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: A Little Tour in Ireland
Author: Hole, S. Reynolds (Samuel Reynolds)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Little Tour in Ireland" ***

provided by Google Books


By S. Reynolds Hole

An Oxonian

(Dean Of Rochester)

With Illustrations By JOHN LEECH

“By suffering worn and weary, But beautiful as some fair angel yet.”








I have been so often and persuasively asked to republish _A Little
Tour in Ireland_, which I wrote as “an Oxonian,” many years ago, at the
request of my beloved friend and companion, John Leech, and of which
only one edition has been issued, and that long since exhausted; I
have been so severely upbraided for “keeping his splendid illustrations
locked up in a box, and raising the price of the few copies which come
into the market, to thrice the original cost;” I have been so fully
certified, not only by hearsay but by my own eyes, that there is little
or no perceptible change in the scenes, which he drew and I described;
and my apprehension, that the style in which the book is written might
be denounced as unbecoming, has been so completely expelled by the
amused remonstrance of my friends, who insist that gaiety becomes an
undergraduate as much as gaiters a Dean;--that I can make no further
resistance, and only ask that the failings of the author may be condoned
by the talent of the artist.

S. Reynolds Hole.

The Deanery,

Rochester: 1892.



I. PREFATORY....................................I

II. TO DUBLIN....................................9

III. DUBLIN........................................l6

IV. FROM DUBLIN TO GALWAY......................35

V. THE FAMINE....................................48


VII. CONNAMARA....................................65

VIII. CLIFDEN........................................7<>

IX. KYLEMORE......................................86



XII. LIMERICK...................134

XIII. KILLARNEY..................141

XIV. KILLARNEY..................151

XV. KILLARNEY..................171


XVII. GLENGARRIFF.................197


XIX. CORK.....................2l6

XX. BLARNEY...................224




the claddagh...............Frontispiece

THE “CURSED ARISTOCRATn............................7

IRISH MELODY..........................................9

LOVE AT CREWE STATION..............................II

THE UNIVERSITY PORTER................................17

THE QUEEN OF BEAUTY.............Tofa.ce 30

CAR VERSUS CAB................ “ 32

A PRIEST..............................................37

WHICH SHALL IT BE?..................................42

AN IRISH PIG..........................................45

ANOTHER IRISH PIG....................................55

A USEFUL GATE........................................56

PADDY AT HOME........................................57

WAITING FOR HORSES..................................6l

A REVERIE............................................69

EVENING IN CONNAMARA................................77

THE ROYAL MAIL......................................86



ON THE LIGHT FANTASTIC...............109

GOING TO THE FAIR..................IIO

MARY’S LOOKING-GLASS.................Il6

A BEACON ON THE SHANNON..............127

THE BELLE OF THE SHANNON.............130

HOOKS AND EYES...................135


THE GAP OF DUNLOE..............To face 154

BROILED SALMON al fresco...............158

ON THE WRONG ISLAND................l6o

A ROCK AT KILLARNEY.................171

CHOOSING A SHILLELAGH................185


VILLAGE BEAUTIES...................193

THE TUNNEl...................To face 196


AN APPARITION....................202

THE SLEEPING PIG...................209

IRISH CONSTABULARY.................210

THE BLARNEY STONE..............To face 228



There are two species of Undergraduates, the Fast and the Slow. I am now
of the former persuasion. Originally, having promised my relations that
I would take a Double First-Class and most of the principal prizes, I
was associated with the latter brotherhood, but was soon compelled to
secede, and to sue for a separation, _a mensâ et thoro_, their tea-table
and early rising, on the plea of incompatibility of temper. One young
gentleman, who described himself as being very elect indeed, candidly
told me that, unless my sentiments with reference to bitter beer and
tobacco underwent a material change, he could give me no hope of final
happiness; and another impeccable party, with a black satin stock
and the handiest legs in Oxford, felt himself solemnly constrained to
mention, that he could not regard horse-exercise as at all consistent
with a saving faith. I spoke of St. George (though I dared not say
that I had met him at Astley’s), of St. Denis, and St. Louis, of the
Crusaders, and the Red Cross Knight; but he only replied that I was far
gone in idolatry, and he lent me the biography of the Reverend T.
P. Snorker, which, after describing that gentleman’s conversion at
a cock-fight, with the sweet experiences of his immaculate life, and
instituting a comparison between his preaching and that of St. Paul (a
trifle in favour of Snorker), finally declared him to be an angel,
and bade all mankind adore, and reverence, and buy his sermons at
seven-and-six. When I returned the publication, and told him that,
though I had been highly entertained, I liked the Life of George Herbert
better, he called me a hagiologist (a term which struck me as being all
the more offensive, inasmuch as I had no idea of its meaning), 1 and
murmured something about “the mark of the beast,” whereupon, I regret
to confess, that I so far lost my temper as to address him with the
unclassical epithet of “a young Skunk,” suggesting the expediency of
his immediate presence at Jericho, and warning him, that, if he were
not civil, “the beast” might leave a “mark” upon _him_. That very day, I
wrote to the butler at home, to send up my pink and tops, and “went over
to roam” in happier pastures.

     1 “Egan, in addressing a jury, having exhausted every
     ordinary epithet of abuse, stopt for a word, and then added,
     ‘this _naufrageous_ ruffian.’ When afterwards asked the
     meaning of the word, he confessed he did not know, but
     said; ‘he thought it sounded well.’”--Sketches of the Irish
     Bar, vol. i. p. 83.

I find them more healthful also. I find that so far from my perception
of right and wrong being destroyed, as the disciples of Snorker
prophesied, by a gallop after the Heythrop hounds, and my appreciation
of Thucydides being expelled by my morning pipe, I have, mentally and
bodily, a better tone; and though my former condiscipuli groan when
they meet me coming in from the chase, as though I were the scarlet lady
herself, I still venture to appear at chapel, and will back myself to
construe the funeral oration of Pericles against the ugliest of the lot.

Oh, that fox-hunting were the worst enemy to me, a student, for I
might be a class man still! But I have contracted a habit desperately
antagonistic to literature,--_I am allways falling in love_.

The moment I see a pretty face, I feel that sort of emotion which Sydney
Smith used to say the late Bishop of London rejoiced to contemplate in
his clergy, “a kind of drop-down-deadness.” I cannot walk out, or drive
out, or ride, or row out, but I am sure to have an attack. I have had
as many, indeed, as two in one day. With the daughters of Deans and
Presidents, with visitors, with ladies come in from the country to shop,
I am perpetually and passionately in love. I don’t like it, because
there is not the most remote probability of my ever exchanging six
syllables with these objects of my devoted affection, not to mention
that they are equally beloved by some three or four hundred rivals; but
I am powerless to oppose; I can’t help it. My life is an everlasting
“dream of fair women:” I know it is a dream, but I cannot waken.

Others have roused me, though, and most uncomfortably. I heard a
Devonshire girl, whom I met at a wedding breakfast, and with whom I
thought I was progressing favourably, whispering to her neighbour, “This
tipsy child is becoming a nuisance, and I really must ring for nurse,”
 when I was as sober as Father Mathew, and had whiskers of considerable
beauty, if viewed in an advantageous light. Still more sadly and
recently, another “daughter of the gods, divinely fair,” dissipated
Love’s young dream, and sent me forth to a foreign land to forget my
sorrows, as, indeed, I immediately did.

The catastrophe, which caused our happy days in Ireland, befel as

“‘Twas in the prime of summer time, an evening calm and cool,” that I
found myself wandering among the shrubberies of -------- Castle with a
most lovely girl. A large picnic party had been enlivened by archery and
aquatics, and I fancy that the glare of some new targets, and the sheen
of the “shining river,” had not only dazzled my eyes, but likewise had
bewildered my brain. In spite of the cooling beverages, the cobblers and
the cups, I was actuated by an extraordinary liveliness. I sang songs
for the company, not quite reaching the high notes, but with intense
feeling, doing all in my power to indicate to the lovely girl that she
was _my_ Annie Laurie, and that for her I should consider it a pleasant
gymnastic exercise to expire in a recumbent position. I made felicitous
alterations in the words, such as, “hazel is her e’e” for “dark-blue;”
 and in the song of “_Constance_,” instead of “I lay it as the _rose_ is
laid on some immortal shrine,” I contrived, with immense difficulty,
and by means of a terrific _apoggiatura_, to substitute the word
_stephanotis_ of which I had that morning given her a bouquet. But
“_brevis esse laboro_;” we were alone, and I resolved to propose. I
seized her elbow with both hands, a ridiculous position, but I was very
nervous, and was about to ask the momentous question, when she said with
such a tone of gentle pity as took away half the pain, “Philip, I am
engaged to Lord Evelyn. Shall we go back for coffee?” I seconded the
motion, but oh, what an amazing period of time we seemed to occupy in
carrying our proposition out! The first idea which presented itself
to my mind was suicide, but it met with an unfavourable reception;
the second, to enlist immediately, and to secure the earliest
_coup-de-soleil_ possible; the third, to insult Lord Evelyn (the beast
was at Christ Church, and I knew him), and subsequently to shoot him in
Port-Meadow. “What right had he,” I asked myself, “to anticipate me,
and win her heart? I hate these accursed aristocrats, who suck the
life-blood of the people.”

This is the accursed aristocrat who sucks the life-blood of the people!

[Illustration: 026]

At last, we rejoined the party, and found them talking the silliest
rubbish conceivable, and apparently enjoying the nastiest coffee I ever
remember to have drunk.

That night, and at the witching hour, when men and women tell each other
everything, (in the strictest confidence), they in their dormitories,
and we in our smoke-rooms, I revealed my misery to my friend Frank
C--------, who happened happily to be staying with me. Frank has Irish
blood in his veins, and his first impulse was to have “a crack at the
Viscount,” but he ultimately took a less truculent view of the case,
and suggested brandy and water. From this source, and “from the cool
cisterns of the midnight air,” for we were smoking our cigars out of
doors, “our spirits drank repose,” and we finally resolved “to banish
my regret,” and to replenish our sketch-books, by a fortnight’s tour in


[Illustration: 028]

FORTHWITH, I put myself into active training, and got into splendid
condition for doing “justice to Ireland.” I read Moore’s Melodies; I
played Nora Creina upon the flute, not perhaps with that rapidity
which is usual outside the Peepshows, but with much more expression;
I discoursed with reapers; I tried to pronounce Drogheda, till I was
nearly black in the face; I drank whiskey-punch (subsequently discovered
to be Hollands); I ate Irish stew (a dish never heard of in that
country) and I bought the sweetest thing in portmanteaus, with drawers,
trays, pockets, compartments, recesses, straps, and buckles, more than
enough to drive that traveller mad, who should forget where he had
placed his razors. Amid these preparations, I am ashamed to state, that
I became disgracefully oblivious of my little disappointment in the
shrubberies, and soon realised the Chinese maxim, more truthful than
genteel,--“the dog that is idle barks at his fleas, but he that is
hunting feels them not.” Indeed, to make my confession complete, and to
descend the staircase of inconstancy to the lowest depth of humiliation,
I must acknowledge that on the day of our departure I fell violently in
love at Crewe Station, whence my heart was borne away, in the direction
of Derby, by the loveliest girl, that is to say, one of the loveliest
girls, that ever beautified an express train.

[Illustration: 030]

I begin to fear that my unhappy tendencies to this kind of fierce, but
fugitive attachment, have not been at all improved by communion with Mr.
Thomas Moore, and I tremble to find myself listening complacently to the
fickle philosophies of Marmontel,--“_Quand on na pas ce que ion aime, il
faut aimer ce que l’on a._”

“The Rows” of Chester are very picturesque and quaint, but do not make
a favourable impression upon a giant with a new hat, and, being on the
upper side of six feet, I was glad to leave them for that pleasant,
briny, breezy, railway, which takes one, _via_ Conway, to Bangor, and
thence,--thundering through the Britannia Tube, and just allowing
a glimpse of Telfords triumph, the Bridge of the Menai, grand and
graceful,--over drear Anglesea, 1 to Holyhead. And, oh, how glad we
were, to find old Neptune in his mildest mood, only now and then just
raising his shoulders, as some good-humoured athlete, who should say,
“I’m in the jolliest frame of mind, my lads, but I could pitch the
biggest of you into the middle of next week, any moment, with the most
perfect ease.”

     1 In the time of the Druids it was called “_the Shady
     Island_,” and, though no longer umbrageous, the name is not
     altogether inappropriate.

Pleasant it was to pace the broad, clear deck, with perfectly obedient
legs, and to ask what we could have for dinner, with a real curiosity
on the subject. Frank C--------, not distinguished for deeds of naval
daring, began, in the joy of his heart, to sing songs of an ultra-marine
description, alluding to the land with severe disparagement, and
stigmatising that element as “the dull, tame shore.” I must say, that
when I heard him chanting,--

     “Give to me the swelling breeze,
     And white waves heaving high,”

I trembled to think what a change would take place in the keynote of
that cheery vocalist, and what dismal misereres would ensue, should his
rash petition be conceded. Happily it was not attended to, and we had
but one invalid, a lady (the captain very properly put a young man in
irons, for saying something about no Cyc-lades in these seas); and she,
I believe, only wanted sympathy and sherry from her husband, who was
evidently a recent capture, and who administered both these cordials
in due proportions, first a sip and then a kiss, ever and anon, when
he thought that no one was looking, taking liberal gulps for his own
private refreshment.

It was very beautiful, as the day declined, to watch the vivid
phosphorescence of the sea, myriads of those marine glow-worms, whose
proper names I know not, but who cause this brilliant phenomenon,
lighting up their tiny lamps. Then the light of “Ireland’s eye” (bright
and clear, though there must be a sty _there_), seemed to welcome
us, blinking bonnily; and entering the bay of Dublin, with grateful
recollections of its haddock, we were safely landed upon Kingstown
quay. Forty minutes more on the rail, and we reach the city, some of
our fellow-passengers having only left London that morning, and having
travelled from one capital to the other in little more than twelve

We had our first experience of Ireland proper when, emerging from the
station at Dublin, we called for an “outside car,” and a son of Nimshi,
responding in the distance, charged down upon us through a phalanx
of vehicles, and reached us, I know not how, amid the acrimonious
observations of his brethren. The first feeling, as we sat on the
low-backed car, “travelling edgeways,” as Sir Francis Head designates
this style of transit, was one of extreme insecurity, and though we
laughed, and made believe that we liked it, we were glad enough to hold
on by the iron-work until we arrived at Morrisson’s. Our account with
the charioteer was as follows:--

     S. D.

     To Driver..........................................16

     To small boy, seated at drivers feet,
     whipping the horse, and exciting him with cries of

     To man, for holding on our luggage, by
     embracing it with extended arms....................10


In the next place, we committed the pious fraud of making a hearty
supper under pretence of tea, instructing Mark the waiter, very willing
and active, but with no time for works of supererogation, to brew us
a large vessel of that beverage (which we never touched), as though
it gave a dignity to the proceeding, and justified, by its respectable
appearance, our large potations of _Guinness_. So we drew on to
midnight, and to (_Ay de mi!_ Won’t my friend with the bandy legs
denounce “this wine-bibbing book”? ) Irish whiskey. Nevertheless, of
Irish whiskey this must be said, that, when tastefully arranged, it’s a
drink for dukes; and he who skilleth not to brew it, _more Hibernico_,
may thank me, perhaps, for thus instructing him,--_Imprimis_, to take
the chill off his tumbler (just as he would air his best bed for a
beloved friend) by holding it for a few seconds over the hot water;
_secondly_, to dissolve three lumps of sugar, medium size, in a small
quantity of _aqua calidissima_; _thirdly_, to pour in the whiskey
(_Kinahans “LL._”) from one of those delightful little decanters, which
would make such charming adjuncts to a doll’s dinner party; _fourthly_,
to fill up and drink. Frank suggests a _soupçon_ of lemon; and this
was the sole point upon which, throughout our tour, we were not quite


The next morning found us, with the indomitable pluck of Englishmen,
once more upon an outside car, as doggedly determined as two old Whigs
never to resign our seats. First, we drove to Merrion Square, where we
had a call to make, and where, each side of the square being numbered
alike, we spent a good deal of time in pulling at the wrong bells, and
in unnecessarily evoking several servants, whose easy mission it was to
take care of “number one.” Of this Square and of St. Stephen’s Green we
thought that, though as to extent and pleasant situation they were quite
equal to anything in London, the houses themselves were by no means so
handsome or commodious.

The University of Dublin, to us who study among the chapels and the
cloisters of mediaeval Oxford, does not resemble a university at all,
but is more like a series of Government offices, or any other spacious
public buildings.

[Illustration: 036]

Why do the porters wear velvet hunting caps? Frank would keep inquiring,
“where the hounds met” (it was a broiling day early in August),
“why they didn’t have top boots?” &c., &c., &c. The museum is a very
interesting one; and our cicerone in the cap pointed out the harp of
Brian Boroimhe--that “Bryan the Brave,” who was so devoted to threshing
the Danes and music; the enormous antlers of an Irish elk, which placed
upon wheels would make a glorious outside car, the passengers sitting
among the tines; eagles, and other native birds, galore; and numberless
antiquities and curiosities. There were some awful instruments, which we
gazed upon with intense interest, as being the most cruel shillelaghs
we had ever seen, until the guide happened to mention that they were
“weapons of the South-Sea Islanders.”

The Chapel of Trinity College, like some in our English Universities, is
more suggestive of sleep than supplication, gloomy without being solemn,
and the light dim without being religious. There was a sacrifice of two
inverted hassocks upon the altar, but the idol of the place, a gigantic
pulpit, indignantly turned his back on them, and I was not slow to
follow his example, with a sigh for

     “The good old days, when nought of rich or rare.
     Of bright or beautiful, was deem’d a gift
     Too liberal to Him who giveth all.”

Indeed, I felt much more impressed, and inclined to take off my hat in
the Examination and Dining Halls, as I stood in the pictured presence of
Irish worthies, and thought of them, and of others not there portrayed,
in all their young power and promise. I thought of Archbishop _Ussher_,
who, a boy of eighteen, contended with Jesuit, Fitz-Symonds, and was
designated by his opponent as “acatholicorum doctissimus.” I thought of
_Swift_, as well I might, having recently read, for the third time,
that most touching essay on his life and genius from the master hand of
Thackeray. 1 I could cry over that lecture any time; there is so much
noble sympathy in it of one great genius with another--such a tender
yearning not to condemn, and, all the while, such a grand, honest
resolution to take side with what is right and true. I thought of Swift,
“wild and witty,” in the happiest days of his unhappy life, getting his
degree, “_speciali gratia_” (as a most particular favour), and going
forth into the world to be a disappointed, miserable man--to fight
against weapons which himself had welded, a hopeless, maddening fight.
All must pity, as Johnson and Thackeray pity, but who can love? He put
on the surplice for mere earthly views, and it was to him as the shirt
of Hercules!

     1 The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century, three of
     whom, Swift, Steele, and Goldsmith, were Irishmen.

And next (could two men differ more?) of _Goldsmith_. I thought of him
shy and silent (for he was a dull boy, we read, and never learned the
art of conversation), chaffed by his fellow-students, and saluted by
them, doubtless, in the exuberance of their playful wit, as Demosthenes,
Cicero, &c., &c., until he might have felt himself, like his own

     “Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow,”

had there not been the “eternal sunshine” of genius, and the manifold
soft chimes of poesy, to make his heart glad. “He was chastised by
his tutor, for giving a dance in his room.” (was it a prance _à la
Spurgeon_, and for gentlemen only, or was there a brighter presence of
“sweet girl-graduates with their golden hair?”) “and took the box on his
ear so much to his heart, that he packed up his all, pawned his books
and little property, and disappeared from college.” 1 Horace Walpole
speaks of him as “an inspired idiot,” and Garrick describes him as one

                       “for shortness call’d _Noll_,
     Who wrote like an angel, and talk’d like poor Poll:”

but I take leave to think that the “Deserted Village,” a tale told by
this idiot, will be read when Walpole is forgotten; and I believe the
author to have been as deep as Garrick.

     1 Thackeray.

Blessed be the art that can immortalise, as Sir Joshua has immortalised,
features so sublime and beautiful, because so bright with noble power
and purpose, as those of _Edmund Burke_. Scholar, statesman, orator,
author, linguist, lawyer, earnest worshipper of nature and of art, what
a mine of purest gold thy genius! and how the coin stamped with the
impress of thine own true self enriches all the world! “The mind of that
man,” says Dr. Johnson, “was a perennial stream; no one grudges Burke
the first place,” and Sir Archibald Alison speaks of him, as “the
greatest political philosopher, and most far-seeing statesman of modern

What a troublous, impressive sight that must have been, when he and Fox,
both of them in tears, gave up the friendship of five-and-twenty years,
because they loved each other too well to cry “Peace,” where there was
no peace.

Out of all the grand music he wrote and spoke, let me select one air
and leave him. And are not his words on Marie Antoinette, like music,
martial music, “like a glorious roll of drums,” and the sound of a
trumpet to knightly hearts? “I thought,” he says, “ten thousand swords
must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look, which
threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.”

But no, I cannot leave him, it would not be honest to leave him, without
the confession that there was a flaw in the statue, one note of this
grand instrument out of tune, and that this giant had his weakness.
It must be sorrowfully owned that he had low and unsound views on the
subject of the pursuit of game; he said it was “a trivial object with
severe sanctions;” and his most devoted admirers can never emancipate
his memory from the stern and sad suspicion, that he could not have been
a first-rate shot.

I thought of _Grattan_, who distinguished himself within these
walls,--the brave unswerving patriot, whose fiery eloquence Moore
terms “the very music of freedom” (music, by the way, which would very
summarily be stopped in our day by Mr. Speaker _Denison_); of _Moore_
himself, with his head upon his hands, “sapping” at those Latin verses,
which he hated with all his heart, ever and anon disgusted to find the
second syllable of some favourite dactyl _long_, or the first of some
pet spondee _short_; finally (as the chroniclers tell), tearing up the
performance, and sending to the Dons some English verse in lieu, for
which, to their glory be it written, they gave him praise and a prize.
Here, too, he commenced his translation of the Odes of Anacreon, (a
labour of _Love_, if ever there was one); and here, doubtless, oft in
the stilly night, he sang some of those touching melodies, which were so
soon to “witch the world.”

Lastly, I thought (for our jockey in undress was getting rather restive)
of genial, jovial _Curran_, of whom Dan O’Connell said, “there never was
so honest an Irishman,” and of whom there is one of the most charming
biographies extant in the “_Curran and his Contemporaries_,” by Mr.
Commissioner Philips.

We could not see the very large and valuable Library, as it is closed
during Vacations; and so having admired the exterior of the New Museum,
and taken a general survey of the college, we made our bow to the _Alma
Mater_ of Ireland.

It must be exquisitely gratifying to a large majority of the inhabitants
to contemplate King William III. riding, gilt and bronzed, upon College
Green, to be kept in constant recollection of the Boyne, and of the
immunities and privileges which resulted from it. Everybody knows that
he was a fine horseman, but the sculptor has not given him a hunting
seat; and I think we could improve him, if we had him at Oxford, by
painting him in a cutaway and buckskins.

There is no fault to be found with the statues of Nelson and of Moore,
the former being very effective, and the latter (though suggestive in
the distance of a gentleman hailing an omnibus) being impressive and
pleasing on a nearer view.

The public buildings which we saw, the Bank of Ireland (once the Houses
of its Lords and Commons), the Four Courts, College of Surgeons,
Post Office, Barracks, &c., are all handsome, chiefly of Grecian
architecture, and interesting to those who fancy this style of

We were rather disappointed with Sackville-Street. It wants length; and
it wants (Heaven send it soon!) the animation of business and opulence,
gay equipages, and crowded pavements.

The Phoenix Park is delightful, _rus in urbe_--some 1700 acres of
greensward and trees. We met several regiments, returning from a review;
(the carman told us there were two reviews weekly, and we, of course,
said something brilliant about the _Dublin Review_ being _monthly_);
and were, consequently, in an admirable frame of mind to appreciate the
monument, grim and granite, in honour of the Iron Duke. What men this
Dublin has given to the world--Swift, Steele, Burke, Grattan, Moore,
_Wellington_. The names of his great battles are graven on the obelisk,
_Waterloo_ being, of course, omitted. I say “of course,” because there
is something so delightfully Irish in this small oversight, that it
seems quite natural and appropriate; and I should as little dream of
being surprised or vexed by it, as if in an Irish edition of Milton I
could find no “Paradise Lost.”

In the Phoenix Park are the Constabulary Barracks, and the men were at
drill as we drove by. There is no exaggeration in stating, that if a
regiment could be formed from the Irish constables, it would be the
finest regiment in arms See them wherever you may, they are, almost
without exception, handsome, erect, heroic. Picked men, and admirably
trained, they are as smart, and clean, lithe, and soldier-like, as the
severest sergeant could desire. They do credit to him whose name they
bear, for they are still called “_Peelers_” after their godfather Sir
Robert, who originated the force, when Secretary for Ireland. Fifty of
them had left Dublin for Kilkenny that morning, to expostulate with
the bould pisantry on the impropriety of smashing some reaping-machines
recently introduced among them. The Irishman is not quick to appreciate
agricultural improvements. It required an Act of Parliament to prevent
him from attaching the plough to the _tails of his horses_; he was very
slow to acknowledge that the plough itself was better, when made of iron
than of wood; he esteemed a bunch of thorns, with a big stone a-top, as
the most efficient harrow going; and he denounced the winnowing-machine,
as a wicked attempt to oppose the decree of a good Providence, which
sent the wind of heaven “to clane the whate and oats.”

A short time afterwards, we were surprised to see in a letter from
one of these constables to _The Galway Express_, that their pay, after
twenty years’ service, is only two shillings per diem; and low as the
remuneration for labour still is in this country, one cannot help but
sympathise with the complainant.

These lions, from whose manes and tails we have ventured to extract a
few memorial hairs, were inspected before luncheon; immediately after
that refection, we set forth per rail, and _via_ Kingston, to Killiney.
We had ample time, as we went, to contemplate the surrounding objects,
which were not “rendered invisible from extreme velocity,” the nine
miles occupying forty-five minutes; but we saw nothing of especial
interest until we had reached the station, and began to ascend the hill.
Then we exulted, eye and heart. The hill itself is worthy of a visit,
the massive blocks of “its cold grey stones” contrasting admirably with
the rosy heaths (I never saw ericas in greenhouse or garden with such a
fresh, vivid brightness, 1) and with the glowing, golden furze. Ah,
how poor and formal are statues, and terraces, and vases, and
“ribbon-patterns,” and geometrical designs, and “bedding out,” when
compared with nature’s handiwork! And though, perhaps, never since the
days of “the grand old gardener” has ornate horticulture attained so
great a splendour, what true lover of flowers is really _satisfied_
with our gorgeous modern gardens? We treat them, for the most part, as
a child, with a new box of paints, his pictures--all the most glaring
colours are crowded together; and the eye, dazzled and bewildered,
yearns for that repose and harmony which, in nature, whether in the few
flowerets of some hidden nook, or in the fiery autumnal grandeur of some
mighty forest, diffuse perpetual peace.

     1 This applies throughout Ireland. See “Inglis’s Tour,” vol.
     ii., p. 42.

There is an extraordinary structure at the top of Killiney Hill, which
could only have been devised by an Irish architect. It is not a tower,
nor a lighthouse, nor a summer-house: nay, the builder himself confesses
he knows not what it is, in the following inscription:--“Last year being
hard with the poor, the walls about these hills, and This, &c. &c.,
erected by John Mapas, Esq., June, 1742.”

Hard by, a young Duke of Dorset was thrown and killed, while hunting.
It must have been a very Irish fox that led hound and horse into such
a perilous position, and the only wonder is that any of the riders came
down alive. A monumental pillar perpetuates the sorrowful history, and
warns enthusiastic sportsmen from galloping over the broken ground and
hidden fissures of misty mountain tops.

Apropos of mountain and of mist, we saw a sight which reminded us of
Anne of Geierstein, as she appeared to Arthur Philipson, “perched upon
the very summit of a pyramidical rock.” For among the works executed
by the benevolent behest of Mapas, there is one, hewn in stone, a
four-sided staircase, leading to an apex, intended, doubtless, for a
statue. But this was wanting when we first arrived; for the design, like
so many others in poor old Ireland, had never been completed, and there
were no

          “statues gracing,
     This noble place in.”

But by the goddess Vanus, just as Frank and I were lamenting this sad
omission, the loveliest--at all events one of the loveliest--girls I
ever remember to have seen, tripped lightly up the steps, laughing at
a dear old clerical papa, who pretended to be alarmed, but wasn’t; and
something, beating violently under my left brace, told me that my heart
had returned from Crewe, as a traveller comes home for a day or so, to
prepare himself for another tour. It stayed with me four seconds, and
then ‘twas hers. “Behold,” I said,

     “‘Car les beaux yeux Sont les deux sceptres de l’amour,’

the enthronement of the Queen of Beauty.” And the sea-breeze forsook the
jealous waves to woo her; the sunlight beamed on her with golden smiles;
and the very swallow, turning from his favourite fly, flew past her,
twittering admiration. Rough sailors out at sea that day caught sight
of this fair vision through the glass, and ceased for half an hour to
swear. There she stood, as

     “jocund day Stands tip-toe on the misty mountain top;”

like Byron’s Mary, on the hill of Annesley, awaiting that mighty hunter,
the gallant, handsome Musters, when

        “on the summit of that hill she stood
     Looking afar, if yet her lover’s steed
     Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.”

Or she might have been “The Gardener’s Daughter,” when,

     “Half light, half shade,
     She stood, a sight to make an old man young.”

But never mind what she might have been, there she was.

     “Talk about Helen,
     _That_ was a fiction, but _this_ is reality.”

[Illustration; 050]

And never shall I forget how painfully drear that pedestal seemed,
when the statue, descending, took her Papa’s arm (Oh, that her beloved
Governor were mine also!), and was gone from our gaze, like a beautiful

The view from the hill of Killiney is one of the loveliest in this land
of loveliness. Seated among the purple and golden flowers, you look
over its rocks and trees upon the noble Bay of Dublin with its waters
“bickering in the noontide blaze,” and the stately ships gliding to
and fro. Below is Kingstown, opposite the old hill of Howth, and in the
centre the metropolis of Ireland.

I do not think that one ever has such a happy feeling of entire
contentment, as when gazing upon beautiful scenery; and there we sat, in
silent admiration, and took no note of time, until the train by which we
had proposed to return, awoke us from our dreamy bliss, shrieking at us
in derision from below, and steaming off to Dublin. So that, some two
hours later, we found our dinners and ourselves a little overdone at
Morrisson’s; and nothing but some very transcendental claret, and the
resilient spirit of roving Englishmen, could have induced us to sally
forth once more for the gardens of Porto-Bello.

Becoming acclimatised to the Outside Car, we began to enter into
conversation with the drivers, and found them, like all Irishmen,
quant and witty, though their humour, perhaps, does not lie so near the
surface as it did before the Famine and Father Mathew.1 Our charioteer
this evening was eloquently invective against a London cab which
preceded us, and which he designated as “a baste of a tub.”

“Sure, gintlemen,” said he, “and I’m for th’ould style intirely--it’s
illigant. I tell ye what it is, yer onners,” (and he turned to us in
impressive confidence, and pointed contemptuously with his whip at the
offending vehicle) “I’d lep over the likes o’ that with this little
mare;” but we earnestly begged he wouldn’t.

[Illustration: 054]

We were so fortunate as to reach the Porto-Bello Gardens just in time
for “_The Siege and Capture of Delhi_.” We had both of us formed most
erroneous impressions on the subject, and it was a grand opportunity for
ascertaining truth. If the representation was correct, and there seems
no reason to mistrust it, as “no expense had been spared,” it is high
time for the English people to be told that the accounts which have
appeared in their newspapers (the graphic, glowing descriptions of Mr.
William Russell inclusive) are wickedly and superlatively false!

     1 The priest can scarcely have been a descendant of his
     namesake, the General, who, to the manifest delight of an
     Irish Parliament, thus spake of _potheen_:--“The Chancellor
     on the woolsack drinks it, the Judge on the bench drinks
     it, the Peer in his robes drinks it, the Beggar with his
     wallet drinks it, I drink it, every man drinks it.”

The city of Delhi is constructed of painted wood, and does not exceed in
dimensions a respectable modern residence. Before it, there is a pool
of water. The siege commenced with a tune on the key-bugle, and with
an appropriate illumination of _Bengal_ lights, which extended over
the entire scene of war, and was got up, as we supposed, at the joint
expense of the combatants. Then the Anglo-Indian army, which had taken
up a perilous position about four yards from the city, led off with
a Roman-candle, and the rebels promptly replied with a maroon. The
exasperated besiegers now went in, or rather went a long way over, with
rockets,--the Sepoys, with undaunted courage, defying them with blue
lights and crackers. For a time the battle was waged with extraordinary
spirit, steel-filings, &c., &c.; but, finally, the “awful explosion of
the Magazine,” admirably rendered by a “Jack-in-a-box,” threw the rebels
into sad distress, and they came running (all six of them) from the
city, trying the old dodge to give an idea of multitude, by rushing in
at one door and rushing out at another. The British soldiers, conversant
with this manouvre, which they had so often witnessed at Mr. Batty’s
Hippodrome, immediately charged into the devoted city, lit a red light,
and all was over. The total silence, which immediately ensued within
the walls, impressively told the annihilation of the vanquished, and
the great fatigue (or, alas! it might be the abject intoxication) of
the victors, reminding one forcibly of the schoolboy’s description, in
Latin, of the termination of a siege,--“_Dein victores, urbe capta, si
cut pisces bibunt, et, parvula, si ulla, itlis culpa, nullum bestiarum
finem ex seipsis faciunt_.”

Frank said it was _Delhicious!_ and to this atrocity, as well as to His
Excellency’s absence from Dublin, I attribute the melancholy fact that
the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland never called upon us.


The next morning at breakfast, a Scotch gentleman, with an amazing
accent, would read the newspaper in such loud tones to his friend, that,
not being monks, nor accustomed to be read to, _more monastico_, at our
meals, we really could not enjoy our food, and were compelled to toss up
which of us should recite to the other the list of Bankrupts from _The
Times_. I lost, but had not progressed far in my distinct enunciation
of the unhappy insolvents, when the Caledonian took the hint, and we ate
our mackerel in peace.

Leaving Dublin by the “Midland Great Western Railway,” at 10.30, we
reached Galway at 3.45. The intermediate country is, for the most part,
dreary and uninteresting, at times resembling the bleaker parts
of Derbyshire, and at times Chat Moss. “I am no botanist,” as the
Undergraduate remarked to the Farmer, who expostulated with him for
riding over his wheat; but the agriculture appeared to be feeble, and to
show want of _management_ in its twofold signification. The green crops
looked well everywhere, but the corn was thin, and the pastures by
no means of that emerald hue which we had expected to find. With the
exceptions of peasants, cutting and stacking peat for their winter fuel,
children at the doors of cottages, the railway passengers and officials,
there seemed to us, coming from densely populated England, to be really
“nobody about;” and the contrast between our present route and that
which we had travelled, two days before, through the “Potteries,” was as
marked as contrast well could be. This comparative quietude and silence
prevailed wherever we went, as though we were wandering through the
grounds of some country place, “the family” being abroad, and most of
the servants gone out to tea. Ah, when will the family come back to live
at home, to take delight in this beautiful but neglected garden,
weed the walks, turn out the pig, and look after these indolent and
quarrelsome servants?--indolent and quarrelsome, only because there are
none to encourage industry and to maintain peace.

We passed the station of _Maynooth_, but did not see the “Royal
College of St. Patrick,” and are therefore unable to vituperate that
establishment, as otherwise it would be our duty to do.

[Illustration: 060]

Missing this fashionable Christian exercise, I amused myself by attiring
a portly, closeshaven priest--who sat opposite to me, and who had a
face which would have represented anybody with the aid of a clever
_costumier_--in all sorts of imaginary head-dresses, dowagers’ turbans,
Grenadiers’ caps, Gampian bonnets, beadles’ hats, &c., and endeavoured
to fancy the feelings of his flock, if they were to see him in reality,
as I in thought.

Passing through county Meath, we were again reminded of Swift, who
held the rectory of Agher, with the vicarages of Laracor and Rathbeggan
therein, and of the beautiful Hester, sacrificed to his vanity, and
crying aloud, in piteous tone, “It is too late! It is too late!”

Nigh to _Athlone_ (of which more hereafter) is the village of _Auburn_,
formerly called _Lissoy_, the residence of Parson Goldsmith, and the
early home of the poet. The scenes of his childhood and his youth were
doubtless remembered by him, when he wrote “The Deserted Village,” and
many features of resemblance may still be traced.

At _Ballinasloe_ (everybody has heard of its great horse-fair, and how
the hunters jump over the walls of the “Pound,” in height about
eight feet, Irish) we entered the county of _Galway_, and tremblingly
anticipated, after all we had heard of its wild, reckless sons, that
some delirious driver would spring upon the engine, with a screech
louder than its own, put on all steam, run us off the line for fun, and
cause us to be challenged by our fellow-passengers, should we escape
with our lives, for not appreciating the sport. But we travelled
onwards, demurely and at peace; and, indeed, throughout our little tour,
so far from being provoked or annoyed, we met with nothing but kindness
and courtesy, and a good-humoured willingness to be pleased and to

The Railway Hotel at _Galway_ is the largest that we saw in Ireland,
and contains, as we had been informed, “a power o’ beds.” These
want sleepers sadly, and at present the tourist, as he wanders from
coffee-room to dormitory, feels very much

     “Like one that treads alone
     Some banquet-hall deserted,
     Whose guests are fled,” &c.,

and cheers his loneliness with the thought, that should Galway become
(as all who care for Ireland must hope) _the_ port for America, this
solemn stillness shall depress no more. The inn forms one side of the
principal Square, and, the neighbour buildings being comparatively small
and dingy, resembles some grand lady, in all her crinoline, teaching
the third class at a Sunday school. The grass-plat and garden are nicely
kept, but their chief ornaments struck us as being rather incongruous,
to wit, _hydrangeas_ and _cannon!_ The guns were pointed at our bedroom
windows, and it really required some little resolution next morning to
shave ourselves with placidity “at the cannons’ mouth.” Having secured
places for the morrow on the Car to Clifden, specially stipulating for
“the Lake side” of the conveyance, we selected a shrewd-looking lad
from a crowd of candidates (the Roman candidati wore white togas in the
market-place, but these young gentlemen did not), and went to see the
sights. We saw a great deal that was very interesting, and a great
deal that was very dirty; we saw the traces of Spanish architecture,
in quaint gateways and quadrangular courts, but were not “reminded of
Seville,” our only association with that city being a passionate love
of marmalade; we saw Lynch’s castle, and its grotesque carving is
very curious; we saw the house in Deadman’s Lane, where lived
that Fitz-Stephen, Warden of Galway, who, according to the worst
authenticated tradition, assisted at the hanging of his own son; we saw
warehouses sans ware; granaries, some without grain, and others with
“the meal-sacks on the whitened floor;” we saw and greatly admired
Queen’s College; we saw chapels and nunneries, whence the Angelus bell
sounded as we passed; above all, we saw the _Claddagh_. Going thither,
our little showman told us of the big trade in wines between this place
and Spain which flourished in the good times of old, and I foolishly
thought to perplex him by the inquiry, “whether much business was done
in the Spanish juice line?”

“And sure,” said he, “your onner must know, _that_ was the thrade
intirely. Divil a taste of anything else did they bring us, but the
juist of their Spanish vines.”

The Englishman who desires a new sensation should pay a visit to the
_Claddagh_. When we arrived, the men were at sea; but the women, in
their bright red petticoats, descending half-way down the uncovered
leg, their cloaks worn like the Spanish mantilla, and of divers colours,
their headkerchiefs and hoods, were grouped among the old grey ruins
where the fish market is held, and formed a tableau not to be forgotten.
Though their garments are torn, and patched, and discoloured, there is
a graceful simple dignity about them which might teach a lesson to
Parisian milliners; and to my fancy the most becoming dress in all the
world is that of a peasant girl of Connamara. Compare it, reader, with
our present mode, and judge. Look at the two, sculptor, and say which
will you carve? Say, when “Santa Philomena” is graved in marble, shall
it be with flounces and hoops?

[Illustration: 065]

No, whatever may be the wrongs of Ireland no lover of the picturesque
and beautiful would wish to see her _re-dressed_ (so far as the ladies
are concerned--the gentlemen might be improved); no one would desire to
see her peasant girls in the tawdry bonnets and brass-eyed boots, which
stultify the faces and cripple the feet of the daughters of our English

As to the origin of these Claddagh people, I am not sufficiently “up”
 in ethnology, to state with analytical exactness the details of their
descent; but I should imagine them to be one-third Irish, one-third
Arabian, and the other Zingaro, or Spanish gypsy. 1 I thought that I
recognised in one old lady an Ojibbeway chief, who frightened me a good
deal in my childhood, but she had lost the expression of ferocity, and I
was, perhaps, mistaken.

The men are all fishermen (very clumsy ones, according to Miss
Martineau, who talks about harpoons as if they were crochet needles, in
her interesting “Letters from Ireland”); but they give up their cargoes
to the women on landing, only stipulating that from the proceeds they
may be supplied with a good store of drink and tobacco, and so get due
compensation on the shore for their unvarying sobriety at sea.

     1 Wales is also represented by members of the Jones family.
     The original John may have come over with Thomas Joyce, who
     was good enough to appropriate “the Joyce Country” to
     himself and family, in the reign of Edward the First.

They live (some 1500 souls in all) in a village of miserable cabins,
the walls of mud and stone, and for the most part windowless, the floors
damp and dirty, and the roofs a mass of rotten straw and weeds. The
poultry mania--(and if it is not mania to give ten guineas for a bantam,
in what does insanity consist? l)--must be here at its height, for the
cocks and hens roost in the parlour. But “the swells” of the Claddagh
are its pigs. They really have not only a “landed expression,” as though
the place belonged to them, but a supercilious gait and mien; and with
an autocratic air, as though repeating to themselves the spirited
verses of Mr. A. Selkirk, they go in and out, whenever and wherever they
please. I saw one of them, bold as the beast who upset Giotto, 2 knock
over a little child with his snout; and I have a sad impression that
the juvenine was whipped for interfering with the royal progress. Frank
solemnly declared that he saw one, as portrayed with his back against
the lintail of his home, and smoking his evening pipe.

     1 This form of delirium is by no means of modern origin.
     Opvi-ôofiavta, a passionate love of rare birds, was known
     among the ladies of Athens.

     2 We read in _Lanzi’s History of Painting_, that as _Giotto_
     was walking with his friends, one Sunday, in the _Via del
     Cocomero_ at Florence, he was overthrown by a pig running
     between his legs. Whereupon the painter, albeit he was in
     his best clothes, philosophically recognised a just
     retribution, “for,” said he, “although I have earned many
     thousand crowns with the bristles of these animals, I never
     gave to one of them a spoonful of swill in my life!”

[Illustration; 068]

I receive this statement _cum grano salis_ (always appropriate to
bacon), as I do Phil Purcel’s, that “there was in Ireland an old breed
of swine, which is now nearly extinct, except in some remote parts of
the country, where they are still _useful in the hunting season_, if
dogs happen to be scarce;” 1 and (with all deference to the lady).

     1 Carleton’s “Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry.”

Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall’s, “an acquaintance of ours taught one _to
point_, and the animal found game _as correctly as a pointer_. He _gave
tongue_, too, after his own fashion, by grunting in a sonorous tone,
and understood when he was to take the field as well as any dog.” 1 But,
however this may be, everything in the Claddagh is done to “please the

     “Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
     You see them, lords of all around, pass by;”

and Og reigneth once more in Basan. He is precious and he has his
privileges. “I think” (said Phil from the hob) “that nobody has a better
right to the run of the house, whedher up stairs or down stairs, than
him that pays the rint” Such is the great destiny of the Irish pig. He
is not associated in the prospective contemplations of his owner with
low views of pork and sausages; for Paddy says, with Launcelot, “if we
grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the
coals for money,” and

     “As for eating a rasher of what they take pride in,
     They’d as soon think of eating the pan it is fryed in. 1

but he represents the generous friend and benefactor, who is about to
render an important service at considerable personal discomfort.

     1 In their pleasant volume, “The West and Connamara.”
      Goldsmith’s “Letter to Lord Clare.”

It was washing-day at one of the cabins, and a great variety of wearing
apparel was hung out to dry. We could not discover a single article
which at all resembled anything known to us, or which a schoolboy would
have accepted for any part of his Faux.

Nevertheless, one likes the people of the Claddagh; they seem to be
honest, industrious, and good-tempered, and they have, at least, one
great virtue--like Lady Godiva, they are “clothed on with chastity.”
 Sir Francis Head, who had the best means of getting information from the
police, and used them with his exhaustive energy, could not hear that
there had ever been an illegitimate child born in the Claddagh. They
never intermarry with strangers, and “_their marriages are generally
preceded by an elopement_” (vide the article on “_Galway_,” in the
_Encyclopodia Britannica_, which one is surprised to find discoursing
on such festive pleasantries), “_and followed by a boisterous


As schoolboys, to whom “next half” begins to-morrow--sailors on the
eve of a voyage--invalids, expecting a physician, who, they know,
will prescribe an unwelcome diet--yea, even as criminals before
execution,--amplify their meals, and, from their dreary expectations,
educe a keener relish,--so we, awfully anticipating the _cuisine_
of Connamara, made a mighty dinner at Galway. It was brought to us,
moreover, by a dear old waiter, who evidently had a proud delight in
feeding us, as though he were some affectionate sparrow, and we his
callow young, taking off the covers with a triumphant air, like a
conjuror sure of his trick, and pouring out our Drogheda ale, with quite
as much respect and care as Ganymede could have shown for the Gods.

“Was the salmon caught this morning, waiter?”

“It was, sir. Faith, it’s not two hours since that fish was walking
round his estates, wid his hands in his pockets, never draming what a
pretty invitashun he’d have to jine you gintlemen at dinner.”

This was followed by a small saddle of “Arran mutton, y’r onner;” and
“what can mortals wish for more,” except a soupçon of cheese?

Ah, but we felt almost ashamed of being so full and comfortable, when
our conversational attendant began to talk to us about the Great Famine.
“That’s right, good gintlemen,” he said, “niver forget, when ye’ve had
yer males, to thank the Lord as sends them. May ye niver know what it
is to crave for food, and may ye niver see what I have seen, here in the
town o’ Galway. I mind the time when I lived yonder” (and he pointed to
Kilroy’s Hotel), “and the poor craturs come crawling in from the country
with their faces swollen, and grane, and yaller, along of the arbs
they’d been ating. We gave them bits and scraps, good gintlemen, and did
what we could (the Lord be praised!), but they was mostly too far gone
out o’ life to want more than the priest and pity. I’ve gone out of
a morning, gintlemen,” (his lip quivered as he spoke), “and seen them
lying dead in the square, with the green grass in their mouths.” And he
turned away, (God bless his kind heart!), to hide the tears, which did
him so much honour.

Can history or imagination suggest a scene more awfully impressive
than that which Ireland presented in the times of the Great Famine? The
sorrows of that visitation have been recorded by eloquent, earnest men;
but they come home to us with a new and startling influence, when we
hear of them upon Irish ground. Most vividly can we realise the wreck,
when he, who hardly swam ashore and escaped, points to the scene of
peril; and while the storm-clouds still drift in the far horizon, and
the broken timbers float upon the seething wave, describes, with an
exactness horrible to himself, that last amazement and despair.

In the beautiful land of the merry-hearted, “all joy was darkened,--the
mirth of the land was gone.” In the country of song, and dance, and
laughter, there was not heard, wherever that Famine came, one note of
music, nor one cheerful sound,--only the gasp of dying men, and the
mourners’ melancholy wail. The green grass of the Emerald Isle grew over
a nation’s grave. The crowning plague of Egypt was transcended here,
for not only in some districts, was there in every house “one dead,” but
there were homes in which there was but one living--homes, in which
one little child was found, calling upon father, mother, brothers, and
sisters, to wake from their last, long sleep,--homes, from which the
last survivor fled away, in wild alarm, from those whom living he had
loved so well. Fathers were seen vainly endeavouring (such was their
weakness) to dig a grave for their children, reeling and staggering with
the useless spade in their hands. The poor widow, who had left her home
to beg a coffin for her last, lost child, fell beneath her burden upon
the road and died. 1 The mendicant had now no power to beg The drivers
of the public cars went into cottages, and found all dead, or Rachel
weeping for her children, and praying that die she might. By the
seaside, men seeking shell-fish, fell down upon the sands, and, impotent
to rise, were drowned. First they began to bury corpses, coffinless,
then could not bury them at all.

     1 See a most interesting article on the “Famine in the South
     of Ireland,” in Fraser’s Magazine, for April, 1847, p. 499.

Of indignities and mutilations, which then befell, I will not, for I
cannot, speak.

Indeed, it may be asked, wherefore should we repeat at all these sad,
heart-rending details? Because, the oftener they are had in painful
remembrance, the less likely they are to recur in terrible reality;

     “Never did any public misery
     Rise of itself; God’s plagues still grounded are
     On common stains of our humanity;
     And to the flame which ruineth mankind
     Man gives the matter, or at least the wind; 1

            1 Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke.

and because, when we know the cause and the symptoms, we can the more
readily prevent and prescribe.

Everyone knows, of course, the origin of the Irish Famine.

“The blight which fell upon the potato produced a deadly famine, because
the people had cultivated it so exclusively, that when it failed,
millions became as utterly destitute, as if the island were incapable of
producing any other species of sustenance.” 2

     2 Report of Census Commissioners for Ireland.

They, “who are habitually and entirely fed on potatoes, live upon the
extreme verge of human subsistence, and when they are deprived of their
accustomed food, there is nothing cheaper to which they can resort. They
have already reached the lowest point in the descending scale, and here
is nothing beyond but starvation or beggary.” 1

The remedy is just as clear,--to induce the peasantry of Ireland no
longer to _depend_ upon an article of food, which is difficult to
procure, cumbrous to convey, possesses so little nourishment that it
must be consumed in large quantities, 2 creates a strange, unhealthy
distaste for other food, 3 is subject to so many diseases from humidity
and frost, and which has wrought such grievous desolation through the
length and breadth of the land. 4

     1 Edinburgh Review, No. 175, p. 233.

     2 The evidence taken before the Poor Law Commissioners,
     previously to the establishment of the New Poor Law in
     Ireland, proves that “ten pounds, twelve pounds, and even
     fourteen pounds of potatoes are usually consumed by an Irish
     peasant each day.”--Letters on the Condition of the People
     of Ireland, by J. Campbell Forster, Esq., the Times’

     3 “When this famine was at the worst in Connamara, the sea
     off the coast there teemed with turbot, to such an extent
     that the laziest of fishermen could not help catching them
     in thousands; but the common people would not touch them.”--
     Quarterly Review, vol. lxxxi., p. 435.

     4 Cobbett called the potato, that “root of poverty.”

_How_ that remedy is to be applied, let legislators and landlords tell;
meanwhile, my friend, and I, having sorrowfully sipped our pint of
sherry, shall essay to cheer ourselves with a mild cigar, and a farewell
walk to the Claddagh.

The shades of eve were falling fast, as we set forth, and we were just
in time to see the last haul of the nets, and the silver salmon lying
on the bank. Then we revived our spirits by a little conversation with
young Claddagh, (merry and mischievous urchins), and by a distribution
of copper, every halfpenny of which raised such a tumulus of rags as
would have kept a paper mill at work for weeks. Then--

                   “the sun set,
     And all the land was dark.”


[Illustration: 078]

WE left Galway for Clifden at 9.30 next morning. The public conveyance
is a large-paper edition of the outside car, with an elevated seat for
the driver. There is one place to be avoided on some of these vehicles,
that nearest to the horses on the off-side, on account of the iron bar
of the drag, which operates from time to time very disagreeably on the
back and shoulders of the contiguous traveller. The scenery gradually
increases in interest. First we have trees, farms, houses, and the quiet
aspect of country life; then, we have delightful views at intervals,
of Lough Corrib and its islands, and the landscape becomes diversified,
less under culture, and more wild in consequence; and, lastly, the
sublime and solemn beauty of the mountains and lakes of Connamara.

Some of the residences amused us greatly. You see a large lodge by the
wayside, and look out, in the distance, for some princely castle, or
baronial hall, at any rate; but there is no need for any such optical
exertion, the mansion being close to you, eighty yards perhaps from the
entrance, and only a size larger, (a small size larger, as they say at
the glove-shops), than the lodge itself.

[Illustration: 079]

Some of the gateways, too, would have been very imposing, if most
of their principal ornaments had not been mutilated or missing. Our
favourite among the more perfect specimens, was adorned with a stone
pine-apple on one pillar, and a Swede turnip or pumpkin on the other;
and had a rich effect. Most of the field-gates have massive pillars of
stone, and would render the inclosures most secure, if there were not,
now and then, easy apertures through the turf-dykes, which form the
fence hard by, suggesting the idea of a front door barred and locked
against thieves, with one of the hall-windows wide open!

[Illustration: 080]

As to the people, there is little difference, so far as appearance
is concerned, between Paddy in England and Paddy at home; the same
flaccidity of hat; the same amplitude of shirt-collar, which would
cut his ears off if it were severely starched; the same dress coat of
frieze; drab breeches (aisy at the knees), grey-stockings, and brogues.
The same in aspect, but in action how different! In England, he will
rise with the sun, reap under its burning heat until it sets, and dance
in the barn at midnight. In Ireland, he seems to be always either going
to his work, or looking at his work, or resting from his work, or coming
away from his work, in brief, to be doing nothing, cordially assisted by
his friends and neighbours. The potatoes will prevent his famishing from
hunger, if the season be propitious; the peat-stack will keep him
from perishing by cold; and His Royal Highness, the Pig, will pay the
landlord his rent.

The women are, for the most part, good-looking, erect, and graceful
movers (for there are no corns in Connaught); and, from the bright
colours of their costume, their red petticoats and blue cloaks, are
ever a pleasant refreshment to the eye, and picturesque addition to the
scene. They are uniformly and painfully shy. Francis, and I, are both of
us what may be termed remarkably handsome men, but they wouldn’t look
at us; and I shall never forget the agony of a young housemaid, who,
assisting the waiter one morning with a tub of water to my room, caught
sight of my dressing-gown through the open door, and instantly, though
the garment is of a pleasing pattern, and descends quite to the ground,
rushed off, like Dorothea from Cardenio and his companions, and, I
verily believe, is running now.

As regards children,--there are crosses in Ireland, which are saluted
by wives, who would be mothers also; and these crosses, or something
equally efficacious, appear to be universally embraced. Every cottage
sent forth a running accompaniment (_allegro_) to the car, healthful,
cheery children, and would be beautiful, in spite of their wretched
homes, and meagre diet, and rags, if their mothers could be induced to
recognise the utility of soap and a comb. Their raiment is very scant
and curious. Ould Larry’s coat, with the tails cut off, makes young
Larry “an entire juvenile suit,” and the inexpressibles of Phelim _père_
form a noble panoply for Phelim _fils_, with his little arms thrust
through the pocket-holes. These tatterdemalions beg as they run by
the car, but seem indifferent as to the result, enjoying their
“constitutional,” and parting from us with a pleasant smile whether
we gave to them or not. Some of a literary turn of mind asked rather
urgently for “penny buy book,” but the imposition was a little too
patent, so very far from a bookseller’s shop, and we recommended them to
quench their thirst for knowledge in the only volumes to be perused
(and that gratuitously) in the neighbourhood, the “books in the running

A few professional beggars come round, when there is a change of
horses (excellent horses they are), but are neither so frequent nor so
importunate, as we had been led to expect. One old lady had evidently
got the last new thing in begging, a letter to her “poor darlint boy as
was gone to Merrikey, and would ye bestow a thrifle, good gintlemen, to
pay the bit o’ postage, God bless yer bewtifle young faces.” Of course,
we would, every mother’s son of us. What an affectionate, exemplary
parent! When we returned, a few days afterwards, she was again in
correspondence with her beloved son, far away from her yearning
tenderness, beyond the broad Atlantic; and, indeed, I have reason
to believe from information which I gathered from the driver and our
fellow-passengers, that this disconsolate mother writes to her exile
child every day, except Sundays.

[Illustration: 084]

The miserable huts of the peasantry, seen by the feeble light which
comes through the doorway and smoke-hole (to talk about chimneys would
be an insult to architecture) give one the idea, not so much that the
pigs have got into the parlour, but that the family have migrated to
the sty. An unpaved clay floor below, a roof of straw and weeds, dank,
soaked, and rotting, overhead, a miserable bed in the corner, an iron
pot over a peat fire, are the principal items of the property. Before
the door is a sink, black and filthy, for the refuse. And yet the
inmates look hale and happy beyond what one would hope to see, and the
thought at once suggests itself, how much might be accomplished by such
a people, awaking to assert its dignity, and to discharge its duty. Here
and there are roofless cottages, gravestones, on which is written, as on
Albert Dürer’s, “_Emigravit_” he has gone to seek over the wide seas the
comforts which here he could not, or would not, win; or he has gone “to
the land, which is very far off,” to hunger and thirst no more,--

     “There fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
     A shadow on those features fair and thin;
     And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,
     Two angels issued, where but one went in.”

It is sad indeed to see these monuments, “where memory” (as an Irish
poet 1 sings) “sits by the altar she has raised to woe,” monuments of
suffering and dearth, amid scenes of surpassing beauty, and fields which
might stand thick with corn, but where, from the shameful indolence of
His creatures,

     “_In vain _,with lavish kindness, the gifts of God are strewn.”

     1 Curran.

There is no town between _Galway_ and _Clifden_, unless we compliment
with that title the large village of _Oughterarde_, pleasantly situated
hard by _Lough Corrib_, with its picturesque bridge, marvellously
transparent stream, handsome constables, and (comparatively speaking)
magnificent church. The Roman Catholic churches are, for the most part,
so very plain and poor, having little but the Cross, and a melancholy
imitation of Gothic mullions in wood, to denote their consecration, that
the building of _Oughterarde_ has quite an imposing effect, and we went
up the hill to see it. The leisure and liberty allowed to passengers by
car are amusingly refreshing in these days of steam; and I thought,
as we sauntered towards _Sainte Terre_, how astonished the guard of
an express train would be, to behold his fellow-travellers quietly
strolling off to inspect the cathedral, at _Peterborough, York, or

We found little to admire, as to architecture without, or ornament
within; but a priest, who went with us from the car, said it was
“beautiful,” and looked as if to him it was so indeed, as he knelt with
others reverently praying there. I thought of our grand old churches at
home, locked and barred, most of them, except for a few hours on Sunday
(as though the soul should be treated, like a boa-constrictor, with six
days sleep, and then a rabbit); and I envied that poor pilgrim through a
prayerless world his privilege and opportunity.


_Oughterarde_ is termed the entrance to Connamara, but the boundaries
seem somewhat undefined, like the sensations induced by the wildly
beautiful scenery,

     “The vague emotion of delight
     While climbing up some Alpine height.”

Measured and mapped _Connamara_ may be, but painted or described it
never can. Those sublime landscapes of mountain, moor, and mere, are
photographed on the memory for ever, but cannot be reproduced on canvas;
and a great master of art, a _Michael Angelo (Tilmarsh)_ throws down
his brush, with the wise confession, “all that we can do is to cry,
Beautiful!” Who shall take it up, and paint? Not mine, a prentice
hand, to daub a caricature (about as like the original, as a pastile to
Vesuvius, or a “cinder-tip” to the Himalayas) of those glorious Irish
Alps, of the _Maum-Turk_ mountains, or of _Bina Beola_, rising, in
solemn majesty, amid a sea of golden and roseate flowers. It requires a
confidence which I do not feel, to attempt the Hallelujah Chorus on my
penny trumpet, or, where Phidias distrusts his chisel, to commence a
Colossus with my knife and fork. But I shall never forget our silent
happiness, a happiness like childhood’s, so complete and pure, as, mile
after mile, we watched the sunlight and the shadows, sweeping over hill,
and lake, and plain, (so swiftly that every minute the whole view seemed
to change), and saw the snow-white goats among the purple heath, and the
kine, jet-black and glowing red, knee-deep in the silver waters.

But there are minds no scenery can delight or awe. I remember, how,
travelling by rail, one glorious morning in December, the trees all hoar
with frost, and glittering against a sky blue as the turquoise, I met a
Cockney gent, who condescendingly surveyed the scene, and said that “it
reminded him of _Storr and Mortimers!_ The water was very like those
plate-glass things, which were used to set off the silver, and the trees
a good deal resembled the candelabra clustered above.” And he smiled as
one who was pleased to approve the article which Nature humbly submitted
to his inspection, and seemed, out of his overflowing goodness, to pat
Creation’s head. And now, seated upon the box, a “party” from Sheffield
insulted that pure delicious atmosphere with very villainous “shag,”
 and talked as flippantly and without restraint, as though he were in the
Chair at “The Cutler’s Arms,” presiding over a Free-and-Easy. No sooner
did he ascertain from the driver that the grand Highlands before us were
known as “_The Twelve Pins_” than he desired the company to inform him,
“what degree of relationship existed between them and the _Needles_
off the Isle of Wight?” a genealogical problem, which would have been
received with a due and dignified silence, but for his own unrestrained
applause and laughter. Then he favoured us with an enigma, “Why have
them pins no _pints?_ Because they’re principally composed of _quartz!_”
 His geology he had got from a guidebook, out of which he treated us to
various extracts, appending commentaries of his own. “Miss Martineau
says the hair ‘ere” (of course he transplanted every h) “is very like
breathing cream. Wonder whether the old gal meant cream of the valley,
or milk-punch--ha! ha! ha!”

From this subject he passed very naturally to mountain dew, and
the illegal manufacture of whiskey, shouting at the top of his voice,
“I cannot help loving thee, _Still_;” and then singing, “_Still_, I love
thee, _Still_, I love thee,”--“_Fare thee well_, and if for ever,
Still, for ever fare thee well” (the music by Mr. Joseph Miller), until,
happily for us, his pipe went out, and playfully wondering “how he
should obtain a light, when all around was _matchless_,” he collapsed
into a state of quiet suction, like a gold fish in a vase.

Incidents, in a country unreclaimed and almost uninhabited, must
necessarily be small and infrequent, like the currants on an Irish cake.
We had a change of horses at the _Half-way House_ (half-way between
_Oughterarde_ and _Ballinahinch_), and this rapid flight of horsemanship
was performed something under the half-hour. I took advantage of the
interval to recline on the green sward hard by, and commenced, in dreamy
enjoyment, a silent oration to the scenes around. “_O Connamara_,” I
began, “_non amarat sed amcena!_ let me hear and heed thy sermons in
stones, though thine own sons be deaf to them.”

Alas! for the sad contrast, where every prospect pleases, and only man
is vile! 1 Why should not fields of golden corn, and orchards heavy
with fruit, bring plenty from thy fertile plains? Why should rank weeds,
rag-wort, and loose strife, (evil signs and sounds!) usurp thy untilled
soil, a ‘soyle most fertile,’ as old Spenser saith, ‘fit to yielde all
kinde of fruit that shall be committed thereunto?’” And the answer
which I heard, “awaking with a start” from my reverie, was a surly grunt
close to my ear, and a loud laugh from Frank, who thus perpetuated the
_tableau vivant_:

     1 Lord Chesterfield spoke of Ireland as “that country for
     which God has done so much, and man so little.”

[Illustration: 092]

We lunched at “_The Recess_,” a pleasant little inn (with a cheerful
landlady and civil waitress), but somewhat damp withal; for Ireland is
“the Niobe of nations,” 1 and, as the beautiful bride of the Atlantic,
ofttimes weeps in her western home, when her husband is at low water,
or subject to lunar influence. But there is no time for metaphor or
meteorology, the cutler having already scooped the interior from the
heads of both the lobsters, and it being quite necessary to propose
some saving clause to this sweeping Act of shellfishness. “I am no
gastronomer,” as the old lady observed, when they asked her to go out
and see the comet, but I do acknowledge, in unison with the majority
of my fellowmen, the powerful fascinations of lobster; and I shall not
shrink from the confession, that our feelings, as we witnessed this
gross monopoly, were hot and acid as the pepper and the vinegar, which
was almost all he left us.

     1 “If,” writes Mr. Young, in his _Tour in Ireland_, “as much
     rain fell upon the clays of England as upon the rocks of the
     sister country, they could not be cultivated.” I should
     doubt this, taking into account our modern improvements as to
     drainage; but, at all events, it is evident that “the
     humidity of the climate renders Ireland decidedly better
     fitted for a grazing than for an agricultural country.”--
     See M’Culloch’s Statistical Account of the British Empire,
     ed. 2, vol. ii., p. 367.

At the same time, it may be said, in mitigation of his ill-taste and
our ill-temper, that the love of the lobster has ere now troubled the
equanimity of greater and better men; and I have seen a noble Duke scowl
malignantly at an unconscious Earl, whose plate preceded his own.
But all ended well, for our greedy knife-grinder having finished his
lobster, two bottles of Guinness, one ditto Bass, and a go of whiskey
“for luck,” had scarcely ascended the box, and favoured us with that
assurance of plethory, which the Chinese expect as a compliment from all
well-bred (and well-fed) guests, than his head began slowly to fall and
rise, like a large float, lazily influenced by some undecided fish; and
he only intruded himself upon our silent admiration of that magnificent
scenery with occasional imitations of swine asleep.

There was a time when the Martins ruled in _Connamara_, and
_Ballinahinch_, which we now pass, was the palace of Richardus Rex; when
Lord Lieutenants were told plainly, that the excellent claret they
were drinking had _done_ its duty, without discharging it; and gaugers,
bailiffs, writ-servers, and the like, were as rare upon the mountains as
the Irish elk. The estate extended to _Oughterarde_, some six and
twenty miles away, and “_Martins Gate-house_” is shown there still; but
extravagance and neglect brought all to the hammer at last, and the
very name of Martin will soon only survive, in its association with
the humane Act for the prevention of cruelty to animals, which was
originated by the Lord of _Ballinahinch_. The Law Life Insurance Company
are now the owners of this property, and are making, we were informed,
very great improvements. There can scarcely be an estate more capable
thereof. The immense extent of bog-land presents an excellent “fall”
 for the drainer; and a large quantity of it, lying upon limestone,
would grow any amount of pasture or of cereal produce. (The monosyllable
_corn_ would be equally expressive, but it looks “mean and poky,”
 as Martha Penny said of the Protestant religion, when compared with
“_cereal produce_”) Then there is abundance of manure close by, in the
sea-weed and coral-sand; and under the soil lie rich veins of marble,
rose-colour, and yellow, and, white, and green; and of which you may
purchase specimens from the little merchants who come round the car. But
where, it may well be asked, are the hands to ply the mattock and pick?
For famine, and ejection, and the Exodus, have swept away the working
men; and though it is evident, from the number of children, that great
efforts are being made to repopulate the country, there seems to be no
staff on the spot for any large undertakings. 1 But men are to be
found when they are wanted by master-minds; and the Irish and English
labourers, instead of deserting for America and Australia a land so
full of promise, 2 would readily be induced, by leaders of energy and
capital, to appropriate advantages nearer home. The sale of encumbered
estates (one of the cleverest, cleanest cuts, that surgeon ever made, to
save his patient from mortification) amply justifies the healthful hope
that English and Scotch farmers 3 will soon be numerous upon Irish
soil, not to become, like the Norman visitors of yore, “_ipsis Hibernis
Hiberniores_,” but to inoculate Paddy with their own activity and
earnestness, and to persuade him, just for once and by way of a change,
to work in his own land, as he can and will in any other.

     1 According to the Report of the Registrar-General, the
     population has decreased to the number of half a million
     since the Census of 1851.

     2 See Letters from The Times’ Commissioner, ed. 2, p. 271,
     and The Saxon in Ireland, chapter x.

     3 “Why are there so many more Scotch than English? It
     appears that there are 756 ‘Britishers’ agriculturally
     settled in Ireland, and of these 660 are natives of
     Scotland.”--Agricultural and Social State of Ireland in
     1858, by Thomas Miller.

The Saxon says that the Celt (how one despises those malicious
nicknames, stereotyping hate, and perpetuating a lie, as if there were a
true Celt or Saxon extant!) that the Celt will shoot him; and, perhaps,
he may if nothing is done to conciliate, but everything to offend his
prejudices. Those prejudices are the growth of ages, and will not vanish
before slang and compulsion, but only before goodness, teaching
by example a better and a happier way. If I wish to propitiate a
high-spirited unbroken steed, not warranted free from vice, and can do
so by checking him sharply with the curb, and by sticking in both spurs,
without ruining the horse, and finding myself in a position to take an
uninterrupted view of the firmament, Mr. Rarey and reason plead in vain.
John Bull is a magnificent fellow, but his mere repetition of “curse the
Pope” will do no more to evangelise mankind than Grip the Raven’s “I’m a
Protestant kettle;” nor can we specify any signal blessings as likely
to accrue to the human race, when “Sawney, with his Calvinistic creed in
the one hand, and allaying irritation with the other,” denounces smiling
on Sunday as a deadly sin, or goes

     “Bellowing, and breathing fire and smoke,
     At crippled Papistry to butt and poke,
     Exactly as a skittish Scottish bull
     Hunts an old woman in a scarlet cloak.”

Were I desirous to impress upon the people of Connaught the advantages
of protecting their feet with leather, I should scarcely proceed to
demonstrate my proposition by kicking them with hobnailed boots; and
although bread as an article of food is vastly superior to potatoes, few
men would essay to enforce this argument by pelting the peasantry with
quartern loaves.

The Saxon says that the Celt will shoot him; and nothing can be more
vile and despicable than those cowardly murders which disgrace Ireland.
But we must not forget, in our righteous horror, that our own capital
convictions are thrice as numerous, according to population, as those
in the sister-country; and, though this does not denote the exact
proportion of crime, because conviction in Ireland is far more difficult
than with us, it may still suggest a wholesome restraint, when we are
minded to sit in judgment upon others.


We arrived at _Carrs Hotel_, in _Clifden_, between 5 and 6 p.m., and
strolled down the main street before dinner. The whitewashed houses are
much less miserable than the cottages we had seen in the country, but
we can give no more than negative praise, the general aspect of the
town being dreary enough. There are happy associations, nevertheless,
connected with it, for the whole place arose from a benevolent attempt
of Mr. D’Arcy, once the owner of _Clifden Castle_, to improve the
condition and evoke the energies of his neighbours; and though the
estate has passed into other hands, a D’Arcy still maintains, as pastor
of the people, an honoured name for charity and zeal. After dinner we
had a most delightful ramble on the cliffs, which overlook the bay; for
_Clifden_ is built at the centre of one of those numerous indentations
in the land,

     “Where weary waves retire to gleam at rest,”

and which give the name _Connamara_, i.e., “_the bays of the sea_.” It
was one of those evenings, sunlit and serene, which whisper gratitude
and peace. There seemed to be a glad smile on land and sea, as the
golden light fell in soft splendour on the purple hills, and the
pleasant breeze awoke upon the waters [Greek passage] 1

     1 Thus prettily transferred by the Irish poet, Moore:--

     “Like any fair lake that the breeze is upon,
     While it breaks into dimples, and laughs in the sun.”

(Yes, good critic, I know it is only a school-boy’s quotation, but it is
too beautiful to be ever quite used-up, and is at all events, excusable
in an undergraduate, “taking up,” among other books for his Degree, the
sublime tragedy of _Prometheus Bound._) There was no sound except the
curlew’s note, when suddenly we heard, far down from the sea below
us, the loud splash of water, and voices singing, amid merry laughter,
strange songs in an unknown tongue.

[Illustration: 101]

Gracious Heavens, what were we to see! We were on Irish ground; the
stillness and the solitude, so wildly broken, encouraged all our
superstitious fancies; and everything we had read or heard of Bogies,
Banshees, Kelpies, and Co., came back to our astonised souls. Were we,
really, to witness something supernatural at last, something, which,
when we got home, should make the teeth of our neighbours chatter, and
cause the hair to stand up on our relations’ heads?

Perhaps, we were to contemplate the merman bold, playing--

     “With the mermaids, in and out of the rocks,
     Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower,
     And holding them back by their flowing locks.”

With beating hearts and bated breath, we crawled to the edge of the
precipice, and there saw, to our intense delight, four of the jolliest
constables in the world, swimming, diving, floating, spluttering,
shouting, and singing, until one longed to run back a few yards,
plunge in, like Cassius, without undressing, and join in their jolly
gymnastics. Really, they are glorious fellows! Were I to undertake any
distant or dangerous expedition (and indeed, Frank and I have been
so much gratified by our sailor-like deportment, between Holyhead and
Kingstown, that we think seriously of going round the world in a yacht),
I should vastly like to take half a dozen of them with me; and I should
not be the first who had so thought and acted.

Walking on, we came in sight of _Clifden Castle_, a good-looking modern
residence, lying low in the valley, and well screened by timber from the
rough sea-wind. Here the view is beautiful exceedingly, and we sat among
the heather, and gazed upon it,

                                “till the sun
     Grew broader toward his death, and fell; and all
     The rosy heights came out above the lawns.”

Then we returned to the hotel, and there found our friend the cutler
considerably advanced in liquor, making a most disconnected oration to
a select audience, in which, among many other statements unhappily
forgotten, he informed us:--“That he was hopen to show pigeons, either
Turbits, Pouters, or Short-faced Mottles, against any man in Hengland,
bar two; that Ireland was nothing but a big bog, and he should rather
expect as ow no party, as wasn’t a snipe, would ever come there twice;
that he would play hany gent, as was agreeable so to do, either at
quoits or skittles, for the valley of a new ‘at;” (being rather a dab
with the discus, I was about to accept his challenge, when the
darkness of the night and absence of the implements struck me as being
“staggerers” not to be surmounted, and therefore I held my peace);
“that, has no party seem’d hup to nothing, he should beg to propose
‘ealth and prosperity to the firm of Messrs. Strop and Blades (I’m
Blades); and should conclude by hexpressing his ope, that the cock-eyed
gent in the corner would henliven the meeting with a comic song.” The
proprietor of the insurbordinate eye having very briefly expressed
himself to the effect, that he would see the company consigned to
perdition, rather than indulge it with mirthful music, Mr. Blades
commenced a concert on his own account; and we ventured to go to bed,
in spite of the singer’s solemn warning that any person retiring, in a
state of sobriety, to his couch, would “fall as the leaves do, fall as
the leaves do, fall as the leaves do, that die in October.”


Nemesis was the daughter of Nox; and poor Blades looked miserably ill,
when he came down next morning to breakfast--no, not to break fast, but
only to wish he could. At daybreak, we had heard sounds of soda-water,
but Schweppe had striven in vain. The fact is, that whiskey, like
love, can “brook no rival near its throne,” and Kinahan, and Bass, and
Guinness were at war all over Blades. We scarcely knew him again, as
he sat in rueful contemplation of an egg, which he had accepted, hoping
against hope, but had now no strength to crack:--

     “For his heart was hot and restless,
        And his life was full of care;
     And the burden laid upon him
        Seemed greater than he could bear.”

Had he been Tyndarus, and the egg before him one of Leda’s, he could
not have looked at it with a more fixed and mystified expression; or he
might have been reflecting sorrowfully upon that fatal goose egg, which,
long before the Norman Conquest, had wrought such woes on Ireland. I
will venture, at all events, to repeat the legend. Domhnall, the king,
having invited Congal, his foster-son, together with the principal
swells of his court, to a grand banquet (though he had been warned by
Maelcobba, a celebrated monk and fortune-teller, to do nothing of the
kind), sent out his purveyors to procure a supply of delicacies in
general, and of goose eggs in particular. Now there lived, in the county
of Meath, a Bishop Ere of Slaine, who spent his days in the river Boyne,
immersed up to his arm-pits, and reading his psalter, which lay upon
the bank. Whether he entertained hopes of being translated to the see
of Bath and Wells, and was under a course of preparatory training, or
whether he had a prescient belief in the water-cure, or whatever his
motives may have been, thus he passed his mornings (to the immense
edification of his diocese, and with nothing on but his mitre), and then
went home to dine. One evening he had hurried to his hermitage, a little
ruffled in temper, having been very disrespectfully accosted during the
day by some boatmen, who had hit him in the eye with a decayed pear, but
consoling himself with the prospect of his favourite dinner, namely,
“a goose egg and a half, and three sprigs of watercresses,” when he
was dismayed to find his establishment (which consisted of an elderly
charwoman) in tears, and to hear that the king’s purveyors had been,
and poached his eggs for him. Then (the chroniclers proceed to tell)
the Bishop he “cussed, and eke swore hee, verrye bewtifulle.” He
excommunicated the auxiliary gander and put the goose under a perpetual
pip, “bekase,” said he, “if they’d niver layed them, and she (the
charwoman) had only popped them under the bedclothes, he’d bet six
to four they’d niver been found.” But he was grandest of all, when he
cursed the eggs, shell, white, and yolk, solemnly imploring complete and
speedy suffocation upon any party who should stick a spoon in them. And
his anathemas, we read, were so far fruitful, that on the night of the
King’s banquet, Congal’s goose egg changed, as he was gloating over it,
into a common hen egg, whereupon he was so greatly exasperated, that
he felt himself under the necessity of slashing at his neighbours
indiscriminately with a drawn sword; a general battle ensued; and
“Ireland was not for one night thenceforward in the enjoyment of peace
or tranquillity.” 1

     1 From The Banquet of Dun na-gedh, and the Battle of Magh
     Rath. Translated from the original Irish by John O’Donovan.
     Printed for the Irish Archaeological Society.

Blades, I say, might have been meditating mournfully on this accursed
egg, but, whether or no, there he sat; and Melancholy marked him for
her own. _Quantum mutatus!_ The remains of a fire balloon, soaked and
rusting in some long damp grass, not less resemble the gaudy globe,
which went up yesternight; and never can I obliviate the agony of his
expression, as the waiter presented a large dish of bacon in close
proximity to his nose.

     “A moment o’er his face
     A tablet of unutterable thoughts was traced,
     And then,” with a groan, which won all our sympathy, “_abiit,
     excessif, evasit, erupi_, Anglicé, poor Blades, he bolted!

We also, having contributed to Mr. Carr’s Album autographs, which will,
no doubt, be ultimately sold at sixty guineas a-piece, (say pounds, if
you take the pair) proceeded by the car to _Kylemore_.

[Illustration: 109]


THE scenery on leaving _Clifden_ is for a time bleak and monotonous,
but soon becomes varied and beautiful. You pass, by _Streamstown_ and
_Ballinakill_, through the pleasant village with its pretty cottages,
fuchsia-hedges, and general look of neatness and comfort, which it owes
to Mr. Ellis, an English resident, and who, (so it was told to me, as
our friend Herodotus hath it) is much respected, although a Quaker, by
the Roman Catholics around. Between this place and _Kylemore_, you
enter upon one of the grandest scenes, to my taste, to be found in all
_Connamara_, a kind of mountain pass, with the rocks rising to a great
height, in huge blocks and broken masses, piled one above another, and
sometimes jutting over the road in fearful contiguity, densely timbered
from base to summit, the gray stone contrasting beautifully with the
bright green foliage of the trees. Here the eagles build, and had become
so numerous, (so our driver said), that the owner had had recourse
to _poison_. It sounded awfully in our ears, like trapping a fox or
shooting an albatross; and, surely, if the king of birds must be slain
(and I cannot deny that his majesty’s conduct, in perpetually flying off
with lambs, is open to some criticism) he might fall more nobly to the
rifle of the sportsman.

We reached the solitary inn by _Kylemore Lake_ for luncheon; and I
purposely make these memoranda about meals, and take my time from the
kitchen clock, because the delightful air of _Connamara_ very speedily
induces that vacuum, which nature and the tourist yearn to fill. So
Frank and I danced in triumph around our undisputed lobster, Blades
languishing at _Clifden_, and a fellow passenger, who had stopped at
_Kylemore_, and whom, being almost hairless, we distinguished as “Balder
the Beautiful,” having previously lunched, as we came along, upon the
largest biscuit I ever met with, and which, when he first produced it,
we both of us mistook for a Fox-and-Goose board. Contemplating the shell
and other débris, in a state of placid plethora, and reflecting, in a
spirit of tooth-pick philosophy, what a glorious economy it would be for
us undergraduates, and what a grim despair for the tailors, if we, like
the lobster, could annually cast our clothing, and reappear, as he does,
in customary suit of solemn black, without any pecuniary investment,--I
was startled by the wild conduct of Francis, who, suddenly springing
from his chair, and favouring me with a slap upon the back, which
immediately induced a determination of bitter beer to the head,
exclaimed, at the very apex of his voice, “_And now, old cock, for a
salmon!_” Forthwith he entered into solemn consultation with our worthy
host, Mr. Duncan, and produced for his inspection a small library of
Fly-books. Alas, the inspector looked grave and shook his head, as an
examiner surveying infirm Latin. “One or two _might_ raise a fish;” but
this was said in a tone, which quite convinced me, that, unless Frank
should come across a salmon, which happened to be helplessly drunk, his
entomological specimens would be treated with most profound contempt.
What was to be done? Mr. D.’s own flies had been stolen, during a recent
illness, by his visitors; and, indeed, as they were kept, with true
Irish liberality, in the hall of the inn, one can scarcely wonder at
the felonious fact. But he was determined, the weather being most
propitious, and the lake full of “fish,” (not to mention the
white trout, of which there is abundance) that Frank should not be
disappointed, and forthwith commenced the operation, most interesting to
me who had never seen it, of “tying a fly.” He began with a bare hook,
a piece of fishing gut, and a few bits of silk and feathers; and lo,
in about three minutes, there issued from his consummate manipulation a
gorgeous fly, so beautiful, and, withal, so plump and appetising, that
for a salmon to see it was to look and die. Then armed with a gaff,
which would have landed a sturgeon, or made a glorious pastoral staff
for His Grace the Archbishop of Brobdingnag, and which was borne before
him, as the crozier of Saint Grellen was carried before the tribes of
Hy-Many, when, ages ago, they conquered here in Connaught, away went
Frank to his boat; and I, rodless, to wander, wondering, among the great
mountains and to cull a bouquet of ferns and flowers. This I had just
arranged satisfactorily, and was thinking how admirably that little
wayside rush (_epiphorum_), with its snow-white silky flag, would serve
for some Lilliputian clerk of the course to drop before a ruck of fairy
jocks, and start them for a Queen Mab’s Plate, when a ringing shout in
the distance, which might have been emitted by a triumphant fox-hunter,
or by an Indian scalping his foe, drew my attention to the lake, and I
could see dear old Frank standing in the boat, and holding up a glorious
salmon, with its silver scales glittering in the sun.

[Illustration: 114]

Hurrying back, I was just in time to meet the conquering hero as he came
ashore; and I am quite sure that neither Julius Cæsar, nor any other
human being, ever landed with greater dignity. Had he been coming to
weigh after winning “the Liverpool,” or into the Pavilion at Lords’
after an innings of five hundred, he could not have looked more happy
and glorious, and I felt it a privilege to strew the path he trod upon
with three bits of heather and my pocket-handkerchief.

There was an amusing little dialogue, as he left his bark:--

“Boatman!” quoth the illustrious fisherman, “how much is the boat?”

“Sure, your onour, the boat’ll be in the bill. Your onour’ll give the
boatman what you please.”

“But what is generally given!”

“Well, your ‘onour, some’ll give two shillings, and some eighteen pince.
_A tailor’d be for giving eighteen pince_.”

How much Frank gave, I know not; but from the expression of
satisfaction, which brightened the faces of his aquatic friends, I infer
that he exceeded in munificence a whole street of tailors. And, indeed,
he was bound so to do, since, in our eyes, “was never salmon yet that
shone so fair,” as we bore it in triumph to our inn; and I sang, in the
joy of my heart, to the

     They may rail at this land, they may slander and slang it,
     But we’ve found it a land to admire and enjoy;
     And until they convince us _au contraire_, why, hang it,
     We will speak as we find, won’t we, Frank, my dear boy?

     _Air “They may rail at this Life.”_

     So long as Kylemore has such lakes and such fishing,
     As from Duncan’s Hotel at this moment we see,
     And of salmon for dinner we bring such a dish in,--
     _Connamara’s_ the planet for you, Frank, and me!

So we carried it to the kitchen, where it cost my friend no little
effort to transfer his captive to the cook; and I am quite convinced,
that could he have escaped ridicule, he would have preferred to take
that fish to bed with him. I am glad he did not; for a firmer, flakier,
curdier salmon never gladdened a _table d’hôte_, and there were
“lashings and lavings” for our party of eight, when we met at dinner
that evening.

After the banquet, Frank caused us to be rowed in triumph over the
scene of his victory, sitting in the stern with an enormous regalia, and
surveying the waters with a grand complacency, which made me feel myself
quite contemptible. Very different would my sensations have been, had
I been then acquainted with the fact, which my friend subsequently
revealed to me, that he had hooked and _lost_ two much finer fish than
that on which we dined.

The boatmen--one of whom, from his sapient and solemn manner, had the
sobriquet of Lord Bacon; and the other, a fine, cheery young fellow,
wearing his rightful appellation of Johnny Joyce--joined us in our
tobacco and talk, “turning to mirth all things of earth, as only”
 Irishmen can. When two of the visitors came out of the inn, lingered
a few seconds in conversation at the gate, and then started for their
evening walk, in opposite directions, as Englishmen are wont,--“Bedad,”
 said my Lord Bacon, “the gentlemen have quarrelled, more’s the pity.
Sure, one of ‘em has been ating the biggest dinner, and made the other
jealous. _That’s_ the jealous one,” he continued, pointing to our friend
Balder the Beautiful, “there’s something in _the set of his back_,
which says that he is disappointed.” And there really was a misanthropic
expression, to be observed upon the shoulders in question, which we
might not otherwise have noticed, but which was immediately patent to an
Irishman, who detects more quickly, and ridicules more cleverly, though
he cannot despise more heartily than we do, any exposition of a sulky
temperament. I remember going to a horse-fair with Paddy O’Hara, of
Merton, and that we overtook on the road an agriculturist of a staid and
sullen deportment. He was riding by a rustic groom who led a handsome,
but somewhat heavy-looking horse, too good for harness, but scarcely
good enough for hunting, though the farmer evidently regarded him as
quite the animal for High Leicestershire. Well, we pulled up the tandem,
that we might examine the tit (thinking ourselves amazingly knowing
in horse-flesh, as undergraduates do), and O’Hara led off with a “Good

“Good morning,” replied Agricola, but very sternly.

“It’s lonely your horse is looking this morning, sir,” continued Pat, as
serious as a mute.

“Don’t know what you mean,” said the farmer.

“Oh, sure,” replied O’Hara, with an expression of intense grief, as
though his heart bled for the poor quadruped, “it’s desolate, and
melancholy, and beraved he’s looking, and very, very lonely--_without
the plough!_”

And he blew such a blast upon our long horn, as made the welkin ring;
and the big horse, he pranced and reared, and the farmer and his man
they blasphemed in unison, as we sped merrily onwards.

As we had some thoughts of spending a day at a place in this
neighbourhood called _Coolna Carton_, we asked Johnny Joyce if there was
much to see there. And the answer which we got was “_Divil a taste!_”

“But surely,” we remonstrated, “there is wild mountain and lake

“Oh, faith,” said Johnny, “there’s mountains and sthrames, _if it’s the
likes o’ them_ that ye’re wanting;” and he looked at us, as though he
would have added, “but you, surely, cannot be such fools!”

Ah, Johnny Joyce! there’s a homily for us all in that “_divil a taste!_”
 The beautiful, so close to us, over head, under foot, we prize not; the
great hills are voiceless to the mountaineer; and the lowlander sees
no loveliness in valleys thick with corn. Ashore, we sigh for the wild
magnificence of ocean; and, at sea, our unquiet spirit yearns for the
landscape’s rest and peace. Let us ask for eyes to read, and loving
hearts to understand, the declarations of wisdom and of goodness
God-written everywhere!

We spent a pleasant evening in the common-room of our inn. There was,
among others, a landscape-painter, who, manfully confessing that he
“could do nothing with _Connamara_,” showed us, nevertheless, some very
interesting sketches; and there was a clever, merry, young graduate, of
our sister university at Dublin, as full of good sense as good humour.
He told us, as we sipped our punch, how that whiskey derived its name
from the Irish _uiske_, the water; “the only water,” quoth he, “that’s
good for a gentleman to drink;” how that _usquebaugh_ meant “water of
life,” as _aqua vitae_ in Latin, and _eau de vie_ in French; and how
this reminded him that the _Phoenix Park_ in Dublin, derived its name
from _Finniske_, or _Fionuisge, fair-water,_ and was so called from a
spring in the neighbourhood, once much resorted to as a chalybeate spa.

As we became confidential, I asked him what he thought of Ireland’s

“Well,” he said, after a long, reflective pull at his little, black,
_dudeen_, “I am not so sanguine as some with regard to the prosperity
of Ireland. That which Pope said of man in general, seems to me to be
especially true with regard to an Irishman in particular, he ‘never is,
but always to be, blessed.’ Every history, or book of travels, written
no matter when or by whom, always has the same moral,--Ireland is
emerging from a state of misery and degradation--followed by some
fine, old-crusted quotations with regard to our capabilities, and the
wonderful results which might be achieved, ‘if only the hand of man did
join with the hand of nature.’” 1

     1 Lord Bacon, the original, not the boatman.

“Pity,” I thought, “that the hand of man should be unhappily
preoccupied--with a blunderbuss!”

“No,” he continued, “physicians, Danish, Saxon, and Norman, have
prescribed for us (generally a course of bleeding and depletion) with so
little success; the grand panacea, Protestantism, has been administered
to us,--as gently as a ball to some restive horse, with a twitch upon
our national nose, and a thrust down our national throat,--with so few
favourable results, that I begin to fear our malady is chronic, and that
affliction must be regarded as our normal.

“I have heard before,” I remarked, “that Ireland has not been considered
by her medical advisers to be a very good _subject_.”

“I see,” he answered, “but we are more loyal, perhaps, than you are
inclined to suppose, and quite as much so as you have a right to expect.
Some people seem surprised that we Irish do not set up statues of
Turgesius, the Norwegian gentleman, who favoured us with a tax called
_Nosestate. Money_, by which he merely meant, that, if we declined
to pay, he should remove the facial adjunct alluded to; that we do not
paint memorial pictures of Prince John and his Normans ridiculing our
Irish Chiefs, when they came to welcome them at Waterford, and chaffing
them about their long hair and their short yellow shirts, which, I
grant, must have been rather funny; that we exhibit no restlessness for
the canonisation of Cromwell, and make no pious pilgrimages to the tomb
of Dutch William. Now, I by no means say, with Junius, that ‘Ireland
has been uniformly plundered and oppressed,’ but I do say that the bride
which Pope Adrian, himself an Englishman, gave, with a gay marriage-ring
of emeralds, to your second Henry, has not been very lovingly dealt

“The wedding,” I said, “has not been, as yet, productive of much
happiness; but you must remember, that if the husband has been harsh
at times, and disagreeable, the conduct of the lady has been very
aggravating and suspicious. Hath she not flirted with _Monsieur_ and
_Jonathan?_ Hath she not decked herself with ribbons of obnoxious hue,
and gone after strange priests, whom John Bull honoureth not? Could he
have foreseen the troublous consequences of the union, he might have
wished to imitate the example of Jupiter, who, having considered the
subject in all its bearings, devoured Metis, his wife, lest she should
produce an offspring wiser than himself.”

“_Pergite Pierides!_ Go it, Lemprière!” here broke in that boisterous
Frank, who, I regret to say, has an ubiquitous ear, and a consequent
power of joining the conversation from any distance, and when you least
expect him. “What are you two mythological bloaters driving at?”

“Francis,” I replied, reprovingly, “your mind, a feeble one at best, is
unhinged by success and whiskey. Calm yourself, and go to bed.”

But he only crowed like a cock.

“The fact is,” resumed my Irish friend, “we are too near a great country
ever to be great ourselves, and are too proud, unhappily, to perform on
violin No. 2.”

“You won’t be angry with me,” I said, “if I doubt your ability, under
the most favourable circumstances, ever to play a first fiddle in the
Monster Concert of Nations. You may let me say so, for I love the Irish.
I should be disloyal to friendships, which I value dearly, forgetful of
a thousand merry-makings enhanced by Irish humour, and of many a sorrow
relieved by Irish sympathy, if I did not speak well of Irishmen, to say
nothing of the interesting fact, that, on several delightful occasions,
I have been in love with your sweet Irish girls. But if I have read
your history aright, you have never, nationally, shown any ambition or
aptitude to hold a prominent place.”

“Confound your impudence,” he answered, “did you never read in that
self-same history, that Ireland was once ‘the school of Europe,’
‘Insula Sanctorum,’ and I don’t know what, before those Danish ruffians
destroyed the monasteries,--from the purest and most pious motives,
doubtless, like your own dear Henry VIII.!”

“I have read,” I rejoined, “that a Scotch gentleman (for ‘Saint Patrick
was a gentleman,’ if ever there was one) preached Druidism out of this
country, and gave you, in its place, the blessings of a heaven-sent
faith; and I know, furthermore, that Irishmen, such as Sedulius, your
poet, and your Saints, Columbkill, and Aidan, and Finian, and Cuthbert,
names known and beloved through Christendom, have been ever esteemed and
honoured among the champions of our holy religion; but I am speaking of
Ireland politically, and maintain, that, even in the brighter epoch,
of which you treat, say from the fifth to the ninth century, Ireland,
socially and generally, was in a state of trouble and disquietude.
Indeed it would seem from your history that until a recent period,
which (I say it with all reverent earnestness) may God prolong, you have
either been repelling invaders, or fighting among yourselves, or both,
ever since Partholan, the sixth in descent from Magog, Noah’s second
son, took Ireland, with his thousand men. Why, even in what you would
consider a period of profound peace, you have been about as orderly as a
lot of schoolboys, when the master is absent, or a pack of young hounds,
who have got away from their huntsman; and suggest in every phase of
your existence, the stern remark of your greatest Irishman,1 ‘Ireland is
to be governed only by an army.’ _L’Empire, c’est l’Epée!_” 2

     1 Wellington.

     2 Punch’s version of Louis Napoleon’s words, “_L’Empire,
     c’est la Paix_”

“You seem to think,” he said, “with another illustrious countryman
of mine, Mr. John Cade, that ‘then are we in order, when most out of
order,’ and that Ireland, like the lady in the farce, 1 only ‘glories
in her topsy-turvy-tude;’ but when you speak of the schoolmaster
being abroad, do you not in great measure account for eccentricities,
repeating that grand enigma, ‘What makes treason reason, and Ireland
wretched?’ and answering, ‘absent T.’ Collisions and explosions may be
looked for on the Rail, when they, who should be its Directors, never
come near the line; and in my opinion the best thing that could happen
to Ireland would be the revival of the Act against non-residence which
was made in 1379.” 2

     1 _The King’s Gardener_.

     2 Moore’s _History of Ireland_, vol. iii., p. 113.

“Would it not,” I asked, “be a wiser and more agreeable inducement, if
you could assure the returning landlord that his plans of improvement
would not be disturbed by an injection of lead into his brain? At all
events, I think, we shall see shortly what resident men can do. The
estates, which absenteeism, as much as anything, has encumbered and
finally estranged, will be occupied, to a great extent, by their new
owners:--will these ever make Paddy _industrious?_”

“Sure,” he answered, “we’ll be the grandest nation upon earth, the
moment we get a taste of encouragement. Meanwhile I’ll concede, that
we’re a trifle awkward to manage, and, when we’re not famished by dearth
of food, nor depressed by a drought of whiskey, that we’re mighty fond
of a scrimmage. And you’ll allow, I take it, that no men fight in
a gentaler form than we do: your Irish regiments have done you good
service on the battle-field, to say nothing of our having supplied you
with the grandest warrior of your history. And long may we fight, side
by side, and keep out of all hot water, but _this_,” and he touched my
glass with his own, and sang with a voice so pliable and mellow, that
even the knight of the surly shoulders,--whom we also named
Thersites, described by Homer as “the ugliest chap of all who came to
Troy,”--smiled and nodded in accompaniment,--

     “O quam bonum est!
     O quam jucundum est!
     Poculis fraternis gaudere!”

And so we became, as Dennis O’Shaughnessy 1 bids, the “sextons to
animosity and care;” and having buried them decently, were going to
bed, when dulcet notes from a musical instrument, which the performer
thereupon alluded to as his “feelute,” and which was joyously warbling
an Irish jig, attracted us to the kitchen. And what mortal man “that
hadn’t wooden legs,” could see blushing Biddy Joyce footing it merrily,
and not feel himself as irresistibly disposed to dance, as a nigger
when he hears a fiddle? In thirty seconds Frank and I were involved in
a series of such swift, untiring saltations, as the world hath not seen,
since Mevelava, the Dervish, danced for four days to the flute of Hamsa!

When we awoke the next morning (Sunday), “the richest cloudland in
Europe,” as Kohl terms Ireland, was investing such abundance of its
surplus capital in the lakes and mountains of _Connamara_, that it
was impossible to leave our inn; and as difference of creed unhappily
prevented a common service, every man became his own priest, and every
bed-room an oratory. My friend, the Irish graduate, played some most
solemn and impressive music, including the “Cujus Animam,” from the
_Stabat Mater_, upon a Concertina, which now breathed forth notes sweet
and clear, like a flute, and anon was grand and organ-like. At a later
period, a perfume, which, at first, I supposed to be incense, issued
from his dormitory; but it ultimately resolved itself into Latakia.

At last, the clouds began to break, and the grand old mountains to
emerge from the mist, like the scenery in a dissolving view; the
sunlight seemed to reach one’s heart; and we sallied forth for a walk,
the Irishman, Frank, and I, as happy as bees on the first warm day of
spring, or as the gallant _Kane_, when, after a long Arctic winter,
he saw the sun shine once more, and felt “as though he were bathing in
perfumed waters.” The conversation, as we strolled towards Letter-Frack,
was theological and brisk. Paddy said that “_our_ Church resembled a
branch broken from the Vine, withering and moribund from inanition;” and
we affirmed that “_his_ Church was like a tree unpruned, all leaves, and
no fruit.” Then he pretended to have heard that Mr. Spurgeon had refused
the See of Canterbury, and that Lord Shaftesbury was bringing in a Bill
to abolish the Apostles’ Creed. “You miscellaneous Christians,” he said,
“will shortly have nothing to believe in common, unless it be--_Dr.

“And you, magnificent Christians,” I rejoined, “who, by the way, have
had your rival Popes, and still have divisions among you, you have
already got _more_ to believe than Scripture, tradition, or common
sense acknowledge. As to our being ‘miscellaneous,’ we churchmen have no
communion with the sects, though you delight to identify us with them,
and though some disloyal teachers among us may ‘apply the call of
dissent to their own lost sheep, and tinkle back their old women by
sounding the brass of the Methodists,’ 1 our Church, unswerving, still
maintains the old, catholic faith, and earnestly entreats deliverance
from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism.”

     1 Horace Walpole.

And so we went on, strophe, and antistrophe, with an occasional epode
from Frank (who kindly applauded both parties, encouraging us, more
liberally than respectfully, with “_Bravo Babylon!” “Now heretic!_” and
the like), and only arrived at unanimity, when it was proposed that we
should return and dine.

Our host, Mr. Duncan, told us this evening, with other very interesting
details, concerning the Famine of 1847, how that, at a public meeting in
the neighbourhood, he had said, somewhat incautiously, that rather than
the people should starve, they might take his sheep from the hills; and
how that, when want and hunger increased, they kept in remembrance his
generous words, and, taking advantage, like Macbeth, of “the unguarded
Duncan,” turned ninety of his sheep into mutton.

[Illustration: 133]


WE left _Kyle-more_ next morning about 8.30,--the Irishman calling to
us from his window, “to give his love to the Bishop of London, and to
ask him what he fancied for the Chester Cup,”--travelling on an outside
car,--the most pleasant mode of conveyance for two persons, as you are
thus perfectly independent, can stop when and where you please, have
plenty of room, and can converse agreeably. Frank looked wistfully back
at the lake, like the pointer sent home at luncheon, or the hunter you
have ridden as your hack to the “meet,” or (a resemblance much more to
his taste), a _belle_, reluctantly leaving the ball-room, on the arm of
her drowsy but determined Pa.

Now we pass through the severe and solemn scenery of _the Killeries_,
compared by Inglis, Barrow, and Miss Martineau, to a Norwegian Fiord,
with its lakes so still, and cold, and black, and its mountains so bleak
and stern, that even the sea-fowl seemed to have deserted it with the
exception of a single cormorant, who looked as though he had committed
himself in some disreputable way, and had been banished here for
solitary confinement.

[Illustration: 135]

But the dreariness of the scene was soon delightfully relieved by
numbers of the peasantry, on their way to the Fair, or _Pattern_ as
it is called, being held on the festival of some _Patron_ Saint, at
_Leenane_; and the striking colours of their picturesque costume, red,
white, and blue, came out most effectively against the sombre darkness
of the back-ground. Boats, too, were crossing the water; and a soldier
in uniform, coming over in one of them, glowed on the gloomy lake, like
a bed of scarlet geraniums in the middle of a fallow field. Some were
on foot; but more on horseback, almost every steed carrying
double--husbands and wives, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters,
and for aught I know, “one lovely arm was stretched for,”--nothing in
particular, “and one was round her lover.” The bare feet hung gracefully
down, and the eyelids, as we passed, hung gracefully down also, and hid
those bright Irish eyes. Well, “there is a shame, which is glory and
grace,” the most beautiful ornament that woman wears, and nowhere worn
with a more becoming, but unaffected, dignity, than here by the maidens
of Connamara.

Saddles did not seem to be known, and the bridles, chiefly, were of
rope or twisted hay. As to the Fair itself, I imagine that the meeting
partook more of a social than of a commercial character, a few sheep
being the principal live-stock which we saw exposed for sale. Several
stalls exhibited, for the refreshment of visitors, large cakes or
bannocks, with currants at an incredible distance from each other (the
white bread, _per se_, being, doubtless, a sufficient novelty and treat
to many), and any amount of apples. Indeed Paddy seems almost as fond
of _pommes d’arbre_ as he is of _pommes de terre_; and in Stations,
Steamers, and Streets, they have all but a monopoly of the market.

The landlord of the neat-looking inn at _Leenane_, a fine, tall, manly
fellow, reminding us that we had now entered into the country of “big
Joyce,” came forth and welcomed us cheerily, as we stopped to change
our horse, and almost induced us to stay and see the fun of the fair,
together with “the hundred and fifty couple, which would stand up in
the afternoon for a jig.” But we had no time to lose, having to meet
the _Clifden Car_, at _the Cross Roads_, en route to _Galway_; and as
we saw, shortly afterwards, two waggons loaded with constables, who were
going to preserve order, we did not regret our departure, nor fail to
congratulate each other on the unbroken soundness of our Saxon skulls.

We took with us a new driver from _Leenane_, who seemed somewhat
depressed at leaving the Fair, and was the least sociable Irishman I
ever met. But one does not desire conversation amid this impressive
scenery; and as the only information which he volunteered was this, that
“_Hens Castle_,” near _the Mauwt Hotel_, was built in one night by
a cock and hen grouse,--a statement which he appeared to believe
implicitly,--I don’t suppose that we lost much from his taciturnity. The
misfortune was, that, though his tongue was tied, his hat was not,--an
eccentric, light-hearted “wide-awake,” which would keep skimming past
us, and hurrying back to Leenane, always starting off with a fresh
impetus, as the owner stooped to secure it. As time was precious,
Frank offered to fasten the article to his head, with a large, gold
breast-pin, by way of nail, and a heavy stone, which he picked up by the
wayside (during a little walk of some two miles up hill), as hammer;
but he was repulsed with considerable asperity. At last, to our great
delectation, the offensive head-gear was drawn out of a boggy pool, in
such a limp and unpleasant condition, that the proprietor, after a brief
survey, indignantly sat upon it during the remainder of our journey,
vesting his cranium in a pocket-handkerchief, which was, indeed, a sight
to see. With a large bunch of heather, which, I regret to confess, we
could not refrain from inserting in the collar of his coat, and

     “dulce est tomfoolere in loco?

he presented an appearance “well worthy of hob-servation,” (as they say
at the wax-work), and which would have raised an immediate mob in any
street of London.

We arrived at _the cross roads_, in spite of the Fabian policy pursued
by the volatile hat, in good time for the _Galway_ car, and soon found
ourselves leaning over the pretty bridge at _Oughterarde_, and
bidding farewell to _Connamara_. It has been, indeed, a privilege and
refreshment to wander amid these glorious scenes, where

     “Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise,”

and where nature, with a calm, majestic dignity, which must impress, and
ought to improve, claims at once our reverence and love, awes us with
her grandeur, but charms us more with her smile.

The tourist readily foregoes and forgets the temporary loss of little
comforts to which he has been accustomed. There is but one really
great deprivation to which he is subject,--the want of ladies’ society.
English ladies can go, do go, and will go everywhere; but, generally
speaking, they are unwilling, wisely unwilling, to encounter a wet
day on an Irish car, or the carpetless, comfortless rooms of the
_Connaviara_ inns.

Indeed, the fine gentleman, who chiefly loves the tips of his
moustaches, the sleeve-links of his shirt, and the toes of his gleaming
boots,--the dandy, [Greek word], who can’t live without his still
champagne, by Jove, his soups and sauces, and golden plovers, his
Nesselrode pudding, and _petit verre en suite_,--will find sad
discomfiture in _Connamara_. Neither Apicius Coelius nor Lady
Clutterbuck have prepared the way for his daintyship, and when the
bacon, which accompanies the breastless fowls, shall display its
prismatic hues, his forlorn spirit shall sigh in vain for the pleasant
hams of Piccadilly, while, in vain, he imprecates on the unskilful cook
the fate of Mr. Richard Rouse. 1

     1 A cook, who, in the year 1530, attempted to poison Fisher,
     Bishop of Rochester, and was boiled to death--out of
     compliment to his profession. See Froude’s History of
     England, vol. i., p. 288. A writer in the Athenaum (Jan. 13,
     1844,) remarks, in a very amusing article on the Irish
     Census, “There is no cookery in Ireland, because there is
     nothing to cook. We occasionally, to be sure, throw them a
     bone of contention, and they make a broil of it. Their
     cookery goes no further.”

At morn, moreover, lazily turning in his bed to ring for valet or
waiter, how shall his superb dignity be perturbed to find, that there
exists no _belle alliance_ between the upper and lower house, and that
his highness must go to the stair top, and hallo, for whatever his
emergencies require. No marble bath awaits him now, with its tepidly
congenial joys; but there stands at his door a little tub, which he
contemplates as ruefully as the stork of the fable the shallow dish of
the fox, and which just contains a sufficiency of water to perplex a rat
of irresolute mind, whether he should walk or swim. The accommodation
is, in fact, so limited, that Frank, in attempting some daring flight of
ablution, broke his tiny bath to pieces, and away streamed the water to
announce the fact down stairs.

[Illustration: 141]

Up came the astonished waiter, and surveying the wreck with a sorrowful
countenance, exclaimed, “By the powers, your onner, its Meary’s
looking-glass you’ve been and ruinated intirely!--and how will she kape
herself nate and daysint?” subsequently explaining to us, that this
vessel, filled with clear spring water, had served, prior to its
dissolution, as the mirror of the pretty housemaid. I had my doubts as
to the tale of a tub; but Frank, at all events, thought it his duty to
have an interview with the bereaved Meary, and returned therefrom with
one of his ears considerably enriched in colouring.

I strongly recommend the tourist to make himself a C.B., by procuring
a portable bath of waterproof material, such as is now made for
travellers. He will then have no difficulty to contend with beyond a
slight indisposition on the part of the waiters to supply him liberally
with the element required. “Bedad,” said one of them to me, “if the
rain’s to be presarved, and carried up stairs, and trated in this
fashion, I’m thinking it’ill get so mighty fond of our attintions, that
it’ll never lave us at all, at all!”

Again, the fine gentleman may be disconcerted to find that windows
very generally decline to be opened, or, being open, prefer to keep so,
except in case of his looking out of them, when they are down upon his
neck, like a guillotine. His looking-glass, too, just as it is brought
to a convenient focus, may perhaps, dash madly round, as though urged by
an anxiety, which it could not repress, to assure him, in white chalk,
that it really cost three and sixpence!

But what are these trivial inconveniences, which amuse, more than they
annoy, to “a man as calls himself a man,” and when he has such active,
cheerful, untiring servants, ever ready to do all in their power to
please him? The cuisine is certainly a little queer, but he who, with a
_Connamara_ appetite, cannot enjoy _Connamara_ fare, salmon, fresh from
its lakes, eggs newly laid, excellent bread and butter, the maliest of
potatoes (“laughing at you, and with their coats unbuttoned from the
heat,” but perhaps a trifle underboiled for our taste, until we learn to
like them “with a bone in them”), together with the best of whiskey, and
our Burton beer; he who cannot sleep in a clean _Connamara_ bed, after a
day among its mountains and lakes, nor say with Bellarius,

     “Come; our stomach
     Will make what’s homely savoury; weariness
     Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth
     Finds the down pillow hard,--

why he’s not the man for _Galway_, and had better keep away from it.


We witnessed at the railway station, on our arrival at _Galway_, a most
painful and touching scene,--the departure of some emigrants, and their
last separation, here on earth, from dear relations and friends. The
train was about to start, and the platform was crowded with men, women,
and children, pressing round to take a last fond look. Ever and anon,
a mother or a sister would force a way into the carriages, flinging her
arms around her beloved, only to be separated by a superior strength,
and parting from them with such looks of misery as disturbed the soul
with pity. And then, for the first time, we heard the wild Irish “cry,”
 beginning with a low, plaintive wail, and gradually rising in its tone
of intense sorrow, until

     “Lamentis, gemituque et fæmineo ululatu Tecta fremunt.”

Nor was this great grief simulated, as by hired _keeners_ at a wake, the
_mulieres proficae_ of the Irish _Feralia_, but came gushing with its
waters of bitterness from the full fountain of those loving hearts.
There were faces there no actor could assume--faces which would have
immortalised the painter who could have traced them truly, but were
beyond the compass of art. Two, especially, I shall never forget. A
youth of eighteen or nineteen, who had a cheerful word and pleasant
smile for all, though you could see the while, in his white cheek and
quivering lip, how grief was gnawing his brave Spartan heart (Ah,

     “What a noble thing it is To suffer and be strong!”)

and the other, an elderly man, who stood somewhat aloof from the rest,
with his arms folded, and his head bent, motionless, speechless, with
a face on which despair had written, _I shall smile no more until I
welcome death!_

I thought of those beautiful lines which begin,

     “Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not
     More grief than ye can weep for. That is well;” 1

     1 Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

and I thought, also, what great hearts beat under coats of frieze,
and how bounden we are, with all our might, to avert from them these
overwhelming sorrows, or, at the least, and if fall they must, to prove
our sympathy as best we can.

Many of the emigrants had bunches of wild flowers and heather, and one
of them a shamrock in a broken flowerpot, as memorials of dear ould
Ireland. Nor does this fond love of home and kindred decline in a
distant land; no less a sum than 7,520,000 L. having been sent from
America to Ireland, in the years 1848 to 1854, inclusive, according to
the statement of the Emigration Commissioners.

It was a strange recollection during this scene of sorrow, (and how
strangely our thoughts will sometimes set themselves at variance with
what is passing before us!) that, all the while, the Great Jig was going
on at _Leenane_, and the fiddlers fiddling, and the hundred and fifty
couple footing it, right merrily! Well,

     “Let the stricken deer go weep,
     The hart ungalled play;
     For some must laugh,
     And some must weep--
     So runs the world away!”

And I, accordingly, having sorrowed, and that heartily, with the poor
emigrants and their friends, shall venture to refresh myself, and, I
hope, my readers, with a small historical incident, suggested to
my memory by the wild Irish cry. When _Richard de Clare_, surnamed
_Strongbow_, invaded Ireland in 1171, one of his sons was so exceedingly
astonished at the awful howlings, which the enemy raised, by way of
_overture_ to the fight, that he became prematurely “tired of war’s
alarms,” and set forth without loss of time in search of more peaceful
scenes;--colloquially speaking, he cut and run. But hearing, soon
afterwards, that the Governor had silenced these disagreeable vocalists,
and that the conquerors were having no end of fun, Master Strongbow
returned to the bosom of his family--where he must have been
inexpressibly surprised and disgusted at the abrupt and ungentlemanly
behaviour of Papa, who no sooner caught sight of him, than he rushed at
him, and--_cut him in two_. 1

     1 Moore’s History of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 290.

We left Galway at four p.m., and reached _Athlone_ in a couple of hours.
If the Widow Malone, och hone, still lives in the town of Athlone, och
hone, I do not admire her choice of residence, for its aspect is cold
and cheerless. So at least it appeared, as we saw it, on a day that was
dark, and dull, and dreary, with rain. We read in “_Wanleys Wonders_“(one
of the most carefully-collated and painstaking books of lies extant)
that the inhabitants of _Catona_ were wont to make their king swear, at
his coronation, that it should not rain immoderately, in any part of
his dominions, so long as he remained on the throne; and one sighs for a
similar dynasty in Ireland, (if the promise was really fulfilled), where
that ancient monarch, “_King O’Neill, of the Showers_,” seems still
perpetually to reign.

So the streets were looking their narrowest and dingiest, and the Castle
and Barracks their greyest and grimmest, as we saw them from under our
umbrellas; and we were glad to return to Mr. Rourke’s comfortable hotel,
where papered walls and carpeted floors, and practicable windows, and
duplicate towels, again welcomed us to the lap of luxury. But I felt
little disposition to sit down in it, mourning for Connamara, gazing
sadly through the windows of our coffee-room, and esteeming the
Post-office opposite but a poor substitute for the great hills of
Bina Beola, and the lakes to be very feebly represented by Mr. Pym’s
establishment for the diffusion of Dublin ales. Nor did sweet solace
come, until we beheld once more--a real beef-steak. Frank’s eyes, in
their normal state of a mild, benevolent blue, glowed with a fiery
greed; and I do not suppose that six Van Amburghs could have taken away
our food with hot irons.

After dinner we communicated to each other the little we knew with
regard to the old town of _Athlone_:--how that--the Shannon, which flows
through it, being here fordable,--it had always been a place of great
military importance; how that _William III._ had, in the first instance,
failed to take it,--or rather to _receive_ it, 1 as he would have said,
with the exquisite humour, for which he was remarkable,--and lost for a
time that amiability of temper, which, according to the historian, 2 was
so conspicuous in time of war; how that _Ginkel_, his General, (why does
not history salute him by his more euphonious designation as first _Earl
of Athlone?_) had much better luck next time, to wit, on the 1st of
July, 1691, when, differing in opinion with the supercilious Frenchman,
_St. Ruth_, who declared the thing to be impossible, even after it was
done, he boldly crossed the river, attacked, and took the place.

     1 His motto was, “_Recepi non rapui_,” which Swift happily
     translated, “the receiver is as bad as the thief.”

     2 Smollett, who says, “His conversation was dry, and his
     manners disgusting, _except in battle!_”--Hume Continued,
     vol. i., p. 442.

Here, feebly murmuring something about “the new bridge, which spans the
noble stream, being a handsome structure,” we came to a decided check,
Frank making a cast by ringing the bell, and requesting the waiter
to “bring in a large dish of startling incidents, connected with
the history of _Athlone_,”--an order, which seemed to amuse three
good-looking priests, (en route for a Consecration at Ballinasloe, to
be presided over by Cardinal Wiseman), and who were discussing, (and
why not?--I’m not the man, at all events, to write and tell the Pope,) a
small decanter of whiskey.

_The Shannon_ is a glorious river, broad and deep, and brimming over,
extending, from source to sea, a distance of two hundred miles, and
“making its waves a blessing as they flow” to ten Irish counties. I
should think that hay for the universe might be grown upon its teeming
banks, and we saw a goodly quantity studding the fields with those (to
us) quaint-looking tumuli, which, like the “hobbledehoy, neither man nor
boy,” are too large for haycocks, and too small for stacks. Six miles
from _Athlone_, we pass _the Seven Churches of Clonmacnoise_, (once, as
its name signifies, the _Eton_ of Ireland, “the school of the sons of
the nobles,”) by whom despoiled and desecrated we English need not pause
to inquire; and close to these a brace of those famous Round Towers,
which have so perplexed the archaeological world, and which, according
to Frank, were, “most probably Lighthouses, which had come ashore at
night for a spree, and had forgotten the way back again.” The scenery,
which at first is flat and uninteresting, except to an agricultural
eye, increases in attraction, as you progress towards _Limerick_, and
is exceedingly beautiful about _Lough Derg_. There are delightful
residences on either side, of which we admired particularly _Portumna_,
my _Lord Clanricarde’s_ 1 and a place called _Derry_. The view from the
upper windows of this latter home must be “a sight to make an old man
young.” The mountains, inclosed and cultivated, have a tame unnatural
look, as though they had been brought here from Connamara, and been
broken to carry corn; and they wear a strange uncomfortable aspect,
like some Cherokee Chief in the silk stockings and elegant attire of our

     1 Would that his motto were the watchword of every
     Irishmen:--“_Un g foy, ung roy, ung loy!_”

[Illustration: 152]

Here and there, in mid-stream, are beacons of an original pattern. The
cormorants flew heavily away before us, but the heron moved not from
the sighing sedge,--still and grey as the stone on which he stood,--nor
seemed to note the seething waters, which swelled around him as the
steamer passed.

Ay, and how touchingly that silent bird, with his keen gaze, steadfastly
fixed, and his every thought concentrated, upon _one object_ reminded me
(if, for a moment, I may assimilate the Queen of my soul to a gudgeon)
of myself; for alas, I was _again in love!_ As soon as ever I set foot
on the steamer, I knew it was all over, though she was a long way off.

“It would have been well,” writes Mr. Froude, “for Henry VIII. if he
could have lived in a world, in which women could have been dispensed
with;” and it would be better no doubt for the susceptible tourist, if
there were fewer pretty girls in Ireland. In vain, I groaned

     “O intermissa, Venus, diu,
     Rursus bella moves!
     Parce, precor, precor!”

for she wouldn’t _parce_ at any price; and by the time we arrived
at Clonmacnoise, I was in a state of most abject infatuation. Frank
proposed to bleed me with a large fishing-knife, and would keep feeling
my pulse, with his watch in his hand, in an exceedingly frivolous
manner. But I suffered severely, in spite of frequent beer, until a
late period of the evening, when my wounded spirit, in the smoke-room at
_Limerick_, at last found relief in song.

[Illustration: 155]


     1 The title and metre are suggested by Mahony’s most musical
     verses in praise of _The Bells of Shandon_.


     With swate sensashuns,
     And palpitashuns,
     And suspirashuns,
     Which thrill me through!
     Here in Limerick, city Of maidens pretty,
     A tender ditty I’ll chant to you.


     With maid and man on,
     A stamer ran on,
     Where silver Shannon In glory glames!
     Shure, all big rivers He bates to shivers,
     Rowling majestic,
     This King o’ Strames!


     There, blandly baming,
     As we went staming,
     Och, was I draming?
     I first did note,
     Such a swate fairy,
     As _super mare_,
     No, nor yet _in aere_,
     Did iver float!


     Her very bonnet
     Desarves a sonnet,
     And I’d write one on it,
     If I’d the time.
     But something fairer,
     And dear, and rarer,
     In coorse, the wearer,
     Shall have my rhyme.


     With eyes like mayteors,
     And parfect phaytures,
     Which aisy bate yours,
     Great Vanus, fair!
     I’ll ne’er forget her,
     As first I met her,
     On (what place betther?)
     The cabin stair!


     Her darlint face is
     Beyond all praises,
     And thin for graces,
     There’s not her like.
     All other lasses
     She just surpasses,
     As wine molasses,
     Or salmon pike!


     Her hair’s the brightest,
     Her hand the whitest,
     Her step the lightest,--
     Ah me, those fate!
     You need not tell a--bout
     For hers excel a-
     ny boots you’ll mate!


     With look the purest,
     That ever tourist,
     From eyes azurest,
     Saw anywhere,
     I met her blushing,
     As I went rushing,
     For bitter beer, down
     The cabin stair.


     Then she sat and smiled, where,
     On luggage piled there, 1
     She me beguiled,--ne’er
     A smile like that!
     And I began to Compose a canto
     On Frank’s portmanteau,
     Whereon she sat.


     I’ve read in story,
     What dades of glory,
     Knights grand and gory,
     For love have wrought.
     But ne’er was duel,
     Nor torture cruel,
     I’d shun, my jewel,
     If you besought!


     For her voice is swatest,
     Her shape the natest,
     And she complatest
     Of womankind.
     And while that river,
     In sunlight quiver,
     Oh, sure, he’ll niver
     Her aqual find


     Troth, since we’ve parted,
     I’ve felt down-hearted,
     And disconsarted,--
     A cup too low!
     And so I think, boys,
     We’d better drink, boys,
     Her health in whiskey,
     Before we go.

     1 This luggage included a long narrow box, and, from an
     aperture at the top there emerged from time to time a
     peacock’s head, exhibiting (despite the presence of Juno) an
     expression of sublime misery. I doubt whether that bird will
     ever take heart to spread his tail again!

“He’ll forget her to-morrow morning,” said Frank to his neighbour, in
a pretended whisper, which all could hear, “and it’s better so, poor
fellow, for the girl’s ridiculously fond of me, and I’ve got no end of
her hair in my pocket.”

Of course, there were plenty of fools to giggle; but I never could see
any wit in lies. I am quite positive, that, when we parted, she returned
my regretful gaze, and

     “Phyllida amo ante alias; nam me discedere flevit.”


Undoubtedly, there is solace for the forlorn in the pleasant city
of _Limerick_. Justly celebrated for its Hooks, it is far more to be
admired for its Eyes, for, although the former are the best in all the
world, the latter are much more killing! No sooner did we emerge from
Mr. Cruise’s very excellent and extensive hotel, than we were attacked
and surrounded by the lace-girls, in their blue cloaks, drooping
gracefully, with heads uncovered, or rather most becomingly covered with
thick and glossy hair. At first, we recklessly resolved to cut a way
through with our umbrellas, or perish in the attempt, but the utter
hopelessness of such a fearful step induced us finally to capitulate,
_the Siege of Limerick_ was raised, and commercial relations peacefully
established between the besiegers and besieged. I did just venture to
inquire what use I could possibly make of four superficial inches of
fine linen, surrounded by very delicate openwork, not less than a foot
in width, and was immediately answered, “And shure, yer honner’ll be for
buying the handkercher, to dry up the tares of the swate young lady, as
is waping for ye over the says.”

We would have it, of course, and the “splendid pair o’ slaves,” and
a miscellaneous assortment, which created an immense sensation on our
return home, and were declared to be both pretty and cheap; for, “when
maidens sue, men give like gods,” or geese, as the case may be; and
such winning looks of tender entreaty came from under those long dark
eye-lashes, that I really believe their owners could have persuaded us
to purchase a complete collection of poisonous reptiles, or a copy of
“_The Converted Bargee_.” They were not so successful with a morose old
gentleman, who could see no beauty in their “darlint collars;” and
they quite failed in an attempt, evidently persisted in for their
own amusement, to dispose of some beautiful little babies’-caps, to a
waspish old girl of sixty-five!

[Illustration: 160]

_Limerick_ is divided into three parts, the _Irish_ town, the _English_
town, and _Newtown Perry_ (so called after Mr. _Sexton Perry_, who
commenced it); and these are connected by bridges, of which the old
Thomond, hard by King Johns Castle, and the new Wellesley, said to have
cost 85,000 L., are interesting. The eccentricities of the workmen
must have added materially to the costliness of the latter structure,
inasmuch as they seem to have been Odd Fellows as well as very Free
Masons, who, instead of cementing stones and friendships, only turned
the former into stumbling blocks for the latter, by throwing them at
each other’s heads. Every day an animated faction-fight, between the
boys of _Clare_ and the boys of _Limerick_, was got up (instead of the
bridge), until at length it was found necessary to bring out an armed
force, to keep order on this _Pons Asinorum._

The main street of Newtown Perry, in which is _Cruise’s Hotel_, is a
long and handsome one; and what’s more, you may buy some good cigars in
it, a rare refreshment in Ireland.

We went to see the Cathedral (partly out of compliment to the memory of
good Bishop Jebb); but its iron gates were scrupulously locked. Perhaps,
had they been open, we should not have ventured within, for the building
had a grim, uninviting look, and seemed as though it despised us
thoroughly for daring to come when it wasn’t service-time. I should not
have been at all surprised, if “a variety of humbugs in cocked-hats” had
sallied forth to disperse us.

One of the lace-girls, for they had followed us, with reduced prices
and a fresh supply of their pretty work, told us, as we turned from the
gate, that “during the grate sage o’ Limerick there was a _mighty big
gun_ on the top of that church, that kept firing away, day and night.”
 Whereupon Frank said, that the interesting fact was highly creditable to
the Dean and Chapter, who generally deputed any hard work to one of the
_minor canons_.

In which of the sieges did the great gun thunder? Was it that of 1651,
when Ireton (whose character one never can identify with that beautiful
portrait engraved by Houbraken, for how could such a noble presence
belong to a man “melancholick and reserved,” 1 and so wanting in
personal courage, as to allow Mr. Holies to pull him by the nose? 2)
died before the walls from the plague? Or did it some forty years later
send forth its sulphurous and tormenting flames, against “bould
Giniral Ginkil,” and help to expedite that _Famous Treaty of Limerick_,
honourable alike to all?

     1 Clarendon’s _History of the Rebellion_, vol. iii., p. 362.

     2 Birch’s _Lives of Illustrious Persons_, p. 96.

We did not see nor hear anything of the great Pig-Factory, whereat one
million porkers are said to be annually slain. A stern Hebrew, of a
truculent taste, might possibly venture to settle in the vicinity; but
the music must be too high by several octaves for Christians of the
ordinary stamp.

I wonder whether the lady still lives in _Limerick_, who had the passage
of arms, or rather of legs, with General Sir Charles Napier. Being, in
the complimentary diction of her friends, “a remarkably fine woman,” or,
in the vulgar verbiage of irreverent youth “a regular slogger,” she was
wont to despise those of her fellow-creatures, who did not weigh
sixteen stone; and when the little soldier broke his leg, she remarked
contemptuously, “that she supposed some fly had kicked his poor
spindle-shanks!” It so happened that, just as he recovered, the large
lady met with a similar accident, breaking her leg. Napier was at no
loss to _improve_ the occasion. “Going to her house,” he says, “I told
the servant, how sorry I was to hear that a bullock had kicked his
mistress, and _injured its leg very much_; and that I had called, in
consequence, to inquire whether _her leg was at all hurt!_”

We left _Limerick_ for _Killarney_ by the mail train, at 11.30 a.m.,
entering the main line of the _Great Southern and Western Railway_ after
an hour’s travelling, progressing thereon as far as _Mallow_ (the town
upon the banks of _the Blackwater_, with its church, and trees, and
picturesque bridge, is a sweet little “study,” and looked as though the
sun shone there always); and thence by a branch line to _Killarney_,
which we reached at 4 p.m. We passed through a country (including
part of _the Golden Vale of Limerick_ 1) varied, fertile, and
well-cultivated, although two young officers (who looked at us, when
we entered their carriage at Mallow, as though I were at the crisis of
small-pox, and my friend a ticket-of-leave man) declared, as they woke
up just opposite an embankment, that the scenery was “beastly plain.”

     1 “It extends from Charleville to Tipperary by Kilfinnan
     nearly thirty miles, and again across from Ardpatrick to
     within a short distance of Limerick city, sixteen miles.”--
     _Saxon in Ireland_, p. 101.


[Illustration: 166]

There are words which, although unnoticed in the delightful treatises of
the Dean of Westminster 1 (may his fame increase!) have a strange
power upon the heart,--words which can ring for us, listening by the
brookside, and in arbours and meadow-haunts once more, the joy-bells
of a former mirth, or toll above past sorrows and buried hopes their
muffled and mournful peal. Breathes there, for instance, a man with
soul so dead, who can hear of a _primrose bank, or a cowslip-ball, or a
roly-poly pudding, or a sillabub, or a soap bubble, or a pantomime,
or of Robinson Crusoe_, and not feel himself, though it be but for a
moment, a happy child again? And do we not realise, on the other hand,
in all their brief intensity, our earliest sorrows, when memory suggests
to us those solemn sounds of woe, _measles, big-brother, ghosts,
dentists, castor-oil?_

     1 Dr. Trench, afterwards Archbishop of Dublin.

And who (to pass on to boyhood) can ever hear of _foot-ball_, especially
if Tom Brown speak, without longing for a kick to goal? Who can be
reminded of _the river_, and not remember those summer days, when, nude
and jubilant, we took first a preliminary canter among the haycocks, and
then “a header” into the deep, cold stream? or, again, those merry days
of winter, when, from our slippery skates we took--well, anything but “a
_header_” upon its glibly frozen surface? On the other hand, who does not
felicitate himself that he has arrived at man’s estate, when he recalls
those awful _impositions_ which he still believes have softened his
brain, or when his memory (not to particularise) is tingling at the idea
of _birch_, and contemplating a “_Visitation of Arms and Seats_” long
anterior to Mr. Bernard Burke’s?

Chiefly, perhaps, when we come to shave, or, more wisely, to cherish
instead of destroying (with many a grimace and groan), those healthful
adjuncts to manly beauty, “_quas Natura sud sponte suggerit_” is felt
this great influence of words. I have seen the cheek of a pallid
friend suddenly to assume the hues of a peony, the rich crimson tint of
dining-room curtains, at mention of the name of “_Rose_;” and I remember
how a Brasenose man, whose fresh ruddy countenance was much more
suggestive of Burton-upon-Trent than it was of Burton upon Melancholy,
and whom we called Chief Mourner, because he was always first after the
bier, would become colourless, and “pale his ineffectual fire,” at the
very sound of _Blanche_. Nor do I see any discredit in confessing my
own inability to hear certain sweet Christian-Names (sixteen in all, but
nine in particular), without emotions of a troublous, but delightful,

And as at this era, just as in the two preceding it, there are special
words which bring joy and animation to man (let me briefly instance
_gone-away, mark-woodcock, sillery, deux-temps)_, so there are terms
of terror (e.g. _jilt, tailor, Little-Go, lurit-server, poacher,
vulpicide_), of potent and cruel import.

I might amplify for my readers this etymological treat. I might
expatiate on the different effects produced by. the same word upon
different minds, _videlicet_, by the word _Tally-ho_, as heard at the
covert-side by sportsman or by muff, by the man who rides with hounds,
or the skirting path-finder who rides without them; but I have already
travelled by a too circuitous route to my conclusion,--that it is sweet
to hear the mere names of those things, which are pleasant and lovable
in themselves, and that to those who have seen the Irish lakes, the word
_Killarney_ is “a joy for ever.”

Coming so immediately from the wild grandeur of Connamara to these
scenes of tranquil beauty, I think that our first view of the Lakes, as
we left the Victoria Hotel, was rather a disappointment. The landscape
(or waterscape?) was so calm and still, that it had somewhat of a
dioramic effect, and one almost expected to see it move slowly onwards
to an accompaniment of organ music. But as the olive lends a zest to
generous wine, even so this tiny discontentment served but to enhance
our subsequent and full fruition. For, once upon the waters, you become
forthwith convinced, not only how impossible it is to exaggerate the
beauties of _Killarney_ (as well might a painter essay to flatter or
improve a sunset), but for pen or pencil to do them justice.

There is such infinite variety, from the white and golden lilies,
(which, close to land, look like miniature canoes, from which fairy
watermen have just sprung lightly ashore), to the towering heights
and aeries; such diversity of tint and outline in the mountains,
tree-clothed from crown to base; in those “islets so freshly fair;” and
in those dancing waters, which raise their smiling waves to kiss the
flowers and ferns; such contrasts, and yet such a perfect whole, of wood
and water, “harmoniously confused;” such transformations, wrought by
cloud and breeze, yet always such complete repose; that the eye can
never weary.

We hired a boat, and set forth for _Innisfallen_, just at that
delightful time between sunset and moonrise,

     “When in the crimson cloud of even
     The lingering light decays,
     And Hesper, on the front of Heaven,
     His glittering gem displays.”

Presently, the moon came up above those lofty hills, 1 and as bugle
music from the returning boats was wafted over the shining waters, and
lost itself among the mountains, we turned to each other, Frank and I,
at the same moment, with those thrilling lines,

     “O hark! O hear! how thin and clear;
     And thinner, clearer, farther going.
     O, sweet and far, from cliff and scar,
     The horns of Elf-land faintly blowing.
     Blow! let us hear the purple glens replying.
     Blow, bugle; answer echoes, dying, dying, dying!”

     1 In a _Trip to Ireland_, by a Cambridge M. A. (1858), there
     is written, gravely written, at page 18, the following most
     original simile: “Just over yon steep acclivity hangs a
     crescent moon, like a silver knocker on the star-studded
     gate of heaven, and one can almost fancy some angel-warder
     will, ere long, break the silence with the gracious
     invitation, ‘Come up hither.’”

Indeed, you would suppose that Tennyson must have written this
heart-stirring song at _Killarney_, did not the engraving prefixed to
it, represent so different and dismally inferior a scene. To look and
listen, as we rowed slowly onwards, seemed to be more happiness than
we, undeserving, could at once enjoy; and it required a contemplation of
meaner things, to convince us that the whole scene was not, in the words
of Ireland’s poet, writing at _Killarney_, and of it,--

     “One of those dreams, that by music are brought,
     Like a light summer-haze, o’er the poet’s warm thought.”

So we lit our pipes, and then the boatmen, whose colloquial powers
we generally evoked, as we tendered the calumet, or rather the
tobacco-pouch, of friendship, began to tell us, how, once upon a time,
it was all dry land about here; how some indiscreet, but anonymous
individual had removed the lid from an enchanted well; and how the
enchanted well had set to work, in consequence, and had flooded the
valley in which stood the palace of King O’Donoghue, so suddenly, that a
facetious sentinel had only just time to shout “All’s Well!” at the top
of his voice, when the waters, rising above his chin, and entering his
vocal orifice, put a stop to further elocution.

It does not appear, as ordinary minds might have expected, that the
prospects or spirits of _the Donoghue_ were at all damped by this
proceeding; and though his property seemed to be hopelessly “dipped,”
 and his capital to be sunk beyond all recovery, he contrived not only
to get his head above water, but even to ride the high horse afterwards.
For the boatmen say, that the royal edifice still remains, with all its
inmates, unaltered and unalterable, at the bottom of the lake, and there
the king entertains his court, with fish-dinners and aquatic fêtes on
an unprecedented scale of magnificence, save when requiring air and
exercise, he rides over the waters on a snowy steed, and turns the whole
locality into an Irish “Vale of White Horse.”

“And there’s plinty as has seen him, your ‘onnour,” (so said the bow-oar
historian), “and will take their swear of it--glowry to God!” Very
little glowry, thought I, from the perjury of these delectable
witnesses, who must have seen this quaint display of horsemanship
through a “summer haze” of whiskey, and been very deliriously drunk. But
our boat touches _Innisfallen_.

Everyone falls in love with this sweet little island. It has such grand,
old, giant trees, such charming glades and undulations, “green and of
mild declivity,” that here, childhood might play, manhood make love, and
old age meditate, unwearied, from morn to night. Mr. Grieve would, in
spite of his name, be joyful, to wander through its vistas and alleys
green, and find fresh scenes for his canvas. What dear little glens,
what “banks and braes” for the fairies. Can this be Titania coming
towards us over the moonlit sward, and leaning upon the arm of Oberon?
No; it is a couple of nuptial neophytes, looking so happy, that, as they
pass, I could take off my hat and cheer. Ah, if fair _lnnisfallen_ is so
beautiful to us poor bachelors by ordinary moonlight, what must it be to
Benedict, to the man in the moon of honey? What must be the happiness
of my Lord Castlerosse, the eldest son of the Lord of the Isles of
Killarney, who has just brought home his bride? 1

     1 August, 1858.

Were I ever constrained to be a monk and celibate, I should wish my
monastery to be at _lnnisfallen_, and I admire the taste of St. Finian
(an ancestor, I presume, of Mr. Finn, our estimable host at the Victoria
Hotel), who, some thirteen hundred years ago, selected this island for
his retreat. The picturesque ruins of an ancient abbey still attest,
that long after his time, men sought, in this sylvan solitude, that
peace which they found not in the world.

Sweet _Innisfallen!_ “thy praise is hymned by loftier harps than mine,”
 so lofty indeed, that my obtuse understanding is unable to read some of
their music, as, for instance, where Moore sings,

     “The steadiest light the sun e’er threw
     Is lifeless to one gleam of thine.”

And, therefore, in plain prose, but with a full heart, Good night!


A car and guide, as per order, were waiting for us, when we had
breakfasted next morning, and we set forth for the _Gap of Dunloe_.
Entering upon the main road, we seemed to be in a drying-ground of
immense proportions, with its perpetual posts and endless clothes-lines,
extending along the wayside for miles. But it proved to be a
continuation of that faithless messenger, the Atlantic telegraph, on
its way between _Valencia_ and the rail. Passing the ruins of _Aghadoe_,
church, castle, and tower, and shortly afterwards those of _Killaloe_,
we cross the river _Latme_, over a charming old bridge, and get views of
the great _Tomies Mountain_, and also of _Macgillicuddy’s Reeks_. Miles,
our guide, a most intelligent and civil one, here told us the story, or
rather one of the stories, concerning the latter mountains.

It seems that Mr. Macgillicuddy, a gentleman of extensive estates in
this neighbourhood, went to visit some friends in England, and took with
him an Irish servant, more prone to patriotism than truth. Whatever he
saw among the Saxons was just nothing at all, at all, to what might
be seen in Ireland. In short, he would have been a most appropriate
attendant upon that Hibernian, who, being asked why he wept at sight
of Greenwich Hospital, replied with sorrowful emotion, “Ah, sure, the
buildings there remind me of mee dear father’s stables!”

Now it befel that the English gentleman, possessing a large extent
of rich meadow land, took especial delight in his hay-stacks, and
his valet, sympathising with his master’s vanity (as all good valets
should), soon led the Irishman to look at the stack-yard, expecting to
see him mightily astonished; but Paddy, having gazed around with the
most sublime indifference, coolly said, “It’s a nice bit o’ grass you’ve
brought home here for present use; now let us have a peep at the ricks.”

“Ricks!” exclaimed the Englishman, “why these be they.”

“Well, then,” says Paddy, “I’ll just tell ye: there’s about enough hay
in this stack-yard to make the bands for thatching my master’s ricks.
Happen” (this he added as though he wished to be liberal, and to pay
his companion a compliment), “there might be a couple of yards or so to

You may imagine that when, in the following year, the English valet came
with his master to return the visit at Killarney, he was not long
before he requested his Irish friend to favour him with a view of the
haystacks. To be sure he would, with all the pleasure in life, and
sorry he was to be prevented by circumstances (over which, he might have
added, he had every control) from making the inspection before evening.
Accordingly, in the dusk and gloom of twilight, he took the Englishman
forth, and showed him, dim in the distance, this lofty mountain range.
“There are _our_ ricks,” said he.

In that belief the astonished stranger slept; and ever since that time
men call these hills _Macgillicuddy s Reeks!_

Mr. Miles, in the next place, made our fingers to itch, eyes to strain,
and mouths to water, as he told of red deer among the mountains, and of
woodcocks in their season, twenty couple to be bagged _per diem_.
Thus conversing, we drew near to _the Gap_, and to the cottage of Mrs.
Moriarty, _née_ Kearney, and grand-daughter of the beautiful Kate. But
it is by no means a case of

     “O matre pulchrâ Filia pulchrior!”

and we did not hesitate to decline the proffered draught of goat’s milk
and whiskey, although we implicitly believed Mrs. M.’s assertion, that,
if we drank it, we should want nothing more throughout the remainder of
the day.

Here, too, we overtook a car from _Tralee_, laden with pretty girls and
a few young men (how we hated the latter for being in such high spirits,
thought them vulgar snobs when they laughed, and coarsely familiar
whenever they spoke!)--not from any rapidity of pace on our part, but
because the Tralee horses judiciously jibbed at anything like a rise in
the road; and then off jumped the pretty girls, like doves from eave to
earth, but being, in their peculiar grace and pleasant coo, immeasurably
superior to pigeons.

[Illustration: 180]

At the entrance to _the Gap_, the scene was a most lively and attractive
one. Here the cars are sent back, as the journey through the Pass must
be made on ponies or afoot, and there was quite a merry little congress
of visitors, guides, cars, and steeds. At length, the procession
started, and a very picturesque one,--_voici!_

_The Gap of Dunloe_ is a wild ravine, a defile through the mountains (on
the right are _the Reeks_, and on the left the _Tomies, Glena, and
the Purple Mountain_), which, rising on either side, dark, stern, and
sterile, with no great interval between, impart a solemn grandeur to the
Pass. The river _Loe_ flows beneath the huge blocks of stone which have
fallen from the rocks above--heard, but not seen, except in the small
lakes which occur at intervals, and which, still and gloomy, add much
to this impressive scene. One of these is called _the Serpent’s Lake_,
because St. Patrick, having caught the last snake in Ireland, put it
into a big box (for reasons best known to himself), and flung it into
this pool.

The most striking thing we saw as we went through _the Gap_ were some
snow-white goats on the lofty summit of _the Purple Mountain_; for the
latter really is of a distinct purple tint (not from heather, but from
the colour of the stone); and the contrast in the sunlight was very

Frank insisted upon seeing an eagle, and continually pointed to the
precipices above, believing that he descried the king of birds. Miles
did condescend to say that one of the objects to which Frank drew our
attention was not so very unlike at a distance, but that the resemblance
was lost as you approached the reality--a piece of rock not less than
twenty feet high. At last we actually beheld a very large bird soaring
towards us with considerable dignity. Frank was delighted; and when
Miles uttered the dissyllable “raven,” I certainly thought he would have
hit him. There are eagles in this neighbourhood beyond a doubt (though
Frank surveyed it with an incredulous and sarcastic air); but they are
not very likely to be much at home when bugles are playing and cannons
roaring from morn to dewy eve.

Emerging from _the Gap_, we were “to save a mile, and see the best of
the scenery,” and to effect this, we were taken over a country, which
is, I dare say, a pleasant one for Mrs. Moriarty’s goats, but to bipeds
in boots (and one must be neat, you know, with so many pretty girls
about), is by no means of an agreeable character. To derive consolation
from the calamities of others is humiliating, but natural; “_il y a
toujours quelque chose_,” says the French cynic, “_qui nous ne déplait
point dans les malheurs d’autrui_;” and I found, I am ashamed to say,
considerable refreshment in surveying the distress of a portly old
gentleman, who, impinging a good deal on the craggiest parts, “larded
the lean earth as he walked along,”

                         “and panted hard,
     As one who feels a nightmare in his bed,
     When all the house is mute.”

I saw from the knolls and undulations, which diversified the surface of
his enormous shoes, that his _Pilgrims Progress_ had a good deal to do
with _Bunyan’s_, although his adjurations were not of that pious kind,
which would have issued from the lips of the “preaching tinker,” and
the deities, to whom he referred in his affliction, were, principally,
_Zounds and Jingo_.

But we soon found a truer solace in the view of _Coom Dhuv_, the Black
Valley, and in listening to the roar of its mountain streams, which,
rising and falling upon the breeze, sounded as though some monster train
bore giants over the hills, at express speed, with Gog and Magog for
Guard and Stoker!

Lo! the dark valley darkens, and its foaming waterfalls seem to whiten
beneath the low black clouds; and we stay not to visit _the Logan
Stone_, which a child may move, but nothing under an earthquake could
dislodge; but hasten, by _Lord Brandons Cottage_, to _the Upper Lake_,
where, a boat awaiting us, we embark for _Roknaines Island._

[Illustration: 185]

Here, before a glowing fire, a fresh-caught salmon, cut into steaks,
was broiling on arbutus skivers; and the founder of the feast, an
Irish gentleman, whom we brought from the shore in our boat, hospitably
invited us to postpone our luncheon until his guests arrived. Hungry,
and anxious to proceed, we declined his courteous offer; but we should
not have done so, had we been aware that he was awaiting the delightful
party from _Tralee_. Alas, just as we had commenced our repast, and the
boat so preciously freighted was descried in the distance, our pluvial
fears were realised,

     “And, in the scowl of heaven, each face
     Grew dark as we were speaking.”

It was piteous to see those girls come ashore, with the gentlemen’s
overcoats enveloping their fairy forms, and protecting their best
bonnets; and I never experienced so strong a desire in my life to be
transformed into a gig-umbrella.

Suddenly the weather brightened, but not so the prospects of the pretty
pic-nic. There was a brief colloquy between master and men, sounds
of surprise and disappointment, not loud but deep, and then a general
laughter, but dismally artificial; for the knives, and the plates, and
the wine, and the bread, everything, in fact, except the salmon, just
ready in its hot perfection, had been sent to _the wrong Island!_

[Illustration: 187]

Thither, to our grim despair, went forth the Belles from Tralee; and,
by the bones of St. Lumbago of Sciatica, I could have plunged into the
flood, and followed in their lee, had I not been cognisant of a certain
“alacrity in sinking,” which prevents the simultaneous removal of both
my legs from the bottom. What would I not have given, to have changed
places with the coxswain! I should have felt proud and happy as he who
steered the immortal Seven at Henley, or as Edgar the Peaceable, when,
keeping his court at Chester, and having a mind to go by water to the
monastery of St. John Baptist, he was rowed down the Dee in a barge by
eight Kings, himself sitting at the helm. 1

We mourned awhile, but the spirit of youth endures not to sorrow long.
It bends low, but it will not break. It rises again in all its freshness
after a glass of bitter beer, or just a mouthful of whiskey; and we soon
looked our affliction in the face like men, and played the nightingale
upon our empty bottles. I have studied somewhat sedulously to imitate,
with a moistened cork upon glass, “de nightingirl, de lark, de trush”
 (as the ever-to-be-retained Von Joel hath it), and the performance was
so successful, that two finches perched, attentively, within a yard of
our heads, while the boatmen listened as admiringly as the Australian
Diggers to the English lark; 2 and a newly-mar-ried couple, deliciously
embowered above us, conversed as they sat on the green, and said,
that “they had never quite believed the assertion that Ireland had no
nightingales.” But Frank, unhappily, dispelled all these allusions, by
trying his unpractised hand, and by educing such irregular and feeble
chirpings, as would have disgraced a superannuated sparrow, or a
tom-tit, hopelessly wrestling with an aggravated form of diphtheria.

     1 Rapin, vol. i. p. 106.

     2 See the exquisite description in _It is Never too Lute to
     Mend,_ p. 359.

The trees, beneath whose melancholy boughs we had our meal and music,
had been disgracefully hacked! and more foul copies of “_the Initials_”
 were to be found here (with woodcuts, calf, lettered) than in all Mr.
Mudie’s Library. If I had my will, I would teach those trenchant snobs,
who, wherever they go, dishonour England, to sing their “_Through the
Wood, Laddie_,” to a much more doleful tune, made fast for a few hours
in the stocks; or I would endeavour so far to revive in their breasts
(if they have any breasts), that Druidical veneration for Baal,
which once prevailed in Ireland, and which would induce them to cut
_themselves_ with their knives, and to worship the trees instead
of whittling them. Or, in illustration of another Druidical tenet,
metempsychosis, it would be gratifying to see their transmigration into
woodpeckers, condemned for ever, like the bird in the fable, to seek
their food between bark and bole.

We would fain have lingered among these pleasant isles, green with
their abundant foliage, and contrasting admirably with the stern hills,
towering over them, and so encircling this _Upper Lake_, that you see no
place of egress, until you are close upon it. As for comparing it with
the other lakes, or with Derwent-Water, as the fashion is,1 it ever
appears to me the most ungrateful folly, to depreciate or to extol one
scene of beauty by commending or condemning another; and when a man
begins with, “Ah, but you should see so-and-so,” or “I assure you, my
dear fellow, this is dreadfully inferior to what-d’ye-call-it,” I always
most heartily wish him at the locality which he affects to admire. What
nasty, niggardly, uncomfortable minds there are in this bilious
world! How many men, who, forgetting that excellent round-hand copy,
“Comparisons are odious,” are never happy but in detecting infelicities,
and only strong when carping at weaknesses. Show them a pretty
girl,--“she wants animation,” or “she wants repose,”--“she is
overdressed,” or “her clothes, poor thing, must have been made in the
village, and put on with a fork.”

     1 Any one who takes delight in such comparisons may consult
     _Forbes’s Ireland,_ vol. i., p. 229, or Mr. Curwen, whose
     conclusion is, “Killarney for a landscape, Windermere for a

“You should see the youngest Miss Thingembob.” Tell them of a good day’s
covert-shooting you have had in my Lord’s preserves,--out comes a note
from their friend the Duke, who has beaten you by sixteen woodcocks.
Trot out your new hunter, and “Oh, yes, he’s a nice little horse, but
will never carry _you_ with those forelegs. You must come over and look
at an animal I’ve just got down from Tattersall’s, by Snarler out of a
Humbug mare, and well up to twenty stone, sir.”

It would perplex even these censorious gentlemen to find any fault with
_the Long Range_ (which has nothing to do with Sir William Armstrong’s
Guns,--except that _the Cannon Rock_ at the entrance and _the Gun Rock_
by Brickeen Island have some resemblance to artillery)--that beautiful
river, which leads from the Upper to the Middle and Lower Lakes. To
float between its banks of dark grey stone, from which the green trees
droop their glossy foliage, though, like the Alpine tannen,

     “Rooted in barrenness, where nought below
     Of soil supports them;”

and the purple heath and the Royal Osmund, “half fountain and half
tree,” lean over the brimming waters, to greet the lily and the pale
lobelia, was a dream of happiness such as the Laureate dreamed, when--

     “Anight his shallop, rustling thro’
     The low and bloomed foliage, drove
     The fragrant glistening deeps, and clove
     The citron-shadows in the blue.”

You enter _the Long Range_ at _Colmans Eye_, and shortly afterwards come
to _Colmans Leap_. This Colman, once upon a time, was the lord of _the
Upper Lake_, and, instead of following the example of his namesake, who,
as a saint and peacemaker, assisted St. Patrick in converting Ireland to
Christianity, spent most of his time in quarrelling with the O’Donoghue,
and in provoking him to single combat. Being in a minority at one of
these divisions, it appeared to him a prudential course to “hook it,”
 and, closely pursued by his adversary, he took this celebrated jump over
the river, which goes by the name of _Colmans Leap_. The guides show
you his footprints on the rock, and they narrate, moreover, that the
O’Donoghue, being a little out of condition (dropsical, perhaps, from
his long residence under water), came up to the stream a good deal
blown, and would not have it at any price.

Now we pass by the mountain of the _Eagles Nest_, a glorious throne
for the royal bird, and listen, at the _Station of Audience_, to the
marvellous, manifold echoes of the bugler’s music, as he wakes the
soul and the scene with his “tender strokes of Art,”--now wild and
spirit-stirring, as though kings hunted in some distant forest, and
now dying, so sweetly, so softly, that we know not when they cease, but

     As one that from a casement leans his head,
     When midnight bells cease ringing suddenly,
     And the old year is dead.”

Then our boat, swiftly as an arrow, shoots the rapids of the Old Weir
Bridge, and, having lingered awhile, in the pool beyond, to admire and
sketch, we leave the Middle Lake (reserved for our morrow’s excursion)
on the right, and pass by the Islands of _Dinish_ and _Brie keen_ to the
entrance of the Lower Lake.

I have said nothing, and can say nothing worthily, of the trees, which
grow by the waters of _Killarney_,--oak, yew, birch, hazel holly, the
wild apple, and the mountain-ash, with its berries of vivid red, growing
confusedly one into the other, but _en masse_ of faultless unity. And
among them, brightest and greenest of them all, the arbutus! Wherever
you see it, it gleams amid the duller tints, refreshing as a child’s
laugh on a rainy day, or (as Frank suggested) a view-halloo in the
coverts of a vulpicide, or the ace of trumps in a bad hand at whist.
Like Xerxes, we fell in love with the arbutus (Herodotus and Ælian say
that it was “a plane tree of remarkable beauty,” but this assertion is
self-contradictory, and, if it were not so, I am not, I hope, so bereft
of the spirit of the nineteenth century, as to care for historical
facts); and though we could not pour wine in honour of our idol, as the
Romans were wont to do, we drank our pale ale admiringly beneath its
branches, and made a libation (principally of froth) to its roots.

And now by the lovely bay of _Glena_, we enter the Lower Lake. In front
of Lord Kenmare’s Cottage, to which visitors have access, 1 numerous
boats are moored; and the bright green sward about this pretty rustic
retreat, contrasts remarkably with the under-robes of brilliant scarlet,
which are sweeping slowly over it, while, from the walks above, gay
little bonnets flash among the trees, and the cock-pheasants and other
ornithological specimens, now worn in the hats of Englishwomen, seem to
rejoice, reanimate, in their leafy homes.

     1 The public are greatly indebted to Lord Kenmare and Mr.
     Herbert for their indulgent liberality.

Here again, opposite the sublime mountains of Glena, so fairly dight
from crown to foot in their summer garb of green, we awake and listen to
the echoes, until “the big rain comes dancing to the” lake, and we
row hastily homeward, changing places half way with the boatmen, and
astonishing them considerably with an Oxford “spirt.”

It was pleasant, when we reached the Victoria, and had “cleaned
ourselves” (as housemaids term a restoration of the toilette), to find
letters from England, to hear that the good wheat was shorn and stacked,
and the mowers “in among the bearded barley.” There was still a short
interval, when these letters were answered, to elapse before dinner, and
this I occupied in perusing the account of “_the Prince of Wales’s visit
to Killarney_” in April, 1858.

Now Heaven preserve our dear young Prince from that excessive
loyalty, which loves to “chronicle small beer.” The historian told how
“_alighting from his vehicle, the Prince, who seems passionately fond
of walking, proceeded on foot for a mile or two, with gun in hand,
firing from time to time at bird, leaf, or fissure in the rock, in the
exuberance of those animal spirits, which belong to his time of life_,”
 but which must be somewhat perilous to those of his Royal Mother’s liege
subjects, who may be wandering in the immediate vicinity. Then we are
informed, how that, “_His Royal Highness and party drove on to the
Victoria Hotel, with rather keen appetites_;” how he visited “_the tomb
of O’ Sullivan, and inspected it with much gravity of demeanour_,” as
though to ordinary minds there was something in sepulchres irresistibly
comic; how “_having drunk in all the glories of this wondrous scene_,”
 (the view from Mangerton) “_the Prince amused himself for some time in
rolling large stones into the Devil’s Punch Bowl_” for the satisfaction,
doubtless, of hearing them “go flop;” how when he went to Church on
Sunday, “_the Venerable Archdeacon read prayers, and seemed, as it were,
reinvigorated by his presence_,” which suggests the idea of a subsequent
jig with the clerk in the vestry, or of an Irish chassez down the
centre aisle; and how, to make a final extract, Mr. Carroll, the
tailor, presented His Royal Highness with “_a whole suit of Irish tweed,
admirably calculated for mountain excursions, and with the texture
of which, as well as the fit,--which Mr. Carrolls eye hit off to
a nicety_”--does this mean that Mr. C. “took a shot” at the royal
dimensions?--“_the Prince was much pleased_.”

I remember nothing of the _table d’hôte_ that evening, except that a
Cambridge man, who sat next to me, remarked of some miserable carving
hard by, that “the gentleman seemed well up in _Comic_ Sections;” and
that a boy of seventeen, with a violent shooting-coat, and a few red
bristles in the vicinity of his mouth, officiating as “Vice,” and
looking it, mumbled three hurried words as grace after meat, in the
presence of four English clergymen, and two Roman Catholic priests.


[Illustration: 198]

HAPPY and expectant, as two young cricketers, who, having made no “end
of a score” in their first innings, go forth a-gain to the wicket, we
started next morning in the _currus militarius_, or Car of Miles, for
another joyous day at _Killarney_. Stopping at the entrance of the town,
we went into the Cathedral (R.C.), a very handsome edifice of beautiful
proportions, in the severe, Early-English style. The carving in stone
over the high altar, in the Chapel of the Sacrament, and especially in
the exquisite symmetry of the figures in the arches of the doorways, is
exceedingly chaste and clear, and some Connamara marble about one of
the lesser altars has a very pleasing effect. Not so the numerous
confessionals, which, with their new wood and bright drapery, are
somewhat suggestive of wardrobes, and detract, as novelties always do,
from the ecclesiastical aspect of the interior.

Hard by, upon the hill, stands the spacious Asylum for the Insane,
sadly reminding us of poor Pugin, who designed the Cathedral; and,
less painfully, of Swift’s last act of penitent charity, the bequest of
£12,000, nearly all he had to bequeath, for the erection of a similar

_Egans Bog-oak and Arbutus warehouse_ well deserves a visit. Here you
learn from a ledger, opening, as ledgers will, at a brilliant galaxy
of noble names, which makes a commoner’s eyes wink, how the Right
Honourable the Earl of Cash bought an elaborate table for my Lady’s
boudoir, and how Rear-Admiral Sir Bowline Bluff made purchase of a
Backgammon board, marvellously inlaid, over which I venture to surmise,
he has ere this discoursed in stormy language, when the gout and the
dice have been against him. Let us tread, softly and at a distance, in
these illustrious footprints, and buy our meek memorials of Killarney.

Hence onward to the _Tore Cascade_, descending its silver staircase amid
green trees and graceful ferns,--the latter including, as we were told,
the rare _Trichomanes speciosum_. Here there is a lovely landscape of
the _Middle and Lower Lakes_, and there were seats wherefrom to enjoy
it, until those despicable snobs, who had mutilated the trees in
_Rohnaines Island_, threw them (sweet gentlemen!) down the waterfall.
And it’s O for a _tête-à-tête_ with the principal performer, in the
unbroken seclusion of a twenty-four foot ring!

But we must think more wisely, as we approach the solemn ruins of
_Mucross_, than of punching our fellow-creatures’ heads, though even
here upon the very tombs, the miscreants have been at work,--disporting
themselves, like filthy ghouls and vampires--and scrabbling upon the
stones, as madmen will.

So much remains, both of Church and Abbye, that imagination readily
supplies what is gone. Here in the Choir, where that ill-tempered
looking tourist is reprimanding his wife for giving a beggar twopence,
the brothers of St. Francis of Assisi were wont to sing holy psalms; and
there in the Cloisters, where those two gaily-dressed French girls are
admiring the gigantic yew-tree, and wondering what has become of “_ce
cher Jules_,” (whom I apprehend to be a lover, but who comes round the
corner, a poodle, dreadful to contemplate!) there

     “Ever-musing melancholy dwelt,”

and there paced the pale Franciscan, in the sombre habit of his order,
and girded with his hempencord.

Laugh on, sweet Stephanie, joyous Josephine (I heard their names from
Mamma in search); but be not cruel with your charms, for Love, unloved,
can still change men to monks,--forlorn and wretched, though in crowded
streets, as he, of whom Percy sang:

     “Within these holy cloysters long
     He languisht, and he dyed
     Lamenting of a lady’s love,
     And ‘playning of her pride.”

There are some beautiful ferns among and about these ruins, but being
a very poor Polypodian, or Scolopendrian (or whatever may be
the scientific title of a Fernist), I only recognised the
Hart’s-tongue,--with its fructification arranged like a miniature plan
of ships in order of battle,--and of this I gathered some very fine
fronds, and put them in my hat, as will appear hereafter.

Passing through Mr. Herberts beautiful demesne, by his pleasant home
(note the St. John’s-wort by the wayside), his offices, and yards,
wherein the newest agricultural implements cause one to sigh more than
ever for landlords, resident and liberal as he,--by the copper-mine,
rich and productive until the envious waters interfered, we reach the
Middle Lake, and our boat, waiting for us, thereupon.

Tourists, who have written about the Irish Lakes have made but little
mention of this _Middle, Mucross, or Tore Lake_. Like the youngest of
three fair sisters, she is kept in the background by their proximity
and prior claims, being, moreover, an unobtrusive, gentle beauty, of a
subdued and retiring air, not demanding the admiration she deserves. But
were there such a scene of tranquil loveliness six miles from any of
our great manufacturing towns, it would be a refreshment, and a blessing
evermore, to thousands of our weary artisans, just as “the Pool,” by
Sutton Coldfield, (one of the prettiest spots in England) is the holiday
resort and resting-place of the working men of Birmingham.

Leaving this sweet seclusion, and rowing under the picturesque bridge
which connects the islands of Dinisk and Brickeen, we come once more
into the bay of Glena, and the “cottage near a wood.” Here, climbing the
hill, and choosing a position which commanded a most delightful view,
we enjoyed the sandwich and scene. Descending, we were horrified to hear
that “whetstone of the teeth,” the bagpipes, droning away close to our
boat, and abominable to both of us as a dialogue between connubial cats,
or a class of schoolboys pointing slate pencils. But “_Ars longa_,” art
is long-headed; and so we tossed up which of us, preceding the other,
should go down, pay the piper, and keep him in conversation until his
friend had reached the boat. This service of conspicuous gallantry fell
to me, and if ever man deserved the Victoria Cross, I won it there and

They say, but I don’t believe it, that the red-deer, who inhabit these
mountains, admire this infernal machine; and, in proof thereof, the Rev.
Mr. Wright, in his Guide to Killarney, quotes the following anecdote
from Playford’s History of Music:--

“As I travelled some years ago near Royston, I met a herd of stags,
about twenty, on the road, following a bagpipe and violin, which when
the music played they went forward, when it ceased they all stood still,
and in this manner they were brought out of Yorkshire to Hampton Court.”
 Next we rowed to _O’Sullivans Cascade_, foaming down its triple falls;
and here finding some shamrock, and feeling very Irish, we liberally
adorned our coats and hats with it. To our surprise and disappointment,
upon our return, the boatmen appeared to be perfectly indifferent to
this enthusiastic display of their national emblem; and it subsequently
transpired, to our very severe discomfort, that we had ornamented our
persons with some vulgar trefoil, which did not resemble the shamrock
at all, at all. 1 It vexed one’s vanity to have performed unconsciously
both a Guy and a Jack-in-the-Green; and the effect produced reminded me
of the answer of a Nottinghamshire labourer, in reply to my inquiries
concerning his friend, “To tell you the truth, Sir, Bill’s been and
married his mestur, and it’s _gloppened him a good-ish bit!_”

     1 “We believe it to be an ascertained fact, that the
     shamrock of the old Irish was not a trefoil at all, but the
     wood-sorrel, _Oxalis acetosella_”--Gardener? Chronicle, 7th
     August, 1858.

Leaving to our right the numerous islets of the Lower Lake (there are
thirty-three of them in all), and the ruins of Ross Castle, once the
home of the O’Donoghues, we pass by fair Innisfallen, and, reaching our
landing-place, separate awhile; Frank starting afresh to fish, and I
returning to the inn.

In a cozy corner of the coffee-room, I began now to transcribe a little
poem of a sentimental kind, which had suggested itself to my thoughts
during our excursion. Looking up from time to time, as Poets (like
poultry) will, when drinking at the Pierian stream, I was much offended
to see several persons in different parts of the room, evidently amusing
themselves at my expense. A joke loses its festive character, when
it falls upon one’s own head, especially when that head is profusely
crowned, as I soon discovered mine to be, with fronds of the
Hart’s-tongue Fern,--collected at Mucross, but entirely forgotten,
until, bending lower than usual, I saw--

     “frondes volitare caducas.”

I am afraid that I did not wear my chaplet so gracefully as Dante his,
in that beautiful picture by Scheffer: on the contrary, I felt quite
as ill at ease and uncomfortable as an Oxford friend, who, having won a
steeple-chase last winter in France, was sent for by the Préfêt of the
place, and _crowned with a laurel wreath!_ What a pleasing harmony there
must have been between his Bays and his dirty Boots!

Completing my manuscript, and leaving it in our joint-stock
writing-case, I took a walk to the Post-Office at Killarney; and I do
not think that it was at all gentlemanly in Francis to tamper with my
poetry, on his return from fishing; erasing the alternate lines, and
substituting rubbish of his own, as follows:--


     When the pale moon streaks
     _My Macgillicuddy’s 1 cheeks,_
     And the day-god shoots
     _Through the shutters, oped by Boots;_

          1 He persisted in addressing me by this extraordinary
          appellative throughout our sojourn at Killarney.

     And from sweet lnnisfallen,--
     _Jolly place to walk with gal in!_
     Which so lovely, and so lone, is,--
     _Why, it ain’t, its full of conies_, 1

     Hark! a voice comes o’er the wave,
     _Now, old Buffer, up and shave!_
     As I watch the Heron’s wing,--
     _More fool you, you’ll cut your chin!_

     Sailing stately, slowly flapping,--
     _Better work away with Mappin!_
     Ah, sweet morning’s face is fair,--
     _Not so yours, soap’d like that ere!_

     And she dons her summer garment,--
     _Get on yours, you lazy varmint!_
     Jubilant in all her graces,
     _As if going to Hampton races,_

     Smiling, proud in all her riches,--
     _Where’s that fellow put my-?_
     This good news to man narrating--
     _“Plaze, your ‘onour, breakfast’s waiting,_
     &c. &c. &c.

          1 Or if it isn’t, “Rabbit Island,” which is close to, ought
          to be. See remarks by the Aurora Borealis in the Christmas
          number of the _Edinburgh Review_; Mrs. Hemans, _Racing
          Calendar_, vol. 408; and Bendigo, passim.--Frank C.

But Frank is one of those men with whom it is impossible to be angry;
and if he were standing in his thickest shooting-boots, on your most
susceptible corn, he would smile in your face with such exceeding
suavity, that you would almost consider the proceeding funny. So we sat
down to discuss, in affectionate unison, the delicious trout which he
had caught (how could I eat his fish and be sulky?), amplifying our
ordinary allowance of sherry, in honour of the Naiads and Dryads in
general, and of the Naiads, who look after the trout, in particular.

These libations, assisted by potheen and pipe, make us very cheery
in the smoke-room. Frank declared that I talked for two hours about
Absenteeism to a Lincolnshire farmer, who was fast asleep; and I
certainly heard him discoursing, with a mimetic brogue, upon the state
of Ireland, as though he had lived in the country all his life. So,
desirous to keep ourselves “within the limits of becoming mirth,” and
not to induce that metaphysical state, “_quand celui qui parle n’entend
rien, et celui qu’écouté n’entend plus_,” we judiciously retired to

“That very night, ere gentle sleep,” with “slumber’s chain had bound
me,” and “as I lay a-thinking,” I composed a little drama, for the
benefit of Frank; and, rising early next morning, brought out upon the
stage, or rather upon the passage,--



Frank and the Boots.


_The scene, like the hero, is laid in bed. The room is strewed with
wearing apparel in great disorder. The appearance of the candle suggests
the probability of its having been extinguished by a blow from a
clothes-brush. Soft music from the Somnambula which changes to “Who’s
dat Knocking at the Door?”_

_Frank, (awaking)_ Who’s there?

_Boots_. Sure, your ‘onour, it’s Boots.

_Frank._ Well, what do you want?

_Boots._ Plaze, yer ‘onour, man’s brought yer a hagle.

_Frank._ Who sent him? How much does he want for it? _Boots_. Miles, yer
‘onour, Miles the guide. The man’ll take tin shillings, yer ‘onour; and
he’s an illigant hagle, with a power o’ bake.

_Frank_. Tell him I’ll have it, and let him wait till I come down.

_Boots_. I will, yer ‘onour.


(Pulled aside by Frank, to facilitate conversation)


_Interval of half an hour, during which I go to bed in high spirits, and
Frank dreams that the Zoological Society have offered him a hundred for
his new purchase._


_Scene, as before._

_Frank, (aroused by renewed knocking)_ Now then! what the deuce is up?

_Boots_. There’s another man, yer ‘onour, wants to sell you a hagle.

_Frank_. Oh, hang it! Tell him I’ve got one, and ask the gentleman in
Number Twenty whether he would like to buy it.

_Boots_. I will, yer ‘onour.


_Boots. (Returning after a putative intervieiv with No. 20.)_ Plaze, yer
‘onour, the gintleman’s bin and bought him, and I was to give his best
love to yer ‘onour, and his hagle’s waiting in the passage, to fight yer
‘onour’s hagle for a new hat.

During this latter sentence, my voice, I regret to say, went back to its
ordinary tone; Frank was out of bed in an instant; and I had only just
time to regain No. 20, when a heavy boot went by with great velocity,
falling, as Frank afterwards told me, at the feet of an astonished
elderly clergyman, who, coming out of his room at that instant, and
seeing my friend in his cuttysark, evidently inferred an escape from the
asylum, and bolted immediately, self and door.

But sure enough, when we came down to breakfast, there was a veritable
eagle at the door of the hotel, wild with anger, in an iron cage, and
the property of a small tourist, who was starting for Connamara
with this delectable companion, a large Arbutus table, ditto case
of Killarney ferns, and a hillock of general luggage. With these
_impedi-menta_, his estates appeared to be sufficiently in-cumbered, and
I was not surprised that he declined to purchase a shillelagh, 1 with a
head about the size of his own, although solemnly assured that “it had
been cut in the dark moon”--an inestimable advantage doubtless, though
to me the meaning of the sentence is as obscure as the luminary in

[Illustration; 212]

Alas, alas! our own luggage is now brought down, and we are awaiting our
bill somewhat curiously, after the recent revival in the _Times_ 2
of complaints, commenced by Arthur Young in 1776, and repeated by Mr.
Wright in 1822, on the subject of Killarney _charges_. But we both spoke
in favour of the bill, and it was carried through the house (_viâ_ the
lobby, to the bar) without any division, except that of the sum total
between Frank and myself. You cannot have guides, and horses, and boats,
and buglers (especially where the demand is temporary and irregular),
without paying highly for them; but these expenses are fairly stated
before they are incurred, and decrease materially if you prolong your
stay (as we would fain have done), and begin to find your own amusement,
afoot, or in a boat.

     1 Shillelagh is, or was, a famous wood in Wicklow, from
     which the timber was brought for the roof of Westminster

     2 In the autumn of 1858.

Farewell, _Killarney!_--How often, far away from thy scenes of beauty,
have I, leaning back with closed eyes, beheld thee, pictured by memory,
and engraved by fond imagination! How often have I essayed to realize
thee in the subtle semblances of Art!--How often, in the clouds of
sunset (and here most happily), have I rejoiced to trace thy tranquil
waters and thy tree-clad hills!--and still, as some lover, clasping with
a sigh the likeness of his darling, yearns for her living self, so long
I for that happy hour when I shall return to thee, gladly, as thine
eagles soaring homeward, and see thee face to face.


The omnibus took us to the town of Killarney, and there we mounted the
Glengarriff Car. People do not look particularly wise when seated, in
a public street, upon a vehicle to which no horses are attached; but
we were anxious to secure our places on “the Lake side,” and being
surrounded by the pretty dealers in arbutus-ware (there were two, who,
I am convinced, could have persuaded _St. Senanus_ to buy a set of
blue-bottle studs in bog-oak), we did not feel at all uncomfortable.
But even Irish cars must fulfil their mission; and we started at last,
bristling with paper knives.

Halting awhile, to take up passengers at the Mucross Hotel, we were
again besieged by another bevy of these fancy timber merchants; and here
a little scene occurred, which, however trivial it may appear from my
feeble account of it, was very touching in reality. A woman, who had
been, you could see, as pretty in her prime as the prettiest of her
younger companions, but whose beauty was fast fading away, came and
offered her basket to a coarse specimen of the genus “_Gent_,” who was
seated on our side of the car, and who very abruptly, and thoughtlessly
I dare say,--

     “But evil is wrought for want of thought,
     As well as want of heart,”--

repulsed her, saying, “that he should buy from the young uns if he
bought at all.” I saw a look of intense pain pass over her face, as
though she were hurt at heart; and, although the others made way for
her, with sweet sisterly kindness, when Frank called her to him, and
though he bought her most elaborate bracelets, and I a box of cunning
workmanship, designed, I believe, for gloves, but subsequently used by
a small niece of mine as a bed for her youngest doll, the sliding lid,
drawn up to the sleeper’s chin, forming a counterpane of unrivalled
splendour; although, I say, we did all in our power to comfort, the
storm-clouds, when we left, hung heavily over her, and the first
rain-drops glistened in her pale-blue eyes.

Take heed, ye maidens beautiful (I feel a little saturnine this morning,
and shall put no more lemon in my punch, whatever Francis may say), be
ye Belles of the Park or the Pattern, to this extremity ye must come at
last! You, Lady Constance Plantagenet, who promised to waltz with me at
the County Ball, and pretended to have forgotten (though it was written
upon those gem-studded tablets), when Lord Hanwell (he has at least
three slates off his roof, and always went, when in the Artillery, by
the _sobriquet_ of “Lincoln and Bennett,” being notoriously as mad as
_two_ hatters), was pleased to invite you to the dance! And you, Susan
Holmes, beauty of our village, looking coldly now at Will Strong, the
keeper, the hardest hitter in “our Eleven,” and the handsomest fellow
in the parish, because the young squire’s friend, with the big moustache
(Will wanted to know whether he came from _Skye_), made a fool of you at
the Servants’ Ball! You, Lady Constance, ignoring your engagements,
and you, Susan Holmes, oblivious of the fact that your papa is only a
blacksmith; be assured, both of you, that the light will fade from those
flashing eyes, and the roses will be blanched on those glowing cheeks,
and that--

     “Violets pluckt, the sweetest showers
     Will ne’er make grow again.”

What moral deduction can I draw but this:--Marry, marry, ye damsels
beautiful, the men whom ye love _at heart_; and so perpetuate your
loveliness, and live again in your daughters!

The cold salmon, on which we lunched at _Kenmare_, was so especially
delicious, that when I turned to Frank, an hour afterwards, on the car,
and asked him what o’clock it was, not perceiving that he was asleep,
he murmured something about “a slice of the thin;” and the tourist in
Ireland finds this fish so good and abundant, that he almost begins to
apprehend “a favourable eruption” of scales, and feels disposed to snap
at the larger flies which come within the prehensiveness of his dental

[Illustration: 218]

The little town of _Kenmare_ is very pleasantly and healthfully placed.
Mr. Frazer says that the bay, by which it stands, is the most beautiful
in all Ireland, but we did not see enough of it to corroborate this
grand eulogium. With the exception of the handsome Suspension Bridge,
neat Church, and National Schools, the buildings are mean and miserable.
To judge from the size of the Post-Office and “Bridewell,” there is very
little correspondence or crime. At the broken windows of “the Female
Industrial School,” we saw two young girls, of such industrious habits,
that they had not had time to wash themselves. “The Dispensary,” I
presume, had cured everybody, for we saw no signs of surgeon, surgery,
or patients,--only a dingy old hen in the passage, who, probably,
had overlayed herself, or had contracted that prevailing malady, “the
Gapes,” the name whereof makes one yawn in writing it. Undoubtedly, the
edifice which pleased us the most, was a narrow, tumble-down hut of
two small stories, and one of these securely shuttered, which announced
itself to the world as “_Michael Brenan’s Tea and Coffee Rooms, with
Lodging and Stabling_.

Leaving _Kenmare_ (and is not that a sweet little cottage, on the
right as you rise the hill, with the hydrangea glowing amid the dark
evergreens, like hope in seasons of sorrow?), we met some scores of the
peasantry, grave and decorous, on their way, the driver told us, to a
funeral. Whence did they come? Between Kenmare and Glen-garriff we saw
very few habitations, yet troops of children came running after the car
as heretofore, amply demonstrating that the Irish Paterfamilias
knows more of Addition and Multiplication than of the Frenchman’s
Rule-of-Three (“two boys and a girl are a family for a king”), and ever
finds himself in a satisfactory position to converse with his enemies
in the gate. The stern Lycurgus, who, according to Plutarch, was so
very severe upon the unmarried Spartans, that he made them walk in
procession, more scantily’ draped than their statues, though the
promenade took place in winter, and compelled them to sing songs
derisive of celibacy, chaffing themselves to music, as they walked
along,--would be gratified indeed, if he could revisit the earth, and
see what Ireland is doing with a grand fecundity, for the Census of

[Illustration: 220]

The vestments of these juveniles again attracted our notice, reminding

     “Of love, that never found its earthly close?”

for some of them must have been about as cool as Cupid, and suggesting
that impatience, with regard to apparel, which characterised of old even
the Kings of Ireland.

_Henry Castide_, selected on account of his knowledge of the language
to teach and Anglicise four Irish Kings, who had sworn allegiance to
Richard, relates in a conversation with _Froissart_, that these royal
personages “had another custom, which I knew to be common in this
country, which was the not wearing breeches. I had, in consequence,
plenty of breeches made of linen and cloth, which I gave to the Kings
and their attendants, and accustomed them to wear them. I took away
many rude articles as well in their dress as other things, and had great
difficulty at the first to induce them to wear robes of silken-cloth,
trimmed with squirrel-skin, or minever, for the Kings only wrapped
themselves up in an Irish cloak.” 1

This cloak, no doubt, very much resembled the garment worn by that
Irish chieftain, of whom _Sir Walter Scott_, when in Ireland, related an
anecdote, very highly-seasoned, to the Squireen, and who, during one of
the rebellions against _Queen Elizabeth_, was honoured by a visit from a
French Envoy. “This comforter of the rebels was a Bishop, and his union
of civil and religious dignity secured for him all possible respect
and attention. The Chief, receiving him in state, was clad in a yellow
mantle [‘to wit, a dirty blanket,’ interposes the Squireen), but this
he dropt in the interior, and sat upon it, mother-naked, in the midst
of his family and guests by the fire.” 2 After this aristocratic pattern
was fashioned, I suppose, the mantle of _Thady Quirk_, of which he tells
us (in “_Castle Rackrent_”), “it holds on by a single button round
my throat, cloak fashion,” so that _Thady_ could as promptly prepare
himself for repose, as that heroine of whom the poet sings,--

     “One single pin at night let loose
     The robes which veiled her beauty.”

There is magnificent mountain scenery, naked as the chieftain, but much
more interesting, between Kenmare and Glengarriff, so wild and stern,
and desolate exceedingly, a solitude so complete and drear, that, were
_Prometheus_ bound upon these craggy rocks, he would be relieved to
see the cruel vulture hungrily stooping for his _foie-gras._ Honour and
thanks to the genius which designed, and to the patient energy which
perfected, a way over these rugged Alps. Ireland must acknowledge her
obligation to the stranger, for a Scotchman, _Nimmo_, made her most
difficult roads, and an Italian, _Bianconi_, carries us over them.

     1 _Froissart’s Chronicles_, book iv., chap. 64.

     2  _Lockhart’s Life of Scott_, vol. iii., chap. xv.

[Illustration: 224]

Reaching the summit, we pass through a tunnel, hewn in the _solid_ rock
(why do we use this adjective always, as though rocks were ordinarily in
a state of fusion?), and leave county _Kerry_ for _Cork_.


Graduates and undergraduates (O my brothers, how gladly shall I meet you
once again, when the long vacation is past!), did you ever dine, as I
have dined, with an elderly Don, severe in deportment and of boundless
lore, who happened to be at once the author of a great treatise on “_the
Verbs in [Greek]_,” and (strange antithesis!) of a pretty daughter? If
so, you will remember that hour of solemn converse, before the coffee
was announced, when the grave Professor, broad of brow, took you, as it
were, by the hand up the solemn heights of _Olympus_, and showed to
you, awfully admiring, the grand sublimities of _Longinus_, the sombre
valleys of _Parnassus_, and Philosophy’s everlasting hills. And memory
will suggest to you, more happily, more vividly, how, summoned by the
butler, you at length came down from those amazing steeps, entered the
drawing-room, found the pretty daughter; and, while papa chuckled in
the distance, over a play of _Aristophanes_, easy to his apprehension
as _Buckstone_ to ours, discoursed to her of the Commemoration Ball, and
forgot _Minerva_ in the sunnier presence of _Aphrodiet_.

And you, my general readers, you, who, with that refinement of taste for
which you are remarkable above all other readers, go to Concerts at
the Hanover Square Rooms in the season, and, out of it, to dingy County
Halls, whenever the Italians sing,--you, too, must help me with an
analogy, and say,--can you not recall how, amid all that severe and
stately music, some plaintive ballad, quaint madrigal, or hearty glee,
refreshed your weary spirit, and won the sole encore? It was so, at all
events, when last I went to an Operatic Meeting in the Halls of Crystal;
and Alboni sang; and Giuglini sang; and of Inis and Icos good store; and
we beat time, and “wasn’t it delicious?”; but no song went home to our
English hearts, roused us from our lethargic and drear gentility, and
made us clap our English hands, save the song of “_The Hardy Norsemen_.”

Some such pleasant refreshment, and cheerful change, it is, coming away
from those barren rocks of Kerry, those dark, cold lakes (numerous, it
is said, as days in the year), to gaze upon the sunlit _Bay of Bantry_,
and the freshness and the beauty of green _Glengarriff! Glengarriff_ is,

     “A miniature of loveliness, all grace
     Summed up, and closed in little.”

A miniature bay, miniature mountains, miniature waterfall, a glen, to
which, as Moore writes of it, the

                     “ocean comes,
     To ‘scape the wild wind’s rancour.”

Yes, to the eye all was peace, but not so to the ear, for, when we went
in to dinner, the noise made by a couple of waiters was something to
exceed belief. One of them, it was evident, had been suddenly evoked
from the stables, and had been garnished with an enormous white
neckerchief, under the idea apparently that this threw a kind of glory
over his costume of corduroy, and effectually hid the ostler in the
accomplished domestic footman. His hair was arranged (with a curry-comb,
I fancy) to imitate a cockatoo, and we were, naturally, jocose about
_Peveril of the Peak, and Ricquet with the Tuft_, &c. To hear him and
his superior coming down the boarded passage with the dinner, was like
“the march of the Cameron men;” and they ran against each other, from
time to time, with such a clattering of plates, and dish-covers, and
knives, and jugs, and crockery in general, as would have done honour to
the Druids on a _Walpurgis Night_.

[Illustration: 229]

But the Irish waiter is, notwithstanding, a capital fellow,
good-tempered, prompt, colloquial, large-hearted. I say “large-hearted”
 because he will undertake to serve any conceivable number of persons,
and “colloquial,” remembering that, when a neighbour, at a _table
d’hôte_, mildly expressed his conviction, that one waiter was
insufficient to satisfy the emergencies of seventeen persons, the
individual referred to immediately exclaimed from the other end of the
apartment, but with all good humour and civility, “_Shure, thin, and
every gintleman will be having his fair turn_.”

Well, I prefer this scant attendance, with all its good humour and
elasticity, to the solemn dreariness of our English waiter, who has
nothing to say but “Yezzur,” and knows not how to smile. If the Irishman
cannot come to you, he will at all events recognise your summons,
and favour you with a grin on account, whereas the Englishman hath an
unpleasant habit of affecting not to hear you, and of rushing off in a
contrary direction.

We remained a Sunday at Glengarriff (there is an air of rest and peace
about the place, as of a perpetual Sabbath), and went up to the little
edifice upon the hill, half cottage and half church. Indeed, the
inhabited part has the more ecclesiastical aspect, and I was surprised
on entering it, uncovered, and with obeisance, to confront an old woman
washing potatoes!

The clergyman, having duties elsewhere, was somewhat late for matins,
and it sounded strangely to be speaking of “the beginning of this day,”
 an hour and a half after the meridian. But that sacred service is ever
seasonable, and we were glad, after an earnest sermon, to drop our
thankful alms into the Offertory basin, though it was but a cheese plate
of the willow pattern.

In the afternoon, we climbed the high hills which overlook _Glengarriff_
and, after losing our way, and meeting with an apparition, which alarmed
us fearfully, we reached the highest point, and surveyed, with wonder
and gladness, the glorious view beneath us.

[Illustration: 232]


Mounted on the Cork car next morning, we passed the estuaries of _Bantry
Bay_, where, the tide being out, the heron stood, lone and aristocratic,
and the curlew ran nimbly among the dank seaweed. By the roadside, the
goats, tied in pairs, and cruelly hoppled, tumbled over the embankments
as we passed. We went by the picturesque old ruins of _Carriginass_, and
by various sights and scenes, until we reached the _Pass of Keimaneigh_,
a defile through the mountains, the appropriate refuge of the
_Rockites_, in 1822, and an elegant situation for a still. _Burns_,
that poetical gauger, might have been happy here, so long as, dreamily
wandering among the heath-clad steeps, he had confined his attentions to
the beauties of nature, and ignored the paraphernalia of art; but a more
practical man, intent on business, would have had but an uncomfortable
home of it, until a bullet put an end to his dreary quest, and

     “The de’il flew away with the exciseman.”

The driver pulled up his horses by a way-side cottage, and inquired
whether we wished to see _Gougane-barra_. It was only a mile or so out
of our route, Patrick there would take us in his car, and he would wait
for us with all the pleasure in life. So, making this little deflection,
we reached, as speedily as a good pony could take us over bad roads, the
gloomy lake and mountains. Here we were received by a troop of juvenile
guides, led on by an old man, who with a long white beard, and staff,
intended, I believe, to give us the idea of a venerable and pious
pilgrim, to remind us probably of _St. Fion Bar_, the “Saint of the
Silver Locks,” who founded a monastery here; but roguery so twinkled
in his eye, and imposition so quavered in his voice, that I have no
hesitation in speaking with regard to him, as _the Edinburgh Review_
spake of _Edgar Poe_:--“He was a blackguard of undeniable mark.”

The Irish poet _Callanan_ sings,

     “There is a green island in lone Gougane-barra,
     Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow.”

We visited the “green island,” reaching it by an overland route (a method
of access which I do not remember to have noticed out of Ireland); and
the “Allua of Songs” was represented by a discordant din in Anglo-Irish,
from the illustrious humbug in the beard, and his satellites, which
would have interested us in a greater degree, had we understood only a
twentieth part of it.

Ultimately, we caught a small boy, intelligent and intelligible, and he
told us how the great Saint had here made himself deliciously miserable,
feasting upon the idea of his fasts; contemplating his macerations in
the lake, as complacently as a cornet his new uniform, or his sister her
first ball-dress, in the glass; whipping himself as industriously as
a schoolboy his top; hugging himself in his hair shirt, and nestling
cosily as a child in its crib, in a bed composed of ashes and broken

These and other austerities by which the Reverend Mr. Bar so signally
extinguished himself, have made Gougane-barra, even to this day, a great
resort for pilgrims; you see “the Stations,” and you see graven upon a
stone, which was formerly an altar-stone, the list of prayers to be said
there; and you hear of many wonderful cures, which have been performed
(I always like that story of the priest, who was overheard, while
telling his friend, that he must be so good as to excuse his absence, as
he was engaged “_to rehearse a miracle at two 0 clock!_”) at the _Holy
Well_ hard by,--the very well, it may be, to which Larry O’Toole took
Sheelah, his wife, and Phelim (as they thought) was “the consekins of
that manoover.”

These pilgrims, some fifty years ago, used to drink diligently as soon
as they had finished their prayers, laying aside the staff for the
shillelagh, and kicking off their sandals for a jig on the green. Having
paid off the old score, they began a new account like gentlemen, just as
an undergraduate, having advanced ten pounds to his tailor, immediately
orders clothes to the amount of twenty.

Regaining the car and main road, we pass by small silvery lakes from
which the trout are leaping, “_bekase_,” says our driver, “_the wather’s
so full o’ fish that whinever they want to turn round they must jist
jump out and do it in the air_,” through a country prettily diversified

     “Woods and corn-fields, and the abode of men,
     Scatter’d at intervals, and wreathing smoke,
     Arising from _such_ rustic roofs”

as are only to be seen in Ireland, and so come to _Inchigeela_.

_À propos_ of cornfields, I must not forget a striking example of
scientific ingenuity, which we saw in this neighbourhood. A small
cornstack had been raised, so grievously out of the perpendicular, that
the tower of _Pisa_ would have looked severely straight by it. But the
builder saw his error, before it was too late, and had gloriously saved
his cereal structure, by erecting another, opposite to and abutting
towards it, until they supported each other, like the commencement of
those card houses, which we built in early youth, a chevron in heraldry,
or two drunken sots “seeing each other home.”

At _Inchigeela’s_ clean and comfortable inn, we had a capital luncheon
for ninepence, and then “lionised” the village. The first object of
interest was a pig, asleep under a tree by the brookside.

[Illustration: 238]

     “Pinguem, nitidumque Bene curatâ cute.”

(I may add bene _curandâ_, as the bacon that is to be cannot possibly
hear), and so serenely dignified in its complete repose, so “mildly
majestical,” that one almost expected to see a point-lace nightcap, and
fair girls fanning away the flies! He looked as happy as _Gryllus_, that
companion of _Ulysses_, who, being transformed into a pig by _Circe_,
and, being subsequently offered redintegration, preferred the swinish
estate; huge and handsome as the famous boar, who ate _the Reverend Mr.
Haydn_, after the victory of the rebels at _Enniscorihy_; 1 obese
and sleepy, as _Silenus_, when found by the shepherds, _Chromis and
Mnasylus_; 2 refreshed and comfortable, like that great _O’Neill_, who
(_Camden_ says so) was wont to plunge himself into the mire, as a cooler
and restorative, after great excess.

     1 Sir Jonah Barrington’s Personal Sketches, vol. iii., p. 422.

     2 Virgil. Edogue vi. 13.

[Illustration: 239]

Progressing, we come to the Constabulary Barracks, where a couple of
constables, with such moustaches as would make a young Cornet groan,
are polishing up their carbines. Our London police are well-favoured in
appearance, but if the Irish constables were to take their place, there
would not be a single female-servant, to be “warranted heart-whole,”
 in the great Metropolis, and the very name of Meat-safe would become a
by-word and a laughing-stock.

In the river hard by, a girl, standing ankle-deep, from time to time,
like the young lady in “_the Soldiers Tear_” held aloft a snowy--never
mind what; and, having plunged it into the stream, and placed it upon
a stone, belaboured it (as though it were a drunken husband) with an
implement of wood, which much resembled a villager’s clumsy cricket-bat.

_Two_ Schools, and one actually at work! real pupils, making the
pace too severe to last (when they saw us looking at them), with real
slate-pencils over real slates! I wonder whether they were doing the
“_Irish Arithmetic_,” of which O’Hara declares the following to be a
faithful specimen:--

     “Twice 5 is 6;
     The 9s in 4 you can’t;
     So dot 3, and carry 1;
     And let the rest walk!”

Returning, after a prolonged and pleasant stroll, we found the horses
in the car, and the driver seated on his box. Now, an English coachman
would have yelled at us, and English passengers would have scowled on
us, for detaining them; but the Irishman gave us a pleasant smile of
recognition, as though it was very kind of us to come back at all, and
did not start for full five minutes, to assure us that we had caused
no inconvenience. Certainly, it was one of those warm, still, delicious
summer days on which _nobody wants to start_, satisfied with the calm
enjoyment of the present, and so absorbed and occupied in doing nothing,
that it seems to be quite a triumphal effort to rouse one’s-self and
light a cigar! At length, our charioteer speaks to his horses, whose
drooping heads acknowledge the soporific influence of the day; and,
awaking from their favourite night-mares, they bear us on our road to

Now we pass the tower, antique and ivy-clad, of _Carrigadrohid_, (nice
name for a naughty pointer, requiring frequent reprimands on a broiling
day in September!); a handsome residence on the hill beyond, with the
pleasant waters of the river _Lee_, which accompanies us from its source
at _Gougatie-Barra_ to _Cork_, winding below it; and change horses at
_Dripsey_. Between this latter place and Cork, the signs of civilisation
became so painfully prominent, and the scenery so excruciatingly
English, that, having secured ourselves by our rug-straps, to the
iron bar behind us, our “custom always of an afternoon,” when we felt
inclined for a siesta, we closed our eyes in sadness, and tried to dream
of Connamara and Killarney. But sights, too dreadful for description,
scared sleep away. Carts, whereupon was gaudily emblazoned “Albert
Bakery,” and “Collard and Collard” fascinated our unwilling gaze; and
we shortly found ourselves among the suburbs disgustingly neat, and the
houses offensively comfortable, of “that beautiful city called Cork.”

On the right and left, as you approach, are two very imposing and
extensive structures, _Queen’s College_, and (“great wit to madness
nearly is allied”) _the Lunatic Asylum_,--the latter so large, that it
might have been erected to accommodate those numerous patients who have
lost their reason in vain attempts to understand Mr. Bradshaw’s Railway

Cork is, indeed, a “beautiful city,” delightfully situated, handsomely
built, and having more the appearance of energy, prosperity, and
comfort, than any other city we saw in Ireland. To my fancy the old
prophecy is fulfilled,--

     “Limerick was, Dublin is, and Cork shall be
     The finest city of the three.”

The river Lee, dividing here, flows round the island on which
principally the city stands; and upon the wooded hills above, the richer
part of the community have their pleasant, healthful homes.

Now, although I have deplored our transition from the wild scenery of
Connamara and Kerry to the formalities of cultivation and refinement, I
am not so bigoted as to deny that civilisation has its advantages; and,
among them, I would specially include “the Imperial Hotel” in Pembroke
Street. An excellent dinner, in pleasant society (the exception being a
vulgar, garrulous old female, who ate with her knife, and told us how,
in one of the foreign churches, she had “tried very ‘ard to convert _an
aconite_, quite a genteel young man,”) followed by some irreproachable

     “with beaded bubbles, winking at the brim,”

disposed us to criticise very leniently the defects and inferiorities
of art; and we left our inn to see the fireworks in the Mardyke
Gardens, not only consoled, but cheery. All Cork appeared to be going in
procession up that long avenue of fine old trees; and as the subsequent
exhibition appeared to be quite satisfactory, I can pay “all Cork” the
compliment of saying, that it is very easily pleased. To us, as we stood
in the long, damp grass, and the varnish was retiring from our favourite
boots, intervals of twenty minutes between the pyrotechnic performances
soon began to be rather tedious; and we longed to repeat an experiment,
originally introduced at the Henley Regatta, when a dozen of us
combining, applied our cigars to all the “fixed pieces” at once, and the
grand design, which was to crown the whole, anticipated its glories by
a couple of hours, and wished the bewildered spectators “Good Night” (in
glittering letters two feet long) almost as soon as they had paid for
their admission!


I was dreaming that I met Lord Evelyn, at sunrise, in the Gap of Dunloe;
that he put into my hand, with a graceful bow and striking amenity, the
largest horse-pistol I ever saw, constructed, as he said, upon novel
principles, by which it loaded itself, and would continue to go off
until three o’clock, with appropriate airs from a musical box in the
handle; that, leaving me with a kind of _Pas de Basque_, which I thought
very inappropriate at such a crisis, and taking up a position twelve
paces from me, he produced a weapon, similar to mine, and requested me
to “blaze away;” that I was making frantic, but futile efforts to get my
deadly instrument on full cock, and that my Lord, disdaining to take any
advantage, was pinking the eagles, as they flew overhead; when the loud
ringing of a contiguous bell recalled me to the realities of life. There
is ever in these large hotels some unhappy inmate, who is unable to
put himself into communication with Boots, who rings his bell with an
ever-increasing energy, until he performs, at last, in his wild fury,
such a continuous peal, as must bring up somebody, or bring down the
rope. It is interesting to listen to these bells. First they suggest,
then they entreat, then they remonstrate, then they insist, and then
they curse and swear! Like the music of the Overture to _Guillaume
Tell_, they begin pleasantly and peacefully, then they grow grand and
warlike, _crescendo_-ing, from _andante pianissimo_, until they arrive
at _allegro fortissimo_; and reminding me of a village dame, whom I
heard calling from her cottage door to a child, playing in the distance,
and hearing but not heeding its mother:

“_Lizzie, luv!_”



“BESS, YOU YOUNG ------!”

epithet too suggestive of the kennel for readers of polite literature.

Of course we went to see the old _Cove of Cork_, who, in a spirit of
loyalty, but to the great disappointment of facetious visitors, has
changed his name to _Queenstown_. We travelled by rail to _Passage_,
and thence by steamer. What shall I say of this glorious haven, “_Statio
bene fida carinis_,” twelve miles from city to sea? What a refreshment
and gladness must it be to the weary sailor, to come from his lone
voyage on “the sad sea waves,” to this safe home and refuge, to listen
to the summer breeze, softly sighing in those upland groves, instead
of to the tempest, as it bends the creaking mast, and to look down
upon those calm and glittering waters, with the gay craft of Peace and
Pleasure gliding gracefully to and fro.

Should it ever be my happy lot to revisit the city and haven of Cork,
I shall most certainly decline to land at Queenstown. The gentleman who
took a Census of the smells at Cologne, and said,

     “At Colne, a town of monks and bones,
     And pavements, fanged with murderous stones,
     And rags and jags, and hideous wenches,
     I counted four-and-seventy stenches,
     All well-defined and separate stinks!”

might, perhaps, be interested in this locality, and would find an ample
field for his nasal arithmetic. The heat was intense, the tide low; and,
though I have no doubt that, further from the sea, the place is sweet
and healthy enough, I never remember to have inhaled so offensive an
atmosphere as that which prevailed, upon St. Bartholomew’s Day, in the
year 1858, and in the front street of the Queenstown. As an Irishman,
Chief Baron Woulfe, once wrote of Paris, “the air is so loaded with
stenches of every kind, as to be quite irrespirable;” and turning to
my friend, I said, “O Francis, it is written, in this ‘Handbook to the
Harbour and City of Cora,’ that ‘Queenstown is celebrated, and justly
so, for the equality, mildness, and salubrity of its temperature,’ and
that ‘many medical men prefer it to the climate of _Madeira_;’ but take
thy kerchief from thy nose brief while, and answer me, my Francis, terse
and true, doth not this statement seem to thee, in boyhood’s phrase, ‘a

He replied, that “as the stinks were not quite sufficiently defined to
sketch, he should hire a boat and bathe;” and, having purchased a couple
of oyster-cloths, the nearest approximation he could find to towels, so
indeed he did, leaving me (incapable of natation), to contemplate the
Garrison, an extensive pile with a very military and practical look,
Spike Island, once the residence of Mr. Mitchell, and now occupied
by some 2000 malefactors of less illustrious name, and Rocky and
_Hawlbowline_ Islands, which are used as ammunition stores.

The heat and the incense (how I envied the white gulls, flying lazily
over the waters, and ever and anon dipping, as one thought, to cool
themselves!) were so oppressive and irritating, that when a small boy,
buying apples, would keep dropping them on the ground, in a vain
attempt to thrust more into his pocket than the cavity could possibly
accommodate, I almost thirsted for his blood, and like the stern old
Governor in _Don Juan_, I could have seen him

     Into the deep without a tear or groan.”

Yea, should have esteemed it to be _Hari-kari_, which is Japanese, you
know, for “happy dispatch.” 1

     1 “_The Hari-kari_, or ‘Happy Dispatch,’ is still practised
     by the Japanese. This consists in ripping open their own
     bowels with two cuts, in the form of a cross.... Princes,
     and the high classes, receive permission to rip themselves
     up, _as a special favour_, when under sentence of death.”--
     _Japan, and her People_, by A Steinmitz.

In expiation of these sanguinary thoughts, I subsequently presented a
fourpenny piece, as conscience money, to a miserable-looking beggar,
who “had not tasted food,” &c. &c. &c. &c., and who only asked for “a
halfpenny, to buy a piece of bread.” But he had scarcely left me (having
previously requested all the saints to pay me particular attention),
when I heard one of two men, who were leaning against the wall, on which
I sat smell-bound, say to his neighbour that “the jintleman must have
more brass than brains, to go and give his money to a drunken shoemaker,
who’d been out three days on the spree.” Yes, my groat was gone to buy
alcohol for this impostor, this Cork Leg; and I felt as though I very
closely resembled that bird which the French call “_Le Bruant Fou_,” and
we “_The Foolish Bunting_,” because it is so easily ensnared.

It was, indeed, a joyous departure from humbug, dead fish, and sewers,
to the waves, that were dancing in a pleasant breeze (which prudently
declined to venture ashore); and we were as glad to make an escape as
our great sailor, _Sir Francis_, when, outnumbered by the Spaniards, he
came, crowding all sail, into Cork Harbour, and hid himself securely in
“_Drakes Pool_.”

Lovely as the scene around her, there sat upon the deck, as we returned
to _Passage_, a winsome Irish bride, fondly gazed upon by her happy
husband, and less ostensibly by ourselves, and about a dozen officers,
who were bound for Cork, from the Garrison and Club house at Queenstown.
Was it that mysterious talent of beauty, which without words can say, “I
recognise your homage, and it does not displease me;” or was it only
our own enormous vanity which caused each of us to imagine, as I feel
convinced we did, that, could she only have foreknown our peculiar
fascinations, she would have laughed to scorn the inferior animal, who
was now grinning by her side?

We returned to the Imperial for luncheon (and I am unacquainted with any
midday refreshment more interesting than prawns, fresh and full-grown,
with bread and butter _à discrétion_, and the golden ales of Burton),
and then took car for _Blarney_. Our horse was evidently as fond of his
home as that enthusiastic citizen who, with a charming indifference to
anachronisms, declared that Athens was called “the Cork of Greece,” and
would keep perpetually turning round to gaze upon the beautiful city.
In vain the driver inquired satirically whether he had dropped his
umbrella, or forgotten to order dinner, or whether there was anything
on his mind; in vain he addressed him vituperatively, called him an old
clothes-horse, and threatened to take him to the asylum; in vain, trying
the persuasive, he assured him that we had come all the way from England
to see him, having heard so much of his speed and beauty, and that, if
he would keep up his character, and be a gentleman, he should have such
a feed of old beans that day, as would cause him to neigh for joy. All
in vain! from time to time round went this uncomfortable horse, until
at last, as some fond lover takes one more look at his beloved, and then
rushes wildly away, where duty calls or glory waits him, our eccentric
quadruped suddenly started off at full trot, and during the remainder of
our journey comported himself with great propriety.


The old _Castle of Blarney_, like the castle of Macbeth, by Inverness,

     “hath a pleasant seat; the air
     Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
     Unto our gentler senses;”

and it commands a fine view “over the water and over the Lee” over lake
and meadow, and over “the Groves of Blarney,” renowned in song. The
landscape rewards your exertions, when you have ascended the narrow
staircase of the sole remaining tower, and this somewhat resembles
(“_magna componere_”) an excellent “Stilton,” which has gone the way
of all good cheeses, and is now a hollow ruin--a ruin on which some
sentimental mouse might sit, like Marins at Carthage, and bitterly
recall the past.

Looking down this cavity, made gloomier by the dark ivy and wild myrtle,
which grow from floor to battlement, one feels that fainty thrill and
chilliness which is equally unpleasant and indescribable, and gladly
divert our attention, first to the stone displaced by a cannon shot, in
the days of the incomparable _Lady Jeffreys_, when

     “Oliver Cromwell, he did her pummell,
     And broke a breach all in her battlement,”

and then to another stone lower down in the tower, and bearing the
inscription, “_Cormac Macarthy Fort is Me Fieri Fecit_, a.d. 1446,”
 which may be translated liberally,

     “Cormac Macarthy, bould as bricks,
     Made me in Fourteen Forty-six.”

This is said to be the original _Blarney Stone_, but as no man could
possibly kiss it, unless (as Sir Boyle Roche observed) he happened to be
a bird, or an acrobat, twelve feet long, and suspending himself by his
feet from the summit of the Tower, we were content to believe in
the conventional granite, which now bears the name, and which, being
situated at the top of one of the turrets, is very accessible for

Of this lapideous phenomenon, the author of “The Groves of Blarney”

     “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-an-outer, to be let alone:
     Don’t hope to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
     Sure he’s a pilgrim from the Blarney Stone!”

Now it is my conviction, primarily suggested by my own sensations, and
subsequently confirmed by what I noticed in others, as I lingered on
that ancient tower, that the majority of those who kiss the Blarney
Stone, do wish and try to believe in it. We English have so scanty a
stock of superstitions, and some of these so wanting in refinement and
dignity, as, for instance, the “crossing out” of an isolated magpie,
the ejection of spilt salt over the left shoulder, deviations into
the gutter to avoid a ladder, the mastication of pancakes upon Shrove
Tuesday, and the like, that we are glad of any pretext for gratifying
that innate love of the marvellous, which exists, more or less, in us
all,--ay, and will exist, until John Bright is Premier of England,
and our Fairy Tales and Arabian Nights, and all our books of pleasant
fiction are solemnly burnt at Oxford, before a Synod of costive Quakers.

And then it is so gratifying for Mammas to fancy, as they bend to kiss
the magic stone, that assuredly they “stoop to conquer,” henceforth, by
a new and dulcet eloquence, those little idiosyncrasies of “dear Papa,”
 which have thwarted their happiest schemes, such as his insuperable
apathy on the subject of that new Conservatory, although “you
know, darling, both Mr. Nesfield and Mr. Thomas declared it to be

Pleasant, too, for their charming daughter of nineteen, to think that
she hereafter shall not ask in vain for that tour in Switzerland, that
ball at home, those boxes, varying in shape and size; small, from the
stores of Howell and of James; medium, from Messieurs Hill and Piver;
and large, very large, from “the infallible Mrs. Murray,” and Jane
Clark, in the Street of the Regent.

Enlivening, moreover, for that Eton boy to believe, as he salutes the
Blarney Stone, that now he has only to give the Governor a hint, and
“that clipping little horse of young Farmer Smith’s” will be purchased
forthwith, and presented to him, to carry him next season with the
Belvoir hunt.

Miserable Father, how shall he meet this irresistible incursion upon his
purse and peace. Well may he look coldly on the Blarney Stone! Well may
he express, from heart and hope, his belief that it’s “all humbug.” And
yet, methinks, remembering that last Election, that distressingly effete
experiment to nominate Sir John Golumpus, that fearful silence, when he
came to grief, that vulgar gibe “go ‘ome, and tak’ a pill,” he too must
sigh for this gift of Blarney, and long to kiss the Stone.

[Illustration: 258]

See, they are leaving the battlements,--first the Etonian, then his
sister, and then Mamma. O, wily Paterfamilias! Suddenly remembering that
he “has left his stick” (he has, and purposely), he steps briskly back,
and, stooping for his cane,--salutes the rock! He, at all events, won’t
_“kiss, and tell!”_

But everybody kisses it. The noisy old girl, whom we met yesterday at
the _table d’hôte_, and who preferred steel to silver, as a medium for
the transmission of food, reached the summit of the tower very short of
wind, but resumed, as soon as ever she could speak, a severe sermon upon
the errors of “_Room_,” and its superstitions in particular. And yet,
ultimately (affecting to do it in ridicule,--let us be charitable, and
hope that, in her heart of hearts, she had in view the conversion of
her “genteel Aconite”), she kissed the Stone; and we were glad to have
already done so.

We saw the kitchen, where beeves were cooked in the merry old times, and
the banquet-hall wherein they were carved. The latter was appropriated
to a miscellaneous collection of rickety old farming implements,--rust,
and dust, and decay, where brave knights laughed over the winecup,--

     “And tapers shone, and music breath’d,
     And beauty led the ball.”

Shall we re-ascend the tower, and preach, from that old stone pulpit, on
“_pulvis et umbra sumus?_” Perhaps, as there is no congregation, and a
Lunatic Asylum mighty convanient, we may as well postpone our sermon,
and turn our steps to the gardens and groves of Blarney.

If the poet had not told us that “they are so charming,” I should
scarcely have discovered the fact for myself, as they are but feebly
ornamented with flowers, and--

     “The gravel walks there, for speculation,
     And conversation, in sweet solitude,”

are damply suggestive of a cold in the head. At the same time, from
their pleasant position and varied surface, these grounds have a charm
about them; and I should much like to wander in them, by moonlight,
with--(I must decline, like the Standard Bearer, to communicate the
young lady’s name), just to see whether I had derived any benefit from
my salutation of the Blarney Stone; whether I could say _mavourneen_
with a sweeter tenderness, and discourse more fluently those “sugared
glosses,” which are called by the sentimental “_heart music_,” and by
the unsentimental “_bosh_.”

In these grounds the portly old gardener showed us one of those
_Cromlechs_, which were used by the Druids for sacrificial or
sepulchral purposes, and in which, I am ashamed to say, we professed
an all-absorbing interest, though, on my asking Frank, as we left the
gardens, “what a Cromlech was?” he replied that, prior to inspection,
his idea had always been that it was a species of antediluvian buffalo!

Then we saw the lake

     “That is stored with perches,
     And comely eels in the verdant mud;
     Besides the leeches, and groves of beeches,
     All standing in order for to guard the flood.”

They say that, from this lake enchanted cows, snow-white and of wondrous
beauty, come forth in the summer mornings, and wander among the dewy
meads, to the intense astonishment and admiration, doubtless, of the
celebrated Irish Bulls. 1

     1 The only lapsus linguar, resembling a bull, which I heard
     during our tour, was from a fellow-passenger, in Connamara,
     who was repeating a conversation, of which he declared
     himself to have been an eye-witness.

And they say, moreover, that beneath these waters (which we ventured to
designate _Cowesharbour_, in allusion to the mysterious kine), lies the
plate-chest of the Macarthys, about the size of a gasometer, and never
to be raised until once again a Macarthy shall be lord of Blarney. It
will be a busy day for the butler, and a happy one for those who deal in
plate-powder, whenever this restoration shall occur.

Our driver gave us, as we returned, a taste of his autobiography. I wish
that I could repeat it _verbatim_, for Irish humour loses its bloom if
it is not faithfully rendered; but my memory only retains the incidents,
and, here and there, a phrase of his story.

He was in England several years ago, at the time of harvest, travelling,
sickle in hand, with a dozen of “the boys,” and looking out for
employment in the neighbourhood of, or, as he termed it, “contagious to
th’ould castle of Newark-upon-Trent.” A hot wind blew the dust along the
road, for “the good people were a-going their journeys;” 1 and they were
resting awhile, and looking at a fine crop of wheat, by the wayside,
when two young men on horseback stopped, and asked them “whether they
wanted work?”

     1 “The Irish have a superstition, that when the dust is
     caught up and blown about by the wind, it is a sign that the
     fairies are travelling.”--_Tales and Novels by Maria
     Edgeworth_, vol. iv. p. 72.

Now, it seems, that there lived in these parts, at the period of our
history, one of those unhappy malcontents whose counsel, like Moloch’s,
is for open war with everything and everybody about them; who can
believe no good of their neighbours, because they find none in
themselves; who murmur at the rich, and are mean and merciless to the
poor; who go to meeting house to spite the parson, and to church to vex
the preacher; who attend parish-meetings to stir up quarrels, and to set
one class against another; who poison foxes, and put their great ugly
boots into partridge-nests; and sedulously devote themselves in every
way to promote the misery of mankind.

A bear of this calibre, calling himself a farmer, was tenant of the
field on which the Irishman gazed; and a plan occurred to the merry
young gentlemen by which they might amuse themselves, occupy the
reapers, and annoy “that mangy old hunks.” Accordingly, they at once
retained our friend the car-driver, and his company, to cut the crop
before them, giving them particular directions to get it down as quickly
as they could, and agreeing to pay them liberally by the acre, as “their
father was anxious to get it stacked, and would not mind their doing the
work a bit slovenly, if only they lost no time.” And then, having warned
them “not to take any notice of a poor half-witted fellow, who lived
near, and who, fancying that all the land about was his own, might
possibly try to interrupt their proceedings,” the horsemen wished them

They had been at work for nearly an hour, and had left behind them,
in their anxious haste, such an untidy example of sheaf and stubble
as would have broken Mr. Mechi’s heart, when a loud bellowing in the
distance announced the arrival of the unhappy lunatic! He came on,
roaring and raving, shaking his fist, and foaming at the mouth. He
actually danced with rage among the sickles, until the reapers, fearing
the excision of his legs, forcibly removed him, and with twisted
strawbands, secured him to his own gate! There, trussed and pinioned, he
sent forth such howlings through “the alarmed air,” as scared every crow
from the parish, and very speedily attracted the surprised attention of
the British public travelling upon the Great North Road.

The reapers, eventually, found it expedient to retire with considerable
agility, much disgusted and discomfited, at being “sich a distance
on the wrong side of the wage, bedad,” until they were met by their
delighted employers, who not only presented them with a couple of
sovereigns, but introduced them, with the anecdote, to a jolly old
gentleman, hard by, from whom they had employment until the end of

In allusion to the subject of Irishmen in England, I asked the car man,
when he had concluded his story, whether he was aware that there were as
many of his countrymen living in London as in the city of Dublin itself?
1 And his reply, to the effect, that I had “_brought away a dale
o’ vartue from th’ ouldstone a top o Blarney_,” reminded me of an
observation made, when I was at school, by our French master, to a boy
named _Drake. “Monsieur Canard, I shall not call you a liar but I do not
believe von vord of vot you say!_”

     1 See an interesting account of the Irish in London, in _The
     Million-peopled City_, by the Rev. J. Garwood, p. 246.

We had a fine view, as we returned, of the beautiful city and its
environs, and re-entering by another route, we passed the ornate
chapel, commenced by Father Mathew, at the date and with the design, so
charmingly recorded by the poet,

     “The first beginning of this new chapel
     Was in eighteen hundred and thirty-three;
     It will soon be finish’d by the subscribers,
     And then all tyrants away must flee.”

Next morning, having purchased, as we were commissioned and as we
recommend other tourists to do, a good stock of highly finished but
low-priced gloves from Mollard, in the street of St. Patrick, we started
by rail for Dublin.


There are objects, I doubt not, in the well-cultivated country which
lies between Cork and Dublin, well worthy of special notice, but we did
not pause to observe them, passing once more the pretty town of Mallow,
and the Limerick Junction, reminded at Thurles of the famous Synod, and
longing, as we passed the Curragh (Ireland’s Newmarket), for a gallop
over its green, elastic sward.

The latest intelligence, which we obtained from Mark, on our arrival
at Morrisson’s was that Cardinal Wiseman had arrived in Dublin, and the
Fair in Donnybrook. To the latter we went, as soon as we had dined, but
did not meet with His Eminence, wiser in his maturity than Wolsey in
his youth, for Wolsey not only went to the fair, but got there so
particularly drunk, that he was put into the stocks by Sir Amyas
Paulett,--if you doubt it, ask “_Notes and Queries._”

The glories of _Donnybrook_ have declined dismally since those more
happy days, when Paddy

     “‘Slipp’d into a tent, just to spend half-a-crown,
     Slipp’d out, met a friend, and for joy knock’d him down,
     With his sprig of shillelagh, and shamrock so green!”

The showmen shouted, and the drums rumbled, and the cymbals clanged,
and the fiddlers fiddled, but the dancing was limp and feeble, and the
general effect was dreary. We visited Mr. Batty’s Menagerie, and were
offered a mount upon a young elephant, at the low charge of one penny.
And I am glad that we declined; because the quadruped in question,
having gone round the show, until it was tired of doing so, suddenly
dropped upon its stern, and discharged its jockeys into the sawdust, as
though they were a load of coals!

Then we visited the Theatre of Ferguson, and there a Prima Donna
appeared to us, from the arrangement of her mouth, to be singing
with remarkable energy; but we had no further means of verifying the
supposition, as the whole House, incited by her example, was chanting
at the top of its voice. And I must say that, although I stood, most
uncomfortably and insecurely, on a narrow plank at the top of “the
Boxes,” I never enjoyed a concert more; and I very much doubt whether
the Pope himself could have resisted joining in the Chorus.

We saw nothing at all suggestive of a shindy until (to our great joy) we
met a couple of our college friends, Hoare, the stroke of our boat, tall
among the tallest, as Arba among the Anakims, arm in arm with little
Dibdin, the coxswain (they have been sworn friends, ever since Hoare
took him by the collar, and dropped him into the Isis, for some mistake
in steering); and these gentlemen were armed with shillelaghs, and
anxious, as the old lady in the captured city, to know when the fun
would begin. “For now I see,” said Hoare,--

     “The true old times are gone,
     When every morning brought a noble chance,
     And every chance brought out a noble knight.”
      “And every knight,” I said, as a supplement,
     “brought home a broken head.”

Let us haste to Kelvin Grove--I mean, let us return to Morrisson’s!”

We steamed away next morning from Kingston Quay. Looking back upon that
lovely bay, I thought of the poor Irishman’s most touching words, as he
gazed for the last time on his native land, “Ah, _Dublin_, sweet _Jasus_
be with you!” and from my heart I breathed an earnest prayer for the
good weal of beautiful Ireland!



And now our “_Little Tour_” is over; and its story must go forth, like
some small boy to a public school, to find its true place and level.
It may, perhaps, receive more pedal indignities than donations of a
pecuniary kind; vulgarly speaking, more kicks than halfpence; but as no
severities can deprive the boy of his pleasant memories of the past, nor
chase the smile from his tear-stained and inky cheek, as he sleeps to
dream of home; so no criticism, however caustic, can ever mar my glad
remembrance of our happy days in _Ireland_.

And in mine adversity, should such befall, I shall have yet another
solace. Hooted, like some bad actor, from the stage, I can hide myself
behind scenery, which has a charm for all, and which, like Phyllis the
fair, “never fails to please.”

Cheered or condemned, whether “the Duke shall say, Let him roar again,”
 or the poor player shall hear

     “On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
     An universal hiss,”
      the drama is over, and the curtain falls.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Little Tour in Ireland" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.