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The Earl of Desmond's Castle

Wednesday, May 22 (Ireland).--After preaching at Balligarane, I rode to Ashkayton. There are no ruins, I believe, in the kingdom of Ireland, to be compared to these. The old Earl of Desmond's Castle is very large, and has been exceedingly strong. Not far from this, and formerly communicating with it by a gallery, is his great hall, or banqueting room. The walls are still firm and entire; and these with the fine carvings of the windowframes (all of polished marble) give some idea of what it was once. Its last master lived like a prince for many years and rebelled over and over against Queen Elizabeth. After his last rebellion, his army being totally routed, he fled into the woods with two or three hundred men. But the pursuit was so hot that these were soon scattered from him, and he crept alone into a small cabin. He was sitting there when a soldier came in and struck him. He rose and said, "I am the Earl of Desmond." The wretch, rejoicing that he had found so great a prize, cut off his head at once. Queen Elizabeth and King James allowed a pension to his relict 3030     Correct for many years. I have seen a striking picture of her, in her widow's weeds, said to be taken when she was a hundred and forty years old.

At a small distance from the castle stands the old abbey, the finest ruin of the kind in the kingdom. Not only the walls of the church and many of the apartments but the whole cloisters are entire. They are built of black marble exquisitely polished and vaulted over with the same. So that they are as firm now as when they were built, perhaps seven or eight hundred years ago; and, if not purposely destroyed (as most of the ancient buildings in Ireland have been), may last these thousand years. But add these to the years they have stood already and what is it to eternity? A moment!

Monday, June 24.--This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine-and-twenty. This also hath God wrought.


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