Leenane, Connemara

We arrived in good time at LEENANE, and found the new owner, or rather renter, a civil but inexperienced woman, who had lately taken possession, and who complained bitterly of her landlord, who had promised to put the house in good repair, and make it sufficiently decent to induce travellers to stop with her. This it was evident he had not done, and we were ready to sympathise with her on observing the nice furniture and other accommodations intended for a good inn, stowed away in such a truly uncomfortable and dirty house. Having bespoke our dinner, we expressed a desire to go by boat to see Lord Sligo's SPORTING-LODGE AT DELPHI; and here it was well that we asked the price before engaging it, for the landlady, in order, perhaps, to compensate as she might for her as yet unsuccessful speculation, demanded more for a vile, dirty, leaky, brute of a boat, than we should have paid for the hire of one of the gayest and best-appointed cutters in Kingston harbour. However, by appearing to care little whether we should go or not, we by-and-bye agreed on more reasonable terms, and went afloat. It was fortunate that the water was smooth, for the boat was not only leaky and heavy, hut the fellows that undertook to row us seemed anything but expert. They were uncouth, savage creatures; the elder of the two knew but little English, and the other none at all, and they both seemed discontented and very much out of humour at being obliged to leave their potato-planting to go rowing a pair of idle Sassenach fools, as they evidently considered us to be.

Leenane, Connemara

Leenane, Connemara

We were, however, well repaid for this boating excursion. Nothing can be finer than the mountain scenery all around. When you are in the middle of the bay you seem locked in on every side; and were it not for the smell, and colour, and vegetation peculiar to the sea—the incomparable sea—you would imagine you were on a mountain-lake. But there is scarcely any lake that has not a flat, tame end, generally that where the superabundant waters flow off and form a river; but here nothing was tame; on every side the magnificent mountains seemed to vie with each other which should catch and keep your attention most. Northwards the Fenamore mountains—the Partree range to the east—Maamturc to the south—a little more to the south-west, the sparkling cones of the Twelve Pins of Binabola; then, a little more to the west, the Renvyle mountain, and off to the north of that again, the monarch of the whole amphitheatre, Muilrea, with its cap of clouds that it has caught, and anon flings fitfully off, as much as to say, I am the great cloud-compeller of Europe, and not one of you, ye proud rangers of the sky, shall come from the banks of Newfoundland without paying me tribute; and, no doubt, ample tribute they do pay, and we had every reason to be fearful of partaking in the results of Mr. Muilrea tapping the American; but the alarm was false, the clouds only slowly rolled their huge masses along the topmost ranges, and we could see in their clear glory all the inferior hills as they rejoiced in the lights and shadows of the uncertain day.


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