Mulroy Bay, County Donegal

We coasted the Atlantic for a few miles, and then turned into the hills that surround Mulroy Bay, which soon came into sight. When we reached the shore a council of war was held, and it was decided to save some twenty miles of driving up round the head of the bay, by crossing, if possible, at the lower end; so a broad, heavy, but unseaworthy boat was chartered, and we took Bob, the horse, out of the car and rolled the latter into the stern of our marine transport. It was no easy task to get Bob to face the water; however, after beating about the bush for half an hour, he suddenly grew tractable, and we pushed him into the boat by main strength. The passage was ludicrous in the extreme; at every high wave Bob would lash out his heels and prance. The captain of the boat (who, by the way, was an Irishwoman) would berate John for owning a horse "whose timper was so bad that he might plounge us all into etarnity without a minit's notice!" John kept whispering in a loud voice into his horse's ear promises of oats, turnips, and a bran-mash by way of dessert, if he would only behave himself. The tide was running strong, and when we were swept past our landing we each became captain in turn without appointment, and a variety of language was indulged in that would have made the Tower of Babel seem like a Quaker meeting. The farce was suddenly ended by Bob's breaking loose from his owner and jumping ashore like a chamois. We then ran the boat aground, took out the car, and, after capturing Bob with the promised oats, were soon on our way again.

In a short time after again starting, we ascended a hill and could clearly see the spot where Lord Leitrim was assassinated in April, 1878. It lay up the bay in a clump of woods, close to the water. Lord Leitrim had been very harsh with his tenants and had evicted large numbers of them from their farms; they therefore determined to "remove" him, and a select band of them lay in ambush along the road and succeeded in killing his lordship, his driver, and his secretary while they were driving to Derry. There were many trials in court, but those arrested could never be convicted. As a boy I have been more than once startled by the appearance of a pair of cars with eight men on them, each having a couple of double-barreled shotguns. Lord Leitrim was one of them; the others were his guards, going to Milford to collect the rents. His temper was so violent that the government removed him from the office of magistrate. His son, the late Earl, was a very different kind of man; he did everything within his power to advance his tenants' interests. After his death, a few years ago, the tenantry erected a fine monument to his memory in Carrigart Square. We later read the inscription upon it, which was, "He loved his people."

Read "On an Irish Jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara" at your leisure

On an Irish jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara

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Samuel Gamble Bayne was born in Ramelton, County Donegal, and educated at Queen's University in Belfast. At the age of twenty-five he left for America with a view to making his fortune. He invested in an oil well in Pennsylvania and later founded a bank which subsequently came to be the JP Morgan Chase bank in New York. By the time this book was written he was wealthy enough to be referred to as a billionaire. His account of the tour through the north, west and south of Ireland is a pleasant snapshot of how that part of the country was in the early part of the 20th century. He describes what is to be seen, gives some background history and, through the illustrations especially, provides wonderful glimpses of the area's social history.

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