|At last the tall, gloomy-looking Round-Tower came in sight; it is a most striking object, standing up alone amidst crowds of grave-stones, one hundred and ten feet in height, still unimpaired by time—save the falling in of its conical top,* while the five churches that crown the circumjacent hills, and its own immediate neighbours — Our Lady's Church, and St. Kevin — are ruined and crumbling. // Crossing the stream of Glendalough on rude stones, we soon found ourselves in this solitary Necropolis. Luncheon was despatched in the least possible time, under the shade of the Round-Tower, and then we explored the grave-yard. The huge Cross, our guide told me, was a great help to matrimony, for you had only to clasp your arms round it, and think of the man, or the girl you loved, and either was sure to be your's. "I did it meself," quoth he, "sorrow's the day I did it; for she's me wife this twinty years, and bad luck to her for a bad one as she is." Two other guides started up, and one was remark ably eloquent, — pouring out passages from Moore, (a popular version, like the Venetian gondolier's rendering of Tasso), and scraps of old songs, but in so incoherent a way, we suspected poteen had inspired his muse and memory. Another sedate old fellow bade him keep his tongue in his head, for he knew the quality, and they didn't like being disturbed at their luncheon. These gentry wore much the appearance of the natives of Terracina, with their glittering black eyes, snuff-coloured peaked hats (caubeens), and stockings to match. Each brandished a stout shillelagh, and their // use of their arms in gesticulating was very peculiar. An old goody sat knitting beside us, and she expatiated on the benevolence of Mrs. Bookey, who clothed and fed the poor, and educated the children. She had two daughters, she said; and one she recommended to me as a skilful maker of caps. "Ah! that girleen has the brightest heart of the two! 'tis ivery thing she can do." I bought from her some specimens of copper, lead, and quartz, the produce of the neighbouring unworked mines. The poor appear to be tolerably well off here. Our guide informed me they got a shilling a-day, fuel allowed; and pay about £3 per annum for a taking that feeds a cow, or a couple of goats. He was only rich enough to keep the latter. The women knit stockings, and fetch turf, which is delved out of the bog with two kinds of spades of peculiar shape, and dried in the form of long bricks. The effect is most singular of these black piles all over the country; and in one spot we passed on our return, the bog extended for miles, and all the population seemed turned out digging it // up. The young women carry the peat in long baskets, like the French "hotte," strapped on the back — a heavy weight, and hawk it about the country. The price varies according to age and quality. At Tullamore the price of a cart-load, i.e. — six baskets' full, was six shillings and six pence.
* Petrie, in his "Round Towers of Ireland," says this top would have added probably eighteen feet to its height, besides that lost round its base by the accumulation of earth. — See the Work, p. 361. [pp. 15-18]