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lovely valleys, but none can compare with the Blackwater in this respect; and its scenery is the most beautiful and varied in the south of Ireland. From its mouth at Youghal up to Lismore its banks are bold, verdant, and graceful. The river valley is interesting, too, from the number of ruins of castles and religious edifices which stand on the banks of the stream.
4. The chief rivers of the eastern watershed are the Slaney, which drains the southern slopes of the Wicklow Mountains, and runs in a southerly direction into Wexford Harbour; the Liffey, which drains the northern and western slopes of the Wicklow Mountains, and after a circuitous course empties its waters into the Bay of Dublin; and the Boyne, flowing into Drogheda Bay. The Boyne is a gentle stream, neither broken by rapids nor calmed by spreading into broad lakes. It winds serene and peaceful through a rich and fertile country, and along its banks or in its neighbourhood are some of the finest monuments of the various races of men who have held sway
in Ireland from the earliest historic times.
5. The rivers of the north of Ireland are the Bann and the Foyle. The Bann has its source in the Mourne Mountains, and midway in its course to the ocean expands into Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. The Foyle mingles its waters with those of an inlet of the sea called by the same name—Lough Foyle.
6. With the exception of the beautiful Lakes of Killarney, described in the next lesson, the lakes of Ireland are lakes of the plain. They lie in hollows in the plains, and, compared with mountain lakes, are shallow. Their banks, for the most part, are low and uninteresting, and after rains the surrounding country is often flooded. Lough Neagh, at the north-eastern end of the plain, Loughs Upper and Lower Erne, expansions of the river of the same name, and the Loughs Allen, Ree, and Derg, expansions of the Shannon, are the chief lakes of the Great Plain.
7. The two principal lakes in the county of MayoLoughs Mask and Corrib--are separated by a neck of land only about two-and-a-half miles in width, forming a highway between the counties of Mayo and Galway. The level of the waters of Lough Mask is considerably higher than that of Lough Corrib, and the waters find their way through subterranean passages in the limestone rocks from one lake to the other.
1. The Lakes of Killarney and neighbourhood form the most interesting and most celebrated part of Ireland. It surpasses in natural beauty aught that Nature has supplied in the sister island; for, with scarcely an exception, the devoted worshippers of Loch Katrine, and the fervid admirers of the northern English lakes have yielded the palm to the Lakes of Killarney.
2. “The beauties of Killarney are many. We do not
know, in the same space elsewhere, so many varied charms of scenery, in character wholly diverse. Lakes wild, stern, and secluded as the Upper Lake, the mountains rising on three sides almost out of the bosom of the waters; those on the northern and western side bleak, barren, and rocky, and only wanting snow-caps to look like Alpine scenery,
Lakes soft and sunny as the Lower Lake, which is almost Italian in its loveliness, with its sweet bays, and low, verdant hills clothed from base to summit with luxuriant evergreens. And between these the Middle Lake, combining the characteristics of the other two: without the boldness of the one, or the placid beauty of the other, it has a grace of outline and diversity of feature of its own.
3. “The lakes are formed and supplied by numerous minor lakes that exist in the surrounding mountains, and may be described as an immense reservoir for the several rivers that flow into them. The only outlet of the waters thus collected is the narrow and rapid river Laune, a channel along which they proceed to the Atlantic through the beautiful Bay of Dingle.
4. “The Upper Lake is narrow and straggling, somewhat more than two miles in length, and less than a mile in width. The islands it contains, though small, are numerous and gracefully wooded. It is almost surrounded by stern mountains which throw their shadows upon
the water, so as to give it a character of gloom in perfect keeping with the loneliness of the scene.
5. “The narrow and winding channel, about three miles in length, from the Upper to the Middle Lake, is full of interest and beauty. The water is clear and rapid, and on either side it is amply wooded. About midway on the left bank rises a conical mountain—the Eagle's Nest—to the height of over 1,000 feet; its base is thickly wooded to the water's edge, but its top is almost a bare crag, the haunt of the eagle.
6. “The Middle, or Mucross Lake, more sheltered, and less crowded with islands than the other lakes. Near it, on the peninsula of Mucross, is the far-famed abbey of that name. The great tributary of this lake is