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The present amiable and worthy chief is the fifth baronet; and, besides his estates in Scotland, has recently become the purchaser of a valuable property in Ireland. His town of Fermoy is one of the handsomest inland towns in that kingdom, and has every opportunity for commerce and manufactories, if the inhabitants had the spirit and enterprise to turn to account the valuable gifts nature has placed within their reach. The noble river that flows idly through their many-arched bridge, might readily be made a channel for export and import trade. I am surprised that the intelligent proprietor does not endeavour to stir his tenants into useful activity.
THE SEAT OF LORD RIVERSDALE.
"See how the day beameth brightly before us!
Nature is ringing with music and mirth.
Gaze, and if beauty can capture thy soul,
A FEW days ago I visited Lisnegar, the mansion of Lord Riversdale. Although the summer has passed, and the autumn is verging on the decline, and the leaves are fast dropping in sere and yellow heaps, the scenery and dwelling looked truly enchanting. A more striking contrast to the Castle in my former paper than this mansion can hardly be conceived. They are every way different-in state, and purpose, and appearance. The one calling up visions of days and years when the earth was filled with war, and there was required a site where the eagle would seek a place for his nest whereon to build the fierce knight's dwelling-and moat and barbican, portcullis and loop-hooled wall, contributed to render that dwelling secure from assault. That time is gone by-but its vestige remains in the strong-built castle. Here, on the other hand, upon the verdant turf stands the beautiful and graceful mansion, denoting how days of peace and security have come. No walls surround it-no flanking towers protect the portal-there is no need. Lisnegar is a house for enjoying life peaceably and tranquilly, not a fortress to keep in defiance of the foeman; and though so different in date and appearance they are not far apart, a few miles-not above six-between them. I rode across the hills, and the way is somewhat difficult of access where the mountains raise their crests aloft, but it is wild and picturesque, therefore I persevered. Passes are met away from the level road, and these I traversed as they swept round the base of highlands, affording glimpses of rich tillage country beyond-vallies white with fields from which the corn had been severed, and the farmer's houses looked comfortable and prosperous with their well-filled yards, crowded with cornstacks and hay-ricks. I passed through the neat town of Rathcormac, and reached the Lodge gate. A long avenue bordered on either hand by laurel hedges, close cut and forming an impervious screen, invited my progress, I proceeded along. Forest trees of magnificent dimensions
dotted the lawns, and some rose from amid the screen and threw their boughs over the evergreens. An archway, verdant as ivy could make it, permitted my passing under its battlements into a yard-the walls, the dwellings, surrounding, being clad in ivy green. The poet says
"A rare old plant is the ivy green
but not only there, but elsewhere; as life was seen in shape of sundry fine little dogs-well-bred terriers-a maid servant, and serving man, who took in my card and presently returned-" With the greatest pleasure my lord wishes you to visit all the place," and added a detail of all the sights worth seeing-which, however, I do not mean to trouble the reader with recounting, as in truth, except the house, the grounds are nothing extraordinary-they are very nearly a dead level, and it bespeaks a great deal for his lordship's taste and assiduity in landscape gardening that so much has been made of them; but the house is well worth seeing. It is in the Elizabethan style, and the peaked and pointed gables, the deep mullioned square-casemented windows, and heavy clusters of chimneys produce their usual picturesque effect. Some very fine antlers are judiciously placed over the door-way and near the centre of a tall archway leading from the court-yard, which have a good effect. The entrance is in the centre, a plain door surmounted by an embayed projecting window, and, over the embattled parapet appears a quaint front, from the centre of which rises a large cross and flag-staff. This mansion, in its present tasteful aspect, is not of very ancient date, but it might pretend to vast antiquity from the luxuriant garb of ivy in which it is profusely invested. A very good argument in favour of this friend to the admirers of the picturesque, is in a volume of agreeable Essays, by one of Nature's most ardent followers, Charles Waterton It is a commonly received notion that ivy is ruinous to any tree to which it attaches, and, as I am particularly fond of it, I made the extract to shew from so high an authority as my esteemed friend, that the notion is quite erroneous. Mr. Waterton says, " Ivy derives no nutriment from the timber trees to which it adheres. It merely makes use of a tree or a wall, as we ourselves do of a walking stick when old age or infirmities tell us that we cannot do without it. There can be no doubt as to the real source from which the ivy draws life and vigour -from the ground alone the maintenance proceeds. An opinion prevails that ivy not only deforms the branch to which it adheres, but that it is injurious to the growth of the timber itself. My wish for the preservation of birds urges me to attempt the defence of my favourite plant on these two important points. If I may judge by what I see with my own eyes, I must conclude that ivy is noways detrimental to the tree which has lent it a support. Having given ivy to many trees, and refused it to others in the immediate vicinity, and on the same soil, in order to have a good opportunity of making a fair examination, I find upon minute inspection of these several trees that they are all of fine growth, and in a most healthy state; those with ivy on them, and those without it not varying from each other in appearance more than ordinary groups of forest trees are wont to do. Neither is this to be wondered at when we reflect, that the ivy has its roots in the ground itself, and that it does not ascend in spiral progress round the bole and branches of the tree; its leading shoot is perpendicular. Hence it is not in a position to compress injuriously the expansive powers of the tree, proportionably stronger
than its own. Thus we find that the ivy gradually gives way before them, so that on removing the network (if it may be so called) which the ivy has formed on the bole of the tree we find no indentations." I am sure I need no apology for the length of this extract, so valuable from the high character of the writer; and the effect of ivy in ornamenting buildings is fully exhibited in the mansion of Lisnegar. The grounds are extensive, and beautifully kept, but, as we have already remarked, are too level to afford any variety of scenery. Directly in front of the mansion is a wide gravel walk of great extent, running straight towards the demesne wall and a gate leading to the road. A profusion of evergreens are planted at each side of the walk, and rustic seats are placed under shady canopies. To the left stretches a fine expanse of water, fed by a mountain rill which flows through the grounds. It crosses the walk in front of the mansion, and stepping stones enable the passenger to continue his progress dryshod. On another road is a handsome bridge, thrown across the limpid water, which makes a pleasing object in the landscape. Lisnegar was the ancient seat of the Barrys, a very ancient Anglo-Norman family, who acquired vast possessions in this part of Munster. David De Barry, of Rathcormac, sat in the upper house of Parliament as Baron, in the reign of King Edward I., anno 1302.*
The family name of Lord Riversdale is Tonson, and the present peer is the second Baron. The peerage is Irish, created in 1783. The father of Lord Riversdale was an officer in the army, and a member of the Irish Parliament. He represented the Borough of Baltimore in the House of Commons for forty-six years. By marriage with the eldest daughter of James Bernard, Esq., of Castle Bernard, sister of the first Earl of Bandon, he had issue his heir and successor, William, now Lord Riversdale. His lordship married a daughter of Viscount Doneraile, but has no offspring. He succeeded his father in 1787, and is Colonel of the South Cork Militia. The heir presumptive to the title is the Hon and Right Rev. Ludlow Tonson, Bishop of Killaloe, one of the most gifted preachers in Ireland, which talent is often eloquently exercised in the divine cause of charity.
THE SEAT OF HENRY MITCHEL SMYTH, ESQ.
"I know each lane and every alley green,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood."
THUS we may well exclaim, in recording some reminiscences of scenes among which we have lived since the merry days when we were young. "Pleasant days, that through the wild wood Echo back the thoughts of childhood."
The memory of such days in after life tempts us, for a moment, to moralize. To us and to many of our readers they are freighted with stores of tender and pure feelings, the richest treasures of the heart; while
* Smith's History of Cork.
dwelling upon their memory, pride and worldly ambition, envy and jealousy, selfishness and deceit, the mean and despicable passions which the world and commerce with men engender, are hidden and trampled down by the vivid and soothing recollections of early days; the boyish sports, the early friends, the long, long absent, the departed, all start into life, bright and joyous and loveable as in early days.
Castle Widenham was to us, from our youth, the beau ideal of a feudal castle. The tall keep soaring high above the waving forests, the embattled towers, the parapets, and the well within the precincts of the castle to supply the garrison with water when the beleaguering enemy intercepted any communication beyond the walls, were so many links in the chain that wound round our juvenile imagination while sauntering through the lordly woods, climbing the tall trees, or listening to the dash and flow of the bright river as it winded through the glen. But principally at eventide, when the sun, like a tired chieftain, had sunk to his slumber, and the woods increased their shade to blackness, and silence sat on the castled steep, and the moon arose and cast a silvery light over the old grey stones, bringing every embrazure and loop-hole into a flood of light, it seemed like some haunted fortress, or
"Castle high where wicked wizards keep
But in actual sober reality it is a majestic dwelling. This castle, with the adjacent town, was formerly a portion of the territory of the Lord Roche, Viscount Fermoy, one of the Anglo-Norman families, who, in the days of Henry Fitzempress arrived and settled in Ireland. They gave their name to castle and town-the latter still retains the appellation Castletown Roche, and is a very considerable village in the county of Cork. There is a charming view opening from the east bank of the river near the bridge. The Aubeg here runs into the gloom of the arches, the bridge itself being a conspicuous object in the foreground. On one side is a lofty ledge of rock crowned by hanging woods. A gentle hill breasts the opposite side; and along the brow is the parish church and portion of the town. The background is filled up by extensive mills, and a rocky steep surmounted with a tiara of towers-the castle we have mentioned. Having renewed our acquaintance with the honoured walls very lately, we remarked considerable renovations and additions, all of which met our warmest approbation, as they are in perfect keeping with the AngloNorman castle yet erect. This remnant of feudal times rises to a great elevation, and the summit, which is easily reached, the stone stair being perfect, affords from every side superb prospects.
The family who built this castle traced their descent, Mr. Burke” tells us, from David de la Roche, who lived in the reign of Edward II. He was royally descended by his mother's side, she being daughter of the Princess Joan of Acre, and granddaughter of the English Justinian, Edward I. They were created Lords Fermoy after their arrival in this kingdom; and it would appear, the name originally was De Rupe, for in Charles the First's reign the peer's signature was, "De Rupe and Fermoy." The following account of the seizure of Lord and Lady Roche by Sir Walter Raleigh is very interesting. +
• Vide Dictionary of the Landed Gentry. Smith's History of Cork, vol. ii. p. 60.
While Ralph lay in this city (Cork), he performed signal pieces of service against the rebels; among others, Zouch ordered him to take Lord Roche and his lady prisoners, and bring them to Cork, they being suspected of corresponding with the rebels. The Seneschal of Imokilly and David Barry, having notice of this design, assembled 7 or 800 men, to fall on Raleigh either going or on his return. Raleigh quitted Cork with about ninety men, at ten of the clock at night, and marched towards Bally-in-Harsh, twenty miles from Cork, the house of Lord Roche (a nobleman well beloved in this country), and arrived there early in the morning.
He marched directly up to the castle gate; whereupon the townsmen, to the number of five hundred, immediately took up arms. Raleigh, having placed his men in order, took with him Michael Butler, James Fulford, Nicholas Wright, Arthur Barlow, Henry Swane, and Pinking Huish, and knocking at the gate, three or four of Lord Roche's gentlemen demanded the cause of their coming to whom Raleigh answered, that he came to speak with their lord; which was agreed to, provided he would bring in with him but two or three of his followers. However, the gate being opened, he, and all the above-mentioned persons, entered the castle; and, after he had seen Lord Roche, and spoken to him, he, by degrees and different means, drew in a considerable number of his men, whom he directed to guard the iron gate of the court lodge, and that no man should pass in or out; and ordered others into the hall, with their arms ready. Lord Roche set the best face he could upon the matter, and invited the captain to dine with him. After dinner, Raleigh informed him, that he had orders to carry him and his lady to Cork. Lord Roche began to excuse his going, and at length resolutely said, "That he neither could or would go;" but Raleigh, letting him know, that if he refused, he would take him by force, he found there was no remedy, and therefore he and his lady set out on the journey, in a most rainy and tempestuous night, and through a very rocky and dangerous way, whereby many of the soldiers were severely hurt, and others lost their arms. However, the badness of the weather prevented their being attacked by the Seneschal and his men; for they arrived safe in the city by break of day, to the great joy of the garrison, who were surprised that Raleigh had escaped so hazardous an enterprise. As for Lord Roche, he acquitted himself honourably of the crimes he was charged with, and afterwards did good service against the Irish. From the date of the following inscription on a stone imbedded in the wall of the church at Castletown Roche, we think it must refer to this lord and lady. The date Smith assigns for the above arrest is a. D. 1580.
Pro Anime ejus
The loyalty of this family should have preserved them from suspicion. In a petition presented to the Lords of the Council in 1614, it is stated that
VOL. IV., NO. XIX.