The Lakes Of Killarney
From Mallow, on the Blackwater, the angler proceeds to Killarney. It
would be as well to go to Lismore, farther down from Mallow, where there
is good Salmon fishing to be had; there is a Mr. Foley here (who rents
the "weirs" of the Duke of Devonshire), he is most polite to strangers,
and allows them to fish in the weirs, which are of some extent; and most
of the Gentlemen residing on its banks, from Lismore up, will allow the
stranger to fly-fish through their grounds, send their keepers to shew
them the best places, and are most hospitable and polite. At the
Killarney junction, Mallow, the angler takes his seat, and in a little
time is delighted with the sight of the Lakes. I visited Killarney in
1848, on an angling excursion in Ireland, to recruit my fallen spirits,
if possible, after many years of industrious labour, "and it is myself
that would advise the sickly to go there, if he had legs to walk on,"
says poor Pat.
To my great disappointment at the time, the Lakes were netted by their
respective owners, which rather damped my spirits after going so far "a
fishing"--my sport there was but inferior. It is not so now, many thanks
to Lord Kenmare and Mr. Herbert, who have put a stop to the netting and
other contrivances, to the delight of the anglers and inn keepers of the
neighbourhood. I have been given to understand that the Salmon fishing
is capital now in the lakes and river. At Ennisfallen Island there is a
favourite cast, and another between that and Ross Island; another to the
south west of it; towards Mucruss Abbey, to the north-east, there is
good water for the fly, and in "Glena" bay, all of which the boatmen
will show. At the latter place parties dine, in a very beautiful
situation at the foot of the hill, sheltered by trees to the water's
edge. On the west side of it is shown a curiosity--a holly, a thorn, a
birch, a hazel, an ash, and an oak, so curiously entwined, that they
appear as one tree; at this place there is a good fishery, at the
cottage they cut the salmon into pieces, skewer them with arbutus, and
roast them over a turf fire; they say arbutus gives them a fine flavour.
Between Brickeen Bridge and the Upper Lake there is good fishing, in the
narrow gorge between the lakes; the charges of boats, &c., have been
regulated, so that they cannot now impose upon visitors. The scenery in
the vicinity of "Brickeen Bridge" and the Eagle's Nest is sublime, and
must delight the heart of the Angler who may be seeking health and
pastime, either by himself or with his dear admiring friends.
There is not a table, either in inn or lodging house in the town of
Killarney, wanting a Guide to the Lakes, written by some intelligent
person or other, so that the angler cannot go astray.
There are numerous good inns in the town and neighbourhood, the people
and landlords of which are polite, civil, and obliging to strangers, as
are the guides and boatmen.
There is a Miss Smith, in New Street, who keeps a comfortable lodging,
the most honest creature I ever came across, go to her, you gentle ones.
The delightful Island of Ennisfallen, which used to be my favourite spot
during my stay, would be a kind of Heaven on Earth to the invalid; it is
covered with verdure and beautiful large trees, the arbutus, &c. There
is a thorn growing through a tomb stone, a holly fourteen feet thick, a
curious crab tree, and the bed of honour, which the guides say if you
lie down in it, having no children up to the present time, "your honor
will be sure to have plenty of them after your return home."--This place
is a hollow about the size of a large bed, in a projecting rock
over-hung with holly and hawthorn. In an aperture in the "crab tree" the
guides recommend ladies to pass. There are ruins of a once celebrated
Abbey here, founded in an early date of St. Finian.
The annals of Ennisfallen comprise a history of the world up to A.D.
430, and a history of Ireland up to 1320. They are preserved in Trinity
College, Dublin. There is an enormous ash tree growing out of the floor
of the abbey. It is unquestionably a healthy spot, and soon excites an
appetite by inhaling its salubrious air.
The remains of the once beautiful edifice "Mucruss Abbey" is well worth
seeing, as the ravages of death, which were once too prominent, have
been cleared away by the humane Mr. Herbert, so that there may be a
close inspection made of the ruins; the architecture of the eastern
window is admirable; and the extraordinary "yew tree" growing in the
centre of the ancient cloisters and over-spreading its walls is curious
in the extreme, in the fork of the yew, above the great trunk, there is
a kind of unctuous gum constantly flowing down, which is said by the
peasantry that "the yew is shedding tears for the fate of the abbey."
The Salmon flies to suit the Lakes, are Nos. 2, 4, 5, and 6, 8 and 9 the
two at the bottom of the plate with "picker," and No. 4 plate on Salmon
hooks, the paintings of which are exact to the models. The three latter
flies are, first, a cinnamon-brown body, brown wings, and brown red
hackle, mixed tail; second, a jointed body fly of blue and green, gaudy
mixed wing, topping in the tail--this fly may be used in very rough
water, and the brown one with a nice ripple and grey cloud; the No. 4
fly on Salmon hooks, is mallard wings, fiery brown body ribbed with
gold, brown red hackle, hook No. 6, B, CC, and a yellow and red mixed
tail. The Dun Salmon Fly, No 6, and the one above it, No 5, are
favourite killers in the lakes and river.
My advise is, that my friends (I call every angler who reads this book a
friend), should beware of the "mountain dew"[C] and goat's milk, sold by
the damsels of Killarney, in the vicinity of Brickeen Bridge, and the
Eagle's nest; they are harmless and cleanly creatures, but their
importunity to taste their goat's milk is teasing--buy their goat's
milk, but reject their "dew," gentle fishers.
The river "Lane," which issues out of the Lower Lake, as it is now
preserved by the inn keepers, is a capital stream for salmon and sea
trout fishing; about four miles from Killarney, at the Bridge leading to
"Dunloe Gap," is a good place to begin to fish, either up or down the
river; the trout in both lakes and river are as yellow as gold when
taken out of the water, they are spotted over with beautiful brown-red
marks, and are very handsome to look at.
The Trout Flies in the list will be found excellent for the lakes and
river. A grouse hackle, with orange silk body, and a little strip of
grey partridge tail for wings--this with the ant brown, hare's ear, and
amber fly; the red dun, caperer, wren and cuckoo hackle, and duns of
various shades and size, ribbed with silver. The land-rail fly,
brown-red hackle, and ash fox, an orange body with black hackle from the
tail up, and starling wings. The silver dun, with grey mallard wings,
mixed with the wing of the bunting lark, ribbed with silver, and tail of
the hackle fibres, the body yellow dun--this is a great favourite made
of sea-trout size for the river, and large for salmon in the lakes. The
sand and cinnamon flies are also good, and the red spinner; the winged
larva is an excellent fly below the Bridge, allowed to sink a little
beneath the surface when fished with, grilse and sea-trout will take it.
The river Lane is remarkable for its firm footing along the banks, and
no where obstructed by trees, it is the most pleasant place I ever saw
for fishing, combined with wild and fanciful scenery.