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Title: Ireland--The Rock whence I was Hewn

Date of first publication: 1926

Author: Brian Oswald Patrick Donn-Byrne (as Donn Byrne) (1889-1928)

Date first posted: Aug. 11, 2020

Date last updated: Aug. 11, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200816

This eBook was produced by: Al Haines, Chuck Greif & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

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I., II., III., IV., V., VI.


The Rock whence I was Hewn

Other Novels by Mr. Donn Byrne
Rivers of Damascus
The Golden Goat
The Power of the Dog
Destiny Bay
Brother Saul
Hangman’s House
The Wind Bloweth
An Untitled Story
Blind Raftery
The Foolish Matrons
Messer Marco Polo


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The Rock whence I was Hewn


Author of
Destiny Bay,” “Hangman’s House,” etc.

By the Right Hon. T. P. O’Connor



First printedFebruary, 1929
Pocket Edition    May,1931
Cheap EditionJuly,1931


Publication of the photographs in this volume is
sanctioned by the National Geographic
Society of the United States of
America, Copyright 1927.



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The Vale of Glendalough with its seven ruins of ancient churches, its graveyard with sleeping thousands watched over by the round tower.



The Right Hon. T. P. O’Connor

The name of Donn Byrne first attracted me by its picturesqueness. Byrne is a fairly common name in Ireland, but Donn Byrne was a new form to me. I was prepared to admire him, because long before I had made his personal acquaintance I had read one of his early books, in which Marco Polo was the central figure. The subject seemed somewhat unpromising, because Marco Polo is dead long enough not to{viii} excite especial interest in the world of to-day; but when, turning over the pages, I found the whole epoch of the great discoverer so vivid that it seemed a story of men and things of but yesterday, I marked Donn Byrne as a writer to be watched ever afterwards.

Then came the long series of books dealing with Ireland, and the discovery that Donn Byrne—especially in America—was among the best sellers of his time. His fame went up rapidly, mainly in America—I am afraid they are not even yet great readers of books in Ireland. But in America I made a somewhat remarkable discovery during one of{ix}

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A smile for the stranger over the half door of one of the quaint little thatched cottages of the Claddagh, the ancient fishing village of Galway City.



my visits—that there is a large group of Americans who, although not all nor indeed even the majority, connected with Ireland by birth or by descent, read voraciously modern novels about that country.

But Donn Byrne was their favourite; and the result, of course, was that I looked eagerly for every new book of his as it came out. Personally, I am afraid I am a little too much of a realist and have seen too much in political controversy of the dark as well as the good side of Ireland, for Donn Byrne’s pictures of that country to make the same appeal to me as to those who know it less from the{xii} inside. The land bathed in poetry and universal good-will was not quite the Ireland that was brought home to me—especially by the bitter controversy in its politics, in which unwillingly I had to take part—and I could not accept as a complete picture of Ireland this land of wandering and popular bards and romantic love. However, there it was. Mr. Donn Byrne had found his public.

At last one day he came to see me. His personal appearance made as immediate an appeal to me as his books, for he was a singularly handsome specimen of a genuine Irishman. He was tall, he had a face of{xiii}

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Blarney Castle, County Cork. “There is a stone there, that whoever kisses, oh! he never misses to grow eloquent.”


classic regularity of feature, he had a modest and winning manner, made perhaps the more so by the Irish accent which he maintained amid his many changes of fortune and residence; above all, he was utterly unpretentious. He brought along with him a delightful wife, as Irish as he, very handsome, very modest, very intelligent. I never saw a pair that seemed to me so instinctively and happily mated. I have not seen him since. He lived very little in London, but my recollections of him are pleasant in every way.

I have not a complete knowledge of all the facts of his life, except the{xvi} general impression that he had had many vicissitudes, many hard hours of struggle and of poverty, and that he was years travelling the hard path of the occasional contributor to newspapers and magazines. I believe he was actually born in New York, though when he was but three years of age he went back to the glens of Antrim, from which his ancestors came and which are the background of so many of his stories.

The chief quality of his writing is his extraordinary power of bringing out the poetry and the pathos of everybody and everything in the land of his fathers. He was helped a{xvii} good deal in his understanding of the people by the fact that he spoke the old Irish language, which was, and is, pretty generally used in the part of Ireland whence he came. He had an extraordinary power of giving vitality and poetry to every being and every scene he had to describe. They are all dramatised by a man who saw more of the drama, the poetry and the romance of these personages and scenes than the ordinary observer.

In the year 1911 at the age of twenty Donn Byrne returned to New York, where he was married. Here it was that his father, an architect, had come to direct a great building.{xviii}

One day he sent a poem to Harper’s Magazine: the editor was wise enough to realise the poetic skill of this little ballad. I reproduce it here, because in it you can trace all the main qualities that made the greatness and the popularity of all Donn Byrne’s books.


Published in Harper’s Magazine, 1911

I will take my pipes and go now, for the bees upon the sill
Are singing of the summer that is coming from the stars.
I will take my pipes and go now, for the little mountain rill
Is pleading with the bagpipes in tender, crooning bars.
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A Grandmother of Glasses Land, Athlone.



I will go o’er hills and valleys, and through fields of ripening rye,
And the linnet and the throstle and the bittern in the sedge
Will hush their throats and listen, as the piper passes by
On the great long road of silver that ends at the world’s edge.
I will take my pipes and go now, for the sandflower on the dunes
Is a-weary of the sobbing of the great white sea,
And is asking for the piper, with his basketful of tunes,
To play the merry lilting that sets all hearts free.
I will take my pipes and go now, and God go with you all,
And keep all sorrow from you, and the dark heart’s load;
I will take my pipes and go now, for I hear the summer call,
And you’ll hear the pipes a-singing as I pass along the road.

There is scarcely anything in any of his books that followed in which you cannot trace the tone of the genius of this little poem.

Luck then came the way of the young couple. Prosperity came with the publication of Messer Marco Polo, and the first story of Donn Byrne was at once hailed by all the critics and the public as a work of genius.

From that time forward he was a bit of a wanderer, spending some part of his time in America, and a good deal in Kent or Surrey in England; but nearly always drifting back for some time at least to the land of his birth which he understood{xxiii}

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The ruins of Donegal Castle. Donegal City.


so well and loved so dearly. I fancy there was scarcely a spot in Ireland which he did not know. He was able to see in the prosaic and sometimes the squalid surroundings immediately before his eyes the picturesque and moving history that lay behind in the chequered story of his country.

These years of travel had given him an insight into the inner character of many other lands beside his own. The first thing that ever struck me in his writings was his description of Marseilles, a city very often described and known to all the world; but I do not think I ever read any{xxvi}thing which gave me such a vivid and brief description as Donn Byrne’s picture:

“Along the quays, along the Cannebière, was a riot of colour and nationality unbelievable from on board ship. Here were Turks, dignified and shy. Here were Greeks, wary, furtive. Here were Italians, Genoese, Neapolitans, Livornians, droll, vivacious, vindictive. Here were Moors, here were Algerians, black African folk, sneering, inimical. Here were Spaniards, with their walk like a horse’s lope. Here were French business men, very important.{xxvii}... A queer town that, as familiar

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The National Library, Dublin, forms a part of the National University.


as a channel marking, teeming as an ant-hill, and when darkness came over it, and he viewed it from the afterdeck, mystery came, too.... For a while there was a hush, and around the hills gigantic ghosts walked.... One thought of the Phocæans who had founded it, and to whom the Cannebière was a rope-walk, where they made the sheets for their ships.... And one thought of Lazarus, who had been raised from among the silent dead, and who had come there, so legend read, a grey figure in ceramic garments, standing in the prow of a boat.{xxx}

Ultimately he was able to find a home in his native land, in Coolmain Castle, a picturesque old place which is believed to have been built in the thirteenth century.

This is not the place for a study of his many works. Suffice it to say that his lately published book, Destiny Bay, has already had a triumphant reception. It is one of the great tragedies in the story of literature that—at the moment when he was rising high in fame with each succeeding book, and happy with a beautiful family—driving in a faulty motor car in his Irish estate, Donn Byrne was killed in a wretched{xxxi} accident, and the brain that conceived and the hand that wrote such lovely things will produce no more. It is a tragedy too deep for words.

I send with these few lines a sketch which summarised his views of the land of his birth; terse, mordant, enthusiastic; it is a worthy adieu to the world of letters which he left too soon.{xxxiii}{xxxii}

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Looking east from Lismore Castle. The beautiful Blackwater is often called “The Irish Rhine.”






When an Irishman looks at his country from a distance, as from America or Australia, the exact size of the country is apt to disappoint him. The longest line of land which can be drawn is three hundred miles: from Fair Head, in the north-east, to Mizen Head, in the south-west. Taking the country as a rough lozenge, the short diagonal{2} from north-west to south-east is about two hundred miles.

The terrain itself may be roughly divided into three parts: a mountainous region in the north, an equally mountainous region in the south, and a great central plain.

The mountains in the north of Ireland are a geological continuation of those of Scotland, and those of the south a like continuation of the Welsh mountains. The Irish Central Plain is opposite what in England is called by soldiers the Chester Gap. and so, naturally, the Irish Central Plain is England’s logical and only military outlet to the north{3}-west. It was and is as natural for the possessors of England to invade Ireland as it is for a human being to turn from left to right.


The rich and fertile province of Meath was the possession of whatever tribe in Ireland could take and hold it. In earliest days Dublin and its Liffey was not the principal site of the Irish kings, but Tara, in Meath, and the Boyne, with its holms of lush meadow grass, its infinity of salmon. In the south-west Limerick was hardly less{4} important. Limerick was protected on the west by the Atlantic and on the east by the wide and the dangerous Shannon. The Shannon is considered the real military frontier of Ireland in the west. The greatest of English soldiers, the Lord Protector Cromwell, did not dare to invade Connacht (Connaught).

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The Torc Waterfall rushing down from “Wild Boar” Mountain into the Middle Lake (Killarney). Here the stags come to drink at sundown.



I suppose that to an anthropologist the smallest gesture of a man reveals the soul within him—that is, if anthropologists believe in a soul, which I do not know. I have never met an anthropologist at the races. This mind and body business is too subtle for us Irish to see. We will stupidly go on believing that kindness is not begotten by logic, nor heroism a product of carbohydrates.

Assume with me, to avoid argument, that folk have souls, and I will attempt to show you what is{6} back of our race. “Fine words,” says the English proverb, “butter no bread.” But I distrust the ultimate wisdom of a race which evolved that miracle of huckstering: “Honesty is the best policy.” “When gentlefolk meet, compliments are exchanged,” say the Chinese. Our “Go manee Jeea git!” “God bless you,” “Jeea is Mwirra git!” “God and Mary bless you!” mean so infinitely more than “How do you do?”


Even in English, our people saying good-bye to a friend will always{7} add, “God bless you!” There is no assumption of courtesy. It is there inherent.

I know of nothing more dignified than an Aran Islander—than, indeed, any Irish peasant. When they are young they are supple as a larch. When they are old they have the kindness and sanity of a gnarled apple tree. Always, your trouble is their trouble and your joy theirs. We are a giving people.

Irish servants have a pathetic loyalty. They are often of a carelessness which drives a sane man mad. But no tongue-thrashing will{8} affect them. They will say: “Ah, sure, himself doesn’t mean a word of it! ’T is only a gray day in his heart.” The only discipline you can use is to forbear speaking to them for some days. This is torture.


The names folk give to places are an index to their imaginations. In “Valladolid” and “Toledo,” in the “Rue des Petits Champs,” you get names like a bar of music. All names of places meant something to their nominators, even Poolton-cum-Seacombe and

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“The herrin’ are in!” Father and son mending the nets in preparation for a good haul at Claddagh.


“Bumbleby in the Wash.” But what they meant is forgotten.

Our names are still alive in Irish speech. Aderg means the Red Ford; Aghleim, the Horses’ Leap; Annaghgod, the Marsh of Sally Trees; Ballynagovna, the Town of the Artificers; Ballinhoe, the Town of the Mist; Ballin Tour, the Town of the Bleaching Green; Bacloughadalla, the Town of the Lake of Two Swans; Ballyderown, the Town between Two Rivers; Ballykeen, the Pleasant Townland; Ballynabragget, the Town of the Ale; Booleynasruhaun, the Milking Place of the Little Streams; Breaghey, the Plain of Wolves;{10} Bennanilra, the Remote Place of the Eagle; Cahirnamallaght, the Fort of Cursing; Caherapheepa, the Fortress of the Fairy Piping; Carkfree, the District of the Grouse; Carrigataha, the Rock of the Swarming Bees; Clogheracullion, the Stony Place of the Holly Bushes; Clonman, the Meadow of Fruit; Carraghatork, the Moor of the Hawk; Derrynablaha, the Oak Grove of the Blossoms; Drimminoweelaun, the Ridge of the Seagulls; Gortacraghig, the Field of Hanging; Inchbofin, the Meadow of the White Cow; Killabrick, the Wood of the Badger; Mallyree, the Little Hills of Heather;

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Kylemore Castle, one of the loveliest places in County Galway—above it and the lake towers Mount Doughruagh. It is now a convent for the “Dames des Ypres” (Benedictine Nuns).


Moneenatieve, the Little Bog of Rushes; Poulnaglog, the Hole of Bells, a deep hole in Clare, where the bells of Drumcliff Abbey are supposed to be buried; Rathnaglye, the Fortress of Shouting; Scartnamacagh, the Thicket of the Beggars; Scartanore, the Thicket of Gold—the Danes are supposed to have buried much treasure in it; Slieve Mish, the Mountain of Phantoms; Taghshinny, the House of the Fox; Tabernadroaa, the Well of the Druids; Tullyval, the Hill of Honey; Vinegar Hill is a corruption of Fidh-nagcaer, or Hill of Berries.{12}

This quick imagination, this apt use of words, follows us into English. Our mountainy people and our folk of the sea still think in Gaelic, though they have forgotten the tongue. How often have I heard people laugh at a countryman who says, instead of “if,” “if it’s a thing that,” translating the beautiful emphatic conditional of “Ma ’s rud é,” “If it be a fact,” clumsily into English.

Our use of prepositions is amazing and subtle. We say, “Glory be to God! it’s the fine day that’s in it!” “Ta ionn.” And that denotes a space of time, a certain space

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A vista from one of the little villages of Clew Bay toward Croagh Patrick, called Ireland’s Sacred Mountain because of the statue of St. Patrick on its summit, the Stations of the Cross on the ascent, and the annual pilgrimage of the faithful.


out of the infinite, like a meteorite in the multitude of stars.

Possessions are things that are “at you.” “There is no silver at me,” a man will say if he is penniless. There you see the dignified human entity with possessions at his feet, but not intermingling with his personality. Any sort of suffering is “on us.” There you have the entity, still absolute, with a load or oppression.


Many of our “Irish bulls,” as our Saxon neighbours insist on calling{14} them, are a result of trying to express quickly a subtle meaning in unaccustomed dress. Many others are the invention of that rogue and ruffian, the Dublin jaunting-car driver.

I heard an old Irish groom say, at a trial of races, “If that colt could catch the other, he’d beat him!” Considering that the two-year-old was five lengths behind at the time, it was surely as ridiculous an assertion as was ever made. Everyone laughed. But I knew what he meant. The two-year-old had gameness, speed, and strength, but did not know how to use them. The boy up could not help him.{15}

The statement of Sir Boyle Roche, that “a man can’t be in two places at the same time, barring he’s a bird of the air,” expresses a great deal. But all it evokes usually is the loud laugh that Oliver Goldsmith knew.


This subtlety of Gaelic speech defeats its own ends rather in our poetry. What with alliteration, internal rhymes—there are usually sixteen rhymes in the Gaelic quatrain—the Irish poem is a work as intricate as chess. And one is rather amazed at the artifice than moved{16} by the sentiment. George Fox’s translation of the country poem, the County of Mayo, gives an idea of the heart-break underlying most Irish verse. It is a straight and somewhat facile translation:

On the deck of Patrick Lynch’s boat I sit in woeful flight,
Through my sighing all the livelong day and weeping all the night,
Were it not that from my people full of sorrow forth I go,
By the blessed sun! ’t is royally I’d sing thy praise, Mayo!
’Tis my grief that Patrick Laughlin is not Earl of Irrul still,
And that Brian Duff no longer rules as lord upon the hill,
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In a cottage near Leenane, County Galway. Carding the wool for the thread which fashions the famous home-spun tweeds.


And that Colonel Hugh MacGrady should be lying dead and low,
And I sailing, sailing swiftly from the County of Mayo.

An anonymous country bard, trying his hand at English, has got into that tongue a hint of the rhyme and rhythm of Gaelic in his weird poem about the Galway races:

It’s there you’d see the jockeys, and they mounted on most stately,
The pink and blue, the red and green, the emblem of our nation.
When the bell was rung for starting, the horses seemed impatient,
Though they never stood on ground, their speed was so amazing.{18}
There was half a million people there, of all denominations—
The Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew, the Prespetarian;
There was yet no animosity, no matter what persuasion.
But welcome and hospitality, inducing fresh acquaintance.

A hint of the intricate vowel rhyming of the Irish bards is in a beautiful translation by one of our two greatest poets, Douglas Hyde:

Though riders be thrown in black disgrace,
Yet I mount for the race of my life with pride;
May I keep to the track, may I fall not back,
And judge me, O Christ, as I ride my ride.
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The meeting of the waters at Dinis Island, Lakes of Killarney. Here the waters from the Upper Lake rush from the Long Range into the Middle Lake under the Old Weir Bridge.



Though we have so much pleasant courtesy, yet there are black depths in us, as anyone who has listened to the Irish elbow pipes knows. The harp, with the beautiful airs of the “Coolin” and “The Blackthorn Bush,” and those others which the poetry of Thomas Moore has made known, is nostalgic, yet often have I been thrown into the darkest of despair by the magic of the Irish pipes, the bare, desolate mountains of Connemara rising before me, and a cold wind blowing from the Pole.{20}

Our pipe is not the Scottish pipe, but a small instrument of many keys, played on the knees with a bellows. In the “Lament for Patrick Sarsfield,” as played by old men, the shrill keen is too much for one.

And let none think all our stories are of little people, of leprechauns in red caps cobbling small shoes. The most terrible demon in Europe is the Irish Robert Artisson, who was the familiar of the dreadful Lady Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, foulest of witches. Our Bankeentha, woman of wailing, as the banshee is properly called, is not a romantic Irish lie; neither is it a romantic fact, but a terrible one.

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A stormy September evening on Lough Leane, looking toward Purple Mountain, Killarney.


The stories of Garrett Oge, young Gerald, eleventh Earl of Kildare, called the Wizard Earl, are known to the Fitzgerald family to be as full of horror and as fearsome as that mystery of Glamis Castle. In a house in the Boyne Valley a skeleton climbs the wall like a huge spider. The Gormanstown foxes are too well authenticated to leave any doubt about them.


The worst haunted house in the British Isles is a certain castle in the heart of Ireland. The place is{22} grim and bare, a square castle of the usual type. The top storey of the central tower is the chapel, having evidently served that purpose in time past. Often at night the place seems lit up by innumerable candles, and no member of the family or no servant will enter that room unaccompanied.

Of the ghosts, one is a monk with tonsure, who walks in at one window of the chapel and out at another. There is also a little old man in a green cutaway coat, knee breeches and buckled shoes.

But the worst ghost in the world is there, the terrible and well-known{23} It. Here is a description of it from the lady of the house:

“I was standing one evening in the minstrels’ gallery, leaning on the balustrade and looking into the hall. I felt suddenly two hands laid on my shoulders. I turned around and saw It beside me. It was human in shape and about four feet high. The eyes were like two black holes in the face and the whole figure seemed as if it were made of grey cotton-wool, while it was accompanied by a most appalling stench, such as would come from a decaying human body.”

Her health was in the balance for a long time.{24}

It has been seen many times. The most recent victim is a clergyman, who sought to lay It. He is in St. John of God’s near Dublin, an asylum for the wrecked in mind.

These are facts, not to be gainsaid. The Reverend St. John Seymour, as level-headed a cleric as exists, and former Inspector Neligan, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, are my authorities.

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An October sunset on Lake Leane, the lower of the Lakes of Killarney. Tomies Mountain is on the left.



It is always a matter of interest and wonder why the Romans never subjugated Ireland. In his geography, Strabo passes over Ireland with a curt phrase. We know, too, that a certain Irish chieftain, whose name—well, for his own sake—is unmentioned, pleaded with Agricola to invade it from Britain; but Agricola did not think the conquest worth the trouble.

The truth, I take it, was that there were no cities to conquer. The Irish were an agricultural and{26} nomadic race, living in huts of clay and wattles, which might be deserted without heartbreak and rebuilt with ease. Such crafts as they knew were exercised by slaves taken in warfare or bought in the English market.

Such monasteries as were later erected were not of Irish inspiration, but dreamed and executed by monks and prelates of Rome, who brought from their native Tiber the Roman passion for masonry.

There was a Paris before Julius Cæsar, and there was a London, for we read that in the first century of our era London was burned by Queen Boadicea, and the men of

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The ivy-covered ruin of Ross Castle, near Lake Leane, Killarney.


Surrey; but of Dublin, of Tara, of Limerick, we know little or nothing. A relative of my own, disputing with the late Professor Tyrrell, who had said that Ireland had no past, thundered that in that respect the Dark Rosaleen is like every decent woman. That is magnificent, but is not argument.


The truth is that we owe the foundations of civilisation firstly to the Roman missionaries, or to English missionaries bred under the eagles of Rome, and secondly to{28} the Danes who built Dublin and Waterford, and left them enduring cities.

Of what stock we come it is difficult to say. Histories written in Irish monasteries speak of many invasions of the country: by the Tuatha de Danaan, or tribes of Dana; by the Firbolgs, men with bags or bellies, for the Irish word means both; by the followers of Parthalon, who were all supposed to have died of a plague and whose funeral place is Tallaght, near Dublin. These seem to me to have been some African race who succumbed to the moisture and malaria of the country.

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Mary Doyle with her turf creel at a stile of projecting flat stones in the mud fence near her home below Mangerton Mountain, Lakes of Killarney.


The names MacFarlane and MacParland are the only relics of their stay.

Doctor Samuel Johnson’s friend, Colonel Vallencey, who wrote a most extraordinary grammar of the Erse tongue, a miracle of beauty as to printing, insisted that the Irish were of Phœnician origin, and that the Erse tongue proved it—a statement ridiculed by modern scholarship.

Ireland was, in the ascendant of the Crescent, raided many times by Barbary pirates; so that the people of Parthelon may have been from the land that later became Carthage. That we are a Mediterranean people{30} is, I think, accepted by most scientists.

We are not as tall as the accepted blond English and Scandinavian and Teutonic peoples; also, our colouring is darker; and we are not a seafaring people, as these folk are. A Greek scriptural commentator, whose name I have forgotten, traces the Apostle Paul’s Galatians to a return of Celtic peoples to the minor Asia. But Colonel Vallencey and my shadowy Greek commentator are not authorities to the poring minds of modern critics. I doubt if they would be even given credit for their daring.{31}

One small fact remains in my memory that will cause consternation to my countrymen. Our legendary hero, Cuchulain, who is the patron warrior of our young Irish soldiers, was called, as we read in the Irish sagas, Setanta, before he assumed the fighting name of “Hound of Cuala.” Now, the Setantii were that English tribe about Manchester known to Roman historians.

Language is to some extent a keynote of nationality. Our native language in Ireland is Gaelic, which appears to be a rough descendant of an original stock of{32} which modern Welsh and modern Breton are the purer blooded. To what degree a Breton and a Welshman can understand each other I do not know, but in both languages I can trace words we have in Gaelic. The Welsh “bach,” a term of endearment, is the same as our Irish “beg,” meaning “little,” and in Breton “ty,” meaning “house” and “ker,” meaning “a house with subsidiary buildings,” are the same as our own words.

My education, such as it is, has flown more along the lines of Greek and Latin than of Celtic tongues, so I can speak with no authority

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St. Anne’s Church, near Cork. Home of “The Bells of Shandon.”

The Bells of Shandon, they sound so grand on,
The pleasant waters of the River Lee.


on the analogues of Breton and Irish; but that they are very closely akin is beyond question.

My boyhood was spent in those parts of northern Ireland where Gaelic was still spoken; and, having more curiosity about horses, dogs, and boats than about books, I grew up speaking Irish and English with equal fluency; so that I know for a certainty how far apart the Celtic and Gaelic tongues are.

The Welsh, which is still spoken so widely that there are districts in Wales in which English is not understood, and the Cornish language, of which the last speaker{34} died more than an hundred years ago, but of which we have preserved to us a small literature, are unintelligible to an Irishman.


A Highlander and an Islesman of Scotland speak the same Gaelic as I do, as do that remnant of people in the Isle of Man who speak their native Manx. In Manx, spoken now I am told by not more than two hundred people, the dialect is that of the County Down, in Ireland. The Highlander and the man of the Hebrides use a less inflected Gaelic than ours.

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Penrose Quay, Cork. Cross-channel steamers discharging general cargo. Cork has miles of such quays along the River Lee and in her splendid landlocked harbour.


There is a vulgar error, as old writers would say, that the Basque language in the Pyrenees has a relationship to our Celtic tongues, but that is untrue. I know the Basques, and their mysterious speech has no relationship with any known tongue.

In that strange book of Victor Hugo’s, L’Homme Qui Rit, the Lord’s Prayer as recited by an Irishman is supposed to be understood by a Basque; but that is wrong. Their passion for handball, which is our Irish game, and their look, as of an Aran Islander, have given rise to this belief. But every nation plays{36} a form of ball, and brooding on mountain and sea gives people who are fortunate to have sea and mountain by them that rugged face, that depth in their eyes, that grave courtesy, that distilled simplicity.


Our Gaelic tongue is difficult to learn, supple as a whip. I know of nothing absolute, such as life, death, religion, which cannot be discussed in it with ease.

We have three verbs to be—“is,” “ta,” and “bi.” “Is” denotes absolutes, as “is Leat an rioghacht, an laidre, agas an gloir,” “For Thine

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Some of the thatched cottages of the Claddagh, the old fisher village of Galway City, are very quaint in appearance.


is the Kingdom, the power and the glory.” “Ta” denotes things as they are at the moment, as “Ta an mhuir ’g a lionadh,” “The sea is at its filling,” or the tide is coming in. “Bi” denotes something that usually takes place at a certain hour, as “Bionn daoine céille na gcodladh sa mheadhonoidhche,” “People of sense are asleep at midnight.”

We have an intricate inflection of the noun. “Ceann” is head, “cinn” of a head, “cionn,” with a head, “a cheann,” O head! I have never heard a peasant make the smallest mistake with his inflections or his very intricate subjunctive tense.{38}

Yet it is a mistake to think that there is any big literature in Erse. Beyond lyrical poetry of a shortness which is not better than any other country’s, and some sketchy histories and geographies, we have nothing.

Our big Gaelic work was the martyred Bishop Bedell’s translation of the Bible; but as that was a translation of the Authorised Version, it was not received with enthusiasm by a country which clung to the Scriptures as edited in Douai. The famous book of Leinster is a monument of fine clerkly illumination and infantile lives of Saints.{39}


Besides Gaelic, there flourished in Ireland a cryptic speech used by masons, Bearla eagair nan Saor, “the difficult speech of the artificers.” Only very old masons remember it in Ireland and will disclose it to you, mumbling in their white beards and looking suspiciously at you out of red-rimmed, faded eyes. In it were words which you recognise as Latin, but mainly the vocabulary consisted of Irish words reversed.

The interesting part of this is that in England, besides the gypsies, there are tribes of itinerant tinkers{40} who use many of these reversed Irish words in their jargon, which is not Romany. “Lapac” for a horse is the Irish “capall”; “rohob” for road is the Irish “bohor”; “ees” is the Irish saoi, a magistrate. This dialect is called by themselves “Shelta,” which I suppose is “Celtic.” These English tinkers have otherwise nothing Irish about them.


From the tragic day when the last Roman officer gave the order to “cast off!” from Dover, a dim mist hangs over Great Britain and

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“The Man of the House.” Inchigeela, County Cork.


Ireland. The legions and their eagles fought their way back to Rome—a terrible and noble retreat. But behind them stayed the Christian missionaries. The struggle of these great-hearted men against Druidism is a story we have lost, or was never told us.

In Ireland I doubt if ever there was a great priesthood or following of Druids as there was in England and Brittany. We have nothing in Ireland like Stonehenge or Karnak, or even the small Druidic circles of Cornwall. Our round towers, about which so much has been written, seem to have been bell towers of{42} churches, like the campaniles of Venice, or watch towers against the Norsemen coming by the sea.

The rapid development of Christianity in Ireland is marvellous. We had a host of saints in Ireland, like Columkille and Brigit, and our hermits who lived in their beehive cells were innumerable. They left Ireland for Cornwall, like St. Piran, whose buried oratory is called Perran Zabuloe, or St. Piran in Sabulo, properly “in the sands,” near Newquay; like St. Mawgan.

About these saints there is the legend that they floated across on millstones, which I take to be a

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The famous stone cross, or all that now remains of it, with a sculptured effigy of St. Patrick that stands in the burying ground on the Rock of Cashel near the ruined cathedral and Round Tower.


vulgarisation of the fact that they brought their altar stones with them, containing relics of other holy ones. Brittany gives shelter to St. Briac near Dinard; to St. Ronan at Lacronon, in Finistère; to St. Budoc at Plourin; to St. Fiacre at Le Faouët.

The name Fiachar is still a not uncommon name in Ireland. The strange thing about this Irish saint is that he gave his name to the French cab, which might lead some foul, irreverent man to ask whether he, of all the Irish saints, did not float across to Brittany on his altar stone, but in some miraculous{44} manner used the traditional Irish jaunting car.


The monasteries and churches founded by the Irish Christians, such as the great abbey of Clonmacnoise, drew the eyes of the ravaging Norsemen, and under their splendid leader, Thorkils, they made as thorough a conquest of the country as could possibly be imagined.

It is a curious fact, but of the coins found in Ireland, there are none minted by Irish kings. Many

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Old woman spinning the carded wool into coarse yarn from which garments for the family will later on be knit and woven. See the big ball of yarn already spun.


bear the inscription of Canute and Olaf. “Olaf ⁱ divielin,” or Olaf in Dublin.

The Irish scholar Duald MacFirbis writes of the tenth century: “Erinn was filled with ships, viz, the ships of Birn, the ships of Odvin, the ships of Grifin, the ships of Suatgar, the ships of Lagman, the ships of Earbalbh,” and so on, “the ships of Ingean Roe (the Red Maiden). All the evils which befell Erinn until then were as nothing.... They used to kill Erinn’s kings and carry her queens and noble ladies over the sea into bondage.{46}

The Danish Scholar Worsaac has given a list of Norse kings of Ireland, compiled from Irish records, which extends from 853 in our era until 1200—kings of Dublin, kings of Waterford, kings of Limerick. Many of our place names in Ireland show how extensive the Norse dominion was. The three provinces of Ulster, Leinster, and Munster have the Scandinavian ending stadr or ster. Even Ireland is a Norse form. Éire is our name for our country; the word land is not in our language.

The victory of King Brian over the Norsemen at Clontarf was so complete that MacFirbis says: “and{47} then there was not a threshing spot from Howth to Brandon, in Kerry, without an ensclaved Dane threshing on it, nor a quern without a Danish woman grinding on it.”


Norse chroniclers, whose accounts I regret to say are more trustworthy than the vivid histories of the Irish monks, give a more reasonable report of the battle. The Norse admit that the Danes of Dublin, marching to effect a union with the forces of the king of Leinster, were caught in a{48} thoroughly faulty flank movement by the Irish general. Their cavalry were useless in the foothills, and as they retreated toward Clontarf they were massacred in taking to the sea.

The power of the Norsemen in Ireland had been diminishing, owing to internal troubles in the Norse kingdoms and to the lack of new emigrant blood into Ireland. That the victory was thoroughly Irish I dispute, for King Brian, like most Irish chieftains of his time, was so closely interallied with the invaders’ families as to be more than half Norse himself. His rise to power was through the aid

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Giant’s Amphitheatre, Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim. This group of basaltic columns resembles a great Irish harp, in reverse.


of the Scandinavian princes, and his attack on King Sytrig of Dublin seems to have been of an unwarranted treachery.

Brian was the father of Teige and Donagh by Kormlöd. Kormlöd was also married to Anluf, King of Dublin, by whom she bore the more famous Dublin king, Sytrig Silkeskjaag (Silkbeard). Thus Brian’s two sons, of whom Teige afterwards married Mor, a daughter of the Dublin king Eachmargoch, also a Norseman, were half-brothers of their father’s enemy, King Sytrig.

Irish Christianity seems to have had a mollifying effect on the Danes,{50} whereas it bent the Irish no whit. The great Norse king, Olaf Trygvason, was baptised by an Irish Abbot on the Skellig Isles. An Irish princess, Sanneva, was later held to be a saint in Norway. Her body was deposited over the high altar in Bergen, and on the eighth of July the Norse celebrated an annual mass in her honour. In Iceland there is a fiord named after St. Patrick, on the north-west coast of the island—Patreksfjördr.


On the banishment of Dermot MacMurrough, one of the Irish

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This part of the rugged northern coast of County Antrim near the Giant’s Causeway is called Port-na-Spania because of the wrecking here of some of the ships of the Spanish Armada and the washing ashore of 260 bodies. Rock pigeons nest in the sea caves below.


High kings who followed Brian, he appealed to Henry II of England to help him, offering to become his vassal. Henry gave MacMurrough leave to enlist any subject of his who was willing, and such in plenty the Irish prince found on the Welsh marshes.

The Earl of Pembroke, Strongbow, was his chief adherent. Robert Fitzstephen, Maurice Prendergast, Raymond Fitzgerald, “Le Gros,” were the first to help him. They were steadily followed by a stream of English, Welsh, and Flemish traders.

The Norman knights, mercenary soldiers, were given grants of land{52} by the High king in return for their service, and from these lands the Irish clans were unable to evacuate them.

The Normans fought with bowmen, followed by mounted infantry “hobilers,” in chain armour, and against these the Irish clansmen could not stand. Also, the Normans had considerable military experience against English, Greeks, and Saracens. The Irish had no knowledge of any but guerrilla warfare against the Danish kings.

The history of the succeeding centuries is the history of the Normans consolidating their power in Ireland.

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The “Cromlech” is “The Giant’s Ring” near Ballylesson, four miles south of Belfast in County Down. This ring is thought to be the remains of a monument constructed by some primitive race about four thousand years ago.


De Burgo in Connaught, De Courcy in Ulster, Fitzgerald and De Lacy in the south.

The Normans in Ireland sent quantities of men and treasure to England to assist their liege lord in his wars against the Welsh, French, and Scottish. Their suzerainty in Ireland was benevolent. The Irish chiefs rebelled against them for the same reason that the modern Arab of Syria rebels against the French mandate. He objected to strongholds, such as the Normans built; he objected to the policing of the country; he objected to any policy which kept{54} him from grazing his cattle where and on whose lands he liked.

In the War of Scottish Independence, and after Bannockburn, O’Neill of Ulster invited Edward, Robert Bruce’s brother, to come and be king of Ireland. He was crowned at Carrickfergus, and was terribly defeated and himself killed at Faughart in 1318. Many of his soldiers did not return to Scotland, but remained in Louth, in Armagh, and Down and Antrim.


Though the Scottish invaders were defeated, yet the victory was{55} so costly as to break the Norman dominion in Ireland. A century and a half later Queen Elizabeth had to reconquer the country.

From the Tudor time onward, the history of Ireland becomes definitely English. The Irish chiefs either warred with or against the Tudors’ enemies, not so much in a struggle for independence as in a struggle for and against the World Power, possibilities of which England was beginning to see in herself.

For some time after, the Irish wars split definitely into a religious camp, following the English division of those who believed that{56} the state and religion must march hand in hand, and those who believed that religion must be above the state. Until the Battle of the Boyne, this insoluble problem was uppermost.

The first clear bugle note of freedom came in 1798, when out of America and out of France the idea of independence strode forth startlingly naked and muscular.

As to freedom and as to religion, there is no speaking of rights or wrongs. One retires to the rocks by the sea and broods a little space, and then joins the men by the singing river, as our Irish song, “The

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The pride and glory of the old Monastery of Monasterboice (Co. Louth). Two beautiful Celtic Crosses of the ninth century.


Rising of the Moon,” has it, or he sees the recruiting sergeant where other men are heartening themselves with the cry of “King and Country.” These things are between God and you, and so beyond judging.


The rebellions of ’48 and ’67 were echoes in Ireland of the voice that called to the Hungarians and the Poles; with both races we have some mysterious bond. The rebellion of 1916, which made Ireland free or changed nothing, according to what conclusion you have arrived at, was{58} either abominable treachery or clear-headed heroism—you take your choice according to your politics!

We are a nation of losers, some man has said; but with that point I cannot agree; for if the Danes got much out of us, we got more out of them. Our women have many of them hair of red gold that no sovereigns in a merchant’s till can equal. The Danes left us their taste for gaming. The Normans gave us a love for and an understanding of the horse. Bruce left his soft-spoken Gaelic in the highlands of northern Ireland. The men whom Cromwell left behind burn

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The round tower at Antrim, one of the best in Ireland. The origin of these towers is lost in the mists of the past, but they are thought to have been places of refuge against the “proud invader.”


with a fire of love for Ireland. King William’s men were the fathers of the men of ’98.

Our tales of defeat give us great figures: Owen Roe, and the younger Hugh O’Neill, and Patrick Sarsfield savagely fighting to cover the flight of the cowardly and ungrateful James. What young soldier’s heart does not rise at the thought of General Napper Tandy, and General Arthur O’Connor, and Colonel Miles Byrne?

Will Robert Emmet’s speech in the dock be ever forgotten? Is there any Irishman in the king’s red coat whose heart does not beat{60} the faster at the name of Lord Edward Fitzgerald?

We are a poor country as to money, but we have purple heather and mountains golden with gorse, and rivers, great-bosomed and friendly, where men may dream. And the sea is kind to us. Our fields are green as the Prophet’s banner.

We do not, thank God, as a people, hesitate when the heart calls one way and the head another.

A nation that is ever prosperous, always wise, seems to me a nation forsaken by its angels. One can see its inhabitants. They are tall and thin, with bodies cold as a fish’s.

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Two Irish grandmothers as gay as when they were colleens. They live in Glasses Lane in Athlone.


They have long heads and foreheads like a woman’s bare knee. They are dressed in black. Their eyes are not merry. Their dynasty of monarchs, for they will have sound, reasonable monarchs, are called Mareph the Wise, Riga the Opulent, Harno the Pious, Ning the Farsighted.

They are the people who always do the right thing. They will go to power and glory everlasting. Where, also, they can go each stout man knoweth.{62}


A land that points to its monuments is a land that is dead. Proud-headed Venice, Queen of Cities, is now a sweet old lady, with a lovely quiet in her face. The land that has the great Mosque of Cordoba is like a giant gone to skin and bone.

Petra, in the desert, is a city of ghosts. The little Paris that lies at the feet of the amazing Parthenon has as little in common with the city of Pericles as has, shall I say, Burton-on-Trent. In Ireland we{63} have not had time yet to build monuments.

If you come to Ireland as a friend—I was going to use, God forgive me! that most horrible word in any language, tourist—you will have to be content with kindliness and understanding, with purple heather and golden gorse, and a wind that may sweep you from your feet, but will sweep life into you.

What you will see depends on your own mind. Names, little crannies in cities, will work, if you are, in the words of the evangelist, “unspotted from the world,” their white eerie magic on you.{64}

The walls of Derry (Londonderry) will make your heart beat faster, for no gallantry in Froissart rivalled that of the Thirteen Apprentice Boys who locked the gates against James of the Fleeing and held the city for eight long months, not only against King James, but against famine and pestilence.

On Lough Erdergne you will find that Saint Patrick’s Purgatory which enthralled the mind of medieval Europe, and which is still a place of devout pilgrimage.

At Ballyshannon you may be fortunate enough to see the salmon, lying packed like sardines, awaiting

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Beside the hearth in a County Kerry cottage.


the opportune moment to spring up the falls of Assaroe, springing sixteen feet in the air against the foaming, roaring water.

At Muckross Head in the County Donegal the fantastic cliffs will hold you. In that one named the Market House you will see a blood brother of the rock out of which the African sculptor hewed the fearsome Sphinx.

In Donegal you will see the desolate Rosses, a tangle of small lakes and great granite boulders, and he who loses his way in that desert by night is the most luckless of beings. The great mountain of Donegal is Errigal, and its white{66} cap is not snow but white quartz. From its top, on a fair day, you can see the Scottish Hebrides, Islay and Jura, floating on the water like young brown gulls.


From Horn Head, sometimes out of a mist will emerge the rocky battlements of Tory Island, like something evoked by an enchanter’s wand. The roar of the Atlantic crashing into that cavern known as MacSwine’s Gun will shake the stoutest heart.

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Baily Lighthouse on Howth Head across the bay from Dublin. One of the many powerful lights around the Irish coast.


Belfast is about as Irish a city as Paisley is. It is of no antiquity and, except for commerce, of no importance; but within easy reach of it are the blue Mourne Mountains, the great Dun of Downpatrick, where the country folk say that St. Patrick, St. Brigit, and St. Columkille are all three buried.

Near Castle Upton are some ruined buildings of the Knights Templars, of interest to all Children of the Widow as a minor establishment founded by the Knights who escaped to Harris.

At Antrim is the greatest round tower of Ireland, nearly an hundred{68} feet high. Near the town is Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles, bordered with orchards.

At Ballinderry Jeremy Taylor wrote his most important works, and near it, at Whiteabbey, Anthony Trollope wrote his autobiography. Near Carrickfergus, at Kilroot, Dean Swift had a living for a small time.

North of Belfast, at Larne, where some swine named a hamlet Waterloo, begin the Nine Glens of Antrim: Glenarm, Glencloy, Glenariff, Glen Ballyemon, Glenaan, Glencorp, Glendun, Glenshesk, and Glentow. Near Cushendall is

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A world-famous thoroughfare. O’Connell Street, Dublin, approached by Dublin’s finest bridge. In the distance is Nelson’s Pillar—the hub of the city’s activities.


Ossian’s grave. Thackeray (how these English authors will philander after Ireland!) called Glenariff a miniature Switzerland. I am certain that no critics of the author of Vanity Fair could arraign him more damnably than does his own phrase.

Cushendun was once the home of Moira O’Neill. That beloved poet wrote of Cushendun when she composed her heart-breaking poem of Corrymeela:

Over here in England I’m helping with the hay,
And I wisht I was in Ireland the livelong day;
Weary on the English hay, and sorra take the wheat!
Och Corrymeela and the blue sky over it!


North of Antrim is Rathlin Island, or Raghery, as we of the Gaels call it. The stormy sea between Ireland and Raghery is called Sloch-na-mara, or Gullet of the Ocean, and can only be sailed over in the finest of weather. Here is Bruce’s refuge. The author of Westward Ho! compares it to a drowned magpie, a figure over which I have pondered with no success. But then I am only an Irish author. It is a gallant little island, with an immensity of birds. It is mentioned not only by Charles Kingsley, but by Ptolemy.{71}

Near Ballycastle is the famous Carrick-a-Rede, a ropewalk over a chasm sixty feet wide and ninety deep, a couple of planks lashed together by rope. The handrail, also a rope, swings away from you as you cross. Your best help is the Lord’s Prayer. I have seen a glensman carrying a sheep, walk across it in a half gale.

The Giant’s Causeway, near by, is more curious than beautiful. It is impossible to think of these basaltic columns as other than artificial. The best time to see it is in a gale, when the tessellated terraces are assaulted by a cavalry of{72} foam. Parts of it are called by fantastic names: the Honeycomb, Lord Antrim’s Parlour, the Organ, the Giant’s Loom, the Gateway, and the Lady’s Fan.

Near by is Portrush, our noted golf links, of which we know it is bad taste to boast, but we rather like seeing Scotsmen walking in from the eighteenth green, white-faced, broken men. Between Portrush and Derry is Coleraine, meaning the “corner of ferns.” It is the home of Coleraine whisky and possesses one of the finest temperance cafés in the world.

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The Book of Kells is the best example of the 8th century Irish illuminated art, and is the priceless treasure of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. It has been called “the most beautiful book in the world.” The text is the translation into Latin of the gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the highly coloured letters of the text, figures and geometrical designs show it to be the loving labour of a master draughtsman. The designs are intricate and needle-sharp in detail.



To speak of Dublin as it is to-day is very difficult. Riot and civil commotion, and the act of the King’s Enemies, and of the King’s Men, have given the “finest city upon the say” a tragic dignity.

Great Dublin Castle with its Birmingham Tower and its Devil’s Half-Acre, is now the Law Courts. The first fortress of the Danes was built here in A.D. 840.

Christ Church still stands in Lord Edward Street. It was the famous{74} Priory of the Holy Trinity, erected by the Danish King Sitric in 1038. Lambert Simnel was crowned here in 1486.

Near St. Patrick’s Park, in the slums of Dublin, is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the home of Dean Swift.

Museums, zoological gardens, and art galleries are such as any other city has. The Bank of Ireland Building is the old Parliament House of Dublin, a squat building opposite Trinity College.

Dublin is rather a disappointing city, except for its memories, which are mostly bitter. To see it at its best one must go on a July evening

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“Myrtle Grove,” the gabled Elizabethan house where Sir Walter Raleigh lived in 1588-89 when the gallant soldier of fortune was Chief Magistrate of Eochaill (Youghal), which means “the yew wood” or “hill of the yew.”


to the slope of Three Rock Mountain, and thence it seems like a miracle of silver afloat in the summer air.

There is a multitude of curious facts about it, from the strange crypt beneath St. Michan’s Church, where bodies will not decay, to the blind river Poddle, that runs through it like the lost rivers of Rome; to the fact that Jules Verne wrote a novel about it called Foundling Mick.

I can remember it in 1912, when our hearts were high and we hoped to bring about a Pre-Union Dublin of merriment and enduring dignity.{76} I am afraid it is now a city of despair.

Howth is northward, with the small islands of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay. Through Swords and Malahide one travels to Drogheda, whose walls still show the effect of the Lord Protector’s cannon, and whose river, the Boyne, shows so little effect of Ireland’s greatest battle.

Westward of Drogheda is Newgrange, famous for its Druid burial mound, with a passage of great stones forty-eight feet long leading into a stone-roofed chamber. It is the oldest Celtic monument in Europe.

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Dublin. The seat of government of the Saorstát Eirrann, or Irish Free State, houses the legislative body know as the Dail: the Dail Eirrann dates from 1921, when the Free State came into being.


The Norsemen are supposed to have rifled it, so that no man knows what it contained.


Tallaght, near Dublin, is the great burial place of the legendary legions of Parthelon, who died of the plague. Kingstown is so modern as to be vulgar. Bray and Dalkey are pretty little coast towns.

Going into Wicklow, you enter a world of glens, like Glen of the Downs, the Devil’s Glen, and mountain lakes like Tay and Lough Dan. Glendalough or, the “Glen of Two Lakes,” as the Gaelic name means,{78} is a deep, solitary glen in a wild region, the upper lake of which has something terribly sinister about it. Here are the ruins of seven churches, which have stood for upward of twelve hundred years, and a round tower. It is the site of the hermitage of St. Kevin.

The Vale of Avoca and the Meeting of the Waters are the prettiest spots in Leinster. I should hesitate to call them beautiful. The scenery of Leinster has a feminine, soft quality, to my northern eye.

The road from Dublin to Killarney passes through Maryborough{79} and Cashel, in which latter city Gerald, the Earl of Kildare, burned the great cathedral in 1495 because he thought the archbishop was inside.


Near Buttevant is Kilcolman Castle, in which Spenser wrote the first three books of The Faërie Queen. How Norman once that country was is shown by the name of the town which was the battle-cry of the Barrymores: Boutez-en-avant, Push forward!{80}

Spenser’s beautiful city of Cork is almost encircled by the Lee. The name Cork means a marsh, and the city was founded by St. Finbarre in the seventh century, and was later the centre of the Danish domination of Munster. It is a city of bridges, and pleasant conversation and disaffection to our Lord the King.

It will be remembered that Perkin Warbeck got his greatest welcome in Cork. St. Finbarre’s Cathedral is the most un-English of ecclesiastical buildings, its front resembling Bayeux or Rheims. It is a monument of the good feeling which has always

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Where old age comes gracefully. A woman of Connemara, knitting under a fuchsia tree.


existed between Ireland and France. The bells of St. Ann’s inspired Father Prout’s immortal doggerel.

Cork has always been beloved of foreigners. Thackeray went into ecstacies over it. Another author, William Black, wrote a novel called Shandon Bells, and Mr. Henry Ford erected a factory for his products here.

Near Cork is Queenstown, whose name a polite corporation changed from Cove, in honour of Queen Victoria’s landing. Queenstown is now known officially as Cobh.{82}


Near Cork, too, is Blarney, notorious for two things, the gillaroo trout, “the red fellow,” and a practical joke known as the Blarney Stone, the kissing of which entails the same embarrassment as one suffers through the vulgar devices in amusement parks, in which trapdoors open and you come a purler, and sudden gusts of wind dismay the wearers of skirts.

In Youghal is buried that Countess of Desmond who, when she died, in 1604, was one hundred and forty years of age. The place of her commitment is notably haunted.

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The Woman of the House sets out for market.


Moeroun Castle, on the Kerry Road, is the birthplace of Admiral Sir William Penn, the father of the founder of Pennsylvania. Gougane Barra is a place of the most dark and beautiful aspect. Steep mountains and a lake like black marble, and trembling silver rivers shining into the dark water.

The kingdom of Kerry is wild and beautiful. Here are the remains such as they are, of the Druids. Here are the earliest Christian remains. It is a county of semi-tropical mosses, with some plants that are found nowhere else than in Portugal. It is the home of Irish classical{84} learning, more Latin and Greek having been known in Kerry than in the rest of Ireland combined. Its people are grave and courteous and have pleasant voices. The wild swan is more abundant here than elsewhere in Ireland, and here are the last of the wild red deer.

The English poet, William Wordsworth, writing about Killarney, says: “In point of scenery this is the finest portion of the British Isles,” which is treason to his own Lake District. The name Killarney means “Church of the sloe bushes.” The lakes are three: the Upper or McCarthy Moore’s lake; the Middle

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Where the brown waters team with salmon and trout. The cascade of Inagh River below Ennistimon town.


or Torc Lake; the Lower is called in the Gaelic Lough Leane.

In the Gap of Dunloe, the brawling Loe River expands into little lakes of water remarkable for their blackness. The Golden MacGillicuddy’s Reeks and the Purple Mountains stand around this district like sentinels.

Many of the rocks in Lough Leane are called after the chieftain of the district, the O’Donoghue of the Glens. O’Donoghue’s House was blown down during a storm, but his Table, Prison, Pigeon House, and Library still survive.

Near by are the ruins of Muckross Abbey, one of the finest{86} Norman abbeys in Ireland, with a yew tree in its cloisters sixty feet in height. Near Killarney, on the Kenmare Road, is Ross Castle, in the vicinity of which Tennyson wrote part of The Princess. Close by the castle is Innisfallen Island, on Lough Leane, “the gem of Killarney,” says Macaulay, “not a reflex of heaven, but a bit of heaven itself.” Its main charms are its holly groves and red-berried rowan trees. The sky in fair weather is blue as Mary’s Cloak.{87}


In the Province of Connacht there is the river Shannon, the broad-bosomed, majestic Shannon, which is being dammed and trained now by the Siemens-Schückert Company to provide electricity for all Ireland. What a peasant in his cottage wants electric power for, I cannot say, and indeed I have not heard anyone ask for it. What industries it is going to serve are unknown. But engineers of the country that produced Einstein, and politicians so mentally able as to be in power, their combined {88}wisdom is of a profundity....

I suppose the explanation is that there is money in it. There is money, too, in harnessing a great steeplechaser to a garbage cart when his racing days are over. There would be money, too, for the Greeks if they made their hallowed Parthenon into an open-air cinema. But in Athens I am assured I should be torn limb from limb were I to suggest it.

Limerick is the city of the Danes and Patrick Sarsfield and the landing place of supplies from Hamburg for the furtherance of the Shannon scheme. In Clare are lakes like jewels—small lakes abounding in

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Home from the Hunt.

A pack of foxhounds returning to their Kennels near Ardee, County Louth.


trout, and perch, and sad bream, and the voracious pike.

The names of the small hamlets have a great beauty. Labasheeda, the Bed of Silk; Clooneenagh, the Solitary Meadow; Inchicronan, the Island of the Lullaby; Tinarana, the House of Songs.


Connemara raises in the distance the threatening spears of its mountains—spears of purple and black, like the picked and terrible troops of some dreaded army; but as you come nearer you find in the Joyce’s Country an unsurpassable beauty of{90} heather, a hospitality unbounded, great courtesy, comeliness of men and women.

The bare stretches where the Connaught grouse grows fat and impudent on blaeberries and rowan berries, and the little lakes where the red-billed moorhen bobs courteously through the water as you come near, have a kindliness in them that goes to your heart.

Galway, City of the Blakes and Lynches, is the drowsiest, most magical, most Irish, of towns. The peat smoke from the houses assails your nostrils with a necromancy, and the old ache comes in your soul; and,

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The Walls of Derry will make your heart beat faster.

From an historical standpoint, Londonderry, or Derry, as it is familiarly called, is one of the most interesting cities in Ireland. It received its prefix from King James the First in 1613, when it was rebuilt and fortified by the English and Scotch settlers planted there. This panorama is from Waterside, opposite Derry, across the Carlisle Bridge over the River Foyle just before it widens into Lough Foyle.


looking westward on the ocean, the ache is satisfied, for before you lie the three islands of Aran, in the conger-hunted, herring-wealthy sea.{92}


I feel that in describing my country I am anything but a success. Your Dublin journalist could give me two stone and a ten lengths beating over a five-furlong sprint.

There is a story, told with great gusto by Sir Henry Robinson, of a poor old parish priest who, when listening to some men describing the European capitals, broke in with: “Well, now, gentlemen, do you know: Athy is grand, and Thrim is thruly magnificent.” The former local government expert finds an

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Mending his fish nets on the Youghal Quay.

Jim is one of the few older fishermen now remaining in the port, the work being done mostly by the boys and young men.


excruciating humour in this remark. But there is something in the dear, simple, old clergyman’s struggle for his country that touches my heart.

But the Father need not have worried. No canal in Venice has the soft beauty of the Great Canal that runs from Lough Ree and Athlone to Dublin, going through the Bog of Allen, snowy with canavaun or bog flowers, bearing on its bosom barges of dreams. And the blue Danube of the facile waltz must bow to Anna Liffey, as she comes through Lucan, Patrick Sarsfield’s attainted earldom, toward the sea. The{94} mountains of Dublin, Two-Rock and Three-Rock, the Scalp and Katy Gallagher, bring to my mind “the little hills that are about Jerusalem.”


Our monuments in Derry, in Belfast, in Dublin, leave the heart cold. The bronze statue of the worthy Ferguson, in Derry, is called locally “The Black Man,” so little of romance has it for Derrymen.

In Dublin we have a monument to Nelson, and statues of O’Connell and Parnell. But O’Connell said that{95} all the liberty in the world was not worth one drop of human blood. There is a statue in Bayonne, close to the cathedral, in memory of a tailor and a student who fell in the foundation of the Third Republic, and on it are the words, Morts pour la Liberté. Unconsciously, when I read them, I stood to, as though the Colours were passing.

As to Parnell, for all that is written of him, he was a penniless political adventurer to whom Ireland gave a career and a living, and who let down his country for some woman. Irishmen don’t do that. As to Nelson, we welcome him. He had{96} nothing to do with Ireland, but he was a hero.

In Belfast there is a memorial to Albert, that most virtuous of prince consorts; but, in God’s name, what did he ever do for Ireland, or even against her, that his Germanic memory should take up one inch of Irish soil?


To me Ireland always is the thatched cottage on the mountain side, the thunder of the hunt as it goes for Fairyhouse River, the grave, soft Irish voices. There is even a terrible black beauty about the mountainy men as, mad with solitude and

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The Thomond Bridge over the Shannon at Limerick City.

The castle was built by King John and is an excellent example of the Norman military architecture remaining in Ireland to-day.


drink, they crash through a fair fighting.

Even in our fighting we are courteous. We are a warlike nation, but we respect personalities. That story of the returned immigrant who, seeing a certain turbulence in his native town, asked “whether this was a private fight or could anybody join in,” is not as ridiculous as it seems. It is the remark of a gentleman.

That the English have done us much evil is a fact I doubt. The grave English wisdom of Sir Roger de Coverley, that “much might be said on both sides,” is not inapplic{98}able. We have done some shrewd fighting. But the superior assumption that “Paddy” is a funny fellow, and that his mouth is thick with Irish bulls is an insolence not to be borne.

A remark at which any Englishman will laugh is a phrase I heard from some one in regard to a roystering, gaming, heavy-drinking Irish gentleman who is dead: “Tis this way, your Honour, himself wouldn’t offend a child!” Well, who would? But our friend would go out of his way to preserve the holiness that childhood is. And that is chivalry. When a brown Hand closes on my

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The pass of Keimaneigh, a short, rocky defile through the Sheehy Mountains south of Gouganebarra.

A fine road threads the pass. Keimaneigh means “the pass of the deer” and was the haunt of a gang of marauders in the early years of the 19th century.


hand, and the pen drops from my fingers, and the writing is over, if some countryman of mine says as kind a word, it will be sufficient epitaph.{100}


We spend our lives seeking to form Ireland. Our poets come down from the mountain tops, crying: I have here a song that will make Ireland wake. Our young men gallop into the streets trying to found a commonwealth more noble than the dream of Plato. Our statesmen rise up with papers in their hands, saying: Here is the New Ireland we have wrought. Let it begin. The old men look at us strangely, with a curious lack of enthusiasm, but they say nothing to hinder us,

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Cheating the Fairies.

In many parts of the Connemara coast, boys up to twelve years of age are sometimes dressed in red flannel petticoats in order to deceive the fairies who are supposed by the peasantry to run away with male children if they get an opportunity, but will not touch little girls.


for they, too, have known these dreams.

Life goes on. New dogs go out to challenge for the Waterloo Cup, each, we hope, fleeter than the winner of last year. New horses go gallantly across to Aintree, seeking to win the Grand National. More eternal than the snow of the Alps are the heather and gorse of Three-Rock Mountain.

The note of the cuckoo, the droning of the bee, and another foot to the height of great larches is our only measure of time. And suddenly we know our heads are white as bogflowers. Light comes to us, and we see that we, who thought we were{102} men making Ireland, are only children at her feet. We have been playing, with that play of childhood that is more serious than the enduring work of masons.


Half an hundred moons; a few more harvests of the mountain ash, and our time is come to leave for Tir nan Og, to which our passport is, that we loved our country. But the thrushes and the wrestling, the poems and greyhounds and chiming rivers of the Assured Land can hardly tear us from her who has given us birth and vision. Herself has to draw{103} us into her arms and put a quiet on us.

The bells of heather
Have ceased ringing their Angelus.
Sleepy June weather
Has instilled a drug in us.
The cry of the plover
Is hushed, and the friendly dark
Has drawn a blue hood over
The meadow lark.
We travel sleeping,
Over heather hill and through ferny dale,
To the Land of No Weeping,
Of races, and piping and ale.
Husheen! Husho!
The wind is hid in the mountain. The leaves are still on the tree.
The hawk is caged in the darkness. The field-mouse safe in the hay.{104}
Now I am in my sleeping, and don’t waken me
Tha mee mo hulloo is na dhooshy may!
Tha mee, Tha mee—
Golden mammy!
Tha mee mo hulloo is na dhooshy may!
I am in my sleeping and don’t waken me!
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St. Patrick stands in peaceful Benediction on the Hill of Tara.

The eminence in County Meath on which this statue of the patron saint of the Irish people has been erected is supposed to have been the seat of the ancient kings of the Island.


[The end of Ireland--The Rock whence I was Hewn by Brian Oswald Patrick Donn-Byrne (as Donn Byrne)]