0Monday. 17th [May 1897]—Burren, nr. Kinvara, County Galway
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17 May 1897 — Burren, nr. Kinvara, County Galway
Monday. 17th [May 1897]. I was well again but not up to much. However we drove off at about 11 in the poney phaeton to the Abbey of Corcomroe. It was a lovely day & warm but very windy. Arrived at the cabins nearest to the Abbey we put the poney up & set off on foot & climbed by a stony narrow road to see the ruins of a far old church called– We sat down & made little sketches– I drew the curious door way very narrow & with the side posts (stones) put slanting so as to support the large cross way stone—the arch at that time being unknown– The church stands in a most desolate spot surrounded by an amphitheatre of stone which seems to form seats on the hills round. We returned to where the carriage was & thence walked to the Abbey which tho’ a complete ruin seemed modern & ornate after                church. The man who carried our lunch basket for us deposited it on the altar which he said would make a good place for us to eat at. We were rather shocked at this want of reverence & removed it to a flat tomb in the aisle & there sat & refreshed ourselves. There were pieces of a wooden coffin lying hard by—quite a modern one with its metal handles. It had evidently been dug up to make room for a recent burial—for the church is still used as a burying place by those who have a right to the graves– I tried to make a sketch of the chancel but the wind was so high I could not succeed. A poor woman spoke to us about a cow of hers that was sick—in such mournful tones that I called to mind the Proverb “The rich man loseth his child & the poor man loseth his cow”– Two bright eyed girls watched us drawing—girls of abt 12 years of age—& when we left they ran to their pitchers—filled them at the well and carried them off poised on their heads. One girl was fair, blue eyed & bright—the other dark solemn & stately. Augusta asked the blue eyed girl to accompany us a little way along the road to hold our poney whilst we went further up the road to visit St Patrick’s well. She joyfully agreed begging us to obtain permission for her from the old dame at the cottage where she lived & where our poney had been sheltered. Having obtained the permission she reappeared with shoes & stockinged feet & a shawl over her head & climbed up in high glee into the dickey of our carriage– A few paces further on we saw the 2nd girl looking wistfully over her garden gate so we beckoned to her to come also– She had evidently hoped we might offer to take her for she had got her shoes & stockings on & quickly joined us. At the turn of the road to the well we left the carriage in charge of the girls & walked along the edge of the hill looking down over the estuary & distant country. The well is a few paces from the road & is mostly a spring enclosed by walls. Two stones enclosed at the mouth of the spring are said to retain the imprint of St Patrick’s feet– In a niche in the wall—were cockle shells—rags, bottles, rosaries—left by the faithful. We tasted the water which was clean & cool. It is supposed to be so holy that it will not boil if taken at the source—tho’ if taken at the pump thro’ which it runs at the edge of the road below it has lost this undesirable quality. We returned to the carriage—took leave of the girls—who said they are first cousins & who live in hopes of going to America together when they are old enough & we set off for Durrin. We had asked our landlady Miss L. Hynes & her sister to tea & as we passed their house we waved to them to intimate our return. They appeared soon & we had a solemn tea party & appropriate talk– The sister I had not seen before is older than Miss L.—plain & dull. We sat reading after they left till past 7 when we went out to walk along the shore & grub up a tuft of thrift or sea pink to carry back to Coole for Augusta’s rock garden– We then sat down & watched the sunset. The wind had fallen, the sun was sitting over the Atlantic & we sat down on the rocks & remained a long time watching & in my mind were Wordsworth’s lines wh never seemed more appropriate: It is a beauteous evening, calm & free / The holy time is quiet as a nun / Breathless with adoration; the broad sun / Is sinking down in its tranquillity; / The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea. / Listen! the mighty Being is awake / And doth with his Eternal motion make / A sound like thunder everlastingly. When at last the sun was set & it began to grow chill It was hard to make up ones mind to rise & return to our lodging feeling that it was also leaving the little quiet village to return to life & the battle of the world—for we leave here tomorrow.

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