Lough Erne

The boats that navigate the smooth surface of Lough Erne are seldom capable of conveying more than ten or twelve persons, and those that can be procured for hire are much less secure than others. Some thirty years since, a party, too numerous for a vessel of such dimensions and construction, embarked with the remains of one who, in life, had been dear to all around, to pay the last sad honour to his name. The reverend companion of their voyage advised and exhorted to lighten the bark, before they entered on the treacherously smiling surface of the deep, and finding all remonstrances vain, himself leaped out into the shallows and returned to shore. For a few minutes, and a few only, the incautious crew proceeded towards the island, when fate, enveloped in a gust of wind, struck suddenly against the boat, and hurried thirty poor victims into the depths of the lake.

The places of embarkation are the promontory of Portora,[50] at the foot of the eminence on which the endowed school stands, and Tully Devenish, on the southwest side. At this latter point, in an old orchard, is shown a rock of about four tons weight; thrown hither from the island by a famous friar, M'Comhal, the Friar of Devenish, the same who once leaped from his monastery over to Derry Inch.

A curious relic, called Molais's Bed, is popularly said to possess virtues of a unique description, and is a prophetic touchstone of the future fate of those who have the intrepidity to make the experiment. This is done by reclining in the bed: some are relieved of pains in the back by the merit of the stone; and for those whose figures precisely fit to the dimensions, brighter prospects are reserved. The lid of the saint's coffin—a stone six feet two inches in length—lies at the eastern end of the lower church, and has hitherto been incorrectly described as the shaft of a cross.


[50] The Port of Lamentation.