|Take my leave of Castle Caldwell, and with colours flying, and his [Sir James Caldwell's] band of music playing, go on board his six-oared barge for Inniskilling; the heavens were favourable, and a clear sky and bright sun, gave me the beauties of the lake in all their splendor. Pass the scenes I have described, which from the boat take a fresh variety, and in all pleasing.
Eagle island first salutes us, a woody knole. Others pass in review; among the rest Herring island, noted for the wreck of a herring-boat, and the drowning of a fidler; but the boatmen love herrings better than music, and gave their name to the isle, rather than that of the son of Apollo. Innisnakill is all wood. Rabbit island is 40 acres of pasture, which rises bold from the water. Innismac Saint also 40 acres of grass. Then comes a cluster of woody islands, which rise in perfect hills from the waters edge, the wood dipping in the lake, and they are so numerous that the lake is cut by them into winding straits, more beautiful than can be thought. The reader may imagine how exquisite the view must be, of numerous hills of dark and complete wood, which rife boldly from so noble a sheet of water: they form a most singular scene. Wherever the shore is seen, it is rising lands; in some places woods, in others cultivated hills. Passing these sylvan glories, we come next to the Gully island, all of wood, and is 100 acres: much of it is bold rising land, and the oak dips in the water. What a spot to build on, and form a retreat from the business and anxiety of the world! Nature here is blooming. It is in the midst of a region where one would think she has almost exhausted herself if in producing scenes of rural elegance. It belongs to Lord Ely; I envy him the possession. The only thing it yields its owner is a periodical profit from cutting its beautiful woods. Shelter, prospect, wood and water, are here in perfection; what more can be wished for in a retreat, if an unambitious mind gilds the scene with what neither wood nor water can give — content? The sacrilegious axe has desolated three parts in four of its noble covering; and it will be 15 years before the rough ground and naked stubs are again cloathed.
Pass the hanging grounds of Castle Hume; some of them very beautifully crowned with wood, and the opposite coast of the lake, wood and cultivation. Car and Ferny islands bold lands cut into fields of corn give a fresh variety, and the woods of Castle Hume surround a bay to the right, at the bottom of which is the Castle half hidden with trees. It opens, however, to the view soon after, and accompanied on each side by a fine wood, and the surrounding ground various. The lake then takes the form of a bay, between some pretty cultivated slopes on one side, and Devenish island on the other, with its tower full in view. Advancing, the coast on the right consists of beautiful cultivated hills, divided into inclosures by hedges, and the waving hills rising one beyond [p. 167] another in a various and pleasing manner; the opposite shore is the same, but the view more distant. The island of Devenish is part of it very rich land; the poor people pay 5l. an acre for the old grass for one crop of potatoes. About Ballyshannon, it is 3l. or 4l. per acre. The barley on the island after the potatoes is exceedingly fine. When you come abreast of the round tower, look backwards, to the right the scenery is very beautiful, the wood at the extremity, the waving hills under grass and corn, which spread over this whole coast, form also the scenery in front, and unite with the lake to make a most pleasing landscape. Landed at Inniskilling, and that evening reached Castle Cool, the seat of A. Lowry Corry, Esq; who was absent in the county of Tyrone, but Mrs. Corry was so obliging as to procure me the information I wished. [pp. 166-167]