« PreviousContinue »
them copy them without injuring them, whatever may be necessary for their purpose, and let them be equally seen and used by the children of my brother Carbry as by themselves, ... and I request the children of Carbry to instruct their children.” About a mile east of the castle of the O'Clerys are the remains of Kilbarron Church, said to have been founded by St Collum-Cille, * from which the parish takes its name. The tourist may now proceed northwards to Coolmore, where there is a retired bathing-place, and return by a different road to Ballyshannon.
III. EXCURSION TO PETTIGO AND Lough DERG.
Ballyshannon is a good point from whence to visit Lough Derg, the scene of the celebrated penitential retreat known by the name of St Patrick's Purgatory. The distance to Pettigo is seventeen miles. Leaving Ballyshannon, the road runs eastward along the north bank of the Erne, passing Cliff Castle, Rockfield House, Belleek, where the road begins to take a north-eastern direction, and to afford beautiful and rapidly changing views to the south, over Lough Erne. About two miles from
Variously written Columba, Columb, Columkille, and CollumCille in the Irish MSS.
Belleek is Keenahan Lough, on the left, and on the opposite side of the road Magheramenagh Castle ; and a little farther on are a glebe-house, prettily situated, and Lough Scolban, on the left, while on the right, as you proceed, the extensive grounds of Castlecaldwell stretch away to the edge of Lough Erne. The road now hugs the shore of this beautiful lake, which, though from most points of view it appears encumbered with islands, here spreads out into a sea.
The expanse, however, is soon broken by Boa, the largest of Lough Erne's numerous islands. Crossing the Waterfoot river, where there is a handsome residence (H. W. Barton, Esq.) of the same name, you once more pass into the county of Donegal, and after two miles more, you arrive at Pettigo, (Inn: Hamilton's) on the river Termon, “ in the parish of Templecarne, near the glebehouse of which are the ruins of Termon Magrath, a strong keep, with circular towers at the angles, said to have been the residence of Myler Magrath, the first Protestant bishop of Clogher.”* Pettigo is situated on the southern border of a wild and desolate mountain region, in which, between four and five miles to the north, lies Lough Derg. The Rev. Cæsar Otway, in a sketch of an excursion made by him to this famous lough, has given a graphic description of the approach to it :-“The road from the village of Pettigo, leading towards Lough Derg, runs along a river tumbling over rocks; and then, after proceeding for a time over a boggy valley, you ascend into a dreary and mountainous tract, extremely ugly in itself, but from which you have a fine view indeed of the greatest part of the upper lake of Lough Erne, with its many elevated islands, and all its hilly shores. . . . . . I had at length, after travelling about three miles, arrived where the road is discontinued, and, by the direction of my guide, ascended a mountain path that brought me through a wretched village, and led to the top of a hill. Here my boy (guide) left me, and went to look for the man who was to ferry us to Purgatory, and on the ridge where I stood I had leisure to look around. To the south-west lay Lough Erne, with all its isles and cultivated shores ; to the north-west Lough Derg, and truly, never did I mark such a contrast. Lough Derg under my feet; the lake, the shore, the mountains, the accompaniments of all sorts presented the very landscape of desolationits waters expanding in Highland solitude, amidst a wide waste of moors, without one green spot to refresh the eye, without a house or tree, all mournful in the brown hue of its far-stretching bogs, and the gray uniformity of its rocks; the surrounding
mountains, even, partook of the sombre character of the place; their forms without grandeur, their ranges continuous, and without elevation. The lake was certainly as fine as rocky shores and numerous islands could make it, but it was encompassed with such dreariness
I said to myself, I am already in Purgatory.' A person who had never seen the picture that was now under my eye, who had read of a place consecrated to the devotion of ages, might imagine that St Patrick's Purgatory, secluded in its sacred island, would have all the venerable and Gothic accompaniments of olden time; and its ivied towers and belfried steeples ; its carved windows and cloistered arches ; its long, dark aisles and fretted vaults, would have risen out of the water, rivalling Iona or Lindesfarne ; but nothing of the sort was to be seen.”*
In the same place Mr Otway relates that, in 1632, “ the state ordered Sir James Balfour and Sir William Stewart to seize unto his Majesty's use this island of Purgatory; and accordingly we find that Sir William proceeds to the island, and reports that he found an abbot and forty friars, and that there was a daily resort of four hundred and fifty pilgrims, who paid eightpence each for admission to the island. Sir William further informs the Privy Council, that in order to hinder the seduced people from going any longer to this stronghold of Purgatory, and wholly to take away the abuse hereafter, he had directed the whole to be defaced and utterly demolished ; therefore the walls, works, foundations, vaults, &c., he ordered to be rooted up, also the place called St Patrick's bed, and the stone on which he knelt. These and all other superstitious relics he ordered to be thrown into the lough ; and he made James M'Grath, the owner of the island, to enter into recognisances that he should not in future permit the entrance of Jesuits, friars, nuns, or any other superstitious order of Popery, to enter therein.”
* Sketches in Donegal, Letter iv.
It would appear that consequent upon this thorough “rooting up” by Sir William, the locale of the station was changed to the present Station Island, which is smaller and farther removed from the shore. The friars, who were the object of his wrath, were the family of a venerable Augustinian monastery, founded here by St Dabheog* a disciple of St Patrick. In the martyrology of Donegal we read, under the 1st of January, the following notice of Lough Derg : “At the eastern extremity of that lake are Patrick's Purgatory and Dabheog's Island ; there is also a monastery in which there were canons at the eastern extremity of the same lake. . . There
* Usually pronounced, Davoc.