Glengariff, Its Scenery, and Cromwell's Bridge

GLENGARIFF attracts almost as many pilgrims as the Giant's Causeway. It is usually reached by boat from Bantry, and the peculiarly wild scenery of the bay is thus seen to great advantage. But another way, affording bolder varieties of landscape, is to cross the range of hills which spring from the bay by a road which is very difficult except to the pedestrian. Glengariff, as its name signifies, is a rough or craggy glen, about three miles in length, shut in by magnificent mountains. Its breadth seldom exceeds a quarter of a mile. The sides of the precipitous rocks which inclose it are clothed with yew, holly, arbutus, and a variety of other trees and plants, that flourish here in the luxuriant abundance of a southern climate. Through this alpine valley a lonely mountain-stream, forcing its way over every impediment that presents itself, rolls seaward, murmuring as it goes its troubled song to the woods and rocks, that answer in hoarse echoes the wild music of the torrent.

Glengariff

Glengariff

The beauties of Glengariff are not to be viewed in a day, nor appreciated in a morning's walk: to be properly felt, they must be examined leisurely, and in all their various lights and distances. An eloquent writer on the scenery of this fairy vale says: "It is by treading its tangled pathways, and wandering amid its secret dells, that the charms of Glengariff become revealed in all their power. There the most fanciful and picturesque views spread on every side. A twilight grove terminating in a soft vale, whose vivid green appears as if it had never been violated by mortal foot—a bower, rich in fragrant woodbine, intermingled with a variety of clasping evergreens, drooping over a miniature lake of transparent brightness—a lonely wild suddenly bursting on the sight, girded on all sides by grim and naked mountains—a variety of natural avenues leading through the embowering wood to retreats, in whose breathless solitude the very genius of meditation would appear to reside, or to golden glades sonorous with the songs of an hundred foaming rills." The wildness of the glen-scenery is happily and effectively contrasted with the cultivation and art displayed in the beautiful grounds of Glengariff Castle, which is the point generally chosen by artists from which to make their sketches of the mountain-valley.

Glengariff Inn

Glengariff Inn

The most extensive view of the glen is to be obtained from the steep on the old Berehaven road, near Cromwell's Bridge, from whence the spectator beholds the dark woods, hills, and rushing streams of Glengariff, the lofty mountains of Berehaven, the bold shores of Bantry Bay, and, afar off, the line of ocean, bounding all with its dark blue cincture.

Cromwell's Bridge, Glengariff

Cromwell's Bridge, Glengariff

END OF CHAPTER I.


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