Oliver Goldsmith’s House, Auburn, County Westmeath

From the Illustrated Dublin Journal, Volume 1, Number 35, May 3, 1862

Oliver Goldsmith’s House, Auburn

THE strenuous efforts at present being made in Dublin to raise funds sufficient to defray the expense of erecting a statue to Oliver Goldsmith, induce us to believe that a few notes illustrative of the neighbourhood where he spent his early days, accompanied by a view of his birth place, will be acceptable to our readers. The village of Auburn—

“Loveliest village of the plain,

Where health and plenty cheer’d the labouring swain,

Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid,

And parting Summer’s lingering bloom delay’d”—

once the residence of Goldsmith, or at least the scene of his youthful days, is situated in the county of Westmeath, about seven miles from Athlone, on the high road leading to Ballymahon; and though time has caused many alterations, yet the principal features of the landscape are the same, and many of the scenes described by the poet are still pointed out. Pallas is situated within one mile of Ballymahon. The walls of the house in which Goldsmith was born are yet standing, as shown in our illustration, but the whole is in a ruinous condition, the roof having long since fallen in. The scenery about Ballymahon is delightful, chiefly owing to the river Inny, which runs through it under a bridge of five or six large arches, after falling over several ledges of rocks, among which are numerous large wooded islands, which, with the precipitous banks on each side of the river, form a landscape of great beauty, wanting neither mill, church, nor groups of cottages, to render it as interesting a spot, perhaps, as ever inspired or cherished the latent energies of a youthful poet. The house in which the poet was born is about two hundred yards from the road. Goldsmith thus describes it:

“Near yonder copse where once a garden smil’d,

And still where many a garden flower grows wild;

There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,

The village preacher’s modest mansion rose.”

From "The Three Pigeons," the village ale-house alluded to by the poet in several of his works, and in front of which stood

“The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,

For talking age and whispering lovers made,”

there is a beautiful view of the surrounding country.