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DUBLIN AND ABOUT THERE
HE environment of Dublin, so far as
its immediate surroundings are concerned, is exceedingly attractive to the jaded inhabitant of brick and mortar cities.
Phoenix Park, belonging anciently to the Knights Templars, is more beautiful, as a city park, than those possessed by any other city of the size of Dublin in the British Isles, and is, moreover, of great extent.
It is densely wooded, has lovely glades, and is plentifully stocked with herds of deer, who seem unconsciously to group themselves picturesquely at all times.
It is in no sense grand, nor, indeed, are the views of the lovely country lying immediately to the southward; but the distant views of the Wicklow peaks are full of quiet, restful beauty, which must help to make life in a great
centre of population, such as Dublin, livable at all seasons of the year.
The Viceregal Lodge is in Phænix Park, and near it is the spot where Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke were walking together on the night of May 6, 1882, when they were assassinated by the “Invincibles.' ”
The “Fifteen Acres," where now horses are exercised, was a very favourite duellingground in olden times. A local description of this “ bloody ground states :
“There is not a single one of its acres that has not been stained with blood over and over again, in those gray mornings of the eighteenth century, when Dublin beaux, half-sobered after a night's debauch, used to confront one another in the dew-drenched grass, and startle the huddled herds of deer with the deadly crack of pistols at twelve paces.”
Beyond Phønix Park is Lucan, four miles up the Liffey, near the river's celebrated salmon-leap.
Clondalkin, six miles from Dublin, possesses one of the finest and most perfect round towers in Ireland, eighty feet in height, and fortyfive in circumference at the base.
The Falls of the Liffey, at Poula-Phooka, twenty miles from town, flow under a graceful viaduct. Here the foam-whitened river casts itself down a succession of rocky leaps, and through a richly wooded gorge, into the smoother plain below. This is a scenic gem, such as amateur photographers love, and its picturings are found in the album of almost every Irish traveller. Its name enshrines one of the best known of the many Celtic fairy myths, — that of the Phooka. Certainly, the wild, lofty defile of splintered rock, through which the fall leaps down, must have been exactly the sort of place to allure the goblin horse that had such an unpleasant fancy for breaking people's necks.
The legend of the Phooka is one familiar in many forms to all lovers of folk-lore. It is claimed to be of Celtic origin, but with equal assurance it is said to be Norse, and again Indian. The apparition is a weird ghostlike horse-shape, not unlike the steed which Ichabod Crane saw mounted by a headless horseman.
Kingstown, seven miles from Dublin, lias no great interest for the lover of artistic or