Dublin is the capital city of the kingdom of Ireland, situated on the river Leffer,5 where the tide rises near two
p.412fathoms, by which large barks are brought up to a quay in the middle of the town, and loaded vessels remain at anchor at its mouth, under cover of some high mountains, which run out into the sea in form of a promontory. We landed at the little village of Ranesin,6 which is on the borders of that little gulf, from whence we entered into a great suburb, where stands the college of the University, which I visited after having found an inn at the Mitre, in the little part of the town,7 separated by the river which runs through it. On the morrow, being accompanied by a French merchant who lived there, I went to see this grand college. I was introduced to the principal,8 who was a man of great wit and learning. He showed me a fine library, in which were many very scarce books; among others he lent me that of Camdenus Britannicus, who has written the history and description of England, enriched with maps of every county and the plans of all the cities. This man was curious to hear me speak of the city of Paris, and of the French customs, and seemed astonished that out of mere curiosity I should come to see Ireland, which is a country so retired, and almost unknown to foreign travellers. He likewise showed me a fine garden, very well taken care of, wherein was a great parterre representing a sun-dial, and in the middle a tree that served for the gnomon. There was a vine nailed against the back part of a chimney exposed to the mid-day sun, and yet nevertheless its grapes never would ripen, the climate being too cold, which is the case with many fruit trees that cannot live here, or at least bring their fruits to maturity. In the garden is a very fine terrace, from which is a view of this great sea-port. I was shown from the terrace the mountain of Plinlimont,9 which is in the principality of Wales, in England; the weather, it is true, was then very fine and clear. This grand college has two
p.413large courts, encompassed with lodgings; the schools are in the second, as also the church, where he showed me the tomb of a doctor who founded and endowed this university.10 He afterwards invited me to dinner, where I had great pleasure, not so much for the good cheer, as because during that time he entertained me with the account of many fine things respecting the kingdom of Ireland.
I returned him thanks, in leaving him to see the palace of the Viceroy, Monsieur the Duke of Ormont, uncle to the King, who has a fine court, and a suite altogether royal; among them are several French gentlemen.11 This Castle is at one of the ends of the town, and within its ancient walls, which at present do not contain one third of its extent. The Castle is strong, enclosed by thick walls, and by many round towers that command the whole town; on them are mounted a good number of cannon. The court is small, but the lodgings, although very ancient, are very handsome, and worthy of being the dwelling of the Viceroy. The principal gate is in a great street, called Casselstrit, that runs from one end to the other of the town; in the middle of it is an open space in which the principal streets of Dublin meet. That of Aystrit12 is fine; in it is the town-hall with a fine clock,
p.414which is before Christ Church. This great church seems to me to have been some abbey; the cloisters are converted into shops of tradesmen, and the abbey-house serves for the court in which pleadings are held. This same street passes by the open place called Fichsterit,13 which is the fish-market, that terminates at one of the ancient city gates between two great towers, where are the two prisons. Beyond this is a great suburb, which is at present both the best and largest part of Dublin. A little river runs through the largest street, called Tomstrit,14 wherein dwell several workmen of different trades for the conveniency of this rivulet, of which they make use, and that waters and cleanses all the suburb, the houses of which are fine and straight. I went to see the metropolitan church of St. Patrick, tutelar of all Ireland: it has been much damaged by thunder, and principally its high tower. There is an open spot used for the marketplace like that called the Haymarket. Here is a large covered market-house. So that Dublin, with its suburbs, is one of the greatest and best-peopled towns in Europe, and the residence of all the nobility of the kingdom of Ireland. There is a stone bridge, which joins that small part of the town called Oxmonton to the greater. On that side which lies by the water is a great quay, where are the finest palaces in Dublin. I was there shown the ancient abbey of St. Mary, formerly, after that of Armagh, the richest in the whole island; at present only the ruins of it are remaining. I lodged in this suburb, from whence I often went to walk in the great meadows by the side of the river, contemplating the country and the situation of this famous town, which seemed to me to be near high mountains on one side, and on the other adjoining to a fine country, with this advantage that it is in the middle of the island of Ireland; so that the produce of the country may be conveniently brought thither from every part, as well as what comes by sea from foreign countries, with which, by the means of its port, it may traffic.
One may go to the town of Kilkenny, which lies fifty
p.415miles from Dublin, to see the fine castle of Monsieur the Duke of Ormont, rich on every side with marble, and ornamented with many things so curious, that those who have seen it say that it surpasses many palaces of Italy. It is only ten leagues from Waterford, which is one of the good sea-ports of this kingdom, as are those of Wexford, Cork, Kinsale, Limerick and Galway, from whence sail every year many vessels, loaded with leather, butter, cheese, tallow, salt meat, and fish; as also with a kind of cloth manufactured in the country, which is very cheap, and is carried to Spain, Italy, and often to the American Islands, from whence a return is made of divers merchandises of those countries, as I have observed in several sea-ports of this kingdom, which is the richest of all Europe in things necessary for human life, but the poorest in money. This causes provisions to be so cheap, that butter and cheese are commonly sold at a penny the pound; a pound of beef, at the butchery, for eight deniers; veal and mutton a penny; a large salmon just out of the sea, threepence; a large fresh cod, twopence; a pair of soles, or quaviver, above a foot broad, a penny; an hundred herrings, threepence; so that one is served with flesh and fish in the best manner for twelvepence a day. In fine, this is the land of plenty. And, moreover, on the road, if you drink two pennyworth of beer at a public-house, they will give you of bread, meat, butter, cheese, fish, as much as you choose; and for all this you only pay your twopence for the beer, it being the custom of the kingdom, as I have experienced wherever I have been.
This island is between the degrees 51 and 56. It may be about 200 French leagues in length, and fifty in breadth. It has several large towns, great castles, and good sea-ports. They have suffered much in the last civil wars on account of religion, when they were almost all ruined, the inhabitants punished, and the rest banished from the kingdom for having resisted the will of their King, and persisted in following the Catholic religion, which was rooted in the hearts of many. These have been forbidden, upon pain of death, to return,
p.416for fear that the religion might in time revive, and little by little increase in the kingdom. In truth the Irish are naturally inclined to the Catholic religion; there are even in Dublin more than twenty houses where mass is secretly said, and above a thousand places, and subterraneous vaults and retired spots in the woods, where the peasants assemble to hear mass celebrated by some priests they secretly maintain. I consider it as a fact that one third of the Irish are Catholics, wherefore if any Catholic prince was to attempt the conquest of Ireland, I believe he would be readily seconded by the inhabitants. On this account perhaps it is that there are garrisons in all the maritime places, and the entries and ports are always guarded. There are several great lakes, and large bodies of standing water in the middle of this kingdom, all full of fish; and in some places very high mountains, such as those of Torne, Anna, [?] and those near the town of Armagh, which was formerly the capital of the kingdom, but has been ruined in the wars between the Protestants and Catholics, when it was burned, so that at present it is but a kind of deserted village. There are, however, among these mountains many great meadows, where a number of cattle are fed, for which the country seems more proper than for the growing of corn, so that many persons live on the produce of their lands, without having any intercourse with the towns; on which account it is said by many, that in Ireland there are provinces inhabited by savages.
Ireland is commonly divided into four provinces : these are, Ultonia,15 Connacie,16 Lagenie and Momonie,17 sub-divided into their counties. There is but one principal and large river in all the kingdom, which is called Shannon. Those who would go from Dublin to London must take the great road from London to Bornek,18 to St. Alban's, Dunsta,19 Brigil,20 Stanistritford,21 Daventry, Couentru,22 Colsid,23 Lechefild,24 Strone,25 Nantich,26 Chester; here is the packet-boat and ordinary passage to Dublin, which is 120 miles; so that
p.417from London to Dublin it is 270 miles, or 120 common French leagues.27 Those who go from Dublin to Edinburgh, the capital of the kingdom of Scotland, must take the way I did, along the soft-coasts by several little ports, where one may often meet with a passage for Scotland; although they say the packet-boat, which is the ordinary one, goes from Portpatrick, that consists of five or six houses near Olderflet,28 six miles from Knock Fergus Carrickfergus, and arrives at Donocady Donaghadee, crossing an arm of the sea about fifteen miles broad. From thence one may go straight to Edinburgh, without going through the town of Glasco. This is the shortest way from Dublin, the capital of Ireland, to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, being 200 miles, or 100 common leagues of France.
I left Dublin in my way to Scotland, and on my route passed through an agreeable country, having a view of the sea-coast and the towns of Sandré and Souldres,29 where is a ruined castle. On the way we saw several of these small castles, all ruined in the last wars. I found afterwards some meadows, and many herds of oxen, cows and calves, which are not naturally large, the climate of this country being too cold, but when transported into a warmer country they become large and robust. From thence the road lies by Ardof,30 and a castle near Bardelet.31 In the inland parts of Ireland they speak a particular language, but in the greatest part of the towns and villages on the sea coast only English is spoken. At length I arrived at