Road from Glengariff to Killarney

J. Stirling Coyne & N. P. Willis
c. 1841
Volume I, Chapter II

KILLARNEY, the Mecca of every pilgrim in search of the sublime and beautiful in nature, the mountain Paradise of the West, will form the subject of the present chapter.

The road from Glengariff to Killarney lies through a mountain district, which once belonged to the O'Sullivans and M'Carthys—in whose deep solitudes may be found scenes of romantic beauty; stupendous cliffs, lofty mountains, thrown by the hand of nature into the most picturesque disorder, the rushing torrent, the placid lake, the broad sea, and the rocky shores, all combine to form a succession of glowing and magnificent pictures, whose effect upon the spectator exceeds the power of description. Kenmare is a neat town, pleasantly situated on the northern shore of a noble estuary, called Kenmare River. The town is the property of the Marquis of Lansdowne, under whose fostering care it has within the last few years assumed a thriving and prosperous appearance. Between Kenmare and Killarney the savage aspect of the country begins to mellow into the softer traits of the lake scenery; the hills are partially wooded, and the crags, which overhang the road, are tufted with rich verdure. Shortly after passing through a tunnel which forms a part of the road, the traveller obtains the first view of the Upper Lake, spread before him in its calm beauty like a broad mirror set in the bosom of the majestic mountains. The town of Killarney—in the Irish language Kill-airné, or the church of the sloe-trees—is a small, regularly-built town, within a mile of the shores of the lake, deriving its principal support from the strangers who come to visit the lakes and the surrounding scenery.