« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE COLERAINE SALMON-LEAP.
It is needless to say, that many "worthy sons » have been sent forth into the world, by Trinity College, Dublin; or, that as "a seat of sound learning and religious education," Ireland may thankfully regard her University as holding a high place among her national blessings.
THE COLERAINE SALMON LEAP, LONDONDERRY.
The employment of fishing, demanding neither a large outlay of capital, an organized combination of labour, nor yet that continuity of toil, which, to men in a but partially civilized condition, is always distasteful, suits well with the rude and hardy habits which, in all times and countries, have usually prevailed among the uncultivated inhabitants of the less accessible or more secluded parts of the sea-shore. That it is a highly-exciting employment, may be perceived by any spectator, who, from any part of the coast of Yorkshire, or Durham, or Northumberland, will watch the proceedings of the fishermen of the place, as they depart for, or return from, their herring-fishing expeditions, or address themselves to the difficult, and sometimes seemingly dangerous task of disentangling the salmon from their far-stretching nets; and to men in a semicultivated condition, excitement is ever welcome. Though, however, the fishing-trade, as exercised by the untutored inhabitants of a sea-coast village, require but little either of riches, or skill, or persevering labour, yet the fisheries of a country are often the sources of great commercial wealth. Amsterdam, as it has been said, "is built on herring-bones.” In order, however, to produce such results, the employment of skill, and the application of capital, are, alike, indispensable. At the commencement of the seventeenth century, the Dutch, according to Sir Walter Raleigh, employed three thousand vessels, and fifty thousand sailors, in fishing on the shores of Great Britain and Ireland, and annually exported thirty thousand tons of salted fish, the value of which, as an article of commerce, amounted to no less than £2,500,000; a sum which will appear astonishingly large, if the value of money, at that time, be taken into consideration. In matters of commercial intercourse, apparent disadvantages are sometimes found to be the sources of ultimate prosperity. In the instance already alluded to, the distance of Holland from her fisheries, situated on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, might well have been deemed a serious obstacle in the way of that success, of which it was, in fact, one great cause. It rendered private and individual fishing impracticable; and opened the eyes of all concerned to the necessity of combined exertion, division of labour, and economy of time and money; and such is the power of human skill and energy, that the Temple of Commerce may be as effectually reared upon a lonely rock,
“ Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean," as upon the most promising site which sagacity and foresight can select. Sir Walter
S. S.-VOL. III.
Raleigh attributed the superiority of the Hollanders in the fishery-trade, to their “merchant staplers, which made all things in abundance by reason of their storehouses ;” and under Dutch auspices it was, that the fisheries of Ireland first achieved their importance. That importance might, perhaps, by the judicious application of a larger amount of capital, be materially increased. In the meantime, the coasts of Ireland are diversified by various fishing-stations, as picturesque, perhaps, as any which Europe affords.
The Coleraine Salmon Leap, is that which immediately engages our attention.
Coleraine, situated in the county of Londonderry, on the river Bann, about three miles from the sea, is a place of ancient fame; but the navigation of the Bann being difficult, the trade of Coleraine is less prosperous than it otherwise might be. It is, however, a place of considerable commerce, and exports some of the most indispensable articles of traffic. Its main source of wealth and occupation consists in its Salmon fishery, the apparatus for which may be seen both above and below the town. In suitable parts of the river, weirs are erected for the entrapping of the fish ; and the salmon, taken in great numbers, are sent to the London market; the fishery thus constituting a very profitable branch of commerce. So numerous are the fish frequenting the river Bann, that the average amount of their value is estimated at £1,000 per annum. It is even said, that fifteen hundred salmon have been known to be taken from the net at a single draught. One of the most remarkable places of capture, distinguished by the name of “The Cuts,” is represented in the plate which accompanies this article. In by-gone days, the Bishop of Derry enjoyed, as it is said, the singular privilege of annually drawing a net here, on the first Monday after Midsummer. day, which Monday has hence acquired the appellation of “ Bishop's Monday.”
The scenery near “The Cuts,” is, as the accompanying engraving shows, exquisitely beautiful. Here, if we may not “sit on rocks,” we may at least
Muse over flood and fell,
Under certain circumstances, and in certain localities, scenes of extraordinary interest are presented by
THE SALMON FISHERY.
Countless lights are brightly beaming,
Through the murky veil of night;
Change the gloom to fitful light.
The reign of Queen Elizabeth—a period of prosperity and glory as it respected England-presents but a dark page in the history of Ireland. The distress of the people under the vice-regal government of Arthur, Lord Grey, was such, says Spencer, who was an eye-witness of it,“ as any stony heart would rue the same.” The populous and fertile country generally, and the province of Munster in particular, was desolated by war, pestilence, and famine ; and the Queen was informed, that within a short time,