THE GARDEN OF IRELAND...continued

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil Richard Lovett

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To begin with the things nearest to Bray. No visitor is long at a loss as to what objects are to be seen, or how he may see them. At every turn car-drivers, hackney coachmen, and guides offer to conduct you to the Dargle, to the Glen of Downs, to Powerscourt Waterfall, or where you will, within a radius of ten or fifteen miles. The most popular excursion is to the Dargle and Powerscourt. The former is a beautiful little mountain glen, well wooded, kindly furnished by nature with that usual high rock from which fable insists upon hurling the usual unhappy lover. Like many other much frequented spots, the reputation of the Dargle sometimes suffers from the extravagant praises of those who admire it 'not wisely but too well.' The bridge is a favourite spot not only for the lover of the beautiful, but also a starting-place for the angler.

The Dargle
The Dargle

The origin of the name is a subject of controversy. Some maintain that it comes from the Celtic Daur Glin, or Vale of Oaks; but Dr. Joyce, on the other hand, maintains that it comes from an Irish word dearg, meaning 'red,' and that Deargail, now Dargle, means 'a red little spot.' He fortifies his view by saying: 'I have on other occasions observed how happily the old name-formers generally succeeded in designating places by their most obvious characteristics, every name striking straight for the feature that most strongly attracted attention, so that to this day a person moderately skilled in such matters may often predict the physical peculiarities or the aspect of a place as soon as he hears the name. Nothing could be more appropriate in this respect than the Dargle, which everyone will recognize as the name of a beautiful glen near Bray in Wicklow. The prevailing rock in the glen is very soft and of a reddish colour, sometimes with a yellowish tinge, but in several places deepening into a dark purplish red. The visitor can hardly fail to observe this almost as soon as he enters the lower gate, where the red stones come to the surface of the path under his feet. The reddish colour also pervades the clay, which is merely the rock worn down; and is very striking in several spots along the sides of the glen, where the clay and the rock are exposed, especially after rain, which brings out the prevailing hue very vividly.'[1]

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NOTES

[1] Irish Names of Places, ii. 39.



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