Traditions of Dunluce, County Antrim

There are, of course, numerous traditions connected with Dunluce, but we had not time to search for them among the people; but it has been well done by that painstaking traveller, Caesar Otway, whose description of a visit to Dunluce we subjoin.

"It was as fine a morning as ever fell from heaven when we landed at Dunluce—not a cloud in the sky, not a wave on the water; the brown basaltic rock, with the towers of the ancient fortress that capped and covered it—all its grey bastions and pointed gables lay pictured on the incumbent mirror of the ocean; everything was reposing—everything so still, that nothing was heard but the dash of our oars and the song of Alick M'Mullen to break the silence of the sea. We rowed round this peninsula fortress, and then entered the fine cavern that so curiously perforates the rock, and opens its dark arch to admit our boat. He must, indeed, have a mind cased up in all the commonplace of dull existence who would not, while within this cavern and under this fortress, enter into the associations connected with the scene; who could not hold communings with the 'Genius Loci.' Fancy, I know, called up for me the war-boats and the foemen, who either issued from, or took shelter in, this sea-cave.

I imagined as the tide was growling amidst the far recesses, that I heard the moaning of chained captives, and the huge rocks around must be bales of plunder, landed and lodged here; and I took an interest, and supposed myself a sharer in the triumphs of the fortunate, and the helplessness of the captive, while suffering under the misery that bold bad men inflicted in troubled times, when the M'Quillans of the Rout, and the M'Donnells of the Glyns, either gained or lost this debateable stronghold. Landing in this cavern, we passed up through its land-side entrance towards the ruin: the day had become exceeding warm, and going forth from the coolness of the cave into the sultry atmosphere we felt doubly the force of the sun's power—the sea-birds had retreated to their distant rocks—the goats were panting under the shaded ledges of the cliffs—the rooks and choughs, with open beaks and drooping wings, were scattered over the downs, from whose surface they arose with a quivering undulating motion; we were all glad for a time to retire to where, under the shade of the projected cliff, a cold, clear spring offered its refreshing waters.


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