Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

G th Grove really exists, and Raleigh really lived there, there is some excuse for it.

It was here, too that the potato, since become a too staple article of diet, was first introduced to Irish soil.

Truly Raleigh is, entitled to a reputation as a true benefactor of the race exceeding that due to his reputed chivalry to Queen Elizabeth. Without potatoes and tobacco, what might not have happened to the British race long before now?

CHAPTER IX.

KILKENNY TO CORK HARBOUR

IF

F Lismore is the most celebrated and stately

of Irish castles, Kilkenny, at least, comes more nearly to the popular conception of the feudal stronghold of the romancers and poets, and, withal, it is historic and is second in preeminence, only, to any other in the land.

Kilkenny itself is an ancient city, and it is something of a city as the minor centres of population go.

“Does it not contain,” says the proud inhabitant, “ nearly fifteen thousand souls?” It does, indeed, but it is more justly famous for its archæological remains than for its manufactures of woollens, which formerly was great.

Probably the most novel impression the stranger will get of Kilkenny will be that which he gains at the annual agricultural show or fair, when the effect produced by the cheering of the crowds will sound unlike anything ever heard elsewhere. It is a fact that this cheering is peculiar to Kilkenny. These are no hurrahs of the ordinary British kind, but every time the feelings of the people find a vent, a long, shrill wail resounds over the fields, rising and falling, at its loudest, like the shriek of a steamer's siren, and, when more subdued, like the moaning of a winter wind. Perhaps this is the modern descendant of the banshee's wail.

The history of the modern political and social events which took place at Kilkenny, in times past, make curious and interesting reading. Many “parliaments” were held here, and, in 1367, one of them ordained that death should be the punishment of any Englishman who married an Irishwoman. This was manifestly bigoted, uncharitable, and unkind, and no wonder that here, and elsewhere in Ireland, English domination has so often been reviled.

Its most famous and important political function took place in 1642, when was held the Rebel, or Roman Catholic, Parliament, which gave to Kilkenny the name of “The City of Confederation,” though the same act culminated in its siege by Cromwell, and its

« PredošláPokračovať »