Gougaune Barra

J. Stirling Coyne & N. P. Willis
c. 1841
Volume I, Chapter III-4 | Start of chapter

A charming description of Gougaune Barra has been left us by a young poet named Callanan, a native of Cork, who, had he lived to realize the promise that his early writings held out, would have proved himself one of the most distinguished lyrists that Ireland has ever produced. The simple beauty of the style and freshness of the language induce me to transcribe the commencement of his poem:—

"There is a green island in low Gougaune Barra,

Where Allua of song rushes forth as an arrow,

In deep vallied Desmond, a thousand wild fountains

Come down to that lake, from their home in the mountains.

There grows the wild ash, and a time-stricken willow

Looks chidingly down on the mirth of the billow,

As like some gay child, that sad monitor scorning,

It lightly laughs back to the laugh of the morning.

And its zone of dark hills—oh! to see them all bright'ning

When the tempest flings out its red banner of lightning;

And the waters rush down 'mid the thunder's deep rattle,

Like the clans from the hills, at the voice of the battle;

And brightly the fire-crested billows are gleaming,

And wildly from Maolagh the eagles are screaming.

Oh! where is the dwelling, in valley or highland,

So meet for a bard as this lone little island?"

It would be impossible to convey by language a more vivid and truthful picture of the "lone island" than those contained in these vigorous lines.

Gougaune Barra

Gougaune Barra