Scattery Island and Kilkee

The steamer passes Scattery Island after leaving Tarbert, and a good view is obtained of this poetical spot, which is graced with a round tower, one hundred and twenty feet high, and various ecclesiastical ruins. St. Senanus is said to have established a place of worship here before the arrival of St. Patrick, and it is to this day a place of Catholic pilgrimage. "It is recorded in the annals of Munster, that in the year 975, Brian Boroihme recovered this island from the Danes; it also appears that Queen Elizabeth granted it to the mayor and corporation of Limerick and their successors, who lately established their right thereto by a suit at law. The present possessor, a gentleman of taste, has fitted up a handsome lodge, and added many improvements."

A very interesting book, called Two Months at Kilkee, written by Mary John Knott, and embellished with some clever drawings, gives an excellent account of this little watering-place, and we must be indebted to it for a description of the views taken by our artist on this coast. "KILKEE, or Kilqui, is situated at Moore Bay, on the western coast of Ireland, in the county of Clare, about fifty English miles from Limerick, one hundred and seventy from Dublin, and twenty-five from Ennis, and its shore is washed by the Atlantic. Comparatively but a few years since it was only known as the residence of fishermen, whose habitations formed the row of cottages now called 'Old Kilkee.' At present there are upwards of one hundred comfortable houses and lodges for the accommodation of visitors, independent of the cottages in which the natives reside. Since that period the town has been gradually rising into importance, and it is probable will ere long, from the safety of its strand, and other peculiar circumstances, be one of the most desirable watering-places on the coast.

"The town, which commands a fine view of the bay, is built close to the sea, and assumes a semicircular form from the shape of the strand, which presents a smooth, white, sandy surface of above half-a-mile in length, where the invalid can, without fatigue or interruption, enjoy the exhilarating sea-breeze and surrounding scenery. The principal street runs nearly from one end of the village to the other; these extend to the strand, and at every few steps afford a view of the Atlantic wave dashing into foam against the cliffs which circumscribe its power, and the rocks of Dungana, which run nearly across the bay. Some of the houses at the 'west end' of the town, as well as a few in the village, are modern, with sufficient accommodation (including stabling and coach-houses) for the family of a nobleman or gentleman of fortune; and every gradation can be had, down to a cottage with a parlour, two small bedrooms, and kitchen, the rent varying according to the accommodation and demand. A few of the largest, fully furnished, pay from £15 to £20 per month; but the average for comfortable, good lodges, is from £6 to £8, and the smallest from £3 to £4, including a plentiful supply of milk, potatoes, and turf, according to the custom of the place.

One circumstance which strongly recommends this place is the prevalence of cleanliness, for which the houses, beds, and natives, are remarkable. The walls of several new lodges are now built, and I am informed that upwards of thirty are in progress. It is, however, evident that many of the people, anxious to possess a lodge and reap the summer fruits, have overbuilt themselves, to use their own words. A large Roman Catholic chapel has been lately erected near the road: the Protestant place of worship is but temporarily fitted up at the end of the Marine Parade. It is intended to build a handsome edifice for this purpose in the centre of the new square, at the west end. The surrounding country presents a very bleak aspect, without a tree, shrub, or garden-flower to enliven its surface. A number of poor cabins diversify the scene from the village to the hilly distance, to the extreme point of which the hand of man has carried cultivation.

"An extensive bog reaches to the skirts of the town, and affords a plentiful supply of fuel at a very low rate, which confers an incalculable benefit on the inhabitants: a cheerful fire generally enlivens the hearth of the poorest cottage. There are three hotels or boarding-houses in the town, where board and lodging are provided for about twenty-five shillings per week: tolerably well-appointed jaunting cars are now amongst the advantages which this town affords. There are two chalybeate spas in and near Kilkee, which, it is said, possess properties similar to the celebrated waters of Castle Connell. One of them is situated about a mile distant; the other has the advantage of being nearer the town, but from its present neglected state and difficulty of approach, we believe it is little frequented by strangers. These obstacles might, however, be removed at a trifling expense, if a path were made from the road along the stream, and the spa covered in, and placed under the care of some deserving poor person, who, by a small allowance from visitors, might be able to gain something towards a livelihood: these healing waters could thus be made both attractive and useful to the invalid visitors of Kilkee.

"Near to this spot the antiquarian may gratify his taste by viewing a fine old Danish fort, the most perfect in this neighbourhood, where they may be said to abound. It lies behind the town, on a little hill, and has a thick bank thrown up all round, of seven hundred feet in circumference: the moat or ditch is about twenty-five feet wide, the centre gradually rises from sixteen to twenty feet, the summit is about three hundred feet in circumference, and nearly level. On the south side are two rather small openings, which lead to subterraneous chambers, and occupy the interior of the centre elevation: they are said to be extensive. The neighbourhood was thrown into consternation some time since by a ventriloquist, who caused sounds of distress and anguish apparently to proceed from these vaults. If the apertures were enlarged, it might afford an inducement to the curious inquirer to descend and explore the probable storehouses of the northern depredators. The lads of the village are now the chief visitors of this antique circle. One of our party was informed by a youth that it was a fine place to dry clothes in, 'for if all the rogues in the county Clare came, they could not steal them; that out of a joke some of them tried, but could not touch one, because of the spirits or ghosts winch are said to frequent it; also that some time since the landlord wished to have the mound removed, but could not get the men to work at it, as they got afraid.' If it were really the landlord's intention to have it removed, we need not be surprised at the result, as a disposition prevails in most places amongst the country people not to level their favourite old circles. "The strand this morning presented an unusual scene of bustle.

'Spring-tides returned, and Fortune smiled; the bay

Received the rushing ocean to its breast.'


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