Northern Confines of Galway

J. Stirling Coyne & N. P. Willis
c. 1841
Volume I, Chapter IV-28 | Start of chapter

We have now reached the northern confines of Galway, having, in my cruise from the Harbour of Wexford hither, taken a hasty view of the principal bays, havens, and objects of pictorial interest along this magnificent line of coast; so hasty, indeed, that I have been compelled to dismiss much that was curious and interesting, to give place to that which through its paramount importance forced itself upon my notice. Here, then, I terminate my pleasant voyage; too conscious that my pen has been unequal to the task of depicting truly the romantic scenery of this beautiful—

"Nurse of full streams, and lifter up of proud

Sky-mingling mountains, that o'erlook the cloud."

But I trust I have been able to excite in the mind of my readers a curiosity to visit the scenes I have endeavoured to describe. Let their own eyes be the judges, and I fear not they will agree with me in saying, that no island in the world presents such an outline of coast for beauty or for utility—for all that the eye of the painter or the soul of the poet could desire—all that the hand of power, or the grasp of mercantile avarice could court. Bays, where the proudest fleets could ride in safety; rivers, carrying wealth from the extremities to the centre; islands, creeks, and coves, with all the appliances and means that nature in her most bountiful mood could tender to vary the plenty with which the same all-liberal hand has spread over its surface in hills of waving crops, valleys of pasture, and mountains redolent of the sweetest herbage. Australia, the largest island in the world, or more properly a fifth continent, does not contain so many practicable harbours throughout the whole extent of its vast circumference, as that portion of the Irish coast between Wexford and Connemara. I might expatiate upon this point, but I find that I must hasten onward to the fruitful plains of Leinster, and bid farewell, with a sigh, to the romantic region of the west, to the giant hills—

"Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun; the vales,

Stretching in pensive quietness between;

The venerable woods;—rivers that move

In majesty; and the complaining brooks,

That make the meadows green, and poured round all

Old ocean's grey and melancholy waste."