Leaving Glenà cottage and bay, the islands of Dinis and Brickeen invite our attention; these islands separate Turk from the Lower Lake, and form narrow passages, or canals, by which alone Turk Lake can be entered. There are passages on both sides of Dinis island, and a third under
p.73Brickeen bridge. This bridge unites the extremity of the promontory of Mucruss with Brickeen island; it consists of one gothic arch, whose altitude is seventeen feet, and span twenty-seven, and was built by the late Colonel Herbert. The most desirable entrance is by the Glenà side of Dinis island, which, though more circuitous to navigate, is much the most beautiful, and of the most novel character. The passage is like a river, enclosed by rich and verdant banks, crowned with the most luxuriant groves of various trees, close to the water's edge: it is a sylvan and aquatic scene of the most delicate and pleasing character, without any mixture whatever of the sublime or grand, but confined to the beautiful solely, and of such beauty as the eye loves to dwell upon.
After being enclosed for some short time in this enchanting and retired scene, Turk Lake suddenly appears, through a narrow vista, and produces a very singular effect by the extreme abruptness with which the view of the expanse of water breaks in upon you. The visiter should land, however, on the banks of the wooded canal, upon Dinis island, and wander through the lawns and groves of flowing arbutus, which enrich and beautify this little Eden. The taste of the colonel was too chaste, and his judgment too discerning, to neglect this happy little spot, so much adorned by nature; and, having cut walks through the
p.74woods, he erected a large and comfortable cottage on a sloping lawn, looking towards Mangerton and Turk cottage. Here parties frequently dine, and are very comfortably accommodated, and treated with that politeness which is characteristic of the inhabitants of this neighbourhood. The banquetting room commands a view of the Lake from one extremity to the other, with Turk and Mangerton mountains, and the cottage of Turk, with its improved pleasure grounds. Here, also, the visiter will have his salmonwhich is, perhaps, some of the finest in the south of Irelanddressed upon arbutus skewers, as at Glenà. While the passengers are engaged in wandering over the island, or refreshing within the cottage, the boat is generally rowed to the front of the cottage in Turk Lake, where it awaits at the foot of the gently sloping bank. Coasting along the south side of the Lake, Turk mountain appears particularly sublime, having acquired, by proximity, that apparent height which its neighbour Mangerton denies it at a greater distance. The precipitous brow of Turk appears thickly wooded to a considerable height, and down to the very water; the Lake itself, which multiplies its forests, at the same time receives a dark and gloomy colouring from the reflection of the impending height. The opposite shore forms a striking contrast to this: there the peninsula of Mucruss is extended, elevated
p.75but a little above the Lake, and consisting of a bed of mouldering and excavated rocks, thickly covered with wood. At the remote or eastern extremity of the Lake, stands Turk cottage, a private retreat of Mr. Herbert; it contains several small, neat apartments, with a library of miscellaneous books. The pleasure-grounds around are highly improved, and carefully attended to.
Behind the cottage, at the distance of about a furlong, in a chasm between Turk and Mangerton Mountains, is Turk Cascade, a fall of about sixty feet, which, in rainy seasons, exhibits one continued sheet of foam, from the stage whence it shoots to the natural basin below: it is supplied from a small lake, formed in the hollow of the summit of Mangerton, called the Devil's Punch Bowl, and the rivulet is thence denominated The Devil's Stream. This cataract, after falling into a deep and gloomy reservoir below, hurries impetuously along the bottom of a rocky glen, and, passing beneath a small bridge of Gothic arches, mingles its waters with those of the lake. One side of the glen is completely perpendicular, and richly clothed with larch and fir, planted by Colonel Herbert. Owing to the extreme perpendicularity of the sides of the glen, immediately near the waterfall, the men employed in planting the firs, were obliged to be lowered by ropes from
p.76the top, carrying the young trees with them, and seeking for a bed of earth of sufficient depth to protect their root; and in this tedious, expensive, and dangerous manner, Turk Cascade has been so improved by human aid, that the majority of strangers would prefer it to O'Sullivan's Cascade on the Lower Lake, or Derry-Cunnihy Waterfall on the Upper.
There is a bridle road leading from Turk cottage to Mucruss house and abbey, which is not very interesting, being overhung by the bleak brow of Mangerton; and visiters have an infinite advantage by viewing the surrounding scenery from the lake. Rowing round the eastern extremity, there is an uninterrupted prospect of the whole of Turk Lake, which is about two miles long, and one broad; then, sailing by a little embayment, in the very centre of which is a small island, the course is along the rugged shores of Mucruss peninsula. Devil's island and bay particularly demand notice. The island is a mass of rock, of considerable elevation, having some shrubs upon its summit, and appears to have been thrown off from the shore of Mucruss by some convulsive shock of nature.
Coasting along the northern shore of Turk Lake, pass Brickeen bridge, and return to the cottage on Dinis island. A walk round this little richly wooded spot will amply compensate the
p.77tourist, by the endless variety of scenery presented at every change of place or position, and the foliage on this island is the most luxuriant imaginable.