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Created: By Samuel Molyneux (16891728) Date range: 5 April to 3 May 1709.
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Tuesday, April 5th Parted from Dublin about 10 in ye morning; came to Kilcock, 12 mile, in ye county of Kildare, about 2 a clock; a pretty good market town. The roads, it being dry weather, were very good; the lands generally meadowe; some corn, with very ill enclosures, and no hedges. We pass'd by Chapellizod, Palmerstown, Lucan, Leixlip, Manooth, Cartown2, Dolenstown3, and Rodenstown.
Wednesday, 6th Left Killcock. Came to Beggarsbridge4, in ye
p.162county of Westmeath, 17 mile in 8 hours. A good inn, but no town; the roads bad enough; the lands generally corn or sheep-walks, with some black cattle. As we went farther from Dublin no enclosures or trees to be seen, but little scrubs in ye bogs here and there. We pass'd by Clancurry5, where is a fair Dane-mount, the Blackwater, Royall Oak6, Clonard on ye Boyne, another fair Dane-mount, Kinigad, a pretty new built town, handsom market-house, Lowtown7, Gaulstown8, Castleloss9 . [On the road I observ'd now and then near a poor cabin yarn a drying as is frequent in ye North, and I am told ye wife makes up the rent sometimes in this country and in Connaght by making their 20 or 30 yards of cloath in a year, besides supplying ye necessary linnen for their own family, this manufacture is not so much improv'd here
p.163as to make any cloath for sale further than immediate necesssity constrains them.]
Thursday, 7th Left Beggarsbridge about 9 in ye morning. Came to Moat after one thro' mighty bad coach roads. The country very hilly: hardly any corn or enclosures, but sheepwalk, bogg, and scrubby. We pass'd thro' Tyrrell's-pass, Ballygore10, and other sad towns. The Moat is a pretty little clean-built town, of a different air from the generality of the Irish villages in this part of Ireland: this may be somewhat owing to the gravelly soyl on which it stands, which has afforded also materials to the Danes for raising a mount here, a very high and regularr one, all of gravell. In this town are 10 or 12 familys of Quakers, who, with many others, dispers'd, as I hear, in ye adjacent country, have here a meeting house. Here came in soon after us Staples from ye Colledge, who was going to Archbishop of Tuams.
Friday, 8th Left Moat with Staples in ye coach about 9 a clock. Came in 3 hours, thro' indifferent coach roads, wild sheepwalks, and scrubby hills and bogs, to Athlone, which is a handsome large town, scituated on ye noble river ye Shannon. Here we saw ye miserable ruins of ye castle, which was some years ago blown up11, ye magazine of powder there kept taking fire by accident. Here are a horse and foot barrack, and some good brass and iron ordinance. This town is famous for ye manufacture of felts, which are here sold from 2 to 4 shillings price.
Crossing ye Shannon you enter into Connaught. Here I travell'd from Athlone 4 or 5 mile in ye coach with Staples, and about 2 more
p.164rid to Killeglan12, in 3 hours. Ye miles are here very long, as they generally encrease in bad country and distant parts from Dublin; ye soyl is very rocky and stony; much bog, with sheepwalk & scrubs. I observ'd scarce any corn or enclosures but old ruin'd ones of stones heap'd along in rows, which way of enclosing land, by being so frequently met with in many parts of Ireland, seems once to have been much in use, and indeed I wonder is not so still in these stony parts. In all this journey I think I observ'd many more beggars everywhere than is usual on a road, all owing, as I believe, to the present hard times of war.
At Killeglan we stay'd 8 days13, and met little observable. There are here to be dug out of the hill on which the house stands stones almost globular, some liker an egg, some oblate sphæroids, from ye size of a nutmeg to twice the bigness of one's head. There are other stones in ye same hill, and on ye land adjoyning, which when broke, in ye body of 'em are found inclos'd cockle shells of all sizes, some petryfy'd, some yet perfect fryable shells. In one of these stones, when we broke it, we found 8 or 10 whole small cockles, and a long cilindricall figur'd stone of ye bigness and length of one's little finger, of a substance different from ye cockles, as well as from ye body of ye stone itself; of all these stones I have by me. Round hereabout are also but few curiositys of antiquity, some old chappells and crosses, but not one very
p.165ancient that I saw: the one whose figure bespoke it the most ancient is here represented; its date, I think, makes it not 200 year old. The Danes indeed have left here some monuments of antiquity which I have not met with elsewhere, and these are forts, not cast up with earth and trenches as usuall, but wholly compos'd of stones heap'd round in a circle of the common compass. Tho' they are now old and ruin'd, and allmost defac'd, they still have the appearance of Danish forts, and are so call'd and generally reputed in ye country, tho' indeed I do not find their common mounts or forts so frequent in these parts to conclude they ever had here so good footing as in ye N. E. parts of Ireland, which lay more opportune for their invasions and setlement. They have here a sort of ropes made of ye roots of firr trees14, here frequently dug out of the boggs: these they beat like hemp, and then twist them into roaps; they are pretty flexible, and I am told, more lasting, especially in damp places, than any other cords: they are made in Athlone, and are much us'd for cording beds in damp clay floors, where they last for ever, whereas till they made these roaps they were us'd to change their hemp cords every day.
Walking here in ye fields, I met with an odd stone all spotted white at one end, ye spots continuing in white streaks down the side of the stone. Breaking it, we found in ye body of ye stone answering to each white spot a long tract or round vein of a more flinty substance than ye rest of ye stone. Of this stone I have some pieces by me, ye spotts and
p.166round flinty veins within, when broke accross, appearing in rays from ye center to ye circumference.
They tell here an odd story, and gave me ye jaw of a young lamb with perfect large teeth in't. They say it was so yean'd, as large near and wooly as one of a twelvemonth old, but dead, and ye flesh corrupted. Along with it was yean'd another lamb of ye ordinary size, rather less. The yoe that brought them is alive, and, as they say, was big from ye season before, and they therefore think the first lamb lay in her womb so long.
Sunday, 17th I left Killeglan at 8 ½ in ye afternoon, in order to go to Gallway. We came in 2 hours, thro' good roads and an open country; nothing of enclosures, but some scrubs and boggs, a great deall of stony ground, with some sheepwalks, to Ballynasloe15, which is a very pretty scituated village on ye river Suck16, which divides ye county of Roscommon from ye county of Gallway. Here is a Danes-mount17, with a large trench round it: 'tis so flat one might allmost take it for a fort: this, with one more, were the only mounts I saw on all ye road between Killeglan and Gallway, tho' their forts were all along mighty frequent. From this village we reach'd in 2 hours more to Killconell, thro' a better country, the land it self better, and not near so stony. We pass'd by Garbelly18 and some other pretty scituated
p.167seats, besides a number of Danes-forts, in one of which, on ye lands of Dungongon19, belonging to my uncle Usher, we were told there was a vault under-ground: we went to it, and enter'd it at one end by a hole accidentally discover'd at (a). The first vault, which run north and south, was, from (a) to (b), 26 f. ½ long, 5 ½ broad, 5 ½ high; the next vault, from (d) to (e), every way the same dimensions, as was the 3rd also, from (g) to (h), only 6 f. longer. The walls that made ye sides of these vaults were stones, layd without lime or water (sic) flat on one another from ye ground: the covering was large flagstones, which were so large as to reach from side to side. In ye vault (d) (e), ye flat stones that made ye walls advanc'd and hung over one another, so as to make a kind of arch, and came so near at the height of 5 ½ that the covering flagstones at the top were not nere so broad as in ye other vaults: at (b) there seems to have been a partition of stones, which is now thrown down, as also another at (g); the little place (b), (c), (d) has its floor of one broad flag, and rais'd so that you ascend about 2 or 3 f. at (b), (a), (d), descend as much at (d), thro' a narrow passage of about 2 f. square left for that purpose there: at (e) you ascend again by alike narrow passage into another little apartment as before; from thence you descend on ye rubbish of a ruin'd partition, as it seems to have been, at (g), into ye last and inward vault, whose end, (h), was stopp'd, as (a), with stones, but is now broke open up to the air, and, as we judg'd, was nearly the center of the mount. They seem not to have been pav'd, unless by a few stones thrown loose here and there on ye earth. Having view'd this curiosity, we went to take up with sad lodging at the poor
p.168village of Kilconnel, where was miserable accommodation of all things but good wine from Gallway.
Monday, 19th 20At Killconnell we saw the famous old Abby of Franciscans, where was little of antiquity or remarkable. Their churchyard is surrounded by a wall of dead men's sckulls and bones21, pil'd very orderly, with their faces outwards, clear round against the wall to the length of 88 foot, about 4 high, and 5 f. 4 in. broad, so that there may be possibly here to the number of 50000 sckulls: within they shew you Lord Gallway's and other great men's heads kill'd at Aghrim. This Abby was in repair, and inhabited by Fryers, in K. James' time, so that some of the woodwork, the wainscot, and ordinary painting yet remains; nay I am told 2 of ye Fryers are yet alive, and live, tho' blind with age, on ye charity of the neighbouring papists, in a poor cabin, in a very small island, which they shew'd me, not ½ mile from Killconell, in a bog: they employ one to begg for them22, and by that means subsist near their old habitation.
Having gotton out of this miserable village, we rid 4 hours thro' a fine champain country; no enclosures, generally good land, yet pretty good roads. We pass'd thro Killtollogh23, and came to ye ancient Burrow of Athenree24: it is all wall'd, and makes, with its old round
p.169towers on ye walls and other old buildings within, a very venerable appearance and pretty prospect, it being built on green fields, and not a house without the walls: it seems to have been of old a well inhabited and thriving town, on account of ye large pav'd streets and many ruin'd houses which remain; it has nothing now but cabins in it, and those so few they have room for all ye gardens too within ye walls, which I am told enclose more than Dublin walls, and at least 33 acres. Here we met Sr T. Montgomery25, who seeing us gaping strangers, invited us in to look at his improvements, which are pretty and whimsicall enough: part of his house is ye wing of an old Abby repair'd, which makes an odd and convenient house. He has lately set up here a napping and a tucking mill, and designs a weaving manufactory, the inhabitants of the town being, as he tells me, allmost all weavers and cottoners.
As you go out of town to Gallway you meet with a pretty new improvement of Mr. Shaw's. From hence you travell thro' a barren gravelly soyl to Gallway in 4 hours. As you draw near Gallway the country grows extreamly stony, and in many places one may observe naturall cawseys of stones, which, tho' not so regularly form'd as ye Gyants' Cawsey in ye county of Antrim, are yet so like one another, all consisting of stones full of fissures and cracks, and lying in great layers or strata one over another, the fissures paralell to the horison, that one that sees 'em can't but rank 'em among regular form'd stones,
p.170which a description or even a draught of 'em could scarce be exact enough to make one think. There are many of these cawseys on each hand the road: one only I observ'd in which ye rimae or cracks of ye stone directed upwards. All along, as we travell'd thro' ye county of Gallway, I observ'd a very great number of heaps of stones rais'd into a Pyramid26, some with lime, generally without, along the road, in memory, as I am told of burialls that have pass'd that way. Their enclosures of land are here odd enough, being walls of single stones, so pil'd up without mortar that as you pass by you may see thro', and they stand so ticklish, the beasts, that know the way of them, will not come near 'em for fear of throwing 'em down on themselves, so that they serve as well as stronger. I observ'd on ye road many figur'd stones here and there, like ye one describ'd page 7th [vide p. 165], and in ye pavement of a street in Athenree a stone consisting of pillars, with appearance of joynts, like ye Gyants' Cawsey, of all numbers of sides as that too; nay, indeed, the generality of ye stones that ly at the sides of the way between Athenree and Gallway have something very different from common stones in their figure, which is much more scraggy than usuall, and full of holes: their surfaces are very smooth and their colour black, so that in every thing they look like stones to be seen on the sea shore, much excavated and beaten by ye waves. This resemblance of these stones, with the aforemention'd cawseys, the like of which are often seen also among rocks at the sea shore, with the universall stonyness of ye country, has sometimes almost tempted me to think this place was once ye bottom of ye sea: however, 'tis certain ye stones here are not like those of other countrys.
Tuesday, 20th The weather being not very fair, I stay'd at home, and writ to Dublin.
Wednesday, 21 st. I went to vizit old Flaherty27, who lives, very old, in a miserable condition at Park, some 3 hours west of Gallway, in Hiar or West-Connaught. I expected to have seen here some old Irish manuscripts, but his ill fortune has stripp'd him of these as well as his other goods, so that he has nothing now left but some few of his own writing, and a few old rummish books of history printed. In my life I never saw so strangely stony and wild a country. I did not see all this way 3 living creatures, not one house or ditch, not one bit of corn, nor even, I might say, a bit of land, for stones: in short nothing appear'd but stones and sea, nor could I conceive an inhabited country so destitute of all signs of people and art as this is. Yet here, I hear, live multitudes of barbarous uncivilized Irish after their old fashions, who are here one and all in ye defence of any of their own or even other rogues that fly to them, against the laws of Ireland, so that here is the assylum, here are committed the most barbarous murders after shipracks, and all manner of roguerys protected, that the Sheriffs of this county scar[c]e dare appear on ye west side of Gallway bridge, which, tho' Ireland is now generally esteem'd wholly civilized, may well be call'd the end of the English pale, which distinction should still have place as long as the inhabitants live with us in so open a state of nature.28
Having got back again safe thro' this barbarous country to Gallway, I din'd with some of ye officers who were here quarter'd. After dinner they walk'd me round ye town and citadell: the fortifications are in better order, and seem to have more of present strength, there being a good number of brass and iron ordinance mounted and fitt for use, than any town I saw in Ulster; and indeed, Dublin excepted, this is the best town taken alltogether I have seen in Ireland. The houses are all built of stone, of course kind of marble29, all like one another, like castles for their arch'd doors and strong walls, windows, and floors, and seem to have all been built much about the same time, after the modell, as I hear, of some town in Flanders. The inhabitants are most Roman Catholicks, and the trade is wholly in their hands, and indeed in all Connaught, as you go farther from Dublin, you may see the remains of Popery, yet less and less extinct than in
p.173ye other parts of Ireland. Here are 2 nunnerys, who, keeping somewhat private, are conniv'd at by ye Governour and Mayor. At ye Gates I observ'd ye sentinells have gotten a use of taking 2 turfs from every horse that comes in with turf, allso, I hear, with herrings, (and, I believe, with other things) which is much more than ye toll due to ye Mayor: this greivance the officers told me they think themselves excus'd from redressing till ye civill power thinks itself so injur'd as to complain, which, it seems, they don't yet. They have here 2 mass houses for one church, which is indeed a pretty modell'd one, but with little ornaments; one tomb is in it of very good and well polish'd black marble well streak'd with white, I believe from the Isles of Bofin30, where I am told there is a good quarry of such. We saw here ye Town-house, which is built on piazzas, but has nothing remarkable, and is not yet finish'd, ye Barracks, one in ye citadell, the other new built at another end of the town, both for foot: they hold about a regiment. Having view'd the town, I was directed where I might have a map of it31, which I bought, and seems pretty exact: 'twas done at Brussells by a fryer who was born and bred in this town, and, they tell you, had been at Brussells 8 years when he made it.
Thursday, 22nd Walk'd about the town and view'd it further. The inhabitants, I find, are all what they call English Irish, i. e. familys that came over at or soon after the Conquest, and were here settled in this strong town as a Colony against the naturall Irish of these parts, and whose posterity still live here, and with their old religion enjoy also their old possessions32.
Friday, 23rd Went in a boat down a branch of Gallway river
p.174call'd Powley Hurly, to see the place where it enters and runs under ground, which it does for 3 miles. It enters about a mile from town, among ye rocks and stones all along the side of a hill, in one place of which there is a naturall cave in ye rock, at the inward part of which, about some 6 or 8 yards in, you meet part of ye river running. The inside of this cave is all cover'd with a thick coat, of a substance much resembling chalk in colour and insipidness to tast: it swims when it falls on ye water, and seems somewhat oyly when rub'd in one's hand. We also were to see 2 Danes-forts which have caves in 'em as the one before describ'd, and I am told they are very frequently found in ye forts of this country.
Saturday, 24th Left Gallway about 5 in ye morning, and came, thro' a fine open champain country, to Loughree in 4½ h. hard riding. Loughree is a pretty scituated wall'd town, by ye side of a fine Lough. Here are ye ruins of a fine seat of ye old Earl of Clanrickards. All ye country between Gallway and this place is full of old castles, built, as I suppose, about the time Gallway was, that is, about the time of ye first plantation of Ireland by ye English after ye Conquest. On ye road I saw an odd monument or pillar of hewn stone, of ye annext figure, without lime or mortar. From Loughree we came in 4 hours more to Balynasloe, thro' ye famous village of Aghrim, where yet are seen ye ruins of ye old castle, and a few dead men's sckulls scatter'd in ye fields, ye remains
p.175of ye battle33 there fought in ye troubles. This is still a fine open country, and in some places improv'd. 2 hours more brought us home again to Killeglan. At Killeglan we stay'd again  days, and met with nothing more remarkable but what we had seen before. We gather'd some more of ye sphaericall stones mention'd page ye [165.].
Wednesday, ye 28th We were invited to see an old altar that stands on ye lands of Mucklon34 in ye county of Gallway, as ye proprietor of ye land and ye Irish have been pleas'd to call it. It is compos'd of severall rude unhewn flat stones, one of 12 or 14 foot square, and about 2 foot thick, being layd flat on some others of 8 or 9 foot high, of which there might have been some 15 or 20 supporting ye large one at top clear round, set edgewise on ye ground, so as to leave a hollow within, and make a sort of box of rude stones. It seems to me to have been a Danish burying place of ye same nature with one in a Danes-mount at Knowth, in which was found a rude stone urn35, which I have by me: 'tis now almost so ruin'd that one cannot readily find out its ancient position and figure, ye stones that made ye wall to support ye upper one on 2 sides being entirely ruin'd, broken and carry'd away by ye owner of ye land for building; nay, one of ye corners of ye upper stone is knock'd off, and ye whole, by losing its support, is fallen at one corner to the ground, so that there is but one side left by which one can judge of its true scituation, and even there ye supporting
p.176stones are plainly struck out of their former posture; but I am assur'd there are some living that remember it formerly standing as I judg'd it to have stood from what yet remains; nay, ye gentleman that shew'd it us, on whose estate it stands, told me it was much as I have describ'd it in his memory, before he broke ye stones for building. This artificiall curiosity is surrounded by as great ones of nature: it stands in ye middle of a naturall cawsey of vast stones, some 20 or 30 foot square, all of one height, about 2 f. from ye earth: between ye stones one may let down a cord 15 or 20 f. down, tho' they are not at 3 inches distances from one another; their surfaces are not plain, but pretty smooth, with great inaequalitys, protuberances, and excavations. There are 3 or 4 of these Cawseys here, which are much of a sort with those at Gallway, describ'd page ye 14th [vide p. 169]. Ye loose stones that lye here about, of which there are a great number confus'dly thrown about ye monument, are every one of them figur'd stones of ye kind describ'd page 7th [vide p. 165]: I gathered up 3 or 4 of them, and brought them away, and might have taken cart loads. One stone I met here, but not of this kind, with shells in't as those at Killeglan; even ye large stones of ye Cawsey themselves have some of them some parts of them of this kind of stone; nay, 2 or 3 we observ'd of about 10 or 12 f. bigness entirely of this composition of flinty veins, as the spots on their surfaces shew'd. Here grow also in ye clefts of ye rocks many herbs, rare, as I am told, and sought for far and near for medicinall uses, so that perhaps a skillfull botanist might find somewhat to employ his curiosity in this place, as well as the Antiquary or other naturalist.
Friday, 30th Left Killeglan to return to Dublin. Pass'd thro' Brideswell36, where is a well and chappell dedicated to St. Bridget,
p.177built by an Earl of Antrim, as also a Poor house here, where some poor people are yet maintain'd by ye alms of Roman Catholicks, [thence to] Athlone, and from thence to Moat, thro' a well improv'd, well planted country, with trees and orchards, good houses, and, as I hear, English inhabitants.
Sat: May ye 1st Left Moat. Came to Lowtown. Here Coz. Dopping gave me a very odd figur'd stone. 'Tis of a yellowish brown colour, and, as he tells me, excellent limestone. In ye surface of ye stone are severall cilindricall protuberances, of ye bigness and colour of caterpillars, having exactly black streaks and dents across them as they have, yet perfect stone; they lye, most, flat along ye surface, half bury'd, not all directed one way, but scatter'd, some one way, some another; and some run in into ye body of ye stone, and stand out a little; these have a hollow in their center, or else a different substance of stone from ye other parts, like ye pith of a tree. We walk'd about, and in ye ditches here observ'd severall of this figur'd stone, but none so perfect as that he gave me.
Monday, 3rd Left Lowtown, and came to Dublin.