Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

a jolly ride in a jaunting car to Phoenix Park and the Botanical Gardens took us through a good part of the city and by the monumental columns erected to Nelson and Daniel O'Connell, whose brother's beautiful estate we forgot to say we saw on our way between Cork and Killarney. Phoenix Park is a royal inclosure at the west end of the city, and embraces an area seven miles in circumference. Situated therein is the villa of the Viceroy, or Lord Lieutenant, the residence of the principal secretary, an obelisk to Wellington, two hundred feet high, the Hibernian schools, a salute battery, and the ammunition magazine. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful parks in the United Kingdom. We were delighted with our ride and what we saw. A jaunting car is a curious vehicle--not seen, we imagine, anywhere out of Ireland. It is a box on two wheels, the seats for passengers running lengthwise over the wheels, with foot-boards to rest the feet upon. These seats each accommodate two persons, who, of course, must ride sideways, and there is room for one person with the driver in front. The only place for luggage, we believe, is on top between the passengers' seats. If you go for a carriage, look to be addressed something in this wise: “I see yer honor and herself have a lanin' for the ould style; shure it's illigant and dacent, not like that baste of a furrin conthrivance beyant. Begorra, sir, I could lep over the likes of it wid this little mare-an' maybe I'd thry!"

We had another long ride of one hundred and eighty-six miles from Dublin, by Belfast, to Port Rush, on the 27th. On a good part of the way the country had much the appearance of hilly New England. It lacked only stone and post and rail fences, in place of the hedge fences, and more forests, to

make the comparison quite perfect. On the low, swampy grounds workmen were engaged in spading up great quantities of peat, cutting it into pieces about the size and shape of a brick, and piling it up to dry. This serves for a large portion of the fuel consumed in Ireland. From the bog-wood found in these peat beds many articles of merchandise, such as canes, brooches, finger-rings, etc., are manufactured. They are quite ornamental — just as good, perhaps, while they last, but not quite as durable as silver and gold.

After an indifferent table d' hóte dinner we rested over night at the “Antrim Arms,” lulled by the waves of the Northern Sea — for we were now almost at the extreme northern point of Ireland. Next morning we took a jaunting car for Giant's Causeway, a distance of six miles, where we spent several hours and returned in time to take the train back to Belfast at 3} P. M. We had for our driver a witty Irishman, who said he had lived in the United States; and as he was well posted, he proved a very acceptable guide, pointing out and giving to us a history of all the prominent objects on the way. He appeared quite proud of having—I think the year beforehad the honor of driving in his jaunting car over this route General Sherman and his aids, Colonels Audenreid and Fred. Grant. He was particularly delighted with the General's amiable condescension in so freely conversing with him-saying that he talked all the way. Among other things, he said the General was enthusiastic in pointing out the manner in which Port Rush might, by a short breakwater from a group of islands off the coast to the main land, be made a most excellent harbor, capable of floating all the vessels in the world. The coast all

along our road is very rocky, and with the ocean in full view one can hardly imagine a more romantic ride than we enjoyed. Two miles from the Causeway we passed near the ruins of the Castle of Dunluce, which stands upon an isolated rock one hundred feet above the level of the sea, and is connected with the main land by a bridge only some twenty inches wide. It was founded no one knows at what date, but is known to have once been the residence of the McQuillans, who claimed to trace their family back three thousand years, and to the city of Babylon, whence they left for Scotland. Although these ruins are spoken of as the most picturesque in the United Kingdom, we consider the Giant's Causeway as the one great sight of Ireland. Here is a promontory extending one thousand feet or more into the sea, and at low tide one may walk over the heads of basaltic pillars, numbering, it is said, not less than forty thousand. They are variously shaped-from triangular to nonagon, or nine sided - and are arranged side by side with such perfect uniformity that one might fancy them to be the work of ingenious artificers; still it is questionable whether the art of man could rival the nicety with which each piece is fitted to the other. In one place there is what they call the Wishing Chair -- the projection of the pillars being such as to form a complete seat with back and arms. We were assured by an elderly Irish woman, who urged us to buy some of her “mountain dew," with a small quantity of water from the Giant's Well, another natural curiosity near by, that any wish made by us while sitting in this chair was certain to be granted! We accordingly tried it (not the mountain dew,) and, wonderful to tell, her assurance in our own case was most happily verified! Conse

quently, it would be very unbecoming in us, to say the least, to suggest any doubts on the subject. Other singular formations were pointed out to us the Amphitheater Gateway, Chimney-tops, the Pulpit, etc. In the side of a hill, further in shore, there is a series of pillars so arranged as to present the appearance, and they take the name, of the Giant's Organ; and near these is the Giant's Grandmother, who was petrified for having three husbands at the same time." In the vicinity of the Causeway there are wonderful caves--one forty-five feet high and three hundred and fifty feet in length, and another seventy feet in height and six hundred feet long. They can be entered only by row-boats from the sea. A horse pistol discharged therein makes a report equal to that of a small field-piece in open space.

We have seen little of Belfast, except what came within our view in going from the railroad dépôt to the steamboat landing, stopping at the Post Office, a fine building, in the anxious but disappointed hope of hearing from home. We saw enough, however, to satisfy us of what we already knew, that it is a handsome city, full of life and business activity. For two pence, the regular fee, the baggage-master at the dépôt took care of our trunk while we made our trip to the Giant's Causeway.

CHAPTER V.

LASGOW, JUNE 1.– After a quiet night on the

steamer from Belfast we arrived in Glasgow at six o'clock on the morning of the 29th ultimo, having come by land from Greenock, where we took the railroad cars. We are pleased with everything about this city except the smoke, clouds and rain, which give it a decidedly gloomy character. We have scarcely had a sight of the sun here, and we are told that there is hardly a day in certain seasons of the year when it does not rain. The smoke from the furnaces on the Clyde constantly floats in thick volumes over the city, enveloping it in semi-darkness even when there are no other clouds to obscure the sun's rays. The city has a very solid appearance, the buildings generally looking as though they were built for all time. Most of the streets are of good width, and there is an abundance of pure water, brought through tunnels and aqueducts thirty-four miles from Loch Katrine, to keep it clean. The first steamer in Europe, we are told, was launched here in 1812. This is the native place of James Watts, who first demonstrated the power of steam, and in St. George's Square, a spacious and beautiful park, there is a bronze statue of him in a sitting posture and meditative mood.

Here also are equestrian statues of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, statues of Lord Clyde, Richard Moore, Sir Robert Peel, and

lofty monument to Sir Walter Scott.' On Sunday we attended church at the great Cathedral, which was founded in the twelfth century, and which is one of the grandest in, Europe, being, perhaps, unsurpassed in respect especially to its stained - glass

« ÎnapoiContinuați »