Upper Lake of Killarney

On my return from Derricunnehey, I walked some distance up the hill from which the cascade descends to get a view of THE LAKES AS SEEN IN THE APPROACH FROM KENMARE. From this elevation the three bodies of water appear spread out below the eye, with their islands and mountain shores, in a landscape of which no description can convey an adequate idea. Fortunately, in this case, the pencil "takes up the burthen," and in the wonderful perfection of the arts, description can be conveyed through the eye almost with the reality and enjoyment of nature.

Approach to Killarney from the Kenmare Road

Approach to Killarney from the Kenmare Road

On again reaching the tunnel, where I had left my boat, I was recommended by the driver to ascend the cliff through which it is cut, and on a platform, worn smooth by the feet of travellers who had climbed there before me, I stood a few minutes, and admired a smaller VIEW OF THE UPPER LAKE, enjoyable from the nearness of the objects which compose it. The mountains which hem it in are of a bolder and more rugged cast, and the small rocky islands in its bosom rise very high from the water, and are covered with trees and vegetation. One of the largest of these is called Ronayne's Island, after a recluse who occupied it for some years. He built himself a cottage on the rocks near the water, the ruins of which are still visible, and, avoiding all society, employed himself wholly in reading, hunting, and fishing. He became exposed, of course, to the visits of curious people, and was on such occasions exceedingly savage and morose; but his name, says Wild, is still mentioned with respect, and even admiration, at Killarney.

Upper Lake Killarney

Upper Lake Killarney

From Ronayne's Island, the prow was pointed homeward, and with the warm sun creating an atmosphere of midsummer on the tranquil bosom of the lake, I lay in the stern-sheets, and watched the magnificent changes in the mountain-groups as we sped onward, and wanted nothing but some congenial friend to share my happiness, I soon entered on the narrow river which connects the two lakes, and after some winding through a channel, where the current ran very strongly, I came in sight of a picturesque old bridge, and the boatmen requested me to steer directly for the centre of the arch, with a caution to be careful and steady. They then shipped their oars, and the current increasing to great rapidity, the boat shot under the bridge with a velocity that rather surprised me. This WEIR BRIDGE is a dangerous spot, and many accidents have occurred in shooting the rapid. "The rapidity of the current," says Wild, "forms an impediment to the ascent of boats not to be counteracted without considerable efforts, and never fails to occasion much delay in proceeding to the Upper Lake. To render the boats more manageable, the passengers are always required to land, and walk through the woods till they get above the bridge; and, even after being thus lightened, it required the united strength of nine or ten men to drag a large boat against the stream. The bridge consists of two arches, of which one alone affords a passage for boats; the other is obstructed by a wall, built across the stream from the central pier to the shore. It was intended formerly as part of a fishing weir, and is now left for the purpose of deepening the channel at the opposite side.

Old Weir Bridge Killarney

Old Weir Bridge Killarney

Leaving this spot, I kept down the narrow channel to the opening of Glena Bay, and turning round a point to the left, landed in a small and lovely crescent of the shore; in the centre of it stood a cottage ornée, the close-shorn lawn of which descended everywhere to the edge of the water. Rocks behind it, trees around, the forest extending up the mountain behind, and the solitude of lake and mountain burying it in silence and beauty. Glena cottage is a place to remember with a heart-ache when one is weary of the world. I landed and strolled through its gardens and shaded walks, and re-embarking unwillingly, steered across the Lower Lake toward Ross Island.

The Lower and Torc Lakes, Killarney

The Lower and Torc Lakes, Killarney


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