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even the more alluring attractions which lie across Channel," to think for a moment of disembarking at Cork harbour, with the mails, on board a rather uncomfortable "tender," and, usually, amid much discomfort of weather.
Once the opportunity is missed, they are unlikely to retrace their steps in that direction, since one's enthusiasm or desire pales before charms and attractions then present.
It ought to be a part of every traveller's experience for him to pay a visit to Ireland the "Emerald Isle," or "Romantic Ireland" and judge of its attractions, the places and the people, as seen on their native soil.
With a warm heart she will welcome him; with lip-liveliness and sparkling language she will entertain him; with impulsive zeal she will conduct him over her diversified domain, and bring under his eye scenes where —
"Grace and Terror smiling stand
Though less fastidious than England, and without the canny cautiousness of Scotland, yet, of the Three Graces of the United King
dom, fair Erin, for natural gifts and spontaneous beauties, stands preeminent.
To the Bretons, the Basques, and the Irish," says an observant French writer, "races not dissimilar in their hidden habits of thought and in the vague sadness of their eyes, the Atlantic Ocean is a boundary for the mind. ... It is their climate background, restingplace, and grave. . . the green hills into which Europe breaks to meet the southwest wind."
All this, and more, is the Atlantic to the
whole of northwest Europe, Ireland in particular, and its influences are not only great, but far-reaching.
The Irish, they say, have never been great seafarers. This, it is feared, is true to no small extent. They are not even great fishermen, as they well might be in their sea-girt isle. The Irishman himself will tell you that it is because the thrifty and hardworking westcoast Scotch have usurped their market. This may be so to a certain degree; but, to a still greater degree, their lack of capital to properly equip the industry is the reason why the harvest of the sea is garnered under their very sight.
It is not given to all who would travel and
muse en route to be able to express their thoughts with that beauty of language which graces the lines of Stevenson or of Sterne. One may not even have the temerity to attempt to imitate their style.
He may, however, and with propriety, thinks the writer,— consider, if he will, that theirs was the view-point of the acute observer and lover of the beautiful, and, as near as may be, imbibe somewhat of the emotions and sentiments with which these masters beheld the spots covered by their wanderings. Their words have come down to us as a variety of topographical description which can only be recognized as a new and precious thing, compared to the descriptions before and since.
With such an end in view were the various wanderings which are set forth in these pages undertaken. Not consecutively, nor even methodically, was the route laid out, but in the end it covered practically the entire island at varying seasons and under equally varying conditions of comfort or discomfort, though no hardships or disagreeable experiences were encountered, and it is confidently asserted that nothing of the kind would be met with by
any who might make the journeys under similar conditions.
"June the nineteenth, arrived at Holyhead after an instructive journey through a part of England. Found the packet, the Claremont, Captain Taylor, would sail very soon.
"After a tedious passage of two and twenty hours, landed on the twentieth, in the morning, at Dunleary (now Kingstown), four miles from Dublin, a city which much exceeded my expectation."
Thus wrote Arthur Young in his simple and quaint phraseology in 1776.
Arthur Young was a great traveller, one might say an inveterate traveller. He observed and wrote mostly of matters agricultural, but his side-lights thrown upon the screen if not exactly illuminating it to a marked degree were of far more interest and value to the general reader or travel-lover than the dicta of pedants or the conjectures of antiquarians.
Arthur Young was an agriculturist, an economist, or whatever you like to think him; but he evidently could not repress the temptation to put the results of his observations into print,
as the many scores of entries to his credit in the history of book-making and authorship will show.
He sought to chronicle his "Tour in Ireland" for posterity, and conceived the thought of publishing the work "by subscription." This he did in the year 1780- and a most unlovely specimen of book-making it was. It was foredoomed to failure, and it apparently met it forthwith; for the author states in his preface that he was only able to complete the work at great expense to himself.
No further criticism shall be made. It remains now but to praise. The book is a veritable mine of fact with precious little fancy of the farming, fishing, weaving, and allied interests of the Ireland of that day, with not a little detail concerning the history, romance, and plain matter-of-fact social and economic conditions of life.
To-day, conditions for all but the well-to-do classes have changed but little, and here is a splendid framework to suggest a line of thought as far different from that conveyed by the "impressions of one travelling for mere pleasure, as it is from the cut-and-dried