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It is impossible to glance over the wonderful maps marked out; for the peninsula contains three ancient of the Ordnance Survey of this part of Ireland, without divisions- Joyce's Country in the north-east, Jara saddened feeling for the present and a hopeful one Connaught (or West-Connaught) in the southfor the future. We say wonderful maps; for seldom east, and Connamara all that lies westward of those has there been such another display of mapping as this two divisions.
two divisions. In this narrower sense, Connamara celebrated Survey presents. Take the county of would be pretty accurately bounded on the east by a Galway, for instance— the one which contains the line drawn from the inner part of Killery Harbour to Connamara district. Here we find no less than 137 | the inner part of Kilkerran Bay; and the district thus large sheets devoted to this county, on a scale of six marked out would extend from twenty to twenty-four inches to a mile ; while the Index Map, in which the miles in each direction. But the physical and induswhole county is represented in one sheet, is quite a trial features of the peninsula are independent of these triumph of minute engraving. Although on a scale of local divisions; and we shall continue to give the name only one-third of an inch to a mile, this index-map of Connamara to all that lies westward of the two noble presents the natural and social features with astonishing lakes. These lakes, containing nearly seventy thousand fulness.
acres of water-surface, and entering into the Atlantic One of the most striking entries on this map, both by a river which passes through the county townfor its frequency and the tale which it tells, is “Castle ought to effect great blessings for Ireland some day in ruins." This entry is not met with so repeatedly or other.
Then there are in addition an almost in Connamara as in the portions of Galway county incalculable number of smaller lakes spread over the farther to the east ; but it is to be encountered even / peninsula, but more thinly in the southern than the in that region of rugged beauty. Eastward of the northern half. This, too, is a district where the coasttown of Galway, however, the “ Castle in ruins” meets line presents such a series of inlets and harbours as is the eye so frequently in the map that the attention is not easily to be paralleled elsewhere. The word forcibly arrested by it. How old are these ruins ? Connamara is said to mean “land of bays.” Beginning What was the state of the people when those castles at Killery Harbour, with its many coves and inlets, we were built? Was English conquest or internal discord pass round a jetting promontory and find ourselves in the cause of the ruin? Such are the queries that Ballynakill Harbour, which throws out its manifold suggest themselves to the mind. So far as the names arms into the land in various directions. Then occur are concerned, nothing can be more thoroughly Irish Claggan Bay, Streamstown Bay, Kingstown Bay, than these ruined castles—Kilroge, Kilcoritan, Clogh- Clifden Bay, and Mannin Bay-all of which serrate moyle, Cloghballymore, Cloancurreen, Ballynaman- the extreme western margin of the peninsula, and in tragh: such names tell much more of the Celt than front of which are numberless small islands washed by of the Anglo-Norman.
the Atlantic. Next, bending round south and east, we But when, leaving these relics of man's work, we pass in succession the Bays of Bunowen, Ballyconneely, transfer our attention to the natural features of Conna- Gorteen, Roundstone, (Cut, No. 17), and Cleonile, -a mara, it is difficult to imagine that such a country will series which ends in the deep inlet of Berbragh Bay. always remain as it is--a social and commercial blank. The minor bays of Ard and Mweenish, which next occur, What a chain of lakes! what a coast line ! A short are followed by the magnificent harbour of Kilkerran, line of about seven miles will connect the eastern whose deepest inlets have distinctive names of their extremity of Killery Harbour with the western extre- From Kilkerran Bay the coast proceeds pretty mity of Lough Mask; and thus we have formed a regularly from west to east, ending at the town of northern boundary to Connamara, all but seven miles Galway, and forming the northern side of Galway consisting of coast-line. Then a straight line of two Bay; this line of coast is marked chiefly by the inlets miles is all of land that intervenes between the south which form Casheen Bay, Coonawilleen Bay, Kiggaul of Lough Mask and the north of Lough Corrib; and Bay, Greatman's Bay, and Cashla Bay, and by the this latter noble lake stretches southward till it pours island of Gorumna. its waters into the river Corrib, which itself finds The best information which we possess concerning an embouchure in Galway Bay: thus is an eastern Connamara, and the source whence most subsequent boundary given to Connamara, of which all but two writers have derived their principal details, is conmiles consists of water. As to the western and tained in the late Mr. Alexander Nimmo's Report on southern boundaries, they are wholly formed by the that district. Commissioners were appointed by the
say that this large district-- Crown, early in the present century, and soon after measuring, perhaps, forty miles from east to west by the Union of Ireland with Great Britain, to examine twenty-five from north to south -- differs from an the boys of Ireland, with a view to the suggestion of island only by the occurrence of two isthmuses, of such plans as might facilitate their reclamation. The seven and two miles respectively: as viewed upon labours of the commission lasted several years, and a map, it is a peninsula, and as a peninsula we did not terminate till 1814. The commissioners shall treat of it. Strictly speaking, and in relation employed ten eminent engineers, and a large staff of to the ancient divisions of Ireland, Connamara surveyors, to examine and survey the bogs; and the is comprised within narrower limits than those here separate reports of these engineers are full of valuable
details concerning Ireland and its latent capabilities. of the district more hopeful than in many other waste They minutely surveyed, examined, and measured no lands of the kingdom. These facilities presented themless than 1,013,358 acres of bog land; while there selves to bis mind under the forms of climate, aspect, were separate examinations, not professing to enter coast-line, and geological formation. into so much detail, of three other districts in Wicklow, First for the climate. It is decidedly mild. Snow Erris, and Connamara ; containing together about is little known even in the hardest winters. The cattle 387,000 acres of bog, and 355,000 acres of mountain are never housed; for the mountains in the north, and
Mr. Nimmo, Mr. Lovell Edgeworth (the the great variety of surface, afford considerable shelter. father of Maria Edgeworth), and Mr. Griffith, were The least favourable features are wet summers and among the most eminent of the engineers employed. strong west winds.
The Connamara district -- considered as including Next for the aspect. Although Connamara may be the whole of Galway county westward of Loughs deemed in some sense mountainous, it is not an upland Corrib and Mask—is one of the most uncultivated in country like Wicklow. At least three-fourths of Conthe whole of Ireland. The quantity of arable land namara proper is lower than 100 feet above the level seems, at first glance, not to exceed one-twentieth of the of the sea ; and this low level must have an undoubted whole area; but the process of reclamation will give a influence on the prospective vegetable fertility of the more and more favourable ratio in this respect. Where district. Jar-Connaught rises from the shore of Galcultivation has made the greatest progress on the way Bay, in a gently sloping plain, to about 300 feet, south shore of Lough Corrib, the arable or dry land is at the upper edge of which there are some hills of about interspersed with extensive tracts of naked limestone 700 feet, and beyond them a low limestone country rock of a most desolate aspect; and it appears to be extends to the edge of Lough Corrib. Joyce's Country only after incredible labour, that a few patches of soil | is, in every respect, more mountainous and wild. have been torn from the general waste. Neverthe- In respect to sea-coast, nothing can well (size being less-as if in encouragement and reward for whatever considered) be more magnificent than this peninsula. labour and capital are bestowed on this region of After reading Mr. Nimmo's remarks thereon, a reader wildness—such is the fertility of these spots, and the must lack hope indeed who cannot look forward to a value of the pasture among the limestone, that this day of prosperity for the district-far-distant, perhaps, land, even including rock, produced at the time of but not the less certain and cheering. * The district Mr. Nimmo's examination a rent of fifteen shillings is nearly surrounded by the sea on the south and per acre, and where tolerably cleared, was rented as west, and by the great lakes Mask and Corrib on the high as in any part of Ireland.
east-the latter navigable into the town of Galway, The other parts of the district are principally bare and could easily be made so to the sea. Various moors, consisting of various depths of bog, upon great inlets penetrate the district, so that no part of a bottom of primitive rock affording little soil ; but it is distant four miles from existing navigation. several strings or beds of limestone run through the There are upwards of twenty safe and capacious district, and are distinguishable by the verdure and harbours, fit for vessels of any burden; about twentycultivation which have taken place in their vicinity. five navigable lakes in the interior, of a mile or more
Mr. Nimmo estimated the population at 30,000. in length, besides hundreds smaller. The sea-coast It is now supposed that the number must have and all these lakes abound in fish. The district, with exceeded that limit; but taking the estimate as he its islands, possesses no less than 400 miles of seagave it, he states that half of the inhabitants are in shore. On Lough Corrib it has fifty miles of shore; Connamara proper, one-third in Jar-Connaught, and so that with Lough Mask, &c., there are, perhaps, as one-sixth in Joyce's Country; that nine-tenths of the many miles of shore of the sea or navigable lakes as inhabitants of Connamara proper are settled along the there are square miles of surface." sea-shore ; that in Jar-Connaught the inhabitants In respect to the geological features, there are extenreside either on the sea coast, or on the northern slope sive bands of calcareous sand round the coast in almost of the hills next to the limestone country; and that every bay; there are numerous beds of available limethe upland part of Joyce's Country is quite uninha- stone adjacent to almost all of the navigable lakes; bited. But in these details, and in the statement of and there is bog-peat which will furnish an inexhaustotal rentals, the lapse of nearly forty years has in all tible supply of fuel. probability introduced wide differences.
Taking in conjunction the above four groups of Before any reclamation of bog land commenced, 57 circumstances or conditions, Mr. Nimmo remarks :per cent, of the whole area of Connamara consisted of " On the whole, it appears to me that the improvemountain and upland pasture, 34 per cent. of bog, ment of this district, so far from being difficult or 7 per cent. of arable land, and 2 per cent. of limestone- hopeless, is a thing highly feasible; and if vigorously rock. A formidable picture this, with only one acre but steadily pursued, is likely to meet with fewer in fourteen deserving the name of arable land! Yet obstructions and greater ultimate success than, perMr. Nimmo was impressed with the conviction that haps, in any other part of Ireland.".. there are certain facilities about and around Connamara In respect to the fitness for agricultural purposes, which might render the improvement and cultivation Mr. Nimmo arranges the peninsula into four parts
the Limestone Field, the Granite Moor, the Middle Experience, however, has shown that it is more proDivision, and the Northern Division. The Limestone-fitable to employ sea-weed as manure for the improveField lies principally between the town of Galway and ment of the wastes, than to manufacture kelp, even at Lough Corrib, and along part of the western shore of remunerating prices. the lough. It is a triangular nook, forming the western The hopeful anticipations of Mr. Nimmo with respect edge of the great limestone-field of Ireland. Much of to the harbour and water-power of Connamara have this limestone-rock is bare ; but on its edges are already been touched upon; and we find that he was many very fertile spots; the hollows are mostly filled not less hopeful with respect to its bogs :with bog. Other patches of limestone are interspersed “I am perfectly convinced," says he, "from all with other rocks in various parts of the peninsula. that I have seen, that any species of bog is by tillage The Granite Moor forms the southern part of the and manure capable of being converted into a soil fit peninsula; it contains no limestone, but is partially for the support of plants of every description ; and covered with bog of various depths. There is a large with due management, perhaps the most fertile that supply of shell or coral-sand in the bays on the coast, can be submitted to the operations of the farmer. which might easily be applied to the manuring of this Green crops, such as rape, cabbages, and turnips, may moor; and there is abundance of red sea-weed, equally be raised with the greatest success on firm bog, with applicable to such a purpose. The Northern Division no other manure than the ashes of the same soil. contains no limestone or calcareous matter ; but it is Permanent meadows may be formed on bog, more proso deeply indented by Loughs Corrib and Mask, that ductive than on any other soil. Timber may be raised, no part of it is distant more than three miles from especially firs, larch, spruce, and all the aquatics, on some spot whither lime may be brought by water-car-, deep bog; and the plantations are fenced at little riage. The great drawback to this division, at the time expense. With a due application of manure, every of Mr. Nimmo's examination, was, that there was nei- | description of white crops may be raised upon bog ; ther a single road fit for a wheel-carriage, nor a single and I know no soil from which they can be extracted bridge over a stream or inlet, in the whole of this without it. There is this advantage in the cultivation portion of the peninsula. The Middle Division, the of bog, that any species of soil will act as a manure last of the four portions into which Mr. Nimmo divided to it: even the siliceous sand of Renvill having that the peninsula in respect to agricultural capabilities, effect ; but this admixture of foreign soil, though contains numerous veins or beds of limestone, so highly beneficial, is not essential to the improvement situated that almost every farm within that tract has of bog; fallowing and manure, such as dung or lime, either limestone upon it, or within half a mile of it. will convert the bog-stuff itself into a soil, and extract Many of these lime-rocks are also situated on long and large crops from it; so that there is nothing desperate deep lakes—a circumstance which gives a facility of in the cultivation of bog upon a basis of rock." transport that may at some future time become of the Those travellerg-few and far between--who have greatest importance.
visited Connamara since the date of Mr. Nimmo's The industrial processes which were carried on in examination, are invariably struck either with the Connamara at the date of Mr. Nimmo's examination, latent capabilities not yet developed, or with the fine are interesting to note, because they mark the early scenery which portions of the peninsula exhibit. Sir stages of a course of labour which may, perhaps, Robert Kane, in the work before quoted, passes in lead to prosperous results in future years. One em- review the sources of power which are presented by ployment was that of cutting sea-weed for manure, the rivers and lakes of that country. When he comes or collecting that which is at every tide cast ashore. to speak of that province which contains the district of Two or three boat-loads of sea-weed, of about six Connaniara, he says :-" The province of Connaught tons each, were usually applied as manure over is that which deserves most attention in relation to its acre of potato ground. The weed was usually sold navigable lakes. Its soil is not inferior to that of the at half-a-guinea a ton. The rotation adopted at the rest of Ireland; some of the sweetest pastures and most farms at that period was frequently as follows :-one productive lands are found within its limits. Its year of potatoes raised on sea-weed ; one year of oats coasts abound with fish; its mountains are rich in or barley ; four or five years of natural meadow; and ores ; its people are willing to work, and travel then potatoes manured with sea-weed, as before. hundreds of miles seeking for work, even at a rate
Among those things which have to some extent which only allows them to sustain existence. Yet checked the productive labours of Connamara is the that province is the reproach of Ireland and the bydecline in the use of kelp. Since the wonderful pro- word of Great Britain. Its population is relieved by gress of chemistry, which has led to the manufacture charitable subscription from recurrent famines. Little of soda from common salt, the obtaining of the same more than one-half of its area has been made available alkali from kelp has been almost discontinued ; because for cultivation; and it is but a few years since its the lowest price which would keep the poor kelpers interior was first rendered accessible to industry by the from starvation is still higher than that at which soda formation of proper roads." can now be purchased. Kelp used to be made by Mr. Inglis, whose Tour through Ireland' about burning sea-weed, and soda by purifying the kelp. fifteen years ago, was
means of bringing many
beauties of that country before the notice of English miles from some sea-bay, or lake having communicareaders, shared in the general opinion of the capabi- tion with the sea. If there were good roads in all lities of the Connamara district. “At Maam,” he directions, this length of land-carriage would not be says, “one is forcibly struck with the advantages great; but even this distance would be much dimiwhich would be opened up to this district by the nished by improving and connecting the navigation of extension of the navigation of Lough Corrib to the the chains of lakes which extend through every part of sea. Fine slopes of reclaimable land border the deep Connamara.” stream that, at the distance of half a mile, flows into Besides the industrial associations connected with Lough Corrib; and the same boats that would carry this district, there are many scenes of great beauty. to market the produce of the cultivated land, would The Killery, for instance, is a beautiful and remarkbring from the bay of Galway sand, sea-weed, and able boundary to Connamara on the north. It is lime to be laid upon the yet unimproved wastes." The a narrow deep inlet of the sea, extending far up same thought seems to have repeatedly occurred to into the country, and bounded on both sides throughthe mind of Mr. Inglis, during his journey through out its whole extent by a range of mountains nearly Connamara. " It was impossible,” he says, while as elevated as any in Ireland, and of very picprogressing on foot from Maam to Clifden, “to cast turesque forms. The inlet is not above a mile the eye over the vast inclined plains of bog-land, across. In several spots the mountain boundary rises skirted by fine water levels, which seemed to invite abruptly from the water ; but there are many clefts draining, without feeling a conviction of the immense and hollows which reveal more elevated peaks beyond, capabilities of this part of Ireland ; and seeing, in and show the extent of the range. Those who have prospective, these vast tracts bearing abundant pro- visited both regions say that there is nothing in the duce, and the chain of loughs carrying that produce - British Isles which approaches so near to the character on the one side to Lough Corrib and Galway Bay ; of the Norwegian Fiords as Killery—a deficiency of and on the other to Birterbuy Bay, or one of the other dark-foliaged timber being the chief drawback from the bays which lie to the westward." Again, the following comparison. remarks suggest irresistibly the future which must be The Rev. Cæsar Otway, who published several destined for this remarkable peninsula. “There is works relating to the topography of the north-west of perhaps no part of Ireland so well adapted for expe- Ireland, speaks of Lough Corrib as “a noble sheet rimenting on waste lands and reclaimable bogs as of water, here and there studded with islands—some Connamara. No part of Connamara is more than six ) large and fertile, others rugged rocks; some embattled
17. -ROUNDSTONE BAY.
with the ruins of an old fortress ; some made holy by known) scenery of Killarney. I would not be underthe crumbling remains of a still older church, where stood as saying one word in disparagement of Killarney, some Culdee made his desert,-a disciple of Columba, which, in the combination of forms and colours, is not or Fursey, or Fechin, his retreat. If such a lake as to be surpassed; but in speaking of Killarney, I think this were in Scotland, or indeed anywhere else in I ventured to observe that no approach to sublimity Europe, it would be covered with steam-boats and was to be found ; and as, in the part of Ireland of yachts, and there would be hotels and accommodations which I am now speaking, there are undoubted on its shores, and a county as rich if not richer than approaches to the sublime, with all of the picturesque Cumberland, would be opened out, and planted, and besides that depends upon form, I think these ought built on."
to weigh heavier in the balance than that softened One of the most extraordinary scenes of this extra- beauty which at Killarney is created by abundance ordinary peninsula is displayed at the isthmus between and variety of wood, and consequent splendour of Loughs Mask and Corrib. The waters of the former colouring. I know that a far stronger impression flow into the latter at the town of Cong; but no river or was made on my mind in this journey than by anystream is to be seen in the maps, and the existence thing I saw at Killarney. Be it known, too, that of any communication appeals rather to the ear than this is a country of lakes-lakes with as fine mounto the eye.
The flow is in great part subterraneous. tain boundaries as are to be found in the three The rocks have been tunnelled during the lapse of kingdoms.” ages by the waters which came from Lough Mask Chiefly through the exertions of Mr. Nimmo, a road and some smaller lakes towards Lough Corrib. Well has been made entirely round the peninsula, beginning may Mr. Otway, after such a description as the follow- at Galway, and winding sufficiently near to the sea and ing, claim for Ireland the attention of those who love the lakes to open up those districts to the tourist and wild scenes of beauty and grandeur :-"Cong is cer- (what is better to the capitalist. There is another tainly a rare place—it might be called the Irish Arabia road extending across the district from south-east to Petræa; but there is this great difference, that our north-west. The road to Ballinahinch passes close place of stones is also a place of rivers of waters. For by the southern slope of the remarkable group of here, amongst hills of stones and valleys of stones, you mountains called the Twelve Pins; and among these hear the rustling sound of streams through a multitude mountains is now quarried a green marble so beautiful, of holes, and gullies, and caverns; where waters are that it only waits to be better known in order to find now appearing and then disappearing, until all at once a ready market. These Twelve Pins form a striking they burst forth from under the rock, and form a nucleus to a striking district. They stand in the very rapid river, rushing to Lough Corrib, larger than the centre of Connamara, and occupy an area six or seven Liffey. It certainly is a singular sight. To the left miles square. It is supposed that the name Pin is of the village you see a strong and turbulent stream here a corruption of the Scottish Ben or mountain ; gushing through salmon and eel weirs, as it flows with but be this as it may, the mountains, about a dozen in all its turbulent eddies to the lake; then you look to number, are placed in two opposite rows, inclining the north, south, east, and no river is seen, nothing together at the ends so as to enclose a kind of oval but the great gray ridges of limestone ; you look valley. The chief among the mountains are Knockcloser, and you see enormous springs turning at once annahiggen, Bengower, Benlettery, Derryclare, Ben some great mill-wheels with the impetuosity and force cullagh, and Benbaun; these vary in height from of their waters as they rise from the earth ; and while 2400 to 2000 feet; the others average about 1800 those springs start up and boil in all directions around feet. (Cut No. 18.) you, as you do not know whence they flow, so you do Mr. and Mrs. Hall, in their work on 'Ireland,' not understand whither they are tending."
give the details of some information which they reThe western districts partake less of the beautiful ceived concerning the Connamara marbles, from the than the eastern ; but even here there are scenes which proprietors of one of the marble works in Galway drew forth from Mr. Inglis no small amount of admi- town. The quarries in question are situated on the ration. After speaking of the road from Roundstone shores of Lough Corrib; and they were discovered to Clifden, which seems to be bare and desolate, he in the following way :-An Englishman was exploring thus records his opinion of the north-western part of the country for minerals, useful rather than ornamental, the peninsula :-"I do not hesitate for a moment to when he chanced to discover a stone of fine texture, say, that the scenery in passing from Clifden to the which, on being polished by a mason, was pronounced Killeries and Leenane is the finest in Ireland. In to be marble of a fine jet colour. He was unable to boldness of character nothing in Killarney comes near work the quarry for want of means ; but two brothers to it; and although the deficiency of wood excludes of the name of Ireland made an arrangement with Sir the possibility of a competition with Killarney in pic- Valentine Blake, the proprietor of the estate on which turesque beauty, I am certainly of opinion that the the marble was found, to export some blocks of it to scenery of this part of Connamara, including especially London. This occurred about the time when Mr. the Killeries, which is in Joyce's Country, is entitled to Nimmo was making his examination. The marblerank higher than the more praised (because better merchants soon appreciated the beauty of the material ;