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Kinvarra and beyond – 1865

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara Photo: Angella Streluk Creative Commons

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara
Photo: Angella Streluk
Creative Commons

A Walking Tour Round Ireland in 1865 by an Englishman
London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street. 1867 p181/2
excerpt – abridged
I (then) leave the main road, leading to Gort, Ennis and Limerick and take a road to the right, and pass through the village of Ballinderreen, and then for miles through a bleak and desolate country until I reach Kinvarra. This place is distance from Galway about seventeen miles. There is a castle here called Dungoury, (sic) which is in a very good state of preservation. I ascended to the top from which a fine view is obtained. Below is the village town of Kinvarra, prettily situated on a small bay and with some appearance of trade. Around is a stone covered country, wild and uncultivated.
On walking into the town a storm of rain fell and I offered a share of my umbrella to a gentleman in the road. He kindly showed me the inn and on learning that my mind was a blank as to my course of travel from this place, he wrote on a slip of paper a prescribed route as far as Kilkee. He kindly asked me to join his circle to tea in the evening at eight o’clock and then left me meanwhile to my own resources.
It was still early in the afternoon, so I walked to the end of the bay and bathed as well as the weeds (which were gathered thickly) would permit. On my way back an old woman told me a story of a girl of the village, some time since, who was accustomed to swim across the bay, put some wheat-ears between her teeth from the field on the other side, and then swim back again. The distance to and fro would be about a mile.
On my return to the inn I found a turf fire lighted without any direction of mine, a mode of welcome not at all acceptable this warm weather. The hostess is a stout well-meaning woman, though rather too fussy. She places before me some oysters and eggs, scanty fare enough. She tells me she is the mother of eighteen children. Oh fancy!
My hostess tells me a pretty story of one of her eighteen, a boy. He went to London en route for Australia, and wrote from the metropolis to say, that though he had seen all the sights there, he still thought no place equal to Kinvarra.

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