September 27. Walked into Mr. Herbert's beautiful grounds, to Oroch's Hill, in the lawn that he has cleared from that profusion of stones which lie under the wall; the scene which this point commands is truly delicious; the house is on the edge of the lawn, by a wood which covers the whole peninsula, fringes the slope at your feet, and forms a beautiful shore to the lake. Tomys and Glená are vast mountainous
p.92masses of incredible magnificence, the outline soft and easy in its swells, whereas those above the eagle's nest are of so broken and abrupt an outline, that nothing can be imagined more savage, an aspect horrid and sublime, that gives all the impressions to be wished to astonish rather than please the mind. The Turk exhibits noble features, and Mangerton's huge body rises above the whole. The cultivated tracts towards Killarney form a shore in contrast to the terrific scenes I have just mentioned; the distant boundary of the lake, a vast ridge of distant blue mountains towards Dingle. From hence entered the garden, and viewed Mucruss Abbey, one of the most interesting scenes I ever saw; it is the ruin of a considerable abbey, built in Henry VI.th's time, and so entire, that if it were more so, though the building would be more perfect, the ruin would be less pleasing; it is half obscured in the shade of some venerable ash trees; ivy has given the picturesque circumstance, which that plant alone can confer, while the broken walls and ruined turrets throw over it The last mournful graces of decay; heaps of skulls and bones scattered about, with nettles, briars, and weeds sprouting in tufts from the loose stones, all unite to raise those melancholy impressions, which are the merit of such scenes, and which can
p.93scarcely anywhere be felt more completely. The cloisters form a dismal area, in the centre of which grows the most prodigious yew-tree I ever beheld, in one great stem, two feet diameter, and fourteen feet high, from whence a vast head of branches spreads on every side, so as to perform a perfect canopy to the whole space. I looked for its fit inhabitant; it is a spot where The moping owl doth to the moon complain.
Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country ChurchyardThis ruin is in the true style in which all such buildings should appear; there is not an intruding circumstance, the hand of dress has not touched it, melancholy is the impression which such scenes should kindle, and it is here raised most powerfully.
From the abbey we passed to the terrace, a natural one of grass, on the very shore of the lake; it is irregular and winding; a wall of rocks broken into fantastic forms by the waves: on the other side a wood, consisting of all sorts of plants, which the climate can protect, and through which a variety of walks are traced. The view from this terrace consists of many parts of various characters, but in their different styles complete; the lake opens a spreading sheet of water, spotted by rocks and islands, all but one or two wooded; the outlines of them are sharp and distinct; nothing can be more smiling than this scene, soft and mild, a perfect contrast of beauty to the sublimity of
p.94the mountains which form the shore: these rise in an outline, so varied, and at the same time so magnificent, that nothing greater can be imagined; Tomys and Glená exhibit an immensity in point of magnitude, but from a large hanging wood on the slope, and from the smoothness of the general surface, it has nothing savage, whereas the mountains above and near the eagle's nest are of the most broken outlines; the declivities are bulging rocks, of immense size, which seem to impend in horrid forms over the lake, and where an opening among them is caught, others of the same rude character rear their threatening heads. From different parts of the terrace these scenes are viewed in numberless varieties.
Returned to breakfast, and pursued Mr. Herbert's new road, which he has traced through the peninsula to Dynis Island, three miles in length; and it is carried in so judicious a manner through a great variety of ground, rocky woods, lawns, &c., that nothing can be more pleasing; it passes through a remarkable scene of rocks, which are covered with woods. From thence to the marble quarry, which Mr. Herbert is working, and where he gains variety of marbles, green, red, white, and brown, prettily veined; the quarry is a shore of rocks, which surround a bay of the lake, and forms a scene consisting of but few parts, but those strongly marked; the rocks are bold, and broken into slight caverns; they are fringed with
p.95scattered trees, and from many parts of them wood shoots in that romantic manner so common at Killarney. Full in front Turk Mountain rises with the proudest outline, in that abrupt magnificence which fills up the whole space before one, and closes the scene.
The road leads by a place where copper-mines were worked; many shafts appear; as much ore was raised as sold for twenty-five thousand pounds, but the works were laid aside, more from ignorance in the workmen than any defects in the mine.
Came to the opening on the great lake, which appears to advantage here, the town of Killarney on the north-east shore. Look full on the mountain Glená, which rises in very bold manner, the hanging woods spread half way, and are of great extent, and uncommonly beautiful. Two very pleasing scenes succeed; that to the left is a small bay, hemmed in by a neck of land in front; the immediate shore rocks, which are in a picturesque style, and crowned entirely with arbutus, and other wood; a pretty retired scene, where a variety of objects give no fatigue to the eye. The other is an admirable mixture of the beautiful and sublime: a bare rock of an almost regular figure projects from a headland into the lake, which, with much wood and highland, forms one side of the scene; the other is wood from a rising ground only; the lake open between, in a sheet of no great extent, but in
p.96front is the hanging wood of Glená, which appears in full glory.
Mr. Herbert has built a handsome Gothic bridge, to unite the peninsula to the island of Brickeen, through the arch of which the waters of the north and south lake flow. It is a span of twenty-seven feet, and seventeen high, and over it the road leads to that island. From thence to Brickeen nearly finished, and it is to be thrown across a bottom into Dynis.
Returned by the northern path through a thick wood for some distance, and caught a very agreeable view of Ash Island, seen through an opening, inclosed on both sides with wood. Pursued the way from these grounds to Keelbeg, and viewed the bay of the Devil's Island, which is a beautiful one, inclosed by a shore, to the right of very noble rocks in ledges and other forms, crowned in a striking manner with wood; a little rocky islet rises in front; to the left the water opens, and Turk Mountain rises with that proud superiority which attends him in all these scenes.
The view of the promontory of Dindog, near this place, closes this part of the lake, and is indeed singularly beautiful. It is a large rock, which shoots far into the water, of a height sufficient to be interesting, in full relief, fringed with a scanty vegetation; the shore on which you stand bending to the right, as if to meet that rock, presents a circular shade of dark wood: Turk still the background, in a character of
p.97great sublimity, and Mangerton's loftier summit, but less interesting outline, a part of the scenery. These views, with others of less moment, are connected by a succession of lawns breaking among the wood, pleasing the eye with lively verdure, and relieving it from the fatigue of the stupendous mountain scenes.