W. R. (William Robert) Wilde.

The beauties of the Boyne, and its tributary, the Blackwater online

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Contents.— 1. The old Munster Bar. 2. Irish Pulpit Eloquence— Dean Kirwan. 3. Romance in
High Life. 4. O'Connelliana. 5. Power of the Priesthood— Endowment. G. Defence of Highfort.
7. The Penal Days. 8. Provincial Ambition— Gerald Callaghan. &. A Night of Horror. 10. Ter-
rors of the Law. 11. A Scotchman in Munster. 12. The Irish Nobility— Imperial Nationality.

TRELAND SIXTY YEARS AGO. A new and cheap Edition.

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Contents.— 1. State of Society and the City of Dublin— Liberty Roys and Ormond Boys— Colle-
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Clubs— the Misses Kennedy— Miss Knox. 4. Civic Processions— Riding the Franchises— the Liber-
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before i^rry was stretched— the Kilmainham Minit— Executioners — Bull-baiting— Lord Altham's
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United Irislimen — James Farrell — Expulsion of Power and Ardagh- Cause of the Visitation— its
Proceedings —Lord Clare— Dr. Browne— Dr. Stokes— its Effects— Sketch of Farrell— of Corbett.
13. Lord Clare's Funeral. 14. The Gib's Parliamentary Privileges— Fire in the House of Commons.


LAND, in English Metrical Translations, by Miss Brooke, Dr. Drummond, Samuel
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The materials for this book were collected during excursions,
made from time to time, to the Boyne, for health, amusement,
or instruction. With a desire to illustrate some of the scenery
and antiquities of my native land, fragments of the original rough
sketches were published in the Dublin University Magazine,
among the series of " Irish Rivers," now appearing in that
periodical. Although the space allotted to such subjects in a
serial did not permit of lengthened descriptions of any of the
places of note which fringe this river's banks, the interest which
had been awakened by those rapid sketches of the Beauties of
the Boyne was such as to induce the Publisher to request that
I would again visit the great river of Meath, make further
observations, collect additional information, include the Black-
water, and publish the materials thus obtained, in the form
of an illustrated Hand-book for these charming but hitherto
neglected streams.

It may be regarded as a boast, but it is nevertheless incon-
trovertibly true, that the greatest amount of authentic Celtic
history in the world, at present, is to be found in Ireland ;
nay more, we believe it cannot be gainsaid that no country
in Europe, except the early kingdoms of Greece and Rome,
possesses so much ancient written history as Ireland. It


is, however, generally speaking, unknown ; heretofore it has
neither been appreciated nor understood ; until very lately the
great mass of Irish historic manuscripts was scattered and inac-
cessible. Many of these have, within the last few years, been
collected together, and several have been translated into English
and published ; others are in course of publication, but in forma
which (though no doubt the very best) are not within reach of
the general reader, neither would they be always understood or
valued by such. To popularize these — to render my country-
men familiar with facts and names in Irish history — has been
one of the objects I have had in view in the historic portion
of this work. Materials for books of this description are now
so abundant that the chief difficulty is in selection.

Throughout the following pages I have alluded to the want
of a correct Irish history, and the neglect of such histories of our
country as we possess, I would here again (because I do not
think it can be done too often) revert to this subject. TheBoard
of National Education, — with whose scheme of instruction, so
far as it goes, I agree, and many of whose books I very much
admire, — while they teach the history of Kamtschatka, and the
geography of the Andes, never once allude, in their system of
education, to the national history of the people they are em-
ployed to teach. Nor need this be wondered at, when I
mention the fact that an eminent publisher of my acquaintance
having some few years ago, in the issue of a popular, and, to
my mind, a very unprejudiced abridgement of Irish history,
written a circular to the different schoolmasters in Ireland,
calling their attention to this little work, was answered by some
of those who deigned to honour him with a reply, that the time
devoted by their pupils to the study of history of any kind
was barely sufficient for those of Greece, Rome, and England I
How long will parents and guardians submit to this? That


Irish history is looked upon as a fable by many ignorant
persons is not surprising ; but that the ordinarily educated —
and, above all, that the learned of any country — should be
unacquainted with the materials of our Irish history, is a la-
mentable fact, and shows either want of knowledge, or utter
indifference to the subject.

I was forcibly reminded of this a short time ago, in casting
my eyes over that very beautiful book, Macaulay's " Lays
of Ancient Eome," in the preface to which, when speaking
of the early literature and metrical romances on which the
history of most nations is founded, the great modern his-
torian very justly says: "A man who can invent or embel-
lish an interesting story, and put it into a form which others
may easily retain in their recollection, will always be highly
esteemed by a people eager for amusement and information,
but destitute of libraries. Such is the origin of ballad poetry, —
a species of composition which scarcely ever fails to spring
up and flourish in every society, at a certain point in the
progress towards refinement. Tacitus informs us that songs
were the only memorials of the past which the ancient Ger-
mans possessed." And so the author passes in review the early
"poetic literature" and " ancient lays" of the various nations
of the earth ; the Gauls, the primitive Teutonic and Celtic
races of the European continent, the Danes and Anglo-Saxons,
the Welsh and Scottish Highlanders, the Servians and Peru-
vians, the people of Persia and Turkomania, the Sandwich
Islanders, the Etruscans and Castilians, the ancient Greeks,
and even the inhabitants of Central Africa, whose bards have
sung, and whose traditions have perpetuated the story of their
early history ; — all, except those of the neighbouring island,
Ireland, find a place in the preface of the work we allude to.

But worse than this, the last historian who has attempted


to compile and arrange the annals of our country, knew little
or nothing of those rich sources of knowledge in the ancient
Gaelic manuscripts from which alone our history can be ob-
tained. Thus remarks Mr. O'Donovan, in his preface to The
Battle of Magh-Kath, which, with the name of the monarch
who fought it, is not even once alluded to in Moore's History
of Ireland: " Mr. Moore is confessedly unacquainted with the
Irish language; and the remains of our ancient literature were,
therefore, of course inaccessible to him. That great ignorance
of these unexplored sources of Irish history should be found
in his pages is, therefore, not surprising ; but he ought to have
been more conscious of his deficiencies in this respect than to
have so boldly hazarded the unqualified assertion, that there
exist in the Irish annals no materials for the civil history of
the country."

The scientific, as well as the literary and archaeological cha-
racter of our country, has not fallen ofi" of late years; our Uni-
versity and our schools of medicine have borne an honourable
part in the advance of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine.
Three new colleges have been lately established. The great-
est telescope, the most scientific magnetic observatory, and
the first atmospheric railway, were constructed in Ireland.
A survey, the most accurate in its details, and the most ex-
tensive in its objects, that any country in Europe has yet been
submitted to, has just been completed; and the last enumera-
tion of the people has been, with justice, pronounced by the
London Statistical Society, " a model for a census." Unfor-
tunately for the country, either from the indifference of minis-
ters, the unjust economy which the English Exchequer has ever
pursued towards Ireland, or from some mismanagement at home,

perhaps from a little of each or all, — the memoirs of the

Iiis.h Ordnance Survey have — I would hope only for the pre-


sent — been abandoned. As, however, the materials which have
been collected for them are the property of the country, and
are a necessary portion of her history, they must some day,
sooner or later, meet the light. Without those materials, and
sources of information — which, I may remark, could not
have been collected or procured by private means or indivi-
dual exertion — the various works relating to ancient Irish
history, which have of late years issued from the press, never
would have appeared in their present extensive form.

The Board of Works has of late done good service, parti-
cularly to the inland navigation of the country ; and our agri-
cultural and industrial resources have also, within the last few
years, received an impulse which we would ardently antici-
pate may be both permanent and extensive.

In the last tenor fifteen years much has been done to develope
the literary resources of this country. The Royal Irish Aca-
demy, the old chartered patron of Irish literature and anti-
quities, has awoke from the apathetic slumber in which it
remained during the early part of this century, when papers
and communications were admitted into its Transactions, of
which, some were not founded on fact, and others, by the
crude and fanciful theories of their authors, brought upon us
the ridicule of other European nations; while, at the same
time, it permitted some of our oldest and best records, and
most valuable antiquities, to pass into another country. Of
late, however, a zeal and an enthusiasm, and, we would hope,
a nationality, unparalleled in the history of any other Irish
institution, has been infused amongst its members and its
Council, and it has amply redeemed its past indifference,
by creating a museum of Celtic and early Christian antiqui-
ties, unexampled in tJae British isles, and only suipassed
(if it be surpassed) by that of Copenhagen, which is, how-


ever, inferior to our's in this respect, that the same historic
references do not exist there with regard either to the Pagan
or Christian antiquities, but particularly the latter, which are
also less numerous and interesting. And although the Pagan
antiquities at Copenhagen ar? much more numerous than our's,
it does not appear that the types of form or structure are
much more diversified than those which the museum of the
Irish Academy possesses. Why has the catalogue of this, our
national collection, been so long delayed ? Why is not each
new specimen of interest figured in the Proceedings of the
Academy, and its description thus widely distributed among
the public ? We know that many valuable acquisitions have
been gained by visiters calling accidentally at the museum ;
many more would, we feel convinced, find their way into this
collection, if some general and popular means existed of
giving an account of those which are there already. The
miserable pittance which is doled out to this noble institution
by Parliament, may be used as a reason against this project;
but, while we acknowledge the full effect of all this, we would
suggest that wood-engraving, which is quite applicable to all
purposes of antiquarian delineations and is now remarkably
cheap, should be extensively employed; and as most of the
antiquities have already been drawn at the expense of the
Academy, even fifty pounds a year would do much towards
illustrating them.

By Dr. Petrie's great work upon the Ecclesiastical Architec-
ture and Round Towers of Ireland, the Academy has widely
extended its fame, and the first great impetus has been given
to the true eclectic investigation of Irish history and anti-
quities. But not by deep archajological research alone, but
by his popular sketches in the Penny Journals, has Dr. Petrie
generated a taste, and created a school of Irish Archjeology.


He should have written this book ; his profound knowledge of
Irish history and antiquities, — his intimate acquaintance with
the subjects of which it treats, — his graphic powers of descrip-
tion, and his surpassing abilities as an artist, all combine to ren-
der him better suited for the task than any other man living.
Because he has not done so I have ventured, sed longo intervallo,
to describe the scenery presented along the Boyne and the
Blackwater, to direct public attention to their antiquarian re-
mains, and to popularize their annals and history.

We have lately had a proof of the growing interest which is
taken in the antiquarian departmentof our Academy, not only
by our own, but by other nations. The Danish government
sent over Mr. Worsaae, a gentleman of distinguished merit,
great shrewdness of observation, and most captivating manners,
to investigate and report upon our collection. With a becom-
ing spirit of liberality, the Academy presented to the Royal
Society of Northern Antiquaries, through the person to whom
I have just alluded, a splendid series of drawings, illustrative
of our finest antiquities, and also several specimens of the
antiquities themselves, of which duplicates existed. In return,
that learned body have lately presented a collection of Danish
antiquities to the Academy. This is, I believe, the first in-
stance of good feeling between the Irish and the Danes which
our annalists have as yet been able to record.

In the historic department, the Irish Archaeological Society
has done more to elucidate the annals and records of our coun-
try than had been effected during the previous century. Pri-
vate individuals and enterprising publishers are likewise en-
gaged in this good work. The publication of the Annals of
the Four Masters by Messrs. Hodges and Smith is the greatest
acquisition ever made to Irish history. The Celtic Society
has also done the state some service, and promises well in this


department of research. We are, moreover, happy to find that
this body does not consider itself a mere transcriber, transla-
tor, and commentator on the written labours of the past; but
has also constituted itself a conservator of those monuments
and architectural remains which the Vandalism of modern
commissioners would destroy. Some of these gentlemen, we
regret to say, possess little knowledge of, and less taste and
interest in, those relics that teach the antiquary, mark the
historic era, or adorn the landscapes of our native land.

The nonsensical fancies of Vallancey and his school of ima-
ginary antiquaries have long since been dispelled by the la-
bours of Petrie, O' Donovan, Hardiman, Todd, Eugene Curry,
Reeves, Graves, and other modern investigators.

Strangers even who lately visited our soil have become in-
fected by the general feeling of enthusiasm which has per-
vaded all classes and parties and some of them have ably and
generously devoted the pages of their periodicals to the elu-
cidation of Irish history and antiquities.*

Her Majesty Queen Victoria, with her illustrious consort,
has just visited this portion of her dominions, and by their
coming amongst us, have done more to put down disaffection,
and elicit the loyal feelings and affections of the Irish people,
than armies thousands strong, fierce general ofHcers, trading
politicians, newspaper writers, and the suspension of the Habeas
Corpus Act, &c. &c. Let us hope that her welcome visit will
be soon repeated.

I have now but to express my obligations to those kind
Iriends who have assisted me in the compilation of the historic
and antiquarian portion of this woi'k. First, to my excel-
lent friend, .John O'Donovan, — whose labours in the cause of

* Sw the Ilistorit-al Taliloaux, in iiuiiibers KJO and 1G2 of Chambers's
EiUiibiiifrh Jfiiinial for 1S47.


Irish Archa?ology are already so well known to the learned in
Great Britain, and which are so frequently referred to in this
book, that it seems scarcely necessary to allude to them here ;
— who has assisted me largely, and devoted much time and at-
tention in the revision of proofs, and in pointing ou,t the sources
from which I might gain illustrative materials. I know no man
possessing the same amount of knowledge, gleaned with the
same labour and research, who is more liberal of it than Mr.
O'Donovan ; and to this every one who has been engaged, either
in strict archaeological research, or, like myself, in popularizing
our history, must bear testimony.

The Very Reverend Richard Butler, Dean of Clonmacnoise,
has also placed me, as regards this work, under many obliga-
tions. His long residence at Trim, of which he has become
the historian, and his intimate acquaintance with the ancient
history of the county of Meath, render him better fitted for the
task of a critic upon a book treating of the Boyne, than any
other living antiquary ; and in the same generous manner as
Mr. O'Donovan, he has, as he always does, assisted those who
require the aid of his matured judgment and extensive read-

I have to express my obligations to Mr. George Smith, the
enterprising publisher of so many works connected with the
history of Ireland, for permission to examine and extract from
the early portion of that part of the Annals of the Four Masters,
now in course of translation by Mr. O'Donovan. With the
Editor's permission, he placed the unpublished sheets of that
great work at my disposal.

Indeed, without the assistance of so many generous as well
as learned friends, I could not have produced this work in its
present form. I do not profess to be an antiquary or an his-
torian ; other avocations of a professional nature occupy more


of my time than the acquirement of strict and exact archaeo-
logical knowledge would permit; but I have endeavoured,
with the assistance of my friends, and by means of such sources
of information as were readily at hand, while I popularized our
history and sketched our scenery (chiefly as a source of health-
ful relaxation from more fatiguing pursuits) to present nothing
to the reader that was not strictly true. Had more time been
devoted to the subject, this might, perhaps, have been made a
better book, but we doubt whether it would be more suited
to the purpose for which it is intended.

With the exception of the illustration upon the first page,
and the woodcut at page 67, which were drawn by Mr. Grey,
and the drawings by Mr. Connolly, engraved at pages 38, 40,
and 195, all the illustrations of this work have been sketched,
and afterwards drawn on wood by Mr. Wakeman, who is al-
ready so favourably known both as an artist and an antiquary,
by his useful Handbook of Irish Antiqiiities, and who com-
bines great artistic skill with a peculiar knowledge of the sa-
lient points of the antiquities or ruins he may be engaged in
illustrating. I am likewise indebted to Mr. Wakeman for
much local information, which his residence on the banks of
the Boyne for the last two years enabled him to collect.

Mr Hanlon, the wood-engraver, has also borne no inconsi-
derable part in the illustrations of the Beauties of the Boyne.
And last, though not least, whatever pleasure or profit the
fireside reader or the tourist may derive from the perusal of
this little book, is chiefly due to the enterprise of its spirited
publisher, Mr. M'^Glashan.

21, WeSTLA2s1)-R0W,

August 1849.



To this Second Edition of the Beauties of the Boyne and
Blackwater I have added a full and succinct account of the
battle fought at Oldbridge, in 1690, generally known as " The
Battle of the Boyne;" and have, I think, given a clearer and
fairer account of that memorable transaction, which is so inti-
mately connected with the history of Europe at the time, than
has heretofore appeared. I have also, since the issue of the
former edition, visited and carefully examined the ruins of
the celebrated monastic establishments at Mellifont andMonas-
terboice; I have had several accurate sketches made of them,
and I have also added full letter-press descriptions of these
places. The Index has also been made much more copious.
I have considerably increased the Itinerary, and given several
new routes, suited to tourists limited for time. These addi-
tions, together with some minor alterations throughout the
work, have considerably increased its pages, and it likewise
contains eleven new illustrations, making in all eighty-four

Dublin, 21, Westland-Row,
August, 1850.


IriNEUARY, xxi


THE river's source AND HISTORY.

Introduction — The Beauties of the Boyne; its Scenery and Historic Inte-
rest ; its Archseological Remains — Description of the ancient Kingdom
of Meath ; its History and Topography — Tlie Plains of Breghia — The
English Conquest — Dearvorgail, the Helen of the Irish Iliad — The
Pale — Geographical Description of the River — The Source, Origin, and
Derivation of the Boyne — Trinity Well ; its Legends and Antiquities
— The Story of Boan and Dabella, 1



Carbury ; its ancient History, Hill, and Castle — Genealogy of the Duke
of Wellington — The Boyne's Progress through the King's County —
Edenderrj' — Ruins of Monasteroris — The Berminghams — Alteration of
English into Irish Names — Return to Kildaro — Kinnafad Castle — A
Battle-field ; the Men who fought there, and their Weapons — Grange
—The Hill of Carrick; its Church, Well, and Castle— View of the
Plains of Leinster — Toberaulin — Lady Well— Irish Holy Wells — Bal-
ly bogan; its Church and Priory, 27



Clonavd — Description of C«sar Otway— The Battle of 1798— Ancient