GLENGARIFF, KILLARNEY, AND VALENTIA...continued

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil Richard Lovett

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By an easy road the descent into the valley is made, Lord Brandon's cottage is passed--a toll of one shilling being levied on every visitor--and then the boat is taken for the row down to Ross Island. This is certainly not less enjoyable than the earlier half of the excursion. If any part of Killarney deserves the palm, it is this row along the placid waters of the Upper Lake, in and out among its many rocky islets, and down the Long Range which connects the Upper and Middle Lakes. To the south rise Cromaglan and Torc Mountains, to the north the spurs of Purple Mountain and the Eagle's Nest. The views are extremely beautiful, and there is a marvellous variety of colouring and of contour. The boatmen, in their well-meant efforts to amuse, talk a considerable amount of arrant nonsense about the uses to which the ever-present O'Donoghue puts the many strangely-shaped rocks which abound on every hand. The most effective view of all is where the boat, following as it must the windings of the stream, passes immediately beneath the loftiest part of the Eagle's Nest. This mountain, like its neighbours, is clad for some hundreds of feet above the water level with arbutus, ash, oak, holly and other trees. Among other charms, this spot possesses a fine echo.

The Eagle's Nest, Killarney
The Eagle's Nest, Killarney

Soon after passing this point the great excitement of shooting the rapid at the Old Weir Bridge occurs. There is just sufficient fall to impart a somewhat lively motion to the boat, and the distance is so short that almost before you are aware the descent has begun it is over.

Old Weir Bridge, Killarney
Old Weir Bridge, Killarney

Under exceptional circumstances, with the water unusually high, it is conceivable that the passage would be attended with some risk. Of course none but those well acquainted with the peculiarities of the place should attempt to take a boat down; the regular boatmen are all more than equal to the not very anxious demands which the descent makes upon their nerve and skill.

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