Freeman’s Journal 28th March, 1868 p11 (abridged)
Lough Cooter is the largest lake in the south of county Galway, with many wooded islands lying in its bosom, and lovely views between them. The ‘Castle,’ belonging to the Gough family is a modern erection, in the castellated style, standing on the west bank of the lake, and commanding a most exquisite view, while the lawn slopes down to the water’s edge. Beautiful grounds, richly supplied with trees, surround the house, part of them planted and laid out, part left for the deer to wander about. A gateway and lodge stand at each end of the grounds ; and after passing through the whole length, we returned by another route to Gort in time for the quiet benediction in the little convent chapel.
Travellers from Galway and its neighbourhood proceed by coach via Gort to Ennis, and as there are many emigrants, the coach is often full. This was the case on the morning on which I left Gort, and accordingly two ‘long cars’ were furnished from the coach office, which were rapidly filled with emigrants from Gort. The whole cortege, started from the office in the main street and it was a strange and sorrowful sight to see the partings. A crowd of people collected round the passengers: mothers and brothers and sisters were saying good-bye, weeping, wailing and sometimes howling; kisses were given, last greetings exchanged; promises to write soon, to send money over, and ‘bring the others out’ were uttered and, at last, away they went.
I noticed that the best were going — the young, strong, and vigorous — the old, the feeble, and children were left behind.
By my side sat two young girls, strong, healthy, and active. They were going into the world, and had discarded the blue cloak and stuck on their heads showy bonnets much too small for them, profusely decorated with tulle and artificial flowers and with broad strings of white ribbon. When we were fairly out of town, passing through the solitary monotonous country and admiring friends were left behind, out came the large shawls, in which head, bonnet, and all were fully enveloped.
They became confidential and told me they were going to America to get places. On my suggesting that they could find such at home, they shook their heads and said not with such wages as in America. When they were tired of talking they took out their books and began to read, and, peeping over the shoulder of the one next me, perceived the volume carried with her was a prayer-book.