THE SHANNON...concluded

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil Richard Lovett

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This is the fashionable watering-place of the district, and although Miltown Malbay and Lahinch are making a strong bid for favour, the accommodation at Kilkee is still far ahead of any that can be shown by its enterprising rivals. The drive from Kilrush is about nine miles, and not specially interesting. This is a drawback; but few who reach the little seaside place regret the trouble expended in getting there. The coast of Clare is wild and rocky in the extreme. At Kilkee a pretty semicircular bay has been formed, with good sands, and protected from the inrush of the Atlantic by as ugly a ledge of rock as the most fastidious taste in that class of scenery could desire.

Kilkee from the Coastguard Station
Kilkee from the Coastguard Station

It is in keeping with this terrible west coast that, even when a rare harbour, as at Kilkee, does occur, it should be rendered very difficult to enter except in fine weather. Around the bay, and especially on the southern side, the West End, as it is called, cluster the houses occupied by visitors in the summer, and deserted for the most part in the winter. The coast walks are very fine, and the air is very fresh and bracing. Any who love, or who need, the wind that blows in from the sea can here obtain it in remarkable purity. Those who enjoy a holiday more if they are accompanied by their children, can see them sport in the sands at Kilkee with equanimity, knowing that there they are safe, and certain to enjoy themselves.

Cliffs near Kilkee
Cliffs near Kilkee

Those who rejoice in wild fantastic rock scenery should be happy at Kilkee. All along this coast the waves of the Atlantic in the course of ages have washed away all the softer material from huge pillars of rock that yet defy the power of the sea, and appear to stand as sentinels along the shore. In some parts the angles are such that a slight exercise of the imagination can transform prominent points along the coast into giant faces looking down sardonically upon the waves breaking and roaring helplessly at their feet. On Bishop's Island is a very good example of a beehive oratory and a house, none the less interesting from the fact that it can be fairly well studied from the mainland. Caves and natural arches abound both north and south of Kilkee. We give an engraving of a curious natural arch to be seen near Ballybunnion, on the south side of the Shannon estuary, opposite the ruins of Carrigaholt Castle, once the stronghold of the MacMahons. In fine weather boating enables the curious to look closely upon the weird cliff forms and the really wonderful rock faces of this coast; while in rough weather it may be some consolation to go and watch the sea at its fantastic tricks in the Puffing Hole.

Cliffs near Ballybunnion
Cliffs near Ballybunnion

END OF CHAPTER VI.

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