Port Salon to Dunfanaghy

Samuel Gamble Bayne
Port Salon to Dunfanaghy

LEAVING Rathmullen, John, our driver, took us a short cut over the Glenalla Mountains to Port Salon, through Mr. Hart's demesne of fine timber. As we drove along, our interest was excited by the masses of furze to be seen on all sides. This shrub grows about five feet high and is thickly covered with sharp, dark-green prickles and innumerable flowers of the brightest yellow known to botanists. Its popular name is "whin," and it is extensively used as food for their horses by the farmers, who pound the prickles into pulp in a stone trough, and when so prepared the horses eat them with great relish. "Whins" grow all over the north of Ireland in wild profusion, and the startling blaze of their bright yellow bloom may be seen for miles; to those not accustomed to their beauty they are a most interesting novelty.

Irish Jaunting Car

Our First Car

After driving about twelve miles through this kind of country, we arrived at Colonel Barton's handsome hotel on the bluffs of Lough Swilly, at the point where it opens into the Atlantic. I can hardly describe the beauty of this spot—its hard, yellow strand, its savage mountains covered with blooming heather, its sapphire sea in strong contrast to the deep, rich green pines. The Atlantic was booming into the numerous caves that line both sides of the lough, and so seductive was the influence of this sound that at our first view we lay down, tired and happy, in the deep heather, and fell asleep for an hour, undisturbed by fly, mosquito, or gnat. A British iron-clad was anchored a little above, which gave a note of distinction to the charming scene; we were told it was the celebrated Camperdown, that did the ramming in the Mediterranean disaster.

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On an Irish jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara

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Samuel Gamble Bayne was born in Ramelton, County Donegal, and educated at Queen's University in Belfast. At the age of twenty-five he left for America with a view to making his fortune. He invested in an oil well in Pennsylvania and later founded a bank which subsequently came to be the JP Morgan Chase bank in New York. By the time this book was written he was wealthy enough to be referred to as a billionaire. His account of the tour through the north, west and south of Ireland is a pleasant snapshot of how that part of the country was in the early part of the 20th century. He describes what is to be seen, gives some background history and, through the illustrations especially, provides wonderful glimpses of the area's social history.

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