Laura M Starin.

A trip to Europe : being some account of the wanderings of a small family party online

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Late in the day took train for five hours' ride,
including many stops, making it rather tedious,
though we saw the famous peat bogs of Ireland,
the low, one-storied cottages of the poor, white-
washed and looking neat, yet so small they bore
little trace of comfort. The land looked poor ;
some fields of grain and flax were being harvested ;
have not found linen very abundant or cheap in
Dublin whence we came from Belfast. Drove a
long way in Phoenix Park ; contains 1,750 acres



84 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

of ground, fine large trees, with herds of cows and
deer in large numbers grazing there. Fine roads,
too, zoological and flower gardens at different
entrances to the Park.

The chief objects of interest in Dublin are
Trinity College, Nelson's Monument, and those
to O'Connell and other notables. The city
is situated on a bay of same name ; the city
is divided by the river Liffey, and connected
by fine substantial bridges, like many of the
European cities. Saw the residence of the Lord
Lieutenant, near the Park. Streets broad, and
plenty of soldiers, English, Scotch and red coats.
Life size statues of Goldsmith and Burke stand on
either side of entrance to Trinity College — these
men were students there. Weather rainy and un-
comfortably cool; thermometer stands at 58 degrees.

August STH.— Left Dublin by rail ; a dark,
cool, rainy day ; could hardly keep comfortable
in cars ; over one hundred miles distant to Kil-
larney, whither we are bound, through a poor
country, peat bogs, and occasionally a small cot-
tage of one story, goats, cows, and flocks of geese
in the meadows. The country mostly level and
swampy, the pink heather in blossom here and
there, till we drew near Killarney, when high hills
or mountains diversified the scenery. A sudden



"THE OULD SOD." 8$

curve in the road brought us to the desired station.
Hotel porters and omnibuses seemed to indicate
quite a town. We were recommended to the
" Royal " as a stopping-place, so seated ourselves
in omnibus belonging thereto, which was soon
filled with passengers, thus proving its popularity.
We were driven through the village, composed of
one long street, with small stores on either side.
I have never seen so many dirty, barefooted
women together before. On every street corner
stood a slovenly woman, with her child in arms,
a shawl wrapped about them both ; poor and dirty
was the average. We drove for two miles, I
should think, through highways and woods to our
hotel, which stands in an open space a short dis-
tance from Lake Killarney, so celebrated in song
as the home of Kate Karney. The lakes are pic-
turesque, with islands and row-boats, the moun-
tains towering up from the lakes, three in number,
one five miles long, one two and a half miles.
Row-boats alone are used for excursions.

I am too anxious to get home, now that our
tour is nearly finished by land. One week more
before embarking on " City of Rome " for New
York. I must confess to a feeling of homesickness
and impatience for the happy day when we shall
begin our ocean ride, still more so for the termina-



86 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

tion of it. May a kind and watchful Providence
guide our ship and favor us with fair weather and
a pleasant passage to our beloved land and home,
sweet home.

Harriet, James and I took a row on Lake Kil-
larney ; enjoyed it too. The sun came out
brightly ; later it rained, as it does very often in
Ireland, the Emerald Isle, a name given in conse-
quence of this, possibly. The oarsman, a typical
Irishman, entertained us with legends of the shore
and rocks. We saw ruins of castle and monastery
of the early centuries ; altogether had a pleasant
afternoon. The three lakes and connecting rivers
extend a distance of fifteen miles.

The days are gradually passing ; time, like an
ever rolling flood, is bearing us on ; just now it
cannot pass too quickly, as I am so anxious to
start for home and America. Three months seem
a long time to be wandering through strange lands.
We sometimes find a hotel that we like and are
made comfortable in^ though seldom, yet have
patronized the best recommended in every city.
Shall appreciate home the more for our exper-
ience.

It has been said of going from home, that it
would be far less pleasant to go if one had nothing
to leave, therefore nothing to regret. What a



"THE OULD SOD" 87

mockery would that going be, with nothing to
return to with joy ; no one to Hsten and sympa-
thize and wonder at the recital of adventure and
experience ! This gives zest to one's return. I
hope our experience will be profitable in
knowledge of foreign countries and customs, of
which we have read and talked all our lives and
of knowing by separation from family and home
how to appreciate both. How blest I am and how
dear they are to me !

Harriet and I came on to the City of Cork
from Killarney alone, as James took a stage
ride of forty miles by another route, to see the
country and its inhabitants in their everyday life
and state. He will join us to-day. We expect to
spend Sunday here in Cork ; it seems to be a lively
commercial city, situated on bay of same name ; the
river Lee divides it; good substantial bridges.
The city is very dirty ; ragged, barefooted, deso-
late women and girls beg in the street bareheaded,
sights that are never seen in cities of the New
World. We remained in Cork from Friday until
the following Monday. Found our hotel, the
*' Imperial," quite poor— the name to the contrary ;
it was old and poorly kept. So were glad to bid
adieu to both hotel and city. The morning we
left was showery, yet we took landau and drove to



88 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

the famous Blarney Castle, a distance of six miles
through the college grounds. A fine building,
(the college), of two hundred years old, built on
the banks of the river Lee. We passed by fine
fields of grain, large trees, etc., a much pleasanter
outlook than the city itself. Blarney Castle is a
ruin now ; but little left of it save the tall tower.
One hundred and eighty steps take you to the top
of tower, where the Blarney stone is secured by
two iron bands, and to kiss it one must be held
over it. Though a dangerous experience, the
attendant said it was done daily. The tradition is,
that kissing it will make one forever eloquent and
smooth-tongued.

Blarney Castle was built in 1440, by the Mc-
Carthy ; walls and tower fourteen feet thick ; the
castle and surrounding acres are owned by a
gentleman who resides near the castle ; land well
cultivated. We left Cork by rail, though small
steamers run several times a day on the river Lee
that connects Cork with Oueenstown, a distance
of eleven miles. We came to Queenstown to
await the arrival of the steamship " City of Rome,"
which we expect on the morning of the 13th, at
7 o'clock, so we are getting everything in readi-
ness to-day with hearts full of expectation and
anticipation of being at home in a few days.



"THE OULD SOD." 89

We are stopping at the Queen Hotel, facing the
harbor, a poor hotel, though considered the best
here, a poor compliment to her Majesty — poor
cuisine, the house dirty and old. Queenstown is
finely situated, a maratime city, one of the best
harbors in the world, ten miles square ; ships
from all parts of the world lay at anchor here
awaiting orders from Liverpool, etc. Poor
shops line the main street, dirt}^ women as huck-
sters and little of interest save the shipping
and fine harbor. We took a drive in a jaunting-
car, a kind of conveyance only known in Ireland,
and drove fourteen miles into the country. Fine
roads and views all the way being on high
ground ; the road often lay between rows of
trees that met overhead, forming an arch; ripe
fields of grain, land mostly owned by one or
two gentlemen, a thatched cottage here and there
and ruins of the tenth century, added to the
interest of the drive. Had a pleasant afternoon,
helping to divert us while waiting. We found the
country far more attractive than the town.

At length the delightful day dawned when we
were to embark for the homeward trip. Time is
said to be the devourer of all things, but the last
few days seemed interminable ; have hardly known
how to employ ourselves, being really homesick ;



90 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

the weather, too, has been dark and dreary, rain
descending about two-thirds of the year in Ire-
land, we were told. We rose early and were on
the deck of the *' tender," a small steamer without
covering for our heads in either rain or sun ; were
packed in on deck with crowds of emigrants and
their friends who were escorting them to the
steamer bound for America. We did not blame
them for leaving " Ould Ireland," a poverty-
stricken country — uninviting and homeless. We
traveled in the east and central and southern parts ;
saw little but dirt and poverty ; no thrift or enter-
prise ; am told by travelers that the northern
portion is better, more industry, and the Pro-
testant religion prevails.



HOMEWARD BOUND. 9 1

XIV.

Homeward Bound.

The morning sun shone brightly, and we
thought ourselves highly favored for sailing day,
not having enjoyed a bright day for a week. But
with delay of loading, etc., it was nine o'clock be-
fore the " City of Rome " was reached, lying out-
side Oueenstown harbor. The ship had left
Liverpool the afternoon before, a distance of 220
miles. Once on board, she soon started with so
little noise or motion we were hardly aware of it,
being engaged in breakfasting. It seemed like
meeting an old friend to be on board the steam-
ship again — occupying same staterooms, meeting
Captain Munro, attendants, etc., etc. Knowing
we were homeward-bound, were happy. A little
rain fell before we left the tender, and dark lower-
ing weather succeeded for days.

After lunch Harriet and I began to experience
seasickness, so retired to our staterooms. This
was Thursday. Were not able to go to the dining-
room again for some time. On Sunday were able
to be up all day for the first. I attended the



92 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

religious services held in the dining-room, which
was well filled. The services consisted of an organ
recital, a solo by a lady — " The Lord is my Shep-
herd " — prayer, thanking the good Lord for having
given us a prosperous voyage and imploring safety
for the rest of the journey ; a short address or
sermon from the Gospel of John, ist chapter,
"Follow thou me" being the subject; singing
concluded the devotions. About noon a fog and
misty rain began, and the hoarse sound of the fog-
horn was heard at short intervals, all the afternoon
and night, keeping me awake, as there seemed
danger on the deep, and we were approaching the
banks of Newfoundland.

I trusted in kind Providence that had watched
over and guided us through dangers, seen and
unseen, and kept us safely. We have made
a good run, to use a sailing phrase, of four
hundred miles and more every day. Copy of time
made in passage: August 13th and 14th part of
each day, 452 miles; 15th, 418 miles; i6th, 428
miles ; 17th, 400 miles ; i8th, 434 miles ; 19th, 409
miles.

August i/TII. — This morning we had a rain
storm, high seas, so the ship rolled and the water
dashed furiously over the portholes. I rose and
dressed, but was very soon compelled to undress,



HOMEWARD BOUND, 93

retire to berth and pay tribute to old Neptune,
and remained quiet until late in the afternoon,
when the storm abated, the sea calmed (my
stomach also).

Harriet and I dressed hastily, went on deck, and
dined there in our steamer chairs. During the
afternoon we sailed within two miles of the shores
of Newfoundland, saw the green grass and hills for
many miles. A telegraph station was signaled,
messages sent to New York and England of the
" City of Rome's" whereabouts, only four days
out of sight of land ; it was told us that it was rare
that a vessel approaches so near the shores. There
are all sorts of speculations regarding the time of
our arrival at Sandy Hook among the passengers
to-day ; the Captain promises Thursday, at six in
the morning ; we are so impatient to meet friends
we can scarcely wait.

August iqth.— Last night, after retiring at
eleven o'clock, the engine ceased its motion
and many were apprehensive of danger. I
looked out of the porthole immediately, when I
saw a sail-boat of good size with bright lights
aloft, and a row-boat at side of the ship ; found in
the morning it was a pilot-boat and a pilot was
taken on board. At noon to-day we had traveled
409 miles during the last twenty-four hours ; we



94 A TRIP TO EUROPE.

are at i o'clock 265 miles from Sandy Hook, and
are promised sight of land at midnight, so shall
breakfast in New York to-morrow. Providence
permitting. Last evening a concert was given, or
an entertainment, that is customary on every trip
of an ocean steamer for the Mariners' Hospital
in Liverpool ; only forty-five dollars were con-
tributed, less than the usual amount ; there was
little talent either in a musical way or in recitations.

We have had a thunder shower this afternoon
that drove many from the deck, where the air
is delightfully cool ; have had fog, too, so that
the booming of the fog-horn was heard for a little
while.

We are hastening on to port and friends after a
long absence ; cannot get there too soon for an
impatient party like ourselves. The afternoon
cleared off beautifully, fine breeze, and have seen
whales, several of them, spouting in the waves ;
one so far forgot his dignity as to jump partly out
of the water, far enough to reveal his size and dark
color, causing great excitement among the three
hundred passengers on board. We have not had
a whole day of sunshine and brightness on this
trip. It is now certain that the ship will be sighted
at Fire Island, the nearest point of land, where
news of the arrival of the ship can be reported to



HOMEWARD BOUND. 95

New York, at midnight to-night, then two or three
hours more before Sandy Hook is reached.

Mark Twain says " that only those natures made
up of pluck and endurance, devotion to duty for
duty's sake, and invincible determination, may
hope to venture upon so tremendous an enter-
prise as keeping a journal and not sustain a shame-
ful defeat.'' Having accomplished this enterprise,
may I not lay claim to some of the above qualities
in a small degree.



96 A TRIP TO EUROPE.



XV.

At Last, Home, Sweet Home.

A night of almost entire wakefulness was passed,
keeping watch to see the first glimmer of light
from the land ; the night seemed long, the water
deep and dark. After frequent visits to the port-
hole, about two o'clock in the morning a row of
lights greeted my eyes : the engines were still,
and I knew there would be nothing to expect till
morn, so resigned myself to a few hours of sleep,
but arose early and was dressed and on the look-
out for a steamboat with the Star-in signal,
bearing what members of the family were in the
city, to meet us : and we were not disappointed,
for my husband, with my sons Charles and Howard
and others, had lodged upon one of his steamboats
near by all night, waiting for the arrival of the
*' City of Rome." We were soon transferred with
our baggage to the Starin boat and soon reached
the Barge Office.

After duly passing through the Custom-house,
Charles, Harriet and I took a carriage and
drove to 9 West Thirty-eighth street, where



AT LAST, HOME, SWEET HOME. 97

my husband joined us. New York looked very-
new after our visit to the Old World, but so
bright and homelike, we were so delighted to be
again upon our native land and with our own dear
ones. We took an afternoon train for Starin Place,
Fultonville, where my mother was ; Caroline, and
her boys, as well as Harriet's children, were there
— Myndert was also. On arrival at Fonda Station
quite a party of friends met us, and approaching
Starin Place we found it illuminated from base to
tower in honor of our coming ; a long table pre-
pared for supper, and floral pieces in every room,
symbolical of the event, and "joy was uncon-
fined " this evening and the next day, when
the presents we had brought for the children,
young and old, were unpacked. Such a happy
day is beyond description and one long to be
remembered, so much to hear on every side.
The delight of being a reunited family was
unlimited.

Home, sweet, sweet home, and all the dearer
for our wanderings, was found at last. So we
went through, and so ended our trip to Europe.
To this day I cherish it as among the most
gratifying memories of my life. And, as I said
in the beginning, if in living with me over again
some of the scenes and incidents of our journey,



qS a trip to EUROPE.

my husband, children and friends, for whom this
Httle book is intended, find pleasure or profit ;
then the labor of preparing it has been more than
repaid.

Laura M. Starin.



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Online LibraryLaura M StarinA trip to Europe : being some account of the wanderings of a small family party → online text (page 5 of 5)