IRISH IDEAS

By William O'Brien

Page 131

AN IRISH POOR SCHOLAR [1]

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I DOUBT if you would find anywhere outside Ireland a ragged man of learning who is a sovereign in his own right like ancient Tom Duffy of Lochaun-nyalla. I am certain you would not anywhere else find a people who, in mere homage to erudition, would acknowledge his claim to lodging, food, and honour, by right divine, wherever he chooses to turn. His realm lies among a nest of mountains dimly visible from the Leenaun coach-road. For the tourist shuddering by on his long-distance drive to Westport, personages like Tom remain, like the Alpine valleys under his mountain tops, buried in eternal mist. More is the pity! By-and-by somebody will discover that the snug little green dells which bask by Tom's trout-lake and respond to the tinkle of his chapel-bell, while the warrior mountains of Sheafree, Dhuloch, and Bengorm front the Atlantic storms from their shapely battlements far above, form a heavenlier place of rest than a good many of the painted places where the Swiss hotel-keepers are busy with their arrangements for bands and illuminated waterfalls. The only thing British rule ever found to do in the glens under Sheafree was to take away sixty thousand acres of the glensmen's pastures and bestow them on a Scotch grazier; likewise to double the rents for the remainder. ...continue reading »


[1] Published in the Speaker, June 10, 1893.

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