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relation of the river Moy to the lower lake. This river, in its progress seaward, and before turning away, as it were, from the lower lake with a rounded sweep, runs for a part of its course almost in an opposite direction to that of the short river that joins it from the lower lake. Now, if we conceive the river Moy to be flooded from any of the ordinary causes that flood rivers, we can easily understand that it may not only dam up the outlet from the lower lake, but produce such an accumulation of water in it as to make it flow into the upper. Unfortunately I am as yet unable to state, from any local authority, whether this hypothesis is at all borne out by facts.
However, I think that one or other of the latter two hypotheses, and, still more, the co-existence of the two supposed phenomena, a likely-enough occur. rence, will go far to set at rest this curious question.
Our friends at the Pontoon barracks gave us another piece of information respecting these lakes which is worth noticing. They were formerly, and from time immemorial, celebrated for the great quantity of trout and salmon contained in them. These have within these dozen years sustained a wonderful diminution, especially the trout, from the introduction of pike into the lakes about the time specified. How this introductiop took place no one seems to know, though there is so pretty a legend got up respecting it, that makes one almost regret that it is not true. It is stated that an old poacher on the lakes, convicted and punished for his misdemeanours, conceived a project of revenge on those who had been instrumental in his disgrace, that should touch them all very nearly. This was the introduction of some living pikes into the lake, which he is reported to have brought from some distant lough in the county of Galway.
After the stony desert immediately beyond Lough Conn, the country becomes once more boggy and moorland, and so continues, intermingled with small farms and patches of corn-land here and there, until we reach Ballina: this we did about seven o'clock.
We had remarked in every part of the country which we had yet passed through, the singular fondness of the farmers of Ireland for enclosures. In the smallest farms, and in mere cottage holdings, and quite as much on the poorest and wildest spots as on good lands, no portion of ground occupied, or intended to be occupied by any one, is ever seen without a fence or enclosure of some sort- -almost always in the shape of rude stone walls. We had a curious example of this in the vicinity of Lough Conn, where the slope of a small hill on the roadside is divided into some dozens of little enclosures --many of them not bigger than the site of a goodsized house—by huge stone walls, although more than half the enclosed space in each consisted literally of earth-fast blocks of stone. It looked almost as if the fences had been reared to protect the stones! I
the immediate cause of this
superfluity of fencing, in many cases, rests on the necessity of disposing of the stones dug from the soil in clearing it, and hence their arrangement in the form of walls. But the same system prevails among the bogs and moors, where there is often no stones, showing that there must be some other reason for its being so universal in Ireland.
While on this subject I may mention another small peculiarity in the exterior economy of farming in Ireland, which struck me equally, and more particularly from the circumstance of its universality throughout the whole island : this is the existence in every common field-gate of two huge round pillars of stone with conical tops, something in the fashion of the Round Towers in miniature. I got into the habit of naming these Pecksniff gate-posts, after Dickens's hero, from the striking contrast between their vast pretensions and small performance. Very generally it happened that the fields at whose entrance these huge gate-posts stood, were small and insignificant, and not at all tenable in their fencecapacity; and very commonly also the gate itself (generally iron) was not fixed in these stone posts, but had a separate metal upright to swing on: so that they were in reality more for ornament than use.
These Pecksniffian towerlets are also rendered more conspicuous by being whitewashed with lime; a practice, by the way, vastly more general, as applied to cottages and small houses, in Ireland, than I ever saw elsewhere. Whatever may be the
blackness of all within doors, you will generally find that the outside walls of the cottages are nicely whitewashed, except in the cases, comparatively rare, where they are built of turf. These peculiarities, also, like the stone fencing, originate in local causes. I believe the gate-posts are made of such large diameter (a couple of feet or so) because it is easier and cheaper, in so stony a land, to build with large stones than with small; and they and the cottages are whitewashed because limestone is, fortunately for Ireland, a very frequent rock in most parts of it.
Ballina is a neat, and looks like a thriving town. It is beautifully situated on the banks of the river Moy, about five miles above the point where it enters Killala Bay. It consists, indeed, of two towns, divided by the river, and united by the two bridges which cross it. The larger town, Ballina proper, lies on the left bank, and the smaller, Ardnaree, on the right; but they are both, properly speaking, but one town, and usually receive the one general name of Ballina. There has been a remarkable decrease in the population of these towns of late years, particularly of Ardnaree, as will appear from the following abstract of the last two censuses.
Ballina proper contains one or two excellent streets, and several others of tolerable size and
neatness. Like all other Irish towns, it also con. tains many small cottage-like houses and some dirty and confined lanes, more particularly Ardnaree.
The Moy is a splendid river, and, dashing as it does over some bold rapids in the very middle of the town, gives to the eye and ear a perpetual suggestion of activity and liveliness which is very agreeable to a civic population. The tide flows up to the town, but the river is not navigable farther than a mile or a mile and a half below it, and only then to vessels not exceeding 400 or 450 tons. The river between the town and Quay runs over a succession of rocky shelves, and its banks, particularly the left, are finely wooded, and contain several gentlemen's seats. There is always a steam-tug on the river to assist the navigation, which, for a small Irish port, seems considerable. The pilot told me that about forty ships came into the harbour in the course of the year, either loaded or to load.
There was formerly a large export trade in corn, and the people at the Quay informed me that there had been a larger exportation this year of oats and barley than in all the years since the famine. Of late years, among the imports, Indian corn has been a principal article.
There is a fine salmon fishery in this river, employing many hands during the season, and also a good many at other times to keep the rivers and lakes in the interior frequented by the fish. The men seem badly paid, the best hands receiving only