View of St. Patrick’s Purgatory, on Lough Derg

Artist(s) : Richard Brydges Beechey (Draughtsman), James Lee (Engraver)

Woodcut. Landscape image of St Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg. There are two silhouetted figures in the foreground with their backs turned to the viewer. There are further figures in a small boat on the lake. The island, seen against a backdrop of mountains, has numerous buildings which are reflected in the calm waters of the lake.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – Lee
  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – View of St. Patrick's Purgatory, on Lough Derg.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Architecture, Nature
Geographical Location
  • Station Island, Lough Derg - Island
  • Donegal - County
  • Ulster - Province
Keywords(s) Boats, Buildings, Islands, Lakes & ponds, Mountains, People
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1836

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A Tour round Ireland [Barrow]
Contributor(s)
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy p. 140
Source copy National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 b 3
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Related text from travel account

Had time permitted I would gladly have made an excursion from Enniskillen to St. Patrick's Purgatory, which is situated in an island of Lough Derg; but this would have cost me a day; and Lieutenant Beechey assured me, with little to re- [p. 140] ward a toilsome journey, beyond my being enabled to state that I had actually trod the shores of
--------- "that dim lake
Where sinful souls their farewell take
Of this vain world, and half-way lie
In death's cold shadow ere they die."
From Mr. Beechey's "Sketch Book" I can, however, give you an idea of the present appearance of this far-famed spot; and extraordinary it certainly is, that an island in a small lake of a remote corner of Ireland, and which island is stated to be not more than one hundred and twenty-six yards in length by forty-four in breadth, with seven or eight insignificant hovels or cells upon it, should be renowned throughout Europe.
The legend of St. Patrick's Purgatory, of the awful ceremonies which must be performed before [image: View of St. Patrick's Purgatory, on Lough Derg] [p. 141] entering the cave, and of the portentous wonders which were supposed to be seen there, appears to have been first promulgated about the middle of the twelfth century, A.D. 1153, in the story of the descent of a knight named Owain, or Owen, the history of whose adventures became immediately so popular, as to be translated from the Latin original into nearly all the languages of the west of Europe. [pp. 139-140]
View of St. Patrick’s Purgatory, on Lough Derg