Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Rev. Daniel A. Beaufort's Tour of Kerry, 1788 (Author: Daniel A. Beaufort)

Entry 9

[August] 21 To Dingle.
The first 8 Miles [are] well planted & beautiful, affording many fine views of the Lake. We then turn off Norwards thro a dreary country & by a strait road. Slieve na Miss [Slieve Mish] stands in front of us & the two ridges leave an opening for Castlemain harbour. Descending into the Vale which the Maing [Maine] waters, the Country seems rich & capable of great Improvement at a very small Expense.

Milltown, a small markettown 1 mile South West of Castlemain belongs to Sir William Godfrey58 who lives close to it & it is likely to become a thriving place as Sir William told us that to encourage inhabitants he gives them ground to build on rent free for ever.

There are here 3 Saltworks. The Rock salt & all heavy matters are, brought up narrow {Ms 4030 page 17} Channels, like the Welsh pills,59 to within 1/2 a Mile of the Town where there is a quay.60 We saw there a vessel of 70 tons burden discharge her cargo & another taking in Copper Ore from Killarney. They get also by this conveyance great quantities of rich sand filled with Muscles & other shells, from the Peninsula of Inch Island about 8 Miles navigation, with which they manure their land, at the rate of about 10 boat loads to an Acre, & a boatload sells for 6 shillings. But it is also retailed in horseloads for the convenience of the poor.61 The Church stands on the West of the town. Here is also a ruined Abbey,62 of which a long Church only is remaining — remarkable


for the excellent plan of its large Course & for a parapet all round it.

Mr Caldwell & Mr Walsh on their horses & William & I in my chaise had left Killarney at 8 & came here to breakfast in a very poor Inn. After our Meal we walked {Ms 4030 page 18} about — saw a beautiful wood of 100 acres of Sir William Godfrey's copsed & growing well on the fine round hill. As we returned to our Inn the Baronet came to see us, asked us to stay & dine with him — offered us fruit — & actually detained us half an hour to give us a fine apple. He is member for Tralee.

Castlemain is now a most wretched village, only a few cabbins at each end of a very long bridge over the Maing. On the East side of this bridge are large ruins of a Castle,63 & on the West some also, with several marks in the battlements where the gate that defended this pass antiently stood. A singular situation for a Castle, in the midst of a river in which the tide might bring large vessels. Yet there is a Constable of this Castle with a Salary of 10 sh[illings] per day besides a considerable piece of land near it: Capt Botet,64 who lives at {Ms 4030 page 19} Kinsale, is the present Constable & Sir William Godfrey says it is altogether worth £300 a year.65 In the flats about this river I observed a number of navigable streams that fill with the tide & bring up boats.

[I] observe in this country Wooden Mugs of all sizes neatly turned, with handles of the same piece, a difficult work.66

Here we turn due West with Slieve Miss on our Right which continues under different names such as — [sic] etc. to the head of Donmore. The road runs pleasantly along the harbour of Castlemain which is formed by Inch Island. The river Inch tumbles down a wonderfully rocky channel, thro a gap in the Mountains. Here we leave the coast & turn to the Left {Ms 4030 page 20} Breach Innis on our Right


& Mam Inch on our Left — wild Mountains.67 This road leads us to a nice fertile vale amidst these hills where we took notice of some huge Druidical Stones on the side of Mam Inch, one of which we made a drawing of 14 feet high & 1/2 Circumference. On the Eastern angle there seem to be some Ogham Characters. About half a mile farther we saw another on our left68 but it rained so desperately we could not stop.

We soon came to an old house called Hamiltons Inn — worse than any Spanish posada69 — yet kept by a man who lived 14 years coachman to Dr Andrews70 the Provost, & in other elegant houses. It was dark before we reached Dingle & took up our lodgings in a very poor dirty inn, kept by Alexis Moriarty.71 I sent Lady Anns72 letter to Mr Hicksons,73 but {Ms 4030 page 21} he was gone to Tralee. However, his Wife 74 invited me to sleep there which I declined.