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walls and clustered dwellings pleasantly and many of his servants and followers. seated on the side and summit of a During the parliamentary war, in which steep hill
. The back ground is oc- the Roches were staunch royalists, the cupied by a spacious mill turned by castle sustained many sieges; and, in the river. From the opposite shore 1649, was defended with great brarises the bosom of a lofty height, tree
for several days, by Lady Roche, clad and turret-crowned.
This is a
against Cromwell's army, who raised portion of a fine castle built near the a battery against it on the spot, since Mulla by the family of Roche, Lords called Camp-hill. Having fallen into Fermoy. It is now called Castle. the hands of the man Oliver,” Lord Widenham, the seat of the late H. M. Roche would not hold it on terms of Smyth, brother to the Princess of Capua. submission to him, on which the estates We are much gratified to find that the were declared confiscated, and Maurice portion of the dwelling lately erected Lord Roche retired to Flanders, where is in perfect harmony with the ancient his connexions procured for him the keep incorporated with it. This vene- command of a regiment. Here he rable tower rises high, and in proud shared his scanty pay, barely enough majesty, over the surrounding wood- to support himself and family, with lands, and, as we paced the battle- the exiled prince, and, like many a dements, we beheld on every side luded follower of the house of Stuart, à panorama of equal extent and expected the Restoration would have beauty.
given back the estates to the rightful The family who built this castle origi- owners, as well as the throne to the nally, and gave their name to tower rightful king ; but justice formed no and town, were distinguished for their part of the character of the Second birth and misfortunes. They were Charles. It is an axiom of our political descended from David de-la-Roche, or faith that no immoral, dishonest private de-Rupe, who lived in the reign of character can be the reverse in a public Edward II. They came to this country one; and it is no slander of the dead to shortly after the English settled in it, say, both one and the other was Charles and were created Lords Fermoy. By the Second. The Earl of Orrery, in intermarriage with the houses of the a letter to the Duke of Ormond, dated Irish chieftains, they became identified January 14, 1667, recommends Lord with Ireland. In A. D. 1580 this Roche and his children to the Duke's castle was suddenly visited by Sir care, in these words:—" It is a great Walter Raleigh, who conveyed Lord grief to me to see a nobleman of so and Lady Roche to Cork, where they ancient a family left without any mainremained for a short time in confine- tenance; and being able to do no more ment on suspicion of disloyalty, but than I have done, I could not deny to his lordship having disproved the do for him what I could do, to lament charge, they were speedily restored to his lamentable state to your grace.”. freedom. A stone imbedded in the Adjoining the Castle-Widenham dechurch wall bears the following inscrip- mesne are some tastefully laid out tion, which, from the date, must refer hanging gardens, belonging to another to them:
Mr. Smith, who has expended a large
sum in making available every inch of "Orate
surface on rocks rising from the bed of Pro bono statu Domini Maurici
the river. Leaving those behind, the Roche Viceco
stream takes a circular sweep through mes de Fermoy et
a beautiful glen, enriched with luxuriant plantations, and, after flowing
beneath the arches of Kilcummer. Pro Anima ejus
bridge, forms a confluence with the Anno Domini 1585."
Avondhu, beside the majestic ruins of
Bridgetown Abbey. Ballynadroghid, How faithful this family have ever or Bridgetown, has disappeared, and been to the monarchs of England is no stone remains to point out where fully disclosed in the losses they sus- once the town stood. Of two bridges tained. In a petition preferred to the which formerly crossed the rivers, only lords of the council in England, Anno one remains; and now that is tottering, 1614, it is set forth that, in Tyrone's re- and likely to follow its fellow : but here bellion, Lord Roche had three sons slain, are the Abbey ruins in their strength
-and here is sculptured stone-work cherub smiles still, and the hard lips likely to last ;—for ages have rolled by mock at decay. The Abbey ruins since the chisel cut the stone, and the are most extensive.
“Cypress and ivy, weed and wallflower grown,
Matted and massed together-hillocks heap'd
This Abbey, according to Archdall,* where Eolus slumbers, and, as the two was founded in the reign of King John, rivers met in their course, the greeting by Alexander Fitzhugh Roche, dedi- was gentle and subdued, as if each was cated to the Blessed Virgin, and sup- unwilling to break the profound replied with canons regular from the pose. Never was day more suited to Priory of Newtown, in the county of the scene. The old walls were gleam. Meath, and the Abbey of St. Thomas, ing in the sunshine which streamed in Dublin. Edward I. confirmed the through the noble windows, the broken endowment; and the Roche family, on gables, and fissured cells. One might whose lands it stood, added con- have deemed the emblazoned panes siderably to the original foundation. restored when the flickering light fell When, in 1375, Edward III. issued
in golden rays upon the grass in the his writ to the bishops and commons, aisles. The air was so still, that creepto elect persons to assist him and his ing plants hung in natural festoons council, as well touching the govern, along the walls, without any perment of the kingdom, as for aid and ceptible motion, and wild flowers support in his wars, Thomas, then seemed to present themselves in conprior of this house, was one of those scious security on their slender stalks, deputed for this purpose.
and feared not the myriads of insects It was a lovely summer day, when, that filled the air with sound, while, in company with some highly-gifted poised on their wings, they rested friends, we last visited the ruined Ab- overhead. bey. No envious cloud darkened the The ruins extend over some acres fair face of nature. Every object of ground. The most beautiful porthe birds of the air, the beasts of the tion, by far, is the Abbey Church, field, the creatures of the earth- which can vie with the most celebrated seemed to rejoice in a holiday. The in any country. The architecture is, wind lay hushed in some dark cave in Byron's words
“Of a rich and rare
Close to the high altar is a monument, corner moulding, on the altar side, a supposed to be that of the founder, head, in high relief, is most unacfrom a portion of a shield bearing a countably placed, without anything fish, yet distinguishable, and the arms similar to correspond as a balance. of the Roches being, three roaches In a small chapel adjoining is a tomb, naint. Mr. Crofton Crokert remarks inscribed, Theobald Roche, 1634, and of this monument :-“ The extreme several curiously sculptured gravewildness of construction in the arch is stones are strewn around. The whole remarkable, the termination of one body of the ruin is in a sadly neside being square and massive, the glected state, full of weeds and stones. other straight and sharp. Irregularity Emerging from the chapel we found seems to have been the designer's chief ourselves in a quadrangle ; cloisters, object, and yet an uniformity of effect the refectory, and other apartments, is preserved. About the middle of the used as the habitation of the brethren,
* Monasticon Hib. 57.
lie around. We spent several hours spot, in unison with the poetic visions in exploring the time-worn walls, and, which may be supposed to haunt it. on departing, felt loath to leave so This majestic tree is called “Spenser's sweet a spot.
Oak," and beneath its shade the poet The Mulla has now merged in the often rested. Tradition asserts that Blackwater, and we must bid farewell ; here he composed great part of the but ere we leave, we follow the com- Faerie Queene ; and, doubtless, here bined streams a few hundred yards, was much to calm his thoughts, and and enter the demesne of Spenser's allow his mind to feed upon the deli“ Renny” We have already learned cious repast his intellectual store furhis family continued to reside here nished. Waving trees are still around, after his death. A good modern man- and the voice of birds, not caged or sion is now standing in front of the confined within the walls of men's abode of the Spensers, and majestic dwelling, but free denizens of the sky, rocks frown boldly upon the stream. carolling their songs louder as they Continuing by the river side we find
approach that heaven, where all that is large plantations, and meet a giant oak, bright shall live eternally. Perhaps it the object of our pilgrimage. There was this very tree Spenser had before is a quiet, solitary stillness about this him when he penned these lines :
“There grew an aged oak on the green;
A goodly oak sometime had it been,
Truly, Spenser was the poet of nature; and honour to his memory while the Mulla flows.
To these childish pursuits we were in- cupied by their chieftains and follow. debted for much pleasure in older ers, defended the frontiers throughout years. Many of the traditions we ga- this district. thered then have proved of consider- The river flows due south to Kanable value when turned to illustrate
turk, a very considerable town in the the local history now. In tracing the County of Cork. This place formerly source of the legend we have been belonged to the Mac Carthys, kings of led to some hidden mine of statistical
Desmond, and a splendid Castle still and topographical lore that otherwise rears its quadrangular sides about a might have continued hidden for ages. mile south, commenced by Donough Old ballads, rudely chaunted, have Mac Carthy in Queen Elizabeth's reign. preserved events ungleaned in the field It is a parallelogram, 120 feet in length, of the historian, and from the peasant's 80 in breadth, flanked by four square lips have we heard narratives unre. towers. It was built of such durable corded by former explorers. This ob- materials--the window-frames, coynes, ject led us to visit the localities in beltings, and battlements of hewn stone, which Spenser had laid the scenes of his that it does not seem to have suffered exquisite stanzas—the founts whence much from the lapse of time, and has he drew his inspiration—the humble almost the same appearance as when rills along which he rambled, and from the works were stopped ; for a rethe glassy depths of which he extracted presentation having been made to the the smooth harmony that gives its ma- Queen that this Castle was too imporgic to his verse; we wished to see how tant to belong to a private subject, far the reality corresponded with what and nothing short of a strong and rewe read, to find out with what truth- gular fortress, the lords of the Council fulness the scenes had been depicted, of England transmitted an order to how much was due to imagination, this country to suspend the works. It how much to fact. These were among would appear from history that so far the motives which led us to Spenser's from any cause of fear being justly enstreams, and now we hear the “Strong tertained with reference to Mac CarAllo,” or the “echoing river" tum- thy's loyalty, a well-grounded confibling from its cradle of hills.
dence should have warded off suspiA long chain of highlands form the cion, for this very Donagh Mac Carthy boundary on the north of the County fought to the death against the insurof Cork, and separate it from Lime- gents, having been killed in Tyrone's rick. They run through a primitive rebellion, and his lands in Duhallow region, each height denoted by some seized by his kinsman, Dermod Macappropriate name, as Knock Duff, the Carthy, who aided the rebel chief. In Black Hill; Knock Temple, the Hill January, 1611, Cormac, the heir of of the Church, and so on ; extensive Donagh, had the lands restored on pebogs stretch their long dark surface tition to James I. The lands subsefrom the foot of these hills, and through quently were ruled over by the Egmont the glens, broken into patches where family. Kanturk forms the confluence cultivation has successfully invaded the of the Allo and Dalua, or the river of turf mould. This district is rich in two rapid streams which flows by Castle geological subjects, and in the neigh- M-Auliffe to Newmarket, and after bourhood of the Red Bog a vein of culm running under a handsome bridge at has lately been discovered, but, like the Kanturk unites with the echoing rest of our national resourees, the want Allo. of enterprise, or the absence of means, The town of Kanturk and its neigh. has hitherto kept it quite neglected. bour Newmarket must possess consiIt is here the Allo has its birth. There derable interest to the lovers of Irish bar are few habitations of any pretension eloquence, for both boast of a distinin this wild region, Castle Ishen, the guished lawyer having his nativity in seat of Sir James Fitzgerald, and Glen- their respective precincts_Yelverton field, a mansion of the Boyle family, in Kanturk and Curran at Newmarket. being almost the only ones. There are It was not without some emotion we some ruins of the old castle near the wandered to the latter town, and beformer, but they have no claim to a de- held the rushing Oon Dalua leaptailed notice. This entire country once ing from the dark recesses of the imbelonged to the powerful Fitzgeralds pending mountains. Minds do exist, of Desmond, and a chain of castles, oc. souls dead to every fine impulse, that
would feel no patriot throb on the wooded hills that skirt its rapid way, hills
we reach a wild and singularly pictu
resque region, a wide sylvan expanse, " That look o'er sea-born Salamis," now unpeopled and solitary, where ve
getation seems under some ban, and or gaze with vacant air on the chapel the very air chilled and unnatural. of Tell, by the banks of Lake Lucerne. Here, in ancient days, ruled the MacThank heaven we are not of that des- Carthys, Kings of Desmond. Here picable class! We feel the deepest were the wild deer hunted and the reverence for every memorial of genius, great boars slain. Trees in scanty and love to contemplate what once was patches yet cling to the earth with tegreat and glorious in men's eyes, though nacious vitality, but they are stunted its day is over, in the same way that and deformed, as if struck by sudden we look on the western clouds which
and incurable blight. Heath and moorthe sun, though sunk to his rest, still land seem to have banished vegetation gilds, with bis parting rays, the latest from the soil, and, while the river murobjects on which his bright beams mured as if complainingly, on its fretful rested. Here in this little street Cur
and tortuous course, hurrying through ran played when a boy-here he walked this sterile region, it rung in our ear as a man-one of the most celebrated
like the voice of wailing spirits for the of his time. Like Erskine, his soul was desolation of the land they loved. It in his client's cause ; with the power is not wonderful that the country peoof his eloquence he vindicated the ple preserve a strong superstitious feelright, appalled the unjust, compelled ing when traversing this tract. They the strong arm of power to release the rarely venture at night, or when the victim of tyranny, and coerced hostile gray mantle of evening has fallen on juries to listen to the dictates of a ter. the drooping day, for strange lights, rified conscience. Like Erskine, and they say, ficker across the plain, and other distinguished advocates, he was suddenly illumine the broken walls not remarkable as a parliamentary and open casements of Castle M-Auliffe, speaker. It would have been impos- a bare, bleak mass of shattered masonsible in one so gifted to have failed in ry that topples over the Dalua's bed; his spirited addresses in the Irish House and ere the eyes can follow the meteor of Commons; but none of them equal ray, lo! gloom again has seized the his forensic efforts; in these he was un- chieftain's dwelling, and all around is equalled and unapproachable. A small dark and drear. country mansion, on the brink of a Of course this castle has left its traglen near Newmarket, belonged to dition, weird and strange enough in Curran, and was called the Priory.* all conscience, and only that it has This name originated from the con- already occupied our pages, we should vivial society of the wits of the day, narrate it here. In our paper on the called the Monks of the Screw, in Blackwatert the reader will find the which Curran held the office of Prior. legend of Mealan M‘Auliffe, as given He seems
to have prided himself in Mr. O'Flanagan's Blackwater Guide. upon holding so prominent a place This castle is now ruined and loneamongst the brethren, as the same some; but it stands the only object name was given to his residence near that gives a life-like notion to the re. Dublin. At this country seat he was gion where silence and solitude have wont to assemble a party of his friends fixed their awe-inspiring impress. We after the close of the Munster circuit, gladly leave this desolate scene. to which he always went while a prac- Returning to the confluence of the tising barrister, and, with the dear river at Kanturk, the united streams companions of his life, enjoyed the glide past the majestic walls of Castle familiar intercourse which he enlivened M‘Donagh, and mingle with the rollby his gaiety, and elevated by his pa- ing currents of the Blackwater, within triotism.
sight of Clonmeen Castle. Tracking the course of the Dalua Our wanderings beside the streams through the windings of the well which Spenser sung are over. We have
Vide Memoir of J. P. Curran, by Davis, xxxvi.