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liberality with which he offered to lay open to me every necessary document in the office of arms. 1. W. MONCKE MASON, Esq. the erudite author of Hibernia Antiqua et Hodierna, replied to every question submitted to him, with most attentive politeness, and greatly facilitated my inquiries on many topics,
To JOHN C. ERCK, A. M. of the First-Fruits office, author of the “ Ecclesiastical Register" of Ireland, I am under important obligations, for a readiness of communication upon subjects connected with the office in which he is engaged, conspicuously to the advantage of that department.
- In the library of Trinity College, and in the other libraries appertaining to learned institutions, or of a public character, in Dublin, I experienced every possible mark of attention, bestowed with exemplary politeness.
SIR JOHN NEWPORT, BART. M.P. honoured the object of my pursuit with particular attention ; and the same expressions of gratitude are due, in at least an equal degree, to CHRISTOPHER DILLON BELLEW, of Mount Bellew, in the county of Galway, Esq.
To SHEFFIELD GRACE, Esq. whose taste in every branch of useful and polite literature is honourable to himself and ornamental to his country, I am indebted for the use of many drawings and rare books on subjects relating to Irish topography; and for a polite and flattering friendship, created by the work in which I am engaged, and which has led to numerous introductions, of great importance to my local inquiries.
To LIEUTENANT-GENERAL COCKBURNE I am under obligations for many acts of hospitable kindness; for information regarding every subject on which I requested his aid; and for numerous letters of introduction to distinguished persons, likely to afford useful intelligence.
FRANCIS JOHNSTON, Esq. the highly respected architect of the Board of Works and Civil Buildings in Ireland allowed me to encroach on much of his valuable time, and yielded me all necessary information concerning the important public structures in which he has been engaged.
RICHARD MORRISON, Esq. architect, to whom his country is indebted for a mode of “ Gothic” architecture, evincing, as applied to domestic structures, the union of deep study with professional taste and skill, has conferred on me various acts of kindness; amongst which must be mentioned the loan of several drawings, representing some of the numerous buildings with which he has ornamented his country.--To WILLIAM MORRISON, Esq. son of that gentleman, and the inheritor of his professional talents, I also return thanks for many particulars of topographical information.
The Rev. EDWARD GROVES advanced the object of my inquiries, in many instances relating to the city of Dublin; and directed my attention to several scarce works, of im portance in Irish topography-a favour to which he is peculiarly competent, as he has been for some time engaged in preparing for the press an “ Irish Historical Library.”
The Rev. EDWARD BERWICK, who has distinguished himself by several literary productions, favoured me with much information in regard to the vicinity of his residence in the county of Dublin.
For much information in regard to Kilkenny, and for great personal kindness, I am indebted to JOHN BARWIS, Esq. the truly respectable agent of the Marquess of Ormonde.
The late PETER WALSH, of Belline, Esq. is entitled to my tender and most respectful remembrance, for some literary favours conferred, and more promised. The hand of death prevented the completion of his intentions; but,
until the same hand shall fall upon myself, I must retain a grateful impression of his personal worth, and the zeal with which he entered into every view, marked with a love of letters and the arts, and partaking of a general liberality of sentiment.
From the late W. BEAUFORD, A. M. I procured some MSS. relating to the general and local history of Ireland; of which, however, I have made little use ; for, although bis literary acquirements were, in many points of view, so respectable as to deserve a better fate than he experienced at the hands of his adopted country, he was, as relates to antiquities, a writer prone to indulge in imagination, rather than to exercise severity of judgment.
The names of several other persons who have honoured me with notice and assistance, will be introduced, with more propriety, in pages prefatory to the second and third volumes.
I cannot so far intrude on private favour, as to mention, individually, the numerous civilities, and offers of hospitable reception, I experienced in different parts of the island. Nor would it be necessary to notice these acts of kindness, in a public way, except for the purposes of acknowledging my sense of obligation to the country at large, and of adding the humble corroborative testimony of my experience, to the prevailing opinion respecting the hospitality of the people of Ireland, and their pre-eminence in the grateful quality, best expressed by the term of urbanity.
Truth, spoken without harshness, is said by Mr. Edgeworth to be “the most certain way to succeed in every honourable pursuit.” A sense of duty, without any consideration of the policy of such conduct, impels me to place a fair and full record in the annals of topographical investigation in Ireland. Whilst I met with urbanity in all, I found, amongst individuals, even of the upper classes of
society, an insensibility to the pleasures and utility of historical and topographical inquiry, which, in the more general spread of letters, must necessarily pass away, and will, therefore, as we earnestly hope and may confidently believe, at no distant period stand recorded merely as the unpleasing attribute of “ other times.” It, also, must not be concealed, that the ardent wish to oblige, which springs from hilarity of temperament' and liberality of disposition, led many persons, who are quite incapable of a deliberate breach of word, to promise communications, of importance to the welfare of the work in particular parts, which were probably forgotten under the influence of new impressions, and have certainly not been received.
However humble my efforts, I shall think them well employed, if they conduce towards exciting a spirit of topographical inquiry in Ireland ; and if they assist in performing the task of rendering that country better known, more frequently visited, and more duly appreciated, by the people of England.
J. N. BREWER. PILLERTON House, WARWICKSHIRE,
July 25, 1824.
COMPRISING REMARKS ON THE NATURAL CIRCUMSTANCES, DISTORY,
ANTIQUITIES, AND PRESENT STATE OF IRELAND, IN A
COLLECTIVE POINT OF VIEW.
Topography of Ireland affords a subject of great and diversified interest. The natural beauties displayed in many parts of this country, realize the glowing pictures of a poetical imagination; and each important æra in the history of the island is emphatically recorded in vestiges affording subjects of curious research to the antiquary, and to the philosophical inquirer into the manners of society. If the hand of neglect be too visible in some districts, the occasional aspect of penury produced by indifference and desertion is quickly relieved by the splendid buildings of the metropolis-the growing importance of other principal citiesand various noble structures, both antient and modern, dispersed over different parts of the island. Few countries are more rich in topographical anecdote, for few indeed have experienced greater vicissitudes of fortune ; and the peculiarity of manners retained by a large proportion of the inhabitants, adds to the interest and the value of local inquiry.
The limits of the present work forbid the laborious minuteness of the regular county historian ; and, except for objects of infrequent reference, it is probable that the purpose of information, as assuredly that of amusement, is sufficiently answered by such volumes as present only the bold and important features of Topography.
The general reader derives neither useful nor pleasing knowledge from an enumeration of towns, equally destitute of existing importance and instructive annals; or from a statement of every hand through which the possession of a demesne has passed VOL. I.