The Shannon from Portumna to Castle Connell

J. Stirling Coyne & N. P. Willis
c. 1841
Volume II, Chapter XI-7 | Start of chapter

The Shannon from Portumna to Castle Connell, including Loch Derg, is very like an American river, but its banks are not so densely wooded, it is, however, equal in majestic natural beauty to any of their streams. There is no point very strikingly picturesque, however, till we reach the ruined castle of the Kings of Munster, the warlike O'Briens, and here the Shannon for a considerable distance resembles the rapids of the St. Lawrence. At the RAPIDS OF DUNASS, as they are called, the whole body of the Shannon pours over a mass of rocks which descend for the space of half a mile. The town of Castle-Connell, with its fine mansions, green lawns, and lofty towers, form part of the landscape, and add much to the natural beauty of the river.

Doonass Rapids near Castle Connell

Doonass Rapids, near Castle Connell on the Shannon

From this point to Limerick the Shannon is not navigable by boats, but the road runs close to the river-bank, and the beauty of the scene may thus be enjoyed by the traveller. There is much finer wood below than above Castle-Connell, and the country-seats are numerous and fine; Mount Shannon, Lord Clare's residence, perhaps the finest among them. Lady Chatterton, in her agreeable book, mentions that there is a tradition among the peasantry in the neighbourhood of Castle-Connell that the ruins of the old castle above the town will fall upon the wisest person in the world if he should chance to pass under. A gentleman of much consideration in the neighbourhood fancied himself entitled to the honour of being crushed by them. He never could be prevailed on to approach the ruins, and when obliged to ride along the high-road to Limerick, which runs near, he always passed the dangerous spot at full gallop.