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Title: Killarney
Author: Gorges, Mary
Language: English
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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.

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Transcriber's Note

Some illustrations were uncaptioned in the original. The transcriber
has used the captions from the list of illustrations for the
convenience of the reader. These captions are in {braces}.



    Beautiful Ireland


        Killarney

           By
       Mary Gorges


     [Illustration]


         London
  Adam & Charles Black
      Soho Square W
          1912



  [Illustration: {THE UPPER LAKE.}]



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                       PAGE
     I. THE GLAMOUR OF KILLARNEY                                   5

    II. THE ROAD THROUGH THE GAP: ITS MEMORIES AND ITS RUINS      11

   III. THE LAKES AND THE MOUNTAINS                               23

    IV. MUCKROSS                                                  33

     V. ROSS, INNISFALLEN, AND THE LOWER LAKE                     38

    VI. THE KILLARNEY FOLK                                        49

   VII. THE FAIRIES--AND FAREWELL!                                56



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

BY FRANCIS S. WALKER, R.H.A.


   1. THE UPPER LAKE                          _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE
   2. THE GAP OF DUNLOE ON A STORMY DAY                    9

   3. THE HEAD OF THE GAP OF DUNLOE                       16

   4. AT THE FOOT OF MANGERTON MOUNTAIN                   25

   5. O'SULLIVAN'S PUNCHBOWL                              27

   6. MUCKROSS LAKE AND GLENA MOUNTAIN                    30

   7. MUCKROSS                                            32

   8. THE ISLAND OF INNISFALLEN                           43

   9. IN A TYPICAL COTTAGE                                46

  10. MOUNTAIN HOMES OF THE KILLARNEY DISTRICT            49

  11. CUTTING PEAT FROM THE BOG                           56

  12. THE EAGLE'S NEST, KILLARNEY             _On the cover_



KILLARNEY



CHAPTER I

THE GLAMOUR OF KILLARNEY


Killarney--in Irish "the Church of the Sloes"--though but a small
town, is, owing to its position, the centre from which the wondrously
lovely scenery of the district may best be explored, a district which
has been described as "the Mecca of every pilgrim in search of the
sublime and beautiful in Nature--the mountain paradise of the West."
Yet if the magical softness of shimmering wave and wooded isle, the
glory of their colouring, the ineffable peace which broods over hill
and vale, tempt the summer visitor to think that Paradise could not be
fairer, there are dark glens, frowning mountains, and sombre passes,
which but too vividly remind the beholder that on earth must the
shadow always follow the sunshine, the minor note of sadness be heard,
that even in this enchanted spot has the war-cry many a time been
sounded, and men have wreaked their fierce passions and poured out
their blood, and women, stricken to the heart, have suffered and died
under these tender skies. The ruined castles tell their own story.

To analyze the charm of Killarney Vale is impossible. It is the very
region of romance, and one to which fairy legend and ghostly tale seem
to fit themselves better than do the commonplaces of life. There would
seem nothing strange were the O'Donoghue on his white charger seen to
cleave the wave and emerge on its foam-flecked shore, coming we know
not whence, going we know not where, but real as when he trod his
native glens, a prince and a ruler among men. The unseen world seems
very near to those who have fallen under the spell of fair Killarney.

Part of this charm is doubtless due to the wonder of its beauty, the
ceaseless contrasts it presents. I have seen a theory advanced of late
years that, as is the land, so are the dwellers thereon; that the
character of the soil determines that of its children; the rivers
which they look upon, rapid and lawless, or strong and silent; the
dark forest; the rich fields or the barren plains; the mysterious
mountain or the gay valley, alike influence--nay, form--their
individuality. There is a remarkable passage in the autobiography of a
very remarkable man--Stillman (war correspondent to the _Times_ in its
earlier days), in which he speaks of the effect which a few weeks'
sojourn among the then primeval forests on the banks of the Hudson
produced upon him. Over-wearied by brain work, he had shut himself
away from sight or sound of civilization, from human companionship,
depending on his gun for food, the waters of the spring for drink. He
describes how gradually the artificialities of life seemed to slip
from him, and he felt akin with grass and tree, with the skies above
him, the clouds which swept over their surface, the glories of the sun
by day, the moon and the stars by night. He seemed also conscious of a
world of spirits, or at least beings not of flesh and blood, very
close to him. Sometimes as he lay at rest upon the grass a radiant
face looked down on him; once or twice a voice spoke. Above all, he
felt confident he was being guided when external guidance was
impossible, in black darkness, and when a mistake or false step meant
death. He believed that senses we have lost revive, and that we grow
cognisant of a world other than that we habitually live in, as, far
away from the haunts of men, we let Nature speak to us once more.

In many voices has Nature spoken to the children of Killarney, weaving
something of the changeableness, the melancholy, the deep gloom, and
the overflowing sunshine of their hills and vales into the very heart
of the people, making them what they are for good or ill. To them has
been given vision of the supernatural region as a refuge to the
earth-bound spirit from the sordid cares of money-getting; and so has a
world of dreamers, for all their outward gaiety and lightheartedness,
been created in the kingdom of Kerry. Dreamers we call them, but, after
all, may not Jean Paul Richter's words be prophetic, and the dreamers
yet awaken from life's uneasy sleep to find its dreams alone were true.

  [Illustration: THE GAP OF DUNLOE ON A STORMY DAY.
    The wildness of the Gap is a great contrast to the lake scenery
      to which it gives access.]

The name of Killarney conjures up such thoughts. It owes its fame
solely to its beauty and to the fascination which the character of
that beauty exercises over the beholder. For it is never the same, and
every change appeals to the imagination. Who that has seen it can
forget the superb tinting of the foliage which clothes the mountain
sides and transforms the isles into quivering kaleidoscopes of colour,
flashing back the light as the waves of a sunlit sea. Then a shadow
flits from the mountain tops, and the hues change as though under the
spell of a magician hidden among those far-off caves, but only to a
yet richer combination. Gorse and heather, arbutus and fern, show a
softer radiance, less dazzling, but more sympathetic; silvery rills
course down the declivities which surround the lakes, now visible
through the trees and giant shrubs, now hidden, but always with a
murmur of sound like distant notes of the fairy music which once, it
is said, woke the echoes of Killarney. And for those who have the
hearing ear it may do so still; with unbelievers the "good people"
have no intercourse.

There is a supernatural origin ascribed to almost everything in
Killarney--to the lakes among the rest. These are formed and supplied
by the numerous minor lakes in the surrounding mountains, and by
several rivers which flow into them, having received on their way the
waters of innumerable tributary streams, all finding an outlet by the
rapid river Laune, which bears them to the Atlantic through the
beautiful bay of Dingle.

But in long-ago days there were no lakes at Killarney--so legend
says--only an extensive and inhabited valley, fair and fertile. In
this was a magic fountain, which supplied water clear as crystal,
concerning which a tradition existed that whoever should displace the
stone over the well-head would bring destruction to himself and to the
valley. It was the reckless daring of a mortal which caused the
fulfilment of this prediction. One of the great O'Donoghues, to prove
the falsity of a tradition which he scorned, resolved in evil hour to
have the stone removed to his castle. With fear and trembling his
subjects, who dared not disobey him, awaited the result, all save his
favourite jester, who fled to the summit of a neighbouring mountain.
When morning came the jester looked down into the valley, and saw
nothing but a great expanse of water. The valley was flooded in a
single night, and its inhabitants drowned. It is believed, however,
that they did not perish, but still exist under the lakes, enjoying a
happier life than the earth one they left, feasting, music, and
dancing filling the hours.



CHAPTER II

THE ROAD THROUGH THE GAP: ITS MEMORIES AND ITS RUINS


The principal lakes of Killarney are three in number--the Upper Lake
is the smallest, but often adjudged the most beautiful; it is two
miles and a half in length by half a mile in breadth, the Middle (Torc
or Muckross) Lake is two miles long by one broad, while Lough Leane
("the Lake of Learning") is five miles and a half long by two miles
and a half in breadth.

These lakes are connected by channels, narrow, though sufficiently
wide to admit of the passing of a boat, so in a sense they may be
considered as one, yet each lake possesses a character peculiar to
itself and very distinctive.

Killarney is easy of access in these days. In less than sixteen hours
the tourist may reach it from London, via Holyhead, while Queenstown,
Liverpool and the newer route by Rosslare afford facilities for
visitors from every land. And once arrived they find all the comforts
and luxuries of modern civilization in the first class hotels, which
have sprung up to meet the ever increasing need of accommodation;
hotels from some of which the visitor may view the beauty of lake and
mountain, the lights and shadows, the glory of their colouring,
without going further afield.

Killarney itself is a small town of which there is little to record.
Adjoining is the Earl of Kenmare's demesne, with its fine gardens and
splendid golf links; the latter one of the best inland courses in
Ireland. Visitors can use it on payment of a small green fee.

To proceed by land to the far-famed Gap of Dunloe, and, traversing it,
take the road to the Upper Lake, is the general plan followed by the
stranger, for this best shows a great and varied extent of country,
with such contrasts of softness and grandeur--nay, desolation--as no
other scenery presents.

In this land the past has graven deep its records in ruined castle,
tower and abbey, each with its tale. And the first of these after
leaving Killarney, is to be found at Aghadoe (in Irish Acadh-da-ca,
"the field of the two yew trees"). It is about two miles from
Killarney, and a slight detour to the right must be made to visit it.

Aghadoe stands on an eminence commanding most lovely views of the
lakes and mountains. It was an ancient bishopric, and here is the ruin
of its Cathedral church, which consists of two chapels of distinct
periods of antiquity. They lie east and west of each other--that to
the east, probably dating from about 1158, is in the Pointed style,
and dedicated to the Holy Trinity; the more ancient, in
Hiberno-Romanesque style, appears to have been built some centuries
before the coming of the Normans, and is far richer and more
beautiful. The western end contains a doorway of recessed arches,
covered with particularly fine mouldings and decorations.

Not far from the western end are the remains of what must have been a
very fine Round tower, judging from the style of its masonry, now,
however, only about 15 feet in height. Many of its stones have been
taken away and converted into tombstones for neighbouring churchyards,
or some other need of the mason. The Castle is another massive
circular fragment of about 30 feet in height, sometimes called "The
Bishop's Chair," sometimes "The Pulpit," and believed to have been
the residence of the bishops of the diocese.

Following the road to the north side of the lake, several fine
demesnes are passed, one of them, Lakeview House, being the residence
of Sir Morgan Ross O'Connell, Bart., grand-nephew of the Liberator. It
is a beautiful drive, and many a tale of the past will enliven the
way, as, crossing Beaufort Bridge over the Laune, you reach Dunloe
Castle at the west end of the lake, about seven miles from Killarney
town.

Dunloe Castle stands on a height from whence the view is glorious.
This Castle is the seat of the Mahonys, and is very ancient. An old
history of Kerry mentions that its floors are formed of very fine
planks of the yew tree, a wood which, when well wrought, has a more
beautiful grain and polish than mahogany. Bees have taken up their
residence for centuries in this old fortress. They are in curious
niches and angles behind the massive walls and under the floors. They
disturb no one and refuse to be evicted. A bee-keeper tried if he
could tempt them beyond their bounds by laying "sections" in a place
to which they had access, with a hope of securing some of the honey.
They took no notice. Through a cupboard in one of the walls, you can
see far back a host of these little people, the self-constituted
guests of Dunloe Castle, very busy over their affairs.

There is a fishing lodge close to Dunloe Castle. This is let during
the season, and very fine sport is to be had. The splendid lake and
river fishing about Killarney is no small attraction to the angler,
both being well stocked with the finest trout and salmon.

A very remarkable cave near the Gap of Dunloe was accidentally
discovered in 1838, and was then and subsequently explored with much
interest. Its roof has now fallen in. It was a subterranean chamber of
circular form, the walls of uncemented stones inclining inwards, with
a roof also of long transverse stones, the angles of which are covered
with Ogham writing, "which is to the Irish antiquary what the Runes
are in the north, the Arrow-headed or Wedge characters in Babylonia or
Persepolis. Archæological discoveries in Ireland are of more general
interest than formerly, as the earth is laying bare her secrets all
over the world, and what is discovered in one country is found to have
its bearing on something brought to light in another." The discovery
of Ogham characters in this cave was additional evidence that the
Irish had a literature far in advance of the rest of Europe and long
before the Christian era.

Close to the entrance of the Gap stands Kate Kearney's cottage as,
whether it contains a "Kate" or not, it will always be called. There
is many a pretty girl in Kerry whose bright eyes, clear colouring and
beautiful hair attract the passer by, but Kate will be remembered to
the end of time, because of the few lines which, "lilting" from a
poet's heart, conferred upon her the crown of immortal youth and
beauty:

    "From the glance of her eye, shun danger and fly,
    For fatal's the glance of Kate Kearney!"

It is the fashion to depreciate Moore as a poet, to compare his lyrics
to the notes of a musical-box, sweet indeed, but devoid of true
inspiration. Yet he fulfilled a noble mission in his day, rescuing and
bringing to light the music of his country, wedding it to words that
tell its story or reveal its beauties instead of the worthless jingle
which had so often degraded it. It was Moore's poetry which greatly
helped to make Killarney known early in the last century to many in
England.

  [Illustration: THE HEAD OF THE GAP OF DUNLOE.]

Readers of the literature of that day will know what an influence
Moore was in its intellectual circles--his wit, his geniality, his
singing, "the effect of which," writes N. P. Willis, who met him at
Lady Blessington's, "is only equalled by the beauty of his own words."
His voice was of small compass, but exquisitely modulated and
expressing every shade of feeling and sentiment, so that women have
been known to faint as they listened to his singing, which awakened,
perhaps, a buried sorrow, a long past anguish.

Once enter the Gap of Dunloe and the scene utterly changes; gone is
the soft verdure, the brilliant tinting, silent the song of birds. On
either side rise huge rocks, of strange, fantastic shapes, often
appearing half suspended over the path, while never far from it rushes
the dark Loe, "a brawling and angry stream," which traverses the whole
length of the Gap, about four miles, often passing along heights, then
tumbling into depths with rush and roar, now near, now distant, but
ever voicing the wild emotions which seem to lurk amid the gloom of
this stern defile. It expands into five lakes, called collectively
the Cummeen Lakes, during its passage through the Gap.

Tradition ascribes the origin of this wild pass to a stroke from the
sword of a mighty giant, which separated the mountains and left them
apart for ever, MacGillicuddy's Reeks on one side, Toomies and the
Purple Mountain on the other. Very stern and grand look the Reeks, one
of their peaks, Carn-tual ("the inverted sickle") rising higher than
any mountain in Ireland--3,414 feet above the level of the sea. There
is softer beauty on the mountains to the left, the Purple Mountain in
particular (2,739 feet in height). The lovely hue which pervades this
mountain is generally ascribed to a purple heath, which covers its
sides, almost to the top, with perpetual bloom. Its name, however, was
originally derived from an immense pile of loose stones and slates of
a purple tint, which becomes intense when the sun shines upon them.

It is from the Gap of Dunloe that the Purple Mountain should be
ascended; it is not a formidable climb, but ponies await those who
fear the fatigue. The view from the summit is magnificent.

The western base of this mountain descends into Augher Lake, and
close to this spot is the Woodwork Factory, where carved specimens of
arbutus and other woods can be obtained in inlaid tables, chess and
backgammon sets, card cases, etc.

Chess is believed to have been played in prehistoric times by the
ancient Irish, and the frequent mention of the game long before the
Norman invasion shows it was a favourite one. "The chess board was
called in Irish 'fithcheall,' and is described in the _Glossary_ of
Cormac of Cashel, composed towards the close of the ninth century, as
quadrangular in shape, and having straight spots of black and white.
Some of these were inlaid with gold and silver and adorned with gems.
No entire set of the ancient men is now known to exist, though
frequent mention is made of the brigade or family of chessmen in many
old manuscripts. Kings of bone, seated in sculptured chairs, about 2
inches in height, have been found, and specimens of them engraved in
recent antiquarian publications" (D'Arcy Magee's _History of
Ireland_).

The most striking part of the Gap is where the valley contracts so as
to bring the precipitous sides very close together. The peasants have
named this the Pike, and to the grotesquely formed rocks along the
pass they have also given names--the Turnpike, O'Donoghue's Heart, and
so on. The impression conveyed as you proceed, is of gloom and of a
certain aloofness from the ordinary. The eagle soaring above is no
uncommon sight.

A little distance from the Pike is a lonely tarn called the Black Lake
(Loch Dubh), where St. Patrick imprisoned the last Irish snake, which
is supposed to live in its depths. A little south of the Pass the spot
is pointed out where the last Irish wolf was slain.

There is a stamp of wild force in all that meets the eye while
traversing the Gap, which is not diminished as at Gap Cottage the end
is neared. At its commencement cars have had to be abandoned. You must
ride or walk. If you have elected to walk you will probably now be
footsore and weary. Even the sure-footed ponies generally used may not
prevent fatigue from the rough, precipitous road, but it is forgotten
when, on leaving the Gap, a turn in the path brings in view one of the
most famous glens of Killarney--the Black Valley. This was formerly
described as so black, so desolate, that it might have been named the
Valley of the Shadow of Death. It owes this reputation merely to its
English name--a mistranslation from the Irish one--Cumin Dubh
(O'Duff's Valley). No one knows who this O'Duff was, however, and the
Black Valley is a more romantic name for a singularly wild and
beautiful scene.

The path now inclines to the left, bringing in view the Upper Lake,
its waters glowing like burnished gold, if, as often happens, it
approaches the sunset hour when you reach it. How lovely it looks,
guarded on every side by those great mountains which hold so many
secrets!

Not without a passing regret do we leave the Gap. It has its own
charm, arousing wonder and curiosity and a certain awe. One really
feels when the Pike is reached as though there was nothing strange in
its having emanated from the giant's sword.

The scene surveyed from here is very beautiful, and tempts delay, but
the Upper Lake must be reached. By the side of the hill you descend is
the Logan stone, or "balanced rock," long considered a wonder of
Druidical times. Some affirm now that its rocking motion is from
natural causes, but, set as it is on the lonely hill, it looks as if
it well might have been fashioned by those stern old heathen.

Still descending, the road takes a sharp backward curve to the foot of
Fubrahy's Crags; then, turning again, it continues till, after
crossing a bridge, it passes through an opening in the wall into
Gurmaheen Demesne, within which are tea and waiting rooms, called
"Lord Brandon's Cottage." From thence a short path descends to the
Upper Lake, where in some sheltered bay your boat awaits you.

  [Illustration: {THE EAGLE'S NEST, KILLARNEY.}]



CHAPTER III

THE LAKES AND THE MOUNTAINS


No one has ever realized the enchantment of Killarney or fallen under
its spell who has not been upon its waters. As the boat glides into
the Upper Lake, all that has ever been said of its varied beauty seems
poor compared to the reality. The mountains which surround it on every
side give indescribable grandeur to its scenery--so much so that,
added to the contrasted beauty of its wooded isles, it is on the whole
conceded that it bears the golden apple from its sister lakes;
certainly, as the boatmen row from point to point, you say so, and
memory, bringing back the vision in after days--perhaps in the hot and
dusty thoroughfare--confirms the verdict.

The Upper Lake contains twelve small islands, some of them of such a
height that at a distance they resemble so many lofty towers standing
in the waters, their summits crowned with bright green wreaths of the
arbutus and many another verdant shrub and tree. In other aspects they
appear to represent the ruins of stately palaces. To add to this
effect, their edges are so much worn by the dashing of water against
them, and by rains washing away the earth, and "time hath so
disjointed these marble rocks," that some hang in such curious fashion
as to represent a rude architectural formation.

The extraordinary verdure, not only of the isles, but of the
mountains, is even more striking viewed from these lonely waters than
where man has left more perceptible trace of his presence. It seems
incredible that giant fern, tree-shrubs, and plants should flourish in
tropical profusion at the great heights to which they attain, and
without the artificial aid which is impossible.

This wonderful foliage is the glory of all the islands, but here it
throws into intense relief the sublimity inseparable from great
mountain scenery, and even in point of height the MacGillicuddy's
Reeks can claim greatness. More than a hundred years ago Holmes, in
his _Tour in Ireland_, records his first glimpse of the noble range:
"Their peaks immersed in mist and storms, along their prodigious
furrows the cataracts, swollen by recent rains, tumbling with fury and
glistening like liquid silver; in a little time the peaks piercing
through the clouds, the grey mists slow descending like a great
curtain, through which the sun darted his rays."

  [Illustration: AT THE FOOT OF MANGERTON MOUNTAIN, KILLARNEY.]

The Purple Mountain, always beautiful and changeful in aspect as the
lakes themselves, looks down from the north, while on the other side
rises Torc's noble outline, and further off great Mangerton.

Many of the mountains are densely wooded to a great height--giant
ferns, the rowan, holly, yew, juniper. Above all the arbutus grow in a
tangle of profusion, and on rocks where no earth appears. How the
steep rocks and crags can give root-hold to this forestry of green is
a marvel to the beholder, the roots being simply filaments entwining
themselves round crevices in the stone, holding on with a grim
tenacity which defies the wildest storm--better even than the forest
tree. The birds of the air have dropped their seeds, or the winds
carried them to this their home, and they will not let it go. Here
will they stay as long, perchance, as the rocks themselves.

"I expected the loveliness I met," said an English visitor to
Killarney lately, "and I believe the strongest impression made on me
was by those beautiful tropical shrubs in mid-air, as they seemed, and
with no apparent hold on the soil."

The arbutus is supposed by some to have come from Spain and to have
been cultivated in the first instance by the early monks; but the more
general belief is that it was indigenous. It is not to be found of
spontaneous growth nearer to Ireland than the very south of France and
Italy, and only as a shrub, while about the lakes and mountains here
it often becomes a large and tall tree. Pliny mentions it as
extraordinary that it should thus grow in Arabia, and Petra Bellonus
also observes this as occurring on Mount Athos in Macedonia. But it
seems to love its Irish home best, and to revel in the luxuriant
growth which makes it so noticeable in Killarney's leafy forests.

The blossoms of the arbutus grow in clusters of white bells, not
unlike those of the lily of the valley, in great abundance, and
nestling under bunches of bright green leaves. It has, at the same
time, ripe and green fruit on its branches, first a deep pale yellow,
deepening, as it advances to ripeness, then a brilliant scarlet
like that of a strawberry. Autumn and winter are the seasons of its
greatest bloom and beauty.

  [Illustration: O'SULLIVAN'S PUNCHBOWL, KILLARNEY.]

A most beautiful cascade at the western end of the lake tumbles down
the mountain side and empties itself in a dazzling sheet of foam into
its waters. The music of its fall seems very close as the boat passes
the various isles, and you are told the legends connected with them.
One in particular, MacCarthy's Island, is pointed out as the last
refuge of one of the great family. We will find other memories of this
powerful sept in many a local tradition. Here a battle was fought, a
fort taken or lost, triumph or defeat, and then you are pointed to a
grave--the end of it all!

But on the Upper Lake it is hard to think of anything but the lovely,
lonely scenery--lonelier because of the everlasting hills which
compass it around.

Eagle Island was once the haunt of these royal birds, and still the
golden eagle has not forsaken it, though less seldom seen. Ronayne
Island is named after one who lived there, apart from his fellow-men,
in self-chosen solitude. At each point there is something to relate,
while every turn produces a change in outline or colour so as almost
to form a fresh scene. Many a lovely little bay and channel are
explored, till too soon the boat passes the last islet, enters the
last bay, rounds the last promontory.

A very narrow part of the passage occurs here where this promontory
juts out, leaving a breadth of only about thirty feet. It is called
Coleman's Eye. Some legendary person is said to have leaped across the
stream here, leaving his footprints on the rock beyond.

And now, with long look and reluctant farewell, we are on the Long
Range, the river connecting the Upper with its sister lakes.

In Holmes' _Tour_ he thus characterizes the Long Range: "I should
distinguish the Upper Lake as being the most sublime, the Lower the
most beautiful, and Muckross Lake the most picturesque, the winding
passage leading to the Upper containing a surprising combination of
the three, probably not to be exceeded by any spot in the world."

The Long Range is about two miles in length. Its margins are gemmed
with water-lilies, snowy and golden. Here the _Osmunda regalia_ is
seen growing almost in forests, and of great size, its branches, as
well as those of the alder, birch, yew, arbutus, and many another,
entwining as if they grew from a common root. Other rare ferns, some
peculiar to Kerry, as the Brutle fern (_Trichomanes speciosum_),
completely clothe the wild crags on either side. But it is hopeless to
attempt specifying the variety of foliage, the different shades of
green, the masses of heather and gorse, which in all stages of their
bloom, their first spring glory, or the no less lovely golden and
brown tints of autumn, make the most rugged mountain sides beautiful.
And let not the little "bog down" be forgotten which around Killarney
makes the bogs resemble waving fields of snow. "Light of love" the
peasant girls call this bog rush, for a breath sends its down floating
lightly away. A little white tuft of silky cotton, from its shortness
of no practical use in the work-a-day world, so it lives its life
unharmed, gay as the bog-land dwellers themselves.

Very wild and grand is the scenery here. Rocks in a hundred forms
appear as the banks are passed, and behind, at nearer or further
distance, rise the greater mountain heights.

The boat passes several islets, named from resemblance, real or
imaginary, The Jolly Boat, The Cannon Rock, The Man-of-War Rock--a
mass like a vessel, keel uppermost. Soon the far-famed Eagle's Nest is
reached, a rugged, precipitous cliff 1,700 feet high. Here the eagles
still have their nest, for Nature has secured them from the hand of
man. It is a very majestic rock, thickly clothed with evergreens
nearly to the summit, where, however, heath and a few scattered shrubs
hide the nest, and show the great outline, the rugged mass, in stern
sublimity. Here the Killarney Echo is best heard.

Perhaps among the many writers who have tried to describe the effect
produced by this echo, Mrs. Hall gives the most vivid impression. She
says: "The bugler first played a single note; it was caught up and
repeated loudly; softly, again loudly; again softly, and then as if by
a hundred instruments rolling around and above the mountains, and
dying softly away. Then a few notes were blown, a multitude of voices
replied, sometimes pausing, then mingling in a strain of sublime
grandeur and delicate sweetness. Then came the firing of a cannon,
when every mountain around seemed instinct with angry life, and
replied in voices of thunder, the sound being multiplied a
thousandfold, first a terrific growl, then a fearful crash, both
caught up and returned by the surrounding hills, while those nearest
became silent, awaiting the oncoming of those that were distant, then
dropping to a gentle lull, as if the winds only created them, then
breaking forth again into a combined and terrific roar."

  [Illustration: MUCKROSS LAKE AND GLENA MOUNTAIN FROM TORC
    COTTAGE--EARLY MORNING.]

Soon after passing Eagle's Nest the end of the Long Range is reached,
and the stream divides, skirting round Dinish Island into Lough Leane
on the left side, to the right passing under Old Weir Bridge into
Muckross Lake.

The Old Weir Bridge consists of two arches; only one affords a passage
for boats, and as the water of the Upper Lake rushes into Muckross
Lake on its way to the sea through the Laune, the current is extremely
rapid, and it is quite usual for tourists to disembark and walk,
meeting the boat on the other side. Those with strong nerves, however,
enjoy "shooting the rapids." You then find yourself in Torc (or
Muckross) Lake, and opposite Dinish Island, on which is a pretty
cottage, where it is usual to halt for rest and refreshment. The chief
feature of the latter is salmon, broiled in cutlets on a fire made of
arbutus, the slices skewered on a spray of the same, which is said to
impart a delicious flavour to the fish.

There are so many objects of interest clustered around the Lakes that
it is vain trying to compress them into the description of a day's
excursion. When time is an object, the tourist can manage to "do" the
whole three lakes, but if time permits, the point we have now reached
should be the limit of his first day, and a row home over the lovely
waters of Lough Leane to Ross Island is a fitting close to it. The
grand old Castle never looks so picturesque as in the evening glow;
let it be his last memory of the day.

  [Illustration: MUCKROSS, KILLARNEY.
    From above Torc Waterfall, showing the upper and lower lakes with
      the peninsula which divides them.]



CHAPTER IV

MUCKROSS


Nothing more beautiful than the scene viewed from Muckross ("the place
of wild swine") can be imagined. Its woods and lawns form a large
promontory, shooting far into the lake, which the wooded isles beyond
seem almost to join, the water breaking and glancing between like tiny
bays. Muckross Abbey Mansion stands in lovely grounds, which, fringing
the slope to the water's edge, form a beautiful shore to the lake.

The scene which this point commands is unrivalled--indeed, Torc lake
(Torc, a wild boar) need fear no comparison. Toomies and Glena are
opposite, so softly outlined by the beautiful waving forests which
cling to their sides that their magnificent height is half forgotten.
In contrast the hills which rise above the Eagle's Nest are bare,
broken, almost savage.

But if it is hard to convey by words an idea of scenery in general,
more difficult is it with that of Killarney, so varied are the effects
produced under its changeful skies,

    "Shining through sorrow's beam,
    Saddening through sorrow's gleam."

Mr. Young, our English visitor of long ago, notices this much. In one
place he observes: "Torc was obscured by the sun shining immediately
above him, and, casting a stream of burning light on the water,
displayed an effect to describe which the pencil of a Claude alone
would be equal."

The ruined Abbey of Muckross stands in the grounds of Muckross
demesne, and was founded by a MacCarthy Mor in 1340, according to the
_Annals of the Four Masters_, upon the site of a much older church,
which was destroyed by fire. It was built for Conventual Franciscans,
and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The original name was Irrelagh.

The two principal parts of the ruin are the convent and the church,
the latter about 100 feet in length and 24 feet in breadth, the
steeple standing between the nave and chancel, resting on four high
and slender pointed arches.

The cloisters are in a very perfect state, consisting of a beautiful
quadrangle of marble arches, some pointed, some with semicircular
heads, enclosing a square, in the centre of which stands the great
yew-tree, said to be as old as the Abbey itself. It rises to the
height of 60 feet, its spreading branches overshadowing the cloisters
and forming a canopy, impervious to the sun. The circumference of its
trunk is 13 feet, and it is regarded with much awe because of a belief
that anyone attempting to pluck a leaf or branch, or in any way injure
this yew, will not be alive on that day twelve months.

The principal entrance is by a handsome Pointed doorway, from which is
seen the great eastern window, with its simple, beautiful tracery. The
space within is filled with tombs, many of them nameless. A large
modern one in the centre of the choir covers a vault, where in ancient
times were interred the MacCarthys, and, more lately, the O'Donoghues.

Close to this tomb is the slab which formerly covered the vault,
without inscription, but bearing the arms of the Earl of Clancarty of
the old creation, this title and that of Viscount Valentia being
bestowed by Queen Elizabeth in 1565 on Donald MacCarthy Mor, the head
of the elder branch of that great family. His haughty followers would
none of it, and slighted the chieftain who had condescended, however
grudgingly, to accept an honour at the hands of the Sassenach.

The dormitories, cellars, kitchens, refectories, etc., are in good
preservation, but the upper rooms are unroofed. There is a great
fireplace in the refectory, where once the monks kept good cheer. Very
silent and deserted it is now, with the innumerable graves around.

The great Torc Cascade empties itself into Muckross Lake a little more
than a mile from the Abbey. It comes from the Devil's Punch Bowl,
which it is worth ascending Mangerton to see. On the western side of
the mountain is a small circular lake, about 600 yards in diameter
across the top. From the brink, as you look downwards, there is a
depth of nearly 300 yards. This is the Devil's Punch Bowl. On the side
next Muckross there is an immense perpendicular chasm, equal in depth
to the height of the sides of the Bowl, into which its overflowings
rush and are conveyed through a narrow channel, called the Devil's
Stream, to the shore of Muckross Lake, tumbling down the sides of the
hill, nearly 200 feet, in a great cascade.

In the peninsula of Muckross is a mine, now disused, which, when
worked by an English company in 1804, gave a large output of the
finest copper ore.

There are many indications of mineral treasures yet to be discovered
among the hills and glens of Killarney. When Dr. Berkeley was asked
his opinion of Muckross at a time when Art was considered far superior
to Nature, he replied: "The French monarch might possibly be able to
create another Versailles, but could not, with all his revenues, lay
out another Muckross."



CHAPTER V

ROSS, INNISFALLEN, AND THE LOWER LAKE


Ross is only separated from the mainland by a narrow cut through a
morass, which gives it its claim to be an island.

This division is probably artificial, and made in former days to
strengthen the fortifications of the Castle. A carriage road from the
town of Killarney crosses the small connecting bridge and brings the
tourist under the walls of Ross Castle, where there is a landing-place
for those who come by water.

Ross Castle is still a splendid old fortress, far less injured by time
or mischance than most of its contemporaries in Kerry. A tall and
stately building, it is seen from far, dominating Lough Leane and
adding additional charm to the view, with its massive buttresses and
battlements, reminders of the old fighting days. It is but a short
distance between Ross and Muckross, yet the character of the scene is
utterly changed. Say what we will of the other lakes, Lough Leane
remains the lake of enchantment.

Ross is a very ancient Castle, built by some far-back O'Donoghue, the
precise date unknown. Within is a spiral staircase of stone mounting
to the top, from whence a marvellous panorama lies before you.

In 1652 Ross Castle was held by Lord Muskerry for the King, during the
Parliamentary wars, against General Ludlow. It was well garrisoned and
provisioned, and the defenders were prepared vigorously to repel the
foe, yet they surrendered almost at once. There was an old prophecy
that Ross Castle would never be taken till warships were seen on the
lake, and when the garrison beheld the boats which General Ludlow had
built and conveyed overland approaching to attack, they yielded. The
prophecy was fulfilled: it was useless to fight against fate. But it
is more to legendary than historical lore that Ross Castle owes the
fascination which surrounds it.

The guides of Killarney deserve mention here, for they add to the
enjoyment of the various excursions, knowing every legend, each
association, the origin of every name, and are even capable of
inventing on the spur of the moment romances the most picturesque,
wonders the most thrilling, discerning at a glance on whom to expend
their powers of imagination. "All sorts and conditions of men" come
under their ken. In the tourist season scarce a land but has its
representative, to some of whom Ireland was a sealed page till they
listened to the tales of Killarney from her guides.

Here they point to you the very window from which the great O'Donoghue
leaped into the lake below. There he reigns in the regions of
enchantment, greater and happier than in his earthly sovereignty. Once
in every seven years on a May morning, before the first beams of the
sun have arisen over the mountain tops, the sweetest strains of fairy
music are heard, and the great chieftain may be seen on a splendid
snow-white charger, shod with silver shoes, riding over the lake,
preceded by a joyous band of youths and maidens scattering flowers
before him. Well it is for the mortal who sees him; prosperity will
follow from that day forth.

Just, generous, and greatly beloved were the O'Donoghues of Ross, and
their memory is perpetuated among a people who do not easily forget.
Wander where you will, you find some association with the name,
particularly among rock and crag on the Lower Lake, of which
O'Donoghue's Horse is the most remarkable. This rock has been fretted
and worn away by the action of the waters into a curious semblance of
a horse in the act of drinking. Then there is O'Donoghue's prison, his
table, his pulpit--each with its story.

You will be told, too, how at the deepest part of this lake, more than
60 fathoms down, at a spot between Ross and Innisfallen, a great
carbuncle may be seen, which on a dark night lights up the rocks at
the bottom of the lake, and shows the palaces and towers of the
ancient city which the waters now cover.

Ross is the largest island on the lake. It contains about 80 acres. On
the southern point is a famous copper mine, opened in 1804 by Colonel
Hall, who found clear proof that it had been worked at a very remote
period. Rude stone hammers of very ancient make were discovered--Danes'
hammers, the people call them--and the traces of fire were found. The
vein, however, gave out after four years, during which time, says
Crofton Croker, "nearly £60,000 worth of ore was disposed of at
Swansea, some cargoes producing £40 per ton."

The country round the lakes is very rich in ores of various kinds.
Lead ore has been discovered, and the mountains abound with iron.
Specimens of ore which contain tin are also found.

Killarney has treasures, however, which better suit the witchery of
her beauty. Pearls are found in Lough Leane, and still more often in
the River Laune, which runs out of it. These are, of course, very
inferior to the Oriental jewel, but now and again a fine specimen is
obtained. "A little Kerry pearle" was not considered an unworthy
present to a great man in 1756; also "a dozen Kerry stones," these
probably being the beautiful amethysts found in the cliffs near Kerry
Head. These have always been valued. A set of ear-rings, a necklace,
and other ornaments composed of these amethysts were presented to
Queen Caroline (wife of George II.) by the Countess of Kerry, and most
graciously received. A like gracious reception was given to an Irish
pearl presented by the Bishop of Limerick to the great Anselm,
Archbishop of Canterbury in 1074.

  [Illustration: THE ISLAND OF INNISFALLEN.
    In the lower lake of Killarney. It once possessed a monastery
      where the "Annals of Innisfallen," now at the Bodleian, were
      written.]

Very brilliant are the "Kerry diamonds," and very pretty, but
valueless save to the children who pick them up, and perhaps to that
fairy world whose standards are not the sordid ones of mortals. To
them these lovely crystals, whether clear or coloured, may be the true
treasure.

Beautiful Innisfallen, with hill and glen, creek and harbour, and
cliffs overhung by trees shading the many bays. The Gem of Killarney
it is called. "Not heaven's reflex, but a bit fallen out of heaven
itself," were Macaulay's words, and they express the feeling called
forth by its rich verdure, its wonders of foliage and of colour, the
ineffable beauty which clothes it as a mantle. Yet so great are its
contrasts that in this island of 24 acres are woods as gloomy as the
ancient Druidical forests, thick with giant ash and enormous hollies.

As you approach the island you seem to draw near such a forest, so
close are these great trees, extending into the water. On landing, you
find they encircle a lawn of the deepest and most vivid green. Open
glades through the trees give enchanting vistas--the lofty peaks of
Toomies and Glena, the misty summits of the Purple Mountain, Ross
Castle and its wooded shores, sunny islands and sparkling waters,
sometimes so still as to reflect the woods and mountains as in a
mirror. In the morning hour the mountains bordering on the Lower Lake
are left in shadow, but as the day goes on the sun glides
imperceptibly along the line of the great chain, and darts his rays on
that side of the mountains which lies next to the lake. All their bold
irregularities are then revealed--their protruding rocks, their deep
glens, and the lake is illuminated amid its dark and wooded isles by
the long gleams which pass athwart its waves.

At such hours it looks too fair a world for sin and sorrow, but yonder
stands the Castle, with ruined battlements and many a grim sign of the
stormy past, while fair Innisfallen itself contains a ruin where once
holy men maintained a warfare equally deadly against the powers of
evil, though fought with no mortal weapons.

Little remains of the Abbey of Innisfallen, founded in the sixth
century by St. Finian. Even the walls are levelled save for the
remains of an oratory, whose western gable contains a doorway with
rich decorations. This monastery, however decayed, will always be
famous, because the _Annals of Innisfallen_ were written here.

The original work is in the Bodleian Library. It is on parchment and
in medium quarto, and contains fifty-seven leaves. Extracts from the
Old Testament and a history of the ancient world down to the arrival
of St. Patrick in Ireland in 432 form the earlier part. From this
period it deals exclusively with the affairs of Ireland, terminating
with 1319. It seems to have been the production of two monks, one
carrying it to 1216, the other continuing it to 1320. It is one of the
earliest of Irish histories, and considered by savants as taking high
rank among them.

In 1100 the Abbey was plundered by Mildwin O'Donoghue of a great
treasure of gold, silver, and rich goods of the adjacent country,
which had been deposited there as secure sanctuary. Many of the clergy
were slain by the MacCarthys, "But," writes the monk, "God soon
punished this act of sacrilege and impiety by bringing many of its
authors to an untimely end."

Well, there is peace now in fair Innisfallen. The visitor bears away
its impress with the memory of one of the fairest spots on earth.

    "Sweet Innisfallen, fare thee well,
    May calm and sunshine still be thine;
    How fair thou art let others tell,
    To feel how fair yet still be mine."

Glena, the "glen of good fortune," is one of the most eagerly sought
out beauty spots of Killarney. Glena Bay is the first part of the
Lower Lake if it is entered from the Long Range, but by whatever way
you reach it the picture which meets the eye is unsurpassed.

The mountains of Glena and Toomies are densely wooded to their base,
the trees hanging over their sides and coming down in rich luxuriance
to the water's edge. A very forest of the finest arbutus, with berry
and blossom together in autumn, with oak, ash, pine, birch and alder,
white thorn, yew, and holly, it must be seen to realize the colour
effect or the matchless tintings of gorse and heather, a great mosaic
quivering in the sunshine. The varieties of this immense scenery of
forest are impossible to describe, the woods extending about six miles
in length, and from half a mile to a mile and a half in breadth, while
the inequalities of the ground produce wondrous effects of light and
shadow.

Glena is all soft loveliness, but rugged rock and crag, and the stern
grandeur of Torc Mountain on the other side, strike again that minor
chord never far from Killarney's brightest scenes.

  [Illustration: IN A TYPICAL COTTAGE.]

Lough Leane has upwards of thirty isles, large and small, and as the
boat is rowed past Glena shore you see them in all their varied form
and colour, from Ross to tiny Mouse Island. It is a fair sight. There
is a little bay at the foot of the Toomies where you can land to reach
O'Sullivan's Cascade, one of the greatest of the Killarney waterfalls,
not only from its size, but from the peculiar formation of the bed
down which it dashes. It really consists of three falls. "The
uppermost, passing over a bridge of rocks, falls about 20 feet
perpendicularly into a natural basin; then, bursting between two
hanging rocks, the torrent hastens down a second precipice into a
second receptacle, from which it rolls over into the lowest chamber of
the fall. It is about 70 feet high. The roar of the descending water
can be heard from afar, and is almost deafening when near. Beneath a
projecting rock overhanging the lowest basin is a grotto, with a seat
rudely cut in the rock. From this little grotto the view of the
cascade is peculiarly beautiful. It appears a continued flight of
three foamy stories. The recess is overshadowed by an arch of foliage
so thick as to interrupt the admission of light."

The forest about Toomies is still the haunt of the old red deer of
Ireland, and a grand stag hunt is occasionally organized, the cries of
the hounds, the shouting of the hunters, the firing of the signalling
cannon, combining to awake the mountain echoes for many miles around.
It is a cruel sport, though the stag is now, as a rule, saved from
death. Yet its gallant attempts to save itself, its struggles to get
free from the cordon of enemies around, its agonies of terror as,
bounding for refuge to the heights, it is confronted by shouting men,
and turned to confront the savage pack, are cruel enough. It leaps
from rock to rock and chasm to chasm with sobbing breath and big
tears, and plunges into the lake in desperation, to be met by the
boats watching for it. Of late years it is set free, but it is not
sentimentality to imagine that the grim experience it has passed
through will render the life given to it a thing of terror, haunted by
the bay of the hounds and the shouts of the hunters.

  [Illustration: MOUNTAIN HOMES OF THE KILLARNEY DISTRICT.]



CHAPTER VI

THE KILLARNEY FOLK


The people who dwell on the shores of these lovely lakes are a
handsome race, tall and finely formed, with clear-cut features and
dark and most expressive eyes, often of the Irish grey or deep violet,
with long black lashes. Pencilled eyebrows and abundance of dark-brown
hair usually accompany these, and that clear complexion which the
moist western breezes confer. They love music and dancing, the "boys
and girls," who, meeting on a roadside, only require a merry tune to
"foot it away" and forget their cares.

But with all their lightheartedness their standard of duty is very
high, and family ties are sacred. Seldom, if ever, is infidelity known
among the married, and a certain honour is given to the head of the
poorest household. Husband and wife each has a distinct place, which
neither would dream of usurping, the husband having the chief, of
course. In one case, however, and that a very important one to an
Irishman, right of precedence is universally granted to the wife. This
is when it happens that she is by birth of a superior tribe to her
husband. "I am a MacCarthy; my husband is only a so-and-so," she will
say proudly.

There are many "shealings" around and on the sides of the mountains,
where the "mountainy men," as they are called, cultivate patches of
land with a success due to their patient industry. They have hens, a
few goats, and perhaps some lean mountain sheep, and all these are
liable to visitations from the eagles when rearing their young. Often,
too, they have one or two cows of the Kerry breed, which find sweet
pickings among the rocks, and give more milk on the scant herbage than
the sleek and well-favoured kine of richer counties. This breed is
small, with long horns and wild, handsome heads.

Simple-hearted, generous and faithful are these men and women, with a
dignified courtesy of manner which tells of the Eastern strain in
their blood. Their courtesy and good manners are, indeed, very
charming. For instance, you may have been out all day with a man, and
when you reach his home he will step in first, and, turning, offer you
his hand and bid you welcome, as though it were the first time he had
met you that day. He welcomes you, and then you will be placed in the
seat of honour, and refreshments brought you, the refusal of which
would be an insult.

The love of classical learning among the peasantry was great. It
continues still, though the classics are not cultivated in this
practical age as in the days when they were taught by travelling
scholars at the hedge schools. All the old writers on Killarney
mention their wonder at meeting poorly-clad men and boys able to
converse fluently in Latin, and studying the best Latin, and even
Greek, authors. The power of reading Homer in the original was greatly
coveted, and often attained. The magic of their surroundings may have
had much to do with kindling the peasant's imagination to passionate
interest in a dead language.

The first distinct mention of the sea-coast adjoining Killarney occurs
in the works of Ptolemy, who wrote in the second century. He speaks
of the river of Kenmare under the title of Iernus, while again it is
called Fluctus Desmonda, or the River of Desmond. At this Iernus of
Ptolemy is placed by ancient authors the landing of several Milesian
colonists, and though Irish history before the Christian era is
chiefly traditional, there seems some foundation for this.

If we believe the bards and seers, the Milesian immigration was the
fifth which came to colonize Hibernia out of the overflowing tribes of
Asia. Of the fourth, the Tuatha de Danans, they tell a curious tale.
These colonizers are depicted as accomplished sooth-sayers and
necromancers who came out of Greece. They could quell storms, cure
diseases, work in metals, foretell future events, and, by their
supernatural powers as well as by virtue of the Lia Fail, or Stone of
Destiny, they subdued the Firbolgs, who had preceded them, and
exercised sovereignty, till they in turn were displaced by the Gaelic
or fifth immigration.

Sometimes these called themselves Gael, from an ancestor; sometimes
Milesians, from Milesius, projector of the immigration; sometimes
Scota, from his wife. They came from Spain, and all their magical arts
did not save the Tuatha from defeat. "In vain they surrounded
themselves and their coveted island with magic-made tempest and
terrors; in vain they reduced it in size so as to be almost invisible
from sea. Amergin, one of the sons of Milesius, was a Druid skilled in
all the arts of the East, and, led by him, his brothers countermined
the magicians and beat them with their own weapons."

Among the mountains of South Kerry the peasants point out a stone
where Queen Scota, daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt, and wife of Milesius
of Spain, is believed to lie buried. She was killed in battle three
days after landing with her sons on this coast. Upon the flat of the
stone is an Ogham inscription, which reads, "Leacht Scoihin" ("The
grave mound of Scota"). Ogham experts think this inscription a
forgery, but the old tradition makes it at least probable that within
sound of the thunder of the Atlantic, far from her own people, lies
the daughter of the Pharaohs.

From an antiquarian point of view Kerry is one of the most interesting
places in the British Isles, and very rich in relics of the past. An
archæological society has been formed, which is endeavouring to rescue
the relics and monuments from neglect and decay. Killarney has been
found a singularly promising field to explore, though much has
perished.

The Celtic nature is curiously complex, and those who do not
themselves possess it find it hard to understand. It has one quality
in which no other race has ever equalled it, and that is a marvellous
power of absorbing alien nationalities to itself, so that, while
conquered, it yet conquers. It is a matter of current knowledge that
the English became more Irish than the Irish themselves. They
intermarried with the families of native chiefs, gave their children
to be nursed by Irish foster-mothers, spoke the Irish tongue, espoused
the Irish interests. Had this power of amalgamation been encouraged,
and not sternly repressed by the English Government, there was a
period when it might have changed completely the destiny of Ireland;
but it was not to be.

There is an interesting poem by an Irishman, "The Geraldines," from
which I quote one verse:

    "These Geraldines! these Geraldines! not long our air they breathed,
    Not long they fed on venison in Irish water seethed,
    Not often had their children been by Irish mothers nursed,
    When from their full and genial hearts an Irish feeling burst.
    The English monarchs strove in vain, by law, and force, and bribe,
    To win from Irish thoughts and ways this more than Irish tribe;
    For still they cling to fosterage, to _breitheamh_, cloak, and bard;
    What King dare say to Geraldine, 'Your Irish wife discard'?"



CHAPTER VII

THE FAIRIES--AND FAREWELL!


The Raths, or "fairy forts," of Killarney have hitherto seldom been
explored. They are circular grassy mounds enclosing a field, generally
small. Underneath are found stone chambers, their beehive roofs and
walls made of unmortared stone. It is supposed that here the ancient
Celts fortified themselves and their cattle, retreating in winter into
the stone chambers. Be this as it may, for centuries the Irish have
believed them to be tenanted by a fairy race, whose palaces are here,
and who guard hidden treasure.

These are the Sidhe, or people of the hill, the noblest among these
mysterious folk. Some say they are the spirits of the Tuatha de Danan,
that strange race which occupied Ireland till the Milesians came,
when, conquered by a greater magic than their own, they disappeared.
Strange to say, no mortal descendant of these people has ever been
traced in any Irish family.

  [Illustration: CUTTING PEAT FROM THE BOG.
    It takes less than a week for a man to cut his fuel supply for a
      whole year.]

But there is another race, and these are the fairies proper, very
human in their traits, tricky and malicious if slighted or offended,
but good friends if treated properly. I cannot resist quoting a story
("Hanafin and his Cows") told in a late Kerry Archæological Magazine
by Lady Gordon--a tale of the fairies, originally collected in Kerry
by Mr. J. Curtin.

"Hanafin was a farmer owning a large herd of cows, which were driven
up every morning to be milked in front of his house. For several days
the tub into which the milk was poured was mysteriously overturned and
the milk spilled. Hanafin's wife was naturally excessively indignant,
but, in spite of every precaution, the milk continued to be upset. One
morning, however, as Hanafin was walking past a fairy fort, he heard a
child crying inside it, and a woman's voice saying: 'Be quiet awhile!
Hanafin's cows are going home; we'll soon have milk in plenty.'
Hanafin went home and personally supervised the milking, and on the
usual overturning stopped his wife from scolding, telling her this
time it was no fault of the girls, who had been pushed by one of the
cows against the tub. 'Leave it to me,' he said; 'I'll try and manage
the business.'

"The following morning, on hearing the child cry again in the fort,
Hanafin, 'like the brave man he was,' went inside. He saw no one, but
he said, 'A child is crying for milk. A cow of mine will calve
to-morrow. I'll let no one milk that cow; you can do what you like
with her milk.'

"The tub was never overturned again, and for two years Hanafin
prospered in every way, taking good care of the cow, and never letting
her be milked.

"Unfortunately, however, Hanafin, being soft-hearted, went security
for some of his neighbours who had got into trouble, with the result
that their creditors came down on him, and the bailiffs arrived one
day to drive off his cattle. Hanafin repaired to the fort, and said:
'I'm going to lose all my cattle, but I'll try and keep the cow I gave
you, and feed her still, so that the child may have the milk.'

"Three bailiffs came and went down to the pasture across the field,
but when they drove the cows up as far as the fairy fort 'each
bailiff was caught and thrown hither and over by people he couldn't
see. One moment he was at one side of the ditch, the next at the
other. They were so roughly handled and bruised that they were hardly
alive, and they not seeing who or what was doing it! The cattle,
raising their tails, bawled and ran off to the pasture.'

"The following morning ten policemen and bailiffs went to take
Hanafin's cattle, with exactly the same results, so that the men
'barely left the place alive.' Never again did police or bailiff
meddle with Hanafin's cattle, and the creditors never collected their
money."

These are the familiar fairies who stole children out of their
cradles, young matrons from their husbands, and girls from their
lovers; who bewitched cows and blighted potatoes, but who "did you
many a good turn too." The peasant will not lightly lose faith in
them, nor will the fairies lightly forsake the land of beauty, of
sunshine, and of shadow. Quickly as events march and ideas change in
this wonderful age, hurrying we know not where, and though here and
there someone may be found to dare--or say he will--enter a fairy fort
or cut down a fairy thorn, I think that with the boldest of these
unbelievers it is a case of the man who denied the power of the priest
to turn him into a rat, but who, saying "It's as well to make sure,"
took the precaution of shutting up the cat at night. "Taking it all
round," writes Lady Gordon, "it would be a drab world if there were no
fairies in it, no supernatural region in which nothing is too
preposterous to occur.... Earth-bound humanity, seeking to escape from
earth cares, still dreams in one form or other of a land of strange
happenings."

How much remains still to be said about Killarney, its varied
interests, its shifting, matchless scenery! The lover of beauty and
romance, the historian, the archæologist, the antiquary--it is a field
for each. It has begun to dawn on the mind of many explorers what
great questions hinge on Celtic antiquities, what light they may shed
upon the ancient history of Europe, while students of the Irish
language say it will yet prove the key to ancient ones which are
puzzling philologists. Killarney is rich in Ogham inscriptions, in
curious old remains and relics (utilized hitherto by mason and
builder). Such as are not hopelessly lost are gradually being
unearthed by the ardent seekers of to-day.

Whatever changes may be in the future, Killarney must ever remain a
land of enchantment. Perhaps a few recent words of Alfred Austin may
fitly close this attempt to sketch the principal features of this fair
land.

"The tender grace of wood and water is set in a framework of hills,
now stern, now ineffably gentle, now dimpling with smiles, now
frowning and rugged with impending storm, now muffled and mysterious
with mist, only to meet you again with brilliant sunshine. Here the
trout leaps, there the eagle soars, and there beyond the wild deer
dash through the arbutus covert, through which they have come to the
margin of the lake to drink, and, scared by your footstep or your oar,
are away back to bracken or heather-covered moorland. But the first,
the final, the deepest and most enduring impression of Killarney is
that of beauty unspeakably tender, which puts on at times a garb of
grandeur and a look of awe, only to heighten by contrast its soft
loveliness. How the missel thrushes sing, as well they may! How the
streams and runnels leap and laugh! For the sound of journeying water
is never out of your ears, the feeling of the moist, the fresh, the
vernal is never out of your heart."

No, never! True words are these with which reluctantly to say farewell
to beautiful Killarney.



INDEX


    Aghadoe, 12

    Antiquities of Kerry, 53

    Arbutus, The, 26

    Austin, Alfred, 61


    Black Valley, 20


    Chess in Ancient Ireland, 19

    Clancarty, Earl of, 36

    Classical learning amongst older generation, 51

    Coleman's Eye, 28


    Devil's Punch Bowl, 36

    Devil's Stream, 37

    Dunloe Castle, 14

    Dunloe, Gap of, 17


    Eagle Island, 27


    Fairies, The, 56

    Foliage of mountain-sides, 24


    "Geraldines, The," 54

    Glena, 46

    Golf Links, 12

    Guides, The, 39


    "Hanafin and His Cows," 57


    Innisfallen, Abbey of, 44

    Innisfallen, Annals of, 44

    Innisfallen Island, 43

    Islands, The, 23


    Kate Kearney's cottage, 16

    Killarney folk, 49


    Lakes and mountains, 23

    Last Irish snake, 20

    "Light of Love," 29

    Logan Stone, 21

    Long Range, The, 28

    "Lord Brandon's Cottage," 22

    Lough Leane, 47

    Ludlow, Parliamentary General, 39


    Macaulay, Lord, his words on Innisfallen, 43

    MacCarthy's Island, 27

    MacGillicuddy's Reeks, 18

    Mineral treasures, 37, 41

    Moore, Thomas, the poet, 16

    Muckross Abbey, 33

    Muskerry, Lord, the Royalist, 39


    O'Donoghue and his white charger, 6, 40

    O'Donoghues of Ross, The, 40

    Ogham inscriptions, 15, 53

    Origin of the lakes, legendary, 9

    _Osmundi Regalia_, 28

    O'Sullivan's Cascade, 47


    Precious Stones of Kerry, 42, 43

    Ptolemy's map of Ireland, 51

    Purple Mountain, 18


    Raths, or fairy forts, 56

    Ross Castle, 38


    Scota, Queen, daughter of Pharaoh, 53

    Settlements of Ireland, early, 52

    Sidhe, the, or People of the Hill, 56

    Stag-hunting, 48

    Stillman, the famous war correspondent, 7


    Toomies Mountain, 18, 46

    Torc Cascade, 36

    _Trichomanes speciosum_, or Brutle Fern, 29


    Voice of Nature, The, 7


BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, GUILDFORD



Transcriber's Note

Minor punctuation errors have been fixed.

The following amendments have been made, for consistency:

    Page 24--McGillicuddy's amended to MacGillicuddy's--... even
    in point of height the MacGillicuddy's Reeks ...

    Page 50--McCarthy amended to MacCarthy--"I am a MacCarthy; my
    husband is only a so-and-so," ...

The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.
Other illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are
not in the middle of a paragraph.

The List of Illustrations notes that "The Eagle's Nest, Killarney"
appears "On the cover." This is preserved as printed; however the
illustration was actually located facing page 22, and the transcriber
has left it in this location.

Ditto marks in the Index have been replaced with the appropriate words.





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