Lush Landscapes of Ireland and a Ballad for St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s day parades are right around the corner! To get you in the Irish spirit here are some images from The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland. Written in 1840, the two-volume work follows the travels of J. Stirling Coyne (1803–1868), a British playwright and journalist. The engravings after drawings by W.H. Bartlett illustrate a variety of attractions in Ireland from cityscapes to wooded glens to castle ruins.

“Kilkee, (County Clare)”

Coyne writes, “Kilkee is a beautiful watering-place, situated on a little creek, which runs in off Malbay. It has risen considerably in importance within the last few years, and is now the most fashionable resort for bathers on the whole line of this romantic coast.”

“Youghal Abbey (The Residence of Sir Walter Raleigh)”

“Cove of Malbay”

“Natural Bridges Near Kilkee”

Coyne artfully describes the formation of the bridges: “…the ceaseless action of the Atlantic waves have worn away, and scooped the stratified cliffs into Natural Bridges, caverns, and chasms, so as to give the shores here the appearance of stupendous ruins, or the fragments of a half-formed world thrown into the wildest confusion by the hand of nature.”

“Turk Cascade (Near Killarney)”

In addition to outlining the history and industry of many locations, Coyne also describes his experience in detail, inserting observations and advice to the locals at times: “A small gate on the left of the road was opened by a person of no peculiarity except outside pockets in the arm-pits of his coat, and following him along the borders of a brook, through young plantations of fir and larch, I came presently in sight of the fall, – a sheet of white foam falling, as well as I could judge forty or fifty feet, but so inlaid in the chasm through which it descends as to have very much the advantage of most falls of equal height. After breaking on the rocks the steam resumes its rapid course through the ravine, and soon empties into the lake. Mr. Herbert’s plantations on the sides and edges of the ravine serve to give the Turk Cascade an American wildness, which struck me very agreeably. I wish he would also give it a prettier name.”

“Carrigogunnell Castle (Near Limerick)”

Coyne explains that the castle began as a house for knights templar and then in 1691 sheltered troops after the battle of Aughrim, part of the bloody conflict between Jacobites and the forces of William III. He notes that the Dean of Limerick received one hundred and sixty pounds to blow up the castle, leaving nothing but “piles of venerable remains.”

A nearby volume, Lewis’s Atlas contains a large fold-out map of Ireland, in addition to smaller maps of each county. Interestingly, the atlases show measurements in Irish miles, which were in use until about 1856 and measured 2,048 meters instead of the official 1,609.

In case you were wondering about the origins of St. Patrick, here is a song version from The Ballads of Ireland by Edward Hayes:

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

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