Imágenes de páginas

was more loved, the other more respected. Perhaps very struction would satisfy him. Dancing! Why, it was the least few things in humble life could be so amusing to a speculative part of what he taugật or professed to teach. mind, or at the same time capable of affording a better lesson In the first place, he undertook to teach every one of us to human pride, than the almost miraculous skill with which for I had the honour of being his pupil_how to enter a drawthe dancing-master contrived, when travelling, to carry his ing-room " in the most fashionable manner alive," as he said fiddle about him, so as that it might not be seen, and he him himself. self mistaken for nothing but a fiddler. This was the sorest Secondly. He was the only man, he said, who could in the blow his vanity could receive, and a source of endless vexa- most agreeable and polite style taich a gintleman how to sation to all his tribe. Our manners, however, are changed, lute, or, as he termed it, how to shiloote, a leedy. This he and neither the fiddler nor the dancing-master possesses the taught, he said, wid great success. fine mellow tints nor that depth of colouring which formerly Thirdly. He could

taich every leedy and gintleman how to brought them and their rich household associations home at make the most beautiful bow or curchy on airth, by only imionce to the heart.

tating himself-one that would cause a thousand people, if One of the most amusing specimens of the dancing-master they were all present, to think that it was particularly inthat I ever met, was the person alluded to at the close of my tended only for aich o' themselves ! paper on the Irish Fiddler, under the nickname of Buckram- Fourthly. He taught the whole art o' courtship wid all peBack. This man had been a drummer in the army for some liteness and success, accordin' as it was practised in Paris time, where he had learned to play the fiddle; but it appears durin' the last saison. that he possessed no relish whatever for a military life, as Fifthly. He could taich thim how to write love-letthers and his abandonment of it without even the usual forms of a dis- valentines, accordin' to the Great Macademy of compliments, charge or furlough, together with a back that had become which was supposed to be invinted by Bonaparte when he was cartilaginous from frequent flogging, could abundantly testify writing love-letthers to both his wives. It was from the latter circumstance that he had received his Sixthly. He was the only person who could taich the famous nick name.

dance called Sir Roger de Coverley, or the Helter-Skelter Buckram-Back was a dapper light little fellow, with a rich Drag, which comprehinded widin itself all the advantages and Tipperary brogue, crossed by a lofty strain of illegitimate beauties of his whole system-in which every gintleman was at English, which he picked up whilst in the army. His habili- liberty to pull every leedy where he plaised, and every leedy ments sat as tight upon him as he could readily wear them, was at liberty to go wherever he pulled her. and were all of the shabby-genteel class. His crimped black With such advantages in prospect, and a method of instruccoat was a closely worn second-hand, and his crimped face tion so agreeable, it is not to be wondered at that his estabquite as much of a second-hand as the coat. I think I see his lishment was always in a most flourishing condition. The little pumps, little white stockings, his coaxed drab breeches, truth is, he had it so contrived that every gentleman should his hat, smart in its cock but brushed to a polish and standing salute his lady as often as possible, and for this purpose acupon three hairs, together with his tight questionably coloured tually invented dances, in which not only should every gentlegloves, all before me. Certainly he was the jauntiest little man salute every lady, but every lady, by way of returning cock living-quite a blood, ready to fight any man, and a great the compliment, should render a similar kindness to every defender of the fair sex, whom he never addressed except in gentleman. Nor had his male pupils all this prodigality of that highflown bombastic style so agreeable to most of them, salutation to themselves, for the amorous little rascal always called by their flatterers the complimentary, and by their commenced first and ended last, in order, he said, that they friends the fulsome. He was in fact a public man, and up to might cotch the manner from himself. “I do this, leedies and every thing. You met him at every fair, where he only had gintlemen, as your moral (model), and because it's part o' my time to give you a wink as he passed, being just then engaged system-ahem?" in a very particular affair ; but he would tell you again. At And then he would perk up his little hard face, that was too cockfights he was a very busy personage, and an angry better barren to produce more than an abortive smile, and twirl like from ħalf-a-crown downwards. At races he was a knowing a wagtail over the floor, in a manner that he thought irresistible. fellow, always shook hands with the winning jockey, and then Whether Buckram-Back was the only man who tried to reduce looked pompously about, that folks might see that he was kissing to a system of education in this country, I do not know. hand and glove with those who knew something.

It is certainly true that many others of his stamp made a knowThe house where Buckram-Back kept his school, which ledge of the arts and modes of courtship, like him, a part of was open only after the hours of labour, was an uninhabited the course. The forms of love-letters, valentines, &c. were cabin, the roof of which, at a particular spot, was supported taught their pupils of both sexes, with many other polite parby a post that stood upright from the floor. It was built ticulars, which it is to be hoped have disappeared for ever. upon an elevated situation, and commanded a fine view One thing, however, to the honour of our countrywomen we of the whole country for miles about it. A pleasant sight it are bound to observe, which is, that we do not remember a was to see the modest and pretty girls, dressed in their best single result incompatible with virtue to follow from the little frocks and ribbons, radiating in little groups from all direc- fellow's system, which by the way was in this respect peculiar tions, accompanied by their partners or lovers, making way only to himself, and not the general custom of the country. through the fragrant summer fields of a calm cloudless even- Several weddings, unquestionably, we had more than might ing, to this happy scene of innocent amusement.

otherwise have taken place, but in not one instance have we And yet what an epitome of general life, with its passions, known any case in which a female was brought to unhappiness jealousies, plots, calumnies, and contentions, did this little or shame. segment of society present! There was the shrew, the slat- We shall now give a brief sketch of Buckram-Back's man. tern, the coquette, and the prude, as sharply marked within ner of tuition, begging our readers at the same time to rest this their humble sphere, as if they appeared on the world's assured that any sketch we could give would fall far short of wider stage, with half its wealth and all its temptations to the original. draw forth their prevailing foibles. There, too, was the bully, “ Paddy Corcoran, walk out an' inther your drawin'-room;" the rake, the liar, the coxcomb, and the coward, each as per- an' let Miss Judy Hanratty go out along wid you, an' come in fect and distinct in his kind as if he had run through a as Mrs Corcoran." lengthened course of fashionable dissipation, or spent a for- Faith, I'm afeard, masther, I'll make a bad hand of it; tune in acquiring his particular character. The elements of but, sure, it's something to have Judy here to keep me in the human heart, however, and the passions that make up the countenance." general business of life, are the same in igh and low, and “ Is that by way of compliment, Paddy? Mr Corcoran, exist with impulses as strong in the cabin as they have in the you should ever an' always spaik to a leedy in an alyblasther palace. The only difference is, that they have not equal room tone; for that's the cut.” [Paddy and Judy retire. to play.

“ Mickey Scanlan, come up here, now that we're braithin' a Buckram-Back's system, in originality of design, in co- little; an' you, Miss Grauna Mulbolland, come up along wid mic conception of decorum, and in the easy practical assu. him. Miss Mulholland, you are masther of your five positions rance with which he wrought it out, was never equalled, much and your fifteen attitudes, I believe?" "Yes, sir.". "Very well, less surpassed. Had the impudent little rascal confined him- Miss. Mickey Scanlan-ahem !_Misther Scanlan, can you self to dancing as usually taught, there would have been no- perfome the positions also, Mickey?" thing so ludicrous or uncommon in it; but no: he was such a “ Yes, sir; but you remimber I stuck at the eleventh stickler for example in every thing, that no other mode of in- altitude.”





[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


I say;"

“Attitude, sir—no matther. Well, Misther Scanlan, do and scurrility proportioned to the space between them. Buckyou know how to shiloote a leedy, Mickey?"

ram-Back had a rival of this description, who was a sore thorn “ Faix, it's hard to say, sir, till we thry; but I'm very in his side. His name was Paddy Fitzpatrick, and from har. willin' to larn it. I'll do my best, an' the best can do no more. ing been a horse-jockey, he gave up the turf, and took to the

Very well-ahem! Now merk me, Misther Scanlan; you calling of a dancing master. Buckram-Back sent a message approach your leedy in this style, bowin' politely, as I do. to him to the effect that if he could not dance Jig Polthogue Miss Mulholland, will you allow me the honour of a heavenly on the drum-head, he had better hould his tongue for ever.' shiloote? Don't bow, ma'am; you are to curchy, you know; To this Paddy replied, by asking if he was the man to dance a little lower eef you plaise. Now you say, ' Wid the greatest the Connaught Jockey upon the saddle of a blood-horse, and pleasure in life, sir, an' many thanks for the feevour.' (Smack.) the animal at a three-quarter gallop: There, now, you are to make another curchy politely, an' say, At length the friends on each side, from a natural love of • Thank

you, kind sir, I owe you one.' Now, Misther Scanlan, fun, prevailed upon them to decide their claims as follows :proceed.

Each master, with twelve of his pupils, was to dance against " I'm to imitate you, masther, as well as I can, sir, I his rival with twelve of his ; the match to come off on the top believe ?"

of Mallybeny Hill, which commanded a view of the whole “Yes, sir, you are to imiteet me. But hould, sir ; did you parish. I have already mentioned that in Buckram-Back's see me lick my lips or pull up my breeches ? Be gorra, that's school there stood near the middle of the floor a post, which shockin' unswintemintal. First make a curchy, a bow I mane, to according to some new manæuvre of his own was very conMiss Grauna. Stop agin, sir; are you goin' to sthrangle the venient as a guide to the dancers when going through the leedy? Why, one would think that it's about to teek laive figure. Now, at the spot where this post stood it was neof her for ever you are. Gently, Misther Scanlan ; gently, cessary to make a curve, in order to form part of the figure Mickey. There:-well, that's an improvement. Practice, of eight, which they were to follow; but as many of them Misther Scanlan, practice will do all, Mickey; but don't smack were rather impenetrable to a due conception of the line of so loud, though. Hilloo, gintlemen! where's our drawin'-room beauty, he forced them to turn round the post rather than folk ? Go out, one of you, for Misther an' Mrs Paddy Cor- make an acute angle of it, which several of them did. Har. coran."

ing premised thus much, we proceed with our narrative. Corcoran's face now appears peeping in at the door, lit up At length they met, and it would have been a matter of much with a comic expression of genuine fun, from whatever cause difficulty to determine their relative merits, each was such an it may have proceeded.

admirable match for the other. When Buckram-Back's pupils, Aisy, Misther Corcoran; an' where's Mrs Corcoran, sir ?” however, came to perform, they found that the absence of the Are we both to come in together, masther ?"

post was their ruin. To the post they had been trained_acCertainly. Turn out both your toeses-turn them out, customed ;—with it they could dance ; but wanting that, they

were like so many ships at sea without rudders or compasses. “ Faix, sir, it's aisier said than done wid some of us." Of course a scene of ludicrous confusion ensued, which turned

“I know that, Misther Corcoran ; but practice is every the laugh against poor Buckram-Back, who stood likely to thing... The bow legs are strongly against you, I grant. Hut explode with shame and venom. In fact he was in an agony. tut, Misther Corcoran—why, if your toes wor where your heels * Gintlemen, turn the post!” he shouted, stamping upon the is, you'd be exactly in the first position, Paddy. Well, both ground, and clenching his little hands with fury;"leedies, of you turn out your toeses ; look street forward; clap your remimber the post! Oh, for the honour of Kilnahushogue caubeen-hem !--your castor undher your ome (arm), an' walk don't be bate. The post ! gintlemen; leedies, the post if into the middle of the flure, wid your head up. Stop, take care you love me! Murdher alive, the post !" o'the post. Now, take your caubeen, castor I mane, in your “Be gorra, masther, the jockey will distance us," replied right hand; give it a flourish. : Aisy, Mrs Hanratty-Cor. Bob Magawly ; " it's likely to be the winnin'.post to him coran I mane--it's not you that's to flourish. Well, Aourish anyhow.' your castor, Paddy, and thin make a graceful bow to the * Any money," shouted the little fellow, “

any money for company. Leedies and gintlemen"

long Şam Sallaghan; he'd do the post to the life. Mind it, “Leedies and gintlemen"

boys dear, mind it or we're lost. Divil a bit they heed me;

it's “ I'm your most obadient sarvint”

a flock o' bees or sheep they're like. Sam Sallaghan, where I'm your most obadient sarwint."

are you? The post, you blackguards !". “ Tută, man alive! that's not a bow. Look at this : there's “Oh, masther dear, if we had even a fishin'-rod, or a crowa bow for you. Why, instead of meeking a bow, you appear bar, or a poker, we might do yet. But, anyhow, we had better as if you wor goin' to sit down wid an embargo (lumbago) in give in, for it's only worse we're gettin'." your back. Well, practice is every thing; an' there's luck in At this stage of the proceedings Paddy came over to him, leisure."

and making a low bow, asked him, “ Arra, how do you feel, “ Dick Doorish, will you come up, and thry if you can meek Misther Dogherty?" for such was Buckram-Back's name. any thing of that threblin' step. You're a purty lad, Dick ; Sir," replied Buckram-Back, bowing low, however, in reyou're a purty land, Misther Doorish, wid a pair o' left legs an turn, “I'll take the shine out o' you yet. Can you shiloote & you, to expect to larn to dance ; but don't despeer, man alive. leedy wid me ?-that's the chat ! Come, gintlemen, show them I'm not afeard but I'll meek a graceful slip o' you yet.

Can what's betther than fifty posts—shiloote your partners like you meek a curchy?”.

Irishmen. Kilnahushogue for ever!" “ Not right, sir, I doubt.”.

The scene that ensued baffles all description. The fact is, Well, sir, I know that; but, Misther Doorish, you ought the little fellow had them trained as it were to kiss in plato know how to meek both a bow and a curchy. Whin you toons, and the spectators were literally convulsed with laughmarry a wife, Misther Doorish, it mightn't come wrong for you ter at this most novel and ludicrous character which Buckramto know how to taich her a curchy. Have you the gad and sug. Back gave to his defeat, and the ceremony which be introgaun wid you ?" “ Yes, sir.” “Very well, on wid them; the duced. The truth is, he turned the laugh completely against suggaun on the right foot, or what ought to be the right foot, his rival, and swaggered off the ground in high spirits, ex. an' the gad upon what ought to be the left. Are you ready?" claiming, “ He know how to shiloote a leedy! Why, the poor

• Yos, sir.” Come, thin, do as I bid you—Rise upon sug- spalpeen never kissed any woman but his mother, au’her only gaun an' sink upon gad; rise upon suggaun an' sink upon when she was dyin'. Hurra for Kilnabushogue !". gad; rise upon

Hould, sir; you're sinkin' upon suggaun Such, reader, is a slight and very imperfect sketch of an an' risin' upon gad, the very thing you ought not to do. But, Irish dancing-master, which if it possesses any merit at all, is God help you ! sure you're left-legged ! Ah, Misther Doorish, to be ascribed to the circumstance that it is drawn from life, it 'ud be long time before you'd be able to dance Jig Polthogue and combines, however faintly, most of the points essential to or the College Hornpipe upon a drum-head, as I often did. our conception of the character. However, don't despeer, Misther Doorish—if I could only get you to know your right leg-but, God help you! sure you hav’nt sich a thing from your left, r'd make something of you

Printed and Published every Saturday by Gunn and CAMERON, at the Office

of the General Advertiser, No. 6. Church Lane, College Green, Dublin.yet, Dick."

Agents :-R. GROOMBRIDGB, Panyer Alley, Paternoster Row, London ; The Irish dancing-masters were eternally at daggers-drawn SIMMs and DINHAM, Exchange Street, Manchester ; C. DAFIES, North among themselves; but as they seldom met, they were forced to

John Street, Liverpool ; J. DRAKE, Birmingham; M. BINGHAM, Broad

Street, Bristol ; Fraser and CRAWFORD, George Street, Edinburgh; abuse each other at a distance, which they did with a virulence and David ROBERTSON, Trongate, Glasgow,

[ocr errors]




[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]


The mighty Shannon-the monarch of island rivers—in all | tioned by this name in the following record in the Annals of its mazy wanderings almost from one extremity of Ireland to the Four Masters at the year 1156 :the other, presents upon its green and diversified banks but ." There occurred a great fall of snow and a frost in the few features of greater natural beauty or historic interest than winter of this year, so that the lakes and rivers of Ireland the point called Rinn-duin—a peninsula which stretches into were frozen over. The frost was so great that Roderick that great expansion of its waters called Lough Ree, between O'Conor was enabled to have his ships and boats carried on the counties of Roscommon, Westmeath, and Longford. This the ice from Blein Gaille on the Shannon (at Lough Ree) to peninsula, which is situated upon the Roscommon shore of the RINN-DUIN.” lake, about eight miles to the north of Athlone, is nearly a Of the earlier history of this fort, however, which was doubt. mile in length, and, at its widest part, a quarter of a mile in less but an earthen one, no accounts are preserved, though breadth ; but it narrows gradually towards its extremity, it may be safely conjectured that it was seized on and used as and the lake nearly insulates a moiety of it at its centre. Its a stronghold by the Danish King Turgesius in the ninth cendirection being southerly, the eastern side faces the expanse tury, as it appears certain from our annals that he had a of the lake, and commands an extensive prospect of its islands strong fastness and harbour for his ships upon Lough Ree. and the opposite shores, while its western side, facing the But, be this as it may, we learn from another record in the land, forms a beautiful bay, fringed with green sloping de- Annals above quoted, that Rinn-duin was used as a fastness clivities.

by the first Anglo-Norman invaders of Ireland as early as the A spot so circumstanced must have struck the early inha- close of the twelfth century, when they were forced to seek bitants of the country as a sort of natural fortress, which safety in it after a defeat which they had sustained in a battle could be easily strengthened by art; and that it was so with Cathal Carrach O'Conor, the son of Roderick and King strengthened and used as a fortress in the remotest historic of Connaught. The passage is as follows:times, may be inferred from its most ancient Celtic name “ A. D. 1199. John de Couroy, at the head of the English Rinn-duin, the point of the Dun or Fort, by which it is still of the North, and the son of Hugh de Lacy, at the head of known in the Irish language, though commonly anglicised the English of Meath, marched to Kilmacduach to aid Cathal Randown, and more generally called St John's. It is men- the Red-handed O'Conor. Cathal Carrach, at the head of


the Connacians, gave them battle. The English of Ulidia tle of Rinn-duin, as thus stated in the Annals of the Four Masand Meath were defeated with such slaughter, that of their ters:five battalions only two survived, and these were pursued “A. D. 1256. A lord justice arrived in Ireland from Eng. from the field of battle to RINN-Duin on Lough Ree, in which land, and he and Hugh O'Conor (the son of Felim) held a place John was hemmed in. Many of his English were killed conference at RINN-DUIN, when a peace was established beand others drowned, for they had no mode of effecting their tween them, on condition that while the lord justice should escape but by crossing the lake in boats."

retain his office, no part of the province of Connaught should It was not, however, long after this event till the English, be taken from O'Conor." taking advantage of the civil wars which raged in Connaught By the death of Felim, however, the house of O'Conor between the sons of Roderick and the sons of Cathal the Red- received a blow which it never thoroughly recovered ; for, handed, got the peninsula of Rinn-duin into their own hands, though his son Hugh, who succeeded him in the government, and, fortifying it in their own more skilful manner, erected inherited to the full extent his father's energy and valour, if the noble castle, the ruins of which still remain, and form the not his prudence, he was less successful in his enterprises, and subject of our prefixed illustration. The erection of this cas- his death in 1274 gave additional strength to the English tle is thus recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters :- interest in Connaught. From a record in the Annals of the

“A.D. 1227. Hugh, the son of Roderick O'Conor, and Four Masters it appears that the Castle of Rinn-duin was in William de Burgo, marched with a great army to the north the possession of the English settlers some years before his of Connaught, burned Inis Meadhoin, plundered the country death, for it is stated at the year 1270 that as they passed along, and took hostages. Geoffry Mares (or “ The castle of Ath-Angaile, the castle of Sliabh-Lugha, de Marisco), and Turlogh, the son of Roderick O'Conor, and the castle of Cill Calman, were demolished by O'Conor; marched with an army into Magh Aoi (county of Roscom- Roscommon, RINN-DUIN, and Uillin-Uanach, were also burned mon), erected a castle at RINN-DUIN, and took the hostages by him.". of Siol-Muireadhaigh.”

From this period forward the Castle of Rinn-duin appears to It was at this period also that the lower portion of the pen- have been permanently garrisoned by the English, and its hisinsula was artificially insulated as an additional protection to tory can be traced only in the English records. In the great the castle, hy a broad ditch, still to be seen, though no longer roll of the pipe, 1 Edward I. (1273), among the disbursements filled with water, and which is connected with a beautiful of John de Saundford of the escheats and wards of the Lord little harbour for boats, called Safe Harbour, immediately the King, it is stated that £12 18s was paid to Geoffry de beneath the castle.

Geneville, chief justice of Ireland, for the re-edification and But though, as we have shown, the peninsula of Rinn-duin repairs of the Castle of Rendon ; and also that 45 shillings was thus fortified by the English, it was not till the power of were paid to Master Rico le Charpentier (or the carpenter) the O'Conors was still more broken by their own divisions, for 40 stone and 5 pounds of steel for the construction of a that the former were able to keep permanent possession of it. certain mill at the same place. Again, in the account of the From a subsequent record in the Annals of the Four Masters, expenses of the same Geoffry de Geneville, from Wednesday we find it shortly after in the possession of Turlogh O'Conor, next after the Assumption of the Virgin, anno 1 Edward I., the son of Roderick, who had been set up by the English in to Michaelmas, 2 Edward I. (1273 to 1274), the following opposition to his cousin and rival Felim, the son of Cathal item occurs :the Red-handed, and by whom he was ultimately slain. This

“ For the Castle of Rendon, to pay for the record gives a curious picture of the mode of warfare of the

garrison and other necessaries......... £439 0 31" time, and is worth presenting to our readers in full :

“ A.D. 1236. Felim, the son of Cathal the Bed-handed, So in the account of Robert de Ufford, chief justice of Irereturned to Connaught after his banishment, being

invited land, of all receipts, expenses, &c, delivered by Ådam de Wet. thither by some of the Connacians, namely, by O'Kelly, tenhall into the Exchequer, from Christmas to Michaelmas, O'Flynn, the son of Hugh, who was son of Cathal the Red 4 Edward I. (1276), among the items are allowances for handed O'Conor, and the son of Art O’Melaghlin, all forming tion of a mill, and other works of a new construction, the

supplies of victuals for the garrison of Ren-duin, the construcfour equally strong battalions. They marched to RINN-DUIN, where Brian, the son of Turlogh (Ở Conor), Owen O'Heyne, repairing of a fosse there, &c. Again, in the accounts for the Conor Boy, the son of Turlogh, and Mac Costelloe, had following year, 1277, the following item occurs :all the cows of the country; and Felim's people got over

To Richard de Marisco, for works in the the enclosures of the Island; and the leaders and sublead- fosse and castle of Rendon................. £7 10 0" ers of the army drove off each a proportionate number of And in the pipe roll of the 8th Edward I. there are similar the cows, as they found them on the way before them; and accounts of disbursements for repairs to this fortress. they then dispersed, carrying off their booty in different di- These notices are perhaps of little general interest, but rections, and leaving only, of the four battalions, four horse- they afford conclusive evidences of the ancient importance of men with Felim. As Brian, the son of Turlogh, Owen this fastness, and the value set upon its possession as necesO'Heyne, and their troops, perceived that Felim's army was sary to the support of the English interests in Connaught. scattered, they set out quickly and vigorously with a small The same records preserve the names of three of its constaparty of horse, and many foot soldiers, to attack Felim and bles, viz :his few horsemen. Conor Boy, the son of Turlogh, came up Walter le Enfant was constable in 1285-87. with the son of Hugh, who was the son of Cathal the Red- Richard Fitz-Simon Fitz-Richar was constable, with the handed, and with his party; and mistaking them for his own annual fee of £40, in 1326. people, he fell by Roderick, the son of Hugh, who was the son John de Funtayns was constable, with the same fee, in 1334. of Cathal the Red-handed. Felim (the king) strained his It appears that during the reigns of the first three Edwards, voice calling loudly after his army, and ordering them to re- Rinn-duin became the seat of a town of some importance; and turn to oppose their enemies. Many of the host were killed it was also the seat of a parish church and two monastic estaby Felim upon the island; and outside the island were slain blishments, of which one was a priory for Knights Hospital. many bad subjects, and perpetrators of evil, as they all were, lers, or for Cross-bearers, which, according to Ware, was said excepting only Teige, son of Cormac, who was son of Tomal- to have been founded in the reign of King John, and, as some tagh M.Dermott.”

writers say, by his express command. Be this, however, as Our records are too scanty to enable us to trace the history it may, Philip de Angulo, or Costelloe, was a great benefacof this castle and its various possessors with any clearness or tor to it in the reign of Henry III., if not actually, as it is consecutive order. It may, however, be inferred from the probable, its founder. subsequent annals that it fell into the hands of Felim O'Conor From the Annals of the Four Masters we learn that the ceafter the attack above stated, and also that he kept posses- lebrated Irish historian and topographer John More O'Dugan sion of it till his death in 1264. During this period, though died, “ among the monks of John the Baptist,” in this monasharassed by the De Burgos or Burkes, and still more by factious tery in 1372. He was the hereditary antiquary of Hy Maine, rivals of his own race, he usually preserved at least the sem- or "O'Kelly's country, and author of the topographical and blance of peace with the English monarch, and had more than historical poem reciting the names of the principal tribes and once his hereditary patrimony of five cantreds of land in Ros- districts in Meath, Ulster, and Connaught, with the names of common secured to him by royal charters. Upon one of those the chiefs who presided over them at the close of the twelfth occasions the scene of conference between the representatives century, as well as of several other works of great value which of the British monarch and the Connaught king was the Case I have descended to our times..

[ocr errors]

In 1305, the Prior of this abbey sued Odo, the Prior of unequal intervals of from sixty to ninety yards, advanced Athlone, for the advowson of the vicarage of the church of about thirteen feet beyond the line of the walls, and being in Randowne.--Rol. P. B. T. No. 52.

breadth about fifteen feet : in the interior the dimensions are The other abbey is said to have been founded under the about eight feet six inches. These towers doubtless afforded invocation of the Holy Trinity for Præmonstre Canons, by stations for the archers, and also facilitated the access to the Clarus Mac Moylin O'Maolchonry, Archdeacon of Elphin, parapet and banquette of the wall. Whether there ever had about the year 1215.

been a fosse on the outer side, I am unable to say; the pro Of all these structures, as well military as religious and bability is, that there was ; but if so, the ground has been domestic, there only remain at present deserted and time- levelled, and the rank luxuriance of vegetation has obliterated worn ruins, but these ruins are of great interest, and speak its lines. The building of the wall, however, appears in many most eloquently of the past. The most important feature parts to have been hastily executed, and cement to have been amongst them is the castle, which occupies a rocky eminence, sparingly used, yet it still remains a most interesting monurising abruptly from the water on the shore of the small inlet ment of the military works of past ages.". called Safe Harbour, in which it may be presumed that the Of the ecclesiastical edifices of Rinn-duin, but small remains armed vessels employed upon Lough Ree found security un exist, and as their names are lost to tradition, it is difficult der the walls of the fortress. This castle is well described now to identify them with certainty. The principal ruin, by Mr Weld, in his excellent Survey of Roscommon, as being which is situated near the draw-bridge over the great fosse, built nearly in the form of the letter P, the tail of the letter on the land side, is most probably the church erected in the being short in proportion, and occupied by a spacious apart- commencement of the thirteenth century, and dedicated to ment for banqueting or assembly. In the head of the letter, the Holy Trinity. Neither windows nor doorways exist to next the upright stem, is placed the keep, a lofty, massive, and give any idea of its style, but its walls are in sufficient preserbefore the use of artillery, impregnable structure: it has a vation to show the form and dimensions of the building. Like court before it to the east, which was defended along the most important Irish churches it consists of a nave and choir ; curve by a strong wall, with banquette and parapet, and the nave is sixty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, the ditches of great depth, on the outer side. The line repre- choir thirty-three feet long and eighteen wide. This church, it sented by the stem of the letter, stretching in a direction may be presumed, stood in a conspicuous part of the town; but across the point, is in length above two hundred and forty noť a vestige now remains of any other edifice, either ecclesifeet, and is protected at its base by that great artificial fosse astical or domestic, between the castle and the fortified wall which insulated this lower portion of the peninsula and the across the isthmus. The rude remains of the other ecclesiasti. castle as already stated, but which is now nearly dry, the cal buildings are situated on the outer side of the fortified wall, level having been altered by the rubbish which has fallen into and are connected with a burial-ground still much used; but it from the ruins. Nearly in the centre of this line appear the there is nothing in these remains worthy of particular notice. remains of abutments, both on the castle and outer side of the A desire to supply, as far as in our power, a chasm in our fosse, marking the site of the draw-bridge, and opposite to a local histories, has induced us to extend our notice of the resmall gateway in the castle wall.“ The keep," Mr Weld mains of Rinn-duin to a greater length than that usually observes, as beheld both on the land side and from the lake, allotted to our topographical papers, the history of these represents a very imposing mass, its outer walls being entire, mains having been hitherto involved in great darkness. Dr and its great tower rising to a very considerable elevation: Ledwich, in his account of the castle, written for Grose's Anbut the edifice on the land side appears almost shapeless, tiquities of Ireland, briefly states that there are no memorials owing to the extraordinary luxuriance of the ivy with which it of its structure! And even Mr Weld, the latest writer who is overrun, originating from two vast flatted stems which spring has described this locality, remarks, that was to its past hisup over the base of the walls, just over the long fosse. I had tory, it is involved in a mysterious and perhaps now impethe curiosity to measure them, and found the one to be four netrable obscurity." By the publication, for the first time, of feet six inches, and the other seven feet five inches broad, much matter hitherto locked up in manuscript records, we presenting, though with many sinuosities, an undivided face have, as we trust, thrown no small additional light on the of bark, from side to side, and still growing with great vigour. history of these interesting remains ; and we have only to add,

; I cannot call to recollection having seen a more vast and that for the documents which we have used, we are in part inuninterrupted mass of ivy foliage.

debted to the kindness of Sir W. Betham, and still more to that The great tower is about fifty feet broad next the fosse : of our friend Mr O'Donovan, who has allowed us the use of in the upper story, traces of windows appear through the ivy, his translation of the unpublished Annals of the Four Masters. and of small watch-towers at the angles. Like the other great

P. castles of the country, it was evidently destroyed by violence; and nothing short of the powerful effects of gunpowder could have cast down the prodigious fragments of masonry

A VENETIAN DIDDLER. which stand insulated in the inner court. The view of the When in Venice, I had but two zecchinos left wherewith to castle is extremely pleasing from the water, and more particu- fight my way through this wicked world. My spirits for the larly so, when the sheltered harbour beneath its walls receives first time deserted me: I never passed so miserable a night in a little fleet of the beautiful sailing pleasure-boats which are my life, and in shame of my "doublet and hose,” . I felt very used upon this lake, the gaiety of whose ensigns and painted much inclined to " cry like a child.” While tossing on my sides forms a remarkable contrast to the sombre tints of the pillow, however, I chanced to recollect a letter which my ancient ivied walls, and the grey rocks on which they repose.' landlord of Bologna, Signor Passerini, had given me to a

A short distance to the east of the castle, the remains of a friend of his, a Signor Andrioli ; for, as he told me, he thought round watch-tower, as it would appear to be, crown the sum- the introduction might be of use to me. mit of a promontory which is the highest point of the peninsula. In the morning I went to the Rialto coffee-house, to which Its diameter within is about fourteen feet, and the walls are I was directed by the address of the letter. Here I found the four feet thick. The entrance and the window opposite to it gentleman who was the object of my search. After reading face the water, and command most pleasing views up 'and my credentials very graciously, he smiled, and requested me down the lake. The window, surmounted by a flat rounded to take a turn with him in the Piazza St Marc. He was a arch, about seven feet in height, is more spacious than such as fine-looking man, of about sixty years of age.

I remarked are usually seen in a building of this kind, and affords ample there was an aristocratic manner about him, and he wore a light to the chamber. The ground between this promontory very large tie-wig, well powdered, with an immensely long and the eminence occupied by the castle is low and marshy, tail. He addressed me with a benevolent and patronizing air, and water probably once flowed over it.

and told me that he should be delighted to be of service to In addition to the fosse already described, the castle, and me, and bade me from that moment consider myself under his indeed the whole peninsula, was further protected by a great protection.

“ A little business,” said he, “calls me away at wall which crossed from one side to the other. According this moment, but if you will meet me here at two o'clock, we to Mr Weld's measurements, this wall is 564 yards in length will adjourn to my cassino, where, if you can dine on one from water to water, its distance from the castle-fosse being dish, you will perhaps do me the favour to partake of a boiled 700 yards. “ Nearly in the middle of it is an arched gate- capon and rice. I can only offer you that; perhaps a rice way, with its defences still tolerably entire, twenty-four feet soup, for which my cook is famous ; and it may be just one deep, and presenting a front of twenty-one feet : between this or two little things not worth mentioning." gate and the water at either side there are square towers, at A boiled capon-rice soup-other little things, thought I

« AnteriorContinuar »