447-448, 476

  Pleaskin, 485-486

  Poor Relief, 363-368

  Portadown, 535, 536

  Portrush, 473, 476-477

  Port Stewart, 476

  Potheen, 181-182, 184

  Presbyterians, 75, 486, 506-509, 510-511

  Price, Archbishop, 104-105

  Priests, 1-3, 56-57, 74-75, 77, 89, 155-161, 217, 305-309, 395

  Prout, Father, see Mahony, Francis Sylvester


  Queen's College, Galway, 306-307, 352

  Queenstown, 115, 136, 137, 138

  Quoile, The, 519, 524, 525


  Race-meetings, 113-114

  Rafferty, Mr., 316-318

  Railroads, 42-43, 59, 88-89, 250, 272-273, 415-416, 461-462,
        535-536

  Rain, 28, 66-67, 73, 111, 161-162, 179, 180-183, 185, 192, 224,
        227, 406-408, 431-432

  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 16

  Rathdrum, 59, 60, 84

  Rathlin Island, 489

  Raths, 103, 258, 407, 519, 522, 524-526

  Recess, 315-325, 416

  Red Bay, 500

  Red Branch Knights, 524, 537

  Red Hugh, 423

  Redmond, John, 471

  Ree, Lough, 207, 273, 275, 279, 286, 377

  Reilly, Willy, 180-181, 417, 420-422

  Religion, 75-77, 208-210, 216-217, 257-258, 332-333, 447-455,
        458-459, 467-471, 475, 506-509, 510-511, 520-521, 539

  Repartee, 58, 68, 278, 500, 539, 554

  Roads, 28, 61-62, 158-159

  Rock of Cashel, see Cashel

  Roe, Henry, 35

  Rolleston, T. W., 490

  Roman Catholic Church, The, 30, 74-75, 155, 508-509, 520-521

  Roscommon, 279

  Rosnaree, 549-550

  Ross Castle, 177, 186, 190-191

  Rosshill, 345

  Ross Island, 188-189

  Round Towers, 42, 43-45, 65, 83, 103, 109, 199, 288, 553-555

  Royal Irish Constabulary, The, 7, 10, 17, 88, 157, 184, 327-329

  Ruins, 21-22, 65, 73, 76, 83, 99-112, 115-125, 193-196, 198-200,
        229-234, 265-266, 268-271, 285-290, 346-347, 353-354,
        379-382, 402-403, 422-423, 438-441, 442-443, 479-480, 499,
        536, 550-558


  St. Anne Shandon, 131-132

  St. Brigid, 92-93, 108, 446, 519, 520, 522, 540

  St. Columba, 436, 446, 460, 465, 519, 520, 522

  St. Eugenius, 62

  St. Fin Barre, 130, 139, 145-149

  St. Finian the Leper, 199

  St. Kevin, 62-84, 119, 248

  St. Kieran, 286-291

  St. Mary's Abbey, Howth, 21-22, 230

  St. Molua, 259-262, 286

  St. Patrick, 30, 34, 38, 39, 48-49, 62, 103, 107, 108, 115, 146,
        150, 184, 221, 286, 372, 410, 427, 446, 465, 495, 519,
        520-522, 528, 540, 543-544

  St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, 26, 30-32, 35

  St. Patrick's Purgatory, 219, 413, 414

  St. Petroc, 62

  St. Senan, 245-249, 410

  Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 12

  Salthill, 309, 311-313

  Sarsfield, Patrick, 204, 207, 208-210, 213-214, 237, 258-259,
        454, 539

  Saul, 521-522

  Scarva, 536

  Scattery Island, 248-249

  Scenery, 42, 43, 59, 60-62, 65-66, 92-94, 99, 106-107, 113, 116,
        145-146, 150-152, 162-166, 183-187, 195-196, 243, 266-267,
        314-322, 325-326, 343-345, 354, 398-399, 417, 444-445,
        466-467, 479, 482-486, 490-492, 535-537

  Schomberg, Gen. Frederick Herman, 31-32, 502, 538

  Schoolbooks, 359, 360-362

  Schools, 46-47, 74-82, 358-363, 510-511

  Scotch-Irish, The, 458-459, 479-480, 487, 520, 562-563

  Shamrock, The, 46, 47-50, 67, 103, 107, 498

  Shannon, The, 106, 205, 207-208, 212-213, 215, 227, 236-237, 240,
        242-265, 273, 284, 285, 332, 333, 390, 448

  Sheela-na-gig, The, 279-283

  Sheen, The, 162

  Shrines, see Holy Wells

  Side-car, see Jaunting-car

  Silken Thomas, see Kildare, Earls of

  Slane, 538, 543-544

  Slemish, 521

  Slievenamon, 94, 106-107, 389

  Sligo, 378-385, 392, 396, 406, 411-412, 421, 442

  Sligo, County, 377, 428

  Sligo, O'Conor, 380

  Slums, 9, 32-33, 132, 210-214

  Smoking, 2-3, 194-195

  Snakes, 111, 146, 184-185, 372-373

  Statues, 10, 15, 35-36, 213-214

  Stella, see Johnson, Mrs. Hester

  Stone Circles, 384, 389, 392, 406-408, 492, 494-495, 546

  Strabane, 445-446, 450

  Strangford, Lough, 521

  Stranorlar, 445

  Stranrear, 501

  Strongbow, 26, 33, 34, 35-36, 220-221, 288, 447

  Struell, 526-531

  Suir, The, 99

  Sullivan, Timothy, 221-222

  Swift, Jonathan, 26, 30-32, 34, 92

  Swilly, Lough, 427, 461, 466


  Tara, 41, 107, 389, 390, 540, 543-544, 549

  Taylor, Jeremy, 524

  Tenements, 9, 13, 33, 210-214

  Thomond, 251

  Thomond, Earl of, 206, 265

  Thurles, 94-99, 174

  Tillage, 140, 266-267, 340-342

  Timony, John, 441-442

  Tipperary, Vale of, 90, 93-94, 103, 106, 113, 204

  Tomies, The, 184

  Tone, Theobald Wolfe, 509

  Tonna, Charlotte, 453

  Tore Cascade, 201-202

  Trams, 16, 17, 28, 309-310

  Trinity College, 10, 14, 40-41, 193, 307

  Tristram, Sir Almericus, 22-23

  Tuam, 2

  Tullymongan, 545

  Turf, 98, 142, 267-268, 300-301, 355-357, 388, 490-491, 529

  Twelve Pins of Bunnabeola, The, 318, 319, 325

  Tyrconnell, Earl of, 423, 440, 454

  Tyrconnell, Lady, 539

  Tyrconnell, Province, 427-428, 447

  Tyrone, 427-428, 446, 447, 464, 465, 479


  Ulster, 36, 86, 87, 155, 157, 197, 216-217, 424, 448, 449, 453,
        455, 458-459, 461, 468-469, 486, 498, 502, 506-518, 521,
        522, 529-530, 537, 539, 559-564

  Union, Act of, 13, 35

  Unionists, see Home Rule


  Vanessa, 92

  Victoria, Queen, 137, 166, 201, 352, 517


  Wages, 61, 84, 90-91, 98, 143, 222, 267-268, 281, 337, 409, 419

  Walker, Rev. George, 450-451, 460, 538-539

  Warbeck, Perkin, 131

  Waterford, 454

  Weather, see Climate and Rain

  Westmeath, 277, 280, 284

  Westport, 369, 370-375, 377, 382, 445, 536

  Wicklow, 18, 21, 59, 62

  Wild West Films, 24, 396, 532

  William III of Orange, 12, 76, 208-210, 294, 449-450, 453-455,
        460, 470, 475, 502, 534, 538-540, 559

  Wilson, Woodrow, 377, 441-442

  Workhouses, 54-56, 84, 87, 143-144, 180, 375, 473

  Workman's Insurance, see Insurance

  Wyatt, Henry, 16


  Youghal, 138



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

Inconsistent hyphenation has been retained. Obvious punctuation
errors have been corrected.

Page 215, "enought" changed to "enough" (enough to meet one)

Page 298, "whereever" changed to "wherever" (have been built wherever)

Page 425, "celebate" changed to "celebrate" (forbidden to celebrate
Mass)

Page 517, "visting" changed to "visiting" (which is worth visiting)

Page 576, "Tyrconnel" changed to "Tyrconnell" (Tyrconnell, Province)





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Charm of Ireland" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home