Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VII (19) | Start of Chapter

Thursday, April 13th.—A drive to Balinrobe presented a beautiful variety of scenery. Lake Carra is spread out, dotted with islands, and indented by peninsulas, with a long bridge across it, called Keel, inferior to none but Ponton, three miles from the glebe, and we were in sight of the tall steeple of the chapel, towering presumptuously for so unpopular a religion; for time was when the Romish church was not allowed steeples of any dimensions, and they now make no great pretensions in the steeple way.

The town of Balinrobe is somewhat picturesque, and was once the assize town of Mayo; but the judges saw fit to remove it to Castlebar; and report says, that some trifling complaint concerning bakers and cooks was the cause; but the town still boasts a famous poorhouse, well filled, a proud barrack, with a noble supply of the fighting gentry, placed there, as we are told, to make up for the removal of the assizes. A beautiful river, bordered with trees, winds through the town, occasionally a pretty cottage peeping between them, with two ivy-covered ancient ruins, among tombstones and naked skulls, with inscriptions of such ancient date, that time had worn them so that they were almost entirely defaced.

An invitation to dine at Dr. Rafe's, introduced me to a lady, in Mrs. Rafe, who might justly be classed among intellects and attainments of the highest order; I had seen many well-bred ladies in Connaught, but not one who was better acquainted with books, and who could converse on something beyond small talk with greater facility and understanding than Mrs. Rafe.