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Title: On an Irish Jaunting-Car Through Donegal and Connemara

Author: Samuel G. Bayne

Release date: August 22, 2014 [eBook #46654]

Language: English

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Cover for On An Irish Jaunting-Car Through Donegal and Connemara

The cover image was restored by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.



Title Page

Copyright, 1902, by Harper & Brothers.

All rights reserved.

Published November, 1902.



In the compiling of this little book, I am deeply indebted for historical data, etc., to John Cooke, M.A., the Messrs. Black, Lord Macaulay, the Four Masters, and many others, from whose writings I have made extracts; and for photographs to Messrs. W. Lawrence, T. Glass, and Commissioner Walker.

I sincerely hope I may be forgiven for the shortcomings and errors which can doubtless be found in this brief sketch of a few weeks' tour through the north, west, and south of Ireland.

S. G. BAYNE.  

  New York City.



New York to Londonderry 1
Londonderry to Port Salon 9
Port Salon to Dunfanaghy 14
Dunfanaghy to Fallcarragh 23
Fallcarragh to Gweedore 36
Gweedore to Glenties 40
Glenties to Carrick 46
Carrick to Donegal 49
Donegal to Ballyshannon 53
Ballyshannon to Sligo 57
Sligo to Ballinrobe 65
Ballinrobe to Leenane 67
Leenane to Recess 70
Achill Island 78
Recess to Galway 92
Aran Islands 106
Limerick 117
Cork and Queenstown 128



"THE REAL THING" Frontispiece
    "       12
OUR FIRST CAR     "       14
    "       16
    "       18
    "       24
    "       26
A TURF BOG     "       38
    "       50
DONEGAL CASTLE     "       54
    "       60
    "       62
    "       66
CONG ABBEY, COUNTY MAYO     "       68
    "       72
    "       74
    "       76
    "       78
    "       81
    "       94
A CONNEMARA TINKER     "      102
    "      106
    "      108
    "      112
    "      126
    "      134
    "      136




At New York, on the 26th of June, we boarded the SS. Columbia, the new twin-screw steamer of the Anchor Line. Every berth was taken, and as the passengers were a bright set, "on pleasure bent," there was an entire absence of formality and exclusiveness. They sang, danced, and amused themselves in many original ways, while the Columbia reeled off the knots with a clock-like regularity very agreeable to the experienced travellers on board.

As our destination was Londonderry, we took a northerly course, which brought us into floating ice-fields and among schools of porpoises and whales; in fact, it was an uneventful day on which some passenger[2] could not boast of having seen "a spouter, just a few minutes ago!"

We celebrated the morning of the Fourth of July in a very pretentious way with a procession of the nations in costume and burlesques on the conditions of the day. The writer was cast to represent the Beef Trust, and at two hundred and twenty-five pounds the selection met with popular approval; but he found a passenger of thirty-five pounds more in the foreground, and thereupon retired to the side-lines. Attorney Grant, of New York, made a striking "Rob Roy," with his colossal Corinthian pillars in their natural condition. A long list of games and a variety of races for prizes gave us a lively afternoon, and the evening wound up with a "grand" concert, at which Professor Green, of Yale, made an excellent comic oration.

W. A. Ross, of New York, was my companion on the trip; A. B. Hepburn, ex-Comptroller of the Currency, intended going with us, but was prevented at the last moment by a pressure of business, which we very much regretted.

The steamer soon sighted Tory Island, rapidly passed Malin Head, and then turned in to Lough Foyle. When a few miles[3] inside the mouth of the latter, we stopped at Moville and the passengers for Ireland were sent up to Londonderry on a tender. We were so far north and the date was so near the longest day that we could easily read a paper at midnight, and as we did not get through the custom-house until 4 A.M., we did not go to bed, but went to a hotel and had breakfast instead. The custom-house examination at Derry, conducted under the personal direction of a collector, is perhaps the most exasperating ordeal of its kind to be found in any port in existence. The writer has passed through almost all the important custom-houses in the world, and has never seen such a display of inherent meanness as was shown by this "collector." He seized with glee and charged duty upon a single package of cigarettes belonging to a passenger, and he "nabbed" another man with a quarter-pound of tobacco, thereby putting an extra shilling into his King's pocket. He was an Irish imitation Englishman, and his h's dropped on the dock like a shower of peas when he directed his understrappers in a husky squeak how best to trap the passengers. The owner of the quarter-pound of tobacco poured out the[4] vials of his wrath on the "collector" afterwards at the hotel: "I would give a five-pound note to get him in some quiet place and pull his parrot nose," was the way he wound up his invective. Neither were the ladies allowed to escape, their clothing being shaken out in quest of tobacco and spirits, since those are about the only articles on which duty is charged. The very last cigar was extracted by long and bony fingers from its cosey resting-place in the vest-pocket of a passenger who shall be nameless—hence these tears! All other ports in Europe vie with one another in liberal treatment of the tourist; they want his gold. The writer landed both at Southampton and Dover last summer, and at the latter place, although there were over five hundred trunks and satchels on the steamer, not one was opened, nor was a single passenger asked a question. Smuggling means the sale at a profit of goods brought into port for that purpose; nothing from America can be sold at a profit, unless it be steel rails, and they are much too long to carry in a trunk.

We are now in "Derry," as it is called in Ireland, and every man in it is "town proud"; and well he may be, as Derry has[5] a historical record second to but few cities in any country, and its siege is perhaps the most celebrated in history. At this writing it has a population of thirty-three thousand and is otherwise prosperous. Saint Columba started it in 546 A.D. by building his abbey. Then came the deadly Dane invader, swooping down on this and other Foyle settlements and glutting his savage appetite for plunder. Out of the ruins left by the Danes arose in 1164 the "Great Abbey of Abbot O'Brolchain," who was at that time made the first bishop of Derry. The English struggled and fought for centuries to gain a foothold in this part of Ireland, but to no purpose until Sir Henry Docrora landed, about 1600 A.D., on the banks of the Foyle with a force of four thousand men and two hundred horse. He restored Fort Culmore and took Derry, destroyed all the churches, the stones of which he used for building fortifications, and left standing only the tower of the cathedral, which remained until after the siege.

In 1608 Sir Cahir O'Doherty, of Inishowen, who at first had favored the settlement, rebelled, took Culmore fort, and burned Derry. His death, and the "flight of the earls" Tyrone and Tyrconnell to France,[6] left Derry and other vast possessions to English confiscation, over two hundred thousand acres alone falling to the citizens of London. The walls were built in 1609, and still remain in good condition, being used as a promenade; the original guns bristle from loop-holes at intervals, and "Roaring Meg" will always have a place in history for the loud crack she made when fired on the enemy. She sits at the base of Walker's monument now, silent, but still ugly. This monument is erected on a column ninety feet high, starting from a bastion on the wall, and has a statue of Walker on its summit. One of the earliest feats in sight-seeing which the writer ever accomplished was to climb to its top, up a narrow flight of spiral stairs. (There would not be room enough for him in it now.)

James I. granted a new charter of incorporation to Derry in 1613, and changed the name from Derrycolumcille to Londonderry. James II. laid siege to the town in person in 1689, but failed to capture it. It was defended for one hundred and five days by its citizens under George Walker, but two thousand of them lost their lives from wounds and starvation. On the 28th[7] of July, the ships Mountjoy and Phoenix, by gallantly rushing in concert against the iron boom laid across the Foyle, broke it, and relieved the starving people with plenty of provisions; and so the siege was ended.

There are seven gates in the walls of Derry—viz., Bishop's Gate, Shipquay Gate, Butchers' Gate, New Gate, Ferryquay Gate, Castle Gate, and the Northern Gate, a recent addition. Those favorites of fortune who live near New York know that George Washington had some two hundred and fifty "headquarters" and places where he "once stopped," in and about that city, and that he sat in over two thousand armchairs in them—or, at least, that number has been sold with the genial auctioneer's guarantee of their authenticity. It is estimated that it would require a train of twenty freight cars to carry the chairs, desks, haircloth sofas, saddle-bags, guns, and pistols that have been sold as relics from his headquarters at Madame Jumel's alone, Harlem absorbing seventy-five per cent. of this output. But for all that, King James runs George a close second. The writer is only one man, yet he has slept in three Honduras mahogany four-posters[8] in which James preceded him, has eaten with many knives that swept the royal mouth, and to-day owns a bone-handled razor that is said to have scraped the face of royalty; and yet, after all, he is only comparatively happy!



We leave Derry with regret, and take the train for Fahan. This brings us to the shore of Lough Swilly, where we embark on a ferry-boat and cross the lough to Rathmullen. While crossing I saw Buncrana, a short distance down the lough. This is a pretty village containing the castle of the O'Dochertys, now in ruins, and near it the castle erected by Sir John Vaughan at a later period. Half a century ago the latter became dilapidated, but it was restored and has ever since been rented "for the season," as an investment by the owner. One of my pleasantest recollections is the week's-end visit I made many years ago to its then tenant. It had fine, terraced gardens, its outer walls were skirted by a trout and salmon river, and there was a vast court-yard behind it with cell-stalls for the cavalry horses, and even a gallows on which to hang captured invaders—and many of them were hanged on this same[10] gallows. It was not a pleasant outlook from one's bedchamber window, but then the victims had been a long time dead, and no trouble came from their ghosts.

We soon arrived at Rathmullen, a historic spot where many things happened in the days of yore. It occupies a sheltered position at the foot of a range of hills that intervene between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay, of which the highest point is Crochanaffrin, one thousand one hundred and thirty-seven feet. It is worth while to make an excursion either up this hill or Croaghan, one thousand and ten feet, which is nearer; for the extraordinary view over the inlets and indentations of this singular coast will put the traveller more in mind of Norwegian fiords than British scenery. Close to it are the ivy-clad ruins of a priory of Carmelite friars, consisting of two distinct buildings erected at an interval of nearly two centuries. The eastern portion, of which the tower and chancel remain, was constructed by the McSweenys in the fifteenth century. It exhibits considerable traces of pointed Gothic architecture. Over the eastern window there still remains a figure of St. Patrick. The architecture of the[11] remainder of the building is of the Elizabethan age, a great part of it having been rebuilt by Bishop Knox, of the diocese of Raphoe, in 1618, on obtaining possession of the manor of Rathmullen from Turlogh Oge McSweeny. The Annals of the Four Masters (to which we will refer later), states that in 1595 it was plundered by George Bingham, son of the Governor of Connaught. McSweeny's castle is supposed to have stood west of the priory, but it was destroyed in 1516. It was from here that the young Hugh O'Donnell was carried off in 1587, and kept a prisoner in Dublin until he made his romantic escape in 1591. In 1607, the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell took their "flight" from Rathmullen in a small vessel. "The entire number on board was ninety-nine, having little sea-store, and being otherwise miserably accommodated." After a hazardous voyage of three weeks, they landed at the mouth of the Seine.



There is a monument in the churchyard to the memory of the Hon. William H. Packenham, captain of the British man-of-war Saldanha, wrecked on Swilly Rock in 1811. Every soul on board was lost; the only living thing that reached the[12] land was the captain's gray parrot, which the wind carried in safety to the rocky shore.

Here, too, Wolfe Tone was taken prisoner on board the French frigate Hoche, in 1798. Tone was a talented young Irishman, and pleaded the Irish cause so eloquently in Paris that a fleet of forty-three ships, with fifteen thousand men, was sent to Ireland in 1796, Hoche commanding. A tremendous storm scattered the fleet on the Irish coast, and the ships returned to France in broken order. Nothing daunted, Tone again persuaded the French to give him a trial with a new fleet. They gave it, but this expedition was even more unfortunate than the first one, and the end of Tone's tragic career dated from his arrest on the shores of Lough Swilly.

A few miles above, Lough Swilly divides into two forks, one running up to Letterkenny and the other to Ramelton, a little town located at the point where the river Lennon meets the tidal salt water. This interesting place is celebrated for the fine views it affords and for its salmon and trout fishing. I was exceedingly anxious to visit it, but time would not permit the shortest deviation from our rigid itinerary,[13] as we had purchased a state-room on the Etruria, sailing from Queenstown on July 28th.



It was at Rathmullen that we hired our first jaunting-car; and it might here be said that of all the vehicles ever invented the modern Irish jaunting-car holds first place for the use of the traveller; it is unique and there is nothing that can take its place for an easy and comfortable lounging ride, when balanced by two passengers and a driver. It is now improved with a circular back and rubber tires, while the very latest has a driver's seat behind, like a hansom cab. We can speak truthfully of the jaunting-car, after having tested its qualities for three hundred and fifty miles on this trip; but would add that care is requisite in arranging for and selecting a car, as many of them are old and worn out.



Leaving Rathmullen, John, our driver, took us a short cut over the Glenalla Mountains to Port Salon, through Mr. Hart's demesne of fine timber. As we drove along, our interest was excited by the masses of furze to be seen on all sides. This shrub grows about five feet high and is thickly covered with sharp, dark-green prickles and innumerable flowers of the brightest yellow known to botanists. Its popular name is "whin," and it is extensively used as food for their horses by the farmers, who pound the prickles into pulp in a stone trough, and when so prepared the horses eat them with great relish. "Whins" grow all over the north of Ireland in wild profusion, and the startling blaze of their bright yellow bloom may be seen for miles; to those not accustomed to their beauty they are a most interesting novelty.

After driving about twelve miles through this kind of country, we arrived at Colonel[15] Barton's handsome hotel on the bluffs of Lough Swilly, at the point where it opens into the Atlantic. I can hardly describe the beauty of this spot—its hard, yellow strand, its savage mountains covered with blooming heather, its sapphire sea in strong contrast to the deep, rich green pines. The Atlantic was booming into the numerous caves that line both sides of the lough, and so seductive was the influence of this sound that at our first view we lay down, tired and happy, in the deep heather, and fell asleep for an hour, undisturbed by fly, mosquito, or gnat. A British iron-clad was anchored a little above, which gave a note of distinction to the charming scene; we were told it was the celebrated Camperdown, that did the ramming in the Mediterranean disaster.



We stayed overnight, and made an excursion next morning to the "Seven Arches." This is a short and interesting trip, about a mile and a half north of the hotel. Here is a series of fine caverns scooped out of the limestone rock by the action of the waves, which can be easily reached by land, but the approach by water is grander and more imposing. From the[16] strand where the boat deposits the visitor, a cave with a narrow entrance runs one hundred and thirty feet inland, and beyond this are the "Seven Arches," one of which, forming a grand entrance from the sea, one hundred yards long, divides into two. Beyond the left-hand cave is another, one hundred and twenty feet long. The right-hand cave is again divided into four beautiful caverns, through any one of which a passage may be made to the bowlder strand, whence another arch leads towards the north.

We left Colonel Barton's and drove along the coast for a few miles to Doaghbeg, where we stopped to admire a magnificent sea-arch called "Brown George," the most remarkable natural feature, perhaps, on the whole coast of Lough Swilly. Doaghbeg is a very primitive, native village and is the capital of the district called Fanet (sometimes Fanad). This was the birthplace of the Honorable P. C. Boyle, who has made his mark in Pennsylvania. Further driving brought us to Fanet Head, one of the most northerly points in Ireland, on which is erected a large light-house, one hundred and twenty-seven feet above high-water. This has a group of occulting[17] lights showing white to seaward and red towards land. After inspecting the light-house, we took our last look at Lough Swilly, that lake of shadows with its marvellous scenic splendor, almost unrivalled also as a safe and deep harbor. I have seen the British fleet manœuvered in its confines, and it could easily anchor every man-of-war in commission to-day, giving them all enough cable to swing clear of one another on the tide.



We coasted the Atlantic for a few miles, and then turned into the hills that surround Mulroy Bay, which soon came into sight. When we reached the shore a council of war was held, and it was decided to save some twenty miles of driving up round the head of the bay, by crossing, if possible, at the lower end; so a broad, heavy, but unseaworthy boat was chartered, and we took Bob, the horse, out of the car and rolled the latter into the stern of our marine transport. It was no easy task to get Bob to face the water; however, after beating about the bush for half an hour, he suddenly grew tractable, and we pushed him into the boat by main strength. The passage was ludicrous in the extreme; at every high wave Bob would lash out his[18] heels and prance. The captain of the boat (who, by the way, was an Irishwoman) would berate John for owning a horse "whose timper was so bad that he might plounge us all into etarnity without a minit's notice!" John kept whispering in a loud voice into his horse's ear promises of oats, turnips, and a bran-mash by way of dessert, if he would only behave himself. The tide was running strong, and when we were swept past our landing we each became captain in turn without appointment, and a variety of language was indulged in that would have made the Tower of Babel seem like a Quaker meeting. The farce was suddenly ended by Bob's breaking loose from his owner and jumping ashore like a chamois. We then ran the boat aground, took out the car, and, after capturing Bob with the promised oats, were soon on our way again.

In a short time after again starting, we ascended a hill and could clearly see the spot where Lord Leitrim was assassinated in April, 1878. It lay up the bay in a clump of woods, close to the water. Lord Leitrim had been very harsh with his tenants and had evicted large numbers of[19] them from their farms; they therefore determined to "remove" him, and a select band of them lay in ambush along the road and succeeded in killing his lordship, his driver, and his secretary while they were driving to Derry. There were many trials in court, but those arrested could never be convicted. As a boy I have been more than once startled by the appearance of a pair of cars with eight men on them, each having a couple of double-barreled shotguns. Lord Leitrim was one of them; the others were his guards, going to Milford to collect the rents. His temper was so violent that the government removed him from the office of magistrate. His son, the late Earl, was a very different kind of man; he did everything within his power to advance his tenants' interests. After his death, a few years ago, the tenantry erected a fine monument to his memory in Carrigart Square. We later read the inscription upon it, which was, "He loved his people."



After a pleasant drive we reached Carrigart and had a good lunch there; we tried the Carrigart "perfectos" afterwards, and their memory clings to us still! We then started for the Rosapenna Hotel, which[20] was not far distant—less than two miles. This hotel was built of wood, after the Scandinavian fashion, by the trustees of the late Earl of Leitrim, and opened in 1893. It was designed in Stockholm, whence the timber was shipped to Mulroy. It stands at the base of Ganiamore Mountain, on the narrow neck of the Rossgull peninsula, between Mulroy Bay and Sheephaven. Fine golf links have been laid out with eighteen holes, the circuit being three miles and a half. For visitors there is excellent fishing in the adjacent waters, by permission of the Countess of Leitrim, and good bathing on the strands of Sheephaven, which afford a smooth promenade of six miles. From the top of Ganiamore a good view is obtained of the coast from Horn Head round to Inishowen peninsula, and from its hills a fine sweep inland to Errigal Mountain. At Downing's Bay there is one of the finest views in Donegal, looking up and down Sheephaven, the woods of Ards and the tower of Doe Castle backed up in the distance by the ponderous mass of Muckish. Within a short distance of the hotel are three caves which can be entered, one from the brow of the hill and the others at low water. Near it also is[21] Mulroy House, the residence of the Countess of Leitrim.

From Rosapenna we drove to Doe Castle, built on the shores of Sheephaven. This was a stronghold of the McSweenys, which has been, to a certain extent, modernized and rendered habitable by a late owner, who in doing so pulled down some of the walls. It consists of a lofty keep with massive walls, which enclose passages and stone stairs. It is surrounded by a "bawn," or castle-yard, defended by a high wall, with round towers at intervals. The rock on which it stands is not very high, but from its almost insulated position it was difficult to approach. It was garrisoned by Captain Vaughan for Queen Elizabeth, but was betrayed to the followers of Sir Cahir O'Doherty. It was besieged in 1608, and Davis says: "Being the strongest in Tyrconnell, it endured one hundred blows of the demi-cannon before it surrendered."

A little to the north, but separated by a prolongation of the marsh at the head of Sheephaven, is Ards House, owned by Alexander J. R. Stewart. This demesne is fenced with a cut-stone wall which we skirted for many miles. It is a great show[22] place, with its extensive mansion, fine gardens, and beautiful woods, fronting on the bay where the Lackagh River runs into it. We drew rein on the Lackagh bridge to see Mr. Stewart's men draw a net with eight hundred pounds of salmon in it; there were about eighty in the haul. William Wray, the old master of Ards in the eighteenth century, had a strange history. He lived here in luxurious state and "dispensed hospitality with true regal splendor." His ambition, indeed, appeared to be to see daily as much eaten as possible; and to facilitate the arrival of guests, he engineered a road over Salt Mountain. Extravagance, however, at last told its tale, and the old man, broken down, went over to France, where he died, "poor, unfriended, and forgotten."

After crossing the bridge, we took up the road to Creeslough, where Balfour is building a narrow-gauge railroad for the purpose of giving employment to the poor; and by driving till quite late we reached Dunfanaghy. "A great day's work," as John put it while cracking his whip during the last half mile.



We put up at the Stewart Arms, and next morning when we looked over the town we came to the conclusion that Paris had nothing to fear from Dunfanaghy. It hasn't even a Moulin Rouge to boast of, but it's a first-class place to sleep in when you're worn out on the road, as we were. We engaged a large boat with four men to row us out into the Atlantic to see the famous Horn Head from the sea. The sight has really no equal anywhere. The writer, having seen it many times since boyhood, is more impressed with it on each occasion, and this last time it seemed more entrancing than ever. Horn Head is a range of beetling mountains projecting into the Atlantic, and covers in extent some ten miles. The crags and horns are six hundred and twenty-six feet high, and are of all the colors of the rainbow, from deepest black to red, yellow, gray, purple, and green. The formation is vast galleries or[24] amphitheatres, broken by the nature of the rock into rectangular shelves, on which perch myriads of birds, which are as the sands of the sea for multitude. Some of these birds migrate from Norway, lay one egg, and when the young are able they return home, only to come back again each succeeding summer. There are many varieties of them, in part consisting of guillemots, sheldrakes, cormorants, the shag, the gannet, the stormy petrel, the speckled diver, and the sea-parrot. One variety will fly with greater ease under a boat when pursuing fish than it can in the air, and in the clear water they may be seen at great depths, using their wings in this way. They have seen but few men, and do not rise when approached. Their cawing and cries are fearful and awe-inspiring, owing to the vast numbers of birds that are always in the air or on the rocks, the whole panorama as seen from the boat is something the beholder will remember as long as he lives.

We also saw many seals close to the boat; these live on salmon. Mr. Stewart used to pay a crown each for their scalps, but since retiring he has withdrawn the bonus and they are now increasing in[25] numbers. The sea is very lumpy at the head, owing to the squalls that blow down over the cliffs; we encountered half a dozen, and any one of them would have put a sailboat out of commission in a few minutes. They keep a great ground-swell in constant motion, and the boat rose and fell on these waves like a cork in a whirlpool. When rowing home we passed a salmon net at a jutting point, with one end of its rope fastened to the rocks. We asked why had such a place been selected when there were so many others easier to get at, and the man replied: "Salmon are queer fish; they have a path round the headlands when going to the spawning-grounds, and never leave it. If that net were moved out fifty yards it would never catch a salmon." Two men were perched on a small ledge close to the water, watching the net against seals, as the latter will tear the fish out of the nets with the ferocity of a tiger. These men had six hundred feet of sheer rock above them, and we asked how they ever got down or up again. "Oh, they're used to it; they've been at it since they were boys, and they can scale the rocks like monkeys."



We again slept at the Stewart Arms,[26] and we felt so much impressed by what we had seen from the sea that we determined to go on the head itself and view the surroundings; so next morning we started on the car and were soon driving over the long stone bridge with its many arches. On the way over the bridge we passed Horn Head House, the residence of C. F. Stewart, a property that has been in the possession of the present family since a Stewart raised men to fight for King James against the O'Neills, in the Irish wars. The road winds up between vast sand-hills, the sand being of a remarkable orange color, fading into pink in the distance, while large tufts of rich, deep green bent-grass are dotted over its surface, making such an unusually striking contrast that we stopped the car for full five minutes to admire it. These hills are alive with rabbits; they scampered off in all directions at our approach and quickly disappeared into their holes.

One mile to the west in a direct line is "McSwine's Gun," concerning which marvellous fables are told. The coast here is very precipitous and perforated with caverns, one of which, running in for some distance, is connected with the surface[27] above by a narrow orifice, which is very difficult to find without a guide, or very specific directions and the close observance of landmarks. Through this, in rough weather, the sea dashes, throwing up a column of water accompanied by a loud explosion or boom, which is said to have been heard as far as Derry.



To the south of the rocks lies the fine stretch of Tramore Strand. A little to the northeast of this spot is a circular castle. Continuing by the shore, Pollaguill Bay is reached, joined by cable with Tory Island. As seen from the land, the coast is rocky, broken, and indented, and in about two miles rises into the precipitous mass of Horn Head, over six hundred feet high. This headland somewhat resembles in shape a double horn, bordered on one side by the inlet of Sheephaven, though on the other the coast trends away to the south. The cliffs present a magnificent spectacle of precipitous descents, shelving masses of rock and yawning caverns lashed by the furious waves of the Atlantic. The view from the summit of the head is one of boundless ocean, broken only on the northwest by the islands of Inishbeg, Inishdooey, Inishbofin, and Tory, and on the northeast[28] by the different headlands of this rugged coast—i. e., Melmore, Rinmore, Fanet, Dunaff, and Malin heads, while on the east is seen in the distance the little island of Inishtrahull.

As we drove down from the head, a drizzling rain began to fall and we were glad to reach the shelter of the hotel and fortify the inner man by a substantial dinner.

At this stage in our tour we were quite undecided as to our route. We did not like to give up a visit to Glen Veigh, Gartan lakes and the "Poisoned Glen," as these are considered the finest things of their kind in Ireland, but finally decided that a détour which would cost us two days of driving would be impossible, owing to pressure of time; so after sleeping another night in Dunfanaghy, we pressed on to Fallcarragh. Inasmuch, however, as I often visited and fished in these glens and lakes, I may be pardoned for attempting to give the reader a short description of their principal features.

Lough Veigh lies to the east of the Derryveigh Mountains, occupying the opening to Glen Veigh. It is a long, narrow sheet of water; on the north side, and running[29] into it, a rocky, almost perpendicular, wall rises to over twelve hundred feet, covered with Alpine vegetation. Over the top of this wall several large streams fall and break into cascades as they find their way to the lake below. Back of this and framing the whole, rises the majestic Dooish, the highest ridge in the Derryveigh range, standing two thousand one hundred and forty-seven feet above the tide. In old times I have counted a dozen eagles that built their nests on the topmost crags overhanging the water, their majestic, circling flights giving life and interest to the scene. The south side is a steep hill on which grow in riotous profusion the wild rose, bracken, creeping plants, ferns, lichen, moss, the primrose, the bluebell, the yellow gorse, and hazel; while in trees, it abounds in the gray birch, mountain-ash, larch, yew, juniper, white hawthorn, and laburnums with their glorious rain of gold—a mass of teeming harmonies and contrasts. But by far the finest display is its panoply of purple heather, which in some places reaches a height of ten feet; nowhere else can such heather be found. This is the beauty spot of Ireland; the lower part of the lake equals the best bit[30] of Killarney, while the upper reaches of the glen surpass it in grandeur; it is indeed the wildest mountain-pass in Ireland. It may be described as, one might say, a salad of scenic loveliness, made up of countless varieties of color, form, and garniture; for I could pick out parts of it that resemble spots I have seen at the base of the Himalaya Mountains in India, and others where I have noticed a similarity to some places I visited near the Hot Springs of Hakone, in Japan. A comparison with the Trosachs of Scotland will result in no reflection on Glen Veigh; in fact, there is a close resemblance between them, and I cannot do better than quote Sir Walter Scott's celebrated description in The Lady of the Lake. Sir Walter, the greatest word painter of them all, the wizard of the pen, the man who could pick the magic word and almost paint a scene with it:

"The western waves of ebbing day
Rolled o'er the glen their level way;
Each purple peak, each flinty spire,
Was bathed in floods of living fire.
But not a setting beam could glow
Within the dark ravines below,
Where twined the path in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid,
[31] Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splintered pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass.
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, or battlement
Or seemed fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.
Nor were these earth-born castles bare,
Nor lacked they many a banner fair;
For, from their shivered brows displayed,
Far o'er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen,
The brier-rose fell in streamers green;
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west wind's summer sighs.
"Boon nature scatter'd free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalm'd the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale and violet flower,
Found in each clift a narrow bower;
Foxglove and nightshade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Group'd their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain.
With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Gray birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft, the ash and withe of oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
[32] And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glist'ning streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream."

The "Poisoned Glen" lies to the southwest, and is a startling contrast to Glen Veigh. It has no vegetation of any kind, and is a weird, savage cañon ending in a cul-de-sac. It looks uncanny and forbidding, and seems as though it might be possessed, giving the visitor a creepy feeling as he drives through its gloomy defiles. No animal or bird is ever seen within its confines, as its barren sides will not support life in any form.

Gartan Lough is seen a few miles to the south. It is celebrated for its fine views and its fishing, and as the birthplace of St. Columba, who was born just where a ruined chapel now stands and which was originally erected, it is said, to mark the spot. St. Patrick made a pilgrimage to this place in 450 A.D..


Twenty-three thousand acres, covering Lough and Glen Veigh and the Gartan lakes, were originally owned by the Marshall brothers, one of whom, John, was brother-in-law to the writer. Owing to the agricultural depression of the times, the Marshalls could not collect their rents, and rather than evict their tenants they sold the estate to Mr. J. G. Adair. Mr. Adair had visited the place and become so enthusiastic about it that he not only bought it but built a splendid castle near the lake and constructed an imposing avenue, eight miles long, of which he was very proud. Soon afterwards he stood for a seat in Parliament, as a tenant-right candidate. Notwithstanding his politics, he had troubles with the tenantry, his manager and one of the shepherds being killed in one of the numerous affrays that occurred on the property. Conditions went from bad to worse, till at length Mr. Adair decided to clear his estate of tenantry by evicting them. Upon this, such strenuous resistance and threats were made that the matter attracted public attention and became a source of anxiety to the British government; so troops were sent down with tents and military equipments, and[34] after a time a general eviction took place. The tenants had no means of support, and national sympathy went out to them. Finally, the government of Victoria offered to take all of them out to Australia, free of charge, and as most of them accepted the offer, this closed the unfortunate incident.

Personally, Mr. Adair was a gracious and upright man, but he contended, as a matter of principle, that he owned the land and could do as he liked with it. This was precisely the same ground that Mr. Morgan took when being examined in New York recently on the witness-stand, with regard to his connection with American trusts.

Since Mr. Adair's death, his wife has resided at the castle a part of each year, and has recently entertained some eminent personages there, as the following item from the Londonderry Sentinel of September 13th will show:

"Lord Kitchener and the distinguished party forming the guests of Mrs. Adair at Glenveigh Castle have enjoyed an excellent week's sport. Several fine stags have been killed in the deer-forest. There was a very successful rabbit-shoot at Gartan on Wednesday. On Thursday, Lord Brassey's famous[35] yacht Sunbeam, which has been at Londonderry since Monday, left for Lough Swilly, and yesterday the house-party embarked for a cruise round Horn Head. The house-party consisted of the following: Lord Kitchener, Lord and Lady Brassey, the Duchess of St. Albans and Lady Alice Beauclerk, Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, the official historian of the voyage of the Ophir; Lady de l'Isle, Captain Arthur Campbell, Captain Butler, and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. The departing guests were conveyed to the Sunbeam and to the railway station in Mrs. Adair's powerful motor car."





We are now on the road to Fallcarragh, seven miles distant, and we pass his Majesty's mail, northbound from Letterkenny, a crimson car loaded with mail-bags and luggage, and a driver wearing a bright-yellow sou'wester. Everything was drenched and the horse in a steaming lather—truly a novel sight for a denizen of Broadway.

Fallcarragh is the place from which you take a boat to visit Tory Island, some eight miles out in the Atlantic. It has been called "the Sentinel of the Atlantic," and it is well named, being the first land one sees when nearing Ireland. Its name means "the island of towers," and it looked from the deck of the Columbia as though it had been built up by some titanic race of old. It did not seem to us that it could be of much value, but it was considered important enough to fight for in the early days "when giants were in the land." The Book of Ballymote states that it was[37] possessed by the Fomorians, a race of pirates and giants who inhabited Ireland twelve centuries before the Christian era. Their chief was "Balor of the Mighty Blows," and two of the rocks on the east coast of the island are called "Balor's Castle" and "Balor's Prison." One of their number, named Conaing, erected a tower on the island, as recorded in the Book of Lecan:

"The Tower of the Island, the Island of the Tower,
The citadel of Conaing, the son of Foebar."

It contains a portion of a round tower, built of undressed boulders of red granite. It was never more than about forty feet in height, is seventeen feet two inches in diameter, and the walls at the base are four feet three inches thick; the doorway is five and a half feet high and is eight feet from the ground. There are also ruins of two churches (a monastery having been founded here by St. Columba), and a peculiar tau-cross. On the northwest end of the island is a fine light-house, illumined by gas, and it has also a fog-siren and a group-flashing light; it stands a hundred and thirty feet above high-water. Near it is the new signal station of Lloyd's,[38] which is in telegraphic communication with Dunfanaghy. There are a chapel, school-house, and post-office also on the island. The rock scenery of the northeast coast is very fine and characteristic; the southwest coast is low and flat, and fringed with treacherous rocks. It was here that the gunboat Wasp was wrecked on the 22d of September, 1884, and all its crew except six drowned. Fishing is the chief industry, and the islanders are good fishermen, pursuing their avocation now chiefly in Norway yawls instead of "curraghs." The Congested Districts Board have aided the inhabitants by supplying these vessels, the cost to be repaid by small instalments, also in building a curing station and teaching the people how to cure fish. Quantities of lobsters and crabs are caught, and a Sligo steamer calls once a week for fish. There is a lack of fuel, which has to be supplied from the main-land. The inhabitants have paid no rents since the loss of the Wasp, which was sent to enforce payment or evict the tenants. St. Columba, the patron saint of the place, is reported to have landed here in a curragh.

From Fallcarragh you get a fine view of Muckish, with its twenty-two hundred[39] feet of altitude. While not the highest mountain in the Donegal highlands, Muckish is longer and of greater bulk than any of its rivals, and is also more imposing. Its name in Irish means "a pig's back," which it very much resembles. Here is Ballyconnell House, seat of Wybrants Olphert, Esq., where the "Plan of Campaign" was originated, so well known in connection with the landlord and tenant troubles in Ireland.



We now took the shore-road through a district known as Cloughaneely, where English is rarely spoken and we had to make our way by signs, spending a few minutes en route at a national school and hearing them teach the children both Irish and English. Continuing, we passed close to Bloody Foreland, a head one thousand and fifty feet high, so called because of its ruddy color. Arriving at Bunbeg, we stopped to feed the horse and take some lunch ourselves, and then "made play" for the Gweedore Hotel. Our road took us past the spot where Inspector Martin was clubbed to death when executing a warrant for the arrest of the Rev. James McFadden, P.P., in February, 1889, in connection with the Gweedore evictions.



The Gweedore is a famous inn, built over fifty years ago by Lord George Hill on the river Clady; it has held its supremacy as a centre for salmon-fishing and grouse-shooting for half a century. The guests supplied the table so bountifully with fish in the early days that the writer has recollections, as a boy, of thinking that scales were growing on his back after having been at the hotel for a week. Many celebrities have fished and shot there—Thackeray, Dickens, Lord Palmerston, Carlyle, and a host of others have had their feet under its mahogany and have looked out of its windows at Errigal, popularly known as the "peerless cone," the base of which is not over a mile distant. This mountain rises to a height of two thousand four hundred and sixty-six feet, scarred and naked to its peak. Slieve Snaght, two thousand two hundred and forty feet, is another fine peak near it.


The name of Lord George Hill, the late proprietor of the estate, is so thoroughly identified with that of Gweedore that it will not be amiss to retail a few facts concerning him. He first settled in this part of the country in 1838, purchasing twenty-three thousand acres in the parish of Tullaghobegly, which he found in a state of distress and want so great that it became the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. Although there appeared to have been a considerable amount of exaggeration in the statements made, enough remained to show that famine, pestilence and ignorance were lamentably prevalent. The prospects of the landlord were far from encouraging, on account of the stony nature of the ground, the severity of the climate, and the difficulty of collecting his rent; but, more than all, the extraordinary though miserable system of rundale, which was universal throughout the district. By this arrangement a parcel of land was divided and subdivided into an incredible number of small holdings, in which the tenant very likely held his proportion or share in thirty or forty different places, which had no fences or walls whatever to mark them. The utter confusion[42] and the hopelessness of each tenant's being able to know his own land, much less to plant or look after it, may well be imagined. And not only to land was this system applied, but also to portable property. With much perseverance and many struggles, Lord George Hill gradually changed the face of things. He overcame and altered the rundale system, improved the land, built schools, a church, and a large store at Bunbeg, made roads, established a post-office, and, what is perhaps of more importance to the traveler, a hotel. He took a direct and personal interest in the good management of the hotel and in the comfort of the guests who patronized it, frequently stopping at the house himself, dining and spending the evening with them. Since his death, in 1879, the hotel has kept up its traditional reputation for comfort and general good management.

Carlyle visited Lord Hill at Gweedore in 1849, and this is the way in which he described his host afterwards: "A handsome, grave-smiling man of fifty or more; thick, grizzled hair; elegant nose; low, cooing voice; military composure and absence of loquacity; a man you love at first sight." This was indeed high praise[43] from a man of Carlyle's cantankerous temper. Lord Hill was so popular with his tenantry that when his horse broke down they would take the animal out of the shafts, fasten ropes to the car, and pull it home triumphantly with the owner seated in state, no matter how many miles they had to cover. He was a most courteous and obliging man. I well remember how, in the early sixties, he walked a considerable distance and took particular pains to show me the best fishing spots on the river.

They tell a joke at the hotel, on an English dude who asked Pat, the gillie, "Aw, my good man, do you mind telling me what—aw—sort of fish you catch here?" "Well, to tell ye the truth," was Pat's quick reply, "ye niver can tell till yez pulls 'em out!"

There was a big fishing crowd there, and when I announced at dinner that it was more than forty years since I had sat at that table and fished in the river, they all doffed their caps to me—metaphorically—and gave me more salmon and other good things than I could eat or drink.

We hadn't time to fish, and so we pushed on next day through the Rosses district, with all its innumerable fresh-water lakes[44] and salt-water inlets. So intermingled were they that it was hard to decide which was which, and we finally got to know that where wrack grew on the shore the water was salt and connected somewhere with the sea. We stopped at Dunlow for lunch and then descended into the Gweebarra River valley and crossed the large, new steel bridge of that name, erected by the Congested Districts Board to give the people employment on that and the roads connecting with it at both ends. The way lies through an untamably wild country, but with such constant and shifting panorama of mountain scenery that the attention is never fatigued. You see in review the Dunlewy Mountains, Slieve Snaght, Errigal, Dooish, and the Derryveigh chains; in fact, if the weather is fine—and it all depends on that—there is scarcely such another mountain view in the kingdom.

The head of Gweebarra Bay, where the river joins it, is a queer-looking place; we skirted its shores for miles and enjoyed its peculiarities. When the tide is out the water is of a seal-brown color, due to the peat; when it is in, the color is bright green. Where the tides meet is a mixture of both[45] colors, and frequently some of the shallows, side by side, will be of either brown or green, making a checkered appearance. While all this is going on, water-falls from the hillsides pour their brown waters into the bay and very often into pools of green. This phenomenon, in connection with the pleasing picture formed by the numerous small islands which dot the surrounding waters, makes it well worth while to wait and witness the tide in its changing stages.



We finished our twenty-five mile drive in an hour or so, and put up for the night at O'Donnell's, Glenties.



In some Irish hotels they set apart a room for the drummers to write and eat in, at lower prices than the public tariff, and this is as sacred ground as a Hindoo temple; for an ordinary personage to desecrate it by his presence is simply an unpardonable crime and is resented by the drummers accordingly. The doors are not always marked, and so it happened that I innocently wandered into this "reserved" room in the O'Donnell Hotel at Glenties and began to write a letter. I had hardly got as far as "Dear Sir," when the intrusion was noticed and promptly reported to the proprietor, who came in and apologetically asked me, "What line are ye in, sur?" to which I promptly responded, "Selling Power's Irish whiskey." He reported my vocation to "the committee," all were satisfied and I was allowed to finish my letter. Afterwards Mr. O'Donnell came to me and said with a wink: "It's all[47] right, Mr. Bayne; your bluff went through with the boys, but 'tis my private opinion that ye're buyin' more whiskey than ye're sellin'."

Next morning when the sun rose we were off for Carrick, a scenery and ruin centre, the forts, etc., dating back to the sixth century. This was a favorite resort of Sir Frederick Leighton, the artist, who frequently spent his summers there. We took a noon rest at Ardara and then pushed on to complete our twenty-eight miles.

Before reaching Carrick we traversed the Glengesh Pass, a deep and beautiful ravine, "with verdure clad," the hills on both sides rising one thousand six hundred and fifty feet above sea level, their slopes ornamented with many water-falls, all joining to make up a brawling stream which rushed headlong down the valley. Altogether the place was a most charming one.

The pass was four miles long, and poor Bob could not make it with the load, so we got off and climbed the road on foot, while he fed and followed us with the empty car up the steep incline. We nursed him into Carrick, but he had to have a rest, and after getting it his owner drove him[48] home. And so we parted with John, our worthy Jehu, and his good nag, Bob, both of whom had helped us well along on our pilgrimage.

As we were approaching Glengesh, we met a young Donegal girl on the road. She was dressed in black serge, and, although her feet were bare, her figure was erect and her carriage very graceful. She swung along the road with charming abandon, and might have shone at a "drawing-room" in Dublin Castle, the embodiment, the quintessence of unconscious grace.



We put up at the Glencolumbkille Hotel in Carrick. Here we hired a new car, with a stout, white horse to draw it, which took us to the base of Bunglass Head and waited for our return. It is a hard climb of over three miles to reach the summit, over rocks, bog, and heather, but we were well rewarded for our trouble. Bunglass fills the rôle of a grand-stand, as it were, from which you get a good view of Slieve League Mountain, whose base rises abruptly out of the sea, which breaks against it with great violence. We had heard that the golden eagle builds its nests on this headland, but we did not succeed in finding any of the birds, and concluded that they had flown over to see King Edward's coronation.

A view of singular magnificence here bursts upon you—a view that of its kind is probably unequalled, in the British Isles. The lofty mountain of Slieve League gives[50] on the land side no promise of the magnificence that it presents from the sea, being in fact, a mural precipice of one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two feet in height, descending to the water's edge in one superb escarpment,

" ... around
Whose caverned base the whirlpools and the waves,
Bursting and eddying irresistibly,
Rage and resound forever."

And not only in its height is it so sublime, but in the glorious colors which are grouped in masses on its face. Stains of metals—green, amber, gold, yellow, white, red—and every variety of shade are observable, particularly when seen under a bright sun, contrasting in a wonderful manner with the dark-blue waters beneath. In cloudy or stormy weather this peculiarity is to a certain degree lost, though other effects take its place and render it even more magnificent. This range of sea-cliff extends with little variation all the way to Marlin, though at nothing like the same altitude.

Having feasted our eyes on the beauties of the precipices, we then ascended, skirting[51] the cliffs the whole way. Near the summit the escarpment cuts off the land slope so suddenly as to leave only a sharp edge with a fearful precipice of above fifteen hundred feet on the side towards the sea, and a steep slope on the landward side. This ledge is termed the "One Man's Path," and is looked on by the inhabitants of the neighborhood in the same light as the Striding Edge of Helvellyn, or the Bwlch-y-Maen of Snowdon. There is a narrow track or ledge on the land slope a little below this edge, facetiously called "The Old Man's Path" by the guides. At the very summit are the remains of the ancient oratory of St. Hugh McBreacon. The view is wonderfully fine; southward is the whole coast of Sligo and Mayo, from Benbulbin to the Stags of Broadhaven; while farther in the distance are faintly seen Nephin, near Ballina, and Croagh Patrick Mountain at Westport. Northward is a perfect sea of Donegal mountains, reaching as far as Slieve Snaght and Errigal, with all the intervening ranges near Ardara, Glenties, and Dunloe.



Coming down was almost as bad as going up had been, but we finally reached our[52] car and were driven home for a late dinner. On the way we were shown the place where Prince Charlie the Pretender embarked when he fled from the English forces.



Next morning, in a blinding rain, we got up behind a stout, black horse, driven by Charley, a conversational soloist of unrivaled garrulity, who under these conditions told us entirely too much about Fin McCool's and Red Hugh's feats and what they did to their neighbors. We passed through Killybegs, but our destination was Donegal (town), and after we reached it we discharged Charley, took dinner, and aired ourselves round the city, taking what base-ball players call a "stretch."

The principal objects of interest here are the ruined abbey and the castle of the O'Donnells. The monastery was founded for Franciscan friars in 1474 by Hugh Roe O'Donnell and his wife, Fingalla, daughter of Conor O'Brien of Thomond, and in it they were both buried. His son, Hugh Oge, finally took the habit of St. Francis, and was buried here in 1537. Red Hugh O'Donnell having taken up arms against the English, his brother-in-law,[54] Niall Garbh, sided with them and took possession of the monastery. It was besieged by O'Donnell, and during the siege some barrels of gunpowder which had been stored took fire and the explosion destroyed the building. Red Hugh, after the fiasco of the Spanish landing at Kinsale, to which he went, sailed to Spain for further assistance and died there at the early age of twenty-eight, being buried in Valladolid. Niall Garbh, having lost the confidence of the English, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and died after eighteen years of captivity. The O'Donnells, or Cinel Conall, were descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, who became king of Ireland in 379 A.D.. Of his sons, Eoghan, or Owen, was ancestor of the O'Neills, and Conall Gulban of the O'Donnells. The country of the former was called Tir Eoghan (Tyrone), or Owen's territory, and extended over the eastern part of Donegal and the counties of Tyrone and Londonderry. The peninsula of Inishowen also received its name from him. Tyrconnell, the territory of Conall, extended over County Donegal. Between these races, bound together as they were by common descent and frequent intermarriages,[55] wars were of constant occurrence through many generations.



The Cathach of the O'Donnells is a cumhdach, or box, made, as its inscription says, by Cathbhar O'Donnell towards the end of the eleventh century. It contains a portion of the Psalms in Latin, said to have been written by St. Columba and which led to the battle of Drumcliff and his subsequent exile to Iona. It was carried by a priest three times in front of the troops of the O'Donnells before a contest, hence its name, "The Battler." The silver case enclosing the box was made by Colonel O'Donnell in 1723. It was presented by the late Sir Richard O'Donnell to the Royal Irish Academy, where it now is.

Either in the monastery or in some building near it were compiled, between 1632 and 1636, the famous Annals of Donegal, better known under the title of the Annals of the Four Masters—Michael and Cucogry O'Clery, Fearfeasa O'Mulconry, and Cucogry O'Duigenan. The object of this compilation was to detail the history of Ireland up to the time in which they lived, including all local events, such as the foundation and destruction of churches and castles, the deaths of remarkable[56] persons, the inaugurations of kings, the battles of chiefs, the contests of clans, etc. A book consisting of eleven hundred quarto pages, beginning with the year 2242 B.C., and ending with the year 1616 A.D., thus covering the immense space of nearly four thousand years of a nation's history, must be dry and meagre of details in some, if not in all, parts of it. And although the learned compilers had at their disposal or within their reach an immense mass of historic details, still the circumstances under which they wrote were so unfavorable that they appear to have exercised a sound discretion and one consistent with the economy of time and of their resources when they left the details of the very early history of Ireland in the safekeeping of such ancient original records as had from remote ages preserved them, and collected as much as they could make room for of the events of more modern times, particularly those eventful days in which they themselves lived. This interesting record, which was originally written in native Irish, has in later times been translated by Mr. Eugene O'Curry, who has given to the world of general literature a very able translation of this monumental work.



With a fresh horse we started for Ballyshannon, some fifteen miles ahead of us. The surrounding country was interesting and appeared to be prosperous, containing many fine seats, the great feature of which was their magnificent timber. Ballyshannon seems a busy town, with two thousand five hundred inhabitants. Its castle, of which scarcely any traces remain, belongs to the O'Donnells and was the scene of a disastrous defeat of the English under Sir Convers Clifford in 1597. The castle was besieged with vigor for three days and an attempt made to sap the walls, but the garrison having made a desperate sally, the English retreated in haste, and, pursued by Hugh Roe O'Donnell, they lost a great portion of their force in an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Erne.

The two portions of the town, the lower one of which is called the Port, are connected by a bridge of twelve arches about[58] four hundred yards above the celebrated falls, where an enormous body of water is precipitated over a cliff some thirty feet high and ten feet above high-water, with a noise that is perfectly deafening. This is the scene of the "salmon-leap." The salmon that come down the river in the autumn return again in the spring months, and this can only be accomplished by ascending the falls. Traps with funnel-shaped entrances are placed in different parts of the falls, in which the salmon are caught, and taken out for market as required. Between the traps are intervals through which the fish can reach the top of the falls by leaping, and as at low water the spring is about sixteen feet, the scene is singularly interesting. Below the falls is the island of Inis-Saimer, on which are buildings connected with the fishery. The fishery is very valuable, and is owned by Messrs. Moore & Alexander.

On the bridge is a tablet to William Allingham (1824-1889), a native of Ballyshannon. I give Allingham's own description of his home; it can hardly be surpassed in the English language for simple, graceful, and yet direct diction. I also quote a few lines from a poem he wrote[59] before he sailed for America; they are not Miltonian in their style, but Milton could not have touched the spot as he did.

"The little old town where I was born has a voice of its own, low, solemn, persistent, humming through the air day and night, summer and winter. Whenever I think of that town I seem to hear the voice. The river which makes it rolls over rocky ledges into the tide. Before spreads a great ocean in sunshine or storm; behind stretches a many-islanded lake. On the south runs a wavy line of blue mountains; and on the north, over green, rocky hills, rise peaks of a more distant range. The trees hide in glens, or cluster near the river; gray rocks and boulders lie scattered about the windy pastures. The sky arches wide over all, giving room to multitudes of stars by night and long processions of clouds blown from the sea, but also, in the childish memory where these pictures live, to deeps of celestial blue in the endless days of summer. An odd, out-of-the-way little town ours, on the extreme western verge of Europe, our next neighbors, sunset way, being citizens of the great new republic which, indeed, to our imagination seemed little, if at all, farther off than England in the opposite direction."

"Adieu to Ballyshannon! where I was bred and born;
Go where I may, I'll think of you, as sure as night and morn;
The kindly spot, the friendly town, where every one is known,
And not a face in all the place but partly seems my own.
[60] There's not a house or window, there's not a field or hill,
But, east or west, in foreign lands, I'll recollect them still.
I leave my warm heart with you, tho' my back I'm forced to turn,
So adieu to Ballyshannon and the winding banks of Erne!
"Farewell, Coolmore—Bundoran! and your summer crowds that run
From inland homes to see with joy th' Atlantic setting sun;
To breathe the buoyant salted air, and sport among the waves;
To gather shells on sandy beach and tempt the gloomy caves;
To watch the flowing, ebbing tide, the boats, the crabs, the fish;
Young men and maids to meet and smile, and form a tender wish;
The sick and old in search of health, for all things have their turn—
And I must quit my native shore and the winding banks of Erne!"

Near here are the ruins of Kilbarron Castle, an ancient fortress of the O'Clerys, a family renowned in their day for their skill in science, poetry, and history, of whom was Father Michael O'Clery, the leader of the illustrious quartet of the "Four Masters." It stands on a precipitous[61] rock at the very edge of the coast.



In the vicinity of Ballyshannon can be seen Ballymacward Castle, which was built during the famine of 1739. This was the home of the "Colleen Bawn," famous in song and story, who was one of the Ffolliott girls, and eloped with Willy Reilly.

Now we are on the road to Bundoran, and we had hardly cleared the skirts of Ballyshannon before it began to rain so hard that even had old Noah been with us he could not have bragged much about the Flood. It came in at our collars and went out at our boots. Our new driver could not be induced to say a single word except yes or no; he was neither a historian, a botanist, nor a geologist, and he took no interest whatever in ruins; but we forgave him for all these shortcomings, for he drove his horse steadily onward through the torrent with an unswerving perseverance that covered a multitude of sins. When we arrived at Bundoran's fashionable watering-place hotel, The Irish Highlands, the guests received us with shouts of laughter, in which we good-humoredly joined. No more weary pilgrims[62] ever drew rein at inn in such a sorry plight.

Our clothes were dried during the night, and with a new steed we started for Sligo. It was clear weather and we had a pleasant ride along the coast-line. The feature of the day was skirting the base of Benbulbin for about seven miles. This is a most peculiar mountain, almost eighteen hundred feet high. Its base starts in with patches of yellow and sage-green verdure, then turns to streams of broken rocks. From these, regular pillars of stone start like the pipes of an organ, which can be seen for fifty miles, these again being covered by a flat crown of green growth. The whole looks like a vast temple in India. A large water-fall, consisting of three separate cascades, cuts its side and adds greatly to its beauty and attractiveness.

We passed through the village of Drumcliff, situated on the bank of the river of the same name which here enters Drumcliff Bay from Glencar Lake. A monastery was founded here by St. Columba, the site for which was given in 575, and it was made into a bishop's see, afterwards united to Elphin. This village was anciently called "Drumcliff of the[63] Crosses," and of the remains of these the "Great Cross" is a fine example. It is thirteen feet high and three feet eight inches across the arms, which are connected by the usual circular segments. It is of hard sandstone and consists of three sections, the base, shaft, and top. It is highly sculptured, showing human figures, animals, and fine, interlaced scrollwork. There is also the stump of a round tower, about forty feet high, of rude masonry of the earliest group. The door is square-headed, six feet from the ground, and the walls are three feet thick.



Near Drumcliff was fought a great battle in 561, arising out of a quarrel over the possession of a copy of a Latin Psalter made by St. Columba from one borrowed of St. Finnian, of Moville. St. Finnian claimed the copy, and the case was brought before Dermot, King of Meath, who decided, Brehon fashion, that as "to every cow belongs its calf, so to every book belongs its copy," a judgment from which St. Columba appealed to his tribe. The party of St. Columba was victorious, three thousand of the men of Meath being slain. St. Columba was advised by St. Molaise to go to Scotland and convert the pagans[64] as penance for the blood he had shed, which he did, and founded a missionary establishment in Iona.

Lord Palmerston took a great interest in this part of the country, laying out plantations in 1842 and building a harbor, which we saw from the car. It cost him over £20,000.

While riding along we noticed a tower on a distant hill, and said to the driver, "Is that a round tower?" "Yis, sur." "Are you sure it's round?" "Yis, sur, I am; it's square it is."



We finally reached Sligo; and Sligo is quite a place, both historically and commercially. It has a population of 10,274, and is an important seaport town in close neighborhood to scenery such as falls to the lot of very few business towns. It is remarkably well situated in the centre of a richly wooded plain, encircled on all sides, save that of the sea, by high mountains, the ascent of which commences within three to four miles of the town, while on one side of it is Lough Gill, almost equal in beauty to any lake in Ireland, and on the other a wide and sheltered bay. Connection between the two is maintained by the broad river Garrogue, which issues from Lough Gill and empties itself, after a course of nearly three miles, into Sligo Bay. It is crossed by two bridges, joining the parish of St. John with that of Calry on the north bank. Steamers ply regularly between this town and Glasgow and Liverpool.


Sligo attained some importance as early as 1245 as the residence of Maurice Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, who there founded a castle and monastery. The castle played an important part in the struggles of the English against the Irish chiefs in the thirteenth century and subsequently, in which the rival O'Conors and O'Donnells were mainly concerned. Sligo suffered in the massacres of 1641, when it was taken by Sir Frederick Hamilton and the abbey burned. The Parliamentary troops, under Sir Charles Coote, took it in 1645 after a battle in which the Irish were defeated and the warlike Archbishop of Tuam, Malachy O'Kelly, was killed. In the great abbey, which is now a fine ruin, is the grave of Patrick Beolan, who did not "give in," as they say in Ireland, till he had reached the age of one hundred and forty-four.

While at Sligo we met the brother of Lieutenant Henn (owner of the Galatea, and who tried to lift the cup with her some years ago). This man is a local judge and a very pleasant and entertaining gentleman, reminding us greatly of his late brother, whose estate he inherited.





Our next points were Claremorris and Ballinrobe. They were not interesting, so we took a car to Cong, a very ancient place lying on the neck of land which separates Lough Corrib from Lough Mask. St. Fechin, of Fore, founded a church here in 624, and it is at this place that Lord Ardilaun has his castle, a large building on the shores of Lough Corrib, surrounded by an immense park, with fine timber, Italian sunken gardens, and a pheasantry. In the gardens, in luxuriant profusion, countless varieties of rare plants, gigantic palms, delicate ferns, are as much at home as in their native tropics, carefully nurtured in a climate tempered to their necessities, soft and balmy from the influence of the Gulf Stream. Lord Ardilaun has many other attractions besides these at Ashford Castle—i. e., steam-yachts, watch-towers, conservatories, stables, a salmon-river,[68] game-preserves, and large herds of red and fallow deer, not to mention the Augustinian monastery built by the king-monk Roderic O'Conor in the twelfth century. He was the last Irish king, and lived the concluding fifteen years of his life within these walls as a monk, in the strictest seclusion; he died in 1198, aged eighty-two.

The Cross of Cong, which was made for Tuam, was brought here, it is thought, by Roderic O'Conor. It measures two and a half feet high, one foot six and three-quarter inches across arms, and one and three-quarter inches thick. It is made of oak plated with copper, and covered with the most beautiful gold tracery of Celtic pattern. In the centre of the arms is a large crystal; thirteen of the original eighteen jewels remain, set along the edges of shaft and arms, while eleven of those which were set down the centre of arms and shaft and round the crystal are lost. It was found by the Rev. P. Prendergast early in the present century in a chest in the village, and after his death it was purchased by Professor MacCullagh for one hundred guineas, and presented to the Royal Irish Academy.




Loughs Mask and Corrib are connected by an underground river, as the porous nature of the rock will not permit the water to flow on the surface. We went down thirty feet into the "pigeon-hole," which is near the castle, to see the flow of water through the ground. The arrangements for seeing this place might truly be called hospitality in a high form, as everything is shown and nothing expected in return for the courtesy. The solicitude of the old gate-keeper for our welfare was particularly marked, for when we returned to the gate after a very peaceful inspection, he doffed his hat and exclaimed, "Glory be to God, yer honors have returned safe and in good health, too, I see!"

During the Irish famine an attempt was made to dig a canal connecting the lakes, so as to give the people something to do, and an enormous amount of money was sunk in the project. The rocky bed absorbed the water, however, as fast as it flowed in, and the enterprise proved an utter failure. Every visitor asks what it is when he sees it. It is called "The Great Blunder."



Next morning, with new car, horse, and driver, we put off for Leenane, twenty-seven miles away. We drove along the banks of Lough Mask, with its groups of small, wooded islands, and left it to take the road along Lough Nafooey, a very picturesque drive. After some hours of driving, we put up at McKeown's Hotel in Leenane. "Mac" is a Pooh-Bah, a tall, strapping young Irishman, a "six-foot-twoer," with an intermittent laugh that takes most of the sting out of his hotel bills, and he holds the complimentary title of "The Major." He runs an up-to-date hotel, is postmaster, owns a store, has all the mail-posting contracts, rents salmon and trout rivers and lakes, ships salmon to London, and owns ten thousand acres of shooting-land stocked with grouse, hares, snipe, duck, and cock, which he lets to visitors, as well as seal shooting on the bay. He also owns a sheep[71] mountain, from which he serves mutton to his guests in all the ways that mankind has ever known since sheep were first slaughtered for food. We had on succeeding days, as part of the menu, roast mutton (hot and cold), stewed lamb, boiled leg, roast saddle, minced lamb, mutton cutlets, broiled kidneys, lamb chops, Irish stew, suet-pudding, sweetbreads, French chops, sheep's-head, and mutton broth. We fancied we could detect wool growing on the palms of our hands when we left the hotel, and could have forgiven "Mac" if we could only have found it starting on the tops of our heads instead. At another hotel in a fishing centre we had an aquarium style of living, which in time became monotonous: they served up in the course of time for our delectation, salmon boiled and salmon broiled, cold salmon, salmon steak, salmon croquettes, salmon cutlets, and stewed salmon, intersticed with white trout, black trout, yellow trout, brown trout, sea trout, speckled trout, and gillaroo. But at Recess they combined such things with chops, duck, green pease, lobster, and Irish sole right out of the nearby sea. All hail, Recess! And long life[72] to Polly, the peach-cheeked waitress who served us so nimbly!

Next morning we crossed Killary Bay in a boat, and while doing so we noticed that the captain held his leg in a very constrained position. We asked him if it was stiff, or if he was troubled with rheumatism. "No; to tell your honor the truth, there's a hole in the boat, an' I'm jist kapin' me heel in it to save her from sinkin'."

After landing we drove to Delphi to see its lake and woods; then on to Lough Dhu, a long sheet of water from the banks of which the mountains rise to a height of twenty-five hundred feet. Delphi is one of the loveliest spots in Connemara, but we can hardly go as far as the enthusiastic Englishman who wrote: "It may be safely said that if Connemara contained no other beauty, Delphi alone would be worth the journey from London, for the sake of the mountain scenery." Delphi House formerly belonged to the Marquis of Sligo, and at one time he lived there. We returned by driving round the head of the bay, with a horse that would have retarded a funeral procession. Within a mile of the hotel there[73] is a double echo, which we tested by loud whistling on our fingers. After crossing the bay, the echo came back to us with great strength, striking our side of the mountain again and thus making a second echo.



On the morning before we left, I lay in bed half asleep, and, as the bedrooms in the west of Ireland rarely have any locks on their doors, our confidential "boots" stole quietly into the room and, looking at me, soliloquized in a tender tone, suggestive of a tip if I should hear him: "Sure, his honor is slapin' loike a baby, an' 'twould be nothin' short of a crime to wake him up this wet mornin'; I haven't the heart to do it." And he walked out of the room with his eye on the future.

The following day we "took in" the Killaries, as they are called. This is a long arm of the sea, surrounded by high, bold mountains, clothed with very green verdure to their tops. It is a wonderful fiord, which has scarcely any parallel in the British Isles and much resembles the coast scenery in Norway. Capacious and fit for the largest ships, it runs inland to the very heart of the mountains[74] for a distance of some nine miles. The mountain scenery on the north of the fiord is incomparably the finest, the enormous walls of Mweelrea, the "Giant of the West," and Bengorm rising abruptly to the height of two thousand six hundred and eighty-eight feet and two thousand three hundred and three feet, while the excessive stillness of the land-locked water, in which the shadows of the hills are clearly reflected, makes it difficult for one to believe that it is the actual ocean which he beholds.

That night, after a drive of twelve miles, we reached Casson's Hotel in Letterfrack, where we asked for a fire in the dining-room, as it was cold when we arrived. The maid brought a burning scuttle of peat, the smoke from which did not subside during the entire dinner, but it looked comfortable, to see each other through it, reminding us of cheerful fires and warm nooks at home; the comparison could go no farther, however. We asked the maid for a wine-list, in order that we might try to overcome the effect of the smoke, and she responded, with great naïveté, that she had no wine-list, but would bring us a sample from every bin in the cellar.[75] In a few minutes, sure enough, she bounced into the room with her arms full of bottles, saying: "Take yer ch'ice, gintlemen; there's nothin' foiner in all Connemara!" We took her at her word; she had not deceived us—the bottle we selected was a good claret.



Next morning the landlady furnished us with the best animal we had on the trip. She was a stout, bay mare, and when her spirits had rallied after leaving a young colt of hers behind, she reeled off the miles like a machine. Our object in visiting this part of the country was to see Mitchell Henry's famous castle, Kylemore, and the Twelve Pins, about which we had been hearing all our lives without ever having had an opportunity to visit them until now.

Mr. Henry was a linen merchant, with houses in Belfast and Manchester; he made a fortune, purchased fourteen thousand acres of land in Connemara to give himself a political foothold, and in consequence became M. P. for Galway, which position he retained for six years. About forty years ago he began the construction of Kylemore, selecting as a site a valley between very high mountains,[76] with a lake and river in front of the spot where his castle would stand. He collected rare trees and planted the mountain-sides with them, as well as the valley round his buildings. In addition to the castle, he erected fine stables, a private chapel, sheltered gardens, and conservatories, and preserved the salmon and trout in the lake and river. The moist heat from the Gulf Stream was his main ally, and nowhere else in the world can more bursting vigor and splendid growth be seen than are exhibited by his trees, shrubs, and flowers; to see them is a veritable treat to those who are interested in such things. In the gardens flourish groups of tropical plants, palms, and rare ferns the year round; they need no protection in this mild climate. His roads have double fuchsia hedges twelve feet high, which, anywhere else than in Connemara, would be worth a fortune. They were in full bloom when we saw them. Mr. Henry is now a very old man and lives in London; and the sad part of it all is that he cannot enjoy the glories of his famous property, and it is for sale. Sic transit gloria mundi!

After visiting the castle, church, gardens,[77] and conservatories, we drove through the extensive, finely wooded demesne, passing vast banks of rhododendrons and hydrangeas in rare bloom, till we reached the county road and caught our first glimpse of the Twelve Pins, or Bens, as they are sometimes called. They were a disappointment; we had heard too much about them. The Twelve Pins is a group of high mountains having but little verdure; the highest, Benbaun, is two thousand four hundred feet above sea-level. The remarkable feature about them is that they are practically one long mountain with twelve peaks rising from it at regular intervals. Excepting this startling effect, they do not compare with Muckish, Dooish, or Errigal, the "peerless cone" of Donegal.



The bay mare carried us in gallant style past the long, romantic-looking Lough Inagh down to Recess, where we put up at the best hotel we had found since we started.



I am writing this from memory and without notes, so I may be pardoned for having forgotten to introduce in its proper place our trip to Achill Island, one of the most interesting of our experiences. I shall start by saying that we crossed over to the island at its nearest point to the main-land, and, taking our seats on a "long" public car which stood in readiness, we were pulled by two immense horses the thirteen miles to the village of Dugort at a steady pace that never "slacked up" for the entire distance. It rained, but the car was plentifully supplied with tarpaulins, which were strapped round us in artistic style, and so we arrived at the Slievemore Hotel dry but benumbed. "Mine host" of the Slievemore, one Captain Sheridan, is perhaps the best-known Boniface in the west of Ireland. The iridescent splendor of his imagination, his contempt for detail, and his facility[79] in escaping when cornered, place him on a plinth so high that, compared with him, Baron Munchausen would seem to be a practical monument of truth and accuracy; indeed, the Baron is his only rival in all the years that have gone to make up history. He greeted us with: "I saw you coming; knew by your looks you were the real thing, and wired for a ten-pound salmon."



(Host Sheridan with the rifle)

We were stiff and cold after the wet drive, and asked for a nip of Irish whiskey. "Bad luck to it, anyhow, I haven't a drop in the house, but my team is hauling a cask of 'Power's Best' from the main-land. But I have 'Scotch,' boys, as is 'Scotch'; not a headache in a hogshead of it!" So we had the substitute, and, upon our asking its age, he started in rather modestly at "five," and when we gave him a drink quickly raised it to "ten year old." Before the evening was over, he told us, in a confidential whisper, that the prime-minister had been his guest some time before and had pronounced it "twenty," so he did not know how old it really was—we must be the judges. He had a collection of stuffed birds and horns, and upon being asked what he[80] would take for a pair of ram's horns, he exclaimed: "'Tis simply priceless they are! 'Twould cost you a thousand pounds to fit out an expedition to get them, and besides you would have to get permission from the Grand Llama of Thibet, for 'tis only in his dominions that these rare animals are found; but still, I have too many horns, and I'll let you have the pair for forty guineas, packed up and ready for the steamer."

He admitted that he was a first cousin of Phil Sheridan's. "They try to make out that Phil wasn't an Irishman, that he was born half-way over, but I tell you the true facts are that he was born before he started," was the way he conclusively settled General Sheridan's nationality.

Guests "move on" at the approach of rain in Irish hotels, so our genial host would pass from room to room if it threatened rain, calling out to an imaginary guest, "'Twill be a lovely day to-morrow." Pressed to divulge his sentiments on the landlord-and-tenant question, and not knowing how we stood, he said: "I'm for 'give and take'; the tenant to give what he thinks fair, and the landlord to take it or leave it."


He had a supreme contempt for rival attractions, and said that the Dunfanaghy puffins were corn-fed and the seals were chained to the bottom to attract visitors. He had a comic-opera, smuggler, weather predictor, and long-distance-sea-serpent man who turned up every morning and mingled with the guests. He dressed the part to perfection, à la Dick Deadeye, and would tell how many whales and seals he had seen in the bay at daybreak. As for the weather, with him it was always assured; if it rained while he was talking, he would belittle it by saying, "Sure, 'tis but a little bit of a shower; 'twon't last ten minutes"; then he would pilot a schooner over the bar and disappear.

But, after all, our host Sheridan was a kindly, good-natured fellow and very accommodating; he had told his tales so often that he really believed them, and was not so much to blame as one would think at first sight. His wife was a most capable manager, and largely made up for his shortcomings in the fulfilment of promises. Cead Mille Failthe (a hundred thousand welcomes) was emblazoned on a large crescent over the door.[82] The place was well supplied with pets—cats, dogs, and a tame crow making up the family. The house has four pairs of stairs leading from the hall vestibule; there is a high mountain close to its rear and another right in front of it, with the Atlantic to the west; so that it must be described as a picturesque establishment in every detail. The weather became foggy, and we were about to leave without trying to see anything, when the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and we changed the programme by remaining.

Achill Island is fifteen miles long by twelve miles wide; it is bounded by Blacksod Bay on the north and by Clew Bay on the south. There is a small grocery store on the west side of the island which is said to be the nearest saloon to America, and proud is the owner of this distinction. The people lead a very peculiar life. The latitude is high, and consequently in the dead of winter the day is very short, and they cannot fish in the stormy waters surrounding the island. They save enough money in summer to carry them through the winter months, and amuse themselves during the long nights by dancing. Every community[83] has its fiddler, and it is his business to provide a house with a large room in which the dances can be held. Each family furnishes the supper in turn, and all "pay the fiddler." One would suppose that whiskey would play the leading part in such entertainments; and up to the latter part of the last century it did, but it is now entirely absent. Long experience taught the participants that if peaceful family parties were to be indulged in, the "mountain dew" must be an absentee; so they took to Guinness's stout, and the piles of "empties," everywhere to be seen, show clearly that the Guinness shares are a valuable investment. This dancing is carried on in most of the northwestern counties, where the winter days are short. The "balls" end at about 3 A.M., and the dancers sleep till eleven the next morning.

The island contains the cathedral cliffs of Menawn, one thousand feet in height, hollowed by the long action of the waves through countless centuries, and having a striking resemblance to stupendous Gothic aisles.

We started early in the morning for Achill Head, via Keem Bay, traveling[84] as usual on a car, driven by a boy. We drove through a unique fishing village, consisting of very small houses laid out in regular streets, the thatched roofs being secured against the winter storms by ropes on which were hung large stones about the size of watermelons. These rows of stones swayed in the wind and produced a curious effect while in motion. The car stopped at the foot-hills, where the road changed into a path, and waited under a shed for our return in the evening. On alighting we were delighted to hear the sweet, familiar song of a pair of larks that soared up under the clear, blue sky so far above our heads that they seemed mere specks which we could see but indistinctly. It was many years since we had seen and heard the Irish lark in its native element, and we listened to the notes with keen, reminiscent pleasure.

Here we hired two gillies to help us in climbing Achill Head, which is quite a high mountain. We climbed up a steep track for about three miles, and were congratulating ourselves upon our progress, when, on rounding the hip of the hill, we discovered that we should have to descend again to sea-level at Keem Bay,[85] in order to commence the real ordeal. It was easy work going down, and we soon reached the bay. This is a beautiful spot, an indenture in the headland, with a firm, yellow strand at the head, and perpendicular, rocky bluffs on its sides. Three large boats were salmon-fishing, and from the many places where we rested on our long climb up the mountain we saw them tacking back and forth all day.



Near the shore we visited the house and store of Captain Boycott, both in ruins. This is the gentleman who gave us a new word for our vocabulary. Notwithstanding his fate, he had many warm friends among the peasantry.

We started climbing again by following the bed of a brawling stream, and adhered to it until it turned into a rivulet. Most Irish mountains are formed by a series of benches, and our plan was to climb briskly till we reached a bench and there make a recovery for the next assault. As we rose in the air we felt our clothing becoming burdensome, and we gave one article after another to the gillies, so that by the time we reached the top our wardrobes were quite elementary. It seemed to us that all the benches in[86] Ireland were collected on that mountain; each one was to have been the last, but still there was another and yet another. We finally reached the summit and, bathed in perspiration, lay down on the heather, wrapping ourselves in rain-coats, and, telling the gillies to wake us in an hour, fell asleep. It would not have been much of a climb for a mountaineer, but for us, of full habit and totally untrained, it was exercise to the extreme limit of endurance.

When we awoke we crawled on all-fours to the edge of the head and looked over, and we shall never forget the sight that greeted our eyes! Achill Head and Croaghaun Mountain, adjoining it, have the reputation of being the highest marine cliffs in existence. They are poised above the Atlantic at an angle of sixty degrees, and the particular point on which we lay far overhung the ocean. Here lightning-splintered pinnacles shoot from the mass; savage, titanic rocks lie on the face of the two mountains in wild confusion, scarred and rent from top to bottom, and the blue waters surge and break at their base in restless confusion, throwing up the spray to great heights. Then[87] for a moment all is calm, only to begin over again. It was as if the grandest Alpine scenery had the Atlantic breaking on its lower levels, and yet it retained the charm of the finest verdure. Between the crevices grew blooming heather, luxuriant ferns, wild flowers, and arbutus in great profusion, while flocks of wild gulls circled gracefully through the air in quest of food, the whole being enveloped in the warm, moist air of the Gulf Stream, rising from the face of the ocean and suffusing the cliff upon which we rested, giving it practically the temperature of a hot-house. It was always a struggle between the mist and the sun; each alternately gained the mastery, and it was this weird kaleidoscope that held us spellbound and presented wonderland in a new guise. The Croaghaun Mountain, two thousand two hundred and nineteen feet in height, lay right beside us, joined to Achill Head by a rocky bridge. Its grand and peculiar feature is that at the very highest point it would seem as if the rest of the mountain had been suddenly cut away, leaving a vast and tremendous precipice descending to the water nearly one thousand nine hundred and[88] fifty feet. Deep fissures and rocky furrows have been worn by the torrents which pour down after heavy rains, and the bottom, where it shelves slightly, is strewn with bowlders and masses of shattered rock, forming natural bulwarks against the advancing tide. From where we stood, the view seaward was, of course, boundless, the nearest land being America. It is doubtful if such another panorama is unfolded from any other height in the British Isles. Far out is the Black Rock, on which is a light-house two hundred and sixty-eight feet high, and to the northward are North and South Inishkea and Duvillaun. The Mullet peninsula, Erris, and the ever-varying outlines of Blacksod Bay lie spread out like a map, and beyond Slievemore is a network of island and inlet, above which the splendid range of the Ballycroy Hills forms a background. In the distance is Nephin; far to the south rises the rugged head of Croagh Patrick and the mountains round Clew Bay; farther off are the summits of the Twelve Pins; Achill Beg lies immediately below; beyond it, Clare Island, and farther south Inishturk, Inishbofin, and Inishshark bound[89] the horizon. Off the Mullet are numerous islands, of which the principal are Inishkeeragh and Inishglora, where, according to some, the dead are subject to such extraordinary and preserving influences that their nails and hair grow as in life, "so that their descendants to the tenth generation can come and with pious care pare the one and clip the other." The eagle still haunts these cliffs, and the wild goat feeds almost secure in his last haunts on these islands.



It was growing late, and, as we had five miles of walking before us, we retraced our steps down the mountain to Keem Bay. The trials of that descent have not been written in sand—they will never be forgotten. In our exhausted condition we reeled and staggered from hummock to hummock, floundered through the soggy bog like a pair of stranded seals, sat down in the heather for a few gasps of breath when we could go on no longer. We guyed each other, guyed the Emerald Isle and its people; we sneered at the story of George's hatchet, and concluded that, after all, King Edward's job was not what it was cracked up to be—anything to[90] divert our minds from the dreadful present. If we could have put Achill Island and all its scenery out of commission forever, we would gladly have done it. But time and the hour run through the roughest day, and so we got to the bottom. At the beach we saw a cowherd coming towards us with numerous cans, and, supposing these to be full, we pounced upon him for a drink of milk. Luck was against us again—his cans were empty, and he told us he had to walk a mile or more to where his cows were grazing before he could fill them. We braced ourselves for the final walk round the mountain, and as it was a fair road we had little difficulty in reaching the shed where we had left the car in the early morning. The driver was watching for us, and we gladly swung ourselves up on the seats; and no pair of Irish kings ever enjoyed riding in royal state more than we did. We stopped a few minutes at a lake by the wayside to see some of the hotel guests catching a basket of fine trout, which were afterwards served for a late supper.

We awoke next morning stiff and sore, but a breezy chat with our genial host[91] soon put us on good terms with ourselves and everything about us. We left Achill Island in the afternoon, deeply regretting that we had not more time to devote to its wonders.



Now back to Recess, which we left so abruptly. In the evening we went for a circular drive to Ballynahinch, with its river, lakes, and islands—up the river on one side, crossing it on a bridge, and down again by the base of the Twelve Pins, which you can't get away from in this country. We saw Ballynahinch Castle, close to the road on the edge of the lake. It belongs to the celebrated Martins, whose fortunes have been graphically described by Charles Lever in his popular novel, The Martins of Cro Martin. They owned two hundred thousand acres of land, and Colonel Martin is said to have endeavored to put the Prince Regent of that day out of conceit with the famous Long Walk at Windsor by saying that the avenue which led to his hall door was thirty miles long. The pleasantry was true, for he owned the forty miles of road from Galway to his own door.


Thackeray was a great admirer of Irish scenery and wrote profusely about it. These "Pins" were his particular hobby, and he never tired of them. In one book he writes: "I won't attempt to pile up big words in place of those wild mountains over which the clouds as they passed, or the sunshine as it went and came, cast every variety of tint, light, and shadow. All one can do is to lay down the pen and ruminate, and cry 'Beautiful!' once more."

Bravo, William! but you ought to have peered over Achill, or have gone in a boat to see the birds at Horn Head; then we should have heard from you on a really great theme.

As we were returning to the hotel, a white automobile approached us at high speed, and we could not but admire the dexterous way in which our driver got out of difficulty; for the horse had become panic-stricken and was about to plunge down the embankment along which we were driving. He jumped from his seat, whipped off his coat, and wrapped it round the horse's head. The animal was so much surprised at the novelty of the proceeding and the sudden loss of his sight that he forgot all about the "white[94] ghost" till it had safely passed us. The chauffeur shouted back, "Great work; that's a new patent!"

At Recess we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. W. J. D. Walker, Inspector and Organizer of Industries for the Congested Districts Board. We had a long and interesting reminiscent chat with him regarding other days in Ireland; he is an enthusiast on the subject of helping the poor there to help themselves. The Board has employed experts to teach these people the best way to fish, build boats, breed cattle, till and improve the soil, make lace, weave cloth, manufacture baskets, and do many things of which they have at present but little, if any, knowledge; in fact, they are helped in every possible way by the British government.

Galway was near by, and an agreement was made to join Mr. Walker on one of his tours of inspection to the Aran Islands. So to Galway we went, where we received our first mail since leaving America. After having ascertained that the Seaboard Bank's doors were still open, glanced at the price of "U. S. Fours," and noted the growing strength of the[95] "Hackensack Meadows," we set out to see the town.



Galway is situated on gently rising ground, on the north side and near the head of the bay. The greater portion of the town is built upon a tongue of land bounded on the east by Lough Athalia, an arm of the sea, and on the west by the river which forms the outlet of Lough Corrib. The other and smaller part is on the opposite bank of the river and in the district known as Iar-Connaught, the connection being maintained by one wooden and two stone bridges. The West Bridge is a very ancient structure of the date of 1342, and formerly possessed two tower gateways at the west and centre: these, however, have long since disappeared. The Upper Bridge, leading from the court-house, was erected in 1818.

Under various names a town has been established here from the very earliest times, and Ptolemy mentions a city called Magnata, or Nagnata, which is generally considered to be identical with Galway. This last name is derived, according to some, from a legend to the effect that a woman named Galva was drowned in the river hard by; by others, from[96] the Gallaeci of Spain, with whom the town carried on an extensive trade; and by others, again, from the Gaels, or foreign merchants, by whom it was occupied. Nothing is definitely known of Galway until 1124, when, according to the "Four Masters," a fort was erected there by the Connaught men. This was thrice demolished by the Munster men, and as often rebuilt. In 1226, Richard de Burgo was granted the country of Connaught, and, having crushed the O'Connors, established his power in the West. He took Galway in 1232, enlarged the castle, and made it his residence. From this time Galway became a flourishing English colony. Among the new settlers was a number of families whose descendants are known to this day under the general appellation of "the Tribes of Galway," an expression first invented by Cromwell's forces as a term of reproach against the natives of the town for their singular friendship and attachment to one another during the time of their unparalleled troubles and persecutions, but which the latter afterwards adopted as an honorable mark of distinction between themselves and their cruel oppressors.[97] There were thirteen of these so-called tribes, the descendants of some of which, as Blake, Lynch, Bodkin, Browne, Joyce, Kirwan, Morris, Skerrett, D'Arcy, Ffrench, Martin, may still be found among its citizens, who in those days carefully guarded themselves from any intercourse with the native Irish. In one of the by-laws, of date of 1518, it is enacted "that no man of this towne shall oste or receive into their housses at Christemas, Easter, nor no feaste elles, any of the Burkes, MacWilliams, the Kellies, nor no cepte elles, withoute license of the mayor and councill, on payn to forfeit 5l., that neither O' nor Mac shalle strutte ne swaggere thro' the streetes of Gallway."

The following singular inscription was formerly to be seen over the west gate:

"From the fury of the O'Flaherties
Good Lord deliver us."

Owing to its excellent situation, Galway enjoyed for centuries the monopoly of the trade with Spain, whence it received large quantities of wine, salt, etc., which caused so much personal intercourse that the town became impressed to a certain[98] degree with Spanish features, both in the architecture of the streets and in the dress and manners of the population; though it has been, nevertheless, the habit of former writers to ascribe too much to the supposed Spanish origin of the town, overlooking the fact that it was inhabited by an essentially Anglo-Norman colony.

The first charter of incorporation was granted by Richard II., and confirmed in successive reigns down to that of Charles II. That of Richard III. excluded McWilliam Burke and his heirs from all rule and power in Galway; and the charter of Elizabeth made the mayor Admiral of Galway and the bay, including the Aran Islands. Galway reached its highest point of opulence at the commencement of the Irish rebellion of 1641, during which period it was remarkable for its loyalty to the king. It was surrendered to Ludlow in 1652, having suffered a siege and such barbarous treatment at the hands of the Parliamentary army that at the Restoration the town was almost wholly decayed. From a map made in 1651 by the Marquis of Clanricarde to ascertain the extent and value of the[99] town, it appears that Galway was then entirely surrounded by walls, defended by fourteen towers, and entered by as many gates.

On July 19, 1691, a week after the battle of Aughrim, Ginkell with fourteen thousand men laid siege to it. Two days later the town surrendered, the garrison being permitted to evacuate it with a safe-conduct to Limerick and a pardon to the inhabitants.

Since the middle of the last century, the fortifications have gone fast to decay, and now nothing remains but a fragment near the quay and a massive archway leading to Spanish Place. There is also a square bastion of great thickness in Francis Street, and a portion of wall with a round-headed, blocked arch. Within the last century the town has so much increased as to cover more than double the space formerly occupied within the walls. Some of the houses are built Spanish fashion, with a small court in the centre and an arched gateway leading into the street. The most striking specimen of domestic architecture is Lynch's Mansion, a large, square building at the corner of Shop and Abbeygate[100] streets, having square-headed doorways and windows, with richly decorated mouldings and drip-stones. There is also a portion of the cornice or projecting balustrade at the top of the house, the horizontal supporting pillars being terminated with grotesque heads. On the street face are richly ornamented medallions bearing the arms of the Lynches, with their crest, a lynx. This castle has more gargoyles and coats-of-arms carved upon it than ever Mr. Carnegie can hope to cut on the battlements of Skiebo. I was going to say, the Lynches had carvings "to burn," but, considering the incombustible nature of these ornamentations, the phrase would perhaps be inappropriate. The family of Lynch, one of the most celebrated in Galway annals, is said to have originally come from Linz, in Austria, of which town one of them was governor during a siege. As a reward for his services, he received permission to take a lynx as a crest. The family came to Ireland in the thirteenth century, and flourished there till the middle of the seventeenth. In 1484 Pierce Lynch was made first mayor under the new charter of Richard III., while his son Stephen[101] was appointed first warden by Innocent VIII., and, during a period of a hundred and sixty-nine years, eighty-four members of this family were mayors; altogether the Lynches were great people in Galway. In Market Street, at the back of St. Nicholas's Church, is the "Lynch Stone," bearing the following inscription:

"This memorial of the stern and unbending justice of the chief magistrate of this city, James Lynch Fitzstephen, elected mayor A.D. 1493, who condemned and executed his own guilty son, Walter, on this spot, has been restored to its ancient site."

Below this is a stone with a skull and cross-bones, and this inscription:

Remember Deathe Vaniti of Vaniti and al is but

James Lynch Fitzstephen had been one of the most successful of the citizens in promoting commerce with Spain, which he had himself personally visited, having been received with every mark of hospitality. To make some return for all this kindness, he proposed and obtained permission from his Spanish host to take[102] his only son back with him to Ireland. The mayor had also an only son, unfortunately addicted to evil company, but who, he hoped, was likely to reform, from the circumstance of his being attached to a Galway lady of good family. And so it might have proved had he not jealously fancied that the lady looked too graciously upon the Spaniard. Roused to madness, he watched the latter out of the house, stabbed him, and then, stung with remorse, gave himself up to justice, to his father's unutterable dismay. Notwithstanding the entreaties of the town folk, with whom the youth was a favorite, the stern parent passed sentence of death, and actually hanged him from the window with his own hand.

The Joyces, however, ran the Lynches a close race in Connemara, a part of which is called "Joyce's country." In Abbeygate Street is the Joyces' mansion, now in ruins. On a house in the adjoining street are the arms of Galway. The complete ruins of Stubber's Castle are in High Street, the entrance to it being through a shop, the only feature of which worth noticing is a carved chimney-piece bearing the arms of Blake and Brown (1619). In[103] Market Street are the remains of the Burkes' mansion.



The Bay of Galway consists of a long arm of the sea, protected at the entrance by the lofty cliffs of the islands of Aran, which in clear weather are visible at a distance of twenty-nine miles, and on the north and south by the coasts of Galway and Clare, respectively. A legend in the annals of Ireland states that it was once a fresh-water lake known as Lough Lurgan, one of the three principal lakes in Ireland, and was converted into a bay by the Atlantic breaking over and uniting with the water therein.

A large number of the population is employed in the salmon and herring fishery, and the Claddagh is their home. This is an extraordinary assemblage of low, thatched cottages, built with total disregard to system, and numbered indiscriminately. Hardiman wrote of them as follows: "The colony from time immemorial has been ruled by one of their own body, periodically elected, who is dignified with the title of mayor, regulates the community according to their own peculiar laws and customs, and settles all their fishery disputes. His decisions[104] are so decisive and so much respected that the parties are seldom known to carry their differences before a legal tribunal or to trouble the civil magistrates." The title and office are now quite obsolete. At one time they never allowed strangers to reside within their precincts, and always intermarried among themselves, but now strangers settle among them. They are a very moral and religious people; they would not go to sea or away from home on any Sunday or holiday. The dress of the women of the Claddagh was formerly very peculiar, and imparted a singular foreign aspect to the Galway streets and quays. It consisted of a blue mantle, red body-gown and petticoat, a handkerchief bound round the head, and legs and feet au naturel; but that dress is rarely seen now. The Claddagh ring—two hands holding a heart—becomes an heirloom in a family, and is handed down from mother to daughter.

One of the sights of the town is to see the salmon waiting to go up the Galway River to spawn. We rose one morning quite early to see this, when the fish would not be disturbed, and we watched them from the bridge for an hour. It was worth the[105] effort; we saw them packed in schools, quivering and jostling one another in their eagerness to get up to the spawning-grounds.

At our hotel we found an interesting character who served in the capacity of waiter. When questioned on the subject of his past life, he said that he had come from Hamburg when twenty years old. He spoke German broken into English with a strong Connemara brogue; and if Weber and Fields could only have heard him describe the items on a carte de jour, he would not be left long in Galway, but would find his opportunity in their dramatic temple on Broadway.



The Aran Isles lie out in the Atlantic, some twenty-nine miles from shore, being visited by a small steamer twice a week. We took passage on the Duras with Mr. Walker one morning soon after our arrival. All kinds of people and a great variety of cargo were on board. We stood out to sea steadily, and in a few hours reached what is known as the South Island. Here we dropped anchor about five hundred yards from shore and commenced unloading our cargo into the sea, to be taken care of by a great crowd of curraghs which swarmed about the ship. (In explanation it may be stated that the curragh is a great institution: it is a lightly framed, skeleton boat covered with raw cowhide or canvas and thoroughly tarred, in which the skilled native can go anywhere in all weathers. It is universally used on the coast from Donegal to Connemara.) Boards were tossed into the[107] sea, which were quickly gathered together by the curragh-men, bound with ropes, and towed ashore. We had a drove of pigs on board, and their feet were tied together with ropes, the four in a bunch, and the animals piled up in the curraghs till the boats would hold no more; then they were taken near the shore, liberated, and allowed to swim to land themselves. Their squealing and grunting was like an untrained Wagnerian band. There was a cow on board, and she was pushed from the gangway by main strength, plunging headlong into the waves; there was a short pause, when she reappeared, swam ashore, shook herself, and unconcernedly began eating grass, none the worse for her bath. Mr. Walker took a snap-shot of her, reaching land. (We are also indebted to this fine photographer for the many excellent views he took for us in this locality and on the mainland.) Then there were all sorts of other things piled into the curraghs, and, lastly, we too managed to get into one and were rowed ashore.



Mr. Walker then took us to a lace-making school which his Board had established on the island, and we saw the young[108] girls making fine laces in a neat building that had at one time been a church. The instructress had been on the island for more than a year, and Mr. Walker at once gave her a much-needed vacation.

Standing on the shore, I asked a man, "Are there many lobsters here?" "Sure, the shores is red wid 'em, yer honor, in the height of the saison!" was his ready reply.

We again got into a curragh, boarded the steamer, and were under way in a trice for Aranmore, the largest island of the group, where we landed an hour later at a fine pier built by the Congested Districts Board. The village is called Kilronan, and the inhabitants live by fishing. They are a simple and peculiar people, descended from the Firbolgs, retaining some parts of the dress and many of the customs of that race. Their footwear consists of a coarse stocking, over which they wear a tight-fitting slipper of raw cowhide with the hair on it, called a "pampootie." This is a special shoe for use on the smooth and slippery rocks of these islands. They also wear a snug, homespun flannel jacket and short "pants," the whole making an exceedingly picturesque[109] and effective outfit for their work. They have no pockets for handkerchiefs, cigars, eye-glasses, gloves, or even small change, but they seem to get on very well without them.

ON OUR WAY TO DUN AENGUS, ARAN ISLANDS, "The only car on the island"


"The only car on the island"

There is a cable to the island and we had wired to Mrs. O'Brien's cottage for a dinner, there being no hotel. This was ready on our arrival, and, having finished it, we took the only car on the island and drove out to Dun (or Fort) Aengus, described by Dr. Petrie as "the most magnificent barbaric monument now extant in Europe." Its gigantic proportions, isolated position, and the wild scenery by which it is surrounded render the trouble of the journey to see it well worth while. It is built on the very edge of sheer cliffs, two hundred and fifty to three hundred feet in height, forming the south and east sides. In form it is of horseshoe shape, although some antiquarians incline to the belief that it was originally oval, and that it acquired its present form from the falling of the precipices. It consists of three enclosures and the remains of a fourth. The wall which surrounds the innermost is eighteen feet high and twelve feet nine inches thick; it is in three[110] sections, the inner one seven feet high, and, like the others, has the centre wall lower than the faces. This enclosure measures one hundred and fifty feet from north to south, and one hundred and forty feet from east to west. The doorway is four feet eight inches high and three feet five inches wide, very slightly inclining, and the lintel is five feet ten inches long. In the northwest side is a passage leading into the body of the wall. The second rampart, which is not concentric, encloses a space about four hundred feet by three hundred. Outside the second wall is the usual accompaniment of a very large "entanglement," thirty feet wide, formed of sharp stones placed on end and sunk in the ground to hinder the approach of the enemy for an assault on the fort and make them an easy target for the bowmen to shoot at. So effective was this entanglement that we experienced considerable difficulty in getting through it, and when we did accomplish that feat we felt fully qualified to appreciate the intrepidity of an attacking party who would brave such an obstruction to their progress when storming the fort. Inside these stones, to the west, is a small[111] enclosure, the wall of which is seven feet nine inches high and six feet thick. Outside of it all is a rampart, now nearly destroyed, enclosing a space of eleven acres. These walls terminate at both ends on the south cliffs. About the first century of the Christian era, three brothers, Aengus, Conchobar, and Mil, came from Scotland to Aran, and their names are still preserved in connection with buildings on the island, the ancient fort just described being called Dun Aengus; the great fort of the middle island, superior in strength and preservation to the former, bearing the name of Dun Connor, or Conchovar, and the name of Mil being associated with the low strand of Port Murvey, formerly known as Muirveagh Mil, or the Sea-plain of Mil.

The surface of the ground surrounding Dun Aengus is most remarkable. It is a level sheet of blue limestone extending for many miles in every direction. This cracked, when cooling, into rectangular forms, and in these cracks grow large ferns, the only vegetation to be seen. The mass of stone retains the sun's heat during the night, and consequently these ferns are most luxuriant.


It would perhaps prove monotonous to describe in detail all the churches, forts, beehive cells, and monastic ruins, in many cases constructed in cyclopean masonry, with which these islands are literally covered; for it must be remembered that Ireland in the early ages was the university of Europe, the chief resort of the literati, where scholars came to learn and to teach one another all that was then known, and their numbers were so great that many buildings were required for their accommodation. The wonder of it all is why these isolated islands should have been selected as the seat of learning, when so many other more convenient sites could have been chosen. The men who decided the matter seem to have thought that islands so far removed from the mainland would offer seclusion and better protection from the various wars that had drenched Ireland in blood for so many centuries. I shall, therefore, content myself with what is above stated regarding Dun Aengus, the largest and most important structure on the islands.

Passing over the tradition of Lough Lurgan, the earliest reference to the pre-Christian history of the Aran Islands is[113] to be found in the accounts of the battle of Muireadh, in which the Firbolgs, having been defeated by the Danann, were driven for refuge into Aran and other islands on the Irish coast, as well as into the western islands of Scotland. Christianity was introduced in the fifth century by St. Enda, Eaney, or Endeus, who obtained a grant of the islands from Aengus, the Christian king of Munster, and founded ten religious establishments. Aranmore speedily obtained a world-wide renown for learning, piety, and asceticism, and "many hundreds of holy men from other parts of Ireland and foreign countries constantly resorted to it to study the sacred scriptures and to learn and practise the rigid austerities of a hermit's life"; in consequence of which the island was distinguished by the name of "Ara-Naoimh," or Ara of the Saints.



A century ago a curious custom prevailed in these islands. When a body was being carried to the grave, a convenient spot was selected at which to rest the pall-bearers; here the funeral procession came to a halt, generally about one hundred yards from the road. This spot was afterwards used as a site for a monument, erected[114] by husband, wife, or family, as the case might be, which for the most part took the place of a monument in the graveyard. When the relatives possessed means these memorials became quite imposing, bearing carved statuary and having a short history of the dead inscribed on them, winding up with a formula invoking a blessing on the souls of the departed. We left the car to inspect a long row of these stones fronting on the main road from Kilronan to Dun Aengus. The quaint things said in praise of the dead were quite interesting.

Many of the natives on Thursday and Friday in Holy Week still make a pilgrimage round Aranmore, a distance of twenty miles, performing religious exercises at each church in the circuit.

The O'Briens were lords of Aran from an early period, but were driven out by the O'Flaherties of Iar Connaught, who in turn were driven out by the English in 1587. In 1651, the Marquis of Clanricarde fortified the Castle of Arkyn, the stronghold of the O'Briens, which held out against the Parliamentary army for more than a year after the surrender of Galway; but on the occupation of the[115] island, the soldiers of Cromwell demolished the great church of St. Enda to furnish materials for the repair of a strong fort. On the surrender of Galway in 1691 Aran was garrisoned, and remained so for many years. Aran gives the title of Earl to the Gore family.



At his home we met Father Farragher, a genial gentleman and the parish priest of Kilronan, and he gave us a great deal of interesting information concerning the history of and life on these islands, which are historic to a degree rarely met with, and with which he was thoroughly familiar. We returned late in the evening by steamer to Galway.

When going to bed at the hotel, I summoned our comic "boots," and directed him to call No. 41 at six o'clock. The "boots" wrote the call on his slate, and then sat down with a puzzled expression on his face. Noticing this, I inspected the slate and found that the inscription read: "Call 46 at 1." He excused his blunder by saying: "Shure, you Yankees do be givin' us sich quare orders these days, we're prepared for almost annythin'."

When leaving on the train the next[116] morning and after we were seated in a crowded carriage, this same man put his head in through the open window and shouted: "You owe us another shillin'; the misthress forgot to charge the brace of 'nightcaps' ye had before bedtime."



The important part of our trip being finished, Mr. Ross left for London to witness the second attempt at the coronation of King Edward, while I went down to see Limerick and visit its annual horse-fair. Arrived at Limerick, I found the town full of the horsiest men I had ever seen anywhere. They had the knack of horsy dressing down, to a fine point. Horseshoe pins were "the thing," stuck in light-colored scarfs wound round their necks; their shanks were tightly rolled in leather, and above the knee they wore Santos-Dumont balloons in colors that would have made a rainbow look like a band of crape. Most of them had the conventional blade of grass in their mouths, a fashion started by Lord Palmerston fifty years ago and immortalized by John Leech in a celebrated Punch cartoon of the period. When looking at a horse, they tilted their hats far back into the[118] nape of their necks, planted their feet wide apart, stuffed their hands into their pockets, and carried themselves with the general air of one who soliloquizes, "Well, I'm just looking for the photograph of a man who can get away with me on a hoss trade."

Several streets in the horsy quarter of the town were given up to showing the horses, and there were examples of every breed, size, color, and weight you can think of, including hunters, carriage-horses, racers, saddle-horses, utility nags, circus-horses, and ponies. The rushing, rearing, plunging, galloping, trotting, and loping of the horses and the shouting of the rough-riders made a kaleidoscopic scene of dust, noise, and confusion which would have caused any one suffering from nervous prostration to choose some other place for a quiet afternoon. But I was there to see it through, and I went into the spirit of the occasion for "all I was worth," trying my best to lend a helping hand in many of the trades. I was on the successful side twice, and had a glass of Limerick ale at a neighboring bar with the elated buyers. The dealing, "swapping," and buying were[119] carried on in true artistic style, while the rough-riding when showing the animals can only be seen in Ireland. It takes a buyer, a seller, and about three "cappers" on each side to close a trade; they almost pull the clothes off the back of the owner, and slap him violently on various parts of his body when "splitting differences." A buyer always bids about five pounds more than he will really give, stipulating that he shall have the five pounds returned to him after the purchase; this swells the apparent value of the nag and pleases the owner. He tells his neighbors that he sold his horse for the larger amount; but they know that he didn't get it, so there is no harm done.

A dealer suddenly slapped me on the back and said, "Why don't yer buy a foine pair for yersilf and take em to the States wid ye?"

"Oh, the horse is not 'in it' any longer in America; the automobile is king."

"Ach! the divil burn the oightymoobiles annyhow; no dacent man will roide in wan av 'em if he can get a sate behind a harse," was his prompt reply.

Young well-matched carriage pairs brought one hundred and fifty guineas[120] readily, during the afternoon. "Why don't you ship some of these teams to America? You could get three thousand dollars for them in New York," was a question I put to another dealer.

"I know it, sir, but the risk and expense are too big; 'twould break me up in the long run." And I suppose he was right.

After saying so much about the horse-fair, perhaps it might be as well to say something about Limerick itself. Limerick has had quite a past, and there has been "a hot time in the old town" about as often as in any other city that can be pointed out. It is situated in a broad plain, watered by the Shannon, and backed up in the distance by the hills of Clare and Killaloe. The river, which soon becomes an estuary, rolls in a magnificent and broad stream through the heart of the town, and sends off a considerable branch called the Abbey River. This branch, rejoining the Shannon farther north, encloses what is known as the King's Island, on the southern portion of which is built the English Town, united to the mainland by three bridges, and containing the most ancient buildings.[121] In contradistinction is the Irish Town, which lies to the south of it and more in the direction of the railway station. These two districts comprised the fortified old town. Up to Edward II.'s time only the English Town had been defended by walls and towers, but these were subsequently extended so as to include Irish Town, which was entered by St. John's Gate. The eastern portion of the walls, in parts forty feet high, is still fairly preserved.

Newtown Pery, the district between this and the river, was then bare, but having come into the possession of the Pery family (Earls of Limerick), it was specially built upon, and is now equal to any city in Ireland for the breadth and cleanliness of its streets. Of these the principal is George's Street, a handsome thoroughfare of nearly a mile in length, giving off others on each side at right angles, with a statue of O'Connell, by Hogan, erected in 1857, at the south end of it in Richmond Place. There is also, to the north, a monument to the memory of Lord Monteagle.

The name "Limerick" is derived from the Irish Luimneach, the name of a portion[122] of the Shannon, by the corruption of n to r. Like most of the Irish seaports, it was founded in the ninth century by the Danes, who were subdued by Brian Boru when he assumed the sovereignty over Munster, and Limerick thus became the royal city of the Munster kings. After passing through the usual stages of intestine native war, its next important epoch was marked by the erection of a strong fortress by King John, who committed the care of it to the charge of William de Burgh. Bruce took it in 1316, and remained there for some months. From that time, with a few intervals of check, it steadily gained in importance until the reign of Elizabeth, when it was made the centre of civil and military administration. In 1641 it held out for some time against the Irish, but was taken by them. It was defended in 1651 by Hugh O'Neill against Ireton, during a six months' siege. Here, next year, Ireton died of the plague.

But the great episode in the history of Limerick took place during the wars of William and James, when the events occurred which fastened on it the name of the "City of the Violated Treaty." After[123] the fall of Athlone and Galway, Tyrconnell, the Lord Lieutenant, still held Limerick as the last stronghold that King James possessed, the city having been previously unsuccessfully assaulted by the English under William at the head of about twenty-six thousand men in 1690. Lauzun, the French general, said "it could be taken with roasted apples," and leaving it to its fate, went to Galway and embarked for France. William's army was wanting in artillery, and he awaited the arrival of a heavy siege-train from Dublin. The convoy was arrested by Sarsfieid, who started at night with six hundred horsemen on the Clare side and crossed the Shannon at Killaloe. The next night he fell on them and took possession of the train. He filled the cannon with powder, buried their mouths in the earth, and, firing the whole, utterly destroyed them. More cannon arrived from Waterford, and William pressed forward the siege. On the 27th of August, a breach having been effected, a terrific assault was made, lasting four hours, in which the women of Limerick were conspicuous in the defence; the besiegers were repulsed, losing about two thousand[124] men. In consequence of the swampy nature of the ground and the advanced season, William raised the siege. A fit of apoplexy carried off Tyrconnell, when the government, both civil and military, fell into the hands of D'Usson and Sarsfield. Ginkell, the commander of the English army, endeavored to take the town by an attack on the fort which overlooked and protected the Thomond Bridge. This attack is described in graphic and spirited language by Lord Macaulay, and I cannot do better than give the account of it in his own words:

"In a short time the fort was stormed. The soldiers who had garrisoned it fled in confusion to the city. The Town Major, a French officer, who commanded at the Thomond Gate, afraid that the pursuers would enter with the fugitives, ordered that part of the bridge which was nearest to the city to be drawn up. Many of the Irish went headlong into the stream and perished there. Others cried for quarter, and held up their handkerchiefs in token of submission. But the conquerors were mad with rage; their cruelty could not be immediately restrained, and no prisoners were made till the heads of corpses rose above the parapet. The garrison of the fort had consisted of about eight hundred men; of these only one hundred and twenty escaped into Limerick."


The result of this capture was the fall of James's power in Ireland and the signing of the famous treaty on the stone near the bridge on October 3, 1691, the ninth article of which provided that the Roman Catholics should enjoy the same privileges of their religion as they enjoyed in the reign of Charles II., and that William and Mary would endeavor to insure them immunity from disturbance on account of their religion. This article, however, was never carried into effect, although through no fault of William's. Large numbers of the Irish soldiers took service under France, and formed the "Irish Brigade," famous in after years in continental wars. Sarsfield was killed at the battle of Landen (1693), and it has been estimated that in the next half century four hundred and fifty thousand Irishmen died in the French service. For seventy years after the siege, the city was maintained as a fortress, and its ramparts and gates kept in repair and guarded. In 1760 it was abandoned as such, its defences dismantled, and the city, thus freed, rapidly extended its boundaries. It has since, however, been a station for large detachments of troops, and is at the present[126] day one of the most bustling and pleasant garrison towns.

The Shannon is crossed by three important bridges, of which the Thomond Bridge, rebuilt in 1839, claims priority from its ancient associations. It connects English Town with the County Clare, the entrance from which, through Thomond Gate, was protected by the fort mentioned above and King John's Castle. It is one of the finest Norman fortresses in the kingdom, and has a river front of about two hundred feet, flanked by two massive drum towers fifty feet in diameter; the walls are of great strength, being ten feet thick. The northern tower is the most ancient, and from the bridge traces of the cannonading it received in its various sieges can be clearly seen. It still retains its ancient gateway, but the modern entrance is from Nicholas Street. Its venerable appearance is marred by the addition of the modern roofs and buildings of the barracks into which the interior was converted in 1751. The constableship of the Castle was only abolished in 1842. The "Treaty Stone," on which the famous treaty was signed in 1691, is at the western end of the bridge;[127] it was set upon its present pedestal in 1865.



Limerick is famed for the fineness of its laces, and at one time its gloves were the most costly in the market. Last, but not least, it is still famous for the beauty of its women—a reputation not undeserved, as may be seen even on a casual stroll through the streets.



After the Limerick fair was over I left for Cork, and arrived there just in time to see the race for the International Cup, presented by Lord O'Brien and won by the Leander crew, of London. There were a hundred thousand people on the banks of the river Lee to see the race, and, strange to say, Cork went wild over an English victory.

Next day I visited the Cork Exhibition. It had, like all minor exhibitions of the kind, pyramids of manufactured articles, including the making of various commodities by machinery on the spot. But there were a good concert band and a fine restaurant. I also dropped into the Supreme Court and heard the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland stop the court proceedings to read aloud a telegram from Emperor William, as well as his reply, in regard to the result of the boat-race. Imperial and Milesian "taffy" flowed[129] freely in both. Truly, Ireland is the land of sport!

Later on I attended the Cork steeplechase. There were five events on the card; the jumps were difficult, and one horse was killed, while two or three others met with accidents.

I suppose as we are now on the last lap, it would hardly be fair to Cork and Queenstown to pass them over without noticing them historically, so, if the reader will pardon me, I will take up a little more of his time to sketch briefly the salient features of these two very interesting and ancient towns.

Cork is a mixture of some fine streets, broad quays, and many ill-paved lanes, the whole being set off by a charming frame of scenery that compensates for many a defect. It is a county and a city with a population of 97,281, and is well situated on the Lee, as Spenser thus describes:

"The spreading Lee that, like an island fayre,
Encloseth Corke with his divided floode"—

as it emerges from a wooded and romantic valley upon a considerable extent of flat, alluvial ground, in its course, over which[130] it divides. The island thus formed commences about one mile above the town, is enclosed by the north and south channels of the river, and contains a large portion of the city. "In 1689," says Macaulay, "the city extended over about one-tenth part of the space which it now covers, and was intersected by muddy streams which had long been concealed by arches and buildings. A desolate marsh, in which the sportsman who pursued the water-fowl sank deep in water and mire at every step, covered the area now occupied by stately buildings, the palaces of great commercial societies."

Cork has over four miles of quays, and large sums of money have been spent in harbor improvements; vessels drawing twenty feet of water can discharge at all stages of the tide.

The earliest notice of the town dates from the time of St. Fin Barre, who flourished about the seventh century. He founded an ecclesiastical establishment on the south side of the chief channel of the Lee, and it ultimately attained to a high reputation among the schools of Ireland. Then the Danes, after repeatedly plundering it, took a fancy to settling down here[131] themselves, and carried on a somewhat flourishing commerce until the Anglo-Norman invasion. At that time the ruling power was in the hands of Dermot McCarthy, Lord of Desmond, who promptly made submission to Henry II. on his arrival in 1172, and did him homage. For a long period the English held the place against the Irish, living in a state of almost perpetual siege. They were compelled, Holinshed says, "to watch their gates hourlie, to keepe them shut at service time, at meales, from sun to sun, nor suffer anie stranger to enter the citie with his weapon, but the same to leave at a lodge appointed." Camden also describes it as "a little trading town of great resort, but so beset by rebellious neighbors as to require as constant a watch as if continually besieged."

Cork took an active part in the disturbed history of the Middle Ages. It declared for Perkin Warbeck, and the mayor, John Walters, was hanged for abetting his pretensions. It was made the headquarters of the English forces during the Desmond rebellion. In 1649 it surrendered to Cromwell, who is said to have ordered the bells to be melted for military purposes, saying that, "since gunpowder was invented by[132] a priest, he thought the best use for bells would be to promote them into cannons."

A noticeable event in its history was the siege by William III.'s army under Marlborough and the Duke of Wurtemburg, when the garrison surrendered after holding out five days; the Duke of Grafton was killed on this occasion.

Numerous monastic establishments were founded in early times, nearly all traces of which, as well as of its walls and castles, have been swept away. In the southwestern district of the city is the old cathedral, small and very unlike what a cathedral should be. St. Fin Barre, the founder of the cathedral, was born in the neighborhood of Bandon, and died at Cloyne in 630. His first religious establishment was in an island in Lough Gouganebarra, but about the beginning of the seventh century he founded another on the south bank of the Lee, which became the nucleus of the city of Cork. He was buried here in his own church, and his bones were subsequently enshrined in a silver case; but these relics were carried away by Dermot O'Brien when he plundered the city in 1089. There is little of general interest in the subsequent history of the[133] see. In 1690, at the siege of Cork, a detachment of English troops took possession of the cathedral and attacked the south fort from the tower; the cathedral was so much damaged that it was taken down in 1734 and another erected. With the exception of the tower, which was believed to have formed part of the old church, it was a modern Doric building, with a stumpy spire of white limestone. The mode in which the funds were raised for its erection was the levying of a tax on all the coal imported for five years. This building stood until 1864, when it was taken down in order to erect the present structure upon its site. A cannon-ball fired during the siege of 1690 was found in the tower, forty feet from the ground, and is now on a bracket within the cathedral. In laying the foundations, three distinct burial-places were found, one above the other, and the human remains found exhibited remarkable racial peculiarities.

St. Anne Shandon Church is at the foot of Church Street, off Shandon Street, at the north side of the city; it was built in 1722, and is remarkable for its extraordinary tower, one hundred and twenty feet[134] high, surmounted by a graduated turret of three stories, faced on two sides with red stone, and on the others with limestone.

"Party-colored, like the people,
Red and white stands Shandon steeple."

It contains a peal of bells, immortalized by "Father Prout" in the famous lyric:

"... The Bells of Shandon
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the River Lee."

They bear the inscription: "We were all cast at Gloucester, in England.—Abel Rudhall, 1750." "Father Prout" is buried in the church-yard of Shandon. Shandon derives its name from Seandun (old fort); the name was given to the church of St. Mary, from its near neighborhood to Shandon Castle, an old seat of the Barrys.

On the way down to Queenstown we passed Passage West, a pretty village embosomed in woods, and a considerable place of call, both for travelers and others bound up and down the river. "Father Prout" has sung its praises:


"The town of Passage is both large and spacious,
And situated upon the say;
'Tis nate and dacent, and quite adjacent
To come from Cork on a summer's day.
"There you may slip in and take a dippin'
Forenent the shippin' that at anchor ride;
Or in a wherry cross o'er the ferry
To Carrigaloe, on the other side."


Near here is Monkstown, where Anastasia Gould, wife of John Archdeckan, while her husband was absent in a foreign land, determined to afford him a pleasant surprise by presenting him with a castle on his return. She engaged workmen and made an agreement with them that they should purchase food and clothing solely from herself. When the castle was completed, on balancing her accounts of receipt and expenditure, she found that the latter exceeded the former by fourpence. Probably this is the first example on record of truck practice on a large scale. She died in 1689, and was buried in the ground of the adjoining ruined church of Teampull-Oen-Bryn, in which is a monument to her memory.

Queenstown extends for a considerable distance along the northern coast of the[136] harbor, and from its fine situation and the mildness of its climate ranks high among the southern watering-places. Queen Victoria landed here on August 3, 1849, of which she has written as follows: "To give the people the satisfaction of calling the place 'Queenstown,' in honor of its being the first spot on which I set foot upon Irish ground, I stepped on shore amidst the roar of cannon and the enthusiastic shouts of the people."

We visited many banks at various towns during our trip, and were courteously received by the managers. The Irish banks are managed on the branch system, Belfast and Dublin being the headquarters for the parent corporations. Belfast for the most part takes care of the northern part of the island, and Dublin the southern. These institutions are very prosperous and are conservatively managed by intelligent men. Banks are established in all towns of any importance, and where the population is large they usually number half a dozen.

At Queenstown we went on board the Cunard steamer Etruria, on Sunday morning, bound for New York. The company's popular agent, Mr. E. Dean, obtained[137] the captain's cabin for me on the upper deck, and in many other ways "killed me with kindness." On looking back I find that my highest expectations of the trip were all fulfilled, and I have nothing but pleasant memories in connection with it. There were, of course, some bad moments, and for that matter, bad days; but they are all forgotten in the recollection of the kindly Irish people and the interesting land in which they live. I cannot recall a single cross word or hard look given me by any one during the entire trip, excepting in the Derry Customs, and that doesn't count. We traveled over three hundred and fifty miles on jaunting-cars, making use of twenty-three of them. We traversed the counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, and Clare, and used some ten different boats and steamers in completing our journey.



To the readers of this very imperfect sketch I would say that should they ever think of following in our footsteps, they should fully consider the drawbacks and inconveniences incident to the journey before deciding to start. They will meet with wet days, some cheerless, damp hotels, and sometimes poor cooking; they will[138] probably not be able to get on as quickly or conveniently as I did, for I was born in Ireland and know the ways of the country and its people. But if they have in them the innate desire to see some of the finest natural scenery in the world, and by all odds the greatest display of verdure in all its varying shades and colors, then perhaps they may risk the many disappointing conditions that must be overcome if they would see Ireland at its best.

"Immortal little island! no other land or clime
Has placed more deathless heroes in the Pantheon of Time."



Obvious printer errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the author's original spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been left intact.