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BLACK ROCK CASTLE, NEAR CORK.

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unbroken solitude, is the main characteristic of these romantic regions—a solitude which can scarcely fail to raise the mind above the trifles of ordinary life, and to dispose it to deep and serious meditation :

“ THYSELF how wondrous then !"is the thought that must present itself to the mind of the traveller who stands among these solemn mountains; the most enduring, perhaps, and unchangeable, of the works of the Great Creator. Very striking are the effects of light and shadow, and cloud and storm, in this region of the mountain and the lake. When the lightning's flash gleams amid its murky recesses, and the thunder's peal is reverberated from the hill-sides, the spectator has before him a scene calculated to suggest to his recollection the mysterious legends of the Hartz Mountains. The day here, often passes in a fitful strife of nature, inconceivable by those who are unacquainted with a "land of mountain and flood.”

“ That zone of dark hills-Ah! to see them all brightening,
When the tempest Alings out its red banner of lightning,
And the waters rush down 'mid the thunder's deep rattle,
Like clans from their hills at the voice of the battle ;
And brightly the fire-crested waters are gleaming,
And wildly on high, the hoarse eagles are screaming,
While bounding and flashing, a thousand wild fountains
Come down to the lake, from their home in the mountains."

Cork itself, however, and its vicinity, constitute at present, our more immediate subject.

The city occupies a deep valley, which is surrounded by gracefully-swelling hills, and studded by numerous beautiful villas. Through the midst of this lovely vale, flows the river Lee, as it hastens to mingle its waters with the ocean. About a mile above the city, this beautiful river throws out a second arm, which encircles in its embrace the greater part of Cork; a circumstance to which Spenser has alluded in the Faerie Queene ;

“ The spreading Lee, that like an island fayre,
Encloseth Corke with his divided flood.

The level plain, now occupied by a great commercial city, was, originally, a marshy swamp, broken up into islands; hence its name, Corcach; a word which signifies a marsh or fen; nor was it till the commencement of the eighteenth century, that the swamp was drained, and its numerous islets were united by means of bridges. Cork was now a city of canals ; not indeed of bright canals, like those which intersect the queen-like city of Venice, but of slow and sluggish water-trackways, like those which serve as means of communication between the different quarters of some of the towns of Holland. In process of time, these canals were covered in ; spacious streets were erected over them; and Cork became one of the most beautiful and salubrious, as well as most important, of the sea-ports of Ireland.

The plate which accompanies this article exhibits a distant view of Woodhill, with its splendid villas embosomed in luxuriant foliage, which in some parts

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kisses the water's edge. Opposite to the beautiful sloping banks of Woodhill, stands the Castle of Black Rock; an ancient structure, recently repaired and restored in admirable taste. It has one main circular tower, built of hewn stone; behind which, rises a smaller but more lofty turret, which overlooks a convenient harbour for light shipping To the rear are some castellated buildings, planned with due regard to the style of architecture which pervades the whole structure; that, namely, of the time of Edward I. Black Rock Castle has also a handsome portal opening upon the river, and called the Water Gate. The whole structure is imposing and ornamental ; and being, by its position, visible from almost every neighbouring quarter, it greatly adds to the beauty of the scenery which, in this part of its course, adorns the banks of the river Lee.

THE GRAND PARA DE, COR K.

The ancient City of Cork claims an ecclesiastical origin; St. Fioun Bair, popularly called Finbar, to whom, towards the close of the sixth century, a grant was made of the valley of the Lee, by a native Irish chieftain, having there founded an Abbey or Monastery, on a site very near that of the present cathedral. The foundation of this religious house is said to have been laid in the year 606. As a seminary of education, it obtained such celebrity, that before the death of its founder, it is said to have been frequented by no less than seven hundred monastic disciples. St. Finbar having remained seventeen years at the head of his abbey, died at Cloyne, in the church of which place his relics were long preserved in a silver shrine. Dugdale's Monasticon contains several particulars respecting the Abbey of Cork; which, at the dissolution of monastic establishments, was first granted to Cormac Mac Teigue Mac Carty; and afterwards, namely in the thirty-third year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to Sir Richard Grenville.

During the ninth and tenth centuries, Cork was frequently plundered by the Danes; but here, as in many other instances, the invaders having become the possessors and regular occupants of the conquered city, conferred upon it many benefits, and, in fact, laid the foundation of its subsequent mercantile importance. These northern rovers of the deep, “Sea-kings," as they have been styled, would seem to have been possessed of a large measure of intellectual power, as well as of daring prowess. Their forays appear to have been suggested rather by a love of glory, than by a thirst for gain. With keen-sighted appreciation, however, of the natural capabilities and aptitude for commercial purposes of the Irish coast, they became settlers in such localities as seemed to hold forth to them a probability of adequate remuneration; and laying aside their blood-stained arms, they were speedily transformed into industrious and peaceful traders. At the period of the conquest of Ireland by Henry II., the Danes were in

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