site logo

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.