Turk Waterfall

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVIII (4) | Start of Chapter

March 13th.—I took a walk of four miles to the celebrated Turk mountain to see the cascade, and when I had reached the foot of it, I sat down upon a seat to meditate undisturbed on this beautiful sight. Four white sheets of water have for ages been coursing down a rock of eighty feet in height, wearing channels of considerable depth, and on their way have received some small rivulets issuing from the sides of the mountain pouring together into one basin at the bottom. The mountains on either hand are lofty, wild, and precipitous. I attempted to make my way over the slippery stones to reach the basin, but found it too hazardous, being out of the hearing of any human being, and should I tumble into the stream, or break a bone, my fate would be irrecoverable.

An hour was gone, and admiration, if possible, was increasing; but looking to my left, I saw a path leading up the mountain, and followed it. In a few yards it opened a small view of the lakes, and as you ascend the view widens and widens, till you see spread out before you lawns, the middle and lower lakes, with their beautiful islands, and the grand Kerry mountains stretching out beyond. Seats at proper distances are arranged, where the traveller may rest, and feast his eyes on the beauties beneath his feet. But when the top is reached, the awful precipice overhanging the cascade would endanger the life of any one to overlook, were there not a railing erected for the safety of the visitor. Here I sat, and thanked God that he had given me eyes to see, and a mind to enjoy, a scene like this. More than three thousand miles from my native country, on the top of this awfully wild mountain, where many a stranger's foot had trod, I was enjoying a good reward for all my labor. The sun was shining upon the unruffled lakes, the birds were hopping from bough to bough, mingling their songs with the untiring cascade, the partridge fluttered in the brake at a distance, but I knew no venomous serpent was there. I was unwilling to leave the spot, and had not the promise of returning to witness a funeral at two o'clock urged me away, my stay might have been protracted till sunset. I lingered and looked, and like Eve when leaving paradise, said—

"And must I leave thee!"

I returned not till I had explored the end of the woodman's path, over a bridge that crossed the chasm beyond, and then took a last look of this coy maiden, standing once more at her feet. Though she cannot boast the awful grandeur of the bold Niagara of my native country, yet she has beauties which can never cease to please. She has an unassuming modesty which compels you to admire, because she seems not to covet your admiration. She is so concealed that the eye never meets her till close upon the white folds of her drapery, and when, but a few paces from her feet, I turned to take another look, I could not see even "the hem of her garment."

On returning to the gate, it was locked; the woman who had kept it had given me the key; I had carelessly left it in the door, without locking it, and she had fastened the gate and taken the key. I could neither make myself heard, nor climb the wall; a sad dilemma! A return to the cascade seemed to be the only alternative; but following the wall, an end was happily found, and the road soon gained. Stopping at a neat little lodge, bread and honey were brought to me in such a simple patriarchal manner, that the days of Rebecca and Ruth were before me.

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.