A View of the Waterfall at Coolaphooka

Artist(s) : Charles Topham Bowden (Draughtsman)

A view of the waterfall at Cuilaphuca, on the Slaney, north-west of Newtownbarry, or Bunclody as it is now called, in Co. Wexford. The principal elements of this illustration include a waterfall tumbling over crags on the left of the image, a dog pointing, and two men on the right, of whom one appears to have just fired his raised gun at a bird seen near the river. There are some rails, or the remains of a bridge, in the river at the base of the waterfall and beside it is a moss-house. Further off is a partly wooded conical hill or low mountain.
There is no artistic attribution, but the text indicates that the image is based on a sketch by the author.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Nature, Rural life
Geographical Location
  • Cuilaphuca Waterfall - Named locality
  • Wexford - County
  • Leinster - Province
Keywords(s) Dogs, Estates, Firearms, Gardens & parks, Hunting, Mountains, People, Picnics, Rivers, Trees, Waterfalls
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1791

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A Tour through Ireland [Bowden]
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opposite p. 113
Source copy National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 b 13
Rights National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Mr. Purcell in describing the curiosities of the country, mentioned the bishop of Meath's improvements in Cool-a-Phooka – a wood about a mile and a half distant from his house, in such terms of panegyric, as induced me to order a cold collation there next day. I requested he would ask a few friends to accompany us, which he readily consented to do.
Mr Lacey very obligingly offered to accompany me to Cool-a-phooka, and brought with him a gun to let me hear the effect of its report in the rocks. After crossing the new bridge we walked by the banks of the Slaney, where several gentlemen were amusing themselves fishing. One of them hooked a large salmon which was taken, after being played, for more than half an hour. I was greatly entertained with the ingenuity of the angler.
When we entered Cool-a-phooka wood, a gravel walk conducted us to the [p. 113] cataract, the noise of which, while yet at a considerable distance, gave me the idea of thunder. A fine spaniel which followed Mr. Lacey, set a wood-cock near the river side, which occasioned us to descend to the edge of the river. As the bird rose towards the rock, Mr. Lacey fired and killed it. The noise "of many hundred echoes," at this instant, through the hollow rocks, with that of a great body of water falling from a precipice of a hundred and fifty feet, had an effect awful and sublime.
I stood for some moments to contemplate the scene, which I attempted to sketch in a hurry. On approaching the waterfall we were enveloped in a thick mist, and every object seemed to spread a terrific gloom around. The water in descending, was broke in many places by the pending rocks and precipices. It assumed a variety of colours from the summit to the base, boiling and foaming in its descent, and roaring like a troubled ocean. There had been considerable [p. 114] rain the preceding night, which added to the cataract, and made it more than commonly awful. Contiguous to the waterfall, a moss-house has been constructed in a style of simple elegance. In the centre is a curious tree, which has been compressed in its growth, and twisted into the form of a table in which it appears as its natural position. Around this table there are continued seats at a convenient distance formed in the same manner. Thus a company can be accommodated here with a heavenly grotto, chairs and table, from trees actually growing, with the simple addition of moss, so happily disposed by art, as to have every effect to the eye of a natural state.
The wood is on the estate of one of the most amiable of men – the bishop of Meath. To the inexpressible regret of the company around, he seldom visits it. The improvements I speak of, were designed by him only to give employment to the poor in seasons of scarcity. [pp. 109, 112-114]
A View of the Waterfall at Coolaphooka