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Travel Notes – 1917

The Register, Adelaide, South Australia

Photo: EO'D

Photo: EO’D

18th June, 1917 p 6

XX By the Hon P McM. Glynn K.C. Minister for Home and Territories (abridged)

Gort, August 12, 1916. I arrived here on August 10. Names, not much else, have changed. Some old people, some middle-aged, knew me; their faces are not those of the past. Newquay, twelve Irish miles from here, is changed. The four or five white cottages facing the beach of shingle and sand, looking across the opening of ihe Straits towards Aughinish, are in ruine. It was difficult to identify the location of the seaside cottage in which, during some summer months, we lived.

Driving round by the flaggy shore to Ballyvaughan and then across a gap in the Burren Mountains towards Kinvara, from which is a fine view of the inner-part of Galway Bay.  The promontory of Aughinish and the swift current of the sea between it and the mainland is open; along dusty, limestone roads; the crumbling walls of deserted houses are seen in many places by the way. Most people of. the past seem to have gone to heaven or the United States.

Politics, as they go, are still matters of conversational interest here. The Sinn Fein movement is mentioned by some with sympathy for motive and contempt for methods and organization. The rising came as a surprise, if not a shock, to some persons, but there were, or are, scattered sympathisers or objectors to the more, drastic of the methods of repression among the middle as well as the working classes. For among those who paid the inevitable penalty of revolt in time of war were some leaders of ripe scholarship and. in other respects, stainless lives; ‘Poets of the Insurrection’ as they were called, whose mistakes of judgment, policy, and method are lightly regarded by those of emotional temperament to whom disinterestedness primarily appeals.

Discontent now turns on the recent check to Home Rule as expressed an the Government of Ireland Act, 1914. There is a feeling that the political system – Union Government – is still the source of any economic maladjustments, and that the country will at once flower under the working of autonomy.

At Loughrea, behind the house of my brother James, are the ruins of an old abbey, one of the finest of the monastic days, and the Abbey walk. Across the road is the Carmelite church and monastery, and beyond sloping country, with a good growth of meadow grass and trees. Loughrea is situated on a lake, on the far bank of which the historic or traditional Fian ma Cumhill had some of his escapades. It has an excellent cathedral church, built by the lake; finished in every point of architectural design.

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