Page images
PDF
EPUB

lumba placed as abbot over the monastery of Easmac-neirc, as hereinafter mentioned), Laundry (“ the bright lake”), Behy (" lake of birches”), Lough Keel (“ the lonely lake”), and Lough-na-Seer (" lake of the artists”), in the parish of Ardcarne ; Shan-bally-bawn (“ lake of the old white town"), and Drumdoe (" lake of the ridgy black banks”), in Tumna parish; Cavetown, Clogher (“ of the stony land”), and Treenamarley (" field of rich clay'), in Estersnow; and Canbo (“ the cow's head"), Corbally (“ crane's town”), Lisdaly (“ Daly's fort”), and Ballinvilla, in the parish of Killumod.

Larger lakes, than any of those enclosed within the barony, adjoin and bound it, and are partly for civil

purposes accounted within it; such are Lough Allen, Lough Gara, and Lough Arrow, which, therefore, demand some notice here. Lough Allen is the first great expanse of the River Shannon, if indeed this beautiful sheet of water should be classed in such a dependency. It is certainly the first reservoir, into which that river throws itself; but it also receives from the mountains various tributary streams, that, in flood time, bring down in their aggregate probably as much water as the Shannon itself. It is upwards of thirty miles in circumference, extending about eight in length, while its average breadth is somewhat more than two. In many places unfathomably deep, it is subject to frequent boisterous agitations, the summer level above the sea being estimated as 159 feet, the winter as

163. It may be said to be bounded on each side by mountains, steep, but not precipitous, several parts of their bases affording slopes with tolerable soil. On its north-eastern shore rises the noble eminence of Slieve-an-Iaran (the hill of iron), while on its south-western, within this barony, are, near Mount Allen, some plantations that pleasingly diversify the landscape. Within this sheet of water are Drumman's island, Corry island, that of Inse, where are the ruins ofa church, whose grave-yard has been long a popular burial place; and another, situated near the exit of the Shannon, called O'Reilly's island. This fine sheet (which derives its epithet “ Allen,” from the clearness of its water, a name, for the same reason, given to several rivers of England, Scotland, and Wales), is yet untracked by any species of commerce. -Lough Gara, at low water, is 222 feet above the level of the sea, and covers nearly 5000 acres of present statute measure, being indented on its eastern side in numerous deep and narrow bays, between which there are corresponding long promontories, consisting of ridges of limestone. The vast head of water, which it affords at so considerable an elevation, would be a noble supply for a canal, if it were ever deemed expedient to cut one through this part of the country. The islands of this lake are, Inchmore, Derrymore, and Inchnageera, with two small, called Crow and Eagle islands. The Gillaroo, or Gizard trout, is said to be caught in this water, and its eels are accounted remarkably fine; while it is not to be forgotten, that one of those ancient causeways, which are yet traceable in Ireland, is said to be discoverable, stretching across this lake, and constructed, according to tradition, by a Lord of MoyGara, to afford facility of intercourse with the opposite shore, when precluded through Moylurg.—Lough Arrow (“the straight lake”), a small portion of which is accounted in the parish of Kill-bryan, is, at low water, 181 feet above the level of the sea. It is about eight miles in length, of a very irregular form, but in all its varieties picturesque and full of islands, the chief of which are, Innismore, Innisbeg, and Annaghgowla. The charms of this water are much enhanced by the fine mountain plantations of Corrig-a-horna, and the scenic attractions of Hollybrook, the seat of Mr. Ffolliot, one of the present representatives for the county Sligo. This place is beautifully situated between the mountain and the lake, and on the opposite shore is Kingsborough, from which the nephew of Viscount Lorton derives a title of the same rank. Lough Arrow, it is to be remarked, affords in April and May, by far the best trout fishing in this vicinity.

The only extensive bog in the barony of Boyle was on the Coote-hall estate, large portions of which have been in latter years reclaimed. Many minor patches may be still found within this barony, to which cultivation has not yet been thoroughly extended, as on the western bank of the Shannon south of Lough Allen, also between Kilronan Castle and Crossna, in the circuit of Ballyfermoyle, and in the low grounds about Lough Ke; but these parcels likewise are all now in a state of progressive improvement.

Three rivers wander through the barony, the Boyle, the Arigna, and the Feorish, each merging in one common goal, the Shannon; but respectively distinguishable in their courses by peculiar attributes; the first, by the exceeding beauty of the scenery through which it passes; the second, by the wildness of its banks and ravines, and the wintry violence of its career; and the third, by its sequestered haunts and peaceful current. The river of Boyle, sometimes called the Gara river, as taking its source from that noble reservoir, discharges the superfluous waters of Lough Gara with a rapid descent of current, especially when swollen by floods; running beside Tevannagh, the Druid altar of Ballynamultagh, the gentle promontory and weir of Tinnecarra, the ravine and overhanging cemetery of old Isselyn, the chapel, manor house, town, pleasureground and abbey of Boyle, the church and caves of Drum, into Lough Ke. Emerging thence, augmented by streams from the Curlew mountains, this picturesque river leads its tributary waters southeastward. From Lough Ke it is for a short distance navigable for row boats, or small craft; but below Knockvicar bridge, and again below the upper lough of Oakport, near Coote-hall, it is singular to observe how the only vent for two great lakes is contracted to a mere rippling rivulet. As if, however, weary and impatient of restraint, it throws itself out, or otherwise expands into those charming sheets, that constitute the upper and lower loughs of Oakport, and the wide and irregular polygon of water that surrounds Inchatyra, and washing the ruins of Killeen church at north, and those of Tumna at south, flows into the Shannon a little above the thriving town of Carrick. The abbots of Boyle had once no less than twenty-four eel-weirs at stated places on this stream. It also abounds with trout, perch, and a small kind of red-fleshed sprat, said to be peculiar to itself, much esteemed, and formerly caught in great abundance in the summer season, but now more rarely met with. The improvement of this river to Lough Gara, would make it the chief feeder of the traffic of the upper Shannon; it would seem, however, that it is designed to terminate the extent of the projected navigation of this arm, at a point about a mile east of Boyle, but possibly a continuance by canal may be in ulterior contemplation.—The Arigna river, before alluded to, takes its rise on the conterminous boundary of Leitrim and Sligo counties, deriving its first waters from both sides; hence it enters that of Roscommon, and, running with rapid current and considerable falls through the valley that divides the north coal field from the iron works, increased in winter by numerous tributary cataracts, formerly met the Shannon, over a winding and ob

« PreviousContinue »